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1 - 7 December 2016 / Costa del Sol E W N

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Thanks to all of our Costa community SHARING Christmas with somebody is a special moment that makes them a part of your family, and you a part of theirs. Which is why we at EWN are honoured to offer our heartfelt Christmas greetings to our extended family. All the loyal readers and advertisers out there who have made this paper such a spectacular success, who bring good cheer, hope and festive spirit to our communities across the Costa del Sol. The real heroes of Christmas are the people and businesses from Mijas to Marbella, Benalmadena to Estepona, who are the life and soul of our flourishing expat community. Without community, there is no Christmas and the EWN family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts for helping make the Costa del Sol one of the strongest communities in the world. We know that Christmas is about expressing gratitude, to the people who stick by you through thick and thin. That’s why EWN pledges to always be there for our readers and clients by doing our bit to support local communities right across the coast.

The greatest measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable and unfortunate members. We’d like to call on everyone to use this time of year to remember and care for the lonely, afraid, and lost among us, for whom Christmas is an especially difficult period. Every single one of us knows somebody who will be grieving, drinking (but not out of joy), feeling anxious and alone, who feel they have no family to celebrate with. Let’s show them that they do have a family, and that the Costa del Sol’s expat community is a force to be reckoned with, a real society that takes care of its own and doesn’t just follow the crowd. As an authentic

community newspaper, EWN pledges to bring you vibrant local news on the terrific businesses, charities, groups and individuals who are making the Costa del Sol great. Nobody can accuse 2016 of not being eventful! But now that it’s December let’s take a moment to forget the wild politics of the year and think about the side of life that revolves around family, friends and, above all, love.

e th t a s u f o e n o y r e v e From each and s! a tm is r h C y r r e M y E W N F a m il


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Five must-eat Christmas treats SPANISH sweet treats to enjoy after your meal IF nothing else, Christmas is an excuse to stuff your face full of anything and everything you can get your hands on. Although you undoubtedly already have your own holiday favourites, there are many sweet Spanish treats that would make a worthy addition to any Christmasthemed meal. Here are five of the best ones: Roscon de Reyes This is a very specific Spanish dish which is usually eaten on Three Kings Day (January 6). It is a kind of sweet bread which takes the shape of a large ring. The typical custom is to bake a bean and a small toy into the Roscon. Whereas the person who finds the toy is meant to have good luck as a result, the person who finds the bean is not so lucky: they have to pay for the Roscon the next time around! Exact recipes vary, but often the Roscon is adorned with fruits, figs, almonds and a light sprinkling of sugar.

Pestiños Those with a sweet tooth will adore these flaky pastries, which are extremely popular in Andalucia and the south of Spain in general. Pestiños are made using dough which is then deep-fried in olive oil before being smeared with honey or coated in sugar. Although they are occasionally eaten at other times of the year, they are a very common sight at Christmas in many shops and bakeries. Mazapan Spanish marzipan, or mazapan, is said to date back to the 12th century, where it was the brainchild of an enterprising group of nuns from Toledo. At the time there was no wheat available, but fortunately the sisters had a huge stash of almond and sugar, and used it up accordingly! To make it, you will need some finely crushed almonds, sugar, eggs (both yolk and whites), water, a dash of cinnamon, and a bit of lemon

zest. Mazapan has gradually grown to be associated with Christmas, especially in Toledo where it is sometimes shaped into small animals before it is eaten. Turron An absolute staple in many parts of Spain, Turron is essentially a form of nougat and is traditionally made with honey, sugar, and egg whites, as well as almonds or other kinds of nuts. It is often sold in bar form and is readily available all over Spain. Turron is manufactured and sold in huge quantities at Christmas, where it makes an ideal gift for anyone who likes something sweet to go with their tea. For a spin on the traditional recipe, try making it with liquor, pralines, or chocolate. Polvoron This is a kind of shortbread which is typically made using flour, sugar, milk, and nuts. Polvorones are a typical Christmas treat in many parts of

Spain, particularly in Andalucia, where there are approximately 70 factories dedicated to producing popular versions of this longstanding holiday favourite.

TREATS: Roscon de Reyes (above) and Mazapan (right).

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Cocinas Plus: can design your dream kitchen PROVIDING a bespoke kitchen design and installation service with a choice of utensils and gadgets COCINAS PLUS is a kitchen and cookware business, owned by entrepreneur Ian Taylor, that provides both a bespoke kitchen design and installation service, and a mouth-watering choice of kitchen utensils and gadgets that will make even a seasoned chef wander excitedly through their Marbella store. The Marbella branch of Cocinas Plus, located conveniently on the Golden Mile on Bulevar Principe Alfonso von Hohenlohe, Edificio Casablanca, is a veritable tardis - a cavernous kitchen showroom is located beneath their cookware store. The general manager, Danny Parrilla, waxes lyrical about the merits of this large and light space to demonstrate the kitchens, usually at least seven dif-

ferent designs, available throughout the whole year. The dedicated team at Cocinas Plus will talk you through the entire process of designing, building and installing your kitchen, with a vast choice of design options. With a multilingual team who have command of eight languages between them, the Cocinas Plus staff are passionate about ensuring that their clients receive an unsurpassed professional ser-

vice, but with a very personalised and friendly approach. The cookware store above the kitchen showroom ensures that customers who visit to design a kitchen, are also able to fully kit it out with gadgets and utensils from brands such as Cole & Mason, Cristel and GEFU. Kitchenware brands as varied as Ruffoni and Spiegelau ensure that all tastes are catered for,

from the classic to the contemporary. Something may be found for every interior. Each product, just like the kitchens, is carefully selected for its quality, functionality and beauty. A theme that continues next door at Cocinas Plus’ Art and Deco venture, Sekretza, a  gallery that aims to bring an  exciting and eclectic selection of art to Marbella. The La Cala de Mijas showroom is no less impressive. Here they focus specifically on kitchens and the large and friendly team, again in possession of a variety of languages between them, can design a kitchen that caters to any budget. www.cocinasplus.com

THE TEAM: Speak eight languages between them.


