Gary Strachan – "Write" Said Fred

Off The Wall Essays From Deep Within A Capricious Mind

Maggie’s Tree

Following yesterday’s efforts by her attention-seeking elder son, Mrs Strachan senior’s Christmas tree now stands imposingly in the front room bay window of her West Yorkshire abode. The artificial evergreen bringing a much needed hint of festive cheer and chromatic hue to the septuagenarian’s lounge.

Some may read my previous sentence, commenting after I wrote  artificial there was no further requirement to add the word evergreen. Arguing as this yuletide ornament is artificial, there’s no way it could possibly be deciduous could it!

Creating a fake tree which every year regenerated it’s leaves would be a colossal waste of researchers time and money. I’ve not researched it, but I’d moot there’d be no market whatsoever for a artificial plant bereft of leaves/pines for several months of the year.

Regardless of how well decorated it is, a bald Christmas tree would never look as aesthetically pleasing as those furnished with pine needles (real or bogus)…… Would it?!

Anyhow, my mum’s tree isn’t pine needleless. It stands proudly decorated in the bay window. Thoughtfully replacing some of the natural light it’s six foot frame obstructs with a smattering of multi-coloured decorating lights. Subtle kaleidoscopic illuminations that bring a festive warmth, reminding the old lady that Christmas is coming – So hopefully she’ll stop wandering around the place with a face like a slapped ass.

Decorating mater’s tree was an emotional time for yours truly. Particularly when catching sight of the old baubles from my childhood that are still going strong. Ornaments which my late father bought and each December fixed to the real pines branches that graced our family home in the 1970’s.

From recollection, Christmas trees from childhood weren’t treated with a needle preservative to negate droppage, as they are now. Consequently, every December day it perched in the room’s corner, mum would have hundreds of dropped needles on the front room carpet to vacuum. 

Subsequently first thing on a morning, while opening our advent calendars,  it wasn’t uncommon for my siblings and I to hear mother bleat “Bleeding hell, look at all the flaming pine needles it’s dropped again!”

Lack of this needle preservative back then ensured our vacuum cleaner’s yuletide was nearly as busy as St Nick on Christmas Eve. This situation a consequence of it’s ‘leaves’ indifference to remaining branch in situ – Meaning any minor vibration resulted in the mass shedding of pines.

This sensitivity extending as far as mass needle droppage if sneezing too loudly, coughing or laughing too vigorously at the Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show on TV. It wasn’t unheard of that my mum would create herself additional vacuuming work from shouting at our kid and I “Stop kicking a football around the room! Or we’ll end up losing more needles off that bleeding tree!”

Despite witnessing copious numbers of tree needle spillage on the living room carpet during childhood Christmas’, I wasn’t put off buying a real tree in adulthood. In fact, all of thirty plus purchased since leaving home have been genuine Norwegian pines.

That being said, since the introduction of spraying pine needle preservatives the vast majority of them have only experienced minor leaf droppage anyway. Plus now my mum is happy enough with an artificial tree, so her daily vacuuming is no more.

Anyhow, following my tree decorating efforts this week, both casa Strachan senior and junior now exhibit a greater festive ambience.

It’s particularly heartwarming such a simple task can grant brief respite from the grief engulfing the brood after metaphorical needle loss from branches of the family tree during the last year.

Categories: Blogs, family, fiction, humour

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