Something a bit different this week. I’ve been visiting the family so not had time to work on Jasmine Frame or September Weekes work except for checking the final proofs of Evil Above the Stars vol.1 Seventh Child (published by Elsewhen Press as an e-book in January). My writing group task for next week is to write a Christmas Newsletter. I am sure the others will produce some witty parodies of those excruciatingly awful annual reviews that people send out to disinterested family and friends. I decided on a different approach.
Many years ago I wrote what I hoped would be a popular children’s Christmas story, the first of a series. It concerns the Baubles, a set of Christmas tree balls, and their companion decorations. I didn’t get a publisher for the original story but here is a sequel written as a kind of newsletter from Argenta which I will read to the group on Tuesday,
The Baubles’ Christmas Newsletter
Season’s Greetings from the Christmas Tree. This is Argenta with news from the Baubles and all the other decorations.
Eleven months usually flash passed when we are snug in our box but this last year has been rather less restful than usual. It all began last Christmas with talk of retirement – not ours I hasten to say. We’ve all still got our shine and are good for many more years hanging from the branches. It was the Mother and Father who were talking about retiring and downsizing. Aurus had to explain what that meant – he follows all the Family’s business. He said that downsizing meant living in a smaller space. Azura thought we couldn’t all get into smaller box; it’s a tight fit already with us four larger balls, the four little silver balls, Corn Dolly Angel, Cotton Wool Snowman and China Father Christmas, as well as all the tinsel streamers. Aurus said that it was the house that was going to get smaller not our box. The Family were downsizing because there were fewer people living in the house now. Rufus said it seemed pretty full now that Boy and Girl each have their own partners and Girl has a baby but Aurus explained that the house was only full because it was Christmas and during the rest of the year it was almost empty.
I must admit that we didn’t realise what downsizing would mean. First of all our sleep was disturbed when our box was dragged out from under the bed in the middle of the summer. We were shoved into a packing case with other ornaments on top of us. I must admit to being worried that we may get crushed. We were in the dark for days then bumped and shaken for hours. The little silver balls got quite agitated. We all wondered what was going on. Rufus said it was all because we were travelling in a big truck. He’d watched them on TV. Things finally went quiet but we were left in the packing case for months. It was difficult to sleep because we weren’t in our cosy spot under the bed and it colder and colder. Rufus said that we would become frosted glass balls if we were left much longer but at last we were lifted out and carried from the garage. Christmas had come to the new house.
That’s when we discovered what downsizing really meant – a smaller tree. I was dismayed when I saw the poor thing we were to hang from. Instead of the usual majestic real tree we were suspended from a plastic thing no more than three feet high. It’s not even green but a shiny red. Angel is happy though. Her vertigo is a lot better not so far from the ground but she does complain that the top of the tree is rather sharp. Snowman is more comfortable too. The new house is less draughty than the old one so he’s not feeling cold.
Father Christmas has been a little upset and hasn’t give us any ho-hoes yet because our bit of sad news affected him badly. The fairy lights have gone. They have been getting dimmer and less reliable for a while. Last year one bulb popped right next to Aurus and nearly set fire to the tree. Father Christmas misses them because they were as old as him, and that’s pretty old. We are all sorry they’ve gone because they were so warm and friendly – not like the new lights. The box said they were “led” lights. I thought that meant that they would do as they’re told but Rufus says it stands for “light emitting diodes”. That’s what they do alright – they’re very bright blue-white – and they flash! When I say flash I don’t mean just on-off-on-off but all sorts of wild patterns. They might be going on and off slowly and gently and then go into a wild frenzy. I never know what they’re going to do next and they give me a headache. Aurus thought they were sending Morse code messages but Rufus says they’re controlled by a program whatever that means. Apart from the flashing they’re cold. I can’t have a chat and giggle with them like I did with the old lights.
What with downsizing who would have thought there was room for more decorations but lo and behold a new ball was hung on the tree a few days ago. Aurus is put out because the new ball must be twice his size. He’s not shiny like us but covered in a white frosting which says “Merry Christmas”, “Frohe Weihnachten”, “Joyeux Noel” and lots of other things. We’ve nicknamed him Babble the Euro-bauble because he never stops going on about how he knows all about Christmas all over Europe but Azura says he’s got a “Made in China” stamp on his bottom and he’s not even made of glass.
Anyway, what with the lights flashing manically, Babble prattling on, all of us packed onto a small tree in a smaller room I was not looking forward to Christmas. The house started to fill up. Girl arrived with her baby except he’s not a baby anymore but toddling around falling into things. He’s worse than the old dog was with his huge wagging tail always threatening to knock us of our branches. The baby is fascinated by Scatty who, as usual, can’t hang still like Twinkle, Sparkle and Glitter, the other small baubles, do. Yesterday the baby reached out and grabbed Scatty. He was tugging the little ball off the twig. Scatty’s thread was just about to lose its grip and goodness knows what might have happened to him. Suddenly Babble loosened his thread and dropped down directly onto Baby’s head. Of course Baby let go of Scatty and started to cry. Girl picked him. Babble fell on to the new carpet and rolled into the centre of the room. I’m sure we all thought that he would be stood on and that would be the end of him, but Father was there, saw what had happened and picked Babble up. We were so pleased when Babble was hung on the tree again and we all thanked him for saving Scatty. He was very modest and said he was in no danger as being plastic he could take a lot of knocks. We all laughed at his bravado. Perhaps he’s not such an annoying bauble after all.
Anyway, now we’re all looking forward to Christmas Day. With a small tree in a smaller room we’ll all be to see the presents being opened. Aurus has been explaining to Babble all that happens and everyone has been getting excitied. Perhaps downsizing isn’t so bad.
Merry Christmas from all the Baubles.
Argenta Aurus Rufus Azura
Sparkle, Glitter, Twinkle and Scattered Reflections of Electromagnetic Radiation (Scatty)
Painted Ladies: A Jasmine Frame Story is available as a paperback and e-book from all booksellers.
Evil Above the Stars vol.1 Seventh Child and vol.2 Power of Seven will be published by Elsewhen Press as an e-book in Jan. 2015 and as a paperback in March.