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The Battle of the Bulbs
Max Cashback

Christmas is coming – lets get in the spirit of things.

For the last couple of years I have had a Christmas tree with lights outside my front door. It looks festive and makes me feel in a Christmassy mood.

There have been no real problems in the past – the weather has caused it to be at a jaunty angle on occasions and the wire was cut once but apart from that all has gone well. It’s usually a fairly last minute affair but last Christmas we were a bit more organized and the tree was put up on the first weekend in December.

Imagine my delight when four young men rang the doorbell and serenaded me with carols on that first evening. A little early but never mind, the tree had obviously had the desired effect and they too were in the Christmas mood. Imagine my dismay when I went to turn out the lights and found I needn’t bother. On investigation, I discovered five bulbs were missing. Christmas mood, perhaps not!

Not to be put off, the next day the bulbs were replaced. Again, I had carol singers a different lot this time – golly I am popular! This time I looked at the tree first. This was quite clever – only some of the lights were missing, some still shining brightly. OK! The Battle of the Bulbs had begun.

“You bring back the bulbs, I’ll make you a hot drink (it was a freezing cold night) you sing – I pay.” Probably not the best way of dealing with the situation, but I felt it may be the most likely to succeed. Wrong! They hadn’t taken the bulbs (surprise, surprise!) but might be able to find them? They returned shortly with one or two of the bulbs, had a drink and a chat about Christmas trees, sang the carols and left with my donation to their Christmas fund!

Missing bulbs again replaced. I’m out tonight what will happen – absolutely nothing, tree was shining brightly on my return. It’s obviously no fun unless I am there.

I report what is happening to my family. Husband, from the safety of a hotel in Portugal, says ‘Give up – take the tree in’ – No Way! Sons (grown up) try to sound concerned but is that a snigger in their voices? – Did they do that sort of thing? Surely not! Daughter is more sympathetic but even she does not appear shocked.

The following night, carol singers again (return of the originals), this time I catch one round the corner ready to pounce, small lecture takes place – and still the Christmas fund is added to. I really feel the lads are winning – but I still have a Christmas tree and lights!

I have two nights out – nothing happens. Obviously, the solution is not to answer the door. No that’s too simple for me! However, it did give me pause for thought. This obsession is getting a bit ridiculous and expensive.

They were nice lads and, although profitable, I’m sure it was just a game to them. So if they call again (which I am sure they will, they are not lacking in nerve), I will make one final plea and refuse any further contributions. Did it work – YES! If you happen to read this, boys, I look forward to hearing your carols next year but please leave the bulbs behind.

Nina Collier


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