Monday 10 December 2012

Beginning to Look

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. We are behind the curve a bit locally, as the McG's down the road already have their tree displayed in the front bay of their house, all twinkly multi coloured lights and tinsel, clearly visible from the road. Our problem is that we can't find any for sale. Unlike Kent where very garden centre, every farm entrance and everything even vaguely like a craft market or boot sale had trees by the dozen from late November and the verges seemed to be littered with roughly made cardboard notices saying "XMAS TREE'S!" (or some such apostrophe'd up grocer-speak) we had seen not a whisper. Even the guy running the Christmas wreaths, yule logs and table centre-pieces stand in Balla-D market "didn't bother with them any more" and didn't know where you could get one. I asked in a variety of shops. No joy.

Fortunately we subscribe to the news-feed in Facebook from ace local (half hour away) garden centre Ardcarne and they were suddenly advertising them "From €29!"). That was our Saturday morning sorted. Admittedly we were a bit horrified by the prices - needless to say the €29 ones were all the threadbare, thin, short and damaged ones. These were all the newer, more fashionable 'Noble Fir' which apparently sheds its needles less, rather than the Norway Spruce we always bought in UK and seemed to be around €55 for a 6 footer.

We baulked and went to look at artificial ones thinking they might be cheaper in the long run. Indeed they might in the VERY long run. Anything at all realistic and large was €169 up, and often €299 up. Yoiks. We bit the bullet and got us a real one. We needed a decent tree to go in our Living Room bay and be tall enough to be visible from the rather high-silled window from outside.

Trees round here are subject to 'style police' rules. Amusingly, given that Christmas tends to be about overstatement, garish, tat-ness and lairy colour, the Style Police here dictate that the tree must be mainly silver with a bit of red and only tiny amounts of other colours. Tinsel is silver, the lights are clear rather than multi-coloured and baubles are 99% silver. A few red ones are allowed if they were gifts. Toys of course can be any colour but end up mainly red.

We do have stuff of other colours but this gets used up in other rooms, so gold tinsel, for example, goes round pictures in the Dining Room or the stairs balustrade. The small strand of old multi-coloured lights, which pre-date the style police, get draped round book shelves. We also work a system where we try to each buy a Christmas Tree decoration for each other each year and welcome any gifts there-of, so we love this year's heart shaped 'stuffed toy' decs from Mazy Lou. Thank you Mazy!

We think it looks nice. We were worried that the pups and kittens would wreak havoc, pulling over the tree and so on but so far the only damage sustained was to the feather boa you can see at the base of the tree in the pics (shredded by pups), the tinsel round the picture pulled down by a kitten (and this is above the hot range!), and a dangly bauble-on-string-of-gold-pearls disentangled from the stairs and chucked on ground. The kittens do not seem to be able to resist the slithery, pearl-over-pearl rattly movements of this as they attempt to grab it and can't quite grip it. Hours of fun. Luckily it is a cheap old thing with the plastic 'pearls' welded to the string, so there's no danger of a string-breaks, pearls rolling around like marbles style accident.

Merry Christmas.

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