SO how much have you spent on your Valentine? The average spend for today’s slush-fest was £52, says a meaningless poll, but over half of us pay less than ten quid on love tokens - and 30per cent spend nothing at all.

According to research by Bloom & Wild, Yorkshire folk spend the least on Valentine’s Day; forking out just £16 on a gift.

I'm not holding my breath for “the world’s most expensive Valentine bouquet” I saw on a recent press release. At a whopping £20,000 it contained 100 flowers, some gold encased and diamond jewelled, and a Mon Chérie glass cloche with a "romantic dance of Endura's heart roses and two Cullinan diamonds" sealed inside. Is anyone worth a £20,000 bouquet?

The worst offenders for forgetting that special February 14 something are aged 25-34, with 54per cent failing to acknowledge the most romantic day of the year.

Is it really though? Is there genuine romance in a heart-shaped helium balloon? Or a teddy bear clutching a ‘Be Mine’ cushion? Or a standard box of chocolates picked up at the petrol station? Does love mean sitting awkwardly in a soulless restaurant surrounded by other couples barely talking to each other across an over-priced meal?

Valentine’s Day is either a celebration of love, a bit of cheeky fun or a crass commercial ploy to flog a load of tat. You decide. Like just about everything else, its origins lie in ancient Rome, later evolving into a lovers’ ritual. In the 1700s sweethearts passed lace and paper love notes and by the early 19th century Valentine cards were popular, along with flowers and confectionery, leading to the mass-produced, aggressively-marketed gift ranges we know today.

I used to think Valentine’s Day was for kids; a rite of passage for the bittersweet teenage years when, if you were lucky, you got at least one card with “Guess who?” scrawled inside. It was the thrill of the chase in the angsty courtship of adolescence and young adulthood, and a symbol of togetherness when you were blissfully loved-up in the honeymoon bubble.

Then as I got older I was amazed to discover that grown adults, even married ones, continued to send each other a Valentine card and do the whole red roses and dinner thing. It all seemed a bit laboured.

‘Love’ is everywhere. “I love you guys” they blub on reality shows, five minutes after meeting each other. “Love ya hun” say the Facebook comments, from people I don’t really know. Even ‘professional’ emails landing in my inbox from faceless PR people in west London often include a‘x’ or two. And so many ‘phone conversations end with the words “Love you” they sound as meaningful as “Don’t forget to pick up cat litter on your way home.”

My parents were happily married for nearly 50 years, but I never heard them say: “I love you” - nor did they send each other Valentine cards. Presumably they didn’t feel the need to. They were of a generation that didn’t declare love, but love was always there.

It was there when they made each other laugh, practically every day, even when illness arrived, like a sinister, unwanted visitor, and never left. When dementia gripped my mother, love was there in Dad’s soothing words as she screamed in despair. It was there when he combed her hair, washed her face, cut her fingernails, and fed her the casserole he’d taught himself to make from her dog-eared cookbooks.

Even when she could no longer speak and didn’t seem to know us anymore, nobody made her smile like he did. That was love.

* IT is 10 years since Bradford became the world's first City of Film. "What's that got to do with me?" you ask.

Well, the district is now a hotbed for film and TV-making, with 35 productions here last year, from Peaky Blinders to a Bollywood epic. When crews are in town, often for months, they boost the local economy by staying in hotels and apartments and using bars and restaurants. Local businesses are hired for catering, transport and premises. With enquiries from Netflix and US film-makers coming in, filming in the region is set to rise in 2019. Bradford's links with China, the fastest-growing cinema industry, will boost business further.

Then there's our world-class film literacy programme, helping thousands of schoolchildren, and community cinemas bringing people together. City of Film is for all of us, districtwide.

* WHAT an awful bore this week's Bafta ceremony was. Unlike the Oscars, which is so worthy it hurts, the Baftas used to have a sense of fun. Sharp British wit could be relied on to prick the egos of luvvies taking themselves too seriously.

How I missed Stephen Fry's acerbic put-downs during Sunday's ceremony. I really like Joanna Lumley, this year's host, but boy did her script-writer need shooting. Corny one-liners came thick and fast, as Hollywood's finest openly winced. Joanna should've made like Patsy and cracked open the Bolly...