Christmas issue

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COUNTRYSIDE ▯ HISTORY & HERITAGE ▯ CRAFT ▯ COOKERY ▯ GARDENING ▯ TRAVEL

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Life at nature’s pace

Christmas 2017

CHRISTMAS

WISHES

Creating pictures in scarlet

Vintage boxes full of stories

Golden flowers of Christmas scent

1


Contents

Christmas 2017

100

106

In the garden

In the kitchen

90

Craft

10 Scarlet houseplants

16 Shrub with scent of Christmas

22 Frozen bowl of beauty

58 A natural wreath

90 Mistletoe decorations

40 Cranberry loaf

42 Suppers for Christmas Eve

46 Orange stuffed turkey feast

52 Fire and ice dessert

56 Regional & Seasonal:

The Charles Bathurst Inn

35 Garland of robins

71 A ruler Christmas tree

72 Matchbox Advent calendar

82 Warming blanket to crochet

88 Buttoned-up bottle

96 A picture from fabric scraps

4


71

46

26

22

Country matters

History and heritage

Regulars

64 Boxes filled with stories

76 Capturing fronds of the sea

84 A passion for perfection

100 The Christmas wren

26 Panto fun and traditions

106 Historic city with festive spirit

116 Ringing in the carols

6 Readers’ letters

8 Our LandScape

25 In the garden

54 In the kitchen

62 Subscription offer

74 In the home

120 UK events

5


Synonymous with Christmas,

poinsettias bring a blaze

of colour to a seasonal

arrangement. Their hardy

bracts sit well with pine twigs,

cones and ivy (this page).

Crimson and red fuse in

glowing cyclamen petals

(opposite page).

10


PICTURE IN

SCARLET

Whether in pots or as cut flowers and

decorations, bright red houseplants create a

splash of festive colour in the home

11


FROM MIME

TO DAMES

AND HEROES

The traditional pantomime has a centurieslong

history behind it – oh yes it has!

A

BRIGHTLY DRESSED LINE of characters fills a

stage with colour and song as they reach the climax of a

show that has involved music, dance, comedy, heroes

and villains. Down in the auditorium, the captivated

audience has spent the last two hours cheering, booing, hissing,

clapping, singing and shouting with excitement.

For more than 40 years, members of the Burton Amateur Stage

Entertainers (BASE) in Staffordshire have been delighting local

audiences with their interpretations of much-loved pantomimes.

Their annual show is filled with comedy, slapstick, song and dance.

The hero and heroine are guaranteed a happy ending, while the

villain is destined to get his comeuppance. Together with amateur

and professional theatres across the country at Christmastime,

these actors are following in a quintessentially British tradition that

goes back for centuries.

A developing art

It is hard to pin down exactly what makes a traditional panto, as it

is constantly changing and evolving. Innovation and novelty have ›

26

Jack and the Beanstalk

was one of the first

pantomimes to be

developed. This 1930s

poster shows the classic

principal boy, played by a

girl (left).

The finale of Sleeping

Beauty performed by

Burton Amateur Stage

Entertainers (top right).

Children enjoying a show

(right); Mother Goose

and the panto dame at

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

(centre and far right).


flavour

Celebration of

Soft bread imbued with the taste of Christmas, savoury

suppers for the evening before the big day, a turkey with a

hidden delight and the perfect dessert for a feast

38


A WELCOME

WOVEN

IN NATURE

A traditional Christmas wreath

is simple to make using

materials from winter’s bounty

58


76


FRONDS OF FLUIDITY

Inspired by strands of seaweed, metalwork artist Sharon McSwiney

creates patterned and iridescent works of art


100


TINY SINGER

WITH REAL

PRESENCE

ON A BRIGHT, cold December

day, the early morning stillness is

broken by a small movement at

the base of the frost-tinged

shrubbery. Moments later, a tiny bird

appears. Plump and brown, a wren moves

along in sudden, jerky movements, hopping

from one spot to the next. All the while, it is

on the lookout for the insects it needs to

survive the winter.

As it emerges from the shade, it hops up

onto the rockery. Once in full view, the

subtleties of its patterned plumage can be

seen. In varying shades of brown, each

feather is edged with buff, black or grey.

The wren is Britain’s most common bird,

with almost eight million breeding pairs,

and yet can be overlooked as it feeds

unobtrusively.

No other garden bird, however, has its

distinctive stumpy shape. With its slender

bill and cocked tail, it is easy to identify,

even in silhouette. And at this time of year,

it is far more noticeable than during the

spring and summer months. The short

daylight hours of winter mean wrens must

search for food from dawn to dusk. ›

The wren’s distinctive song consists of a loud

rattling call and warbling sound.

With a loud voice and pugnacious attitude,

the wren is a popular inhabitant

of the garden, easily spotted in winter

101


ENFOLDED IN HISTORY

106


Within the walls of the ancient fortified city of Chester, the warm

sandstone buildings glow under winter skies at Christmastime

107


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