Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday's spotlight - Adventures with a REAL Christmas tree.

By guest blogger Pete.

We decided some time ago - that's, by the way, the "royal WE", the decision being Pam's - that this year we would have a real Christmas tree to go out into the conservatory. Mary, Fin and the two boys are spending Christmas with us this year - great! - and it was thought that the conservatory would make a good quiet room - if you can get into it - and so it was thought that a Christmas tree - real one, of course - would be ideal.

Asda, an offshoot of Wallmart, were selling Christmas trees - real ones too. I discovered this because I quite fancy the "Rizza" coffee that this departmental branch of Asda serves. To be perfectly honest with you I like this coffee so much that whenever I go to get a mug of it whatever assistant is on duty knows, with out any prompting from me, that it's "Regular Black Americano". An added bonus is that after five mugs you get the sixth free. But, I digress.

These particular REAL Christmas trees were being sold ready potted - a distinct advantage. They were advertised as having roots (real roots, of course,) but also added a rider on the notice stating that it was doubtful if these trees would last more than the one Christmas even if planted out. Being an extremely trusting sort of person (something to do with the day job, I think) I took this to mean that Asda were covering their own backs and didn't want lots of folk coming back next year complaining because their real Christmas tree, even though planted out, hadn't survived.

So, in a state of shock when I discover the price was £18 for a three foot REAL tree, I paid my money thinking A) I'll plant this out in the garden after Christmas and I won't have to pay out another £18 (or more) when next Christmas comes around and B) I won't have to go rummaging around in my very cold garage or equally cold shed looking for a pot to put this tree in.

Again, being so trusting, I supposed that Asda would, from time to time, have watered the tree. I don't know why I thought his because the pot was covered - nay, vacuum sealed - in a bright red festive plastic bag that Houdini would have had trouble either getting into or getting out of.

Eventually, I unsealed this bag and discovered: a) the much advertised plastic pot that the real tree was in was also split in four places and thus absolutely useless. Rummage here beginneth. b) We once lived for three years in the Namib Desert so believe me when I say that I know what dry means - at least I thought I did until I had undone that festive bag. I discovered a small supply "earth" surrounding the tap root and wasn't even sure if it was real earth!. It was surrounding that tap root rather than adhering to it. The only difference between this earth and the Namib's sand was the colour (in favour of the Namib sand), Thus our water rates will have shot up by another £18 or so. (Okay, I exaggerate. It will probably be nearer to £15 than £18). The tree has been re potted in a smart unsplit pot and rests in fresh earth and fertiliser. It's now a pampered real tree. We've left it outside and the abundant rain we've had seems to have agreed with it because it's doing quite well - for a real tree, that is!. Next week I'll try and remember to tell you what happened when we went looking for real lights for this real Christmas tree.

I think it was in October of this year that Pam and I went for a week's holiday in the Cotswolds. One day, during that holiday, we went to Bath. I visited the Abbey, where there was a wonderful display of needlework done by a local artist and dedicated to her nephew, Christopher. The only thing that spoiled the exhibition was the careless way in which many of the exhibits were hung. Some had been well stretched and others hadn't been stretched at all. I've included some photos this week, which will show you what I mean and also show something of this woman's skill.

Keep on looking after that artificial Christmas tree and don't fall for any potted real ones.

No comments: