Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Winter madness!

Today we received our first Christmas card of 2018 through the post.

The pub next door has a fine Christmas display around its fish pond : sparkling snowflakes, a couple of blobby-looking what must be polar bear cubs as they are smaller than the reindeer, and a sparkling snowman.

A couple of houses up the road are festooned with lurid blue lights, a disturbing choice for Christmas decorations but that’s the modern world for you.

And while I waited for a bus this morning somebody asked me if I have put my tree up yet.

It’s December 5th!

There are still a few weeks to go until Christmas!

I have just about got round to buying some cards and making lists of possible presents for people. And my tree never goes up this early!

I was actually hoping to recycle last year’s tree. It was a living tree in a plant pot, a bit on the small side perhaps but that is no bad thing. Those huge trees take up far too much room in an ordinary household, in my opinion.

All over the Christmas period we kept it watered. It did not shed many pine needles, which is always a good sign. After the festivities were over we put the tree in the garden, in a spot where it was quite sheltered and not likely to be blown over during whatever named storms came along.

And it seemed to thrive.

And then came summer 2018!

Need I say more?

We now have a tree skeleton. Absolutely no use to us although maybe we could sell it to Melania Trump. I hear she likes to make strange and unusual Christmas tree displays.

The upshot of it all is that I need to acquire a tree for this year.

More importantly, I probably need to acquire a new oven before Christmas is fully upon us. I have perhaps mentioned before that it has become temperamental and needs sweet-talking to switch on. I have visions of Christmas dinner ready to go into the oven and the oven pouting and folding its arms and saying: NO WAY!!

In the meantime people might be dreaming of a white Christmas but I am visualising a very wet one.

On Wednesdays I usually get up and run to the market in Uppermill. Today, however, it was pouring with rain and besides we were expecting delivery of a new laptop, or at least notification of a more precise delivery time than “between 8:00 and 18:00”. And as I am the only one in the house who can manage to get up before 8:00, there I was, having breakfast and waiting for further news.

Eventually an email arrived specifying delivery between 14:35 and 1:35. The rain had reduced from torrential to steady and so I donned a waterproof coat and set off walking. Of course, I miscalculated how much stuff I was going to buy, or at any rate how heavy the stuff was going to be. As I stood in the chemist, my final stop, I checked the time and decided I was just in time for the next bus home, due at 11:04. Sometimes my timing is immaculate.

At the stop I met a near neighbour, the one who then asked if I had put my tree up yet, who assured me that the bus had not yet come and gone. An elderly lady (i.e. rather older than I am) told us she had been waiting since 10:30!

So we waited.

And we waited!

And we waited!

Finally a bus turned up, on time as it was due at 11:34!! The poor driver was heartily sick of being asked if he knew what had happened to the bus before his. Vanished into thin air obviously!

Despite the rain, I am still seeing men in shorts on a regular basis. There were a few wandering around the market. Yesterday I saw some in central Manchester. It used to be that at this time of year you only saw postmen in shorts, their excuse being that they walk around so much they keep warm. And besides, wet legs are easier to cope with than wet trousers. But now you see ordinary non-postmen walking around in shorts. And it’s not confined to the younger generation either. I frequently see men of the baby-boomer generation showing off their calf muscles to the world. Neither are they all obviously on their way to or from the gym. They are just going about their everyday business in shorts.

Is this the latest thing macho-chic? Or is it that most of these shorts have those big side pockets, cargo-pants style? Another of life’s mysteries!

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