That didn't happen this year. Immediately after valentines day, I left my husband and my red roses and took the children off for a few days of visiting with my parents. By the time my anniversary weekend came around I had no '75% off' table confetti/ light up ballons/ cuddly toys/ love crackers etc and no plan.
No plan isn't quite true. I had arranged for the little ones to have a weekend sleepover with their big sister to give my husband and I some much needed time together. I thought about how best to spend this precious 'us time'. I considered a stay at a hotel with a spa or a dinner for two at a nice restaurant. In the end, the most important thing was the actual time together so keeping it as simple as possible was probably our best bet. I tidied the house and we bought a few treats for a special home cooked meal. The one thing that we both really wanted to do was to drive out to some beautiful countryside and go for a run.
When we were planning where to go, we made allowances for the fact that it was a bit wet and windy by choosing a forest run. I imagined compacted forest paths sheltered by trees. Arriving at our destination, we realised our mistake. The route we had selected was actually exposed heathland with gorse bushes and steep hills. The drive through the forest to get there had been beautiful and now, here we were in this bleak landscape being battered by wind and rain. Oh well! No point turning back. Off we went!
The weather did ease off a bit and we had wrapped up warm so that wasn't too much of a problem. The hills drained all the energy in our legs but we weren't here to set any speed records so we didn't mind having to stop and walk. The worst part was the mud. So many different kinds of mud. A whole pallette of mud from black through to pale yellowy grey with all shades of brown in between. Sticky mud. Sloshy mud. Deep mud. Vast oceans of mud sucking at our feet with every step. It did cross my mind that we could be in a luxury spa right now having a very different kind of mud treatment. We ran. We trudged. We slipped. We slid. My husband fell over in the mud with fairly amusing consequences. Were we discouraged? No! We were having the best time. We were loving it.
It took us nearly an hour to complete the 5 kilometer circular route - an hour of torturous bliss!
We had a wonderful weekend. My valentines roses even had some life left in them to provide the romantic touch that I'd failed to do with my usual post valentine bargain hunting. The only slight niggle was the state of my mud caked trainers. I feared they would never be the same agaiin. After leaving them drying for a week, I thought that the best way to clean them would be to put them on and go for a little run in the hope that the mud would just fall away.
Today, the sun was shining. I put on my once purple trainers and marvelled at the little dust cloud produced when I tied the laces. I planned the route in my head - out the back gate, across the football pitch to the path that runs around the hockey pitches, through the car park, into the woods, across the meadows onto the footpath that leads back to the road, down the road and back to my house. It was a perfect plan apart from the into the woods and across the meadows part. My trainers are muddier than when I started.
Plan B. Washing machine?