My new puppy Vida and a big sorry to readers.

So you all know I’ve been waiting for my puppy Vida to come home. Well she’s here!!
I’m going to be concentrating mainly on her for the next week or so, helping her settle in.
I am still writing. I know there has been a long wait for book two, Ebha’s story but there is something I just don’t like so I’m trying to redo a bit in the middle and then make sure it stills flows with the rest of the book.
I would never release it until it’s right so I’m sorry but you are going to have to wait a bit longer

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My beautiful girl came from the fantastic breeders Tracey and Andy at Honiahaka.

http://www.honiahaka-northern-inuits.com/

Santa’s Reindeer

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Santa has both boy reindeer and girl reindeer. They all have talents and they all have a part to play during Christmas. Santa doesn’t know how many reindeer he actually has — thousands and thousands of the. But the question that comes up all the time about Santa’s team of reindeer is whether they are boys or girls….

Dasher is a boy. One of Santa’s oldest reindeer, Dasher is known for both blazing speed and stamina.

Dancer is a girl. She is very nimble and often when Santa get stuck in snow or mud it is Dancer who can help lead the team out of the mess.

Prancer is a girl. She is Dancer’s sister, in fact. Prancer, as her name might suggest, is an expert runner. She flies well but she does very, very well on the ground, too.

Vixen is a girl. She’s all girl. She loves to wear bows, even when she flies.

Comet is a boy and he is extremely fast. He has thick legs and muscles all over his body. He is so strong that sometimes Santa takes him on trips all by himself.

Cupid is a girl. She is a real sweetheart. She loves to sing when she flies.

Donner is a boy. He’s Rudolph’s father, as you know, and he is the leader among all the reindeer.

Blitzen is a boy. Known as the quiet one, Blitzen is the reindeer who never wants to stop working or take a rest. Santa just loves him.

Rudolph is a boy, of course. Famous for his nose, Santa wishes he was known more for his eagerness to serve. Rudolph never gives up.

Now the scientific and game rules tell us that male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their antlers until after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to every historical rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, every single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen . . . had to be a girl.

BUT if we’re really going to let science be our guide in this matter, the first thing we have to admit is that reindeer don’t fly, let alone haul a jolly fat elf around in an airborne sleigh. And if we start down that slippery slope, there’s only one conclusion we can possibly reach: Santa Claus doesn’t exist. That way lies madness.

Thankfully, there’s a loophole.

It is a fact, reindeer experts say, that both the male and female of the species have antlers. It is also a fact that while most cows retain their antlers until spring, most bulls drop their antlers by early December.

The experts go on to explain that some younger bulls, depending upon hereditary and environmental factors, may keep their antlers well into spring — even as late as April.

So it is plausible to suppose that if, for the sake of argument, there were a Santa Claus, and if, for the sake of argument, he did circumnavigate the globe in a reindeer-powered sleigh every December 25th, then at least some of those reindeer — including one in particular with a shiny, red nose — could be males.

Santa Claus’s reindeer form a team of flying reindeer traditionally held to pull the sleigh of Santa Claus and help him deliver Christmas gifts. The commonly cited names of the reindeer are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. They are based on those used in the 1823 poem “A visit from St Nicholas.” (commonly called “The Night Before Christmas”), which is arguably the basis of reindeer’s popularity.

Rudolph’s story was originally written in verse by

Robert L. May for the Montgomery Ward chain of department stores in 1939, and published as a book to be given to children in the store at Christmas time. According to this story, Rudolph’s glowing red nose made him a social outcast among the other reindeer. However, Santa Claus’ worldwide flight one year was imperiled by severe fog, but upon going to Rudolph’s house to deliver his presents, Santa observed his glowing red nose in the darkened bedroom and decided to use Rudolph as a makeshift lamp to guide his sleigh. Rudolph accepted Santa’s request to lead the sleigh for the rest of the night, and he returned home a hero for having helped Santa Claus.

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Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer
Whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Christmas

Christmas (Old English: Crīstesmæsse, meaning “Christ’s Mass”) is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed most commonly on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.
Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world’s nations, is celebrated culturally by a large number of non-Christian people, and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.
The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins.
Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreath, Christmas music and caroling, an exchange of Christmas cards, church services, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly.

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“Christmas” is a compound word originating in the term “Christ’s Mass”. It is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038 followed by the word Cristes-messe in 1131. Crīst (genitive Crīstes) is from Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός), a translation of Hebrew and mæsse is from Latin missa, the celebration of the Eucharist. The form “Christenmas” was also historically used, but is now considered archaic and dialectal; it derives from Middle English Cristenmasse, literally “Christian mass”.
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary as a fulfillment of the Old Testament’s Messianic prophecy. The Bible contains two accounts which describe the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. Depending on one’s perspective, these accounts either differ from each other or tell two versions of the same story. These biblical accounts are found in the Gospel of Matthew, namely Matthew 1:18, and the Gospel of Luke, specifically Luke 1:26 and 2:40. According to these accounts, Jesus was born to Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem.
According to popular tradition, the birth took place in a stable, surrounded by farm animals. A manger (that is, a feeding trough) is mentioned in Luke 2:7, where it states Mary “wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” ; and “She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them” . Shepherds from the fields surrounding Bethlehem were told of the birth by an angel, and were the first to see the child. Popular tradition also holds that three kings or wise men (named Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar) visited the infant Jesus in the manger, though this does not strictly follow the biblical account. The Gospel of Matthew instead describes a visit by an unspecified number of magi, or astrologers, sometime after Jesus was born while the family was living in a house (Matthew 2:11), who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the young child Jesus.
In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses.

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The modern portrayal of Santa Claus frequently depicts him listening to the Christmas wishes of children.
Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle and simply “Santa”, is an important figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins who, in many Western cultures, is said to bring gifts to the homes of the good children on 24 December, the night before Christmas Day. However, in some European countries children receive their presents on St. Nicholas’ Day, either the 6th or 19th of December.

eada580fd85a968f6bc39fe3c1efbf4dSanta Claus is generally depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man—sometimes with spectacles—wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots and who carries a bag full of gifts for children. Images of him rarely have a beard with no moustache.This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children’s books and films.
Saint Nicholas of Myra was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop of Myra (now Demre) in Lycia, a province of the Byzantine Empire, now in Turkey. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes. He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. In continental Europe (more precisely the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Germany) he is usually portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes.
The remains of Saint Nicholas are in Italy. In 1087, the Italian city of Bari mounted an expedition to locate the tomb of the Saint. The reliquary of St. Nicholas was conquered by Italian sailors and his relics were taken to Bari where they are kept to this day. A basilica was constructed the same year to store the loot and the area became a pilgrimage site for the devout. Sailors from Bari collected just half of Nicholas’ skeleton, leaving all the minor fragments in the grave. These were collected by Venetian sailors during the First Crusade and taken to Venice, where a church to St. Nicholas, the patron of sailors, was built on the San Nicolò al Lido. This tradition was confirmed in two important scientific investigations of the relics in Bari and Venice, which revealed that the relics in the two Italian cities belong to the same skeleton. Saint Nicholas was later claimed as a patron saint of many diverse groups, from archers, sailors, and children to pawnbrokers.
He is also the patron saint of both Amsterdam and Moscow.
During the Middle Ages, often on the evening before his name day of 6 December, children were bestowed gifts in his honour. This date was earlier than the original day of gifts for the children, which moved in the course of the Reformation and its opposition to the veneration of saints in many countries on the 24 and 25 December. So Saint Nicholas changed to Santa Claus.

