This year’s impossible-to-find Christmas indulgence has to be static outdoor plug-in timer-controlled fairy lights. Now, you could argue that because fairies themselves don’t exist I shouldn’t be surprised that I can’t actually find any Fairy Lights.
But there are boxes and boxes and tubs and rolls of fairy lights in the shops – but all annoyingly Multifunction, or Electrically Nuts as they were described to me recently. Ok, so let’s go with ‘multifunction’ – why 8? Why 8 functions? How many do we need to choose from? On, Flash, FlashyFlashFlash, FlashyFlashyDim should do, surely? But 8?! Before this turns into a pre-Christmas rant that could end with a parsnip and some stuffing placed where it shouldn’t, let me explain. My hunt started in August, an idle thought that whispered in my ear as I was sitting in the sun one summer evening after – clearly – too much chilled vino de blanco. Outdoor static lights I can plug in to a timer, I thought, how hard can it be to find those? And so here we are with December 25th edging ever nearer and I am no closer to finding a simple set of lights that isn’t out to blind me or trigger a headache. Unlike my white wine, which was Chilled White, my hunt involved not only static lights, but Warm White lights – something else it seems impossible to find. Ultra Bright Burn Your Eyeballs Out White lights, sure, zillions of ‘em. But something softer on the eye? Try an eye patch.
But then, Lo! Like you know who seeing a star (not a flashing one, nor an ultra bright white one) I found a website which purported to sell the required outdoor, plug in, timer-controlled, warm white, static fairy lights. Joy! I made my selection but decided to check the Description box first. 8m of Ultra White Multifunction Lights it stated. Hmmm. That’s not how they were advertised. And then up popped the little box: Live Chat.
Well, I thought, I think I just might…
You are typing…Hi, can you confirm if the warm white static lights on your site really are warm and static, and not multifunction as stated in the description for the static lights please?
Boris is typing…Hi What lights were you interested in?
You are typing…the static ones…(and it’s are, not were)(didn’t say that of course. Perhaps I should have)
Boris is typing...yes there static
You are typing…(y apostrophe r e) (grrr) but in the description it states multifunction. And ultra bright.
Boris is typing…hold on.. I’ll check
You are typing…hello?
Boris is typing…Yes the description for the ultra bright multifunction is the same for the warm white static
You are typing…why?
Boris is typing…we have to put all the descriptions on the site
You are typing…er… what?
Boris is typing…If you clicked warm white static then thats what you’d get
You are typing…(grrrr..) But how do I know that if I chose one thing and the description for it states something else, that I’d get the right thing?
Boris is typing…We’ve got them in red and blue to
You are typing...(Grrrr…too, not to) OK! Thanks for your help. Bye.
Ok. Enough. I’ll try the shops I thought. So I tried the shops. And again was baffled by the current fashion for multifunction lights. The trouble is, when plugged into a socket and timer, as soon as the plugged-in timer clicks in, the 8 Million Multifunction outdoor lights revert to the first function, which is I think called Panic Party. Or Party Panic. Either way it frightens the owls and gives me a migraine.
Last week I was in the company of a Swedish lady and she had some unusual gold S-shaped ‘things’ resting on the top of an internal doorframe. Candle holders, she explained. For the Christmas tree. “You use lit candles in your Christmas tree?!” I asked, astounded. “Oh yes! It’s very Swedish! We balance the top bit around a branch and place a thin candle in the tiny dish, light it, and all stand back and clap.”
As the whole thing goes up in flames, presumably. Mind you, I can see the appeal…