"I have to say," I announced to McColleague as I looked out of the office window at the slowly melting snow, "that I am not overly keen on the concept of foliage gathering today."
"Lovely Warden is on his way," said McColleague, closing her mobile phone firmly. "Get your waterproof trousers on."
I did indeed put my waterproof trousers on. They are a fetching olive green colour and smell very much like plastic. McColleague has an identical pair, only in a smaller size. We were issued with them last year as part of our emergency salvage kit. They do very well for wearing in wet, muddy and scary conditions, but they do restrict your leg movements. Once we have put on our green jackets, wellies and gloves there was only one thing left to complete the ritual - the Foliage Gathering Hat.
Mine is green and deerstalker style, with handy ear flaps. McColleague had forgotten hers (oh, the shame!) so had to wear the only hat we could find, which was a furry Santa Hat.
"Do I look stupid?" she asked.
"No," I lied. "You look very festive."
Lovely Warden arrived in the Gator. He was admant that before we went foliage gathering we had to go to the bird hide and restock the bird feeders.
McColleague and I waited patiently while he did his rounds.
"Come on! It's cold!"
"And where's your foliage gathering hat?"
"I left it in the Warden's shed."
We detoured back to the shed. Lovely Warden reappeared with an exciting fleecey hat, with very long ear flaps.
"I feel inadequate," I wailed. "His flaps are bigger than mine!"
"I haven't even got any flaps," pointed out McColleague.
"I have also brought a safety modification for the Gator," announced Lovely Warden, brandishing a length of orange webbing.
At this point I must stress that under no circumstances would we make an impromptu passenger seat for the Gator from an office chair and a length of orange safety strap. We certainly wouldn't drive it around the estate with someone claiming to feel like "king for a day" and we would not laugh about "catching some air" as we went over molehills at high speed. We would simply gather our mistletoe and holly, safely and sensibly. And anyone who says otherwise is lying.