Prior to Christianization, the Germanic peoples (including the British) celebrated a midwinter event called Yule (Old English geola or guili).
With the Christianization of Germanic Europe, numerous traditions were absorbed from Yuletide celebrations into modern Christmas. During this period, supernatural and ghostly occurrences were said to increase in frequency, such as the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky. The leader of the wild hunt is frequently attested as the god Odin and he bears the Old Norse names Jólnir, meaning “yule figure” and the name Langbarðr, meaning “long-beard”
The god Odin’s role during the Yuletide period has been theorized as having influenced concepts of St. Nicholas in a variety of facets, including his long white beard and his gray horse for nightly rides, which was traded for reindeer in North America.

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Father Christmas dates back as far as 16th century in England during the reign of Henry VIII, when he was pictured as a large man in green or scarlet robes lined with fur. He typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, bringing peace, joy, good food and wine and revelry. As England no longer kept the feast day of Saint Nicholas on 6 December, the Father Christmas celebration was moved to 25 December to coincide with Christmas Day. The Victorian revival of Christmas included Father Christmas as the emblem of ‘good cheer’. His physical appearance was variable, with one famous image being John Leech’s illustration of the “Ghost of Christmas Present” in Charles Dickens’s festive classic A Christmas Carol (1843), as a great genial man in a green coat lined with fur who takes Scrooge through the bustling streets of London on the current Christmas morning, sprinkling the essence of Christmas onto the happy populace.
The tradition of Santa Claus entering dwellings through the chimney is shared by many European seasonal gift-givers.
In pre-Christian Norse tradition, Odin would often enter through chimneys and fire holes on the solstice. In the Italian Befana tradition, the gift-giving witch is perpetually covered with soot from her trips down the chimneys of children’s homes. In the tale of Saint Nicholas, the saint tossed coins through a window, and, in a later version of the tale, down a chimney when he finds the window locked. In Dutch artist Jan Steen’s painting, The Feast of Saint Nicholas, adults and toddlers are glancing up a chimney with amazement on their faces while other children play with their toys. The hearth was held sacred in primitive belief as a source of beneficence, and popular belief had elves and fairies bringing gifts to the house through this portal. Santa’s entrance into homes on Christmas Eve via the chimney was made part of tradition through the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” where the author described him as an elf.
Children traditionally leave Santa a glass of milk and a plate of cookies; in Britain and Australia, he is sometimes given sherry or beer, and mince pies instead. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, it is common for children to leave him rice porridge with cinnamon sugar instead.
Santa Claus’s home traditionally includes a residence and a workshop where he creates—often with the aid of elves or other supernatural beings—the gifts he delivers to good children at Christmas. Some stories and legends include a village, inhabited by his helpers, surrounding his home and shop.
Writing letters to Santa Claus has been a Christmas tradition for children for many years. These letters normally contain a wishlist of toys and assertions of good behavior.
Many postal services allow children to send letters to Santa Claus. These letters may be answered by postal workers and/or outside volunteers.
A letter to Santa is often a child’s first experience of correspondence. Written and sent with the help of a parent or teacher, children learn about the structure of a letter, salutations, and the use of an address and postcode.
Santa lives on the North Pole, which according to Canada Post lies within Canadian jurisdiction in postal code H0H 0H0 (a reference to “ho ho ho”, Santa’s notable saying, although postal codes starting with H are usually reserved for the island of Montreal in Québec). On 23 December 2008, Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, formally awarded Canadian citizenship status to Santa Claus. “The Government of Canada wishes Santa the very best in his Christmas Eve duties and wants to let him know that, as a Canadian citizen, he has the automatic right to re-enter Canada once his trip around the world is complete,” Kenney said in an official statement.

 

A Christmas card is a greeting card sent as part of the traditional celebration of Christmas in order to convey between people a range of sentiments related to the Christmas and holiday season. Christmas cards are usually exchanged during the weeks preceding Christmas Day by many people (including non-Christians) in Western society and in Asia. The traditional greeting reads “wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”. There are innumerable variations on this greeting, many cards expressing more religious sentiment, or containing a poem, prayer, Christmas song lyrics or Biblical verse; others stay away from religion with an all-inclusive “Season’s greetings”.
The content of the design might relate directly to the Christmas narrative with depictions of the Nativity of Jesus, or have Christian symbols such as the Star of Bethlehem or a white dove representing both the Holy Spirit and Peace. Many Christmas cards show Christmas traditions, such as seasonal figures (e.g., Santa Claus, snowmen, and reindeer), objects associated with Christmas such as candles, holly, baubles, and Christmas trees, and Christmastime activities such as shopping, caroling, and partying, or other aspects of the season such as the snow and wildlife of the northern winter. Some secular cards depict nostalgic scenes of the past such as crinolined shoppers in 19th century streetscapes; others are humorous, particularly in depicting the antics of Santa and his elves.

JOHANS~1The world’s first commercially produced Christmas card, designed by John Callcott Horsley for Henry Cole in 1843
Early English cards rarely showed winter or religious themes, instead favoring flowers, fairies and other fanciful designs that reminded the recipient of the approach of spring. Humorous and sentimental images of children and animals were popular, as were increasingly elaborate shapes, decorations and materials.
The advent of the postcard spelled the end for elaborate Victorian-style cards, but by the 1920s, cards with envelopes had returned.

Many countries produce official Christmas stamps, which may be brightly colored and depict some aspect of Christmas tradition or a Nativity scene.
Small decorative stickers are also made to seal the back of envelopes, typically showing a trinket or some symbol of Christmas.

 
Quite often the Santa, if and when he is detected to be fake, explains that he is not the real Santa and is helping him at this time of year.
Most young children accept this explanation.
At family parties, Santa is sometimes impersonated by the male head of the household or other adult male family member.
In the United Kingdom, Father Christmas was historically depicted wearing a green cloak. As Father Christmas has been increasingly merged into the image of Santa Claus, that has been changed to the more commonly known red suit. One school in the seaside town of Brighton banned the use of a red suit erroneously believing it was only indicative of the Coca-Cola advertising campaign. School spokesman Sarah James said: “The red-suited Santa was created as a marketing tool by Coca-Cola, it is a symbol of commercialism.” However, Santa had been portrayed in a red suit in the 19th century by Thomas Nast among others.
Christians celebrate Christmas in various ways. In addition to this day being one of the most important and popular for the attendance of church services, there are other devotions and popular traditions.
In some Christian denominations, children re-enact the events of the Nativity with animals to portray the event with more realism or sing carols that reference the event. A long artistic tradition has grown of producing painted depictions of the nativity in art. Nativity scenes are traditionally set in a stable with livestock and include Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus in the manger, the three wise men, the shepherds and their sheep, the angels, and the Star of Bethlehem. Some Christians also display a small re-creation of the Nativity, known as a Nativity scene or crèche, in their homes, using figurines to portray the key characters of the event. The final preparations for Christmas are made on Christmas Eve, and many families’ major observation of Christmas actually falls in the evening of this day.

