THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: Fir goodness sake, what an ordeal!

Spalding Guardian columnist Carolyn Aldis with her daughter Sophie.  ANL-160819-142738001
Spalding Guardian columnist Carolyn Aldis with her daughter Sophie. ANL-160819-142738001
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So I’ve been on my annual pilgrimage to find the best Christmas tree, for a decent price, and took one of my daughters to help me choose and carry it.

We found a tree in a local hardware store that was the right size, but too expensive and so we went elsewhere.

There is a good reason why they are called pine needles and everybody was feeling hot and bothered as we had to keep our coats on for protection

Carolyn Aldis

The trees in the next shop were even more money and so we went back to the first one.

As the assistant was helping another customer, I took a look around the back and here I found a more reasonably priced tree that was still about seven feet high.

My daughter spotted one at the back that looked bigger and, as I like to get my money’s worth, we pulled it out.

It was ginormous and I could barely lift it but, unfortunately, the helpful assistant had now gone home.

Stuffing it in a shopping trolley, we steered the monster through the store, nearly taking out an entire shelf of paint as we got to the till.

The lad behind it offered to help but I turned him down.

However, when I was stuck in the back of the car, being stabbed mercilessly and feeling the muscles in my back creak as we hoofed it further in, I wished I had taken him up on his offer.

Only when we got home did we realise just how big it was.

We had difficulty getting through the back door, trying to get it stable in a bucket with broken paving slabs was a nightmare, one that reoccurred.

Then, just when I thought it was done, a cry would come up that it was falling.

My helpers got tired and couldn’t hold the weight of it so every now and then, there was a yelp.

There is a good reason why they are called pine needles.

Everybody was feeling hot and bothered as we had to keep our coats on for protection.

Finally, I asked them to lift the tree one more time and found myself underneath it, getting pricked every time I moved, with my hair full of greenery and being moaned at for getting snappy.

Then the song “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” came on and I got the giggles.

Finally it was up, but leaning at such an angle that it posed a health and safety risk.

We took a break and I realised we needed a wedge to help straighten it up.

My daughter had the bright idea that a book, with the pages torn out gradually, would make a wedge so I used an old diet book.

After a final, painful push, the wedge was in place and the tree was safe to decorate.

The Christmas music was back on and everyone was happy again.

Yes, my hands are as chapped as a fisherman’s (I’ve no evidence that fisherman’s hands are like this, I’ve never held one - it just seems logical), my back aches after the contortions of the afternoon and there is a pink book stuck under the bucket, clashing horribly with its colour.

But the end result was worth it all.