The season of Advent is in full swing, a time for prayer and preparation for the birth of Christ and a time to celebrate this event. Alongside my spiritual preparation I have begun my temporal - decking the halls with Christmas holly and all that jazz. As this is the first Christmas in our new home I laid my plans - fairy lights along the decorative plate in the sitting room and a handsome tree complete with our Star of Bethlehem on top to lighten our winter darkness.
I communicated my plans to spouse and he was quite taken with my ideas and went on a foray to the loft to retrieve the tree, lights and box of decorations. I am pleased to report, dear reader, that no mishaps occurred this time as he shimmied up and down the loft ladder. I don't know how the Christmas traditions work in your home, dear reader, but decorating the tree is mostly left to my artistic ministrations. But first spouse has to put the tree in a suitable pot. When he returned from this little task I pointed out the place in the sitting room where I wanted it to go and tripped off up the village whilst he wrestled with swathing the tree in fairy lights.
So far so very good, my dear reader. However, on my return, where was my tree? Not in its chosen spot at all. Spouse had obviously not listened to a word I'd said, (nothing new there then) and had placed the tree in a very awkward place where we would knock into it coming in and out of the room and if we have Raffles our guest-dog visiting - once swish of his tail and that will be it. You can imagine the conversation can't you, dear reader? Along the lines of 'It's lovely, but it's in the wrong place.' 'What do you mean it's in the wrong place? How can there be a "wrong" place?' 'I said over there,' quoth I, pointing to the opposite side of the room. 'What's wrong with here?' 'Everything. Put it over there and we won't be barging into it every time we come in.' 'We can walk round it,' splutters he in exasperation.
I hope your imagination can stretch to the pitying looks expended on spouse at this point. Let's just say with much huffing and puffing the tree was moved and I set to work, hanging its boughs with the baubles and decorations we have collected over many years. I was standing back admiring my handiwork, when spouse materialised beside me, ready to put the star on top of the tree and add his own personal tweaks.
At this juncture in my tale I should say in my defence that I had been blithely tripping up and down the stepladders all afternoon in pursuit of my decorative arts. Thus it was that I never gave a nanomoments thought to spouse ascending them. And that, dear reader, is why I am now firmly and completely in the doghouse with no release date as yet in sight. My care of the floorboards in our new home has been my downfall. Well actually, not mine, but spouse's - literally. The ground floor of our new abode has wooden floors and in an effort not to scratch them with my stepladders, (which are ancient and long ago lost their rubber feet), I taped them up with gaffa tape. Brilliant, I thought and so it was. Not a floorboard was scratched in the decorating of the tree. What I did not bargain for was the element of slideability I had introduced into the operation.
As I have said I shimmied up and down the ladders all afternoon with nary a slide or a slip to be had. Yes, I am small and not a heavyweight, so maybe that's why I put no stresses on said steps. However and how can I put this delicately without putting myself further in the doghouse? Let me just say that spouse is a tall man, a broad man and not a skinny man. I'm not too sure what happened, but once up the ladders and leaning in to affix the star to the top of the tree, the ladders slid away from him.
In the excitement of the moment one hand clutched on to the tree and the other to the plate shelf. I think you know the rest - six foot of burly male is a most unfair match for a very light Christmas tree and a plate shelf. 'Down will come baby cradle and all' wasn't in it. The ladders slid one way and spouse the other, ending in a tangled heap of smashed lights, broken tree and squashed decorations, not to mention the whack on the head as the plate rack bounced off him.
I will draw a veil over the next half hour or so. It is rather painful - physically for spouse who is now nursing bruised limbs and a fat head and emotionally painful for yours truly as my common sense and sanity have been bought into question, as in 'What idiot would ever think of putting gaffa tape round the stepladders, you've totally lost the plot this time' and much more besides.
So, my dear reader, spare a kind word for me in my doghouse if you pass by. Chez Comb is a very quiet place as I swipe disconsolately with my brush at the wreckage in the sitting room. And please, should your path cross with spouse's, please don't offer him the compliments of the season. It might not only be 'Christmas, bah!' I think he might spontaneously combust.