This weekend turned out to be rather more crazy than usual. After everyone I know on Facebook seemed to be posting about getting festive, decorating trees, and other associated stuff I decided to tell Husband that we would buy a Christmas tree or two. He was a tad shocked and the immediate response was ‘what’s the point when we’re going to the UK?’ In reality he owed me two trees to replace the ones that died while we were back in the UK. They may actually have been stolen because we gave them to a neighbour to look after and when we came back to retrieve them we were told they had died–even though there were some suspiciously similar trees outside the front of their apartment, which definitely hadn’t been there two years ago. Normally I’d just put that down to bad luck, but the fact is they were trees we’d bought after our first son Enis, had died. So I wanted two replacement Enis remembrance trees, but this time one could also act as a Christmas tree before we put them both out on the terrace.
Not really knowing if or where you could find Christmas type trees in pots here, I asked the Expat Google list for info. Armed with lots of replies I made my choice and so Saturday morning we all went off to choose two trees. There are a lot of places to go it would seem. But they don’t really have garden centres over here, rather there are a lot of very small plots where people, usually women, sell trees, bedding plants and sometimes stones for decorating gardens. It’s not surprising really as they don’t tend to live in houses anymore, unless very poor or very rich. I’d tried, as usual to pack too much into the day so didn’t have time to go to each and everyone to choose the best. In the end we only went to three, the first had nice trees at good prices, the second was a charging way too much, and the third was a complete numpty who had no idea what was in stock let alone the prices and had to keep calling his granddad. We went back to the first and found two really nice bushy trees. Then the fun started–Turkish style. Husband refused to pay someone to have them delivered and insisted that they would fit in our boot with the back open-they were only about a metre in height each so not massive (but still, thank goodness we have an estate car). This despite the fact that it would also mean that we would have to lug them up 3 flights of stairs, and Husband had been complaining for more than a week of terrible back pain.
The trees were strapped into the boot of the car using several of those elastic things with hooks on, and the boot door also vaguely secured with the trees hanging out. Husband promised to drive carefully while I just had visions of them tumbling out while we were trying to go up the extremely steep hill to reach our apartment. Smelly got rather distressed that we were driving with the boot open and only stopped informing us and asking for reassurance after he fell asleep along with Fatso who didn’t care a hoot. Husband drove with the hazards on most of the way, but even so this didn’t seem to stop half of the drivers we passed from beeping as if to inform us that we had trees dangling out of the back of our boot–Thanks for that we really weren’t aware!!! Compared with the lunacy of Husband’s driving on the way to get the trees, the drive back was the best, safest, and least argumentative drive I have ever experienced with him. This fact was commented upon and I did try to point out that he should continue to drive this way, but alas when we got back in the car later, without the trees, normal driving standards resumed.
With trees dumped in the entrance of the apartment and children fed, it was off out to the German School Bazaar to buy a Stolen and other such goodies. It was duly discovered that Fatso does not like marzipan, but Smelly certainly does. A vague attempt was made to go to another bazaar at the Hilton, but traffic and the fact that it wouldn’t be so interesting as the German one made us forget that and just hop off to collect the panto tickets. After getting home the idea of hauling the trees up the stairs just went out the window.
Sunday morning, it’s a good job I’d called our local vicar the other day because the St Nicolas day potluck lunch had completely slipped my mind. I’d also invited several friends and their kids over in the afternoon for a Christmas craft afternoon. So up at 6 ( more like 5:30 when the boys woke me) and running around like a headless chicken to put two loads of washing in and hang out, clean bathroom and floors, make a quiche for the potluck, and prepare the table for the craft activities and mess that would be created. With a lot of help from Husband and ignoring all cries from children, we were able to do all that and get out the house before 10. Even on a less hectic day we never manage to leave for church that early. The potluck was really nice but Fatso decided that mummy having time for adult conversation just wasn’t on. Fortunately the both fell asleep on the way home, so we were able to leave them in the car while we hauled the trees up the stairs–something that we couldn’t have done without another adult present if they were awake because Fatso would never let us go downstairs without trying to come too and block our path on the way up.
After all that it was nearly two, the time I’d told people to arrive. I was quite glad at late arrivals because it gave me 10 minutes breathing space. Some friends found themselves in a taxi with THE most stupid driver ever, who not only had no idea of other districts in Ankara beyond the most central part, but also appeared to be incapable of following directions. Friend’s irate husband succeeded in getting them thrown out of the taxi and being told not to pay so Husband went to get them. I felt so bad, but then the taxi driver was totally to blame, we really aren’t that hard to find. There is no requirement over here for taxi drivers to actually know anything, and it would seem that you are overqualified if you know more than two districts within the city.
With everyone here there was about 15 minutes of craftiness, maybe a bit more but then the free (for all) play began. Mum’s just sat and had a good chat and catch up, while the kids went bonkers. So I think a good time was had by all. Paint, glitter, icing, biscuits, coffee, and toys-perfect. Smelly didn’t seem to get the idea and just wanted to paint, anything, but some lovely christmas tree paintings were produced by others, and lots of biscuits decorated and eaten.
The tree didn’t get decorated till after everyone had gone, but it was actually really nice as all the family was involved and even Fatso managed to contain himself and not steal, throw, pull off, or wreck anything. The tree is rather bare as we don’t have a lot of decorations and a very short string of lights. I have a whole tray of popcorn waiting to be strung but no inclination yet, as the effects of the early morning wake up and all that rushing around is still being felt. Not helped by the fact that Fatso refused to go to sleep till after 8:30 then wake up this morning at 6. Even so Smelly and I painted and glittered some pine cones, and decorated some foamboard christmas trees this morning.
So all in all a mad but brilliant weekend, and best of all Smelly and Fatso had a great time and may even be getting into the spirit before we fly back this time.