One of the reasons I get quite grumpy around this time of year is that I have to deal with siting the annual Christmas tree. We’ve had so many live ones in, over the years, that there’s no more room in the garden to plant any more! So this year, with great reluctance, I agreed to get a sawed-off one, as large as possible our adult children pleaded, but I did not fancy the endless effort involved in getting the thing upright and stable in the living room.
Usually I look around for a large bucket, fill it with stones from the dry stone walls, add a bit of water and wedge the reluctant trunk into the last available gap. That’s great until either the bucket leaks, or somebody brushes too close to it and it topples over, sending water and decorations all over the carpet. This year was different.
We dropped into the friendly garden centre right near to the waste recycling centre, where we usually go, and chose the right tree for the festive season. It was not light but I managed to hoist it on my shoulder over to the netting cone where the manager wrapped it up tight. On the way out we spied an assortment of stands. ‘What’s this stick-like thing?’ I asked. The effusive reply was quick and clearly heartfelt. ‘It’s a new invention, you wouldn’t believe how sturdy it is!’
He lifted the tree and popped it in between the four sticks, where it stood stolidly, with not a hint of tremor. We were impressed, and the opened tree standing straight and tall, its fragrant branches spreading out, now graces our living room, ready for family decorating with mince pies, a glass or two of sherry, and doubtless some Christmas music for additional ambience.
And I, having no cause to be grumpy, have been busy getting the hot tub ready for a nice long soak under the stars, as the big thaw commences all around us. There’s a distinct possibility that the snow will return for the Christmas celebrations, and it might well be a very chilly New Year’s Eve, when we’ll probably be found having a riotous soak again, watching the neighbour’s fireworks, and cheering them on from across the valley.
Sometimes things do work out rather well; the twinkling lights that have been festooned around one of our previous year’s live trees have survived the year! Bring on the festive cheer!
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