Wednesday, 24 December 2008

while shepherds washed their socks by night

December 23 is our traditional date for Christmas-tree sourcing. In the past we’ve had lovely living ones that have been planted out once they outgrew their pots, leaving rather nice green footprints to mark various places of residence. Somehow last year there was no potted tree, so telephonic enquiries were made of the Santa Christmas tree farm, about 15km down the road to check availability and discuss prices. Having established their willingness to do business I duly pootled along in the farm ute, to be greeted by a small and spotted but decidedly unfriendly canine. I generally love dogs but this one seemed to be snarling ‘kick me, kick me’.

The welcome offered by said hound was followed (eventually)… and reinforced… by the appearance of an acne-encrusted youth of singularly surly disposition whose demeanour suggested that he was being forced to offer service at gunpoint and who made me feel only slightly less comfortable than a pork chop at a bar mitzvah.

The maculate one rummaged in the recesses of a shed, extracted a small handsaw and a measuring stick and indicated I was to participate in their self-service program. I sallied forth as instructed. The trees were a depressing sight and had clearly been pruned by someone in the last stages of dementia. I eventually settled on one and applied myself to the felling. Some 40 minutes later I was still sawing away thinking dark thoughts about ringbarking the rest of the plantation before slinking away quietly. Fortunately further contemplation brought to mind the inevitable karmic ramifications of such an act and I desisted.

Eventually as I was dragging my prize down the hill to the ute the patriarch of the proprietorial family appeared, expressing surprise at my presence and requesting considerably more cash than had earlier been agreed on. I informed him of his offspring’s unusual approach to customer service, pointed out that Christmas-tree sellers (especially those who borrow Santa’s name) really ought not to resent doing business given the time of year, reminded him of his telephonic price quote and wished him a Merry Christmas…

This year the Youngest of the Three and I were determined not to repeat last year’s mistake. We visited the national park abutting my parents’ property at Mount Lofty and engaged in the removal of an exotic weed by felling a small pine tree growing amongst eucalypts on the western slops of the mountain. Oddly it seemed to get bigger and bigger as we dragged it back up the hill towards the ute which [once the prize was loaded] assumed the air of a tree on wheels. Thus cleverly disguised as a small forest we drove home to the farm.

And even though it is in Australia now politically incorrect to publicly wish ones fellows a Merry Christmas for fear of offending immigrants who have come here from other cultures, I hope you do indeed enjoy a lovely Christmas, dear reader. Have a good one, we’ll be doing our best! 


  1. As I was saying before Blogger decided to wipe out my last comment
    Ho ho ho...
    I find my own jokes the most amusing
    You, my new Blogger friend
    have achieved heights of eloquence and amusement far beyond my expectations
    (superlative after superlative)
    without making you blush
    you have a new fan
    Merry Christmas

  2. that, fine writer, was the winner of my personal favourite "christmas type" blog post so far!!! Merry Christmas India and may your new year be filled with all things ecological and sustainable and therefore beautifully colourful!

  3. Glad you cut a weed out of the National Park, we have been doing that for the past fifteen years, although this year we have a mistletoe instead. have a very Merry Christmas India, and a Wonderful Creative New Year


  4. HM. The best time of the year.

  5. Zalig kerstfeest en een gelukkig Nieuw Jaar.

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  8. Hi India,
    Hope you've had a great day. I love your blog and have had a giggle over it. Much better Kharma to just imagine doing the kicking and the ring barking. Hope your New year is a bright and colourful and rained on one.

  9. I welcome comments here... but the two that have been deleted [above] seemed to be quite blatant advertising for some financial scam or other and therefore not relevant to these pages.
    compliments of the season to you, but please find another way to spread the news of your product.

  10. Now that is a Christmas story! We can still say it here, so Merry Christma! You have a most interesting site, and I have enjoyed looking through it.

  11. happy hollidays (this is ok for each believe i thought) India again" fijne feestdagen", see you next year in our sweet countrie.