August 2019
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A rose by any other name

One of the Norwegian radio channels along with, of all things, a crisps brand, are on a search for the most romantic Valentine’s day message. If you feel so inclined you can send an electronic postcard to your loved one and copy it to the competition judges. For a start, this seems pretty weird to me. An electronic message composed in order to win a competition and sent to an actual person more as a sort of afterthought fails to impress me with any feeling of romance.

However, the greatest drawback is the prize. 10000 red roses (yes, ten thousand, I did not accidentally add a 0 or two). This might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but think about it… I like roses as much as the next girl, but what would I do with 10000? What, for that matter, would I do with 1000? I imagine 100 would make a pretty hefty bunch and I only have a dinky little vase (the large one currently being inhabited by a fish).

The going rate at Interflora is 40 nok per rose. I assume the people who are arranging this are not paying as much, however, even with a very conservative estimate the prize must be worth 50000 nok. Right. Could I trade 9990 of my roses for two plane tickets to the UK (6000 nok), train tickets to Hay (say… 1500 nok at the most), a few nights (ok, a week + the weekend, 9 nights) at The Famous Old Black Lion, lunch and dinner in the bar and champagne every evening (max. 2000 nok per night, and that would mean overeating at every meal), and the rest in spending money, please. Even in Hay, 24450 nok would last me a while (though with the right companion I guess I should say 12225 nok).* And that’s assuming I’d be generous enough to invite the person who thought the competition was a romantic way to send me a Valentine’s message, which is not at all certain. I’d have to have a ponder.

I don’t suppose 49950 nok would be enough for a limousine, but maybe we could rent one for a while? Or we could go to Scotland instead, you can get a lot of whisky for 12225 nok. Or Mauritius. I could probably do with some sun. Or we could do my kitchen and have money left for me to cook you a nice romantic dinner in it afterwards. The possibilities are endless. Except they’re not – you may not exchange the prize for money. It’s in the rules.

But I repeat, what would I do with 10000 roses? I’m not even sure I could fit them all into my flat, and they’d wilt so quickly even the whisky would last longer.

Of course, another serious accusation against the organisers is that “Tio tusen röda rosor” is the title of a Vikingarna song. For reminding me of that they deserve to walk barefoot over a bed of the roses they’re offering (on the assumption that it’s real roses with real thorns).

* The exchange rate to pounds is around 12 nok for 1 GBP, to US dollars it’s 8ish nok to 1 USD.

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