Stuff happens when you’re busy making other plans

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Decisions have been made. It is now officially The Festive Period at Shoogly Towers, the many halls (we wish) are currently being decked with holly and ivy by Gamford, and the hunt for the Chrimbo decs is on.

I oversee the packing-up of these like a harpy, making sure they are packed carefully and that each box is meticulously labelled – 1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3 etc – as I hate that feeling you have when you open all the boxes and the Christmas tree stand isn’t there.

And this would be the time you’re really needing it, right here and now, because your other half/faithful retainer is standing out on the doorstep in the dark and freezing cold clutching the tree, because you won’t let them lay it down in case the branches get bashed.

Mr E banished the (carefully labelled) dec boxes from the attic when we packed it all away last January. They are somewhere outside in the summerhouse. The very name is a total misnomer.

Once upon a time, when we didn’t have the shoogly nippers, and we first bought the house, the luxury of a summerhouse was an exciting prospect. It was south-east facing, had big, glazed, double doors and a glazed window on either side of the door. It was carpeted inside and had heat and light, plus blinds on the windows. So it could be used in cooler weather as well as in the summer when, as the blinds obviously attested, it became baking hot in there.

Oh, the visions of how this extra dimension to the garden could be used floated through my mind, which, like a Fellini film, had gone all dreamy as if glimpsed through organza. There I was, in some sort of colonial, rattan armchair which enveloped me, with a side table attached, for the G & Ts.

I lay back, dozing in the midsummer heat, my languid arm outstretched towards this side table, picking up the tall glass which tinkled with the rapidly-evaporating ice, as I raised it to my parched lips and drank deeply of the herby gin, flavoured with the tonic and sharp tang of the lemon slice. Bliss.

Sadly, it remained a dream. The summerhouse, like the spare garage before it, slowly became engulfed in Stuff. Stuff is what happens when you buy something and can’t bear to part with its predecessor. Or when someone who knows you have sheddage asks if you wouldn’t mind ‘looking after’ something for a bit as they haven’t got the space. And soon, my magpie friends, you will find that you don’t have the space either, as your sheddage is full of other folks’ Stuff.

Anyhoo, as usual, I digress. After much searching and careful moving of Stuff, I found the boxes of decs. Result.

Now just to work on Mr E for the tree. As I write this, December is just upon us. I think it is time.

He disagrees. This happens every year. I know it is probably ridiculously early, but it’s only once a year and if it’s bald by Chrimbo Eve then hopefully I’ll be too drunk to notice. Hic.