On Friday it was 40 years since I staggered, in a dazed state, out of Christchurch Women’s Hospital having witnessed a wondrous event in our extending family’s life. Our son, Johnny, had been born. As I emerged into the daylight, into a world which didn’t realise what a significant event had occurred in our family, I thought “I’ll buy Pam some roses”. For those of you who have known me for a long time, you will realise what a momentous event this really was. I’m not your old-fashioned romantic type. Flowers grow in the garden. I don’t even know their names. I certainly don’t pay for them.
Sometime later I arrived back, to a flushed and resplendent Pam. As she lay in her bed with the new sprog at the breast, she looked up at the three carnations in my hand. I should explain that Pam comes from a long line of gardeners. Even in her weakened state she was forced to ask “why carnations?”, and, “why so few?”
These questions were easy for an accountant to answer. I hadn’t even heard that the 14th of February was St Valentine’s Day, which, in those days, was in its infancy. When I arrived at the flower shop I had been horrified at the price of roses. Price had caused me to reject roses, and instead to move to the part of the flower market which was more within my means. Or should I say, which complied more with my “value for money” test. My defence in mitigation to the hospital bed resident was we had had a momentous event in our lives and it seemed appropriate for me to splash some money out on consumptive expenditure, which I would normally have described as soft headed.
So, last Friday, on the date of our son turning 40, I visited our local flower shop, owned by splendid fellow members of the Vintage Car Club, Miss Feaver in Hills Road. The place was doing a roaring trade and I had had to park a considerable distance from the shop. Once I had stood in line for some time, I requested three carnations, to the bemusement of those serving behind the counter. “Here’s a miserable bastard” I imagined them thinking. The Chamberlains were both basking in the financial returns from all the tradies staggering out of their shop with flowers for their missus. This made them flushed with goodwill, and, when they heard the genesis of my purchase, they gave them to me.
So, the conclusion I have arrived at, is that even after 40 years, carnations are really good value for money.