…Buying Flowers

This week I have been buying flowers. 

Disappointingly, a lot of you will automatically suspect I am in trouble rather than being incurably romantic. 

Don’t worry, I’m not. 

In this instance it is neither.  I required a big thank-you present for a teacher and so I was sent to the florist.  And as is becoming depressingly frequent this with blog, I have made the mistakes so you don’t have to.  

I am rubbish at buying flowers.  At least in a supermarket or (for the very classy) a petrol station you see the flowers, you pick up the flowers and in exchange for money you take the flowers away and present them to someone who might appreciate them. 

In a florist; not so easy.  You’re expected to know things. 

“What sort of thing were you thinking about?” she asks. 

I was actually thinking about how embarrassed I was trying to buy flowers. 

I am a boy so only know about three flowers and I don’t think daisies, daffodils or dandelions really fit the bill here. 

“What do you recommend?”

“Well, I’m just finishing this off. It’s for the funeral of a dead nun from St Bernadette’s.” She says, gesturing to an enormous bouquet the size of the boreal rainforests of New Guinea, made from white lilies and dark leaves tied with a black ribbon.

“Ah.  Right.  Something a bit more cheerful than that.” 

“I’ll do you a nice spring mix.  It’ll be ready at one.  If you come back and we’re closed I’ll leave it next door in Bargain Booze*.  We have a deal where we do that for each other.” 

(*this is actually true, and made me wonder how often people are directed to the florist for a crate of beer if the Bargain Booze chap has to pop out for five minutes). 

So home I went, to come back at one. 

I’ve never really got it with flowers. 

I’ve never really seen the point of spending money on something so obviously transient. 

But that’s the idea isn’t it. 

It’s the gesture.  The wastefulness is the whole point. 


“Do you want this £20 note?”.  No.  Not at all romantic. 

“Shall I set fire to this £20 note for you as a symbolic gesture?”.  Yes Rick.  Light away, my heart’s delight and may it burn with the heat of my love for you! 

I don’t get it. 

But I’m not meant to.  As well as a symbol of love, flowers are also a catch-all gift for all occasions for people, mostly women, who you don’t know very well.  Thank you?  Flowers.  Get well soon?  Flowers.  My condolences on the death of your favourite nun?  Flowers. 

As a GP some of my more popular colleagues have been bought flowers as a thank-you.  Should any of my patients read this; firstly, sorry.  And secondly:  your GP would prefer a bun. 

So anyway, I return at one to be presented with some flowers and some assorted leaves wrapped up in cellophane. 

I don’t know what I was expecting. 

“That’ll be a million pounds, please.” 

Bit steep, don’t you think? 

“Well that’s how much they cost.  They come all the way from Holland.  Flowers like this don’t exactly grow on trees you know.” 

Well, no.  That’s sort of my point.  These fellas grow at ground level which, if anything, should make them easier to harvest, and so you’d have thought cheaper than their tree-dwelling cousins. 

Or, that’s what I thought to myself.  What I actually did was give the nice lady her money and say how beautiful they were so as not to make a fuss. 

And that’s how it finished. 

I found myself walking down the road carrying a large bouquet of flowers.  

An expensive gesture that only lasts two weeks in a jug of water until, dead and depressing, it is dumped unceremoniously in the recycling bin when it gets a bit tired and smelly. 

Just like the puppy. 

4 thoughts on “…Buying Flowers

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