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Barmy Blue's Bland Blog

It's Normal to Name Christmas Trees

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Today's bin day (well it should be anyway. It hasn't happened yet. I plan to be in bed when it happens so as not to get sad. It's also normal to be sad when you're Christmas tree gets taken away right?)
One of the most recent blog entries I did was on this subject a couple of years ago.
Why do I always seem to blog around Christmas/New Year?
Because I used to write up the daily contents of my advent calendars in my teens.....early 20's too? Definately in my teens.
Not sure when I started naming the trees either.
Teens/late 20's?
We've had (and these will not be in order nor can I remember all of them);
Magnus - Latin for great (or so I was told in a book about a giant mouse. His mother was a regular farm mouse but his father was a regular farm mouse who was smart and liked reading. During her pregnancy she ate pills the farmer used to fatten up pigs and miraculously the rest of the litter were normal but this one male was born double the size, so she says something along the lines of "you're supposed to be smart, what's Latin for great?" or was it big? either way he says Magnus and that's the giant baby's name. Can't remember the name of the book. In the end both he and his parents get kept as pets of an exterminator (because this is his prized "rat mouse" and it freaked out at him when he trapped the parents so he had to keep them too))
Bruce - as in spruce
Norman - because for a moment I misread Nordman and thought hey why not Norman? Since we'd already had Bruce the spruce.
Douglas - as in Douglas fir even though they're all Nordman Firs I figured why not.
(the're all male for some reason, save for the one year we couldn't get our usual Nordman Fir. She was a spiky one but I forgot her name)
What one did I write about? Can't remember but there have been others.
This....Ah it was Stanley. Stanley was actually the name I gave to a mouse I killed several years prior. It was just the first name that came to mind. I don't know mice so it wouldn't surprise me if it were actually female. I didn't care to check. (I might have written this up back then. It was back when we had another mouse problem (ran on a yearly cycle. We'd have them. Eventually they seemed to go (either on their own or by our humane methods, or the poison next door got put down) then we'd have a period of peace then they'd reappear). It had been a quiet time. Mum was in the bath and I went into the kitchen to find a mouse stumbling around in the middle of the floor. Clearly there's something wrong because if you've had mice you know they're fast little ****ers that startle you (even when you're not actually scared of mice) because of how quickly they zip by in the corner of your eye. So this one clearly had a problem. Was clearly sick/dying. As much as I love animals I'm not taking this pest to the vet (this was quite some time after my cat died so we didn't have any pets) I scooped it into a bird food bucket, offered a little food and water and went to get Mum's opinion (yes, she was still in the bath throughout this story, it wasn't that long) she agreed with me and then I took some time to actually work out the best was to put it out of it's misery without actually touching it/having it touch any aparatus that couldn't be thrown away instantly (could bite/be diseased), torturing it or making it bleed. In the end I opted for a few sheets of folded up kitchen roll in either hand (because I didn't have suitable gloves), scooping the poor thing in my hands then squeezing it. I didn't want to crush it but how exactly do you suffocate a mouse quickly? I steadily applied more preassure. Obviously I stopped being able to feel it moving. But the effort and also the gravity of what I was doing made my hands tremble so I had to take it back up to mum for a second opinion on whether or not I'd killed it. Was it still moving or was that my hands shaking? It appeared to be dead. Burried it in the garden. Only vermin so far to get a funeral. Only animal I've intentionally killed (as far as I know there haven't been any unintentional killings but you never truly know the impact you've had on the world around you so that's why I clarify "intentionally").)
The tree Stanley was quite a few years after that but I remembered the mouse. Was it in good taste to give a christmas tree the same name as the mouse I killed? Well why not?

And this years tree is Oz the Great and Powerful.
His full name must always be said because it's cool but also because Oz is the nickname I gave to something else, it's shortened from his full name. I wasn't sure about it because I have a feeling that last year's tree was called Oz for the same reason but that was when the thing in question had a different name so it was okay. But I decided that if last years trees was indeed Oz then referring to this years tree by his full name, Oz the Great and Powerful, would be fine. Like how my first pumpkin was Beelzekin and the next year I named the pumpkin Lord Beelzekin. Two completely different things.

