When we got the car to a garage and the tree home, it turned out it was 12 feet high. It did not look that big in the forest. As my husband manhandled it into a stand and screwed it into place, he said: "I'm so glad you chose this tree and not me." Luckily we could squeeze it into the lounge in the arches where we have a vaulted ceiling. It is so large it reminds me a little of the one they have in Trafalgar Square. I keep expecting to walk in and find the Salvation Army gathered round it singing "Oh Come All Ye Faithful."
It is just as well it is so big, it may take my mother and father's minds off how cold it is in there. Their own house is so warm you could grow orchids in it. They have roaring artificial fires and central heating which they like to use at the same time. They are careful to close doors after themselves and have double glazed windows which are sealed so tight that I believe in the event of a nuclear war, they would be entirely safe from radiation sickness and hold out just as long as their tinned products. I wanted them to be equally as warm here but the underfloor heating is a disaster. The plumber has been back, the electrician has been back, the builder has been back but it is still not right. There is nothing more we can do before Christmas. Meanwhile we have shipped in four heaters to take the worst of the chill off the air.
The "arches" consists of a cold and tree-filled lounge, an even colder bedroom and a showerroom off the bedroom. The idea is everything is at ground level for my mother and father and they can stay with us for longer periods but still have their own space when they need it. I am irritated that it is not perfect for them. They arrived yesterday and last night my husband lit a fire in there. They sat together on the new sofa; the lights glowing on the Biggest Christmas Tree in the World; my mother sipping her tea. I said: "I'm sorry the heating doesn't work properly." She said: "Actually, it's just right."