After all the celebrations it is the time for The Sales in our shops and on-line. Mind you some things are not always the bargain they seem. How can you be sure that you cannot get it cheaper elsewhere? How can you be sure the goods are not bought in especially for the sale?

I went to a garden centre yesterday, because we were away for Christmas I had not bought special plants. I usually have an amaryllis bulb and so I went to Shrewsbury to get a bargain in the sales. I found my perfect bulb. It had good shoots; three flower buds were showing. There were only two plants left and mine was the best.

‘Amaryllis with LED lights,’ it said and indeed there was a wire with lights all around it. But no matter how hard I pressed the switch no lights came on. I asked the manager. He could not make the lights come on either.

“But it has been reduced madam in the sale.”

“But it does not say reduced because of broken lights” I answer. He would not budge and I left without my amaryllis. I could not find another one anywhere.

On my visits to family and friends I met someone who had an automatic robot vacuum cleaner. I wonder if I can get one in the sales. It registered the objects in its way, you can tell it when to start and stop, it cleans itself and empties itself. When its battery is running low, it goes back to its docking station to recharge. You can go out and when you get back your house is clean, so there are no worries about dirty floors.

There was a worry here though because in the gales last week one of the branches on our tree cracked. There was an almighty noise even louder than the howling wind. One branch was swaying heavily above the neighbour’s field fence. We needed a tree surgeon. Two young men came and to my surprise did not go up the damaged tree, but worked from a nearby tree with ropes, cutting branches until they finally reduced the trunk to about half its size. It will shoot up again as it is willow and will be a pollard instead of a heavy tree.

A few days ago, I hurt my arm and it looked as if I might need a surgeon (hopefully not to cut it off!). We are lucky enough to have a Minor Injuries department – there are four in Shropshire – and within the hour I had been x-rayed and diagnosed as nothing serious, this could be a good sign for the new year.
(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

The tree surgeon climbed up a nearby tree and like an acrobat on ropes cut the damaged tree


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