Wednesday, 8 December 2021

That tree

 For the first time since I moved in here alone four years ago, after my farmer died, I felt a sudden  Christmas loneliness on reading your blogs this afternoon.   And it came on reading about 'decorating the tree' - something I have not done since living here.   I no longer have a tree and I gave all my ornaments away to grandchildren.   It brought back a certain incident from fifty years ago.

My son went to a Cathedral School which was a Boarding School but did also take Day Boys.  We only lived a couple of miles from the school.   The Day Boys had the option of staying at school until it was almost bed time so that they then got a mug of cocoa made with milk and occasionally my son would do this.

It was Christmas and almost the end of term.   He was an only child but we did also have a Siamse Cat (anyone who has had a Siamese Cat will agree that it is almost like having a child).   On this particular evening we thought we would surprise our son - we got the tree into the window, we decorated it and put on the fairy lights.   It looked so pretty.

We both went to collect him from school in the car.  It was very dark and we lived at the end of a cul de sac and as you came round the corner from the main road the tree was the first thing you saw in all its glory.   Except when we came round the corner there was complete darkness.   We had only been gone about ten minutes but in that time 'Sam-I-am' had managed to completely strip the tree of all baubles and all lights.   The tree was on its side on the floor, the lights were everywhere  and the first step into the room brought the crackle of broken bauble so that my husband had to go in by the back door, put on the kitchen light and go carefully into the sitting room in his stocking feet.   We learned quickly that Siamese Cats and Fairy Lights are not compatible.

36 comments:

Tasker Dunham said...

Cats don't like competition for attention.
There are some amusing videos on YouTube of kittens climbing up Christmas trees and pulling them over.

thelma said...

Ours went up today and twinkles merrily in the corner. I'm sure most cats don't know the tree will fall on them and comes as a total surprise.

Terra said...

Oh what a naughty kitty doing kitty things. Our cat did the same thing and for decades after that we tied our tall tree to a hook in the ceiling. You prepared a delightful surprise for you son. Of course kitty had other ideas.

JayCee said...

Oops.

Melinda from Ontario said...

My mother also gave up decorating a tree at one point in her life. Her arthritis was making her mobility more and more difficult and Christmas trees are not easy even for the able bodied. The first year my parents gave up the tree, my father brought home a smallish table top lighthouse covered in twinkling Christmas lights. They lived by the ocean so it seemed appropriate. I was visiting that Christmas and was a bit appalled at their Christmas tree substitute. Now that my parents are gone, I now possess the lighthouse. I am very fond of it and have decided it will "one day" be my Christmas tree substitute. It's made me realize that a little twinkle goes a long way over the holidays.

Joan (Devon) said...

It isn't only cats who demolish Christmas trees, we had a dog who did that and it wasn't sited on the floor, but a smallish one standing on a wooden surface. When I came home from work one lunchtime with my three year old the tree was on its side on the floor and the lights were in a jumble with a few ornaments broken. My daughter burst into tears.

Ellen D. said...

We used fishing line to tie our tree to the ceiling when our kids were little. It was too tempting for them!
Good story about your cat, Weaver! You could buy a small decorated tree if you want some sparkle!

VC said...

My son was ten months old at his first Christmas and already walking. He was my first child so I was somewhat naive. I'll never forget the stunned look on his face as he toddled toward the tree, grabbed a bauble (he was always ball obsessed and is still football mad in his thirties) and promptly pulled the tree onto himself as I dashed across the room towards him. It's one of the memories I treasure from my childrens' early christmases. Needless to say the tree was secured in the following years due to the arrival of my daughter and numerous cats and dogs.

Susan said...

I hope you find something twinkly in lieu of a Christmas tree. We all need a little light in the darkness. My tree did a spectacular crash in the middle of a party I was hosting for the nursing home lady volunteers. Such capable women and so good in an emergency, couldn't have been a better crowd for such a disaster. Our cat ate the top off the Christmas cake one year, nibbled her way across the top as it was cooling.

Debby said...

Lol. This is hysterical! Thank you for the giggle!

Rachel Phillips said...

It would have been safer for your husband to walk into the sitting room with shoes on. I don't understand why he would go in amongst broken glass baubles in his "stocking feet". Did you not allow him to keep his shoes on in the living room even in an emergency?

hart said...

I am sure your son appreciated the thought and got a good laugh as well.

Virginia said...

I’m sorry you’ve had a sad patch. Moments like those knock me every so often too, and I need to think through why it’s sprung up - do I need to address something, or will it pass. Your Christmas tree story brought back a memory of our first kitten, who would race flat tack from one end of the house to the other, claw her way up the speakers and into the tree and then the naughty little face would peek out at the top. A Christmas tree up high might prevent a toddler’s attack, but not our kitten’s!

I hope your mood lifts tomorrow..

Anonymous said...

As down-sizers, we finally replaced our large Christmas tree and larger ornaments, with a smaller fibre-optic tree of 90cm , now on a table. Can't tell you the relief it took to quickly assemble and decorate it with the remaining small ornaments in about 20 minutes, including additional battery lights. It is such a cheery little thing, so would encourage you Pat to add a few Christmas twinkles.
Hope you feel better soon, and good that your son and wife are around. I remember when my daughter lived in Germany I missed her terribly, particularly at Christmas. Glad she now lives back here with husband and very dear 1 year old.
I always enjoy your posts. - Pam, Aust.

angryparsnip said...

