Special Name That Tree Edition – Issue 49
Everlasting erection wows village –
YULE DO FIR US!
naming rights up for grabs!
In a sensational move, Barrow Parish Council has announced that this year’s village Christmas Tree is to be the last of its kind. Instead of villagers lurking in the dark, singing carols around a freshly cut Nordman Fir or Heardman Spruce, whilst waiting for someone to plug in the lights, the tree of the future has been revealed as an all-steel lattice of scaffold poles festooned with blue rope. The tree will be supplied by Steel Force, already well known to villagers for their uncompromising work on the Barrow Playing Field Pavilion (as it was formerly known). A Parish Council spokesperson told the Chumper:
“After a rigorous process of cost analysis we have worked out that by not purchasing conventional disposable green trees in future years, by 2030 we should have saved enough money to commence Phase 6b of the Village Masterplan; the development of the Barrowmore FreePort commercial zone. As the cash from this floods in, Barrow will swiftly transition into Phase 7 – our own Space Programme with an “oven ready” launch site already identified at the back of the Barrowmore Social Club. In this way the village will continue to remain at the forefront of trade and technology as we reap the benefits of taking back control and getting serious stuff done.”
Officials were tightlipped about who was behind the new space programme, stating only that its codename was “Project Tufty”, but speculation is rife that Cold War era Soviet technology is being employed, with the aim of putting the first squirrel into orbit.
Former oil man and rocket scientist President Sir Nigel Heardogan has been pressed into action, working alongside Astronomer Royal Tillotson and Brigadier Weaver in a “dream team” that combines advanced knowledge of Astrophysics, Astronomy and how squirrels react under stress.
To help fund the space programme, naming rights for the new tree are to be auctioned at the Offical Opening of the Lord Malcolm Moulstone Drive-In Casino & Greggs All-Night Diner.
The forgotten man in all of this is Barrow Tree Supremo Alan Saltiman. “You get used to zero recognition in this job” commented Saltiman ”But after years of narrowly avoiding being electrocuted, losing several digits to Rear Admiral De Dobbs’s collapsible ladders and suffering the mind numbing annual incompetence of the entire shoddy gang of volunteer Chumpers I did think I might have at least got my name on the barrel. It’s a kick in the teeth, frankly.”
Unfortunately delivery of the new all-steel techno tree has been delayed, so a stopgap “Austerity Tree” was hastily ordered by the Parish Council. A small erection party gathered by the Village Pump with the usual assortment of stepladders, tangled lights, half bricks, a well worn barrel and an anaconda of blue rope. The only thing missing was… the tree.
“It’s at the Shop” said somebody. “What Shop?” said somebody else. “Not the Old Shop, the New Shop – the Shed-Shop” – “The Shed-Shop?” – “The Shop’s that’s a Shed” – “But it’s not open yet” – “No, but that’s where the tree is” – …
Brigadier Weaver, fresh from the Gym and at the wheel of his immaculate, black armoured Audi limousine offered to negotiate Site Security, drive up the newly named Rockin’ Reg Way and check if the tree was indeed at the Shed Shop. A party was also despatched to the redubbed D’Arathoon Village Hall where they received new information on the whereabouts of the tree from Trevor “Get the Hoover out” Roberts – “It’s in Maggie Mapes’s garden, check over her wall.”
A cursory glance over the aforementioned wall revealed a tree whose proportions were distinctly smaller than any previously recorded erections – and it wasn’t even a cold morning.
“Is that it?” “Must be – unless it’s actually her own tree and she just hasn’t got it into her lounge yet”.
Normally the Annual Erection Ceremony coincides with a rousing chorus from the brass section of the Modelski Orchestra reaching a crescendo as they fine tune for the Christmas Concert Season, but it seemed appropriate that this time, as the limp and somewhat disappointing conifer was edged into the vertical position all the assembled Chumpers could hear was Kerry the Cycling Chauffeur, whistling “A Winter Wonderland” under his breath, almost apologetically.
In the absence of such chumping legends as “Riverdance Walsh”, “Jollyboots Evans”, “President Sir Nigel Heardtrumper and “Astronomer Royal Tillotson” within 5 minutes of being located, the compact Austerity Tree was comfortably erected and deposited in the festive brick-lined barrel. There followed another 25 minutes of electrical testing, insulating, soldering, re-soldering and plugging-in as Signals Officer Williams attempted to ensure that if a major electrical fault occurred during the Illumination Ceremony it would not cause any power outtages to adjacent properties, the most adjacent of which is his.
The small group of assembled Chumpers shuffled off, leaving behind Barrow’s last green Christmas Tree in a continuous line stretching back to the time of Alfred the Great. It was all over so quickly that the Late Private Ollie Rackham turned up so late this year that his lateness went unnoticed and unrecorded.
From now on the Ghosts of Christmas Future would be space age, steel and everlastingly bolted. Barrow’s ultimate erection just needs a name.
From our annual Erection correspondent