In the week after packing the Christmas decorations away, Frank decided that the living room looked bare. Gone were the cards from relatives, close friends and casual acquaintances. There was no longer any tinsel perched on picture frames across the house. And, perhaps most jarring of all, there was no longer a tree in the corner, banished to the garden waste bin at the same time as the fairy lights and baubles that had so recently adorned it had been consigned to the attic for 49 weeks.
Frank spent a morning looking at the corner of the living room where it had resided when he decided that he needed to take action. He found a scrap of paper, and after making a quick sketch, headed out to the back garden with a pair of secateurs. Walking over to the privet bush that stood in a large pot on the edge of the patio, he started trimming it, occasionally checking progress against his rough plan.
After an hour of working on the bush he stood back, pleased with his handiwork. Sure, it’s a little rough around the edges, but I can refine it over the year, he thought. It will definitely fill the gap left by the tree. Heaving it inside, he placed it in the corner where its’ Christmas cousin had so recently resided and sat down on the sofa opposite. The topiary could stay until December, he thought, and began to wonder what his wife would make of it. He heard the key in the lock and excitedly stood up, ready to show off the dolphin that now resided in the living room.