In eastern Europe also, old pagan traditions were incorporated into Christmas celebrations, an example being the Koleda, which was incorporated into the Christmas carol.

 

A Christmas carol (also called a noël) is a carol (song or hymn) whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas, and which is traditionally sung on Christmas itself or during the surrounding holiday season. Christmas carols may be regarded as a subset of the broader category of Christmas music.

In the ninth and tenth centuries, the Christmas “Sequence” or “Prose” was introduced in North European monasteries, developing under Bernard of Clairvaux into a sequence of rhymed stanzas.
In the twelfth century the Parisian monk Adam of St. Victor began to derive music from popular songs, introducing something closer to the traditional Christmas carol.
In the thirteenth century, in France, Germany, and particularly, Italy, under the influence of Francis of Assisi a strong tradition of popular Christmas songs in the native language developed.
Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who lists twenty five “caroles of Cristemas”, probably sung by groups of ‘wassailers’, who went from house to house. The songs we know specifically as carols were originally communal songs sung during celebrations like harvest tide as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols begun to be sung in church, and to be specifically associated with Christmas.

Today carols are regularly sung at Christian religious services. Some compositions have words that are clearly not of a religious theme, but are often still referred to as “carols”.

 

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One theory to explain the choice of 25 December for the celebration of the birth of Jesus is that the purpose was to Christianize the pagan festival in Rome of the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means “the birthday of the Unconquered Sun”, a festival inaugurated by the Roman emperor Aurelian to celebrate the sun god and celebrated at the winter solstice, 25 December. According to this theory, during the reign of the emperor Constantine, Christian writers assimilated this feast as the birthday of Jesus, associating him with the ‘sun of righteousness’ mentioned in Malachi 4:2.
An explicit expression of this theory appears in an annotation of uncertain date added to a manuscript of a work by 12th-century Syrian bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi. The scribe who added it wrote: “It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day.” This idea became popular especially in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In the judgement of the Church of England Liturgical Commission, this view has been seriously challenged by a view based on an old tradition, according to which the date of Christmas was fixed at nine months after 25 March, the date of the vernal equinox, on which the Annunciation was celebrated. This alternative view is considered academically to be “a thoroughly viable hypothesis”, though not certain.

Christmas was promoted in the Christian East as part of the revival of Catholicism following the death of the pro-Arian Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. The feast was introduced to Constantinople in 379, and to Antioch in about 380. The feast disappeared after Gregory of Nazianzus resigned as bishop in 381, although it was reintroduced by John Chrysostom in about 400.

In the Early Middle Ages, Christmas Day was overshadowed by Epiphany, which in western Christianity focused on the visit of the magi. But the medieval calendar was dominated by Christmas-related holidays. The forty days before Christmas became the “forty days of St. Martin” (which began on November 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours), now known as Advent.
In Italy, former Saturnalian traditions were attached to Advent. Around the 12th century, these traditions transferred again to the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25 – January 5); a time that appears in the liturgical calendars as Christmastide or Twelve Holy Days.
By the High Middle Ages, the holiday had become so prominent that chroniclers routinely noted where various magnates celebrated Christmas. King Richard II of England hosted a Christmas feast in 1377 at which twenty-eight oxen and three hundred sheep were eaten. The Yule boar was a common feature of medieval Christmas feasts. Caroling also became popular, and was originally a group of dancers who sang. The group was composed of a lead singer and a ring of dancers that provided the chorus. Various writers of the time condemned caroling as lewd, indicating that the unruly traditions of Saturnalia and Yule may have continued in this form. “Misrule”—drunkenness, promiscuity, gambling—was also an important aspect of the festival. In England, gifts were exchanged on New Year’s Day, and there was special Christmas ale.
Christmas during the Middle Ages was a public festival that incorporated ivy, holly, and other evergreens. Christmas gift-giving during the Middle Ages was usually between people with legal relationships, such as tenant and landlord. The annual indulgence in eating, dancing, singing, sporting, and card playing escalated in England, and by the 17th century the Christmas season featured lavish dinners, elaborate masques, and pageants. In 1607, King James I insisted that a play be acted on Christmas night and that the court indulge in games. It was during the Reformation in 16th–17th-century Europe that many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve.

In the early 19th century, writers imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration. In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol that helped revive the “spirit” of Christmas and seasonal merriment. Its instant popularity played a major role in portraying Christmas as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion.
Dickens sought to construct Christmas as a family-centered festival of generosity, in contrast to the community-based and church-centered observations, the observance of which had dwindled during the late 18th century and early 19th century. Superimposing his humanitarian vision of the holiday, in what has been termed “Carol Philosophy”, Dickens influenced many aspects of Christmas that are celebrated today in Western culture, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games, and a festive generosity of spirit. A prominent phrase from the tale, “Merry Christmas”, was popularized following the appearance of the story. This coincided with the appearance of the Oxford Movement and the growth of Anglo-Catholicism, which led a revival in traditional rituals and religious observances.
The term Scrooge became a synonym for miser, with “Bah! Humbug!” dismissive of the festive spirit.
In Britain, the Christmas tree was introduced in the early 19th century following the personal union with the Kingdom of Hanover by Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III. In 1832, the future Queen Victoria wrote about her delight at having a Christmas tree, hung with lights, ornaments, and presents placed round it. After her marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, by 1841 the custom became more widespread throughout Britain.

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The practice of putting up special decorations at Christmas has a long history. In the 15th century, it was recorded that in London it was the custom at Christmas for every house and all the parish churches to be “decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green”. The heart-shaped leaves of ivy were said to symbolize the coming to earth of Jesus, while holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches, its thorns and red berries held to represent the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus at the crucifixion and the blood he shed.

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The traditional colors of Christmas decorations are red, green, and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter, and gold is the first color associated with Christmas, as one of the three gifts of the Magi, symbolizing royalty.

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A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine, or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas.
The custom of the Christmas tree developed in early modern Germany with predecessors that can be traced to the 16th and possibly 15th century, in which devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. It acquired popularity beyond Germany during the second half of the 19th century, at first among the upper classes.
The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts, or other foods. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electrification. Today, there are a wide variety of traditional ornaments, such as garland, tinsel, and candy canes. An angel or star might be placed at the top of the tree to represent the archangel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity.
The Christmas tree has also been known as the “Yule-tree”, especially in discussions of its folkloric origins.
Christmas-Tree1While it is clear that the modern Christmas tree originated during the Renaissance of early modern Germany, there are a number of speculative theories as to its ultimate origin.
It is frequently traced to the symbolism of trees in pre-Christian winter rites, in particular through the story of Donar’s Oak and the popularized story of Saint Boniface and the conversion of the German pagans, in which Saint Boniface cuts down an oak tree that the German pagans worshipped, and replaces it with an evergreen tree, telling them about how its triangular shape reminds humanity of the Trinity and how it points to heaven.
Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime.”
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On Christmas Day, the Christ Candle in the center of the Advent wreath is traditionally lit in many church services.

