Every now and then, Facebook throws up memories from long forgotten posts. Today, it's given me a Dad At Large column from February, 2015, and it still makes me wince...

TO be perfectly honest, Valentine’s weekend wasn’t my finest piece of planning. The significance of the date had gone straight over my head and I’d arranged to spend Saturday morning playing tennis, Saturday afternoon at the rugby, and all day Sunday travelling to London for a football match.

The tennis match was fixed a week earlier and I couldn’t let my opponent down. Then, I was hosting a hospitality box at Darlington Mowden Park versus Tynedale so I couldn’t get out of the rugby. And my old mate Ted had wangled me a pass into another hospitality box for the Arsenal versus Middlesbrough FA Cup match the next day.

How could I turn it down? But with an early morning train to London on Sunday and the return train not getting me back until 11pm, it meant Valentine’s weekend was more or less wiped out.

“You might have got away with either the rugby or the football but you’re pushing your luck by going to both,” said a fellow dad at work, shaking his head, the day before Valentine’s Day.

I decided I’d better make it up to my wife by buying her a spectacular bouquet of flowers – but I forgot. I got distracted at work and was still in the office when I suddenly remembered at 9.45pm. I raced round to Sainsbury’s, got there two minutes from closing time, and realised that a limp bunch of supermarket tulips wasn’t going to cut it.

The security man was starting to get agitated so I grabbed a small box of chocolates and a card with the slogan: “Let’s get it on.” I know it’s a bit naff but, believe me, it was the best of a bad bunch.

“Good luck,” said the security man, smugly, as he ushered me out of the store.

I left the card and the chocs on the kitchen worktop after she’d gone to bed and crossed my fingers.

“Thanks for the card and the chocolates,” she said when I came down the next morning. It was a polite, rather than enthusiastic, thank you. I sensed that she’d have been much happier with a spectacular bouquet of flowers than a small box of last-minute chocolates with a Sainsbury’s sticker left on.

“I didn’t get you anything this year because, if you cast your mind back, I remembered last year and you forgot altogether,” she said, and I found it hard to argue.

Just then, her mobile rang. It was our son, Jack, who’s at university. He’d ordered his girlfriend a spectacular bouquet of flowers – but he’d given Interflora our address instead of hers (stupid boy).

The spectacular bouquet arrived at our front door bang on cue and my wife explained that panic-stricken Jack wanted to know if we could drive them to his girlfriend’s house across town.

“Do you think you could take them – I don’t want to be late for the rugby,” I found myself saying.

As the words came out, I knew that the doors of the doghouse were swinging wide open.

She left in silence to be a flower delivery girl for her son’s lucky girlfriend. The card I’d bought my wife of 26 years was left on the kitchen workshop. “Let’s get it on” suddenly seemed an extremely unlikely slogan.


THANK you to Craig Robinson, of Shildon, for telling me about his six-year-old son’s slightly over the top reaction when he wasn’t allowed a second biscuit.

“You’ve just ruined my life,” groaned the boy.

A LITTLE boy, in the train seats behind me, coming back from seeing Middlesbrough beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup on Sunday: “Dad, I don’t think I’m ever going to get over this.”

ALISON Tonkinson, at a meeting of the Stockton Trefoil Guild this week, told me about her great nephew John’s potty-training progress.

John, who’s three, is doing extremely well and gets a sweet as a reward for using the potty correctly.

Imagine his grandad’s surprise when he came back from the loo and John asked him if he’d like a sweet.