AT the end of the week there will be countless people up and down the country whose hearts are aflutter.

Their pulses will race with excitement and they’ll skip through the workaday routine wearing beatific smiles.

In contrast, those among you who don’t sell greetings cards, flowers and cuddly toys for a living will be wondering who sent you affectionate greetings on the most romantic day of the year.

If you’re already in a relationship, it’s a fair bet that your secret admirer is either your other half or That Creep at Work.

It’s a little known national law that every workplace must have at least one That Creep and preferably two – one of each gender. Their presence promotes a sense of unity and comradeliness of adversity, much like Doodlebugs in the dying days of World War Two.

If they’re male, they’ll be the one whose aftershave peels the laminate from the corners of furniture and stuns any pigeon who happens to fly past when there’s a window open. They’ll be the one who gets all their fashion tips from men’s style magazines, but never seems to read the articles warning against combovers or using hair dye that’s about as unobtrusive as a poke in the eye with an electric whisk.

If they’re female, they’ll often be the one who’s always on about being a cougar. ‘Cougar’ is, of course, an American word that can mean either (a) a fearsome creature with terrifying fangs and claws which comes out at night to stalk its prey, and in populated areas often leaps on unwary drunks, or (b) a large member of the cat family.

If you suspect That Creep at Work of having sent your card, fear not. These people tend to send them out as mass mailings, a bit like those con artists who email you and pretend to be corrupt foreign government officials enlisting your help to smuggle some cash.

The only alternative sender if you’re already with somebody is your spouse or partner, and you should be able to identify them by the handwriting. You can also gauge the health of your relationship from the message and gift.

Something special that was clearly chosen because you’d love it? A sincere message extolling your virtues and saying life wasn’t complete until the day they met you?

You’re doing okay.

Flowers or some other gift that was obviously damaged during its passage through the security tray at the late-night filling station? A message wishing you all the best for the future because the author forgot they weren’t writing a leaving card for somebody at work?

Maybe you should start shopping around for someone else.

If you’re single, there are rather more alternatives when guessing who wants you to be their Valentine, but the image on the card is always a major clue.

For instance, if you get one of those humorous cards that borders on the obscene, then congratulations: you’ve attracted the attention of the person who believes they’re the life and soul of the party, turned up at the last office do with a ‘comedy’ inflatable sheep, and tops the list of people everyone secretly wants to punch.

A demure image and a quote from a poem that rhymes, on the other hand, means the sender is a thoughtful, introverted person who wants to embark with you on an old-fashioned romantic relationship based on your having eyes only for one another. They’ve probably already chosen the crate they’re going to keep you in.

If you don’t receive any cards but send out loads of identical ones, however, you might want to refine your social interactions so as not to come across as desperate.

Assuming you’re not That Creep at Work.


Where to flee in the floods

SOME of you living in low-lying parts of the Adver’s circulation area will be worrying about the coming battery of storms and the floods they might bring.

If so, there’s a surefire way of removing the danger almost entirely: get lots of money and move to London or as close to London as possible.

You’ll have noticed over the last couple of weeks that people foolish enough not to live in or near London have been suffering considerably.

Their rivers are allowed to go undredged, the houses and businesses they’ve worked for all their lives are swamped by filthy water and raw sewage, power is cut off and stays off and collapsed railways won’t be repaired for weeks on end. Victims are largely left to clean up the mess themselves, even if they risk suffering dreadful tragedy by doing so, and the authorities either don’t give a damn or do a great impression of not giving one.

When there’s a threat of flooding among affluent people near London, though, all hell promptly breaks loose, the army is mobilised and there’s a rescue squad in just about every street.


Bee afraid

I WAS delighted to hear that the Chapel Farm landfill site is to be transformed into a haven for bees and other wildlife.

For one thing, it’s always good when a formerly less-than-pretty place is returned to the pristine green state it was in before humans arrived.

For another, I’m a big fan of 1950s horror films, so I’m going to write to the company and ask them to leave the odd bit of landfill untreated, unsealed and quite close to the surface.

Bees are good, but glowing bees the size of Nissan Micras are better.


  •  THE police, we have learned lately, are not to be called in by the council to investigate the Swindon wi-fi fiasco.I can’t think why.

After all, if a complaint were made, all that would happen is that the police would ask simple questions such as who knew what and when, who was paid what and why, who was in charge of authorising those payments, whose names appeared on which documents and when those documents were signed.

As nothing untoward took place during the wi-fi affair – it was all just an unfortunate series of mistakes, according to the council – there would be nothing for anybody to worry about.