Monday, 17 December 2007

Joys of the Season

Yesterday we finally succumbed to juvenile pressure and put up the Christmas tree.

The tree in question is one got last year from a farm where you go and wander round a conifer forest the size of Scotland, choose the tree you want and dig it up. In theory this sounded wonderfully wholesome and festive, but the cracks soon began to show: five people tramping around a forest in the freezing cold, trying to agree on one tree out of thousands was not a recipe for family harmony. If anyone reading this ever finds themselves embarking upon a similar epic quest, please take this advice: Just don't.

Anyway, several hours, three cases of hypothermia, one broken spade and a pending divorce later we finally got The Beast home and realised that a tree that looks small in a forest full of towering pines is actually GINORMOUS once placed in an average sized, low-ceilinged sitting room. (Every year I slip into complete and happy denial about the modest proportions of our house, and confidently select a tree clearly only suitable for the drawing room at Sandringham) However, after a bit of strategic pruning (and a glass or two of sherry) it didn't look too bad.

So, after Christmas-- with the trauma still fresh in our minds-- we carefully planted the tree at the far end of the garden, where Muffin the rabbit made it his Campaign Headquarters and Centre of Operations for launching vicious ambushes on Ruby the airhead cat. We hardly expected it to survive, but amazingly it did, and this year I approached the whole Tree Issue in the smug knowledge that ours was ready to pluck from the soil right on the doorstep in a simple and trauma-free operation taking probably five minutes tops.

Ha ha.

It soon became apparent that tree had not only survived, but positively thrived, establishing a vast and vigorous root system that spread beneath half the garden. Venturing out about two hours after my husband had just 'nipped out' to get it, I found him knee deep in a huge crater that used to be the lawn, the tree listing at a drunken angle as he hacked through the last roots with a giant and sinister looking axe. It took two of us another hour to manhandle it into the house, where we discovered that the previously Sandringham-sized Christmas tree is now of Trafalgar Square proportions.

This morning have returned from the school run to find Muffin the rabbit exposed and shivering in the bottom of the crater, an expression of extreme indignation on his face. Can't help but sympathise. I think it would have been better left where it was, too.


Kate Hewitt said...

Every year around this time I think to myself, WHY do people bring trees into their houses? I mean, really. Why? Did you cut down your tree last year? I didn't think those could be replanted! (Betraying my ignorance either way here). Anyway, bravo for getting through it. We had to decorate on Nov 30 this year because of a Christmas party on Dec 1. Ack.


p.s. did you get your ms sent off all right?

India said...

That is SUCH a good question Kate. Why, why, WHY??? We didn't cut it down last year, but spent the best part of an afternoon excavating its root system, with the express purpose of planting it out in our garden and using it again and again for years to come. We just hadn't bargained on it growing....


Ms not sent off yet, but pressure is off and words are flowing. Hallelujah!!

Rachel said...

Poor old Muffin! Glad to hear you got it in eventually.

The garden centre option is a slightly warmer approach to the seasonal infantile nagfest but still fraught with danger. You start with the 'How much!' cry of pain from Finance Dept's wallet swiftly followed by 'if you think you're getting those 99p deco hooks as well...'
It's trunk was too fat to fit in last years tree holder stand (I'm not buying another one etc...)so him indoors spent and hour grunting away with a blunt saw, which incidentally he couldnt find due to the state of the dining room. (His fault for contributing to the rubbish in there too, I know.). Needless to say, one grumpy male slumped in front of the remaining sporting fixtures of the day.
I hope it's not too late to mention it, but don't forget to test the lights BEFORE you put on all the other stuff.
Just don't ask, pass the Croft Original...
lots of festive hugs,

Kate Hewitt said...

I'm so glad to hear the words are flowing. What a great feeling! (Speaking from a current drip-drip-drip situation) :)

Kate Hardy said...

Happy anniversary, India. :o)

India said...

Rach-- been there too. I find that a man wielding a sharp instrument and wearing a look of murderous rage contributes so much to the festive family atmosphere, don't you?!

Lights were working fine, until today, when one of the 14 sets required blew a fuse. Of course.

Kate H (arrgghh! You're both Kate H!) don't knock the drip-drip-drip! As long as you have plenty of time, dripping is GREAT!!

Kate H 2-- thank you! (And I'm so sorry the anniversary is such a sad one for you, honey. Hugs. xxx)

Jan Jones said...

Hi India,

We did the use-last-year's tree bit for many years until it got so frankly old and ill and oh-God-you're-not-going-to-dig-me-up-again that the only humane place for it was the bonfire.

Trust me, it is SO much easier buying a cut one from the local tree shop.

PS - one year, we planted it in its tub, thinking that'd slow the roots down. Wrong. I had to make an emergency trip to Homebase to find a new tub to replace the comprehensively root-cracked old one. For the price of it, I could have bought a new tree.

Anonymous said...

Really, I'm laughing with you. Promise.

India said...

Jan-- NO! The bonfire is too cruel! Muffin would never get over the trauma.

We bought our cut ones from the same people every year. They have a farm in Anglesey and used to drive over to our little corner of Cheshire EVERY DAY in December with a fresh batch, and were really nice people.

Feel horribly disloyal now I've thought of them. The bonfire is looking more appealing now.

(And Brown, you just watch it. Because the thing is I'm NOT LAUGHING!!)