In the 14 years that I’ve owned the place, I’ve never spent Christmas day at the barn before; I’ve abandoned my nearest and dearest at the crack of dawn on Boxing Day and driven the 500 or so miles ‘up the road’; I’ve even had a couple of norman-no-mates New Year’s Eves up there too, putting up plasterboard while everyone else is letting off the party poppers and guzzling the champagne.
But never Christmas Day. So this year is a first. And it will be a first in a couple of ways:
- I’m going to have to cook a Christmas dinner on the Aga
- I’m going to have to put some Christmas decorations up
Well for the first point, at least now I’ve got my nice shiny new fridge freezer installed, so I’ve been able to do the necessary Christmas food shop and make sure I’ve got a turkey in. And I’ve got good old Mary B’s Christmas bible for how to cook it on the Aga. So what could possible go wrong? (And let’s face it, if all else fails, at least there’s plenty of ice on demand for the G&T!)
So that just leaves the decorations – starting with a Christmas tree.
Somewhere in the 196 boxes that were brought back on a shipment from India, there is an artificial tree. But a) I’m not entirely sure where it is now, and b) with my nice big high ceilings I want something a bit more impressive.
Well that shouldn’t be a problem. About half an acre of my land is covered in Christmas trees. Nothing simpler – all I need is an axe…. How hard can that be?
Well in the 14 years I’ve owned the place, I have to confess I’ve never been in to my forest. But there’s bound to be a tree in there somewhere that would look a whole lot better for a bit of tinsel and a few fairy lights.
So I’d tentatively picked out a couple of trees I could see from inside the house, put my wellies on, and gone out to explore. Hmmm…
The first one I’d identified:
It looked like it might do , until I got up close – it was actually about 25ft tall. Clearly my whole spatial awareness thing doesn’t work on fir trees – from inside the house, to me it had only looked about 10ft tall.
I know I’ve got high ceilings, but somehow I don’t think that’s going to work.
So I explored a couple more options: These ones don’t look quite so tall.
But I thought there were three trees here; in fact there were only two – both about 10ft wide – I might get it in the doors, but I could see it doing a bit of damage to the piano if I tried dragging it through the music room, so that’s not going to work either…
In the whole half acre, they were all either too tall, too wide or looked too bedraggled to survive being cut down and dragged indoors for a couple of weeks.
So I’ll have to fall back on the artificial one. I eventually hunted it down in the cupboard under the stairs in the library, fortunately together with a large box of tinsels.
At 6’6″ it’s a respectable height in the average house. It just looks a little bit lost in a room where the ceilings are 5 metres high!
Well that’s it. Decorating the tree is the last bit of DIY for this year – time to hang up the hard hat for the festive period.