petite anglaise

January 6, 2005

disposing of the body

Filed under: city of light — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:16 am

I’m wondering whether my compulsory responsabilité civile vie privé insurance will cover the injury caused to an innocent passer by while disposing of our oversized, and now rather flaccid, Christmas tree.

The phrase in my contract reads:

Nous indemnisons à votre place les dommages causés à autrui dans le cadre de votre vie privée et engageant votre responsabilité.

The exceptions listed include accidents involving a car/boat/my job/transmission of an illness. Nothing is said about lopping a Christmas tree which has outstayed its welcome off a fifth floor balcony onto the pavement below in the dead of night.

I am starting to wish now that I had opted for a cute, bonasaï-style tree, rather than a monstrosity as tall as myself. It looked reasonable enough in its mesh wrapping, but once unsheathed the lower branches sprung out at right angles and its true, gargantuan dimensions were revealed. The tree took over more than a square metre of our small living room and furniture had to be moved around in order to accommodate it.

The lift in our building measures approximately 60 cm by 100 cm and can hold two slim people provided they know each other well (preferably carnally). The washing machine was a tight squeeze and I fear that the tree is now too wide. Add to this the fact that the lift is entirely carpeted in a fetching shade of brown, including the walls and even the ceiling, and you can imagine the fun to be had hoovering needles off all those surfaces if the tree were to be coaxed into said lift.

And as for the five storeys of staircase, they are also carpeted. I don’t think the nice man who hoovers the stairs on Saturday mornings would be very appreciative if I left a trail of needles all the way from my front door down to the lobby below. However as the flex on my hoover doesn’t stretch as far as his I would have to purchase some kind of extension lead if I wanted to remove the debris.

Hence my current dilemma.

If I had been frighteningly efficient and organised and actually aware of the existence of such an invention, I would have purchased a special tree-bag (pictured), which I’m told can be opened out under the tree to catch all falling needles during the Christmas period (as opposed to picking them out of our bare feet with tweezers from now until next December), and then lifted to envelope the tree and facilitate its disposal. I optimistically asked after these at three shops yesterday only to be told that these were sold out long before Christmas. I see no alternative but to fashion myself one using the limited means I have at my disposal.

So, if you happen to see/hear a swearing English person in the vicinity of the Buttes Chaumont tonight wrestling a person-sized bundle wrapped in a duvet cover out onto the pavement, do come over and introduce yourself.


  1. happy new year!…now, just shut your eyes and close your ears, chuck it out of the window… how will anyone know it was your tree? especially if they are killed instantly.

    sorry, that was sick. ;)

    Comment by vitriolica — January 6, 2005 @ 12:03 pm

  2. I say chuck it! You can enlist your Frog to direct traffic below if it makes you feel better. I’ve chucked my trees for years now and get a kick out of it every time :cool:

    Comment by Alda — January 6, 2005 @ 12:17 pm

  3. Next time you can chuck the tree off the balcony neatly wrapped up in its ‘sac à sapin’. What you do is buy the said sac at the same time as you buy the tree, feeling worthy ‘cos part of the price goes to charity. You put the tree up with the bag spread around the base. Then when you’ve done with it you pull the bag up around the tree keeping in most of the needles.

    I’m now addicted to your blog

    Comment by John O'D — January 6, 2005 @ 12:52 pm

  4. I vaguely recall an episode of Men Behaving Badly where the two blokes had to evacuate some stolen souvenir of a drunken night out- I think it was a giant plaster dolphin stolen from the front of a seaside chip shop- from a fifth floor hotel room. They hit upon the idea of attaching it to a bunch of helium-filled balloons and floating it away into the sky.

    How about sending your tree floating above the streets of Paris, where it might eventually become entangled in the Eiffel Tower and become a well-known tourist attraction? You could first of all arrange the fairy lights to spell the words ‘’ in order to attract some free publicity.

    Comment by jonathan — January 6, 2005 @ 2:41 pm

  5. Well, you can’t be the only one in your building with this delimma; what’s everyone else doing?

    (and I say chuck it, too! :mrgreen:)

    Comment by ViVi — January 6, 2005 @ 3:17 pm

  6. I’m not sure Vivi – I imagine the old dears have plastic ones and the other people more sense than I and buy something more reasonably sized.

    Comment by petite — January 6, 2005 @ 3:24 pm

  7. Being a no-risk dullard, here is my solution. You will need:

    1) a large polythene decorator’s sheet (available from hardware store or hardware department of Nouvelles Galleries etc.

    2) several yards of stout string or twine

    3) a roll of that broad beige parcel tape

    4) tough gardening gloves (optional)

    Place unfolded decorators protective polythene sheet on floor of lounge.

    Lay immense Christmas Redwood down on sheet. Wrap in poly sheet, rolling if possible.

    Ensure tadpole is not included in bundle

    Tie several loops of stout string around branchular areas to prevent egress

    Tightly wrap many bands of parcel tape around tree/polythene combination.

    Admire “mummy” effect.

    Hurl from 5th floor window, achieving sufficient distance to make denial feasible.

    Find needles until next Christmas as per your post.

    Repeat until arguments for artificial tree become overwhelming and therefore choose no tree option.

    Comment by Jim in Rennes — January 6, 2005 @ 4:59 pm

  8. Well, the New Hampshire USA way of doing it would be much different.

    Lay a tarp under the tree and then lay it down on its side.
    Get a sharp, serrated, knife from your kitchen and then start sawing off branches and toss a couple every few days from your balcony.
    Ultimately, you can cut the trunk in small pieces and toss them out of the window too.
    You can store branches on the balcony until you feel like tossing them, building a bonfire, or just leave them to provide habitat for migratory birds.

    Comment by Bob — January 6, 2005 @ 5:08 pm

  9. Has it occured to you to wrap it into a large blanket and to lower it from the balcony using a rope?

    Comment by Oliver — January 6, 2005 @ 6:07 pm

  10. I have been faced with the same dilemma for years until last year it occurred to me to chop off the offending needle-dropping branches with gardening scissors (beats the serrated knife!). Chuck them them into a large plastic bag and dispose of them. Then VERY CAREFULLY carry the remaining tree stump down the stairs — it will still lose some needles, so be extra-careful in front of your own door and don’t let the needle trail start until one or two floors down…

    Comment by Anonymous — January 6, 2005 @ 7:44 pm

  11. … rent a chipper.
    Then throw the chips over the balcony!
    hee hee hee

    Comment by anan — January 6, 2005 @ 8:00 pm

  12. ps. just a thought… once you come up with a wonderful way to dispose of these, why not set up a seasonal service?

    ok, there’s your first million.
    don’t say i never gave you anything!

    Comment by anan — January 6, 2005 @ 8:01 pm

  13. ahhhh, serves you right, you tree-killer! dogmatix (idéfix) is crying his eyes out.

    No, really, you have a bad problem. I think that guy’s blanket out the window idea is the best solution. Just be careful leaning out. Trees are heavy.

    Comment by nardac — January 7, 2005 @ 1:16 am

  14. I really really wanted one of those ikea trees that get replanted.

    But we are so environmentally friendly that we don’t even have a car and we couldn’t get ourselves there…

    Comment by petite — January 7, 2005 @ 9:36 am

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