Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Stable of Playpeople

My youngest has fully recovered from his ordeal, and is now in roaring form, having slept for 36hrs and been pumped full of vitamins.

On the strength of his perky state, and in an effort to catch up with the accumulating retard, we programmed our trip to Botanic to buy the Christmas tree for last Monday evening. Braving the home-bound traffic, we ventured out en famille on this traditional quest and mooch amongst the thoroughly desirable items on sale.

The shop was quite peaceful at 6.20pm on a Monday evening, but as it shut at 7pm, we had to make sure our main purpose was fulfilled, and thus made straight for the Christmas tree section. I love the smell of real trees, and while I know it's not really a serious ecological act to buy a cut tree and chuck it after a couple of weeks, at least at Botanic I know that the trees are grown from renewable sources, and livelihoods are maintained.

The cheapest ones are the Epicea, which lose their needles at the drop of a hat unless you spray with non-ecological needle spray, but have a lovely smell, and densely packed branches. Botanic thrust them into a stand made of half chunk of trunk, and put them through a metal tunnel so they come out wrapped in nylon netting. With our tree standing proudly though tightly bound on our trolley, we trundled over to the deccies section.

There, I dream of living in a home where one can design Christmas decorations to fit in with a languid lifestyle, where money is no object, and people gasp at the style and elegance of one's creativity.

Alas and alack, I have neither the time nor the money to fritter away on decorating my child-filled abode with pricey and sophisticated baubles. However, I always buy at least one deccie to add to my collection. This year, I decided it would have to be a stable. Just the stable. The little figures that go in it cost 10.50Eur each which means that we'll have to make it a project. The boys were charged with the task of finding fitting elements from the debris in their bedroom to inhabit it for the duration of Christmas.

This is the result:
The 'baby Jesus' is a mini Lego Star Wars character who is, for the moment, lurking behind the stable awaiting his grand entrance, and around the sitting room, three Kings are making their grandiose way towards the humble birthplace.

Ulysse finds it terribly amusing to scratch at the moss and see it come away in his claws, after which, he knocks poor 'Mary' and 'Joseph' over and onto the floor, usually into the clothes basket which is ever full and awaiting attention underneath.

Christmas is coming to the Red House, however. The tree is up and decorated and twinkling, the tiny poinsettias which I also bought in Botanic have found a home on the piano and I just need to finish putting up the stairs lights, piano lights and anywhere else I can possibly fix lights to lights. I will place some presents round the tree this weekend whilst the boys are away, and hopefully finish my Christmas shopping in town.

Unless someone else falls ill....


  1. A stable of play people ? Star Wars characters ?

    Couldn't help but think of the famous Star wars bar scene, with all the rubbish of the galaxy, quote unquote. Could your lads be recreating it, albeit subconsciously ?

    Was it really a star the Three Wise Men were following ?

  2. I love Botanic! We had a branch not far from where I lived in Toulouse and I would often take myself down there just to wander! Unfortunately it doesn't exist in Switzerland - even if it did there wouldn't be much point in buying for my garden here as at this altitude we have spring, summer and autumn in three months!

    When we started our creche, I used to buy three santons a year in Aix and slowly we managed to get quite a few characters - that kind of fizzled out and among our santons we seem to still have rather a lot of Playmobil people and objects - it's rather a strange sight!

    The decorations come down from the loft this weekend - if we can find them - and the tree this year is going on the terrace outside the drawing room window. My children always want a tree 2m high - what they forget is its girth and last Christmas we were all huddled in a few square metres of the room while the tree stood there in all its glory (short-lived glory as Angus raided the chocs and the cats decided it was more fun to climb the tree inside with all the glittering decorations rather than boring old trees outside that had no shiny baubles to knock off).

    I am off on a tree quest today, which is looking a little desperate!

  3. Trust that nice Louise to bring it back to terra firma, and earth-bound Christmas, just as it was starting to get interesting.

  4. Benjy: I doubt it. It was and easy choice between Playmobil or small green plastic soldiers.

    Louise: I was wondering if I could get a job lot somewhere in the sales. Maybe I'll peruse Ebay... I'm not sure beautiful santons are a good idea chez nous because of the cat.

