Monthly Archives: December 2021

Christmas (De)Lights

Yes, I know it’s coming up to Christmas, even if the storm whatever it’s called that’s howling outside seems to think it’s October or November!

My wife insisted that it’s time for a real Christmas tree to go up in the Living Room. I agree, though it’s a tough ask to expect a Christmas tree to last all December, and a bit of January without shedding all its needles just when it’s supposed to look at it best. I’m a bit of a grouch, aren’t I?

Once the tree’s up, then the fun starts. Dressing a Tree wasn’t part of my training as a child, I don’t think. Maybe I would do bits of that job with/for my parents, but certainly not plan or design anything.

I went into Science at secondary school, rather than Arts, so I just don’t know what looks good on a tree, and what doesn’t – or most importantly why. Getting the tree standing straight is a major ask – dressing it attractively is a different issue entirely.

I recall a couple of years ago (before Covid) grand-daughter Lucy, on seeing my efforts with our christmas tree, removed all the tinselly strings that I had loaded the tree with and replaced them in a beautiful horizontal manner that made the tree look professional. I was really grateful, and overawed!

A significant part of the attractiveness of a tree involves the lights. These days they are apparently foolproof. In my day if one light failed, none of them worked (though I did have to throw away one ancient set of lights this year that I had stored from a previous Christmas, and that now didn’t work) That’s a very modern approach by me – though not very planet-saving.

One thing I was taught by my father, and significantly failed to learn, was that to do a task well, one has to do the preparation/foundation stuff carefully. With our many sets of lights, I’m afraid that I stuffed them into a box, as they came off last year’s tree – not exactly ‘organised’.

As the photo below shows, this does mean that next year (i.e. this one) the start point of the new arrangement involves a preparatory task that I should have done last year – getting the lights into a linear order. There seemed to be a few masses of wires clumped together rather like those virus clumps of branches and leaves that you see on diseased trees.

I adopted a strategy, well several strategies in sequence after each one failed, to tease out the lines of lights. It took a while, and several times I thought that there might not be a solution. I managed to make some of the tangles smaller, and even got the odd one to disappear entirely.

Falling back on my scientific training I tried to recall String Theory, which I’m sure would have helped if I put the effort in to try to understand it. Eventually, Yorkshire grit and determination, supported by the incredible loss of face I’d experience if I failed,  I got it sorted – and then put the lights up (with no apparent plan)

What do you think? Not bad, Eh? Well at least it’s done.

Now all I’ve got to do is see if I can get some, or better, all, of the lights to stop flashing in the multitude of sequences at different frequencies – otherwise I’ll have to watch TV in another room – It’ll drive me mad…

Happy Christmas!

Christmas Capers – Count on it!

The Club’s Christmas Lunch at the Oakdale Golf Club turned out to be quite an event.

The Probus Club’s Summer lunch had been very successful, but no-one knew how members would feel about venturing out in the current uncertainty about Covid. I was thinking that maybe we’d get perhaps thirty folk who were able and willing to join in a social occasion. How wrong I was!

There was a slow start to booking, but registrations for the event (and the all-important food choices) only started coming in as the deadline approached, and still continued after that. I turned up early for the event expecting 49 people, and sure enough the tables were laid out for that number – all seemed sweet.

Then, half an hour to go. And the first few signs of an issue.

One, then two, then four people arrived who I wasn’t expecting! Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring!

It would later turn out that I had bookings from all of them – but had neglected to put them onto my master spreadsheet. What a boo-boo! Apologies are one thing – but what to do about it?

The excellent staff at the golf Club swung into action. Additional chairs at expanded tables. Changes in the kitchen. Drinks are served…

It all went well despite/because of my mistake. There was a fine buzz of conversation around the room.  People seemed to be enjoying themselves, and eventually I joined in too. There’s only so much you can beat yourself up about – I now believe……

The food seemed to be well received. Service was inevitably a bit slow, but the conversation didn’t seem to flag.

Stuart’s ingenious raffle was excellent – finishing off the event in great style and providing great prizes, many of them for the Committee (my mark of a good raffle)

The long lunch set a good target for the upcoming walker’s ‘no walk’ lunch at William & Vic’s this week. The current record is finishing at 4pm from a 12.30 start, so it will take some beating. We like a challenge!

[Webmaster’s note: For more pictures of the event, go to the Photo Galleries page here]