Christmas trees are just for Christmas
Edinburgh Council has an arrangement whereby you can offload your unwanted Christmas tree on them, and they take it away for recycling. They collect trees from the street, so at this time of year you see battered, yellowing Christmas trees lying forlornly at the side of the road, abandoned by the people who briefly owned them. This tradition signals the end of the festive period, and the start of the push towards the New Year celebrations of Hogmanay. More and more trees appear over the weeks into January, but I took the photo above at about 5pm on the 27th of December - barely 48hrs after the end of Christmas Day. It's certainly the earliest I've ever seen a tree discarded - like the first snowdrop or the new season of lambs, everything seems to be happening earlier and earlier - although I doubt global warming is responsible for this one.
Looking at this needleless sapling waiting for the one-way trip to the shredder, I started wondering about the plight of the humble Christmas tree. I have no idea how long it takes a spruce to grow to a 6ft height, but it must be a few years at least. The poor guy sits there quite happily in a plantation with birds and squirrels frolicking in his (her?) branches, enjoying the changing seasons, indulging in whatever it is trees get up to in a forest with no-one around. Then suddenly over the space of a few weeks, it's hacked out of the ground, bundled up, driven to a shop and sold, and then briefly draped with plasticky baubles, before being dumped in the street and taken away to be mulched. I think artificial trees are definately the way to go. They may look crap, but they look crap for many years.
I hope you all had a festive Christmas, and are looking forward to 2006. I was in London, as I said before, and had a good time. My flights behaved themselves - thankfully I got back before the latest batch of snow arrived in the Eastern UK. I could see it from my window as I was coming back - large pillowy clouds rising up along the coast. By the time we banked into Edinburgh, all I could see was a dark brown cloudmass coming off the sea in a threatening manner. At the moment the city is in the grip of the 'Six days' festival - the nothing gap between Christmas and Hogmanay - which has been marketed as a fun-filled minibreak excuse, apparently. I'll be back at work, but there's a Torchlight Parade coming up and various other festive events, so I'll probably drag myself into the cold for some blogworthy material. And some fun, of course...