A special Christmas family meal is traditionally an important part of the holiday’s celebration, and the food that is served varies greatly from country to country. Some regions, such as Sicily, have special meals for Christmas Eve, when 12 kinds of fish are served. In the United Kingdom and countries influenced by its traditions, a standard Christmas meal includes turkey, goose or other large bird, gravy, potatoes, vegetables, sometimes bread and cider. Special desserts are also prepared, such as Christmas pudding, mince pies, fruit cake and Yule log.

christmas pudding with custard --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

christmas pudding with custard — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

 

Eggnog, , also known as egg milk punch, is a chilled, sweetened, dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture). Spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon are often added. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
Eggnog with a strong alcohol content keeps well, and is often considered to improve when aged for up to a year.
Eggnog is often provided to guests in a large punch bowl, from which cups of eggnog are ladled.

The origins, etymology, and the ingredients used to make the original eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog may have originated in East Anglia, England; or it may have simply developed from posset, a medieval European beverage made with hot milk; eggs were added to some posset recipes. The “nog” part of its name may stem from the word noggin, a Middle English term for a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol.

eggnog

 

In Poland and other parts of eastern Europe and Scandinavia, fish often is used for the traditional main course, but richer meat such as lamb is increasingly served. In Germany, France, and Austria, goose and pork are favored. Beef, ham, and chicken in various recipes are popular throughout the world. The Maltese traditionally serve Imbuljuta tal-Qastan, a chocolate and chestnuts beverage, after Midnight Mass and throughout the Christmas season. Slovaks prepare the traditional Christmas bread potica, bûche de Noël in France, panettone in Italy, and elaborate tarts and cakes. The eating of sweets and chocolates has become popular worldwide, and sweeter Christmas delicacies include the German stollen, marzipan cake or candy, and Jamaican rum fruit cake. As one of the few fruits traditionally available to northern countries in winter, oranges have been long associated with special Christmas foods.
Eggnog is a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture). Spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon are often added. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
The exchanging of gifts is one of the core aspects of the modern Christmas celebration, making it the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the world. Gift giving was common in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, an ancient festival which took place in late December and may have influenced Christmas customs. On Christmas, people exchange gifts based on the tradition associated with St. Nicholas, and the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh which were given to the baby Jesus by the Magi.

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Sinterklaas or Saint Nicholas, considered by many to be the original Santa Claus.
A number of figures are associated with Christmas and the seasonal giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus (derived from the Dutch for Saint Nicholas), Père Noël, and the Weihnachtsmann; Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas; the Christkind; Kris Kringle; Joulupukki; Babbo Natale; Saint Basil; and Father Frost.
The best known of these figures today is red-dressed Santa Claus, of diverse origins. The name Santa Claus can be traced back to the Dutch Sinterklaas, which means simply Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was a 4th-century Greek bishop of Myra, a city in the Roman province of Lycia, whose ruins are 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from modern Demre in southwest Turkey. Among other saintly attributes, he was noted for the care of children, generosity, and the giving of gifts. His feast day, December 6, came to be celebrated in many countries with the giving of gifts.
Saint Nicholas traditionally appeared in bishop’s attire, accompanied by helpers, inquiring about the behaviour of children during the past year before deciding whether they deserved a gift or not. By the 13th century, Saint Nicholas was well known in the Netherlands, and the practice of gift-giving in his name spread to other parts of central and southern Europe. At the Reformation in 16th–17th-century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, corrupted in English to Kris Kringle, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve.

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Father Christmas, a jolly, well nourished, bearded man who typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, predates the Santa Claus character. He is first recorded in early 17th century England, but was associated with holiday merrymaking and drunkenness rather than the bringing of gifts. In Victorian Britain, his image was remade to match that of Santa.
The French Père Noël evolved along similar lines, eventually adopting the Santa image. In Italy, Babbo Natale acts as Santa Claus, while La Befana is the bringer of gifts and arrives on the eve of the Epiphany. It is said that La Befana set out to bring the baby Jesus gifts, but got lost along the way. Now, she brings gifts to all children. In some cultures Santa Claus is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, or Black Peter. In other versions, elves make the toys. His wife is referred to as Mrs. Claus.

Christmas Stockings 4

A Christmas stocking is an empty sock or sock-shaped bag that is hung on Christmas Eve so that Santa Claus (or Father Christmas) can fill it with small toys, candy, fruit, coins or other small gifts when he arrives. These small items are often referred to as stocking fillers. In some Christmas stories, the contents of the Christmas stocking are the only toys the child receives at Christmas from Santa Claus; in other stories (and in tradition), some presents are also wrapped up in wrapping paper and placed under the Christmas tree. Tradition in Western culture threatens that a child who behaves badly during the year will receive only a piece of coal. However, coal is rarely if ever left in a stocking, as it is considered cruel.

While there are no written records of the origin of the Christmas Stocking, there are popular legends that attempt to tell the history of this Christmas tradition. One such legend has several variations, but the following is a good example:
Very long ago, there lived a poor man and his three very beautiful daughters. He had no money to get his daughters married, and he was worried what would happen to them after his death. He thought they would become prostitutes. Saint Nicholas was passing through when he heard the villagers talking about the girls. St. Nicholas wanted to help, but knew that the old man wouldn’t accept charity. He decided to help in secret. After dark he threw three bags of gold through an open window, one landed in a stocking. When the girls and their father woke up the next morning they found the bags of gold and were, of course, overjoyed. The girls were able to get married and live happily ever after.
Other versions of the story say that Saint Nicholas threw the 3 bags of gold directly into the stockings which were hung by the fireplace to dry.
This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so, St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.

A tradition that began in a European country originally, children simply used one of their everyday socks, but eventually special Christmas stockings were created for this purpose. The Christmas stocking custom is derived from the Germanic/Scandinavian figure Odin. According to Phyllis Siefker, children would place their boots, filled with carrots, straw, or sugar, near the chimney for Odin’s flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat. Odin would reward those children for their kindness by replacing Sleipnir’s food with gifts or candy. This practice, she claims, survived in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands after the adoption of Christianity and became associated with Saint Nicholas as a result of the process of Christianization. Today, stores carry a large variety of styles and sizes of Christmas stockings, and Christmas stockings are also a popular homemade craft. This claim is disputed though as there is no records of stocking filling practices related to Odin until there is a merging of St. Nicholas with Odin.
St. Nicholas had an earlier merging with the Grandmother cult in Bari, Italy where the grandmother would put gifts in stockings. This merged St. Nicholas would later travel north and merge with the Odin cults.

Many families create their own Christmas stockings with each family member’s name applied to the stocking so that Santa will know which stocking belongs to which family member.
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The largest Christmas stocking measured 51 m 35 cm (168 ft 5.65 in) in length and 21 m 63 cm (70 ft 11.57 in) in width (heel to toe) and was produced by the volunteer emergency services organisation Pubblica Assistenza Carrara e Sezioni in Carrara, Tuscany, Italy, on 5 January 2011. The event was organized in order to raise money for a charity helping the aged, one of the group’s key functions, and it was also a seasonal celebration for the city of Carrara. Fulfilling the guideline that the stocking had to be filled with presents, the volunteers filled the stocking with balloons containing sweets inside.

 

Reindeer

 

Santa Claus’s reindeer form an imaginary team of flying reindeer traditionally held to pull the sleigh of Santa Claus and help him deliver Christmas gifts. The commonly cited names of the reindeer are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. They are based on those used in the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (commonly called “The Night Before Christmas”), which is arguably the basis of reindeer’s popularity as Christmas symbols, and in which Donner and Blitzen were originally called Dunder and Blixem respectively.
The enduring popularity of the Christmas song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” has led to Rudolph often joining the list.
The names of Donder and Blitzen derive from Germanic words for thunder and lightning, respectively.

