A CITY’S FESTIVE TRANSFORMATION

I’ve been wary of anything that describes itself as a Winter Wonderland after my first foray to such a themed event over ten years ago. Then my family and I ended up wandering around a few sad small shacks of glitter in a mud pit of fields!

When friends suggested I join them at the Winter Wonderland in Nottingham recently I hesitated, and said I’d think about it. In other words I needed to check it out online first!

Yeah! No mud or fields in sight! Rather the website promised a glittering array of lights, bars, and over 70 stalls! The largest such event in the Midlands.

On the day of our arrival, we headed to centre of town and just as dusk fell around four I was struck first by the colourful Christmas tree lights.

As we approached the main square the cacophony of voices hit us, one moment the quiet city centre streets, then magically transported to a fairy-tale Christmas market. The crowd was deep and slow-moving, not that I minded in the least as I spun around, scanning the festivities.

There was a large ice-rink, a helter-skelter, carousel and toboggan ride! Plus much more! Food stalls served dishes from across Europe and of course, there were the bars galore, including an ice-bar!

Photo from https://www.visit-nottinghamshire.co.uk/

The market stalls offered a variety of goods including jewellery, ornaments, art and fashion. As it was a cold night I bought myself a hat. The first bobble hat I’ve had since a child and it felt snug and warm on my head! My friends laughed at my acquisition – good-naturedly, I hope!

Although we were sorely tempted by the drinks on offer we had another destination in mind, ‘The Alchemist’ cocktail bar. How could we resist their tantalising sales pitch:

“We’re masters in the dark arts of molecular mixology and demons in the kitchen. Our mixologists create every cocktail with an obsessive eye for detail, presented in vessels orchestrated to add a devilish dash of theatre, they bedazzle, bewitch and set the scene for everything we do.”

I was enraptured by the artistry of the staff, magicians of wondrous concoction, mine a smoking mixture which could not be rested on the table until the vapours subsided. Only then was I allowed to pour it into the specially prepared glass! I had a SMOKEY NUMBER 2 which consisted of a heady selection of ‘Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum, Winter Sugars, Apple, Smoke, Cinnamon. Hard To Put Down’. I can asssure you I only had the one drink, here I’m holding my friend’s flask as well.

I loved every wicked and fiery sip! Let’s just say there wasn’t a second one!

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating this Thursday! Happy First Advent to those who mark the day on Sunday. Above all else wishing everyone a joyful and peaceful time before Christmas!

Note: Unless stated all photos are ©Annika Perry.

GOOSE ON THE LOOSE

One of my favourites. Very trusting.

Fabergé

Creativity comes in many forms. 

A while back our village embraced the creative as we all went goose mad. Not the live ones, nor cooked ones, rather foot tall white polystyrene models. Hundreds of them!

Then the challenge was set – to decorate these as beautifully, unusually, imaginatively as possible. 

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Mummy Goose

The gauntlet was thrown down by a local artist who is active within the community and after organising numerous Scarecrow Trails she fancied doing something a bit different, something directly related to the village. In the Middle Ages, as geese were driven to London for the fairs, our village became an overnight stop for the travellers. In celebration of this the Goose Trail was born.

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Prehistoric wild goose chase!

All school pupils, participating households and businesses were given their own goose to decorate. I believe the final number was close to 300!

Who would have guessed the artistic flair this project would unleash – puns abounded, fun and wit at every goose, ideas both crazy and topical. An absolute wonder of colour, delight and yes, creativity. I hope you enjoy the brief tour with me.

The British sea-side was celebrated in two installations – just one aspect was slightly wrong. Where’s that breezy, gusty wind that lifts the umbrella and sends it somersaulting down the beach!

Of course, football is hugely popular and there are many supporters locally of London-based team West Ham – known as the Hammers. I wonder how the geese are faring in this match?

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The Cockney Geezers

There was an international flavour to some of the exhibits and I liked this French one …. Oh, I just wanted to stop for some bread, cheese and wine…

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Sutton Honk – Raedwald The Goose

This one referred to Sutton Hoo which is one of the most magnificent archaeological finds in England and is nearby. It dates back to the 500 or 600 AD and in the undisturbed burial ship there was a wealth of beautiful and high quality artefacts  including a suite  of metalwork dress fittings in gold and gems, a ceremonial helmet, shield and sword, a lyre, and many pieces of silverware.

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Sutton Hoo Ceremonial Helmet

 

 

 

 

 

 

A giant SpongeBob SquarePants graced one garden, cheekily chatting away to a goose with most unusual shaped eggs. Ouch.

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Not to be outdone one household had a flair for mixing fairytales as they included their stalwart metal scarecrow.

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Jack (this man) and the Beanstalk with the goose that laid the golden eggs.

This young goose was  handsomely, meticulously turned out as a RAF officer – of course it can fly, it has wings!

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The Top Gun display brought back great memories of seeing the film and particularly its initial dramatic moments. 

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Easter is soon upon us and in a few days I’m heading away to the peace and tranquility of the sea, lakes and forests of Sweden. We take this break every year and you can read a bit more about it here. I’ll pop into the blogging world when I get a chance, until then I wish you all a very Happy Easter – may calm, joy and peace be with you all.

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Primary School painted geese