Yesterday, we made are annual trip to Christmas Tree Towers to select our tree for the Great Hall of Homeward.
Christmas Tree Towers are where Cheapman grows all his trees for his department store.
He has a fine selection - you can buy a small tree for a penny, and a giant ten foot tree for a shilling.
Cheapman sells them pre-decorated so, as you can imagine, it is a year round job for the dwarfs who tend the trees and festoon them with lights and baubles.
He reserves the tallest for me, undecorated. One of our little Christmas rituals is for my followers to climb amongst the branches decorating the tree, in the days leading up to the holiday.
Cheapman insists that, in order to imbue the trees with the spirit of Christmas, everyday at Christmas Tree Towers must be Christmas Day.
The dwarfs sing carols as they labour about the trees, and have Christmas Dinner daily. They would get very fat if it were not for the physical labour involved in tree husbandry. Truth be told, they get quite fed up with all the turkey, brussel sprouts and other accoutrement's of Christmas fare.
As a special treat they are allowed to have baked beans on toast for their actual Christmas Day lunch.
On the way back, I felt it my duty to pop into Dearman's store. All his goods are frightfully dear, and therefore he does very little business. In fact, I am the only customer he really has. If I did not find something to buy in his shop I feared that Dearman would have a very dismal Christmas.
As we entered the shop he was weeping loudly and bemoaning his lack of customers.
He cheered up as soon as he caught sight of me, and came running with a big smile on his face.
"Come in, Sir, come in at once!" he declared "Look, I have prime Xmas trees, this year - only £500 6s 6d!"
He showed me a most decrepit specimen. "Sir, I think you will admit that this is a fine example of the yuletide..."
"Enough!" I countered "Please do not inflict your sales patter upon me - I'll take it, and have a nice Christmas!"
"Oh, I shall now, Sir, I shall indeed!" smirked Dearman.
"What shall I do with Mr Dearman's tree, Sir?" enquired the Old Monkey as we rode home in my traction engine.
"Send it to Mister Hateman, with all my best wishes of the season !"