The 1823 poem by Clement C. Moore “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (also known as “The Night Before Christmas” or “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”) is largely credited for the contemporary Christmas lore that includes the eight flying reindeer and their names.

The relevant segment of the poem reads:
“When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
with a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen!
“On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Dunder and Blixem!

“To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
“Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,”

Kathryn Loch – Rest In Peace – A wonderful woman and author

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Kathryn Loch was a fantastic author and a sweet, kind and generous woman. I found her work in The Demon Laird. This book spoke to me in so many ways and made me smile. She always made time to talk with me and I loved that about her. Kathryn will be missed by many. The world is missing a fantastic woman. My thoughts are with her family as they go through this trying time.

Posted by
Jenny Toney Quinlan
VA, United States

“This morning I received the news that my lovely client and friend Kathryn Loch passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Friday. I’m stunned. She was only 49, and she leaves behind a devoted husband of 24 years and a teenage son. Kath and I worked together on eleven published novels and had several more in the works. It breaks my heart that someone who was so full of life and laughter, and who still had so many more stories to tell, won’t get the chance to share them. Ours was a wonderful collaborative relationship, a true meeting of the romance-loving minds and hearts. In recent years, she was living the dream, becoming a bestselling Amazon author and earning enough from the sales of her novels to quit her day job and devote all of her time to her writing, painting, and 3D illustrating, and I was honored to be part of her journey. She was just as encouraging of me and my business as I was of hers, and I will miss her terribly.
I spoke with her husband this morning, and though I do not yet know how, I am determined to help him ensure that her legacy will live on through her stories.
As you’re going about your busy lives, please take a moment to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, to not put off your dreams for another day, to be grateful for every second on this earth, for none of us are guaranteed the next. And please say a prayer for my partner, my mentor, my friend, Kathryn Loch.”

 

 

 

 

 

Enchanted Forest. Pitlochry. Heathergems Jewellery.

http://www.pitlochry.org/whats_on/enchanted-forest.htm

Lo-Call Number: 0871 288 7655
Visit: Just the Ticket, Atholl Road, Pitlochry
International Callers: 0044 1796 947011

Enchanted Forest

My pictures are from the 2014 Enchanted Forest event, Elemental.

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Our 2015 ticket prices are listed below:

Monday – Thursday
Child Under 3: FREE; Child 3 – 15: £7.00; Adult: £16.00; Family Ticket: £45.00

Monday – Thursday Prime Time (7pm – 8pm)
Child Under 3: FREE; Child 3 – 15: £9.00; Adult: £18.00; Family Ticket: £52.00

Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Child Under 3: FREE; Child 3 – 15: £10.00; Adult: £20.00; Family Ticket: £55.00
Prices are subject to change subject to demand and may increase as the event dates draw closer.
Children under 3 MUST have a ticket otherwise there will not be a seat allocated to them on the bus. All bus passengers MUST have tickets.
All tickets will be checked at departures and customers must have a valid physical ticket(s). Electronic tickets i.e emails on smart phones etc will not be accepted.

Pitlochry

map

In the heart of Scotland with real hospitality, clear sparkling air, beautiful scenery, rich clan history, fine food, plenty of space and lots to see and do. Pitlochry is primarily a holiday destination, which caters for the holiday maker year round in its own special way. The people are knowledgeable, friendly and helpful as it has been a tourist destination for well over 150 years, counting Queen Victoria amongst its earlier visitors.
Pitlochry is set in spectacular scenery and is ideally located for touring Highland Perthshire or further afield with Edinburgh 75 minutes to the south, St Andrews 90 minutes to the south east, Loch Ness 95 minutes to the north and Braemar and Royal Deeside 90 minutes to the north east.
Access to the outdoors from Pitlochry is easy – whether on foot on way marked trails, by car on country roads, or by bicycle they are all catered for. The area has plentiful wildlife from red and roe deer to the soaring buzzard or the red squirrel. You are likely to see them all here and may be fortunate enough to see Pine Martins, Golden Eagles or Osprey.

Pitlochry Local Walks

Pitlochry, in the heart of Highland Perthshire, is a walker’s paradise. With its excellent network of well-marked routes, ranging from gentle strolls to challenging hikes, and surrounded by dramatic scenery, there is something for everyone to enjoy. All the Pitlochry walks start and finish in the town centre, avoiding the need to use a car, and they are clearly marked with colour-coded sign posts. Covering an area of approximately 20 square miles, there are nearly 41 miles of tracks and paths taking the visitor along river, burn and loch-side, through woodland and up hills, from where there are spectacular views.

One of the most popular short walks is a circular route from the main street, across the River Tummel to the dam on Loch Faskally, to view the salmon ladder and the Hydro Station, on through the ancient hamlet of Port na Craig, and back over the footbridge into Pitlochry. Another short hike takes the visitor through pretty woodland and up a gentle hill to the Edradour distillery – the smallest distillery in Scotland – and on the return journey, there are beautiful views across open farmland with Ben-y-Vrackie mountain as a backdrop.

Pitlochry and its surrounding area is steeped in history and folklore and, to discover more, stop at the National Trust for Scotland’s Visitor Centre on the Killiecrankie walk. Learn about the Battle of Killiecrankie and the Soldier’s Leap, see the Linn of Tummel waterfall, or spot salmon and admire the abundant bird life from one of the many bridges on this route.

For a more energetic experience, try the Bealach route which takes the walker up onto the moorland above Pitlochry offering, along the way, spectacular views south over the town and north towards Blair Atholl. Further afield, but still within easy reach of Pitlochry, are many other interesting walks including the Falls of Bruar to the north, the Hermitage to the south, and the Birks of Aberfeldy to the west. Whatever your ability, you will find a route to suit.

Ben y Vrackie Pitlochry

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A hill walk crossing an area of typical Scottish moorland scenery, before rising to a summit with suburb panoramic views.

Distance: 6 Miles

Loch Faskally

loch faskally

A long, low-level circuit of a scenic loch, using woodland paths and a quiet minor road.

Distance: 8 Miles

Loch Dunmore

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Two easy woodland trails round Loch Dunmore, or little further round Dunmore Hills.

Distance: 8 Miles

Faskally via Garry Bridge

faskally

An almost level walk, except for some steps, partly on roads, partly along a nature trail footpath through woods.

Distance: 7 Miles

Logierait

logierait-small

A quiet road walk to Logierait, with possible extension to Strathtay. Distance about 5 miles outwards, 8 km.

Distance: 5m Miles
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Golf

Nestling on the edge of the town, Pitlochry Golf Club’s 18 hole par 69 course lies over rolling countryside at the foot of Ben-y-Vrackie mountain, with a magnificent panorama stretching over the Tummel valley. The Club is open to members, visitors, beginners and experienced golfers alike, and everyone is welcome to enjoy the first class facilities that the Club has to offer. These include an excellent pro shop, run by PGA Professional Mark Pirie, offering a wide range of advice, tuition, clothes and equipment, a newly refurbished clubhouse with a first-rate restaurant and bar, corporate packages, and special offers throughout the year.

