Penarth’s 2014 Christmas Tree is hoisted up over the roundabout
Penarth’s new 35-foot-high Christmas Tree has been erected on the clock roundabout this morning in readiness for the Christmas Lights switching-on ceremony on Sunday.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council was actually carrying out in the installation under contract to Penarth Town Council.
Penarth’s Deputy Town Clerk Keri Hutchings supervised the operation
A veritable sea of high-viz yellow jackets was in evidence before the tree actually arrived. At one point there were five PSCOs, one police constable, and seven Vale and Penarth council employees on hand to make sure everything went smoothly.
Supervising operations was Penarth’s Deputy Town Clerk, Keri Hutchings .
Passers by commented the scene reminded them of that statue of U.S.Marines raising the Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima
The giant tree – weighing well over a tonne – was craned off a lorry, hoisted skywards and lowered ) – into its prepared pit in the centre of the roundabout.
A close call for one council employee as he misses his footing beneath the ton-and-a-half tree
Police were on hand to stop the traffic temporarily because of the obvious risk to passing vehicles whilst the conifer was still airborne.
It was a risky operation too for the Council’s parks staff as they wrangled an obstinate ton and a half of timber hovering above their heads.
At one point one of the three men manouevering the tree stumbled and fell, but luckily came to no harm – most of the weight of was still being taken by the overhead crane .
A van driver delayed by the operation complains to a council employee
Although most motorists bore the slight inconvenience of the temporary road closure with good-grace some did not and complained to the police about being held up or being diverted.
An angry van driver, who was at the head of the traffic queue, left his cab at one point to take issue with the restrictions .
Road closure or no- he wanted to turn left out of Windsor Terrace into Stanwell Road and – picking on the nearest yellow jacket – remonstrated with a wholly-innocent Penarth council employee.
The van driver was finally allowed through into Stanwell Road
Eventually he and the rest of the queue was allowed allowed through.
The tree was supplied by local garden-centre Brynawel Nurseries and had undergone some surgery over the weekend to ensure its trunk was squared off in advance to fit the socket in the roundabout.
“Woodman – pare that tree” .The Vale of Glamorgan’s acknowledged Christmas tree expert makes some last minute adjustments
This year a council workman was installed at each of the sectors of the roundabout to ensure that from whatever angle it was viewed - this tree would be installed absolutely vertical.
However – just as with any domestic Christmas tree – there’s usually a fair amount of fettling required to make it fit and lower branches needed to be lopped off to it ensure it was just right.
FLASHBACK:Penarth’s famous 2013 leaning Christmas Tree
Last year’s tree was said to have had a significant inclination to the left ( or right depending on the observer’s point of view) .
In subsequent gales – when the tree had begun to sway – some pedestrians complained to PDN that it “scared the bejeezus “out of them.
However by mid-January Penarth’s leaning Christmas tree had come to enjoy a cult-status of its own. Some said that, in terms of tourist attractions, it was Penarth’s answer to the Leaning Tower of Pizza.
The 2014 tree was checked from four different angles before the final wedges were driven home. This one is vertical.
This time however the team were determined the 2014 tree would be absolutely straight and – as near as dammit – vertical.
Job Done – give or take a few degrees.
The next job is putting the lights on .Meanwhile the Christmas lights elsewhere in the town have also now been installed ready for next Sunday’s festive switching-on ceremony .