Sunday, 27 December 2009

Tall tree syndrome.

Once more it was that time of year. That time when we all pretend it’s actually really great fun to go and march around a boggy field and look for the perfect tree. Tradition. Family time. Call it what you will. In reality the little ones find it too boring, Hubby too expensive and the teenagers are barely functional, having had to get up far too early. The teenage girl was this year even grumpier because she was self conscious of her ‘blokey wellies’ and so, terrified she’d see someone she knew, resolutely refused to look up, instead hiding her face in her hat and scarf so that she could barely see the trees, utterly defeating the object. This annoyed me intensely and the crosser I got with her the moodier she became. The youngest of all, who started out full of beans with Christmas joy, ran on ahead only to go flying in the sludge and thus have half a pound of wet, cold sticky mud up her cuff and sleeve. The two of them gave up at that point and withdrew to the brazier to toast marshmallows and chestnuts. It was freezing. Having left my lovely thermal socks at home in the dog’s mouth, I only had a pair of regular ones on and my tootsies were numb. None of us could agree on which tree was the one and tempers were becoming fraught. It was so dense in the middle of the forest that, to muddle a phrase, you couldn’t see the trees for the wood. The seven year old had forgotten her raison d’etre and was having more fun with the horn which was to be honked when the ideal tree was found. Once heard, a chap on a tractor would come and find you and cut down said tree.
“So, sorry, just our daughter fooling around again”, Hubby said apologetically, as the little John Dere approached us eagerly.
The driver was not impressed.
“Have you never heard of the boy who cried wolf?”, Hubby asked our daughter sharply.
“Are there wolves in these woods then?” she answered, eyes as big as saucers, “Would you leave me here to be torn limb from limb by a pack?”
Hubby rolled his eyes, “Maybe but that’s not the point I’m making here.”
“What is it then?”, she asked.
“My point is that when we find our tree, we will need to have it cut down and brought up to the car and the more you annoy these chaps by honking your horn indiscriminately, the less likely they are to come to help us when we really need them”.
“That story has nothing to do with a wolf at all dad”, she said walking away. Hubby looked at me, I just shrugged.
“Don’t get Aesop involved”, I said, “Not unless you know a fable regarding the recklessness of wearing inappropriate clothing and the consequent metamorphosis of digits to frozen chipolatas”. I hopped from foot to foot, blowing on my hands, suddenly our son hollered,
“How about this one?”
Because of the concentration of trees, it was difficult to judge if it was perfect but, as I’ve long given up on perfection and now embrace an ‘it’ll do’ attitude, I wasn’t going to argue. That said, when we all looked up to the sky, the tree in question did look particularly tall.
“It’ll be alright when it’s cut down” said Hubby optimistically.
“The one next to it looks good too”, I added.
“Are we really going to go for two trees this year Alice? They are such a pain to erect”.
“Daddy please” wailed the 7 year old, “Don’t ruin my childhood by breaking with tradition”.
Once more Hubby looked at me quizzically and once more I shrugged my shoulders,
“Blame Hannah Montana”, I said.
“Go on then”, Hubby instructed, “You can now legitimately honk your horn”. She did so and a couple of minutes later, the little John Dere came trundling, tentatively, across the track.
“It’s ok”, said Hubby smiling, “It’s legit. We’ve found our trees”. I left them to the sawing and loading and went in search of my other daughters, who I found cuddled around the brazier, the younger of the two absolutely covered in melted marshmallows. From her chin to her knees strings of it stuck to her like PVA glue.
“What on earth have you been up to?” I asked. My eldest daughter explained.
“She doesn’t like the toasted bit so she bites the end off and then dribbles it out of her mouth. It’s quite gross”. I made a futile dab at her person with a screwed up tissue I had in my pocket, but this only resulted in the tissue sticking to her face making her resemble a rather dubious Santa.
Seconds later our trees, my husband and two other children appeared. We lifted the trees from the trailer and attempted to put them on the roof of the car. This is the moment I knew that the day could only degenerate into profanity, pain and persistence.
As Hubby strapped one of the trees onto the car before coming back for the other later, one of the employees came up to him.
“Need any help? If not that’ll be £110 please”. Hubby audibly gasped before turning ashen, before glaring at me.
We drove home in silence where the rest of the day was spent attempting to find ways to get the trees not only into the house, but standing upright. Twice I’ve got up this week to find one of them on the floor, decorations scattered. After several efforts, a lot of swearing and many millions of pine needles piercing Hubby, it prompted the 7 year old to joke –
“You are like a ‘pine-cushion dad’”, it is now anchored to the radiator.
Which leaves me to breathe out a sigh of relief, raise a glass of Harvey’s Bristol Cream and wish you all a Merry Christmas x


jinksy said...

I should think that would be enough to make you head for the plastic look-alike next year! lol :)

Sally said...

Come to the Forest of Dean next year! £2 a foot from one of ESOS's farmer friends!!

Happy New YEar!!