Baubling…. Burbling and baubling.
One thousand, six hundred and seventy weeks ago today, while R and I were hanging lights on the first Christmas tree we’d ever owned, I felt the first twinges of what, a few hours later, would turn out to be labour pains. Which we laydees know, of course, we’re not supposed to refer to as ‘pains’ because of the negative connotation of that word, but should more positively describe as ‘contractions’. Though if anyone had seen fit to correct my vocabulary (which by then would have put a docker to shame) after I’d ‘contracted’ for one minute out of three across thirty three seemingly interminable hours, they’d have received Very Short Shrift Indeed.
Anyhoo. The point is that ever since then, the putting up of Christmas decorations is firmly linked in the family calendar with Child One’s birthday. In fact the rule throughout her childhood was that all the decorations had to done and dusted before her birthday, but as she now has a home and family of her own, and far more important things to worry about than what her ageds get up to, these days the schedule tends to be a little more fluid. But today is her 32nd birthday, and in her honour I decided that the Christmas tree was going up.
R was a little surprised, I suspect, but took it well, and we set to work and bottomed out the conservatory, which is where the main work of Christmas happens in this house. We were somewhat impeded by the plumber turning up to service the boiler and do a couple of repair jobs, but luckily the water wasn’t turned off for long, and though by this point I was getting, perhaps, just a little hysterical, I managed to resist the temptation to hang lights on him.
The photo depicts the Opening of the Chest – that is, a huge banded pine shipping chest, which used to contain all our Christmas decorations, but now holds maybe half of them. Over recent years I’ve – reluctantly – implemented a ‘one in, one out’ policy on decorations, but still they somehow seem to multiply, and every year the process of fitting them all into the chest and the three cupboards they occupy becomes more like 3D Tetris. Opening the chest is always an exciting moment, because you never quite know what might burst out and hurl itself onto the conservatory floor, but happily these lovely baubles survived today’s decompression event. By dinner time I had the tree lit and ribboned (that first ever, 32 year old set of lights is still in use, by the way!), and after we’d eaten I hung the baubles. This part of the process has on occasion led to bitterness and recrimination, but today it went very smoothly, under the influence of Haydn’s Creation and a steady infusion of Prosecco.