Guest Blog: Clean up your act on Valentine’s Day
Guest blogger, David Thornton, has some top tips to help get you in the mood for love this Valentine's.
Do it the Wight way and avoid a massacre on February the 14th
Losing your head over love dates back to 269AD (an auspicious date if ever there was one), when St Valentine of Rome was literally separated from his by Claudius II Emperor of Rome who beheaded the priest for trying to teach him the power of love.
Exactly what he thought he was doing introducing the leader of Roman Empire to Frankie Goes to Hollywood remains a clandestine mystery of biblical proportions. Maybe Claudius preferred the Jennifer Rush version.
Travel forward almost two millennia and St Valentine is still going strong, whilst Claudius has had less traction, notwithstanding the stutteringly-magnificent performance by Derek Jacobi in the 1970’s BBC mini-series. (Although, to be fair, that was Claudius I).
It’s February, and love is in the air the length and breadth of Britain.
Grown men are paralysed by the oncoming approach of a pink and fluffy juggernaut, whilst their partners tell them they “don’t want any fuss this year”, but you just know it isn’t true. Every 14th of February has to be better than the last, every scented card bigger, loving sentiment loftier, and heart-felt statement grander. If it’s not fit for publication on Instagram, your life won’t be worth living by Thursday the 15th.
This year Valentine’s Day coincides with the first day of Lent, so chocolates are banned, which presents the average ‘pop into the garage at the last minute’ male with a bit of a challenge. Castrol GTX is just not the same, and a new headlight bulb, even with an enclosed sentiment about how you light up my life, is just not going to cut it.
No, this is the year to go one better and beat St Valentine at his own game. Take a deep breath and turn to the internet with your credit card in hand – your entire life depends on it.
Starting at the deluxe end of the scale, you can still grab a three night break at the Isle of Wight’s Royal Hotel for upwards of £500. Located on the hillside overlooking Ventnor Bay, this Victorian hotel has entertained the crowned princes of Europe, so what more fitting location could you find for your very own princess?
Take a stroll down nearby Love lane to reach Steephill Cove and watch the tide come in as you huddle up together in this charming secluded bay. As the sun sets, head for the Hamborough restaurant just a short walk away to get up close and personal with a Valentine’s taster menu from Head Chef Luke Taylor, who’s already making a name for himself with his innovative cuisine and fine British produce infused with global flavours.
Over on the moonlit side of the Island, the prestigious George Hotel in the harbour town of Yarmouth has deluxe rooms for £250 per night. This 17th century townhouse has spectacular views of the Solent, sweeping staircases, ancient panelling and a fine dining restaurant fit for a King. In fact, Charles II popped in some time before he lost his head, and more recently siblings from the house of Windsor have been known the grace Yarmouth’s finer establishments.
If that doesn’t float your love boat, how about a couple of nights at the stunning North House in Cowes old town? This grade II listed townhouse blends maritime chic with modern boutique styling and slick service. Alas, the hotel is already fully booked on Valentine’s night, but you can reserve a two night mini break the following week for £195 in a spacious room. If you’re smart about it, print out the booking confirmation, paste it into a Valentine’s card, and your beloved will think that was the plan all along.
If you’re still paying for Christmas and the price of overnight true love is just too much to take, opt for the food of love and fine dining by candlelight.
Before you leave the house sneak upstairs and scatter rose petals on the bed, leave a bottle of fizz and two glasses on the bedside cabinet and set the mood lighting. At half past 11 when you arrive home, you’ll be glad you did.
Say it with Food
The Waterfront Inn at Totland Bay over in West Wight offers breath-taking sunset views across the Solent, tasty Mediterranean cuisine that won’t break the bank, and a three course Valentine’s menu at just £23.95 per person on Wednesday the 14th and Saturday the 17th of February. Reservations 01983 75 6969.
The Woodvale in Gurnard, just five minutes from West Cowes, promises an evening of chilled out guitar music for romantic souls and a fabulous meal in a sea-view candlelit setting for £29.95 per person. If the wine goes to your head you can stay the night too. Reservations 01982 292037.
Over in Seaview, on the eastern side of the Island, the Boat House Inn has equally stunning sea views, offers quality overnight accommodation, and a Valentine’s evening menu at £39.95 per person that tempts you with twice baked IOW crab soufflé for starters, passionfruit sorbet (of course), fillet steak beef wellington to keep your strength up, and raspberry and honeycomb cheesecake to melt in your mouth. Reservations 01983 810616.
Clean Up Your Act
And finally, if none of the above melts the heart of even the coldest February ice maiden, show your Valentine that your love knows no bounds by signing up for the Valentine’s Day Beach & Park Clean at Appley Beach in Ryde, organised by the local business association.
What better way to show you care than to spend the afternoon picking up plastic bottles and beach detritus? Litter picking equipment will be provided, meet at Apply Tower five minutes’ walk from the boating lake in Ryde at 3pm and show the whole World that you really can clean up your act this Valentine’s day.
Author: David Thornton is, as well as other things, a blogger living on the Isle of Wight.
12 February 2018