Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas!

It is cold here and getting colder. But we seem to be more or less ready for Christmas, and we're a week early. Which is just as well since wearing my other hat as a fiction writer, I have a good many edits and revisions to do before 5th January. So as well as socialising, and meeting old friends, I'm going to batten down the hatches, drink a little mulled wine, eat some Christmas food ....and write. That's the plan, anyway.
But before I do, let me tell you about our Christmas tree. We always have a real tree, but this year, in the UK, the price of Christmas trees has risen beyond belief. Still, I can't bring myself to go for an artificial tree. My dear dad would probably come back and haunt me. So last week we wandered around the big stores in a state of shock, until we spotted the little handwritten ad in our local shop. Late afternoon saw me in wellies, tramping through a muddy, icy field, in the wake of a young man wielding a chain saw. Don't worry. This was nothing illicit. He has his own small plantation. We chose our tree and - rather sadly - watched as he cut it down. It was a little uneven. 'The horses got to that side,' he said. But that was fine, because it stands against the wall beautifully. It was sad, and somehow magical. After all, the trees you see in the big stores have all been cut down too, probably cut down and transported for many miles. And we always recycle. So, sad and Christmassy and magical. All tree-buying should be like this: the sound of rooks congregating, a cold, angry, wintry sunset, skeletal trees, and the lights of the ancient farmhouse burning through the gathering dark.
Now, the tree stands in our cool conservatory, in all its glory. Outside the garden pond is frozen and the blackbirds are making the most of the remaining grapes, the ones we didn't cut but left to sustain the birds through the winter. Even the 'burn' is frozen. All the same...

A Merry Christmas to all customers and readers of The Scottish Home, and a very happy 2011!