LESLEY KEATING: To fake or not to fake, that is the question

Christmas is nearing and we're still not in our own home.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 10th December 2017, 8:08 pm
Until earlier this year, Lesley had a rather lovely fake white Christmas tree. It ended up in a skip...               (Shutterstock)
Until earlier this year, Lesley had a rather lovely fake white Christmas tree. It ended up in a skip... (Shutterstock)

We’re hoping to be back in time, but it’s going to be tight.

One of the worries that has surfaced this particular Christmas – aside from all the Big Renovation headaches – is the issue of a Christmas tree; To fake, or not to fake.

We used to have a really beautiful fake one which was majestic and white, with glittering, towering branches.

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For more than 10 years it had pride of place in the living room and was always decorated beautifully.

But real trees are better, right?

So, each year, I swore we’d have a real tree; yet each year, the snowy imitation resurfaced, partly due to apathy on my part and the sheer convenience of knowing it was there, nestling in the attic until required.

Every year however, the white sparkle was becoming increasingly yellow and bits were beginning to fall off, making its once dense and fluffy branches look in dire need of a hair transplant.

So, when we packed up to move out into the country, we slung it in the builder’s skip, promising to buy another one in time.

Yep, you’ve guessed. It’s now December and we still haven’t made contingency plans.

A friend who supplies real Christmas trees very kindly promised us the crème of the crop. It had to be 6 to 7 ft tall but not very wide because of where it had to fit.

When we unwrapped it, it was big enough to rival the one in Trafalgar Square.

‘Well, that’s never going to fit!’ said Mike.

So, our office now has a new and unexpected Christmas tree.

I nipped out to Morrison’s to buy another.

Real Tree Mark II will be a great success once we are back in our own home, despite the fact that Mike’s announced he’s not sure where the decorations are now.

I’m remaining optimistic (yet I’m staking out John Lewis Home regularly for alternatives just in case and doing alarming mental arithmetic).

‘Will a real tree go with your new décor though…?’ ventured a friend.

DON’T even go there.


I’m often surprised about the attitude of people over a will when someone dies.

Often there’s a huge sense of entitlement from so many people about what they consider is their absolute right to inheritance.

It’s a sad fact of life that some people decide to award their worldly goods to specific named people only, leaving others out of the equation, as illustrated only recently by the will of 70’s pop icon, David Cassidy.

But the whole point of a will is surely that it’s the deceased’s personal choice to do as they see fit.

I find the fact that families become divided, instigating massive dramas and legal wrangles because they feel they’ve not been granted the pay-out they expected truly undignified and distasteful.


I’ve never had a problem with ‘things that go bump in the night’.

My attitude is one of healthy respect for the unexplained energies I’ve often experienced in old buildings. But it was still rather disconcerting the other night to be awoken at 3am by the doorbell ringing – just once.

Mike got up and checked yet no one was there. The security light hadn’t come on either.

The next night, there was a firm and precise knock on the bedroom door while we were in bed!

Again, just once.

I know it’s an old house – circa 1800 – but I couldn’t help but think back to how Milly had refused point blank to go up the staircase for the first fortnight.

Lucky I’m not of a nervous disposition….