Blogroll , Current Affairs , medicine , Science , toxicity

Mistletoe and Markov

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How poisonous is mistletoe?  Every Christmas season this question is asked, and every season the accurate answer (most media doesn’t worry about that) is, “it depends…” It depends on which mistletoe you mean. In Britain and Europe the mistletoe used at Christmas is Viscum album which certainly contains some toxins – of which more in a moment.  In the US the mistletoe used at Christmas will be a species of Phoradendron, which also contains some […]

auctions , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , social history , Tenbury Wells

Badgers trading mistletoe in the 1860s

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Tenbury Wells may have the only specialist mistletoe market in Britain today but there were many others in the past. Almost every market town in the mistletoe-rich parts of Worcestershire and Herefordshire played a role at one time, particularly from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. The Victorian passion for the kissing custom combined with the new easy transport by railways led to a huge trade. To get a feel for the trade at that time it […]

auctions , berries , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Media , Mistletoe , social history , Tenbury Wells

Masses of mistletoe at the first auction of 2022

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At Tenbury Wells yesterday, for the first of the two mistletoe auctions this year. Masses of mistletoe there, though less holly than usual. I was also left with the impression there were fewer buyers and sellers than normal, but that’s difficult to really judge. Most of the mistletoe was looking very fine, lots of berries and not much with yellowy leaves.  But there were several lots, more than usual, with under-ripe berries – i.e. not […]

berries , Media , Mistletoe , social history

Mistletoe sales – a measure of economic recovery?

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US economic news organisation Marketplace visited the Tenbury Well Mistletoe Auctions a week or so ago, for a radio broadcast discussing whether mistletoe sales reflect post-covid economic recovery here in the UK. The general feeling at the auctions was upbeat, which is great – though bear in mind this was recorded just before the Omicron variant hit the news. Marketplace’s UK reporter Stephen Beard presents the piece, interviewing auctioneer Nick Champion, Festival organiser Diann Dowell […]

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, […]

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 , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , Orchard , social history

The Mistletoe Boats

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Going through old trading accounts of mistletoe ( as I am today, compiling some figures for a research paper) I’m often surprised at the attention given to mistletoe imports, once acknowledged to be the main source of Christmas mistletoe in Britain.  Yes we do grow our own, and do still cut and sell our own, but there was once and probably still is a flourishing trade in imports, mainly from France. Newspaper coverage of these […]

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

Another berry good year

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Loads of berries, again, on the mistletoe this year. Which would, normally, mean lots of harvesting, sales and, of course, use of mistletoe. But we have two problems this season, already mentioned in recent posts, both caused by the Covid pandemic.  Firstly fewer mistletoe sales – the Tenbury Wells Auctions are cancelled.  And secondly social distancing – how can you kiss under mistletoe when you can’t get closer than 2 metres and wearing a mask? […]

Blogroll , Current Affairs , Media , Mistletoe , social history

Mistletoe auctions covid-cancelled

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Just a quick update re the Tenbury Wells Mistletoe Auctions – these have now also been cancelled, as well as the Mistletoe Festival. Which seems to raise the possibility that, not only will there be no kissing under mistletoe because of Covid fears, there’ll be no mistletoe to kiss under either! Never fear, not all mistletoe comes from Tenbury’s auctions! There are many other ways for wholesalers, retailers and the public to buy mistletoe – […]