WEEKENDER: Keep Mother's Day simple - give her a lie-in
ACCORDING to a survey published earlier this week, the most popular 'gift' mums want on Mothering Sunday is a good night's sleep and a lie-in.
Forget chocolates, perfume and flowers. A chance to stay between the sheets for an extra couple of hours is most likely to set your mum up for a good day tomorrow.
On the face of it, that seems a pretty boring choice. But wait...
Mothering Sunday is, to me, the most difficult annual occasion to mark.
Not only are Mothering Sunday cards almost exclusively hideous - liberally sprinkled with twee flowers, teddy bears, butterflies, etc and sickly 'best mum in the world, ever' platitudes - but the traditional choice of presents, as if by magic, undergo a price hike days before the event.
Chief among the latter of course, are flowers, which at this time of year assume a temporary desirability and price tag more representative of the demand for ivory in China.
Last year, the kids and myself went out on something of a limb and bought their mum a compost bin for her new allotment, which, when it finally arrived following a stocking problem several weeks after Mothering Sunday, was greeted with joy unconfined.
Now every last scrap of compostable waste is transported in various receptacles to the allotment, in a ritual resembling an offering to a minor deity.
I don't know off the top of my head the name of the Greek God/Goddess of Vegetables but he/she has been well rewarded this past year, and I am expecting a bumper crop as 2013 progresses.
Faced with the perfume/flowers/chocolates dilemma again this year, my thoughts have once more turned to things allotmental.
A shed fund has been set up, but the search for a suitable one has become bogged down in questions of design.
A water butt? A greenhouse? Possibilities both, and given their practicality, these are likely to be appreciated far more than traditional Mothering Sunday fare.
Of course, it is Mothering Sunday, so the onus should be on the children to come up with gifts, cards, and treats - but as experience has taught me, leaving such matters to teenagers is a recipe for inaction.
The survey lists quality time with the family as the second most sought after Mothering Sunday gift, so perhaps that is the answer, though at least part of that quality time would involve standing on the touchline of a football ptich, as a 14-year-old's sporting commitments do not stop, even for Mothering Sunday.
Back to that lie-in. I am at somewhat of a disadvantage here, as every Sunday is a lie-in day for her nibs while your correspondent rises groggy at the crack of dawn to take the dog for a walk.
But this is Mothering Sunday, so this lie-in is by dint of that very fact, different to other lie-ins.
And it will be concluded with decent coffee, poached egg on toast, and (tasteful) cards lovingly handpicked by thoughtful children who have devoted hours to the task.
Can County pull ahead in the final stretch?
JUST as last year's Premier League was decided by a goal with almost the last kick of the season, so a similarly tight finish looks possible this season in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
The top five are particularly close together going into the final few weeks of the season, and thankfully Newport County are among them after recording a fifth win in succession last Tuesday night at Hereford.
County of course, have games in hand on two of their closest rivals and more points from the same amount of games than the other two - but the way fortunes have waxed and waned to date, none of these teams will be thinking much beyond their next fixture, let alone about the 'p' word.
That of course, is 'promotion' - the goal to which all of these clubs aspire, but which none can claim to be in the pole position to achieve.
In an ideal world of course, County would prevail, sparing fans a further nerve-jangling trip to Wembley in the play-offs, while Wrexham would gain promotion by the latter route, restoring to four Welsh football's representation in the Football League.
At the top table, Manchester United are pretty much nailed on for the title. The real interest over the next few weeks, will be found at clubs like Newport County.
Exciting times indeed.