Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fir Goodness' Sake

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fir Goodness' Sake

Article excerpt

Byline: THE CHRONICLE MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2016 gary BAINBRIDGE One man's struggle with the 21st century Follow Gary on Twitter: @Gary_Bainbridge or email him at

YOU have probably forgotten about Christmas by now. It was that period we had a couple of weeks ago when we ate chocolate for breakfast and cheese at half-past eleven at night and did not know what day it was.

You must remember it. You had an actual tree in your living room. How on Earth can you forget that? This Christmas I chose to have a real tree, because what signifies the optimism of Christmas better than a dead plant slowly drying out and dropping stabby vacuum cleanerresistant needles into your carpet? As is usual with my life, I got caught up in the sheer glamour and romance of having a real tree, and forgot to take into account the fact that at some point I would have to find a way of getting rid of it.

And after New Year's Day, the reality of the situation began to sink in. I do not own a car. The nearest area designated by my council as a Christmas tree dump was a mile and a half away. I live on the second floor. The tree was roughly two and a half times the width of every door.

I do not want you to think that I seriously considered leaving the tree in the living room as a conversation piece. That would make me some sort of lazy monster, and that is not the impression I would like you to have of me, but if I could have got away with it that is exactly what would have happened.

Briefly, I considered taking a hacksaw to the tree, but that would have led to sawdust joining the evil spines already locked into my carpet, just lying in wait for a post-shower bare foot.

But every option just led back to the conclusion that I would have to carry a six and a half feet tall, three feet wide tree down two floors and then one and a half miles up the road. On foot.

I grasped the nettle. I wish it had been a nettle. It might not have stung so much. In reality I grasped a heavy and prickly fir tree, while wearing gloves which had seemed thick enough when first donned.

Carefully, I lifted the tree, taking pains not to drop any unnecessary needles on the carpet, and passed it through the first door. …

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