The Kindness of Strangers - The Rosemary Christmas Tree
Did you manage to see a Rosemary Christmas Tree in Waitrose? They were featured on the cover of their Weekend newspaper on 8 December and I had to have one. They looked beautiful.
I visited our nearest large branch after inquiring on Twitter as to whether they had any Rosemary Christmas Trees left at all. I was told which branches around here might have them and they suggested I call first - but why follow instructions?
What? No Rosemary Christmas Trees left at all?
Needless to say the branch I visited had none. They called all their other branches within 25 miles whilst I stood there like some sad obsessive, but all drew a blank. None left. Or they hadn't had any to start with. Either way it wasn't what I wanted to hear.
On Twitter someone called Simon responded to my original message telling me there were some in the branch in Rustington in West Sussex. For all very good reasons, there are not enough hours in the day at this time of year for us, so it would be too far to travel on a hope of finding one. I'd just about given up.
The weekend was spent searching Google and Bing - I even tried Yahoo - I was that desperate. Nothing! Except U.S. nurseries and garden centres stocking them or advising how to grow a Rosemary Christmas Tree. So that would have to be what I did. I'd have to ascertain what variety would work and grow one myself. Or so I thought...
A glimmer of hope...Monday arrived, our busiest day of the week, and I only thought about Rosemary Christmas Trees about a dozen times during the day. That evening with a (well deserved) glass of wine I logged on to Twitter to see if Donald Trump had said anything else outrageous that day and was surprised to see a notification for me. It was Simon. He'd tweeted first thing to ask if I'd managed to find a tree over the weekend. I hadn't replied as I hadn't even known he'd tweeted me but then later the same day made this amazing offer:
"if you direct message me your address a tree will appear as a gesture of goodwill"
I was flabbergasted. Didn't Simon know this was 2016? The year everyone says should be over with as soon as possible. I replied. Simon was forced to follow me on Twitter - something very few do without being under duress - so I could Direct Message him my details and thank him. It turned out - and I could have worked this out much earlier if I'd had an ounce of sense - that Simon's company grew every single Rosemary Christmas Tree Waitrose had had.
More beautiful than you can imagine!
On Thursday James, who was tasked with delivery, popped by our shop to drop off the tree. It is even more beautiful in real life than we imagined. We're told Christmas is a time for giving. It seems to me it is much more a time for buying. This year Bev and I have bought very little to give each other. Our allotment and change of lifestyle has given us so much, we don't think we need much else. But Simon and James gave us something we couldn't buy. No matter how much money we had.
It's just a small, 50cm tall tree. But what a tree it is. And what a kind and selfless gesture. The beautiful Rosemary Christmas Tree is currently living in our kitchen, and not only formed part of our Christmas Dinner table, but was part of our Christmas lunch too. A Christmas Tree that will still be alive in February and one that gives far more than just pine needles on the floor of your lounge.
In fact, the Rosemary is helping my memory. Or so I'm led to believe. You may think 2016 has been a bad year for many reasons. On the other hand you may think it's been a good year. Whichever view you have I'd suggest we could all take a leaf out of Simon's book for next year and try and do something amazing for a stranger.
In 2017, be like Simon... imagine if we all did that what the World would be like for all of us?