Ruth’s First Christmas Tree by Elly Griffiths Read Online (FREE)
Read Ruth’s First Christmas Tree by Elly Griffiths online free here.
‘The spirits are strong in this one,’ says the man in the white robe and gumboots. ‘The goddess of the forest has breathed on him.’
Ruth is not unduly disconcerted by this description. After all, it was her friend Cathbad – lab assistant and part-time druid – who recommended this Christmas tree seller to her. The empty parking lot between two warehouses has been transformed into an enchanted forest with fairy lights strung in the branches of the trees and ambient music twinkling from speakers concealed in their foliage. The seller, a young man with dreadlocks and an earnest expression, introduces himself as Leaf. His girlfriend, sitting on the steps of a caravan parked at the entrance of the site, volunteers that her name is Raindrop.
Snowdrop would be more appropriate, thinks Ruth. It’s three days before Christmas and a bitter wind is blowing across Norfolk, direct from Siberia according to the locals, bringing with it the first flakes of snow. Ruth shivers in her anorak and hopes that the snow won’t settle before she has to collect her daughter, Kate, from the childminder. These days she tends to view everything through the filter of her concern for her daughter. War in Afghanistan? Hope it doesn’t affect traffic on the A148. Tsunami in Japan? Hope those rising water levels don’t affect King’s Lynn. She doesn’t like this trait in herself – she used to be interested and concerned about world events for their own sake – but she accepts it as one of the less attractive side-effects of motherhood.
‘All our trees are grown in sustainable forests,’ says Leaf. ‘Rainbow and I talk to them every day. They’re our friends. ’ He adds, rather more briskly, ‘That one’s twenty-five quid.’
Ruth looks at the tree. She can’t really see anything special about it – it’s green and pointy and spiky, that’s about it. She needs a tree. She has promised herself that she will make this the perfect Christmas for Kate. It’s Kate’s second Christmas. She didn’t really register the first one, being only a month old at the time but now she can recognize Santa Claus at a hundred paces and yesterday said ‘present’, very loudly and clearly. So she is on her way to becoming a typical product of the consumerist society. Well done, Ruth. A triumph for modern parenting.
But this Christmas it won’t just be Ruth and Kate, because Ruth has also invited Max, her … What is Max? Her boyfriend? Surely it’s ridiculous to have a boyfriend at forty-one? Her partner? Sounds too official for a relationship that has, so far, encompassed two weekends and an Aborigine repatriation ceremony. Anyway, she doesn’t need a partner. She has Kate and her beloved cat, Flint. She has her job as a forensic archaeologist, her friends and a somewhat stressful relationship with Kate’s father, DCI Harry Nelson. She’s happy as she is. But why then is she going to so much trouble to do all the Christmassy things when usually her only concession to the festive season is watching the Dr Who special with a glass of white? This year she has put up her cards, bought an advent calendar and even arranged holly behind her picture frames. She has also bought a turkey (M & S, pre-stuffed), mince pies (ditto containing brandy and grated nutmeg) and a ton of sprouts. And now she is standing in the freezing cold debating the finer points of a Christmas tree.