I find I have absolutely no new photos on my camera, so I am cheating with some preloved images so that I can come and wish you all the seasonal stuff.
And also so that I can tell you about my Christmas tree, as has become our annual tradition. You may recall the year we had one that was so fat that the middle boy and I couldn't see the television and had to sit outside of the circle being sarcastic for the whole festive season. Then there was the year I bought a tiny real tree with the idea of bringing it inside every year, except that all the needles fell off in February, probably after the trauma of going from ideal growing conditions (garden centre) to Above the River Towers and then outside. And the year I inherited an artificial tree which I believed would solve all of my problems, being eco-friendly and reusable ad infinitum, until I got it out of the box and it turned out to be 18 inches tall and could only handle ten baubles.
This year, I had a genius idea. A festive stepladder! Yes. You can see them on the interwebs and they are very nice indeed, people make a lovely job of them. And in the spring you can hang handmade quilts and Welsh wool blankets on them, and in the summer you can prop them against an apple tree and it all looks marvellous. I had no sooner had the idea pop into my head than I was on Ebay sourcing one. The idea is you festoon it with baubles or greenery or tinsel or whatever you have to hand and it all looks beautiful.
In a stroke of luck, I found one almost immediately, only a half hour's drive away. It looked nice and vintage and was attractively photographed in the street from quite a distance. Which should have set a small alarm bell ringing, but didn't, because I was caught up in the fast excitement and brilliance of my idea. I measured the car to make sure it would fit, then before you know it I was back on Ebay and it was bought. From idea to execution couldn't have been more than twenty minutes.
This was the point at which I measured the height of the living room. Yes, indeed, I should probably have done that before I bought it. And the strange thing was, the stepladder was actually taller than room. What are the odds? I was still fairly hopeful that once it was opened out it would fit in nicely. Have you ever done one of those personality test things? My leading strength is optimism, which is probably just as well. So off I went to collect it.
Oh my. It is HUGE. The stepladder of a giant. Unlike anything I have ever seen before. And I suddenly understood why it had been photographed in the street from a distance. As well as being really tall, it is also really wide. It just about fitted in the car, although some mirrors and windows were temporarily obscured.
I got the middle boy to help me into the house with it when I got home, as he is the calmest and least prone to providing unsolicited advice. Plus, I feel this sort of thing is pretty much what he expects from me most of the time, so he just takes a slightly deeper breath than normal and gets on with things.
We eventually worked out how to get it in the living room door. It turns out that even with both legs as wide apart as they will go, the ceiling is too low for it to fit. So we propped it, closed, against the wall. I then spent a week thinking. Should I admit defeat and try to sell it? Put it in the garage along with all of my other brilliant ideas? By the time a week had passed, we were all used to it, despite the fact that it takes up quite a chunk of space. So I decided to decorate it.
The Christmas decorations live in a very tricky-to-access spot in the converted loft, so there was quite a bit of cross, sweaty shifting of giant cricket bags to get to the cupboard. And even more cross sweaty stuff when I couldn't find the lights. Honestly, it never looks like that in the adverts, some poor woman stuck in the corner of what could be mistaken for a junk shop, falling over as she tries to get out, hair all dragged the wrong way and baubles falling out of a damp box. No, on the television it is all smiles and shiny bouncy hair being tossed around as the family all gather together in festive bliss.
The middle boy helped some more by suggesting the right placement for the lights (trickier than you would imagine on a festive stepladder) and admiring some of the more minimalist decorations, including a pipe cleaner arrangement with a small silver bauble stuck on top and an old bean tin with holes punched in it that I believe is FC. The fairy is jammed against the ceiling and the slight roughness of the stepladder, the authenticness one might say, has dragged some of the feather boa effect off of some of the angels, but from a distance you can hardly tell.
Anyway, it is all done now and no-one has dared to say anything too direct about it, although there have been one or two comments about the fact that it has CONTRACTOR stamped across the front a couple of times in giant letters. I have not quite worked out where it will go for the rest of the year, given its size and the fact that the garage is, as aforementioned, already full up with some of my previous brilliant ideas. But in the meantime, I have NO PINE NEEDLES so I am calling it a win. I will try and take a photo in daylight. I did try just now, but everything was orange and I feel you wouldn't be seeing it in its best light.
I hope all is well at your end and that you are all prepared for some nice days. I have somehow ended up with an insane amount of parsnips, but otherwise everything is going to plan. So far. Except obviously the festive stepladder. Have a lovely day, and I shall see you on the other side. CJ xx