Nothing could have prepared me for the tree that finally arrived. Usually we leave ordering a tree to the last minute. Each year we end up with a gaunt spindly thing, the arboreal worlds version of the runt of the litter. Not this year. The tree was enormous. It was all of six metres high and surrounded by wave upon wave of luxuriant branches. Impenetrable, verdant, eye poking girth.
A metre came off the top and another metre from the base before the thing was hoisted through a window on the first floor and hammered into its stand. Wilf watches the performance with interest. In its foreshortened version it fits, just. Some of the upper branches actually touch the ceiling but that gives it a seasonal charm. Then the annual pageant of getting the decorations down from the attic and the unanswerable question 'Where did you put the lights ?'. After an hours searching the lights remain elusive. Tree decorating delayed . Time to open a bottle of sanity restoring champagne.
Deep in the undergrowth the gardeners found an old eighteenth century moss and ivy covered weather vane. We've cleaned it up as best we can and set it on the brow of the hill overlooking the valley. Digbys Cedar of Lebanon on one side and a spot for Wilf, when its needed, nose to nose alongside. A place that gets the first and the last of the days light. The actions and memories that slowly turn a house into a home.
In the evening down into the valley for a gentle stroll under the setting sun with Wilf. It seems that he's somehow intolerant to the new medicine. Walk fifty yards, rest. Walk fifty yards, rest. Not a sound apart from his paws on the gravel, the water trickling in the brook, and the ocassional high pitched squeal of an eagle. Peace.