Monday, 8 December 2008

Christmas trees

We started our Christmas properly this weekend by selecting our Christmas tree. It's a technical business, mostly because we have limited space in our living room in which to locate a tree. We are aspiring to live in a house with a massive hallway so we can have a 20 foot tree around which rosy cheeked villagers can gather and sing carols whilst I smile and laugh and hand out homemade mince pies and Andy smiles and laughs because he's been drinking all the punch, but until that time careful measurement is called for if we are to avoid blocking our view of all the Christmas repeats on the telly AGAIN this year.

Basically, we aim for something about four feet high, as it will stand on the coffee table thus rendering it 6 feet high and it can be no wider in diameter than the length of my leg from hip to toe when I raise it at a right angle to my body (my leg, not the tree or the coffee table). Assessment of each tree goes like this: Andy holds up tree for height. If it passes height test then we look for pouffiness; tree must be bushy and round with no ridiculous single spike sticking up too high at the top. The spike must be about 10 inches long because our Christmas tree fairy is Gonzo the Muppet, a soft toy for which I made a tutu, wings and wand for two years ago. Then, with Andy still holding tree and getting a rash from the sap, I lift my leg to aforesaid right angle and providing the width of the tree falls somewhere around my ankle, then we know it will fit in the gap between the telly and the bookcase.

Last year we got our tree after dark so I was able to leg measure in relative anonymity. This year it was sunny broad daylight but hey, I'm a year older and I think that once you've had a couple of babies, all modesty flies out of the window and if people want to stare and comment at me hopping like a loon amongst the Christmas trees, they can. I don't care. Andy whistles and looks the other way pretending he doesn't know me.

We brought the tree home and put it in the greenhouse to dry off. The chickens, who have been using the greenhouse as a spa for dustbathing, immediately leap on it. 'What's this then?' they want to know. 'Can we eat it?' A lot of crazy beak action ensues so they are at once escorted from the greenhouse. We've seen what they can do to a tomato plant in under two minutes and there's no way they are going to be allowed to massacre our tree.

'It's a Christmas tree,' I explain. 'In about a week we'll take it into the house and decorate it with baubles, tinsel and lights and it'll look lovely and magical.'

The hens look at each other. 'The stupidity of the human species never ceases to amaze me,' says Miggins (who is one year old on Wednesday and therefore thinks she knows it all.) 'Clearly the best thing to do with anything green is eat it.'

'Unless it's a Brussell sprout,' says Pumphrey.

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