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Spain lights up for Christmas MALAGA is hard to beat when it comes to lights By Sam Croft FEW countries do Christmas like Spain, and this was more than evident this year as bit by bit the country began to light up like a candelabra. On Thursday November 24, Madrid debuted its new Christmas lights, starting with a spectacular display in the Pl a z a Ma y o r. Th is year, the city kicked off the festivities by using innovative video mapping technology to turn the side of one of the square’s oldest buildings into a massive projection screen. After that, the whole city began to sparkle

as th o u s a n d s o f mu ltico lo u red lig h ts u s h ere d Christmas in for another year. When it comes to lights, however, it is hard to beat Malaga City, which is rapidly becoming a point of reference for Christmas in S p a in . E v e ry y ea r, th o usands of tourists and residents are left enchanted as they stroll down Calle Larios and stare up at the massive canopy of Christmas lights that stretches from one end of the passageway to another. In fact, the small Cordoba company that manufactures the Christmas lights used in Malaga City

recently closed a deal with a huge multi-national company, and the lights will soon be ma king the ir w a y to eight major cities around the world, including New York City. M e a nw hile , if gia nt Christmas trees make you weak at the knees, you may want to head to the Granada villa ge of A rmilla . This ye a r, the tow n boa s ts the biggest Christmas tree in Europe. It is 55 metres tall and is currently sparkling like a beacon at the entrance to the N e va da Shopping Centre.

CALLE LARIOS: Thousands of tourists and residents flock to see the lights.

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THE FIRE PLACE MARBELLA: Will guide you to the right products for your fireplace needs.

Quality products, quality craftmanship WILL personally handle every aspect of your fireplace from point of sale to installation THE FIRE PLACE MARBELLA has been in business for over a decade as an independent and family-run business here in Spain. With a total of 50 years’ experience their goal has always been to sell quality products and maintain quality craftsmanship from start to finish for all of their customers. They personally handle every aspect of your fireplace, stove etc from the point of sale

through the framing, installation and final masonry application. They strive to be professional in every aspect of the installation of your new fireplace, stove etc. They have full confidence in their ability to help guide customers through to complete satisfaction whether it be the performance of the product or the final appearance of the fireplace. They will inspire you with everything you

need to install a fireplace in your home or business today! They have a plethora of different styles, and colours and their fireplace specialists will guide you to the right products for your fireplace needs! The Fire Place Marbella offer a full build and personal design service for any client. Free no obligation survey. The Fire Place Marbella would like to wish

their clients and customers a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. thefireplaceshop@gmail.com


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Around the world in 12 days SLIGHTLY different NO matter where you are in the world, Christmas is about faith and family, (although shopping might be included nowadays) but it is also about culture, which means there are fantastic differences in how people celebrate. So let’s embark on an unofficial world tour and see how the festive season is celebrated in each corner of the earth. Russia’s Orthodox heritage means things are done slightly differently. Christmas Day is January 7 and the official holidays stretch from December 31 until January 10. Children receive their gifts from Babouschka on January 5. Despite most Russians enjoying a hearty feast most of the year, many religious people take a break over Christmas and stay away from meat and fish. Typical meals include the famous beetroot soup, vegetable pies, potato salads sauerkraut, dried fruits and gingerbread. Over in Japan Christmas isn’t really a holiday, but like the rest of the world the country has cottoned on to the festive celebrations, which they make romantic rather than religious. People still attend work and school but in big cities the vibrant streets are

RUSSIA: Christmas is special everywhere

flush with Christmas lights and you’ll see couples young and old and families browsing the streets, shopping, eating and exchanging gifts. They even have a special Japanese Christmas cake which is a delicious sponge cake adorned with strawberries, whipped cream, trees and a fig-

urine of Santa. What do Brazilians do at Christmas? What they do every day - go to the beach! In the southern hemisphere Christmas comes at the height of summer so, rather than wrapping up in scarves and coats, our Brazilian brethren prefer a dip in the sea.

A Portuguese heritage sees a strong emphasis on Catholic ritual but it wouldn’t be Brazil without bombastic parties and spectacular fireworks displays. Food varies across the regions. You’ll have bacalhau in Rio, African street food in the north-east, turkey in wealthier families and rice, raisins and farofa (seasoned flour) everywhere.

The way of the future FACEBOOK IQ has published the results of its 2016 Holiday Outlook Study, which was carried out in 17 countries, including Spain. The original study took place last year, and aimed to analyse trends related to technology during the Christmas season. Unsurprisingly, the study confirmed that the internet and social media have changed the way that we celebrate Christmas. On average people posted 35 per cent more on Facebook during the holidays, often uploading Christmas videos and photos to bring a little bit of holiday cheer to their friends and acquaintances. Meanwhile, 46 per cent said they rely on Facebook to give them a bit of inspiration for gift ideas.

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R-DMC’s for your glass curtains SPECIALIST manufacturers who use only the highest quality materials R-DMC’s is a family-run business with over 190 years of combined experience in the glazing, construction and steel industry. They are specialist manufacturers of glass curtains, stainless steel, UPVC & aluminium windows & doors and pool surrounds. They use only the highest quality materials including

316 marine grade stainless steel so as not to cause corrosion problems. They have their own glass toughening plant which means the complete glass curtain system, including the glass, is manufactured under one roof. They also manufacture UPVC and aluminium windows and doors. They can manufacture roofs including sliding (electric or manual), complete steel structures, acoustic glass for bars, mirrors, table tops, sealed units, splash backs, shop fronts, shelves, walk on glass, stairs, glass balustrade, pool surrounds, in fact they can assist you with all your glass needs. The Glass Curtain system they manufacture is a German system called Sunflex: it is typical of German design, much time and thought has gone into the system making it

one of, if not the best, system available on the market today. The system is completely different to other systems that are of similar money, it is top-hung which means that the weight of the glass is distributed evenly and not all sitting on the bottom rubbing metal against metal. This system runs on stainless steel wheels and stainless steel thrust needle bearings, each panel of glass has four holes drilled into it so that the profile can be bolted to the glass as well as glued. This is the only system to do this, all other systems are merely glued to the profile. Other companies will claim that a bottom-hung system is better, however as glass manufacturers who make our own glass and understand the weight that is involved per square metre for 10mm glass, they know

that the best way for a system to function correctly is to hang the glass so as not to impose such weight and strain on the system below which causes scraping and juddering over a period of time and regular use. Also being top-hung you do not need to maintain the system as you would a bottom-hung system where you would have to clean the bottom track out regularly just to keep it running as smoothly as possible: with the top system this is not necessary as no dirt, leaves rubbish etc can gather. Their Glass Curtains also come with an additional adjustable bar: this means if there is any movement at all the glass curtains can be adjusted up or down with just an Allen or hex key instead of having to take all the panels of glass out and start again. The system has undergone many

tests in Germany including an opening and closing test of over 10,000 cycles and also a wind test of up to 2000 Pascals, all the test documentation can be viewed at their offices. They also recommend that anybody looking to install glass curtains or stainless steel, visit the factory and see where they are being manufactured. Do ask questions, a reliable company has nothing to hide. Everyone at R-DMC’s would like to take this opportunity to wish all their customers a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

