"And thank goodness for that, Gordon!" Mum sighed an almighty sigh. "Bad enough I've broken the back door handle and the battery on the car is as flat as a pancake." And reflectively she added, "If I had been able to drive the car, I wouldn't have appreciated this beautiful day."
So all is well then. Dad has gone to the second big Show of the winter. He really is quite useful at home, we now come to realise. He has the jump leads in his car - and the tools to mend the back door. He can also build fires in the cottage better than Mum. But he will be back later and we can hear all the news! Gabriel, Gloria and Grace will be going to a new home - we said our Goodbyes and wished them Good Luck on Friday before they left. They promised to keep in touch and we are looking forward to hearing all about their new family.
"You must come and see the Christmas Tree in Wattlebury Cottage," Mum enthused. "Kizzie decorated it and it has twinkling lights and tinsel too - it looks lovely! The Fairy was a bit of a problem. She is as old as me and the mice unfortunately ate her net dress, so I made her a new gown! Very sparkly!"
"I went and got the tree from Wattlebury Forest. I did buy it, Gordon. And carried it indoors over my shoulder - very pleased with my choice. I can get this tree in position before Dad and Kizzie come home, I thought. Easy. Done it by myself for the last two years."
And why, therefore, should this year be any different?
"I hoicked it into the pot, tucked myself inside it - for tree-stability, of course."
"Lifted it onto the little table and swung a bit of baler twine around the trunk - which I then attached to the handle of the living room door."
Sounds suspiciously dodgy to me.
"Then all I had to do was thread the cable ties that Uncle Roy gave us around the table and the bottom of the tree - and Hey Presto! Done! Except I had balanced the pot in the biggest dog dish so that I could give it a drop of water every so often. And then the pot started moving. And the tree started leaning. And being quite large and bushy, I fought valiantly to keep it upright."
The two words 'Mum' and 'Lumberjack' do not seem compatible.
"Well, as you can imagine, Gordon. Honey and Harvey were very interested in all this activity - particularly Harvey who viewed the arrival of a tree in his living room as a most luxurious gift - but then it nearly fell on Honey and almost flattened her!"
Like the pancake.
"So I leant it on Harvey's chair and tried to knit a length of cable-ties together - only to find I had two straight ends that wouldn't join. So I practised with a couple and after a while I was surrounded by cut ties, fallen needles (from the non-drop tree), soil and then the tree shifted and fell on top of Harvey."
Time to call for Dad.
"Well Dad got in from work - I had already phoned him in exasperation - so he wasn't totally unprepared - and he said 'What a mess' - or something like that."
I can imagine.
"Anyway Gordon - you must come and see it. It won't fall on top of you - and we have a Fairy. You'll be quite safe!"
Thanks a bunch! Gordon x