Branching out for the festive season

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This time last year I was a homeless person, my house having been flooded by an exploding boiler in the flat upstairs.

Well, perhaps ‘homeless’ is a tad dramatic, as I was in fact staying with family and frankly, living in the lap of luxury.

Nevertheless I wasn’t in my own house so was denied the annual ‘pleasure’ of putting up festive decorations.

Thus it was with some excitement this week that I pulled the tree from the hall cupboard – aka the Black Hole of Calcutta – where it had lurked for two years.

The sense of anticipation didn’t last long.... I’d forgotten what a faff it was to assemble an artificial Christmas tree.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, you start off with what appears to be a green fluffy stick, which has a series of slots into which you slide ‘branches’ that have helpfully been colour-co-ordinated with little stickers.

For example, if the ‘branch’ bears a yellow sticker with ‘AA’ on it, you slot it into the appropriate hole on the green fluffy stick, thus gradually creating a realistic and perfectly-proportioned Christmas tree, all the while sipping a warming sherry and listening to Michael Buble sing about Santa Claus coming to town.

Well, that’s the theory.

By the time I’d inadvertently slotted a few FFs into BBs and stabbed myself in the eye with the green fluffy stick, I was ready to down the whole darn bottle of sherry and tell Michael Buble where to stick his Jolly Holly Christmas.

Best time of the year? Well, maybe if you hadn’t got an artificial tree to put up.

In the end, I managed to get the AAs and a couple of DDs in their rightful position, but the rest remained in a giant heap on the floor until I’d recovered my composure. Which was a good 24 hours later.

The second attempt – unaided by sherry or Michael Buble, as my fullest concentration was required – was much more successful, although I was left with a random CC and couldn’t for the life of me find the slot from which it had escaped.

By contrast, the actual decorating was a breeze and I was pleased with my efforts.

My two dogs, however, clearly thought I’d completely lost the plot. Why the heck is our pack leader putting up a tree in the living-room? Shall we lift our legs on it?

And why has she left a random CC lying on the floor?

Happy festering season to one and all!