For any info please email us on rdmcsglass@hotmail.com or check out our website on www.rdmcsglass.com to see installation photos, information about our system and also customer references. Or see our Facebook page for regularly updated installations. Opening hours Mon – Fri 8.30 – 6.00 • 952 477 963, 677 712 742 Pol Ind El Cañadon. Nave 16 & 18, Km2. Camino De Coin. Mijas Costa, Malaga, 29650


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A million work contracts BUSINESSES need help to cope with seasonal demand By Sam Croft THE Spanish labour market continues to show signs of recovery. The Human Resources Firm Adecco has indicated that between November and January nearly a million workers will be contracted to help various businesses cope with the seasonal demand. This represents an increase of 14 per cent compared to last year. Part of the reason for this was a recent legislative reform which has allowed establishments to be more flexible with their seasonal hiring. This has created an unprecedented growth in employment over the Christmas season, which is great news for families in need of a little extra holiday money. Adecco has stated that this Christmas will be the best in recent history in regards to the Spanish economy and the

labour market. The amount of employees contracted is expected to be comparable to pre-crisis numbers, and not only will more employment be created, but the majority of the contracts will also last longer, with many of them beginning as early as Black Friday and lasting right through until mid-January. The majority of the contracts will be in the retail sector, although there will be various offers available for a wide vari-

ety of positions, including promoters and hosts, chefs and waiters, telephone operators, as well as office workers, secretaries, and receptionists.

SEASONAL DEMAND: In the labour market.

Spain’s hometown hero A STORY doing the rounds about famous local son Antonino Fernandez, who helped make Corona ‘cerveza’ a global giant, making all the residents of his hometown millionaires in his will turned out too good to be true. But that shouldn’t detract from the billionaire’s devotion and generosity to his home, which truly reflects the Christmas spirit. The billionaire was born in the quiet Spanish village of Cerezales del Condado in the north of the country in 1917, one of 13 children in a poor family. In 1949, aged 32, he moved to Mexico to work for his wife’s uncle’s company Grupo Modelo as a warehouse labourer in the brewery. Hard work paid off and by 1971 he was CEO and set about transforming the company into a hugely profitable enterprise with Corona the star brand, boasting incredible export figures to Spain and the US. Fernandez continued to play a role in the company as Honorary Life Chairman right up until his death in August this year at the ripe old age of 98. By then his philanthropy and generous spirit were well known to the people of Cerezales del Condado and those in need across Spain. Although the villagers haven’t been made millionaires, they have benefited immensely from the generosity of Fernandez who never forgot where he came from. He paid for the restoration of the church and helped open a cultural centre and bring running water to people’s homes. His philanthropic work, particularly helping disabled people across Spain, was recognised by the former King of Spain Juan Carlos. And as for his famous will? More than €200 million was reported to have been gifted to the countless children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews between his 12 brothers and sisters, although he himself didn’t have any children with his wife of 60 years.

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SG Haulage: Europe-wide transport experts EMPLOYEES are trained to the highest standard in many specialist transport areas SG HAULAGE LTD is a familyrun business from Lincoln, England, that specialises in the movement of general and abnormal loads across the UK and Europe. They are experts in moving boats, yachts, motorhomes, caravans, construction machinery and agricultural machinery. They have a roving permit for Spain allowing them to move any boat or marina equipment

up to three metres wide at short notice. Loads over three metres require a dedicated route permit which they can obtain for the journey. All their trucks and trailers are registered with the Spanish ministry of transport so getting permits ap-

plied for is completed with ease. In France they have CAT1 and CAT2 permits already in place to move any load in that category. All the pilot cars used for the escorting of the loads over three metres

wide are supplied and routes are planned ahead of time for the safest and quickest transit time of the load. All their trailers have full air suspension to transport your load safely and carefully no

ON THE MOVE: Safe and sound.

matter how fragile or delicate. They have a fleet of 30 trucks and 60 trailers ranging from a 3.5 tonne pickup with a trailer to an 80 tonne 6x4 tractor unit for heavy and specialist transport. They also have many trucks with HIAB cranes and trailers with Moffett forklifts for loading and unloading goods up to two tonne in weight. Being a very close-knit family firm means their vehicles are well presented and their employees are trained to the highest standard in many specialist transport areas. If you’d like more information or to make a booking please visit www.sghaulageltd.co.uk or give them a phone on +44 1522 702443.


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Who's who at Xmas time in Spain ALTHOUGH Spanish children may expect Santa at Christmas, the Three Kings remain the undisputed stars By Sam Croft THANKS to television, films, and Coca Cola advertisements, Santa Claus is now a ubiquitous figure around the world, so it is easy to forget that not every country bows down to the jolly red giant. Although nowadays some Spanish children may expect Santa to pay a visit at Christmas, the Three Kings remain the undisputed stars of the show. They typically arrive on January 6, bearing gifts for well-behaved children and waving to smiling onlookers as they parade their way through the town in their regal clothing and glittering crowns. There are actually other variations on the Santa Claus character in Spain, particularly in the northern regions. In Galicia in the northwest, a coal miner named El Apalpador stops by at Christmas to ensure that all the wee’uns are eating well. If they look a bit underfed he makes sure to remedy that with a generous helping of sweets and treats.

