Outside the newsagents sits an elderly lady in a wheelchair complete with crocheted blanket, no doubt a present from a concerned relative. It's one of those old fashioned wheelchairs, nothing like the motorised shopmobility scooters that seem to be everywhere these days; hurtling pensioners at hitherto unheard of speeds from post office to Aldi.
She's on her own, parked outside on the pavement looking forlornly at the door like a dog tied to a railing.
First of all - thanks for the suggestions Kirsten! Here's your goat.
Well, December is upon us, which means I've put the Christmas tree up. Whilst this is something that I generally look forward to, and indeed, get quite excited about - as with most things in life the reality does not live up to my idealised imaginings. For anyone who hasn't put there's up yet, here's a few pointers for you:
Drink heavily before attempting to put up a tree of any size. This doesn't make it any easier but at least you won't care as much, and the injuries that you will no doubt incur won't hurt until you sober up.
Make sure you put the base together correctly before attaching the tree. Crawling round on the floor with twigs poking you in the eye whilst the whole thing sways worryingly above you can be avoided this way.
Plan where you are going to put the tree in advance, considering sight lines to the TV, windows, each other etc.. Moving a fully decorated tree should only be attempted by someone experienced in disarming landmines.
Test the lights before putting them on the tree. This will help you avoid the frustration of finding out that they won't turn on because one shitting bulb has blown, and Christ alone knows how you're supposed to find out which of the little wankers it is. Or in severe cases (like the memorable Christmas of '98) the whole thing going up like a roman candle and second degree burns.
Don't expect anyone else to appreciate your efforts. Whilst you may decorate the tree with the all the care and attention to colour, design and space as Picasso, this won't stop your wife/husband/children/man come to read the gas meter saying it looks "ok" before moving everything around.
Small animals - especially those partial to shiny things, should be caged for the entire duration of Christmas to avoid the 'baubles everywhere and trying to untangle the cat from the tree' scenario.
So there you go. Follow these guidlines, and you should be ok.