December has finally come, and in keeping with the impatient traditions of the mediterranean side of the FTC family, the Christmas tree was bought, installed and decorated this weekend. Unusually for FTC, this particular event went remarkably smoothly.
Early on Saturday morning, Keith, Bill and I went to the local chicken centre (which doubles up as our firewood supplier and purveyor of fine quality Christmas Trees) and walked the long avenue of bushy pines looking for that perfect specimen to fill the lounge with Christmas cheer. Luckily for all concerned, there were only two varieties of tree to choose from and after much debate about branch spans and furniture arrangements, the purchase was made, netted, bundled into the back of the car with Bill and driven home.
Keith and I were both real tree virgins and as such, fell into the common trap known as “tree looks small in shop but suddenly becomes enormous when taken home”. We spent some time moving tree, dog, and furniture before settling on the corner by the hallway. It looked perfect there, the perfect width, perfect height (although Keith would argue we should have got a taller tree) and definitely the perfect smell. As do most people who have grown up in an age of pine scented cleaning fluids and flatpack furniture, I had a strong aversion to the idea of anything even tenuously related to the pine family, but it turns out the smell of these trees is as much like the odour of ‘pine scented’ as a McDonalds hamburger is to a cow. You can keep your Ousts and your Glade plug ins, the gentle wafts of a warm pine tree are what it takes to mask doggy whiffs and have you reaching for the mince pies (which we also did incidentally).
I will admit that both Keith and I were very worried about the likely outcome of Harry Vs Christmas Tree and the smart money wasn’t on the tree. We decided to let him roam free in the lounge while we were decorating to see whether we would need to draw shifts to man the lounge round the clock with a cattle prod …. Turns out, we underestimated our bagle.
I unwrapped the first bauble and placed it gently on the lower branches, sitting back slightly to let Harry make his move. He wandered over sedately, eyebrows raised, nose twitching and a collective breath was held. His nose made contact with the bauble and SPROING!! The branch bounced away from him. YAY!!! thought Harry, a new fun toy all of my own, and proceeded to spend the next few minutes bouncing the unfortunate bauble by batting it gently with his nose. And that was it. There was no attempt to pee up the trunk, no superman style launch into the branches, not even a hint of teeth!! After a gently sigh, he turned away and resumed his place a few feet behind me to oversee the decoration from a distance.
Decorate I did, apart from a brief interlude to hold the dog when Keith showed an uncanny resemblance to a snake with an egg. I had no idea that baubles could implode with such ferocity.
So here we have it, the first Christmas tree of FTC, along with the hound who, as you can see, is proudly guarding his mum’s handiwork. I suppose there are worse things you could find under the tree.