The sixth of Jan', Old Christmas Day Your decorations stowed away or some great evil will, I fear dog your steps this coming year.
(Well, that or something like it.)
As I was growing up, we lived with my maternal grandparents, and Gran lived and breathed those old superstitions and folk wisdoms - especially those that were encapsulated in verse. As, indeed, they all seemed to be. But it was not Gran, but Dad who was a terror for getting the stars and tinsel and other stuff away in good time - and a less superstitious person would be difficult to imagine.
The reason for his insistence went back to his own childhood, to the one and only Christmas when everything was not stowed away. As a consequence of that oversight the River Wandle overflowed its banks. He used to tell of watching from his bedroom window as his Dad waded down the garden path to rescue their pet dog - and watching him disappear below the murky waters down an open man hole, invisible to him. So not getting the decorations down in time became a non-starter.
No such dramas for us this year - for which, much thanks. Nothing of note beyond one small incident connected with getting them down in a totally different context. I keep them stowed in four large stackible crates in the attic. Anno domini having made some inroads into my physique of late, I now stack them beside the access hatch to the roof space. This allows me to bring them down without the need for aerial gymnastics on my part. I simply position the step ladder, push the trapdoor open - and help myself. That's the theory.
This year the trap would not open. I heaved and I pushed and then I pushed and I heaved, but no, it would not budge. Finally, by dint of putting my repaired hernia at some risk, I persuaded one side of the door to rise. The mystery was solved. We have fallen into the habit of having our friend the painter and decorator in to work his magic whilst we are away on holiday. This year he transformed the stairs and landing - and in a burst of excessive zeal apparently sealed the trapdoor with double-sided draught-excluder.
With some difficulty I managed to ease enough of the hatch cover away from it - but still I could not lift the wretched thing! Further investigation revealed that the crates containing the decorations - two of which are heavy - now rested on the hatch itself! I still have not worked out how he managed this. It was one hell of an intelligence test, working out how to manoeuvre them away from the hatch. It must have taken far more ingenuity to position them there in the first place. Doreen is convinced we have an uninvited lodger up there.
Ergo I am under strict instructions to get them down today - just so there are no last minute slips-up.
Well no, maybe not. Back to the drawing board!