The leaves are falling from the trees, the rain is pitter-pattering more heavily, and the nights are drawing in which means only one thing: it's coming up to that time of year again. Mr. TheBoyandMe knows it as well, I can sense him twitching.
No, not Christmas! Something else has to happen first before the festivities for baby Jesus and Father Christmas.
And woe betide Mr. TheBoyandMe if he gets it wrong.
Which is why he carries a note around in his wallet: akito roses, white spiky chrysanthemums, eucalyptus leaves, purple lisianthus. The piece of paper has become faded and ripped around the corners, but it's there and has been since the first time. Since our first anniversary. Years later however, it's looking a little battered.
Yet every year in mid-November he toddles off one lunchtime to one of the many florists in Cardiff to do his husbandly duty. He will ask for the flowers on his crumpled bit of paper and insist on only those flowers in them, not to be fobbed off with a cheaper white rose or normal chrysanthemums, they must be those and despite the akito roses having to be ordered in, he will be presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers to pass on to me, his adoring wife.
As you may have twigged, in just under a month's time, Mr. TheBoyandMe and I will be celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary. Tin! (There's exciting hey? I bought my sister some cooking tins for hers, hope she reciprocates, mine are looking a bit battered)
We were fresh-faced and had everything in front of us on that cold day in November 2001. I was just 24 and he was 26, and we had a small but cosy wedding. It cost £4,500. How many people could put together a wedding nowadays for that? We didn't scrimp on anything; I had a raw silk and lace wedding dress made for me, a vintage Rolls-Royce took me to the fairytale castle aside the wooded mountain overlooking Cardiff, there was a three-course meal in a top-Cardiff hotel (for £17.50 a head! McDonald's would charge that nowadays if you mention the word wedding alongside cheese-burger) and we stayed in the five-star Rocco Forte hotel that night. In the same suite that Robbie Williams had stayed in, but not at the same time (we had a television when we stayed there, his was removed because he'd previously thrown it into the bay).
This was my wedding bouquet:
I loved those flowers, even though they were heavy as anything, and was devastated when they died. They lasted a fortnight which just goes to show the freshness of flowers that come from a company like Interflora. Mr. TheBoyandMe knows how upset I was when they withered, which is why he makes such an effort to always get the same types.
Ten years on, and times have changed. We may not have much disposable income for regular flowers, but I can guarantee that by the end of November there will be a beautiful bouquet of flowers in the living room.
And the crumpled piece of paper will be back in Mr. TheBoyandMe's wallet, safe until next year.
The words and sentiments are my own and honest. The crumpled piece of paper is genuine; it's looking past its best-before.