Today's Advent Sunday and ever since I was a little girl this is always the day we get the Christmas decorations down from the loft and I decorate the Christmas tree. It's a family tradition which NAH is more than happy for me to continue with ;)
So you can imagine my delight when the nice people at Dobbies offered to send me a sparkly Snowtime Fibre Optic Sunburst Christmas Tree for me to try out. A package promptly arrived from Scotland via Parcel Force and as I was away on holiday at the time and my neighbours were out, it was taken to my local post office for me to pick up later.
I unpacked the box this morning and assembled everything within a mere 5 minutes. There's 3 legs to attach to the base, the tree's branches (a single unit for this 4ft tree) to slot into it, plus the transformer to plug into the base and the wall socket. The base also contains the light and the revolving disc to drive the changing colours within the fibre optic lights spread throughout the tree. There's 175cm (just under five feet) of cable from the transformer to the plug, so you'll need to put your tree fairly close to the socket, or else use an extension lead (with care!) if you want to put the tree further away.
With everything duly assembled and all the branches pulled down into position to make everything look much more tree like, I then switched it on... and nothing happened :(
Being the electrical and electronics engineer that he is, NAH of course has just the right equipment to hand to test things out and was able to quickly confirm the transformer's as dead as a dodo. I'd noticed when I unpacked the box (which was in good condition) that the transformer had come out of its carton. On closer inspection, the carton wasn't fully taped together and its protective cardboard packaging wasn't taped around it either. NAH thinks this may have been enough to damage the transformer whilst in transit from the manufacturer or from Dobbies to me. Alternatively it might not have been working before it was put in the box.
I don't blame Dobbies at all for this problem and I see they have a clear returns policy shown on their website where faulty goods can be returned to them within 28 days for either a replacement or a full refund. I've emailed Ian at Dobbies - who asked if I'd like to review a tree - to see what he'd like to do next and to show there's no hard feelings, I've ordered some outdoor Christmas lights on the strength of Karen's review. Ours finally gave up the ghost last year, so I'd been planning on getting some anyway and hadn't found any I liked locally.
If a tree's more your thing, then you might like to know Ryan has a giveaway for UK readers over at his blog at the moment. You can choose any tree, artificial or real from Dobbies range and if you leave a comment there before the close of Friday 4th December, you may be lucky enough to have Ryan's glamorous assistant pull your name out as the winner!
NB OOTS alert! It's nearly time for our quarterly look at public planting. December will be a sparkling festive edition where I'll be asking you to show us your neighbourhood's decorations. There's more to come on introducing this to you in the coming week, but I know how some of you like plenty of notice so you can get your cameras out ;)