  5. Sarah, might I suggest you buy some decorative red fairy lights to go with the red house. You could then set up a red light district.

  6. Sorry "Benjy" / Colin - I grew out of Star Wars light years ago!

    Roo, where do you get these totally silly remarks from?

  7. Sorry "Louise"/Sarah/ Widow Twankie or whoever

    If you had watched more Star Wars, you would know that a light-year is a unit of distance, not time. So there, you strange composite alien life form, you.

    Still, it's better than being the bug-eyed monster from Orleans.

  8. Why Roo, would you come and pay me a call? (ho ho, geddit?)

  9. I'm pleased to see that you added that last sentence. No sense in tempting fate.
    I like the look of your creche and the willingness of the boys to participate.
    After a few years of doing it all myself this year my daughter helped me. It was very companionable and reminded me of when we all used to do it together...

  10. Angela, the boys had a lovely time decorating the tree and rummaging around in their room looking for suitable Playpeople. I wonder how long such family participation will last.

  11. Sarah Of course I will call. How kind of you to invite me. With just the red house and the redlights to go on I may have difficulty in finding you. Montpellier is a big place. Would you mind sitting in the window wearing Colinr's striped thongs, then I think I would have no difficulty.

  12. I think Roo, that you should organise to meet Sarah on la place de la Comedie and it should be YOU with a pair of red thongs on (nothing else) - I think I'd drive down to Montpellier just for the laugh!

  13. Thanks for pointing out the bad link to ColinR on my site, Sarah. Problem now fixed. Feel free to zap this comment. Don't want to spoil the flow of festive inanity, do we ?

  14. Wait a minute Louise that's not fair. Sarah is a ravishing 35 year old who will look very good in a thong. I am a less than ravishing more than 35 year old. Turkey time is here and I am not counting on getting in shape. Further you want to expose me to the cold wintry weather. You're a cruel, heartless woman.

  15. I suggested Montpellier - it's not particularly cold there at Christmas. It's not like here, where I don't think you would last very long in your thong!

  16. With Richard d'Orleans butting into our Christmas fun with a thong to boot...he could not even get a goog laugh out of us. Why does anyone answer him anyway?

    Lets get back to good old Xmas fun.

    I thought the elves creche was really super - and much more than if you had been dashing round buying easily "chic" stuff. The heart you put into it and the trouble and fun they go to do it makes very very pricy!!!!


  17. 35? Not quite.

    It was pretty chilly here this morning at 1°C. Roo in a thong in this weather would be sight to behold!

  18. ng ? Nathalie Gettliffe ? Canadian jails give their inmates internet access ?

    You're on the wrong site, Nathalie. Your one-man fan club runs a blog called Salut !

  19. NG is not nathalie gettliffe, but Nutty Granny.

  20. What makes you ask that, roo?

  21. The NG seems to have the same character defects as the CB. Which is strange since she claims to be French.

  22. For someone to bandy around the expression "character defect" on a blog simply shows that individual for what he is: an insufferable prig, with an emotional age of 13.

  23. Colinb you’re never going to be happy over here. You’re too English. You have a stereotyped fish and chip brain. No flexibility, no adaptability. Total inability to perceive nuances, accommodate incongruity. Brain dead.

  24. It takes an ignoremus to use fish and chips as a derogatory metaphor. Doesn't the Prig of Orleans know that they represent excellent all-round nutrition: first class protein, starchy complex carbohydrates (the recommended mainstay of every healthy meal) and vegetable oil, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, with some polyunsat's and vitamin E for good measure.

    The general tenor of his remarks, here and elsewhere, over many months, would lead one to conclude that his brains are more comparable with the contents of the jar that's been sitting forgotten under the chippy's counter, gathering cobwebs. The faded label reads "Pickled Onions, Best Before 1987", and the contents have, needless to say, gone all mushy.

  25. That's the second time now that the Prig of Orleans has entered text, blue and underlined, which is just that - not a link to another site. Yet another example, if one were needed, of a sad individual fitting those words of Bob Dylan: " And you don't understand what's happening, do you, Mr. .... ?"

    He's presumably been labouring under the misapprehension that people have been employing a blue underlined font purely for effect. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.


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