Linda Colling: Longing for love letters

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IT’S what every woman wants and yet I couldn’t find one with a love letter to her name.

Never mind a letter, plenty are longing for him to tell her: “I love you”.

That’s as in tenderly whispering those three little words in her ear as opposed to awful text speak, “I Luv U” and “U R GR8”, which has well and truly killed off old fashioned romance.

Now it’s all techno talk and it’s sounded the death knell for a letter straight from the heart.

How sad that messages to the one you love only come in email, text or posted on Facebook. How much better a billet-doux, dropping through the letterbox, or as Victor Hugo called it “a kiss in the post”.

No one writes letters anymore and so expressing your innermost feelings in a handwritten missive has bitten the dust with only a mere nine per cent surveyed saying they had ever sent a love letter and most of those were over 50.

Opening their hearts in The Barnes, women of all ages told me how they longed for a love letter.

Kathryn Watson, 23, who works in an estate agents, has been going out with her boyfriend Chris Hart, 24, from Tunstall, for three years and said: “I would love a letter from him.”

A throng of students hadn’t a love letter between them.

Rebecca Hoggett, 17, from Fulwell, reckoned: “A letter is more meaningful and a lot more effort has been put in.”

That’s why so few are penned.

Danielle Laverick,18, from Hylton Castle, wishes her boyfriend would “say more things to my face”.

Hopeless romantics, Rachael Chambers, 18, from New Herrington, and Alix Laws, 17, of Seaham, wish there were more Romeos around writing words of love – dream on.

Lauren Little, 18, would be blown away if her boyfriend sent her a love letter: “You can say anything through a text. It makes it much easier but it’s not as romantic.”

Indeed.

As mother-of-two, Ruth Turns, 36, of Seaham, put it: “A little letter makes a lot of love.”

Only her Kevin never has sent her one.

She says: “I remember when we first got together we worked at the same place and left little notes in places saying ‘I love you’, ‘See you tonight’.”

Now like millions of married couples with children, Ruth who works in the operating department of Sunderland Royal Hospital, knows how hard it is to make time for one another.

Her friend Suzanne Ferguson, 41, expecting her first baby to fiance David Reay, 46, thinks a lot of men struggle telling the one they love just that: “I think it’s a man thing. They’ll say ‘You know I love you. I don’t have to tell you’.

“But yes they do. I think men think it’s a bit soft to show their emotions. They feel a bit embarrassed about publicly declaring their love.”

Oh dear, so many women will share Suzanne’s sentiments.

The immediacy of text can’t hold a candle to a love letter written with passion and the promise of more to come.

“Have you got any?” asked Suzanne, whose eyes lit up when I said: I do in a long-forgotten bundle tied with red ribbon in a handbag I found when clearing out a wardrobe. In red-lined envelopes, those words of love are what makes a letter superior to any text.

The language of love written on paper is a keepsake for all time. It’s as captivating for a woman when she’s old and grey as when he first declared his love in writing.

As for memory sticks, you know where you can stick them.

WE must be the stupidest country in the world to harbour immigrants like Ali Ahmad, 35, who after sinking his teeth into a Sunderland three-year-old boy’s chest, hasn’t been shipped back to Iran because his life could be put in danger.

It makes every right thinking person’s blood boil that a man like Ahmad with a disgraceful record of violence is allowed to stay in our community.

What would they do with him if he had so violated a child in his own country? Doubtless stone him to death.

He is another violent perpetrator who has served time for affray and assaulting police and still he’s harboured here.

Ahmad and others like him, I believe have forfeited their right to live in our country. It is wrong that we protect dangerous men like this. What kind of man bites a child? And then dares to claim the boy had “loved it”.

Now free as a bird to walk the streets after appearing at Newcastle Crown Court this week, he walked out the door after serving the equivalent of 12 months on remand after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm.

He’s no doubt laughing up his sleeve at his sentence of an 18-month community order with supervision and taking a Citizenship Programme to tackle turning him into a positive member of society.

He’s positively one citizen we can well do without.