Maria has traditionally been a bit of a Bah humbug over Christmas. She is very generous around presents and giving but on the day just can’t be bothered. For the last few years, with us going away skiing at Christmas, Maria has even refused to have any decorations out.
This year is a little different. We have delayed our ski holiday until the end of January, hoping to have better conditions. So we are around at Christmas and this time I have put my foot down! (After asking permission of course!) 🙂 Part of the problem with Christmas, is that the cats are quite playful and anything hanging from the tree is fair game, in fact the tree itself is fair game – and we all know how much Bonnie and Clyde like to climb a tree…. so our tree options are limited to say the least.
We had to get more imaginative. Maria, like my family, like a big tree and so we decided to have the biggest tree in Ipswich! In fact our tree is 20 metres tall. 🙂
Firstly, we had to search the internet for a suitable set of outside lights. With a twenty metre mast to dress up as a tree, we would need a lot more than 50 metres of lights, the maximum we found in shops, and so we went with a 100 metre length off the Internet. This would allow us to use the mast and spreaders to give the appearance of a big Christmas tree with the mast pulpits being the bucket at the bottom, also suitably dressed.
This was the first time I had been up the mast and so we enlisted the help of a friend of ours, Rob from Warisha. I had planned to form a set of triangles using the spreaders and the mast with the lights dropping down the mast to the next set of spreaders. We started this late on a Sunday but realistically how long can it take…..
i was hoisted up the mast in the bosun’s chair on the passarelle line with Maria controlling the spinnaker halyard connected to me directly as my safety line. I was attaching the lines to the spreaders and strategic places on the mast using cable ties, hopefully these will be easy to cut when the time comes. It was probably half way up the mast that I remembered that I was afraid of heights… still too late to go back so suck it up and don’t look down. Actually the view was very good from the top of the mast and I was fine as long as I limited my looking down to the next spreader rather than the deck or water level.
I went up and down between the mast and each set of the spreaders several times, not least of all because I didn’t get my carefully thought through plan right at the first attempt. But once we got into a rhythm it went well.
I may have mentioned that Maria was on the safety line, and those who know us will know that Maria is very protective of me, so there was no way that the safety line wasn’t going to do what it needed to do. Unfortunately, Maria’s enthusiasm for keeping the safety line tight extended to a little “over-tightening”, this had the effect of slightly lifting me out of the bosuns chair with all of my weight going through my genitalia. At these points, I would loudly squeak that she should ease the tension in the safety line please! I know she is trying to look after me, but it took a few minutes for me to retrieve my private parts from my rib cage!
Rob and I used the remainder of the lights to wrap around the mast pulpits like a decorated bucket that the “tree” I saw sitting in. Meanwhile Maria decorated a steps with a second set of lights. Finally a couple of Christmas wreaths for the step show and the bow and the outside of the boat was decorated. If I’m honest the switch on ceremony was a quiet affair accompanied by a couple of hot drinks rather than champagne and no real crowd of onlookers ;). It was really quite cold, which had also not helped with the genitalia retrieval earlier and the hot drink was very welcome.
Finally a video of the finished product and we are ready for Christmas!