Me and Mr D (terrible grammar) have been married for 20 years now. In fact, in February 2012 it will be 21 years.
One of the Christmas Bucket List tasks has been to scan all our past Christmas photos so that we can have them all on our electronic photo frame. Previously we only had 2003 onwards as digital photos. If you're very, very good I might show you some photos from the Christmas Pasts sometime.
But for today here's the Christmas Trees of Past...omitting for some reason 2004 and 2005 because I can't currently find ANY photos of Christmas from those two years. I can't believe we didn't take any, it's slightly weird.
You'll notice the insides of 5 different flats/houses over the 20 years, and even within the lovely cottage that was our longest home, 4 different positions (2 different rooms) for the annual trees. I started collecting extra trees in more recent years, but I'll explain more as we go....
1991-1992 in 'Wrekin View' in Netley Hall, Shropshire. A flat right at the top of the main hall. You couldn't see the Wrekin from any of the windows. The flat had a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. We had to share a toilet (restroom) with everyone else living on the top floor and had to leave the flat to get to it. Behind that pink curtain was a window onto a sunken roof where the hall peacocks used to come and tap on our window for food.
The flat had two almost useless storage heaters, hence why the settee is inches from the open fire in the 1991 pic. It was usually there and beside it was a portable gas heater we probably used to much. We used to go to bed wearing several pairs of socks and layers of clothes despite using an electric blanket and you could ALWAYS see your breath in Autumn, Winter and Spring in the flat. AND, and I swear to you this is no joke....we kept a fire poker next to the toilet to break the ice on the water before using it. Ah, kids today, don't know how lucky they've got it!
The 1993 tree is in the living room of Stable Flat at Netley Hall. We'd moved up in the world, by moving out of the main hall into one of the servant cottages - this one being upstairs in the stable block. This one had it's own toilet - wey hey, luxury! It was slightly warmer as it didn't have 11 foot high ceiling and heat rose from the flat below us. On the right bottom side of the photo is a cat litter tray because we had recently rescued a mother cat and her 4 kittens from another resident of the Hall who was later taken away with serious mental health issues....after attempting to experiment on several animals around the estate having delusions that he was a vet.
I'm trying to remember where we got these trees each year, I know it was a local lumber yard somewhere. The 1991 one was our tallest tree ever, just over 10 foot. We went downhill from there, but have plans to change that next year!
1994 - I only have 4 photos of that Christmas, and only this one featured a tree. This was our first Christmas in our lovely cottage, our first home of our own (ie. not rented flats). We'd moved in September and it was arduous as the previous owner refused at first to move out even though she had our money. This might explain why we're using Mr D's 'white plaggy bag' tree that he used to have in his university flat. He was very proud of that tree, he'd bought it for a whole £1 in a sale in Ripon, North Yorkshire. As you can see he's flat out asleep. On his lap is our cat of over a year, Schmoggle Pop Tart. She was one of the kittens we rescued with her mum...we found loving homes for them all. By his feet is Tractor, a dog we'd recently got from a rescue centre. We had Tractor for years, and as you can see from 1994 and 1996, he loved lying in front of the fire.
1995 is the year we went to Mr D's parents house in Portsmouth - so this is their tree, I don't think we had one at home, or if we did it would have been the white plaggy bag one. 1996 we're back at the lovely cottage. Only a few presents around the tree as there's still only the two of us.
1998 - Tractor our ever faithful dog with his two cat friends, our cat Digby and babysitting Gulliver, who was the brother of Schmoggle Pop Tart, one of the four kittens we'd rescued with their mother at Netley Hall. I know, it's complicated.
1999 - moving the tree in the back corner of the living room behind a settee for fear that a toddler Goth Child might pull it over. Strikes me looking at the photos that our decorations on the main tree haven't changed much at all since 1997...
2000 - first appearance of one of the kids in a Christmas tree photo. Goth Child now 3 in her Christmas pyjamas. And look at the amount of presents wrapped in Barbie paper....2000 was the year of the Barbies in our house though now Goth Child now 14 shudders at the very mention of it.
2001 - for some reason although I've Christmas photos, I haven't any of OUR Christmas tree this year. So here instead is a tree at Goth Child's nursery school Christmas party, where she and the other children all met Father Christmas.
2002 - Goth Child still wearing a Barbie nightie....The year Melchett was born. She was 4 months old at Christmas. The tree has changed sides of the living room after the building of a new fireplace. Bopper Santa on far right, an inflatable remote controlled Father Christmas....he didn't last long with the cats. They hunted him down one night.
This is the 'lost years' set for Christmas photos. I need to go through all my old computer files and boxes of photos because somehow in the move to America I've lost 2004 and 2005. But here's 2003, the tree has switched sides again although we got a skinny one this year to accomodate the fire guard to save little fingers...arms....etc. Melchett doing what she always did when Teletubbies came on the telly, slapping Dipsy and saying "hat!"
2006, the last year we had a real tree in the house because my allergies to pine needles was getting worse each year. Though we relegated it to the dining room so I wouldn't brush against it.....and as the tree basically had a room to itself (we couldn't fit a table and a tree in there) we got a big one. Melchett showing off her Father Christmas suit I originally made for a Christmas party Goth Child went to....it did sterling service over the years - though was usually worn with a long sleeve red top underneath.
2007 our first artificial tree since the white plaggy bag tree. We still kept up the family tradition of going to the lumber yard mid December and picking out a real tree, it just got planted and decorated in the front garden instead of coming into the house.
2008 our last Christmas in the UK, we decided to take a two year contract in the USA over this Christmas.....but because of many many different reasons (problems) we didn't finally move until November 2009.....no idea why Goth Child and Melchett were doing impressions of the Hunchback of Notre Dame in front of the tree in the brownest house in the world though.
2010, still in the brownest house in the world but having just agreed to move to the USA permanently so at this point we were house hunting.....and Melchett was being Melchett.
Which brings us to 2011. As I say, over recent years I've started collecting trees, mainly in the New Year sales....the aim is one year to have a 'tree' of sorts in every room. But this is the 2011 collection: