It’s A Spaghetti Western

Storm Brendon, council Christmas tree disposal policy and a long walk home don’t appear to have much in common. Put them all together and you can live through your own Spaghetti western.

It’s not that the good citizens of Clapham are having a hairy panic seeing Clint Eastwood emerge through the tumbleweed blowing down the High Street. The good, the bad and the ugly of South London have all run home and locked the doors as the wind gets up, the rain comes down and hundreds of Christmas trees get going. It’s just me and the trees blowing about in the dark.

You’d think that by the middle of January all those abandoned Christmas trees would have made it to wood chip. They’ve been hanging about waiting for kerb side collection for weeks now. Fed up with waiting they’ve broken free under cover of a dark and stormy night. The’re roaming about South London like tumbleweed. The challenge for me is that they are invisible in the dark. That’s why I’m taking a position on abandoned trees.

Position one is involuntary: I do not spy a tree and think how wonderful it would be to take a moment to climb up into the branches of that tree and rest, recumbent, pre-Raphaelite inspired. A large tree, that some poor person has had to drag home with them, is now blowing about in the street, waiting for the moment when it and I become connected. As introductions go, it is “prickly” and “in your face”. Our acquaintance is short lived and after a brisk exchange, the free roaming Christmas tree blows away down the road. It all happened so fast. I couldn’t give a description.

Position two is also involuntary. I’m not a tree hugger. They’re not my type. I’m not seeking out a prickly embrace, but a prickly embrace is what I get. A large, full bodied tree, gets me square on. I was looking out for it, but didn’t see it, and now I had my arms around it. Then the tree blew on and I was left fighting with thin air.

Position three is the very position I want to avoid. I am brought to my knees by a free roaming Christmas tree. It does not have the brawn of tree number two. Properly secured in a nylon net, it is the kind of tree you could probably carry home, under an arm, on the bus. What it lacks in bulk, it more than makes up for in agility. It knocks me off my feet. You could say that tree was a mugger of a tree. I put up a strong defence and after a few choice words pick myself up and slope off.

Normal defences are useless. The long cane is not designed for the navigation of tumbleweed Christmas trees. There is nothing for it but to keep going and take it slow, listening out for any front doors that might open and anyone taking a chance to jettison any late abandoned Christmas trees misiles coming my way. It wasn’t quick. It wasn’t pretty, but I made it home.

Position Four is this: It’s fourteen days since the twelve days of Christmas. Trees are still bobbing about in the street. I’ve got the needle about it. I don’t mean to be scratchy but it’s

a hazard too far for this “blinky”. I’ve got the scars to prove it. I’m not interested in being bowled over by a tree. Where’s Clint Eastwood when you need him?

It’s coming back to me now. He went into politics and became the Mayor of Carmel. He’s probably been up to

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