WHEN I first heard about a man riding a jet ski across the Irish Sea to visit his girlfriend, after being banned from visiting in the pandemic, I thought “How romantic,” quickly followed by: “Would my husband ever go to such lengths to see me?”

The answer is a firm NO. I doubt he would cross Bradford Beck in his wellies to see me, let alone brave rough seas on a small leisure craft.

There can’t be many women who haven’t dreamed of a Pretty Woman moment - you know, the closing scene when Richard Gere turns up on a white stallion to claim Julia Roberts.

But only about 0.000000001 per cent of us will ever get it, even on Valentine’s Day.

This is the day when couples half-heartedly make an effort and treat each other to flowers or cuddly toys, or consume meals in crowded restaurants plugging menus for lovers.

It’s rarely satisfying. Even by candlelight, you are not going to turn into Julia Roberts and he won’t magically appear as Richard Gere.

It’s a day when we try to be something we are not, when what we should be doing is appreciating each other for the normal, bog standard people we are, with all our foibles and imperfections.

The good news is that since coronavirus struck, more of us are coming to realise that. Half of people will not celebrate Valentine’s Day this year as the pandemic has led to a shift in values, a survey found.

The challenges of the past year have made many of those in relationships rethink how often they show their partner appreciation. They now believe that it is not bunches of red roses or fluffy toys but everyday acts of love that matter.

One in ten said they now realise just how much money they have wasted on February 14 in the past.

Rachael Lloyd, of dating site eharmony, which ran the survey, said: “It might seem sad that half of British adults will not be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, but there’s also a sense of liberation with many realising it’s the everyday acts of love which truly count.

“Lots of couples realised the importance of showing each other appreciation more often.”

Three cheers for that. My distinctly unromantic husband and I never mark Valentine’s Day, but, like many couples, particularly those who have been together for many years, we tend to take each other for granted and could both do with appreciating each other a bit more.

Saying thank you for that cup of tea, helping each other with household tasks and asking how each other is feeling - little things like that can give you a lift, albeit a small one.

Such small gestures can brighten your day and improve your relationship.

It’s just that a little bit of consideration would make people feel like significant, rather than insignificant, others. We don’t need flowers or chocolates - just knowing someone cares is enough.

It is time we all made each other feel valued. We’ve all been through a lot over the past year, and life continues to be tough, so let’s make Valentine’s Day the start of a new chapter and show a bit of mutual appreciation - not just on Sunday but every day.

As for white stallions - I reckon I can manage manage without them. If I’m honest I wouldn’t be at all thrilled were my husband to turn up at the house with a horse. I’m much more a cat person.

And when you think about it, jet ski man isn’t perfect by any means. He was clearly highly irresponsible in what he did, and he paid the price with a jail sentence.