DO YOU ever wake up in a cold sweat, writes Councillor Alistair McNair. That meeting you should be at. The unanswered email. It’s not the wife’s birthday, is it? It would be better if we just didn’t go to bed at all.

I do occasionally forget things. Not on the Joe Biden scale of things I might add. I haven’t mistaken Cllr Bella Sankey for Phelim Mac Cafferty yet. Recently I suddenly remembered I had a meeting with a headteacher – six hours after the meeting would have been over. How can you be late to a meeting with a headteacher of all people? Well, I spent my childhood being late to school. Some things don’t change. Sleeping in remains my biggest fear. I buy mobile phones based on the quality of their alarm clocks.

You’ve actually caught me in the middle of writing a Valentine card to my wife. But it’s not what you think. I didn’t forget. Did you?

But what to write? I stupidly bought a card without words. “All I need in life is you – and wi-fi.” Or how about “I love that you’re my emergency contact”? I’ve been going to too many tree-planting events. What about “sending you 100 per cent organic love, Valentine! Locally sourced kisses to follow”? OMG – I’m turning Green.

I’ve been lucky this week though - doubly. First, my wife went back to Ukraine on Wednesday for a start so no forking out for flowers. Supermarket flowers – around the £10 mark – are limp and lacking fragrance, the most important thing. And what’s with the plastic wrapping with the price glued on? I can never scrape it off. Ukraine takes Valentine’s Day, and every celebration, very seriously. They’re quite a serious people unless they’ve decided to party, which they do seriously. And they take flowers very seriously. Every underground passageway – Kyiv is the Venice of underground passageways – wafts with the smell of bucket loads of bulging bouquets 24 hours a day. Flowers must be odd in number, and don’t buy yellow – you’ll break up. And you must never ever forget to buy them. I did that once, and I still remember the scene. “The boat has sailed” she muttered as in my stupidity I offered to quickly buy a bunch. Zhenya, wherever you are, thanks for the lesson.

Who on earth organises the calendar? Lent starting on Valentine’s Day? Why else do I buy chocolates if they’re not for me. But – piece of luck number two - the wife being away also means Lent can be postponed. Of course, she’ll phone me - yes yes, of course I’m cutting back. No bread or wine or peanuts or biscuits or pasta or pizza. Any residents out there I might be visiting in the next few days, I won’t have to refuse the odd chocolate digestive or glass of wine. They are essential aspects of the job. And I don’t drive, which in these situations is a plus.

Lucky I’ve still got a few days to get the message right. It’s a bit like the budget. Both, in a way, are letters of love, but both are giving us nightmares.

Darling, what would you like for Valentine’s? A necklace? Perfume? A T-junction or money for youth services? You could have youth services and community grants for the price of the aquarium T-junction.

How about money for violence against women and girls’ services?

Perhaps your hubby would like a bowls membership? Better be quick – the pitches might be flogged.

What about a cycle hangar, love? They’re costing £12,5000 next year for maintenance. Or does that rank with buying a toaster?

Criticise the government you can, but councillors cost us money too. And it’s funny how they can be as forgetful as Biden. Who has been running the council since 2010? Either Green or Labour or both. You would never know from their speeches.

Here are some Valentine messages you can write to your councillors. Show them some love. I’m trying to get these messages to rhyme but they sound like a lament.

One. Roses are red, violets are blue, light touch parking fees are going up by 25 per cent and I love you (but not your car).

Two. Roses are red, violets are blue, Labour in-sourced housing repairs to the tune of £10 million – they had no clue.

Three. Roses are red, violets are blue, although a mess was made of home to school transport, Labour might cut this anew.

Four. Roses are red, violets are blue, I said in my budget speech last year £33 million had been wasted - it was true.

Like a lazy lover, Labour forgot to buy the city red roses despite having plenty of time to call Interflora. Now they’ll try to woo community groups with daisies. Don’t be too thankful.

Alistair McNair is leader of the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council