ONCE upon a Christmas-time the father of the house would be sent up to the loft, where he would venture into the furthest corners, where the big spiders live, and re-emerge like a triumphant Indiana Jones, clutching the Box of Decorations.
In the box, carefully wrapped in newspaper, was the set of lights for the tree. Just one, mind. My parents were children of the Second World War, remember, and light was so rationed during those dark days (literally) that they had to close the blinds with special curtains to stop it from leaking out all over the place.
Thus, they believed that one set of tiny winking lights was more than ample for a tree, which was also tiny.
Our tree is now up in the living room. There are enough lights beaming from that beast to ensure that shipping is safe around the Isle of May. We’re sitting at night with sunglasses on trying to see the telly round the glare of a Nordmann fir sporting enough bling to make Liberace look like a man that’s just come to read the meter.
It’s not just the tree, though.
Wander into any pile ’em high and sell ’em cheap discount store in the Leith area and you cannot fail but to be impressed by the range of LED light sets that only need batteries.
What miracle of modern living is this, thought I? No need now for the power socket which, by the way, can take not one more plug or
extension, hidden as it is behind a mass of two- and four-way power socket arrangements.
Now, take a gal like me, just out for a stroll to have a break from a plague house and to get some fresh air to blow away her own feverish cold symptoms. She drifts innocently into a shop that claims to stretch pounds. She is easy pickings for some fiendish LED flashing light colour changing Christmas string light and bauble manufacturer. I put it down to mild delirium. That is the only explanation for what happened next.
There are lights on the bookshelves. We’ve got a curtain of light in the hallway. Someone, no idea who, had the funky idea of lanterns with little purple lights in them on the stairs. There’s a random bauble in the window that changes colour so quickly I think it’s actually signalling to an alien intelligence.
Who bought this stuff?
Big switch-off is barely mission possible
The problem with having the domestic equivalent of the Blackpool illuminations is powering the house down at the end of the day. Every night is a rigorous Mission Control checklist, just before re-entry.
Tree, lights, three sets, unplugged, down and clear. Bookshelves, four, switch to left. Mantelpiece, one, illuminated snowglobe, remove battery (damage to switch). Hallway wall of colour, check, secure and close down. Stairway, lanterns one through five, set to manual and power off.
Windowsill, weird colour change flashy lighty thing, set to signal landing instructions to the Great Tharg Battle Fleet? Off – which is a shame, since the whole invasion force will have to sit there just off Pluto waiting for the green for go, and they were so looking forward to wearing Christmas jumpers and eating Quality Street for breakfast, after they had laid waste to the planet, of course.
Yes Bing my washing’s out
Looks like we can add a new variation to all the Christmas banter gifted us by Dickens and Bing Crosby. Alongside the welter of “Merry Christmas” and “Season’s greetings”, we can add “What a good day to put out a washing”.
I’ve just put out bedding to air in the balmy Southern breeze. Or is it the exhaust from the Tharg Battle Fleet?
Amazon’s on the right road
No idea how Amazon is doing it, but supplies are still getting through from its depot in Fife, despite the Big Isolation. Perhaps it has outsourced delivery to the SAS, contracting them to zig-zag across the silent bridge under cover of darkness, camouflage paint on their faces and parcels in hefty backpacks, homing in on a mysterious flashing beacon from the city.
Stuff is arriving at my house anyway. I know this because I work mainly from home. Amazon keeps delivering things for members of my family who have clearly been shopping online, very probably for Christmas presents, and very probably Christmas presents for me, and guess who is opening the door to the burdened postie?
Oh yes, the things you can learn from shaking a parcel. Heck, you can even call the bomb squad and claim it’s a mysterious package and get them to X-ray it for you.
Mind you, they do get a bit over-enthusiastic and occasionally go for the controlled explosion, which is awkward if it turns out to be one of those lavender scented pillow things you put in a microwave but you can’t be too careful, eh? Anyway, I’ve got one of those already.