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Village Food & Drink

Christmas is coming!

Posted on October 24 2010 at 5:15:58 0 comments

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again already, but Christmas is definitely on its way: cards and gifts have been in the shops for some time; restaurants and hotels are encouraging us to book our festive functions; people have started discussing who’s in the running for the Christmas Number One; and we’ve even had some seasonal cold and frosty weather.

It won’t be long before the Christmas lights are casting a colourful glow over our towns and villages, surely putting a smile on the faces of even the most hardened Crimbophobic. In Barnt Green, the official switch-on is Friday December 10, when villagers can come along to join in the carol singing and enjoy a festive mulled wine. The Parish Council have promised that the display of lights will be even better than last year’s.

Over in Alvechurch, residents are eagerly anticipating their own display – after the disappointment of last year, when the lights were switched on late and proved less than spectacular, councillors spent £700 on improved lights for 2010 and will be switching them on on Sunday November 28.

Christmas appeals to the child in all of us, and kids and adults alike will be excited to learn that some very important guests will be visiting Fresh@Burcot Garden Centre at the start of December – the time when the Christmas countdown really begins!

On Saturday December 4, you can meet two of Santa’s very own reindeer at Fresh, and Santa himself will also be popping in to say hello. Gertrude (pictured with Nicci Gow of Fresh) and her very cute baby, Nigel, are part of Santa’s Worcestershire herd, which is based at a top secret location near Pershore. The pair are due to arrive at Fresh soon after 2pm (flying conditions permitting) with Santa joining them at around 3pm.

Nicci Gow with Gertrude the reindeer

Nicci and Neil Gow, owners of Fresh, have supplied some interesting information about reindeer and how they pull Santa’s sleigh, as follows . . .

“The flying reindeer who pull the sleigh that Santa drives are magic, and the only known flying reindeer. It’s believed that they have the power of flight by virtue of a magic mix that Santa feeds them, which is given to him by a great and wonderful wizard.

This magic food increases the strength of the reindeer threefold; their stamina increases to infinity and their hooves can gallop through the air as though it were solid ground.

This is how the reindeer (can you name them all?*) are able to pull a sleigh brimming with tons of toys for an unlimited amount of time, all around the world and all in one brief night on Christmas Eve.

The real answer to the question “how long has Santa used reindeer to pull his sleigh?” is “forever!” However, the legend as we know it probably dates back to a nursery rhyme written around 1807.

Reindeer are a species of deer, located in the Arctic regions of the world such as Finland (apart from the Worcestershire ones, of course!) They are not as big as most people think – they can reach up to four feet high at the shoulder and weigh as much as 17 stone.

Reindeer can pull up to twice their own weight, making them ideal for pulling a sleigh loaded down with toys and gifts! (and an overweight Santa!)

Reindeer are well adapted to living in cold regions and under rugged conditions, and can even smell out food when it is buried under deep snow. Their large broad hooves act like snowshoes to support them over snowy and boggy ground, and they are able to cover vast distances, crossing both rivers and lakes in search of good feeding grounds.

Reindeer have a thick, woolly undercoat which keeps out the deep cold by trapping air near their skin and is also waterproof. Both male and female reindeer grow a whole new set of antlers every year, and each new set is bigger than the previous one!”

* Santa’s reindeer are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen and Rudolph –  oh, and we’d better not forget Gertude and Nigel!

For further details about the reindeer’s visit, call 01527 873470 or see http://www.burcotgardencentre.co.uk

All around the region, local businesses are busy making preparations for Christmas and offering us some special seasonal products, services and deals. If you’re hunting for that perfect Christmas gift, there’s plenty of inspiration on these pages –you could splash out on some beautiful jewellery from Cupitts or RF Collyer, or some luxurious lingerie from Temptations.

A handcrafted item is always a lovely present idea, and the village area is a great place to find one. You could choose to have a piece of artwork, the kids’ latest masterpiece, a treasured photograph or piece of memorabilia professionally framed by Paul Hunt of Framed in Alvechurch, or what about commissioning a wonderful dolls’ house created to your own specification by Richard Chidley Dolls Houses?

Don’ t forget that Little Heath Garden Centre has a huge range of gifts as well as Christmas trees and decorations.

Real ale fans would appreciate some “proper beer” from Weatheroak Ales, while a barrel or two of ale would be ideal for a festive gathering. . . and on the subject of parties, why not ask The Spice Trade to provide some tasty Indian treats for your guests?

If you are hosting or attending parties this season, there are plenty of local businesses that can help you look fit and fabulous: Bliss Hair Therapy has some great special offers on hair extensions and party styling, and Beauticle provides Sienna spray tanning and glitzy Minx nails. Meanwhile, Anita Powell can help you get rid of unwanted hair as well as lessening the signs of ageing with several non-surgical procedures.

And if you’re on a mission to keep in shape over the holiday period, or your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, get in touch with ladies-only gym Gently Does It or your local Lighter Life consultant.

Christmas is definitely a time for socialising with family and friends and catching up on all their news – and if you are going to be entertaining visitors, you could save yourself the hassle of cooking by heading to one of the area’s excellent eateries.

The Old Rose and Crown is offering traditional fare in a stylish setting, as well as being a great venue for large parties, and if you love traditional pubs then pop over to the Dodford Inn where you’re sure of a warm welcome. Down in Bromsgrove, the popular Langtry’s Restaurant now has new owners and a new menu of classic favourites fused with modern British and European cuisine.

Finally, keeping the kids amused in the run-up to Christmas is always a challenge – so treat the whole family to a trip on the Severn Valley Railway, whose special Santa Steam Service offers a chance to meet Santa himself and receive a small gift whilst enjoying a ride on a traditional steam train.


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