By Annie Taylor - 12th February 2019 6:02am
I was 27 when I gave up renting and bought my first property in Surrey. A tiny house with just one bedroom and a small patch of grass which the estate agent told me was a garden. I loved it. I loved coming home from work, padding about on my carpet, heating a ready meal in my own microwave (the previous owner had taken the built-in oven and I didn't really see a need to replace it).
My favourite shop in the High Street was the florist. A small corner shop, with buckets of colour spilling out gloriously onto the pavement. I'd stand outside, allowing myself time to admire what was on offer before going in to make my decisions. I wouldn't be rushed. The choice felt important. People would come in, collect bouquets and leave I was still there, deciding how many stems of the purple ones would be just right.... I'm not one for big, voluptuous displays but my visit to the florist meant I could take home something that was exactly right for me, without having to shamefully discard the unwanted bits from a supermarket bunch. I'd take home my treats and arrange them lovingly — a small blue and white jug in the bedroom, and the larger green Shelley jug in the living room. Sometimes, a few flowers for the bathroom, too, for brazen self-indulgence. My visit to the florist became a weekly ritual. It was better than the Haagen-Dazs I was skinny enough to eat, guilt-free. I'd look forward to it and always went alone.
One day, while wrapping my flowers for me beside the till, the florist smiled kindly and said "Don't you think it's time you found someone to buy these for you?" She was being friendly, but she'd missed the point. I lived alone, but I wasn't not in a relationship. The pleasure I got from buying myself flowers this way was bigger than any time my beau turned up with a flouncy bouquet, all gift-wrapped and heavily bowed.
I wonder how many of us take the trouble to give ourselves gifts like that? We're used to treating ourselves to shoes, bags, a manicure... but how many of you have spent time in a florist, choosing the perfect flowers for yourself?
It doesn't have to be Valentine's Day for you to do this...but it's a perfect time to start!
I moved to this charming village almost a year ago and was happy to discover that in Audlem we can treat ourselves very easily with a trip to the florist, a few of our favourite chocolates and a piece of pretty jewellery before stopping for a decent cuppa on the way home.
So, whether you're in a couple or single, have a very special Valentine's Day!
Monday 19th Aug
Lord Combermere Car Park