Originally laid out in 1908 by Willie Fernie of Troon, and opened in 1909, Pitlochry Golf Club has recently been nominated by Golf World, the UK’s leading golf magazine, as one of its 66 “Hidden Gems”. The Club is Perthshire’s only nominee on this list, and the award acknowledges that these Hidden Gem courses merit much greater attention than they have enjoyed so far.

The Highland Open, hosted by Pitlochry Golf Club, offers the chance for Ladies, Gents and Junior amateur players of all handicaps to compete on this picturesque course. There are on and off course events during the competitions, plenty of lively social life, and the opportunity to meet and make new friends. Pitlochry Golf Week, which has been a firm favourite for over 30 years, is a packed week of golfing fun in June, for players of all ages and abilities.

Although there is a putting green at the main Club, there is another 18 hole putting course hidden away on the other side of Pitlochry (in Rie-Achan Road). This offers an excellent training ground for players at all levels, with its undulating landscape, and some surprisingly difficult terrain.

Whatever the time of year, there will be something on offer to golfers and non-golfers at Pitlochry Golf Club.

For more information please visit http://www.pitlochrygolf.co.uk
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Pitlochry Fishing

Enjoy salmon, trout and grayling fishing in the ‘Heart of the Highlands’

Fishing includes superb salmon and trout beats on the River Tummel and River Garry as well as bank and boat fishing on Loch Bhac and Loch Kinardochy for rainbow trout and brown trout respectively.

On the Portnacrig/Pitlochry beat below the dam the 5 year average catch is around 150 salmon with April and May normally being the best months. On the Lower Tummel beat the club has fishing from time to time which provides good sport for salmon and summer grilse.

For more interesting and peaceful fishing, the Ruan Ruarie beat on the river Garry is popular after May when the salmon move up into the headwater reaches of the Tilt and Errochty water.

The River Tummel below the Dam is one of the finest brown trout rivers in Scotland while the Upper Tummel above the Falls of Tummel is a smaller river with some nice rocky pools and runs.

Loch Bhac is set in a beautiful location and can be fished from boat or bank for rainbow trout.

Loch Kinardochy is located in the hills above loch Tummel and contains some lovely brown trout up to 2-3lbs.

Contact the club mobile – 07541404048 for any advice and assistance
Pitlochry Angling Club
PO Box 7222
Pitlochry
Perthshire
PH16 9AE
Tel: 07541 404048

Website: http://www.pitlochryanglingclub.com
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Pitlochry Water Sports

Loch Faskally was formed when the Tummel Valley was dammed for the Hydro scheme at Pitlochry. It was the last of the dams in the Hydro schemeand there is a major power station at it’s base. Built into the dam is not only a fish ladder, but also a public viewing gallery, from April to October you will often see salmon as they pass through the ladder. Around 5500 ascend the dam every year.

While fishing on Loch Faskally you can enjoy some of Pitlochry’s most breathtaking scenery and catch a glimpse of some rare wildlife ie osprey, heron, eagles, kingfishers, ducks, otters and deer.
Total adventure in Pitlochry, Highland Perthshire – the best of Scotland, with a difference. A taster day for an office day out, a relaxing break for all the family – or a week long package of outdoor activities for a group of kids. Or a superb, residential fun or business event in Highland Perthshire – the ‘very best of Scotland’

Highland Fling Bungee

We are the UK’s first and only purpose built jump platform. A once-in-a-lifetime free-fall experience of 40 metres towards water from a bridge with one of Scotlands most iconic views. Open all year round

National Trust Killiecrankie Visitor Centre
Killiecrankie
Perthshire, PH16 5LG

Tel: 08453665844
Website http://www.bungeejumpscotland.co.uk

Nae Limits

One of Europe’s leading adventure sports providers providing award-winning outdoor adventure activities from their base in Perthshire. Fantastic White Water Rafting on the River Tay & River Tummel, Canyoning in the Falls of Bruar, Adventure and White Water Tubing, the UK’s first Aqualine, land activities such as Quad Biking and Paintball and adventure activities for under 12’s at Wee Limits. Offering multi activity days and activity breaks with a range of accommodation options. Catering for individuals, adventurers, families, stag & hen groups and schools.

Unit 1 & 2, Ballinluig
Perthshire, PH9 0LG

Tel: 01796 482600
Website http://www.naelimits.co.uk

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Queens View

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A short drive from Pitlochry, along a winding tree-lined road, hugging the River Tummel, lies the Queen’s View. This famous vantage point looks out over one of the most iconic panoramas in Scotland, directly to the west along Loch Tummel from where, on a clear day, you can sometimes see the mountains surrounding Glencoe by the West Coast. A popular destination since Victorian times, it is often thought that the location was named after Queen Victoria who did, in fact, visit in 1866 . However, it is more widely believed to have been named after Queen Isabella the 14th century wife of Robert the Bruce who used the spot as a resting place on her travels

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Just beside the car/coach park at the Queen’s View there is an excellent tea room which serves delicious lunches, teas and cakes from April until the end of October. Across the courtyard is a first class visitor centre, provided by the Forestry Commission, with a video corner showing local wildlife and history, and a shop stocked with a wide range of guide books, covering the flora and fauna of Highland Perthshire, as well as maps and gifts. There are also toilets.

The surrounding area of Strathtummel makes up part of Perthshire’s Big Tree Country and there are plenty of beautiful forest walks nearby. From Allean Forest, just west of Queen’s View, take in the magnificent views over Loch Tummel, and look out for the remains of an 8th century ring fort and a reconstructed 18th century farmstead. Recently two kilometres of paths, and more bridges, have been added, making access to the forest even easier for visitors. Allean Forest is currently closed to the public, following considerable storm damage, so please check http://www.perthshirebigtreecountry.co.uk for further details
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Are you visiting and staying in Pitlochry and want to find out what’s on? The below events are on during the year…

New Years Day Party
Winter Words Festival
Winter Lighting
Etape Caledonia
Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Ladies Highland Open
Mens Highland Open
Highland Games
Pitlochry in Autumn
Enchanted Forest
Heartland FM
Logierait Market

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Food

McKays Bar & Restaurant

We pride ourselves that all the meat used in our menu is Scottish and supplied by local Pitlochry Butcher, McDonald Brothers, who have been supplying Pitlochry for fifty years. All their produce is direct from local Scottish farms.

McKays Bar & Restaurant
140 Atholl Road
Pitlochry. PH16 5AG
Tel: 01796 473888
Website: http://www.mckayshotel.co.uk

Steakhouse at Acarsaid Hotel

The Steakhouse at Acarsaid embraces the region’s plentiful harvest and has created a menu that celebrates the great and the good of Scottish beef, lamb, pork and chicken. Most of our fresh fish and shellfish have been sourced straight from the West Coast. Relax, have a pre-dinner in one of our comfortable lounges whilst choosing from our menu or daily specials.

Open from 5:45 every evening in the main season. Booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

8 Atholl Road,
Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5BX
Tel: 01796 472389
Website: http://www.acarsaidhotel.com/steakhouse

Knockendarroch – Hotel & Restaurant

Daily changing menu in our AA two rosette restaurant. Pre-theatre dining available. Restaurant booking essential. Contemporary country house style in a quiet, elevated position in central Pitlochry. Stunning panoramic views of Pitlochry and Highland Perthshire from most of our 12 en-suite bedrooms. Comfortable guest lounges with log fires. Free wifi throughout.

