He is not residing with us just yet, and is currently sitting in his field nestled in the Sussex High Weald, but come early December, we will trundle over to Hadlow Down to ceremoniously dig him up and bring him inside.
Yes, last weekend we went and picked out our 2009 Christmas tree at the fabulous Wilderness Woods.
A chilly day, and after rain (which always seems to happen, and I spend most of my time trying not to fall on my arse on the wet and compacted chestnut leaves), the sun was trying to shine and life was good. We wandered down the very beaten track to the tree field, joined by other families and dogs and passed through the (chestnut) rabbit gate and into the mass of spruce and fir.
The view is always stunning (I wrote about it last year here) but people really seem to have gone to town with their identification decorations this year. Tinsel, baubles, laminated signs, toy robins (I did worry about these, given that the real thing are so territorial), and other assorted highly visible bits and bobs adorn the trees - both to act as an indentification aid, and a sort of 'ownership personalisation' I suppose. We did not bring anything and just stuck to our tag and zippy tie instead.
There were a few contenders for Doug the Third this year, but ultimately we plumped for a beautiful fellow who stood slightly alone (very important when planning the logistics of digging him up), was the correct height and was well compacted. A real beauty.
It is very stupid, but I always feel a slight panic when in the field until we have got our tag secured around our Chosen One. What if I see a contender, then leave him only to return and find another tag on him? It feels like a race with everyone else in the field - who will get their perfect tree first?
Of course, this is all tosh, as all of the trees are beautiful in their own way, and there will be always a perfect example for every visitor. We even saw a most odd tree - about 12 foot tall, completely denuded from the ground up to about 4 foot high, with a mohican type crest of branches from then on. It was definitely a looker, and low and behold, had been reserved by a happy visitor.
We then had the task of finding and reserving a tree for my Mum and Dad ( a blue spruce this time - we prefer the Douglas Fir as they transplant well after Christmas). This was harder than finding ours, but after a little hunt, Bluey the Third was found.
And as we had spent out so much effort and energy, we had to award ourselves with tea and cake, so we sat in the pale afternoon sun on a bench under the trees eating Coffee and Walnut cake, Elderflower and Gooseberry cake (using locally made cordials and jams) and good old Sussex tea.
Whilst there, we sat and watched a children's party who were trooping off into the woods to build bivvies and cook sausages and marshmallows. I was very jealous and wished I was six once more.
So, with the woods full of whoops and shouts, and our tums full of home made wonders, we wandered home to cook chestnuts and look forward to December, safe in the knowledge that Doug the Third is sitting and waiting patiently for our return .
And yes, we listened to the Rat Pack Christmas album in the car there and back - singing at the tops of our voices out of my open window and into the chilly air.
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