It’s a hard elf’s life

The good thing about sitting at your desk day and night in a complete deadline panic is that you get a round the clock insight into your neighbours’ lives. Well, at least if your desk is right next to your window.

Mr and Mrs Across the Street had their decorating day today. I watched them wrestle a fat, dark green needle monster out of the boot and through the front door. A few seconds later, they wobbled it into the living room.

Now, you need to know that Mr and Mrs Across the Street, for some reason, leave their enormous front room window completely uncurtained (and otherwise undshielded from nosey passers-by) at any time of the day. And since the room is just opposite my own and across the street from our backyard, I’m the lucky owner of a front-row ticket to The Life of Mr and Mrs Across the Street.

(The downside is that they, in turn, get an unobstructed view of my late night Salsa body movement practice in front of the mirror. Obsessive hip pushing and nearly-there body rolls may be acceptable if executed in a frilly red skirt in the pseudo-Cuban atmosphere of a badly-lit Salsa bar, but a South Yorkshire terrace house and fluffy baby blue Primark reindeer pajamas are just so not latina. I do use my curtains now.)

But I digress. Having witnessed the arrival of The Tree, I moved my writing agony business from desk to bed for a while – change of perspective and stuff, you know. For the rest of the afternoon I only occasionally noticed some elf-like tree-orbiting across the street when I left my position on a tea or chocolate quest.

As the semi-daylight surrendered to the general meteorological misery and made its exit around four o’clock, I ventured to the window, prepared to admire the seasonal masterpiece.

And there was the needle monster, its vast body embellished with a breathtaking total of five yellow lights blinking a little lost and rather nervously at me across dusky suburbia.

Merry Christmas, Mr and Mrs Across the Street.

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