Saturday, 15 December 2012

Advent Day 15

I am afraid. Very afraid. For the content of today's Advent Box is predetermined, it being the Saturday before the Saturday before Christmas Day, which chez the Manor means...

'Deck the Halls With Strings of Fairy Lights...Falalalalalala!'

'They're all in a tangle,' I say, inspecting the contents of the box.
'Of course,' says Primrose. 'It's tradition.'

Around 3 thousand fairy lights stare up at me. They are laughing at me, because although it looks like they are all attached to the same string of cable, there are, in fact, seven different sets of lights therein. And although every year I pack these seven strings of fairy lights away carefully to ensure ease of unravel next year, somehow, whilst sitting in the loft, quietly and inert, they manage to ravel themselves into the kind of tangle generated when you put five kittens in a bag with a half knitted jumper.

Primrose can sense my nervous reticence. 'Come on,' she says. 'You have to get in there and sort the blighters out, or the Halls will not be decked.'

She's right, of course. The tree is waiting to be decorated, Pandora Kitten is poised on the back of the sofa ready to steal the first jingle bell of the season, and jingle bells are the last thing to go onto the tree after tinsel, silver beads, stars, the owl, the snowman, but only just before Gonzo the Christmas Fairy.

Lights have to go on the tree first.

'Where's Daisy?' I say.
'Looking after the Christmas duckling,' says Primrose. 'It had a bit of a traumatic experience with an ocelot. Apparently.'
'Oh, stop it,' I say.

I can see I am going to have to deal with the annual fairy light detangle myself.

Firstly , I find all the plugs, and plug them into a socket to see if all the sets still work. I allow myself a vague hope that one or two of them won't, and then I can just set about them with a pair of scissors and hack out the dead strings, thus saving me, oh, around 20 minutes of detangle time. However, all seven strings are in remarkably good form.

'Why have we got so many sets?' I say.
'Because,' says Primrose, who has set up a deckchair and poured herself a Tequila Sunrise in order to enjoy the entertainment in comfort, 'every year you think you haven't got enough lights or that the previous year's set MUST be dead, so you get another set.'
'I am an idiot,' I say.

I am in full unravel mode now, frowning and muttering, and cursing and gradually spreading out seven strings of lights across the floor like the tentacle of a seven legged octopus. A septopus. Another puss, Pandora Kitten, is almost bursting with excitement because she has heard the sound of jingle bells in the distance and to her that means Christmas has arrived.

'We only need three sets,' I grumble. 'One for the tree, one for the bannister rail, and one for outside.'

But, as always, the aggravation is worth the end result. Fairy lights are so pretty. The tree ends up with a treat of two sets, the bannister rail is wound around with the long set, the outside set (which, it transpires, are not a 'suitable for outside use' set but hey, they've been used outside for the past three years without any bother) are draped around the weatherboard of the extension, which leaves me three more sets to twirl and twine around other bits of the house tomorrow when I've got my energy back.

Tree up, wreaths and garlands draped, dangle bits dangling, pictures and mirrors tinselled...

...Much Malarkey Manor is decked for Christmas, and is sparkling like fairy dust in the dark!


Eileen said...

Once the lights are up, it's so worth the work. But I'm with you, there must be a fairy or some evil plot afoot in the box the rest of year. So since I have a artificial tree I leave the lights on the tree all year. There are 3 small sets, once each for the three sections of the tree.
I know...totally lazy!

Denise said...

Sounds infinitely sensible to me, Eileen.

Festive greetings to you from a twinkly lighted Much Malarkey Manor!