Mountain Man was really called Pierre, but we called him Mountain Man because, well, he looked like he lived up a mountain, possibly in a cave. In the early days, MM would often pop by our house whenever he felt that our beer fridge needed emptying or our Ricard bottle was just too full and through clouds of Gitane scented smoke would regale us with his tales of 'derring do'. One night, just before Christmas, he joined us for a bit of a party. He arrived, already somewhat the worse for wear and seemed to take exception to what I took to be a prefectly sized Christmas tree which sat twinkiling prettily in the corner of the room. ' Ca...' MM waved his finger in the general direction of my tree as he strived to stay upright, '....ca, c'est pas un sapin de Noel' A short time later he was seen roaring off in his battered peugeot. The evening and the alcohol wore on and I started to think that maybe he'd slunk off home to sleep things off, but soon we heard a screech of brakes outside, followed by the whine of a chainsaw and then the door burst open and in staggered MM partially concealed beneath the fronds of an almighty Christmas tree. The beast was somehow shoved in through the door and my tree was unceremoniously cast to one side as he attempted to install it. Saws, nails and drills were produced and he fashioned a makeshift stand and then it was hauled, albeit at a slightly alarming angle, into place. Clearly a 'glass half full' kind of chap, MM saw no disadvantage to the tree being about a foot taller than the ceiling and cunningly screwed right through the top branch into my newly decorated ceiling beams to hold the thing in place. "Ca!, ca, c'est un vrai sapin de Noel" he leered. And I had to concur - it was a magnificent tree and the fact that we could no longer use a significant part of our sitting room was of no consequence.