The many and various ways I pass the time now has a new addition. Usually it involves drinking coffee whilst sitting at a computer keeping in touch with chums, or sipping wine sitting on our tiny terrace catching the sun, and wondering what else I can do to avoid any cleaning or tidying or putting away of stuff and things that aren't even MINE. And now I am going to type this blog. Provided that doesn't become a chore as well, in which case...

Monday, 6 December 2010

Tinsel & Tonsils

Got the tree(s) up good and early, as always.  The traditional date for The Husband and myself to deck the halls is 1 December.

This has been going on since 2000, making this Christmas our eleventh spent together.  It was decided we would counteract the years I'd endured of the bloody-minded Bah Humbug tendencies of The Daughter's Father with lashings of other extreme, all Yo Ho Ho and bonhomie.  Not No Tree (which had been a feature of the early years of marriage #1 - her father relented when The Daughter got old enough to ask for one) but a Splendid Tree on 1 December.  And never again will I be given a pair of kitchen scissors or new oven gloves as a present from my spouse.  Yes, honestly, you read aright. One year I had the scissors and another year oven gloves, and not as silly stocking fillers, as my ONLY present. One never-to-be forgotten year I got nothing whatsoever.  And yet he was surprised when I eventually divorced him...

We have added little traditions along the way, now I am joyfully ensconced in marriage #2, which has nothing in common with the first one except my presence as the wife.  One tradition is always drinking snowballs whilst decorating the tree and house.  Our recipe for this seasonal cocktail is a splash of brandy, a dash of lime, 1/3 glass Warninks Advovcat, topped up with well-chilled good quality fizzy lemonade.  Plus a couple of maraschino cherries on a cocktail stick on the side of the glass and maybe a few drops of the syrup into the snowball mix. I find I can't drink them with the enthusiasm we once held for them.  But I must have at least one on 1 December.

This year we brought in the live tree which we got last year because we felt sorry for it.  It was straggly and scrawny but we thought with some TLC we might be able to fatten it up.  After 6 January we planted it up in a half barrel filled with coniferous compost, and in the spring the end of each branch and twig had an encouraging spurt of lime-green new growth.  We watered it in hot weather and turned it a 90 degrees a month so each side of the tree got a little holiday in the sun.  The top two-thirds of the tree looks OK, but it must have got off to a bad start as the bottom "rung" of branches is a skinny and the second "rung" doesn't exist at all.  An entire year's growth is completely missing.  Which makes for a very uneven Xmas tree as there is little or nothing to hang baubles etc off in the bottom third of the tree.  I have been wondering if we could confect and add a ring of imported branches to bulk it up.  Meanwhile we sing "Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, how feeble are your branches...!" at it, somewhat cruelly.

We have dressed it as well as we can to disguise its wants and deformities, winding extra lights and tinsel where the branches ought to be, but The Husband says it nevertheless looks "like a tramp in a suit"

Another tradition is we buy a few extra baubles and decorations every year.  This year I toddled off to Homebase on this errand to find all artificial trees and lights were half-price, so I went a bit mad and "spent some silly money", as my late mother would have had it. I got a 4ft tree, a string of 80 LED lights and about two dozen gold and two dozen lime green baubles,  I have always wanted a tree with lime green baubles.  So now I have one, in the corner of the living room, on a table.

I wanted gold tinsel for it, and bought three strands, but haven't used it.  It is too lustrously thick and heavy-looking.  I like thin, skinny, well-worn tinsel, but thin tinsel is no longer The Thing. I may have to trim the stuff I got with scissors to get it to fit with my post-war rationing concept of tinsel, like the stuff we had in the 1950s.

So that's the tinsel of the title dealt with.  What of the tonsils?  Well, I developed an inflamed right tonsil in the night, and swollen glands and earache on that side .  Examination in the magnified side The Husband's shaving mirror shows an enlarged tonsil with few yellowish spots thereon, textbook tonsillitis.  Swallowing is a scratchy, ouchy affair.  I need nourishment that is smooth and unctuous, and will slide past easily, preferably chilled.

Another snowball maybe...

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