Hi maties. I'll dive straight into today's subject. Christmas trees. Specifically the Pout Manor tree.
We usually buy a large tree but this year we (rashly) decided to try a little one in a tub, one that we can plant out after Christmas. And hopefully dig up year after year - I did tell you I was tight, eh?!!
But as soon as the tree arrived I knew it was, well, not The One. It was small. And maybe it is really all about size with Christmas trees.
I remember one year as a child when money must have been exceptionally tight because we had no tree. Then on Christmas Eve, Dad went out and cut a branch from a very large fir tree. It was a very big branch and so it really was, in effect, a Christmas Tree. We decorated it and I loved it. Even that "tree" was large. Tree 2016 is not.
I have tried to love it with each day that it sat in its (little) pot on the patio. From Day 1 I wanted to rush out and buy a "proper" tree. But The Photographer told me to ignore my knee-jerk reaction, I just need to calm down. Give myself some time to love it. Live with it for this one year. If it doesn't work out, then next year we'll go big again. He offered to feed it Baby Bio.
We installed the tree indoors a few days ago. The Baby Bio hasn't worked. It's still small. Despite standing it on a little chest.
But I put my negative thoughts behind me and allowed it to be draped with lights in readiness for the ceremonial dressing of the tree the next day.
(And look, even its spin doctor has turned his back on it!).
Obviously it couldn't take the full complement of decorations I've collected over the years. So I made an executive decision. This year, the tree will be decorated with just the "kiddy" decorations.
A little helper came round to help me decorate it. It's been a little tradition we've had ever since I felt she could be trusted with delicate glass balls. She's become a deft and artistic
Co-Decorator of the Christmas Tree.
And so we piled on the decorations on to the (small) tree . It took all of 5 minutes :-).
Bird of Joy. I have three of these little birds with red, pink and blue patterned wings and beady eyes. They have to go on the tree, no matter what its size.
Some ten years ago I made more than 70 of these and sent them as Christmas cards. It was the work of many evenings (evenings, as I was working at the time). A recipient called it The Bird of Joy. She puts it on her tree each year. I hope at least some of the recipients have since kept theirs as tree decorations, for that was my hope.
It dawned on me as we decorated that, over the years, I have built up a definite bird theme. Without intending to. It must have been subliminally started by The Bird of Joy.
Some treasured decorations have been hand-made by friends, which I've received as gifts.
And a shoe. A girl has to have a token shoe hanging on her tree. This is Cinderella's glass slipper.
And so the tree was decorated. Lots of presents now sit around its base.
And it's still small.
Whilst my little helper and I decorated the tree, The Photographer was Building A Little Birdhouse in his Soul - well, out in the garden, actually, with another little helper. OK, that was all lyrical license, the birdhouse was already built; they were topping it up with seed and nuts and hanging a few feeders inside the pergola. His little helper is becoming very keen on nature.
The weather is very mild and sunny at the moment. Expect all that to change on Wednesday. Gales forecast. Batten down the hatches. Or at least the garden furniture. And the bird table.
So, (small) tree, decorated. Birds, fed. Now what about me?
When shopping for tinsel at the nearby garden centre, we treated ourselves to lunch.
And then we checked out the ice rink set up in the centre.
No, that figure is not me. There is no shot of The Pout skating expertly on the rink. Ain't gonna happen. My first (and probably only) attempt at skating was at The Rockerfeller Centre in New York, a Christmastime family holiday some years ago. V. embarrassing story. I think I'd have more success keeping upright in the (small) tree's glass slipper than I would on a pair of skates!
A la perchoine.