Meanwhile in the Basque Country and Navarra, another plump and jolly old man visits the children, although in these cases he is a peasant named Olentzero. Olentzero typically smokes

a pipe and is dressed in the simple clothing of a farmer. He generally drops off a few gifts and only asks for a bit of grub or some alcohol for his troubles. Surely the most bizarre Spanish Christmas character is Tio de Nadal, the

Christmas Log. Tio de Nadal is literally a wooden log who families usually place in their living rooms in the runup to Christmas. They typically shower Tio de Nadal with treats and even go so far as to make sure he is wrapped snugly in a blanket before they go off to bed. Then after treating him like one of their own for a month, they brutally beat him with sticks on Christmas Eve until he poops out sweets. Believe it or not, Tio de Nadal is not the only pooping Christmas character in Cataluña. Another holiday favourite is El Caganer (literally, The Crapper). El Caganer is typically depicted as a

peasant squatting over a mound of excrement. For that extra touch of inappropriate humour, he is sometimes placed within the Belen, or Nativity Scene. Although El Caganer may sound like a niche figure for those who can’t get enough of toilet humour, the tradition is widely observed in Cataluña, with many contemporary examples being seen in the form of small figurines. Popular choices include politicians, athletes, and film stars. Not surprisingly, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were among the top choices this year.

TIO DE NADAL: Is typically showered with treats.

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Matching the right client to the right carer CARINGCARERS offer a range of services and provide support at all levels SPAIN’S popularity as a retirement destination for expatriates has led to an increased need for help in the home. CaringCarers was founded four years ago to provide both live-in and home-visit care to elderly or infirm people living in and visiting Spain. CaringCarers offer a range of services enabling elderly, disabled and convalescing people to remain in the comfort of their own homes in Spain. They provide support at all levels, ranging from companionship, light housework, personal laun d r y, m e a l p r e p a ra tio n , h elp w ith washing, dressing or getting ready for bed to dog walking, shopping to full 24-hour live-in care. “The most important thing is matching the client to the right carer,” say CaringCarers. “We always meet personally with the client, and if possible their family, so that they can gain an insight into their personality, lifestyle, abilities and home life. “This means we can send in the most suitable carer(s) for each person. We have a large database of carers based both inland and on the coast and we strive to en-

sure that both the client and the carer are happy - even meeting pets is important to us, so that we can be confident that the

carer is happy working with dogs, cats or even parrots! Clients can feel assured their pets are also well cared for.

“Our clients benefit from one-to-one attention from experienced, competent and trustworthy carers. They can enjoy living in Spain with some of their worries taken away. Several of our clients have mentioned that they maintained a friendship with their carer even after the contract had finished; many contacted CaringCarers for short-term care following an operation, then decided to continue using our care ser vi ces even once t hey wer e m obi l e again.” All our carers are qualified, experienced, r ef er enced and backgr ound checked. For more detailed information about CaringCarers and the services they can provide, call 633 391 529. Email caring carers@yahoo.com or visit www.caringcarers.com.

QUALIFIED CARERS: We always meet personally with the client.


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Spaniards are big spenders MAJORITY of money spent on gifts, food, entertainment and travel By Sam Croft CHRISTMAS spirit is certainly not in short supply in Spain, at least when it comes to spending money. Results from the recent Christmas Consumption Study 2016, which was carried out in various European countries, have indicated that on average, Spanish families plan to spend €682 this Christmas. This represents a 4 per cent increase from last year, when the average spending was €655. This statistic positions Spain as the second biggest spender among the countries surveyed, only behind Denmark, where the average output per family sat at €689. This growth is explained largely due to increased optimism as the country takes tentative steps out of the crippling economic crisis which plagued the country for years. Surveys have

indicated that 74 per cent of Spaniards feel that in 2016, the country’s economic situation was stabilising or improving. Last year only 63 per cent felt the same way. Additionally, 66 per cent of Spaniards reported that they feel that they feel like they are on top

of their finances this year compared to last year.

When asked to provide a breakdown of how they plan to spend their money, the majority was set aside for gifts (€265) and food (€212), whereas other purchases like entertainment and travel made up the remainder of the budgets.

SPANISH FAMILIES: Plan on spending €682 this year.

Party from the comfort of home CHRISTMAS parties don’t need to be based on the same old themes - funky jumpers, embarrassing work nights out, a bucketload of mulled wine and a raging hangover. If you’re looking for a fun, quiet, alcohol-free night in while saving the pennies then why not try some of the following ideas this Christmas. With a craft party you can stay at home with friends and family and each design gifts for one another using your scissor skills. Grab as many ribbons, labels, paper, cards, crayons and pens as you can handle, stick on some Christmas music and get cracking! If the festive season has already drained your soul with all the extra effort involved driving, shopping, cooking, spending and eating then perhaps a themed film party will do just the trick. You can find plenty of Christmassy films online or stock up on some DVDs. Recline the sofa, grab some festive snacks, and gather around to hibernate for a while. Finally if you’ve longed for revenge on those loud neighbours of yours, then now is your chance. Christmas karaoke might be the only time you and the extended family get to wail to your hearts’ content with a readymade excuse in case the police come knocking. Pick your favourite Christmas playlist, buy a cheap microphone and kick out the jams!

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Happy holidays from Roy Trevor Removals WITH their vast knowledge gleaned from years of experience, they are experts in their field FROM Julea and the team at Roy Trevor Removals they would like to say a huge thank you and a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year to all their customers past, present and future. With the surprise outcome of the Brexit vote in June there has been a lot of confusion and panic as to how people and businesses would fare both in the UK and Europe, especially its effect on them in Spain. However, for Roy Trevor Removals, the shock vote to exit the EU has created new opportunities. Whereas they are historically very busy throughout the summer months with local moves around Spain and the Costa del Sol area, this year they have had a large influx of customers leaving the UK to begin a new life in Spain. This is a big move for people of all ages and from all walks of life and can be very stressful if not handled correctly. Roy Trevor Removals have been moving families at home and abroad since

1918 in the UK and since opening their permanent depot in Spain in 1992. With their vast knowledge gleaned from years of experience they are experts in their field, offering a packing service to suit your requirements. They have a team of professional packers to ensure that all goods from a wine glass to a piano can be moved safely. With a regular service to and from the UK and further afield they are usually able to tailor your move to suit your timescales. In Spain they offer a free site survey so the price you are quoted is the price you pay. This enables them to ascertain what materials, manpower and timings are required. If your property is not ready to move into straight away they have large, fully alarmed, clean, dry storage facilities both in Spain and the UK. Inspections are welcome, where you can also browse through their testimonials from the many customers

who have used their services, sometimes for the first time and some who have moved many times over the last 24 years using Roy Trevor Removals. For more information on Roy Trevor Removals and Storage/ Moving Matters SL take a look at their website: www.mov ing-matters-sl.com or call them on 951 311 118 in Spain, or from the UK 0843 207 4302 and have a chat with their customer service team.

