Posts Tagged ‘UK’

Sharks To Listen To Christmas Songs

The list op “Best of…” Christmas songs soon will get another entry: Christmas songs most enjoyed by sharks.

Yes, sharks.

Festive Christmas songs will be piped through walkthrough underwater tunnels in the Loch Lomond Sea Life Centre in the UK.

The Christmas songs can then be heard by nurse sharks and black-tip reef sharks which will be monitored by experts for their reactions to the songs.

“We’ll play everything from Kim Wilde and Mel Smith’s Rocking Around the Christmas Tree and Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade to Wham’s Last Christmas.

We may find they prefer something softer like White Christmas by Bing Crosby.”
Chris Brown, senior marine biologist, Loch Lomond aquarium

The tests have been setup after research in the US has shown that fish are able to recognize melody.

Dad Places 35ft Christmas Tree in 16ft House

Last year one of Greig Howe’s sons complained the Christmas tree was so small.

This year he won’t.

In response Greig has bought a $380 Christmas tree measuring no less than 35 feet.

Tiny problem: the corner of the two story Howe’s residence where the Christmas tree stands is only 16 feet high.

No problem though.

Greig has cut the tree in 3 segments, placing one in the living room, one in a bedroom on the second floor, and the top part outside on the roof.

It took a firefighter crane truck to place the star on top.

Woman asked to take down Christmas lights to avoid offending neighbors

A housing association employee in the UK has asked a British woman to remove her outside Christmas lights because, hold on to your hats, they might be “offensive to the community” !

Dorothy Glenn goes through great trouble every year to make her house as festive as possible.

Apart from Christmas lights the outside decorations include a wonderful Christmas tree as well as a 4 feet Santa Claus.

“I put the lights up in the first week of November and then recently a uniformed housing worker was outside, and it looked like he was counting my decorations.

When I went outside he said that the lights were ‘offensive to the community’. If I was offending anyone I could understand why he was telling me, but nobody has complained.

My neighbours are Bengali and Chinese and I know that they love the lights, the children will always point them out when they walk past.

I told him that I am far from a racist and that I wouldn’t be taking the lights down. I’m shocked, annoyed and upset. At the end of the day, it’s the festive season and they’re staying.”

Faced with the onslaught of international press coverage of the faux pas both the town and the association have made their apologies and stress that there’s no applicable policy even.

“Every year this woman puts her Christmas lights up and I know how popular they are. It’s great when people make an effort to decorate their houses.

It’s this kind of nonsense that sets race relations back 20 years. That woman did nothing more than decorate her house to celebrate Christmas.

We would like to make it clear that South Tyneside Homes is happy for residents to put up Christmas lights to decorate their homes.

Christmas lights bring a bit of festive cheer to everybody and we are delighted to see examples of tenants and leaseholders across the borough taking so much pride in the appearance of their homes.”
South Tyneside Council

Donated Christmas Lights “Too Dangerous”

The English town of West by Fleet has bitten without Christmas light since 2002. But this year’s things would be different. The walking borrow counsel last week pulled down that it has spare Christmas lights that it wants to donate.

But close inspection shows that the Christmas lights are “too dangerous” to install. The town’s business Association can have them, but would have to pay for their “repair”.

We do have some Christmas lights, which are surplus to our requirements.

“We would be very happy to donate them to the West Byfleet Business Association at no cost, provided it can ensure that they meet safety standards.

The town businessman has now taken it upon themselves to light up the city themselves. They have received what they call an acceptable quote from a contractor that wants to sell the lights and install them.

The Christmas lights will cost a little over US$2000. Installing them will be whopping $5000.

The lights should last for seven or eight years so they will get a good run. Hopefully, from now on we can build on the lights we have, year on year.

We are looking for people or businesses to sponsor the lights. There are three or four in the pipeline so hopefully people will come forward. All the local council representatives have been very good, which is positive. We are grateful for the support they have given us.

If all goes to plan, we could see the lights up by the start of next month so now we are just waiting to see. It will be a boost for the businesses in the village to have the lights.

Even Toytown is feeling the crunch this Christmas

In the UK too we have just 67 days to go until Christmas. That statistic is as likely to shrink as the revenue retailers will be able to squeeze from Christmas this year.

The Toy Retailers Association (TRA) launched Christmas shopping season officially this week with “Dream Toys”. The annual industry event showcases what they hope will be this year’s bestsellers. Among them, a Star Wars Trooper Helmet with preprogrammed messages. Retailing at $60 each sellers hope expect to be selling them by the truckload.

In fact, little complaining was to be heard; sellers were as cheerful as possible. Many insisted mom and dad will still want to buy their kids toys and that all the shops will have to do is make sure enough items are within financial reach.

Still, this is not Christmas 2007, when the mortgage crisis was mainly a USA thing, and not a Christmas 2006 at all either. Spending by the bucket load is out, at least for now, and frugal common sense has entered both lives and language.

Many retailers were talking for example about “cost per play” to try to express the value and worth of a product.

Then again, the past 5 years every year has been predicted as the worst Christmas selling season ever. And each turned out to be pretty good.

So what about this one?

“‘This Christmas is going to be the worst retailers have experienced in modern times. The past five years have been forecast as the “worst ever” and that hasn’t been the case; this year it will be. What is going on in the real economy is affecting every household in the country. Spending power is substantially diminished and that is going to be reflected in retail sales.”
Richard Hyman, retail analyst

Based on consumer surveys it’s expected that, in the UK, consumers will spend 6% more than they did last year. But that figure of about $1200 isn’t for toy sellers only. The breakdown is along the lines of roughly $600 gifts, $300 on food and $250 on socialising. Joy of Christmas predicts that’s pretty high for a lot of families out there.

Based on frugal patterns food is expected to be doing very well. It’s needed, no way around it, and at the same buck you get and a treat and good food.

Books, music and movies likewise are expected to be doing well in the UK. There’s a lot of new material coming out in the Christmas period. Also, the overall longtime worth of these items is perceived as very high.

What helps these sales is that as people curtail their spending from high end items and dining out to more frugal matters, staying at home with a good book or movie is seen as inexpensive pleasure.

“The book industry is reasonably optimistic about the outlook.

Books are a recession favourite because they are a good gift and don’t break; also the demise of the Net Book Agreement means they are cheaper than during the last recession. You can buy a book for £3.79 (USD $6.50) from Asda, which is less than a pint of bitter.”
Neill Denny, editor-in-chief of The Bookseller

In yet another annually recurring prediction the web is set to strike gold. Amazon UK expects their biggest Christmas ever, going head-to-head with main street in selling blockbuster DVD’s such as Batman The Dark Knight and the Abba musical Mamma Mia.

Oddly enough bargain hunters will be less well served as past years. The ample warning retailers have had of a slowing economy which then crashed and is now considered to be in a recession means they have bought less stock. Some “SALE!” activity is expected just before and after the holidays but full price will be the principle deal.