The large Christmas tree that the City of Oslo chopped down in a local forest and sent as its annual gift to London clearly had a rough trip over the North Sea. It’s missing branches and so scraggly that it’s being ridiculed once again.
“Where’s the rest of the tree?” wondered the Evening Standard newspaper, while Norwegian news service NTB reported that others wondered whether Norwegians were just trying to get back at the British for firing its football hero Ole Gunnar Solskjær as manager of Manchester United.
Now the Conservative Party’s top official on the Oslo City Council, Anne Haabeth Rygg, has urged the Labour-led city government to pay for a new and much nicer tree for London. Oslo’s annual gift of a Christmas tree for London “is supposed to show how grateful we are (for London’s help during World War II),” Rygg told state broadcaster NRK. “It shouldn’t look like an old, worn-out spruce.”
Rygg wanted the council to urge London officials to buy a new, nicer tree and send the bill to Oslo. “They deserve a beautiful tree, and I hope the council agrees,” Rygg said. It did not, nor did the city government.
“We do what we can to make sure the tree is just as nice when it’s put up at Trafalgar Square as when it was cut down,” responded Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen, who helped cut down London’s tree. Rygg replied that “I think we must admit that it’s not easy to transport such a large tree in a good manner to London, and perhaps trees in the future should be cut down in England.”