Blogroll , Current Affairs , Media , Mistletoe , Science , social history

The innocence of H1N1 and mistletoe

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Discussing the mistletoe kissing crisis with a reporter recently I recalled the ‘Kissing Etiquette’ devised by Debretts, in conjunction with the Tenbury Mistletoe Festival, back in 2009. That was in the winter of the H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic – a time that seems so innocent now. As does the kissing advice of the day – which was, basically, that kissing on the cheeks is more hygienic that on the mouth. Which is very probably true. […]

berries , Biodiversity , birds , Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Science

Can mistletoe save the honeyeater?

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The Regent Honeyeater, Anthochaera phrygia, an Australian bird, was once so common that its call was heard everywhere. Today, following much habitat loss over several decades, plus recent bushfires, it is endangered, with just a few hundred left. Indeed it is so rare that young males can no longer learn their mating calls, there being insufficient older males for them to learn from.  No mating call = no mating. Which makes a bad situation even […]

druids , Media , Mistletoe , social history

Dodgy Mistletoe Spin-offs 1957: Tony Hancock, sub-Druid 476

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Ok, this isn’t a 2021 mistletoe spin-off, it’s a January 1957 one, but re-broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra yesterday (8th December 2021). In this episode of Hancock’s Half Hour, the thirteenth in the fourth series, the lad himself (Tony H) is spooked by the unlucky number 13 (he is triskaidekaphobic) and takes to his bed, refusing to take part. He explains he’s from a suspicious part of the world (Birmingham!) and is afraid ‘the […]

Blogroll , Current Affairs , Food and Drink , Mistletoe , social history

Dodgy Mistletoe Spin-offs 2021 #1 The Smooching Sweater

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The first of a few rather tasteless mistletoe-themed things for this season. Thankfully it’s too late to get this one – the Smooching Sweater – now, so there’s no need to worry. Unless someone managed to get you one for Christmas. Each sweater had to be won though – you couldn’t just buy one. The competition closed at the end of November, so they may already be collectibles.  And it was US-based, not here in […]

berries , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , social history

Mistletoe sales

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Nick Champion’s reports of this season’s mistletoe auctions are now available.  As usual, these don’t give much detail, so don’t get excited:  First auction, 23rd November 2021 “The mistletoe was of better quality [than the holly] and met a solid demand.” 1st Quality Mistletoe fetched up to £3.50 per kg with an average of £2.50 per kg 2nd Quality Mistletoe fetched up to £1.50 per kg with an average of £1.00 per kg Second auction, […]

Blogroll , Current Affairs , Media , Mistletoe , social history

Omicron! Snog, Mistletoe, Avoid?

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Having never watched the BBC TV Series ‘Snog Marry Avoid?” I know very little about it, except that it is about whether someone is more, or less, attractive after a make-over. Nicking the concept for Covid-19 variants, I wonder whether someone standing under mistletoe this December will be more, or less, attractive now that we have the Omicron variant. Less attractive is, logically, the answer, and now we have a relatively sensible government minister (a […]

berries , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Media , Mistletoe , social history

Mistletoe Auction Time

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The first Mistletoe Auction of the year takes place tomorrow morning, which to many means the proper start of the mistletoe season. The auctions are run by Nick Champion and are held at at Burford House Garden Centre, Burford, Tenbury Wells, WR15 8HQ.  Details on Nick’s website nickchampion.co.uk but shortcut for buyers is nickchampion.co.uk/site/assets/files/1015/buyers_information_2021.pdf and for sellers (too late for tomorrow now but there’s another next week!) is nickchampion.co.uk/site/assets/files/1015/sellers_information_2021.pdf. The berries are already nice and […]

berries , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Media , Mistletoe , social history

It’ll be mistletoe time again soon

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With just a few days until October, we’re yet again at the start of the mistletoe season. So it is perhaps time for a quick review of how things are looking this time round: As is fairly usual these days, there’s a reasonable crop of berries forming, so it could be another good year for quality mistletoe. This seems to be the norm, and indeed there is research that suggests berry numbers per branch don’t, […]

berries , Blogroll , Gardening , Mistletoe , Other parasites

A tale of two mistletoes

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There’s a new mistletoe species here at Mistletoe Towers, all the way from Africa originally.  Though this particular set of seeds came from, er, Malvern.  It is Viscum minimum, related to our familiar Viscum album, but, as the name suggests, a much reduced plant.  Tiny actually. I haven’t ever grown it before, though have seen several specimens grown indoors.  For it isn’t an outdoor species, not here in Europe, as its hosts are tropical succulents. […]

Current Affairs , Mistletoe , social history , Travel

Ahhh Biska!

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In urban myth Tequila is flavoured by a worm in each bottle. This is, of course, untrue. Only certain types of Mezcal (similar to Tequila) bottles have worms – and even those aren’t worms, they’re moth larvae from the Agave plants that are fermented to make the drink. Not worms, and not in Tequila. Popular belief will also tell you that mistletoe is toxic, dangerously so. So you might think it’s a myth that there’s […]