Right – let’s do the tree.
OK. Ummm… do we really use three sets of lights?
Right. Well – they all work, so that’s good. Oh….. Wait – no – yes – what???? They did work!! What the….?? Oh – no – we’re good. First set.
Second set. Ummm….. have you started going round the opposite way…?
Well, you see, what happened was, I…. yes. I’ve started going round the opposite way. We’ll have to take them off. Soz.
No, you’re OK – I’ll just loop them over the top.
No, that won’t – oh, right. It does work. Thanks. Right – there we go. It looks sketchy now, but it’ll be fine.
Right – third set. These are weird.
They’re a loop.
Don’t ask. I just have to… what?? That’s not… OMG… F£%&@….. NOOO!!! That’s wrong!! I needed to…. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!! Right. They’ve got to come off.
Yes really – just take them, would you? And untangle them. Then give them back to me. I need to wind them in a double helix.
Yes I’m sure. There. That’s right. I mean – it’s not excellent, but it’s fine. Right. Now I need to do the ribbons.
Anything I can do to help?
Just kill me now.
Right. I’ll make lunch, shall I? I think you need to eat.[Several hours later…]
OK – can’t put it off any longer. I’m going to do the baubles.
Can I get you some prosecco now?
That would be nice – thank you.
There you go – where would you like me to put this glass?
About there looks reasonably photogenic – thanks.
It’s a credit to R that he manages to keep his temper through days like this – though I wouldn’t mind betting that he thinks back wistfully to the many years when he and the Offspring would go off to work and school from an undecorated house on the first Friday in December, and come back home again to find the whole place cleaned and festooned. Apart from the tree baubles, which we used to do as a family after dinner that night – by which time, I was so exhausted and frayed that the only way of keeping me functioning and reasonably civil was a steady infusion of prosecco.
And thus are family traditions born.