Monday 21 December 2015

The saga of the tree

We have our Christmas tree all dolled up and twinkling at least a week earlier than normal. It's 'The Amelie Effect' - no one should underestimate the persuasive powers of a three year old! As you read this I hope you have a nice cup of tea and a plate of mince pies to hand - I'll try to be brief but I'll probably ramble on a bit and I think you'll need sustenance to see through to the end!

We actually had the tree for a couple of weeks before decorating it and granddad had the bright idea to keep it fresh and hydrated by plunging the lower trunk into the margins of the garden pond. There it lay for over a week during which time we had very wet weather. Ever practical, and not wanting a dripping tree on the sitting room carpet, I suggested we might want to put it undercover to dry out before it came into the house. The tree was duly carried to the garage and propped up, still tightly encased in its mesh bag. That's when the toad was spotted! He slowly crawled out of the lower branches and headed towards the door. I didn't see the incident myself you understand - it was just recounted to me after said toad had been safely returned to the pond. Two days later, when Amelie helped carry the tree from the garage, was when the second toad made his appearance. Now granddad said it looked remarkably like the first one but I'm sceptical. One toad looks much like another and unless we've discovered some hitherto unknown species of Homing Toad I suspect this was a completely different individual.

The tree was carried into the house and ceremoniously positioned in a corner of the room. We didn't have to completely rearrange the furniture, just shuffle a few guitars out of the way and for once we didn't have to cut the top off to make it fit - a first for us!

We have a fair division of labour about these Christmas things - he makes the tree stand up straight and I decorate. So, why is it I ask myself that tree lights work when you test them in a heap on the floor but 5 minutes of careful arranging later there's nothing doing? Time to pause for lunch while he wiggles the wires, changes the fuse and fiddles with the bulbs.

May as well have a mince pie or two while we're waiting. These are from the third batch I've made so far - don't suppose any will make it to Christmas!

Still no sign of life in the lights so, not to disappoint our grandchild, we carry on regardless with the baubles and all the naff but sentimental bits and bobs. That's when we spotted the frog! Now I love wildlife as much as anyone but I prefer it out of doors rather than in my sitting room. There ensued a lot of squealing (me) and hilarity (them) as the by now warm and very lively creature was corralled into a corner. It involved crawling on bellies with head torches strapped to foreheads to encourage him from behind the grandfather clock and finally to capture him under the cupboard. David Attenborough would have been proud as the captive was released safely back to his more natural habitat.

This is the stuff that family memories are made of. I have learned from this episode and thought I'd pass on a few words of wisdom;

1 NEVER immerse a Christmas tree in a garden pond. Find a bucket - it's easier in the long run!
2 NEVER expect tree lights to work on the tree even after you've tested them just minutes before.
3 NEVER go barefoot in your sitting room unless you are confident there's no risk of frog and toad infestation.
4 NEVER attempt to put a new set of tree lights on after all the other decorations are already on the tree. Aaarggh!

Apart from that it was all good fun!

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and peaceful holiday and I hope you are looking forward to a creative 2016!

And don't forget you have until December 31st to send me your favourite Art Diary page - I'm loving seeing what you've all done!

Happy Christmas Everyone!
Linda x


  1. Amelie's new running joke is that "maybe there's a frog hiding under there Mommy?", thanks Grandad!

  2. THANK YOU for your recounting of a family memory-in-the-making!!! My morning cuppa (sans mince pies) was nearly my demise as I giggled at the mind pictures created. I believe it must be one of "Murphy's Laws" that such lights react in such a manner. Maybe it's that somehow they 'know' when they are placed in an ascending vertical pattern as opposed to the comfortable mass on the carpet.....just a suggestion! The toad/frog experience could have been something from our early years,here on our little slice of MN rural heaven. I loved every word and thank you for a magnificent 'day-brightener'!!! Hugs and blessings always..........

  3. I'm still chuckling! Thank you for the nearly-Christmas giggle. I will put up my not-at-all-real table-top "mini tree" this afternoon...My challenge being not froggies, but one still-young puss-cat! Blessings to you all for Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  4. Oh Linda.... hilarious really brightened up my day!
    Have a fabulous Christmas with all your family, don't forget to keep an eye out for amphibians and the odd drangonfly nymph (they always crawl out of anything I take out of the pond)!!! Have fun.

  5. You made me laugh out loud! What an escapade! Glad the tree is now safely installed, dry & hopefully wildlife-free. have a wonderful Christmas!

  6. You couldn't make it up could you! Lol. Happy Christmas and have a fab New Year.

  7. This is wonderful. I began by thinking what a good idea the pond was (we do have one) and ended by reading the whole thing to my husband who said I must add our frog story. It does not have Christmas in it though. Our house is built into the side of a hill and the spare room/study has small high windows at the level of the back garden. We never open them but several years ago my sister came to stay and knowing she likes fresh air we did. When she came to go to bed there was a frog posed on her nightdress on the futon. Her first reaction was that my husband had played a practical joke on her but no. Getting it out was not easy. Pick it up in a tea towel, carry it upstairs avoiding all cats and then out into the garden which is at first floor level. Although it was summer it had been very wet so I understand your problem! I hope that after all that you have a lovely toad and frog free Christmas.

  8. oh thats made me laugh, what a story. Sending Christmas wishes to you, your family and all the readers of your blog/DMTV. Its having resources like this, and stories about frogs, that keeps me going. xxx

  9. Like many others, I read this with a lot of chuckling and my morning coffee. I must have gotten a little loud, because hubby came out sleepy eyed and wanted to know the joke. I read it to him and halfway through he was laughing. I think there might be a few toad ornaments in your future. Amelie will remember this Christmas forever. Wishing you and your's the merriest of holidays and much joy and creating in the new year. Pencils are sharpened, new journal purchased, and I'm ready when you are. Cheers! (I now have the desire to bake mince tarts. I didn't this year as my Dad passed and he was the biggest fan of them. Have to keep the traditions alive, I guess.)

  10. I suspect we will be seeing something about a 'frog' in one of your journals in the future???

  11. Lovely story, I enjoyed reading it. Best wishes for you and your family!

  12. I'm pleased that everyone enjoyed the tale of the tree! Although I have been very vigilant you'll all be pleased to hear there have been no more sightings of wildlife in the house. Thank you for taking the time to leave comments and such lovely ones at that! Laura and I wish you all a Happy and frog free Christmas.

  13. I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time, but your delightful post was so funny to read, you'll never forget this Christmas!! Thanks for all your fabulous posts and videos throughout the year, I've thoroughly enjoyed them, and look forward to another year with you and Laura. All the best to your family