I am writing this on the 12th December 2020 – the end of a very strange year, I am sure you will all agree. In normal times, I would be dressing the house ready for our annual festive wine tasting that has been held here for the last 25 years with the same 12 chums. It obviously involves tasting wine but also sampling each other’s tasty treats and, of course, singing carols around Bill’s lovely piano. I might add that I am completely tone deaf and have to get in a corner on my own so that I can sing without other members of the choir putting their fingers in their ears.
Today Bill is off to watch a real football match (with social distancing of course) and I am going to ‘sort Christmas’. We are lucky again this year and have our two offspring, wives and partners joining us for the holiday and I just cannot wait – this house really does lend itself to Christmas.
I do need to remember one important thing. I keep most of the tree decorations in an old camphor wood chest and I stand the tree on this to make it just the right height. Yes, you have guessed it, one year I had the tree up with the lights on and all the decorations were still in the box it was standing on!
In the past I have suggested that we could have a rather sophisticated tree with some sort of colour coordination. To say this has been met with derision is no exaggeration. My daughter Louise said, “Mother, I am not even going to mock you”. (She never calls me ‘Mother’ unless I am in trouble.) My son James immediately checked that the slightly tatty robin he bought from the fair at junior school was still in a position of honour.
On the subject of the robin, I must mention this. Last year Felix, our grandson, was asked to choose his favourite tree decoration in the local garden centre. He walked up and without hesitation choose a robin exactly the same as James’s version from years ago. James said he gulped and had to wipe an eye.
So down to work in the barn where Bill’s gorgeous piano rests between recitals. This was his retirement gift to himself and he plays it every day. I put the tree up in here and then decorate the shelves with real and pretend greenery, adding tiny white lights and some large glass baubles chosen for the task. Next it is the lounge where the oak mantelpiece is covered in greenery – and I hang all the stockings I have made over the years. A little tree goes in the big window and then it is off to the kitchen where more greenery is added on top of cupboards and above the Rayburn.
Tomorrow, if it has stopped raining, I will tackle the tiny white lights which go in the apple tree but I cannot quite face this today…