The Scent of Pine in SE10

One of the drawbacks of living in Vauxhall (like we used to) and not having a car (like we don’t do) and falling out of favour with all my former buddies in the lumberjacking trade (like they didn’t know it was me in that giant squirrel costume – no sense of humour, some people…) was that, come mid-December, it was always really difficult getting hold of a Christmas tree. That particular part of Lambeth isn’t renowned for its deep-shadowed coniferous plantations, there aren’t any garden centres, and Nine Elms Sainsbury’s generally just has a handful of manky specimens out by the trolley park that no self-respecting fairy would sit on in a million years for fear of puncturing her reputation. One time we ended up wheeling a six-foot Norway Spruce back from Lower Marsh market in, oddly, a borrowed wheelbarrow, and once we bought a tree in a mobile phone shop in Clapham and then took it home on a 133 bus, but most years it was a case of paying over the odds and through the nose at Borough Market, and then struggling back on foot through the wet and wintry streets of Southwark – one of us at the front of the trunk, one at the rear – looking, I always suspected, like we’d set out to batter in the flimsy front gate of a castle built by hippy goblins, but lost our way.

Why am I telling you this? Well, partly because I think that every aspect of my life is deeply fascinating to complete strangers – other than the past three weeks, which have been of no interest to anyone at all, so please stop asking – but mostly because, on Saturday morning, on my way to buy the paper, I was greeted by a wonderful sight: a Christmas tree stall at the end of my very own road! I know! How good is that? The sort of dream that stuff is made of, as Shakespeare was wont to say when he wasn’t really concentrating.

So that’s good news, isn’t it? I knew you’d be pleased for me.

Christmas trees for sale in Greenwich

If anyone’s interested, the trees will be there Thursday to Sunday right up till Christmas – this is on that triangular bit of pavement above the railway bridge opposite the Mitre. There you go – I’m a public service. Use me or lose me.

I’d still like to know, incidentally, who decreed that the aforementioned triangular bit of pavement opposite the Mitre should be adorned with one solitary bicycle stand. Obviously it doesn’t bother me personally, as I don’t tend to cycle to the end of my own road, but – there’s room for more, so why did someone – Acting Head of Bicycles at Greenwich Council, or somesuch – decide that one stand would be useful, but any more than one would just risk opening the floodgates?

And is it possible to book it online?

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2 Comments on “The Scent of Pine in SE10”

  1. methers says:

    I’ve bought a nice tree from that spot in the past, although last year’s came from Fenner’s (the greengrocers) in Blackheath. There seemed to be a nice selection at a stall by Blackheath Gate at the top of the park, which I don’t remember from previous years. I should probably get mine from Manchester’s, the florists on Woolwich Road which is our nearest stockist of Christmas greenery. The trouble is that I will be tempted to carry it back home up Vanbrugh Hill on my own, which experience should have taught me is A Bad Idea.

    • Matt Haynes says:

      Indeed… the one thing I know for sure about Christmas trees is that they double in weight and awkwardness every hundred steps you take away from the stall… some years, we came close to abandoning ours in the streets near the Elephant & Castle…


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