Oz the Great and Powerful has been a good tree. He only had one drink once we put him up, which would explain why he's dropping needles. He still looks and smells fabulous and every time I take the dog out I can smell him when I leave and come back (even though he's propped up on the bins). I'll miss him but this is the way of things. I wonder if they'll take him. This year I've either seen trees chopped into bits and put in gardening bags or just dumped in the street. The council usually have the trees collected with the recycling. it doesn't matter if they're whole or not. I wonder if they've changed that practice. Well if they have it doesn't matter. We don't have any gardening bags (they have to be "biodegradable ones you buy from the council. They're crap. They're designed for leaves and grass cuttings. We have a garden of thorns and thick branches and I like to pack the bags as well as I can. No sense wasting bags. It's either buy the bags every year or two or buy a seperate bin we won't even use most of the year, don't have room for and other people will assume they have the right to use).
Well. If they don't take him I can enjoy him as he rots at least.
I guarantee if I told my dad about it he'd say the same thing he's been saying for years in these situations "take it down the dump" He seems pretty obsesssed with the dump. We don't even know where our local dump is (it would probably be called the recycling facility/waste management center or something rather than "the dump" these days but still.) When ever he tells us how we need to clean up and throw things out the dump comes up. "have a sort through. Every week take a box to the dump" or something. I don't think he even knows where the dump is either. The one time we did have something dump worthy he said "just put it in the street" but I got mad at him. We have a huge problem with people dumping their **** on the street round here and it's disgusting, It's gotten worse in recent years too. Nope. Either we deal with it some time later or YOU take it. We are not putting it in the street. And since he has a truck and apparently knows where dumps are it's easier if he takes it there and then. Alternatively you can arrange bulky item collection from the council but you'll have to pay for it. (I've only done that once, with the old fridge and that actually coincided with a period of "free bulky item collection if you inform us before hand at this time" event the council had. So that was handy).

