During the second week of January, a van drives around the local streets collecting people's redundant Christmas trees for a mere two pounds (which goes to charity). This year we had the smallest tree in the street by far. I like to think that this is because we are not vulgar and ostentatious. Our neighbours would say it's because we can't afford a decent tree.
Although it was small enough to throw in a bin, we dutifully paid up and watched our tree disappear to...well, where? Where do Christmas trees go? Are they burned in a huge Viking-style funeral pyre, pulped in a big Christmas tree crushing machine, or turned into Ikea furniture? To be honest I'd never really given the matter that much thought, but whether I cared or not, today I had my answer.
Some miles away there is an area of woodland which has been traced back to prehistoric times. It is very peaceful and the only sounds you can hear are birdsong, the twigs cracking underneath your feet and the panting of an approaching libidinous German shepherd.
But just beyond these woods there is a clearing, full of tiny Christmas trees...
I assumed that these conifers were part of an ordinary plantation, but during a visit today I noticed a baubel, dangling from one of the lower branches of a tree, then I spotted some tinsel and holly. This is where our Christmas trees go. Not to die, but to recover until they're ready for the next pantomime season.