THANK YOU: To all their customers, past and present.


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It’s a Wonderful Life: a classic NOW regarded as one of the top 100 American films of all time ASK anyone of a certain age, at least those who can remember when the family used to sit down for the Christmas Day film in the days before VHS and DVDs, then one of the enduring favourites will be the 1946 hit It’s a Wonderful Life. It was first written at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 but did not hit the silver screen until a year after the war’s end. James Stewart stars as a disillusioned George Bailey, sitting at a bar contemplating suicide. He is visited by his guardian angel, actor Henry Travers playing Clarence Odbody who, in a version of Dickens’ Christmas Carol, shows him the lives he has affected and what his home of Bedford Falls would be like if he had not been born. James Stewart later in life described this fantasy drama as one of his favourite films. But it was not a hit at the box office and Stewart was not the first choice as lead according to some film historians. That role was to have gone to Cary Grant and

CHRISTMAS FILM: James Stewart starred as George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. subsequently to Henry Fonda. But director Frank Capra chose Stewart. Reviewers after its opening night in 1946 wrote about it being “chock

full of whimsy” and over sentimental. The film was nominated in six categories in the 1946 Academy Awards

but topped only one, the award for technical achievement. Special effects artist Russell Shearman won for designing a new method for simulat-

ing falling snow! Tradition has it that cornflakes were painted white but it was so loud on set that actors’ voices had to be dubbed on later. The film’s elevation to the role of Christmas classic is not easy to tie down. Perhaps enduring is its evocation to us of a lost world of seeming innocence although that was not how it was seen at the time. It was shown frequently at Christmas time during the 1970s and is now regarded by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 American films of all time. The list was composed in 1998 and rates the film at Number 11. In a 1984 interview director Frank Capra described the film’s popularity as “the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen.” He added: “The film has a life of its own now and I can look at it like I had nothing to do with it. I’m like a parent whose kid grows up to be president.” “I’m proud,” said Capra, “but it’s the kid who did the work.”

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Costa Vapor – make the choice today! OFFER a large variety of quality e-cigarettes and the biggest selection of e-liquids on the coast USING electronic cigarettes, aka vaping, seems to be on the rise again. After some bad press the vapers and vape shops seemed to disappear from the street scene, but recently there have been some more positive writings and the vapers are back! Recently Public Health England reported that according to their study vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than smoking. Costa Vapor was one of the first vape shops on the coast and they are still going strong. “I guess it is because we know what we are doing,” says Petri Mantysalo, owner of Costa Vapor SL. He continues: “We have a well-trained staff and we are all vapers ourselves, so we don’t sell the cheapest models that give you a bad user experience. Our e-cigs, mods and liquids are of best quality and we are proud to sell them.” Costa Vapor offers a large variety of high quality e-cigarettes at the best prices, from

starter kits for beginners, to the latest models for more advanced. Their range of e-liquids is the biggest on the Costa del Sol and you can taste the 200+ flavours before making your purchase. Costa Vapor’s e-cigarette shop is conveniently located in the centre of Fuengirola, with free customer parking at Plaza España

parking facility. They are open on weekdays from 9am to 6pm. On Saturdays you can visit the shop to view the range, test the products and talk to the team from 10am to 2pm. They also have a webshop with an even larger variety with worldwide shipping. They have been in the

COSTA VAPOR: Providing expert guidance and support.

vaping business since 2011 and have grown to be a multi-million euro business today. But they still retain a humble attitude: They are there to help you and provide expert guidance and support. Check out their monthly offers from their Facebook page or visit their shop to speak to the team who will assist you on your journey to becoming a non-smoker! Costa Vapor Camino de Coin 5 29640 Fuengirola tel: 952 46 54 57 costavapor@gmail.com www.costavapor.com www.facebook.com/costavaporfuengirola


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Xmas number ones: like or loathe? NOVELTY songs often have us reaching immediately for the off button MOST of us have a favourite Christmas number one. For that matter, almost all of us will recall one we frankly detested! But when did this strange aspect of a British Christmas culture actually get off the ground? The first conventional UK singles chart was created in 1952 but it’s generally thought that the first band to target the number one spot was the Black Country motley crew Slade, headed by the rasping Noddy Holder. Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody hit the top spot way back in 1973. The band, who hailed from Wolverhampton/Walsall, managed six number ones and 17 consecutive Top-20 hits. Their Christmas offering and that of Mud in 1974 with Lonely This Christmas were followed by what became one of rock and pop’s iconic anthems: Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. The track, penned by Freddie Mercury, stayed at the top of the chart for nine weeks and reached the number one spot again in 1991 when it was re-released unaltered. Bohemian Rhapsody is also the only song to reach the Christmas number one spot

acter who topped the Christmas chart in 1993. Can We Fix It? by Bob the Builder can only have targeted the younger audience but it did so very successfully. Voiced by English actor Neil Morrissey, who shot to fame as Tony in Men Behaving Badly, Bob the Builder was created by writer and producer Keith Chapman. He went on to create the massively successful children’s entertainment channel Nickelodeon which is still going strong under the ownership of US entertainment giant Viacom. Charity singles make a big

twice by the same artist. For those who like to remember the acts they really didn’t like and immediately reached for the off button, then a number of contenders come under the polite umbrella term, novelty songs. First, perhaps, was the St Winifred’s School Choir, with There’s No One Quite Like Grandma. It was penned in 1980 for the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and sung by children attending the school in Stockport, England. It was number one for two weeks and stayed in the charts for 11 weeks in total. Another more surprising hit by far was Mr Blobby. Originating on BBC TV’s Noel’s House Party, his only word was ‘blobby’ but somehow the show got into the national psyche and so did this char-

splash and two that achieved the top spot both involved BBC choirmaster extraordinaire, Gareth Malone. The first was the 2011 hit Wherever You Are by the Military Wives. Its sombre backdrop was the war in Afghanistan. It sold 556,000 copies in a week with part of the proceeds going to the Royal British Legion and the Armed Forces charity, SSAFA. Last year, again with the involvement of Malone, the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir took the number one spot with A Bridge Over You. The race for the 2016 number one is already underway. Another charity offering that may get there is The Living Years, a rehash of the Mike and The Mechanics hit sung by The London Hospices Choir. Made up of patients, staff and volunteers they hail from 18 of the capital’s hospices. Could they make it two charity hits in a row?

