Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Venus in Fir ( a tale of two trees)

Each year around this time I am given a mission by the family to go out into the big wide world and hunt down the perfect christmas tree.  Each year I walk around nurseries and garden centres looking for the one that screams "pick me, pick me" and it generally takes about 2 hours of pushing and pulling, balancing trees against anything to make them stand up, noting form, branch distribution and symetry before I find the one that I want. 
It's hard when you are a former garden designer because you feel that you're on trial. 

The nurserymen all know you and scutinise your everymove - sometimes tutting sometimes offering a '50/50 shimmy' with their hands but never revealing anything.
I know it's all a conspiracy,
I know they have already found the perfect tree  and hidden it amongst the ugly conifers that you need to look at first before disregarding and carrying on your search.
This year was no different.

After 2 hours and 3 nurseries I found myself in Macclesfield Forest; freezing cold in the  and in almost complete darkness.

The day trippers had all gone home and there was just myself and 3 tree surgeons all watching me and wondering:

"Who's the small guy in the big wellies, messing about with their stock?".

Eventually I gave up and opted for that near perfect pine that almost "had it" but was missing a bit on top  ( a bit like myself).  It was no good, I didn't bond straight away with the pine which isn't a good sign but nevertheless I decided that I may as well take it.  On my way out another "punter" had joined in the game .

To my dismay, she went straight over to the pile pulled out the first tree she saw and stood it up.
As I looked at her and the tree, I could feel the envy and anger build up inside me.  What right did she have  to waltz into the yard and find the "perfect tree" so nonchelantly without having to suffer the self doubt and pine rash that I had developed over the afternoon.
Talk about "Venus in Fir",
It had form, symetry and branch distribution that you could only dream about.
A perfect height,
a perfect girth
I looked at her and tried to make eye contact, but to my surprise she wasn't at all interested in me at all

She was looking at my tree, learing at my tree, I could tell she wanted my tree...

"Did you find what you wanted?" I asked.

"Yeh but..... your tree is really nice, I dont suppose you want to swap?" she said hopefully.

It was like a game of poker, I didn't want to reveal my hand too soon so I stalled...trying to hide any emotion on my face...pretending to agonize over the decision. 

Should I raise the stakes and risk losing the tree, or should I just call her?

" You know what,  I will swap because its Christmas, and trees all look the same to me - I never know what the fuss is about", and with that I grabbed it and ran to the counter with it safely hoisted on my shoulders before she could change her mind.
In the eyes of my wife and daughter, I was elevated to hero status.  What a tree!!!

That evening was spent watching the girls slowly and carefully placing the designer ornaments in synchronised fashion whilst I opted to search Youtube for cheesy Christmas tunes to create the mood.

It was like the final minutes of all of those hollywood feel good movies that make you vomit - (to watch that is) but in real life it wasn't that bad.


Monday, 3 December 2012

Sometimes a picture really does paint a thousand words

A friend posted this on my Facebook page recently:
"Abi was talking this morning about what was real and what was imaginary. She was going through everything she could think of and categorising it, so gruffalo = imaginary, totoro = imaginary, jesus = imaginary, when it came to the Hairy Plug Monster though she decided he's real. I thought you'd like to know :) "
She obviously knows there's no such thing as the Gruffalo.
but don't take my word for it     Click here to find out for yourself
or for the equally brilliant Epub version Click here