Friday, February 5, 2010

Anita Burgh's Best Valentine's Day

Best selling novelist, Anita Burgh, shares her best Valentine's Day...

It is the sixties, Cambridge. Married at twenty I am, at thirty, alone, but happy with my children. Valentine’s Day arrives, not that I expect anything, there’s no one special enough at the moment – I feel a momentary bleakness. At the bedroom door there is a sound of shuffling and shushing. My three children enter. My daughter carries a tray with tea and burnt toast. My youngest son a bunch of daffodils which have seen better days. My eldest hands me a huge hand decorated card. “To the best and most beautiful Ma in the world. Admired by men – Happy Valentine.” It has never been bettered.

It is spring 1915. Far away in France, the Great War was not over by Christmas as was confidently predicted. It shows no sign of ending, and the peaceful calm of Cresswell Manor in Devon has been shattered. It is now a convalescent home for soldiers from the Front. They arrive in increasing numbers to recover from their wounds - their minds and bodies broken. The old social order is crumbling as surely as time begins to breach the walls of the ancient manor house... this glorious saga of home life against the terrible backdrop of 'the war to end all wars'.


Jan Jones said...

That is just lovely, Anita!

I remember making home-made Valentine cards with the kids at playgroup. And when the children were asked who they were for, they looked at you with faintly astonished eyes and said, "For Mum of course."

Debs said...

What a perfect Valentines Day gift. I still have so many of the handmade cards from my children and they're all so special.