LAURA CARTLEDGE: Love is little notes in your lunchbox, not a day booked on a calendar

I can’t work Valentine’s Day out.

On one hand it is nice to have a day especially earmarked for romance.

But on the other isn’t it sad we need to book it in the calendar?

I guess I have always had a funny relationship with February 14.

Not because I have a thing for artificial red roses, painfully happy teddy bears or cheap chocolates.

But because it is my dad’s birthday.

So from a very young age I’ve been used to other people getting cards on that day.

Before you get your tiny violins out I am not looking for sympathy.

I can count the Valentine’s cards I’ve got on one hand – excluding those sent by my mum – and all but one has been awkward.

If I remember correctly the first was passed to me while in the girls toilet.

It’s envelope all crumpled and a little damp in one corner like it had been nibbled.

Having said that, it was from a boy in the year below me so it might well have been.

His surname was Bond. That’s pretty much where the excitement ended.

We’d met, only once, when I was spending my lunch in the library and he was there on detention.

It was never going to last.

Now forgive me if this sound a bit soppy – after all tis the season.

Whether it is a special someone, close friends or even family – love isn’t about the big gestures or things bought from Clintons.

It doesn’t have to be a special occasion, in fact it is often better if it is not.

It’s little notes in lunch boxes.

Sending you a picture of what they have had for tea just because they don’t want you to miss out.

And letting you use them to warm your feet.

Well I did say it was love.

Perhaps instead I should regards Valentine’s Day more as a reminder than a compulsory activity.

To just do nice things more often.

The feeling of having to do something always puts me off anyway.

No doubt my dad will agree with that.