I don't have any pictures from this time so I will try to paint one with words.
December 1981. We were living here, in this same house, having moved in on 7th November. So, we had no money, again. It was time to put up the Christmas decorations and the tree. I like the tree to go up on Christmas Eve but Mr M likes it there where we can see it as early in December as is possible. We didn't have an artificial tree and no money to buy one. The house had carpets that came with it but.......... If I say that it had been let in rooms to students before we bought it you can have some idea of the quality and colour of the carpets can't you? There were lots of things that needed doing to the house and the tiny patch of what we laughingly referred to as "the Front Garden", one of which was to remove the Leylandii trees that were growing next to the front path. The path is only 12 feet long and there were five of these darned trees growing along it, each one was around 15 feet tall and as we all know the Leylandii is a hybrid thing that grows around a metre a year and can reach more than 10 metres (that's more than 30 feet) if not severely cut back and controlled.
While I was in work, I was a Tupperware manager then and was out every day doing parties, Mr M decided that one of those leylandii would be perfect as our Christmas tree so without thinking of the height of the ceiling and the height of the tree he cut down the one nearest to the front door and dragged it into the front room He had the help of my sons while doing this
"Oh dear," he thought, "It's a little too tall, I'll cut some off the bottom." they lifted it up, laid it horizontally across the back of the sofa and cut three feet off the bottom with the saw used to cut it down. they didn't cut the sofa, they were very careful. they tried to stand it up but it was still too tall.
OH, OH you have to keep in mind that Mr M had put the fairy on the top as this was easier before you put up the tree.
He laid it across the sofa again and cut off another substantial length. He tried to stand it up again and once more the fairy had her head battered against the ceiling. Still too tall. Once more the fairy swooped across the room and waggled about as he sawed another couple of feet off the bottom of the tree.
He tried the tree upright and as long as she kept her knees bent the fairy just brushed the ceiling with her wand. At this point I arrived home from work and as I came in through the front door Mr M was there helping me to take off my coat so he could show me what a brilliant idea he had and how they had done this as a lovely surprise for me.
It was a lovely surprise, as I waded through the sawdust to the tree I could see that he had saved us lots of money and the delight on their faces outweighed any crossness about the marks all over the sofa and the sackful of sawdust on the floor. We all shovelled it into a plastic sack and put it in the cellar to use for the rabbits we had then - see more money saved. I used the vacuum cleaner to clean up what was left. Well, I tried. We had that carpet for 12 years before we could afford to replace it and every time I used the vacuum cleaner I sucked more sawdust out of the carpet.
So there you are, a Christmas remembered