CHOIRMASTER EXTRAORDINAIRE: Gareth has helped two charity singles achieve the top spot.

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The tradition of the Three Kings CHILDREN receive presents if they have written letters to say how good they have been FOR many countries the traditional gift giving doesn’t take place on December 25. In Germany it’s on Christmas Eve and in Spain it’s January 6. The latter is Epiphany, the time linked nowadays to the arrival of the ‘three kings’ who come to pay homage to Jesus.

In fact only one of the gospels in the New Testament mentions this event, and talks of ‘wise men,’ not kings, and doesn’t mention how many are supposed to have arrived. Although the New Testament does not give these men names, they have been named over time, as leg-

end and tradition have intertwined. They are now thought of as Balthazar, a scholar from Babylon: Melchior, a scholar from Persia and Caspar, an Indian scholar. In some stories they are described as being

GIFT BEARERS: The Three Kings make their arrival on camels.

the kings of Arabia, Persia and India. In the gospel it merely says they came from the ‘east.’ In German-speaking countries their initials are sometimes inscribed over the doors of Catholic homes to bless those inside. Their gifts, of myrrh, frankincense and gold respectively, have meant the growth of more legends and symbolic meanings. Whilst gold is and always has been regarded as a valuable metal, frankincense is a perfume and myrrh is regarded as an oil for anointing. Their spiritual meaning is that gold represents temporal kingship, frankincense is representative of godliness while myrrh symbolises death. What use the gifts were put to results in more myths and traditions: the gold is sometimes said to have been used by Joseph and Mary to flee Judea after they were warned of Herod’s plan to

slaughter first-born sons. The myrrh is often associated with the acknowledgment that Jesus would suffer before his death and is then said to have been used to anoint his body after the crucifixion. What became of the three wise men is not revealed in the Bible but in one thread of the story they were martyred and their remains ended up in Cologne Cathedral. This version states their remains were taken to Constantinople after being removed from the Holy Lands by Saint Helena. After that they were supposedly moved to Milan only to be forcibly taken from there to Cologne by Emperor Frederick I in the 12th century. In Spain it is the Kings who deliver presents to children if they have first written letters saying how good they have been, and they arrive on camels which are then left the food and drink.

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December 25… in 1066 WILLIAM the Conqueror was crowned after his defeat of Alfred at the Battle of Hastings. He reigned for 21 years becoming best-known perhaps for the great Bayeux Tapestry and his compilation of the Domesday Book which listed all the landholders in England.

Christmas… in 1621 GOVERNOR William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony forbids game playing at Christmas. Originally from Yorkshire, he was on the Mayflower, serving as governor for around 30 years. As part of their break with the Church of England and a belief that it was associated with paganism, Bradford also banned the playing of games and ‘revelling in the streets.’

Christmas… in 1818 FIRST performed in the present-day Austrian village of Oberndorf, the perennial Christmas favourite, Silent Night was premiered on Christmas Eve. It has been recorded by artists such as Bing Crosby, pop singers including Sinead O’Connor and Christina Aguilera as well as being translated into 44 different languages.

The Christmas Truce MEN laid down their arms for the sake of honour IT is one of the only stories to come out of the horrors of the First World War to help restore some faith in humanity. The Christmas Truce of 1914 is the tale of how British and German troops fighting in the trenches stopped for a miraculous moment and exchanged gifts with one another, took photographs and even played football. But like all good stories there is more to the Christmas Truce than meets the eye. So what really happened that fateful day and how unusual was it? To answer that question it’s important to realise the Christmas of 1914 was still in the very early days of a ferocious war which would last four years. Trench warfare and life on the frontline was relatively new and exhausted troops on either end of no man’s land often sought truces so both sides could bury their dead and salvage a moment of peace. Exchanges of cigarettes, pencils and paper were common and considered part of the etiquette of war, a notion that unfortunately had a short shelf life. So when Christmas Eve 1914 rolled around the idea that soldiers might stop fighting and share in some kind of

TRENCH WARFARE: Where faith was put to the test. Christmas spirit wasn’t too far-fetched. No official football match took place but carols were sung, gifts exchanged, trenches repaired and an occasional kick about. But across The Western Front the war went on as always with mortalities to rival any other day. Word of the impromptu truces along the front line got back to the High Commands who were disturbed by the show of humanity which they felt might undermine moral,

dedication and fighting spirit. The Christmas Truce wasn’t the first but one of the last times men laid down their arms for the sake of honour, and a kindred spirit, symbolised by Christmas. But that shouldn’t take away from the miraculous nature of the moment. It showed Christmas as everything it should be, people putting aside their differences, displaying selfless behaviour, placing a higher power above that of men, their laws and their wars.

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Perfect food from Carniceria Holandesa INCREDIBLE meats are sourced from Aberdeen to Nebraska EIGHT years ago, Willem, the Guillermo of the Carniceria Holandesa moved to La Heredia, a delightful urbanisation at Km43 on the Ronda Road and opened his butcher’s shop but it simply isn’t like any other butchers shop you could expect to see. It is quite amazing what he has managed to bring to the absolutely spotless building which Willem and his smartly uniformed staff occupy. As you park in a spacious free car park in the picturesque square, you see a shop front that seems to go on forever with tables outside in case you fancy a drink or something to eat like a steak or ribs. Enter and if you turn right you are in wine heaven. There’s a bar with stools and literally hundreds of bottles of Spanish and European wines. There are some real top class reds, Champagne, whites and some perfect blush rosés from Provence and most Saturdays there is a wine tasting event which includes a bite or two of the incredible meat. All of the wines

WINE HEAVEN: Offering a wide range of wines and regular tasting events. can be purchased to take home and some can be drunk by the glass. Go across the hall to the butchers shop and you won’t be disappointed. Willem has his own cows and also obtains Aberdeen and Black Angus beef from Los Barrios and Jerez de la Frontera but amazingly also imports