I'm always nervous before and just after a tree goes. In recent years I've developed a fear that there might still be a decoration on it that I didn't see (even though I checked it three times) and it would be horrible if we lost one of the old decorations we've always had (we have little old wooden angels for example. I used to play with them when I was little. While taking off decorations I'd cleared one side and was doing the back when I saw the pink one in a spot I thought I'd cleared. Now I'm paranoid that I might have left one on there. It's been so long that I've forgotten how many there should be. I can only vaguely remember the colours there should be. What if we lost beloved decorations over the years because they were still on the tree? But calm down. I did check over it 3 times in detail. One of those times actually outside in sunlight so I could see. Another time with a torch (because the other reason for my anxiety is the light's not so good from the window this time of year and it was daytime so I didn't have the light on. Though I did put it on for a spell then off again))
This year, as with last year (though I didn't write about it), we did not buy a wreath.
In previous years I liked that the tree had a companion to go with it.
Last year there were no wreaths where we got our tree and I had also fallen out of love with the idea of buying a wreath, especially since we had about 3 wire frames from previous wreaths and cut off perfectly good branches from our Christmas trees every year (it's so they fit the stand. When we had the massive old bucket we used to have to take off more) it seemed such a waste. So last year I got an old frame (I undid the wreath for recycling. One year I didn't bother and that year they didn't take it. Another year they did but for at least 2 years I did seperate the werath for easier recycling). I snipped bits off the cut branches and tried to stuff them into the frame. It took ages, Started easy but got fiddly, didn't turn out exactly like a professional one but looked pretty darn good (Or so I think at least). The first 2 wreaths we got came with decorations (they were small ones so not overly decorated) Oh no. 3. I think it was 3 but they steadily declined. First one, bow and some pinecones. Second one bow (maybe pinecones?), 3rd one a ribbon, all subsequent ones just plain. I accesorised them with the previous decorations. So that's the other reason why I started wondering if it was worth it to keep buying them.
Last years wreath I could have used the same decorations but then I had an idea. The previous year to that mum had gotten a mini Christmas tree for a bit of fun for work with a little string of lights with little decorations. After Christmas the tree came home with her. (It died over the Summer like Shanghai (the little dumped Christmas tree we "rescued" when I was still at school and had a pirate fixation, I wrote about it back then so you should be able to find the story if you really want)) But I kept the lights. So I had the bright idea...Heh. put the lights on the wreath, then it wouldn't need any further decoration and would have a cool light feature that no previous wreath had. I also put on the simple bow. It looked great. That year I also got a "bouquet" of winter foliage to add a little more festivity. It had 2 different evergreens, some sticks with red berries, some gold painted twigs and leaves and pinecones on sticks. I kept it there long after Christmas because (as foliage and not flowers) It didn't look dead. Had to accept defeat when the mouldy water started attracting flies though.
But at that time I thought, wow. This is pretty. I bet it would look great in a wreath.
And so to this year.
I made a wreath like last year but rather than adding the lights (Mum brought home a little tree again last year....wait. No. She brought home the lights from the first one but NOT the tree. She brought home the little tree last year when she left for the holiday because it would die all alone at work. It died in the garden during that God awful Summer. Ugh. You want proof of climate change? Look at our weather reports. Never in my lifetime has the majority of our weather map been red. Orange with maybe one or two hotspots of red in a particularly bad year. But majority red never. That's for the weather map of places like Spain during holiday season (which is why a UK weather report might include it, for "if you're going away"))
But yeah. 2 years. 2 little trees for work. 2 different sets of little lights. Is what I was going for.
So this year I had the choice of previous wreath decorations and/or 2 mini sets of lights. But instead I went for last years idea and got another bouquet. With a base of tree offcuts I then added bits of the foliage and it looked great.
It's not a whole wreath worth of a different plant but it is the contents of a bouquet of several plants.
So last year's tree went out with it's own clippings so it didn't have company. Which seemed a little sad.
But this year's tree, Oz the Great and Powerful, is going out with his own clippings AND pieces of other plants. (the rest of the bouquet is also out. Only one or two little pieces would fit on the wreath so I put the rest in the same vase as last year (only slightly hindered by the fact that it's full of bits of lavender I collected in the Summer. Several neighbours have lavender in their front gardens, it bloomed. Some cut it back, some snapped, fell off from trauma such as a gate closing and some were probably picked off by passers by then left on the floor. However they came to be there. Over the summer while walking the dog I'd look out for any lavender on the ground. It would be wrong to pick the lavender, even though it's growing over onto a public area, but it can't be wrong to collect it once it's fallen. It's doing a public service really. Save the street sweepers a job. So if I saw any bits of lavender on the floor I'd bring it home and it ended going up itn the vase. All various lengths. Mostly short but some very long. I put a small bunch of the most reasonably sized ones into a tiny vase as a decoration for a shelf I made (well, repurposed. That's a story for another time) and the rest I just put in the vase. Lavender reminds me of Summer time when we'd go to the Lavender Farm in Jersey.) The foliage in the vase was a little sparse since I'd snipped bits off for the wreath but that was no problem since I stil had branches of Oz the Great and Powerful going to waste. So I put in a few sprigs of Oz the Great and Powerful to pad it out and it looked very nice.)
The nice thing is that, as I don't have a bag to but gerden waste in, I've just put the cuttings and so on in the branches of Oz the Great and Powerful. So even though he's lost all his Christmas decorations, hopefully, he still has decorations so I can still see him in Christmas glory. Well. Until the bin men come at least.
I'll miss you Oz the Great and Powerful but you're not alone. You have cuttings of fellow evergreens to go with you (and no doubt many abandoned trees. Seriously. You don't need to dump them you dumb ****s. Just put them with the bins. (Of course I can only speak for our area. If you're waste collection does not collect Christmas trees and you have to dispose of them a different way you are ABSOLUTELY NOT a dumb ****.))

Well. If I don't want to see and/or hear Oz the Great and Powerful being taken away I'd better toddle off to be now. Hopefully I'll be asleep before I start hearing the bin lorry driving round the streets.
If I have the time I might go out and have a final goodbye, look and sniff of our lovelly Christmas tree Oz the Great and Powerful. And maybe a final check for decorations to put my mind at rest.