Saturday, 20 December 2008

The great Christmas tree caper

Today I went in search of a Christmas tree. On a trip to B&Q early in the week I saw some fine examples at just £10 but didn't have room in the car so decided to return today. Sadly the cupboard was bare, hundreds sold in just a few days. Fair enough, they were a great bargain. So to the garden centres I went. Lots of garden centres.

FatBigot Towers is a modest property with one fine quality, high ceilings. Not Buckingham Palace high although, at a touch under eleven feet, high by the standards of things generally. The great problem with trees is that they tend to get broader as they get taller and intrusion by branch can rather hamper festivities. A few years ago I discovered a particular type of tree for sale which benefited from height without excessive breadth and have managed to secure one of that type every Christmas since. It has stood in the bay window in the living room and provided a most suitable decorative adornment, providing seasonal pleasure both to those in the house and those lucky enough to pass by on the street. I can never remember the name, it's a something spruce but then most of them are, but I know it when I see it.

And that was today's difficulty. I couldn't see one anywhere. For anything between £50 and £80 I could have something suitably tall but too fat or suitably thin but too short. The same story was recounted everywhere "you're too late guv, we had a few but they went last week; I can do you a good price on a ..." by which time I was off and away to the next emporium more in hope than expectation. Over the length and breadth of north and east London I drove, no doubt causing the death of countless polar bears and a tribe of thin brown people in an African backwater. I was a man on a mission. There was a nice six-footer in Alexandra Palace at £75 and one of almost seven in Walthamstow for £60, experience proves such items to be less than satisfactory in the eyes of my regular Christmas guests, so eventually I gave up, determined to venture west and, if push came to shove, south tomorrow.

The return journey was spent in a state of muttering frustration until I happened upon a small and rather sad parade of shops in Stoke Newington. There, outside a modest general grocery store, stood a nine-foot nine beauty, their last remaining Christmas tree and, I knew at first glance, the answer to my prayers. It now stands in the window awaiting decoration and will be a splendid festive centrepiece.

And only twenty five quid.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Chez Wadsworth it's an artificial tree. Much less faff. It's the fairy lights that matter.

woman on a raft said...

Amongst the trees we have abandoned were two stinkers: the one with the lights which were supposed to twinkle in a fairy-tale fashion but turned out to be as much fun as having a 4-way junction of traffic lights in the corner and was capable of triggering migrane, if not epilepsy, and the other which pumped out a series of carols from a synthesiser chip. By Christmas eve I was ready to unwind the lights and hang myself from the banisters - and I was in good shape compared to the shop assistants in the Christmas centre. Their boss had put his 'Ho Ho Ho' talking mat in front of the automatic doors, where it had been chortling since Bonfire Night.
It was like the Disney version of Guantanamo in there - people close to cracking under the sustained assault from the Phil Spector wall of torture.

Charon QC said...

I found myself reading this Christmas tree post at 2.14 am on Sunday night/Monday morning. I happened to be finishing a piece of writing and had a good rioja to hand.

I am not celebtrating Christmas this year - out of choice. This is not a *Bah Humbug*thing - I just want to experience a degree of *liberation* - I shall write and drink, of course.

I don't need to buy a Christmas tree. I shall just enjoy the fact that I have read about yours. Excellent stuff. Raised a smile to read of your quest for tree perfection.

Happy Christmas, FBO..... we must try to shoehorn in a drink soon!

Anonymous said...

Well let's have a pic, Mr. Bigot!

TheFatBigot said...

We don't do pics, we find them rather vulgar (it has nothing to do with not knowing how).