Knockendarroch – Hotel & Restaurant
Higher Oakfield
Pitlochry, PH16 5HT
Tel: 01796 473473
Website: http://www.knockendarroch.co.uk

Strathgarry Restaurant & Rooms

At the Strathgarry we have built an excellent reputation for serving a variety of traditional Scottish dishes using fresh and local produce.

Our restaurant opens daily from 9am serving a wide range of breakfast items. Coffee, tea and a range of cakes and freshly baked pastries are served all day until 6pm. Our main menu is available all day with lunch time specials served from 12pm until 6pm and evening specials served till closure.

Opening Times: Open daily from 9am

Strathgarry Restaurant
113 Atholl Road
Pitlochry. PH16 5AG
Tel: 01796 472469
Website: http://www.strathgarryhotel.co.uk

 

Victoria’s Restaurant & Coffee Shop

Family owned, with the emphasis on friendly, attentive service, in informal surroundings. Serving breakfasts, specialty coffees & teas, patisserie, home baking, lunches & light meals 9.30am to 5.30pm. From 5.30pm provides a bistro style dinner menu with freshly made Italian pizzas, fajitas, charcoal grilled steaks, seafood, pasta, burgers, vegetarian dishes & traditionally Scottish fayre.
Victoria’s of Pitlochry
45 Atholl Road
Pitlochry
PH16 5BX
Tel: 01796 472670
Website: http://www.victorias-pitlochry.co.uk

East Haugh House

If you’re looking for delicious food in Pitlochry then this award-winning restaurant is the perfect choice. East Haugh House is a stunning 16th century turreted stone house located just a mile south of Pitlochry in the picturesque Perthshire countryside. Hailed as a hidden gem with ‘the best food in the area’, the menu focuses on locally sourced seafood and game dishes including scallops, venison, and the famous ‘East Haugh’ burger with hand-cut chips! East Haugh House has an extensive a la carte menu as well as daily specials. The menu is served in the Fisherman’s Bar with cosy log fire, or the beautiful Two Sisters Restaurant. Pre-theatre meals available.

East Haugh House Hotel
Pitlochry
PH16 5TE
Tel: 01796 473121
Website: http://www.easthaugh.co.uk

Logierait Inn

Good, Honest Food…and just a short worthwhile drive from Pitlochry. Warm and snug with log fires, a friendly welcome and good honest food, well cooked with locally sourced produce where ever possible. Nothing beats the taste and comfort of real home made food and that is what we at the Logierait Inn strive to offer our valued customers – nothing is too much trouble.

The Logierait Inn, nr Ballinluig,
Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH9 0LJ
Tel: 01796 482423
Website: http://www.logieraitinn.co.uk

The Clubhouse Bar & Restaurant

The Pitlochry Golf Clubhouse is popular with golfers, visiting parties, local families and tourists. The clubhouse has an open licence and is open to all, serving a wide selection of filled rolls, light meals and home baking throughout the day. A great value evening menu and wine list make the restaurant the ideal spot in town to enjoy good company and quality food (from local suppliers).

The Clubhouse Bar & Restaurant
Golf Course Road
Pitlochry
PH16 5QY
Tel: 01796 472334
Website: http://www.pitlochryrestaurant.co.uk

Fern Cottage

A beautiful traditional stone built cottage, in the centre of Pitlochry’s charming main street, Fern Cottage has oodles of charm and character. Our menus combine the finest Scottish ingredients with the best of mediteranean hospitality, offering a unique mix of flavours, tastes and culture. All our food is freshly cooked when make your choice.
Fern Cottage
Ferry Road
Pitlochry
PH16 5DD
Tel: 01796 473840
Website: http://www.ferncottagepitlochry.co.uk

The Chippy at McKays

Ardchoille comes form the Gaelic meaning the ‘High wood’. It started life in 1961 when it opened as a place where you could have a coffee and listen to the juke box. The Chippy at McKays has been continuously owned by the same family since it opened and has served well over one million fish and chips. Indoor and out door patio seating during the summer.

The Chippy at McKays
140 Atholl Road
Pitlochry. PH16 5AG
Tel: 01796 472170

Website: http://www.mckayshotel.co.uk

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Pitlochry is on the main A9 Scottish trunk road system so it is easy to travel by car to Pitlochry. You will find the roads relatively free of traffic compared to the big towns and cities in the south. Our equivalent of a traffic jam is being stuck behind a caravan or tractor.

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Heathergems

 

Heathergems is my favourite shop in Pitlochry. I love it!!
Heathergems Visitor Centre and Factory Shop is in Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland. Come and visit us and watch this unique and wonderful process from start to finish in our viewing gallery. Watch as our skilled craftspeople handcraft the Heathergems from natural Scottish heather and see how we make this unique Scottish jewellery and Celtic giftware.

We have a wide range of Heathergems and other Scottish products in our Factory Shop. You will find many shop specials and discounted items only available in our shop. We have an extensive range of Heathergems on sale in many different styles and colours sure to appeal to all ages. We are the ONLY manufacturers of this unique jewellery in the world.

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Location & Opening Times
Heathergems Visitor Centre
& Factory Shop
22 Atholl Road, Pitlochry
Perthshire, PH16 5BX
Scotland, UK

Head Office
+44 (0)1294 313222

Visitor Centre
+44 (0)1796 474391

We are open 7 days a week
Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 5pm

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Heathergems is a unique and imaginative range of Scottish jewellery and giftware, made in Pitlochry, Scotland from natural heather stems. We are the only manufacturers of this unique Scottish product anywhere in the world.

makingheathergems

A division of Charles Buyers & Co Ltd, Heathergems is a family run business based in Pitlochry, Scotland. Heathergems have been produced since the 1950s, shortly after the Second World War. There was a shortage of wood and certain types were rationed and could only be used for limited purposes.

A group of four men set up a workshop near Loch Lomond, where they used small branches of beech wood compressed together to produce flooring tiles. The process was too expensive to produce a floor and only lasted a short time.

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Hugh Kerr a craftsman from Glenlivet developed the process using heather stems and started making Heathergems in very small quantities in his own workshop. In 1969 Hugh met Charles Buyers, a Glasgow Accountant, who was looking for craft industries to be set up in the Highlands as a project for the then Highlands and Islands Development Board. The board decided that it was not viable so Charles decided to put his own money behind Heathergems.

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The original company was set up in a small factory in East Kilbride and began producing Heathergems in the spring of 1970. A few years later it was decided it should be moved to a more natural home in the Highlands. As a result, the company moved to Blair Atholl in Perthshire in 1979. Hugh Kerr died in 1974 and Charles Buyers in 1992. The family decided to move to a new factory in Pitlochry. This has been developed over the years and now includes and shop and visitor centre.

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Heathergems are now stocked in many shops throughout the UK and across the world. We are the only manufacturers of this patented product.
http://www.heathergems.com/index.php

Below are some examples of what you can buy in both the shop and online at their website.
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£14.95
Thistle Brooch

Product Description
Delivery Details

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Traditional Scottish Thistle Brooch in Pewter.

Supplied in a gift box with story card on how we make Heathergems. Heathergems are unique and no two are ever exactly the same.

Handcrafted in Scotland.

