And for everyone mooching grimly about Valentines, Oxfordshire has never been especially romantic; it's all about shrivelled pig's tails, stale buns, and throwing heated pennies at children.
The Museum of the History of Science in Oxford, possibly anticipating a backlash against the colour pink, is having an entire day devoted to the colour blue on Feb 21 with living history of bluebottles and bluestockings, talks to include Why is the sky blue?, and Is anything blue? Don’t ask a philosopher!, a blue trail, bluegrass music, and of course a screening of Derek Jarman's Blue.
In the covered market, the large and chaotic old bookshop is gone, replaced by Red Opia, a fresh clean bright shop of oriental crafts. I went in to look through the blue-and-white china my mum likes so much (would a duck-shaped duck plate please her or just bring back horrible memories?) and was seduced into buying candles that look like old-fashioned penny sweets and a sausage-dog shaped chopstick stand/incense stick holder. Well, two sausage-dog shaped chopstick stand/incense stick holders. They were hand-made, cheap, had cute little beseeching eyes, and I couldn't decide which one to take (you never eat chinese on your own, anyway). The shoplady ripped the paper and wrapped them carefully, so that they weren't touching each other. "To make sure they don't fight," she said, "Two dogs in a bag ..."