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blowing the doors off

IN Sweden Christmas trees come down on January 13, Tjugondag Knut (pronounced, so my Swedish friend Ylva promises, a little like "Shugon-dag Noot").

My tree is from Ikea, so I figured I would chance my luck and leave it up until January 13. Problem is, it's still there and I can't get rid of it.

The tree is 7ft tall and nearly as round. The angel atop sits at a coquettish tilt, having been hoisted up there on the end of a broom.

It's in a bucket of water and on a wooden box so I can't just lift it and drag it outside and even if I could drag it outside, where would I drag it to?

Glasgow City Council's website says you can drive trees to local recycling plants before January 18. Drive it? I drive a Micra. I was inspired by the story earlier this week about the German youths who nicked a safe and squeezed it in the back of a Micra. You'd be amazed what you can get in the back of a Micra, but the tree? Nae chance.

This week, now the central heating's on (I'm frugal) it's turned into a not-so-mini mini zoo. Ladybirds-a-plenty have been crawling and creeping about the living room. You're supposed to register lady beetle sightings so the Government can track their movements, or something, so I registered mine. The info's likely little help, though. ("Where did you see the ladybird?" "On my sock".)

The other night I noticed a piece of fluff on the floor under the tree. Three hours later the fluff had moved two feet. Closer inspection revealed a very, very hairy caterpillar. I shrieked like a girl. A very, very pathetic girl. I mean, it had moved two feet in three hours so, if the worst came to it, I could probably outrun it but it had no place in my living room. I found an old programme for a Grayson Perry exhibition and coaxed him on to Grayson's foot to be taken outdoors. My colleague says he'll have been eaten by a bird or frozen to death. Now I feel bad, but that's the circle of life, isn't it?

A quick Google reveals that up to 25,000 insects, mites, and spiders live inside the average real Christmas tree. This can't go on.

But I have only two options: wait to be rescued or wait 'til December and string the tinsel back up.

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