Dimensions: 37L x 30W mm

Product code: CHB1
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Macintosh Earrings

Product Description
Delivery Details

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Macintosh Silver Plated Heathergem Drop Earrings.

Supplied in a gift box with story card on how we make Heathergems. Heathergems are unique and no two are ever exactly the same.

Handcrafted in Scotland.

Dimensions: 18L x 18W mm

Product code: HE77

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Heathergem Oval Ring

Product Description
Delivery Details

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Heathergem Silver Plated Ring.

Fully Adjustable

Supplied in a gift box with story card on how we make Heathergems. Heathergems are unique and no two are ever exactly the same.

Handcrafted in Scotland.

Dimensions: Open Backed

Product code: HR4
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Tree Of Life Pendant

Product Description
Delivery Details

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Tree of Life Silver Plated Heathergem Pendant.

Supplied in a gift box with story card on how we make Heathergems. Heathergems are unique and no two are ever exactly the same.

Handcrafted in Scotland.

Dimensions: 26mm x 26mm

Chain: 18″ Plated Chain

Product code: HP100
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Open Heart Pendant

Product Description
Delivery Details

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Open Heart Heather Pendant.

Beautiful handmade all Heathergem pendant.

Supplied in a gift box with story card on how we make Heathergems. Heathergems are unique and no two are ever exactly the same.

Handcrafted in Scotland.

Dimensions: 34L x 32W mm

Chain: 20″ Silver Plated Chain.

Product code: HP40
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Heathergem Thimble

£28.95
Heathergem Thimble

Product Description
Delivery Details

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Heathergem Thimble

Great Gift Idea.

Supplied in an attractiveorganza bag with story card on how we make Heathergems. Heathergems are unique and no two are ever eactly the same.

Handcrafted in Scotland.

Dimensions: L x W mm

Product code: HG11
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Hair Clasp

Product Description
Delivery Details

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Heathergem Hair Clasp.

Supplied in a gift box with story card on how we make Heathergems. Heathergems are unique and no two are ever exactly the same.

Handcrafted in Scotland.

Dimensions: 80L x 22W mm

Product code: SS01H

Hair Clasp

£22.95
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Celtic Picture Frame

£29.95

Celtic Picture Frame

Product Description
Delivery Details

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Heathergem Celtic Pewter Picture Frame.

Supplied in a gift box with story card on how we make Heathergems. Heathergems are unique and no two are ever exactly the same.

Handcrafted in Scotland.

Dimensions: 69 L x 57 W mm

Product code: HG10
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Medium Heather Block End

£4.95

Medium Heather Block End

Product Description
Delivery Details

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Medium Heather Block End.

Please note price is for one block end and colours will be selected at random.

The dyed heather stems are compressed into a block. The block end is a section cut from the top of the heather block.

The unique and beautiful heather grain makes this a great and unusual Scottish ornament or gift.

Supplied with a story card on how we make Heathergems. Heathergems are unique and no two are ever exactly the same.

Handcrafted in Scotland.

Dimensions: Approx 105mm x 60mm

Product code: HBE2
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£17.95
Scottie Dog Brooch

Product Description
Delivery Details

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Scottie Dog Heathergem Brooch.

Made from Scottish Heather.

Supplied in a gift box with story card on how we make Heathergems. Heathergems are unique and no two are ever exactly the same.

Handcrafted in Scotland.

Dimensions: 35mm x 25mm

Product code: HB16
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Where possible we aim to match the colour in the picture but unless a specific colour is requested in the special instruction box at checkout colours may vary
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Sneek Peeks from Highland Fairlings Book One: Ina

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This is a peek from Chapter Two of Highland Fairlings Book One:Ina

The Book can be purchsed here

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ina-Highland-Fairlings-Book-One-ebook/dp/B00M77WI4K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406714074&sr=8-1&keywords=emma+ruthven-stevenson

Alternatively, if you go to this page you’ll find the links for purchase from

Amazon.co.uk
Kobo
Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble

https://eruthvenstevenson.com/2014/07/18/ina-highland-fairlings-book-one-availability/

Epilepsy Ruined my Life

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Epilepsy is like having a devil walking beside you silently wherever you go, like a monster waiting to wake up. You never know when it will rear its ugly head and your world will fall apart every time it does.

If you’re like me then you injure youself during them regularly. A never ending stream of bruises, strains, sprains, cuts, scratches and broken bones. Sometimes I was have huge seizures every day, sometime three of four one after the other. I become so ill I can’t leave the house, exhausted by the seizures and paralysed with the exhaustion. This in turn becomes a form of agorophobia, a severe anxiety disorder characterized by anxiety in situations where the sufferer perceives the environment to be dangerous, uncomfortable or unsafe.

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Leaving the house now becomes the biggest, hardest thing in the world to manage. We live in a world made too easy to give into the agorophobia, I’m able to order everything I could ever need from the relative safety of my home and only need to fight the stress and anxiety for doctors and hospital appointments. Medications for epielpesy are awful. Off course some stop or at least manage the seizures but most just leave you in a constant ‘zombie’ like state. You stop caring, your will to get up and do something is gone. Add anti depresents in and then pile on anti anxiety medications on top and suddenly your life seems worthless.

I didn’t ask to have a life altering ilnness. I didn’t ask to walk under the constant shadow of when the next seizure will hit, how bad it will be or whether it will put me in the hopsital. I didn’t ask to wonder if the next seizure will be the one to strip away my life completely. I didn’t ask to be basically homebound, to not be able to work or even sit a driving test. I didn’t ask to be pointed at. To have people say ‘oh shes probably drunk’, ‘stay away from her you dont know if its catching’, ‘shes such a freak’.

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You learn to live in constant fear of when your epilepsy will strike next. Now there are monitors to help. A safety alarm can be fitted in your house for if you need someone. These cost YOU, so if you’re poor like me then it’s a no-go. The market is being inundated with alarms and products to make suffers have a better life but again they cost YOU.

One of the scariest things for me anyway, besides the actual seizure is memory. Your memory can be basically classified like this:

Procedural memory Activities which are carried out almost without thinking, for example, riding a bike. Semantic memory Knowledge that has been acquired but we are not sure when, for example, capital cities. Episodic memory Personal memories of everyday life.

And Epilepsy messes with them all.

Epilepsy does not stand alone just filling your life with life threatening seizures it drags along all sorts of other crap with it.. Anxiety, stress, memory loss, motor function issues, speech problems, attention problems, low mood, lethargy, lack of motivation, sleep disorders ranging from nightmares to complete insomnia and the list could go on…

Epilepsy means that those simple things you took for granted; swimming, taking a bath, cooking.. Well forget it. Or be supervised. These are now deadly, and trust me when you think your alright but end up with burns that put you in the hospital, or have your husband drag you out of the bath where you’ve sunk to the bottom in the midst of a seizure… It’s no longer worth the risk. So with Epilepsy get used to living your life under constant supervision…

Epilepsy is a serious neurological condition where there is a tendency to have seizures that start in the brain. There are over 40 types of epilepsy, so just knowing that a person ‘has epilepsy’ does not tell you very much about their epilepsy and the type of seizures they have. Anyone can develop epilepsy, it happens in all ages, races and social classes. Epilepsy affects more peole than you know! Epilepsy has no cure…

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