145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162
There are many things a man can do well. The list is almost endless. Nearly as long as the one for women. However putting up Christmas decorations is not included. As for being expected to deal with the evilest creation from the very depths of Lucifer’s warped mind, Fairy Lights, then that is as good a reason for running away to sea as I can think of right now.
Two hours and three skinned knuckles later I emerged from the labyrinth I fondly refer to as my garage with four, possibly five as it was difficult to tell, tangles of Christmas Fairy Lights.
Every January strands of kitsch and infuriating little lights that somehow managed to survive twelve days of seasonal festivity, along with France’s notorious electricity supply with its violently fluctuating voltage ,to say nothing about the attentions of our homicidal cat, are carefully and lovingly removed from various locations around the house. Even more carefully these are pulled into neat, straight lines and then coiled patiently into perfectly matched and separate loops, before being packed away again and carried to a safe place in the garage for another year. No sooner than the garage door is closed however the sweet little lights, meant now to be slumbering in enforced hibernation, come alive and hosted by Goethe* start partying!
Revelries commence first by going walk-about. They are never, ever, to be found the following December where you had carefully secreted the little bastards in January! Next, each strand carefully and lovingly arranged so as to not foul and get tangled up with its neighbour actually emulates every conceivable ligature from the ‘Boy’s Own Book of Knots - Advanced Edition’, in triplicate!
With cut and bandaged hands following an altercation with the broken chandelier that had been waiting to pounce upon me from behind the lopsided bookcase that I really will get around to fixing one day I begin sorting out the tangles. This takes up the entire rest of Sunday morning. Including that nice part where I should have been down at our local bar cum restaurant sharing lurid stories about Carla Bruni with mes voisins.
Next and entrusting my life and property to the
electrical standards of a Far Eastern nation
that thinks nothing of using water to top up the fuel tanks of outbound foreign passenger
jets, even those carrying its own
nationals, or dyeing Asprin tablets pink then repackaging and selling them as Beta Blockers, I connect each strand up.
Lo! 50% to 60% of those little seed sized LEDs working on each strand can’t be all bad. No more than 70% worked even when the damned things were brand new! With that little bit of reassurance and in the absence of blue smoke or the fizzing sounds of arcing short circuits I proceed to string the little sods all around the house. This takes me well into the middle of the afternoon. About the time Memsahib comes back from her week-end jog around the village ‘Coffee Morning Mums’ to announce “I don’t want then there! Put the red ones on the other side and take down those big.ones. They look awful where you’ve put them!” etc., etc.
Finally, as dinner time approaches and just in time to switch on the telly to see the last of the credits for Top Gear disappear off the top of the screen I switch all the lights on.
Nothing, nowt, zilch! Not a glimmer. Not from any of them!
Another couple of hours fiddling with a screwdriver in each of the little green boxes housing the ‘Press button for' -
(1) Random Flicker
(2) Sequential Flicker
(3) Wave Flash
(4) Random Flash
(5) Sequential Flash
(6) Steady On
and all I could achieve was two broken finger nails, a bit of plastic schrapnel in my left eye and -
(0) Steady Off!
Bah, humbug. I’m sticking with tinsel and baubles!
I’ve finished lighting up now.
For another year anyway.
* Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Sorcerer's Apprentice. Remember? Oh never mind. Please yourself!