Thank Goodness our two cats left our trees alone !

Jules said...

Oh dear! Thankfully, Mog leaves my tree well alone. Although, now I've said that...

Heather said...

We had a cat that would climb the Christmas tree and his weight would cause serious wobbling. The tree was in a corner of our sitting room and the sofa at an angle in front of it. If I was sitting on the sofa and realised what was happening I would stretch out an arm to hold the tree and shout 'Timber!' until another family member came to the rescue.

the veg artist said...

Not sure why, but we've never had a tree since living in this house, and that's nearly 20 years. What we do instead is bring in loads of greenery, fir, eucalyptus and holly, and fill pots and jugs - the smell is wonderful. Our little cat is quite disinterested in ornaments and the like, but then, she's never been tested with a decorated Christmas tree!

Jennifer said...

Someone get Weaver a tiny table top tree with twinkle lights, stat! If I lived anywhere near her I'd do it myself.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Jennifer - thank you for the suggestion but, like Jennifer, I fill pots with greenery.

Rachel - I was not that much of a tyrant - he only shuffled across the carpet to the light switch.

Susan said...

Christmas tree crashes are sadly common. My cat caused one crash. The second crash was due to the stand not being tightened properly. Both crashes destroyed glass ornaments. All the ornaments have been replaced. To prevent crashes, I tie a piece of fishing line to the top of the tree (beneath my angel) and secure the line to a ceiling beam. Since discovering the use of fishing line, I've had no crashes. Do you add fairy lights to your greens?

Debby said...

I second the suggestions of a small table top tree. It really does make spirits bright.

Tom Stephenson said...

I don't like to think of you being lonely at Christmas Weave. Perhaps I'll hire a helicopter and chop up.

Cro Magnon said...

Once when I was away at school, my mother had my bedroom completely refurbished. Unfortunately, next door's Siamese Cat got in there before my return and wrecked part of the brand new carpet. I was then forced to have the bed in a place where I didn't want it, to hide the destruction.

Librarian said...

You are so kind and have so many friends, as well as your son and daughter-in-law - you really should be the last person to feel lonely at Christmas, dear Pat.

We always had cats at home, and therefore my parents usually bought a potted tree small enough to fit on a side table so that all ornaments would be higher up from the ground. The tree would serve as our Christmas tree for a few years until it became too large for the pot, and was then planted in the garden.
Our cats were of course fascinated enough by glittering, moving things, but they normally left the tree alone; we just did not use lametta with them around, for fear they would swallow some and die. They loved the wrapping paper and ribbons, though, and played with those after we'd opened our presents.

Anonymous said...

I feel sad myself after reading this story. I'm not sure why.

Rachel Phillips said...

By the time I got to the end of the post I didn't think you were lonely. We never had a Christmas tree at home so I don't miss them. Mostly if we think everybody else is happy and having a good time they aren't anyway. At least you can do as you like until the factotum comes with the meal and not worry about anything until the next day when you will be fraught with visitors.

A Smaller Life said...

Oh gosh, what a naughty Puss.

When we moved into a brand new council house when I was thirteen our elderly cat didn't like it that much, and when we put the Christmas tree up with it's red crepe paper skirt he decided to wee all over it in a bid to make the place smell more of him no doubt. The dye from the old fashioned crepe paper ran all over the carpet and my Mum was really upset that her first ever fitted carpet had been wee'd on. Memories eh :-)

Mary said...

No kitties here anymore - and no trees on the floor, our cottage is small!
Inside I have little trees on tabletops, a musical ceramic one made by a friend, a vintage metal one, several bottle brush versions etc. One large faux green tree outside in the gazebo which is my favorite every year and I can see it from the kitchen and living room windows - lights up the dark nights, and is not in the way!

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Your post is very timely, as we have just experienced our new little cat, Murphy, and how he handles Christmas trees. Let's just say, the living room door stays closed unless we are in there with him and even then there's a whole lot of, "Murphy, no!" "Murphy, leave it alone!" I enjoyed your post! -Jenn

Derek Faulkner said...

Sometimes, if you are missing a particular person, as you are, you can still feel lonely in a room full of friends.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Too right Derek - it doesn't matter how many people there are around - the one person you would love to be there isn't.

Thanks for sharing your destruction memories.

Bovey Belle said...

We're going to look for one tomorrow. We only ever had cats up in the tree when we had kittens. Your Siamese was wicked! but they are bright and mischievious!

I hope that you decide to treat yourself to a little "instant" tree to cheer you up. Just a potted one with a string of LED lights around it would cheer you up instantly I'm sure.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dear friends - Rest assured that I am not depressed. Nor am I sad at spending Christmas alone. Books, television programmes of my choice, the lunch my carer is bringing, a walk if the weather is good, What more could I wish for? Thanks for popping by.

Chris said...

I am sure someone like you who loves to read and does crosswords won't be down too long. There are some very lovely programmes on TV and I think you said your carer was doing you a Christmas dinner. I expect relatives will phone and chatting always is a cheery experience. Your day will be full.
Enjoy the day and keep toasty warm.

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