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The Truth Serum

This is a variety that I have not tried before, but the label spoke to my festive spirit (that lies beneath). I managed to rehome a small Christmas tree this afternoon. It is in a red tub. The last time I had a small Christmas tree in a red tub I lived on the eighth floor of a tower block in Hackney. For good or ill, there’s been a lot of gin under the bridge since then.

The Sipsmith

The Sipsmith

The Great Christmas Tree Stand Off

The kids are now 8 and 6 and have always been guided in the need for a real tree at Christmas by me. Now there is a mole in the camp and they are *whispers* demanding an artificial one.


I wouldn’t need much excuse to cancel Christmas being a bit of bah humbug anyway, but the only thing I do look forward to is fisticuffs in the garden centre 48 hours before the event over the last real tree. Then I especially like all the difficulty in transporting the 6 foot fir home and I relish the festive moaning about the pine needles dropped in the car and in the house.

This morning the children (who had clearly been counter-briefed at some point this week) made the following accusations about a real tree:

There is no room (there is loads)
They would not be able to feed the fish without spiking their bums (they don’t feed the fish I do and I am hard)
The dog might pee on it (well he might)
It would drop needles everywhere (that’s the point)
It is always too big???

Apart from the fact it is way too early to think about Christmas, or trees or suchlike I am clearly going to have to consider my position. Added to the rearguard action from the kids, I heard a programme on the radio this week that suggested that many of the real trees we have at Christmas are propagated from cones collected in Georgia where people are working 60ft up in trees, with no safety equipment and for little pay. Now I am going to have to think about that issue too.

Last year I bought a modestly sized real tree with roots and put it back out in the garden on the Epiphany (another source of dispute) for the dog to pee on. Someone, during the course of the year, decided it was proper dead (it was not) and cut it up and burned it, presumably to make double sure I couldn’t drag it back in this year. If that hadn’t have happened I wouldn’t be here now writing this rubbish and wrestling with my conscience about Georgian fir cone pickers.

Damn and blast bloody Christmas.

The Great Christmas Tree Hunt

Firstly I apologise to anyone who ever comes here looking for hot tips or intelligent comment. Since it snowed my brain stopped working. I have had a little think about the King George, but surely only Satan (curiously an anagram of Santa) himself would stand in the way of history. Or this snow and ice I suppose.

So sorry, but any blogging activity this week will be of the deeply self-indulgent kind and of zero interest to most. However just before I start all that I would just like to congratulate my good friend, Joseph Isherwood, who has bagged his own regular blog at the Racing Post about learning to ride (inside job given he works there). We met when he worked at the local bookies as a student and we have been friends ever since, notwithstanding that I am old enough to be his mother. In fact, when we have been on the Rowley Mile and he was wearing jeans I was instructed to tell the premier enclosure guards just that! Then there was the time he turned up at the July course with his badminton racquet and we had to hunt for it with various officials after the July Cup. We share the same birthday eighteen years apart and it is good to know someone who has the same mad enthusiasm for things that I do…

I am not sure where Joe stands on Christmas trees but I am in the buy it at the last minute camp. I also can’t stand artificial ones, except perhaps in supporting roles. The year we had an artificial one at home when I was young stands out in my mind. The horror of it. Does this make me a Christmas tree snob? There is always a strong rear guard action against a real one here, although that may be a ruse to make sure that I am the one tasked with sourcing one and dragging it home. Last year I ended up with two 6 footers by Christmas Eve – my own and a homeless one.

Anyway, here is this year’s version. A twenty quid rooted job in a pot that Cassia and I risked life and limb to get on Sunday. There wasn’t a lot of choice, but more than last year where I nearly had to a fight a duel over the last Christmas tree in Essex in the garden Centre car-park. I think this is the earliest I have ever put one up, left to my own childless devices I would leave it until Eve as the kids say. After all you don’t want to be sick of the sight of it and knee deep in needles by Christmas Day…