Nebraska Beef from the USA. It’s not all beef however as he has a fine range of other meats, as well as a charcuterie where you can find hams, bacon and a range of sausages that he smokes himself in the mountains but that is only the beginning as there is artisan bread, a selection of

cheese, pate, fruit and vegetables and even smoked mackerel and salmon. As you look round the room you see sauces of all shapes, sizes and tastes and a special freezer cabinet where certain ready-made meals and soups that he has made himself can be

purchased. This also must be the only butcher shop that has a beer pump behind the counter just in case you are feeling thirsty! Don’t worry about this being a Dutch Butcher as he and his staff between them can converse in Dutch, English, French, German and Spanish and with opening hours of 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Saturday and no closing on most public holidays there is plenty of time to shop with them. Just one warning, they take some holiday in the first two weeks of December and the first full week of May so you will have to stock up with a little more at those times. Tel: 952 927 478 www.carniceriaholandesa.com


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Christmas Day…1950 THE Coronation Stone, taken from Scotland in the 13th century, is stolen from Westminster Abbey by four Scottish students. It broke in two but was returned four months later. It was used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Christmas Day…1952 QUEEN ELIZABETH II makes her first Christmas speech. It is broadcast from Auckland in New Zealand during a six-month royal tour of the Commonwealth. The Queen spoke of a “loving bond” between herself and her people and finished by sympathising with the victims of a bridge collapse at Tangiwai in the central north island in which 151 people died.

Christmas Day…1954 SCOTTISH singer and musician Annie Lennox is born in Aberdeenshire and goes on to be named as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Along with Dave Stewart she forms the Eurythmics in 1980 and goes on to achieve global success with the release of their second album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This). They went on to sell an estimated 75 million records worldwide.

Christmas Day events EVENTS that have taken place throughout the years THE news, they say, never sleeps. Even on Christmas Day the newscasters can find themselves overwhelmed. So what events have happened to burst their ways onto our television screens when most of us struggle to keep our eyes open after a very big meal? In the era of rolling television news, Christmas Day 1979 will go down in history as the start of the then Soviet Union’s very own Vietnam. While ‘most’ of the world was blearyeyed, Leonid Brezhnev ordered the tanks in to take the Afghan capital, Kabul. The war, which lasted until February 1989, cost the lives of thousands of Soviet conscripts. If that’s the now depressingly familiar side of world events, what about the more enjoyable news that breaks on Christmas Day? In 1938, a year before the world was convulsed by World War Two, a relatively unknown actress, Vivien Leigh, was unveiled as the woman to play Scarlett O’Hara in ‘Gone With The Wind.’

Photo Credit Flickr e3s8

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Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind. Almost a year later the film was released and the rest, as they say, is history. It won a total of 10 Oscars with Hattie McDaniel taking the award for Best Supporting Actress, becoming in the process the first African-American to win an Academy Award. At the time of writing, only two of the original cast are still alive: Olivia de Havilland who played Melanie Wilkes and Mickey Kuhn, who

played her son, Beau. Vivien Leigh was among 31 women who were tested for the role of Scarlett. She was almost unknown in the US but went on to take the Oscar for her portrayal of Scarlett. In this Christmas special you’ll find news in briefs depicting events that have happened on the 25th of the year, down through the ages. We hope you enjoy them.


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Christmas craziness across Europe WHETHER throwing a pudding at the ceiling or a shoe towards a door, have a Happy Christmas! IS there anything more Christmassy than the sight of snow falling and the sound of a fire crackling? How about firing cannons, lighting bonfires, or even throwing a shoe over your shoulder? To help freshen up your festive celebrations, we’ve researched Christmas traditions across Europe to show the strangest things people get up to across the continent. Whether it’s hiding broomsticks or Christmas pickles, it just goes to show that alternative Christmas traditions can make the festive season more fun. In Austria, while St Nicholas is busy piling gifts into the shoes of children who’ve been good, the Krampus - a half-goat-half-demon with horns and fangs - visits naughty children and beats them with branches. During the 13 days before Christmas in Iceland, children leave their shoes on the windowsill for troll-like creatures called the Yule Lads to fill with toys and sweets if they’ve been good. Naughty children get a potato. The story goes, a poor widow and her children couldn’t afford to decorate their tree - so spiders did it for them! To this day, Ukrainians honour the Legend of the Christmas Spider and add fake spiders and webs to their trees.

In the Czech Republic, single women stand in front of their homes and throw a shoe over their shoulder before Christmas - if the toe points towards the door, it means they’ll be married within a year. Norwegians hide their brooms to stop witches and evil spirits from stealing them and haunting the skies on Christmas Eve. In the Bavarian highlands, villagers put on their lederhosen and fire hand-held mortars into the air to welcome in Christmas. Provence, a region in south-eastern F ran ce , ta ke s the nativity scene extraseriously. Alongside th e u s u al s ta rring members, they incorporate figures th a t de pic t everyone from the village

fishwife to the chestnut seller. Traditionally, people in Montenegro bring their yule logs to the local church and gather outside to hold a community bonfire. Before Slovakians sit down to their Christmas meal, the man of the house

THE KRAMPUS: Scourge of naughty Austrian children.

throws loksa (a kind of pudding) at the ceiling - if it sticks, it’s a sign that it’ll be a good year. At Portuguese tables, extra places are set to honour departed loved ones during the Christmas feast. In Latvia, children open their presents beside the tree. But before they tear the paper off, they might have to recite a poem, sing a song or perform a dance. Between Christmas Day and January 6, Kallikantzaroi (evil goblins) rise from underground to do mischievous things like make milk go sour. Greeks keep a fire burning to discourage them. Finnish families visit graveyards and light candles at the headstones of departed relatives to create a beautiful, sentimental display. Over in Greenland, Christmas is traditionally the day the men do the cooking, while the women sit back and relax. The menu? A delicacy called Kiviak, which comprises seal skin stuffed with dead birds and fermented for seven months. Whether you’ve been inspired to throw Christmas pudding at the ceiling or a shoe towards a door, we hope you have a Happy Christmas! Adapted with permission from an article published by inghams.co.uk.


