A brightly decorated house in the West Midlands has joined the Great Wall of China to become only the second man-made structure to be visible from space.
The brightly decorated 1960s semi-detached house, home to Jerry and Julie Dawes of Dudley features millions of flashing lights, giant inflatable santas, and herds of luminous animatronic reindeer. It was first spotted on the morning of the 12th December by US military satellites, and shortly afterwards by the other residents of the quiet cul-de-sac. ‘Well, it looks like Jerry and Julie have really gone for it this year,’ commented Bob Mayfield of No. 18, ‘I partly blame myself really…’
The Dawes and the Mayfields have had an ongoing rivalry over Christmas illuminations that started several years ago when Bob put some pretty white glowing stars on the bush in the front garden. This was trumped the following year by a Father Christmas climbing the Dawes’ chimney, and reached a point of considerable tension last year when the Mayfields installed a neon nativity scene on their lawn.
Relations between the neighbours had been frosty since then, but the overnight erection of the record-breaking festive tableau goes some way towards explaining the Dawes’ strange behaviour throughout the year. ‘They sold their car and skipped a summer holiday this year. Their kids have been wearing clothes from charity shops and eating discounted food past its sell by date. This explains where all the money went; and that’s before they’ve got this quarter’s electricity bill.’
Powergen has expressed concern about excessive demands being made upon the National Grid while the Washington State Department suspects that the only way that so many decorations could have been powered would be from a small independent nuclear programme. In response to the Dawes’ efforts, Chinese authorities are now said to be considering getting some fairy-lights “just to cheer the wall up a bit”.
In the end the middle class family down the road managed to beat all of them for the brightest glowing house in the whole country. They lit real candles on their Christmas tree and then forgot about them when they went out.