Yesterday afternoon, I achieved a lifetime ambition. I say 'lifetime', but in truth, it's been playing on my mind since around May, but notwithstanding that, it is now done.
Some time ago, (probably around May at a guess) I was at the Mother's house. I happened to mention the fairy lights twinkling in her tree outside her house, and said to her something along the lines of 'Christmas being well and truly over'.
'Oh they stay there all year round', she explained. 'We got so fed up of the curry delivery man not being able to find us, that they are now a landmark for him. We just tell him to pull off the road where the twinkly tree is. It's worked so far', she added as she saw my disbelief.
But they looked really pretty, so I decided that I would get some of these solar powered lights for my back garden. Of course, these would not be put up to direct the curry delivery man. He's been here so many times (I have sons, don't be surprised) that my neighbours have started asking whether he is related. No. These were just to make my garden look pretty.
There have been a couple of stumbling blocks along the way. Having spent two hours putting the first set up on Monday, it wasn't until I reached the last set that I realised that they weren't solar powered, but needed a bloody plug. Muttering about companies who stick rogue items in 'room sets' hoping that you won't notice that the set you want is the only non solar powered one, I took them all down again. It was interesting trying to get them back into the tiny boxes they had come in. Somewhere, there is a college which teaches people how to pack large items in boxes which look too small. These are the same people who invented bloody packaging for electric toothbrushes. Don't think I don't know what you're up to...
Anyway, the replacement ones turned up yesterday, and these were solar powered. They were also half the expected size and each set was packaged so tightly into its box, that I was praying that I wouldn't have to try and get them back in there. But they were perfect, and once all the sets were up, I was half a meter short, but this wasn't a massive problem. A little hedge adjustment, and hey presto, we were cooking on gas (or solar power if you want to be picky).
I then had to wait till it got dark to see what would happen. You see, these lights had two settings. The first was a twinkling light, which as we all know, can only be used over Christmas. I wanted the setting which meant they were all on at the same time.
So as the sun went down last night, one by one, the sets of lights lit up. Unfortunately, they didn't all light up at the same time, and I was up and down like a whore's drawers tweaking one set, then sitting down, only to have to get up again as another one came on.
But eventually, they were all on, and I could sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labours.
For about seven seconds before I dropped off to sleep on the sofa...