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Born on Christmas Day

Christmas Island know where it is? EARLIEST settlers were brought in as labourers

1642 Sir Isaac Newton THE English physicist and mathematician is rightly regarded as one of the most influential scientists in history. He formulated the laws of motion and gravity and is known for his confrontation with an apple. He is less known for his belief in alchemy and his belief that a base metal could be turned into gold. 1899 Humphrey Bogart During a career that spanned nearly 30 years, Bogart appeared in 75 films and won one Oscar for his performance in The African Queen. He was married three times before meeting the

woman who would become associated with him in popular culture, Lauren Bacall. Probably best known for his movie Casablanca, Bogart died of cancer aged just 57. 1907 Cab Calloway American jazz singer and bandleader Cabell ‘Cab’ Calloway is nowadays perhaps best known for his song ‘Minnie the Moocher.’ His big band provided work for such stellar talents as Dizzy Gillespie and his scat singing eventually assumed iconic status. He appeared on Sesame Street and in the movie The Blues Brothers and died at the age of 86 in 1994.

around 300 miles south of Indonesia and 1,600 miles from Perth in Western Australia. As so often happens, the island was found to have valuable reserves of a much-needed resource, in this case, a nearly pure phosphate, which led to its prompt annexation by the British Crown. It was later administered from Singapore and eventually handed over to Australia in 1958. Its inhabitants speak Chinese,

Malay and English, since many of its earliest settlers were brought in as labourers for the phosphate mining. The island is perhaps most famous for its annual red crab migration to the sea in December or January when it is thought about 40 million animals are involved. As they have no known predators their numbers are not drastically reduced. Unfortunately for humans, the crabs are not edible. Photo by Vanchai Shutterstock

HUMPHREY BOGART: Best known for his movie Casablanca.

MOST people have heard of Christmas Island, but do you actually know where it is? Its name derives from its discoverer, Capt William Mynors, of the East India Ship Company, who named it in 1643 but couldn’t get on land and was forced to sail past. The island wasn’t visited again for 45 years when two crewmen from the English ship The Cygnet stepped ashore after they were blown off course. Officially known as the Territory of Christmas Island, it now belongs to Australia and its capital is Flying Fish Cove. The island is formed by the summit of an underwater mountain and lies in the Indian Ocean

RED CRABS: Not edible.


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Imagine all the people MANY other faiths have found a special place in their hearts for the holiday By Matthew Elliott RELIGION might be the source of both trouble and solace when civilisations collide but it’s surprising how much they share in common. Even Christmas is by definition a Christian celebration, many other of the world’s other great faiths have found a special place for the holiday in their hearts. In Christian countries including the UK and US, many people of other faiths, and millions of atheists, celebrate regardless of their beliefs, but some religions actively use the holiday to embrace their spirituality. In Judaism Hanukah is celebrated at roughly the same time as Christmas, in fact this year it takes place from December 24 until January 1. Candles are lit, hymns sung, prayers offered, meals enjoyed and gifts exchanged. In Islam Christmas is not celebrated as the idea of worshipping

OTHER FAITHS: Celebrate regardless of their beliefs.

dates and symbols are forbidden. But Jesus is considered a holy prophet and honoured throughout the year. For Buddhists it would be absurd to celebrate Christmas liter-

ally, but millions throughout the world with Christian friends and relatives use the period as a time for increased reflection, generosity of spirit, decoration, peace and love.

When it comes down to it, there’s very little separating the faiths of the world in how they perceive the Christmas holiday. If only the same attitude could be shared throughout the year.

Childrens’ books at Christmas MUCH of the magic of Christmas resides in the imagination of a child, and quickly evaporates unless there are some delighted children bringing their relentless enthusiasm to the big day. So what better way to crank up your own wiltering enthusiasm, or select the perfect gift for someone this Christmas, than by reminiscing over an old Christmas classic? Christmas has spawned some of the simplest, more remarkable tales ever to be printed. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson is one of those beautifully harrowing stories that just gets better as you get older. In that sense it’s very similar to The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. A simple picture book which became a short cartoon nominated for an Oscar for its sheer simplicity and beauty. Or stretching back another generation you have Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales, a nostalgic tale originally written for the radio and later made into a powerful play. Children these days are spoilt for choices and finding something perfect for them can be a real ordeal when you’re competing against the internet, peer pressure, and an entire industry devoted to hooking them on different products. Stay simple this Christmas, these classic books will never be out of place in any home.


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Christmas Day…1962 ‘TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD’ is released, based on Harper Lee’s famous novel. Winning three Academy Awards, including best actor, Gregory Peck starred as Atticus Finch, a lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of rape. Peck’s last screen role was as Father Mapple in Moby Dick, the 1956 version of which saw him play the title role of Captain Ahab.

Christmas Day…1973 PAUL NEWMAN and Robert Redford reprise their roles as loveable rogues in The Sting, following their success in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The film was nominated for 10 Oscars, and won seven, including Best Picture and Best Director for George Roy Hill.

Christmas Day…1989 ROMANIAN dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife are tried and found guilty on charges of genocide after an hour-long show trial. They were executed five minutes after the verdict was announced in a spot that had already been prepared. A TV crew organised to film the execution arrived too late.

Origin of the tree? FIRST decorations were edible and included gingerbread AS so often when it comes to what’s included in our view of a ‘traditional’ Christmas, the origin can become a bit hazy but the tie-in with Germany is always unmistakable. There is no doubt that the evergreen fir tree played a role in early festivals with the Romans using them for decoration during Saturnalia which celebrated the god Saturn. Thereafter it gets distinctly murky. One legend has it that the scourge of the Roman Catholic faith, Martin Luther brought the first fir tree indoors. The man who was excommunicated for challenging the authority of the Pope, is said to have been wandering through a forest late one night. Looking up he saw the light of the stars shining through the trees and decided to decorate a fir tree with candles. The first-ever decorations on a tree were edible and thought to have consisted of gingerbread, nuts and apples. As early as 1605 Christmas in Strasbourg was celebrated with fir trees indoors bearing ‘roses cut out of manycoloured paper, apples, wafers, gold foil and sweets.’

CHRISTMAS TREE: UK’s largest is erected in London every year. The popularity of the traditional Christmas tree was probably first cemented in the British mindset when Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert had a tree erected at Windsor Castle in 1841. The first electric Christmas lights are thought to have been invented in 1895 by the American Ralph Morris after numerous fatal fires involving candles, including one at a Chicago hospital.

Nowadays the practice can get a little out of hand, with some people decorating the outside of the entire house! But it can often be in a good cause, with many of its enthusiasts asking for a contribution for charity. The UK’s largest Christmas tree is that donated by the people of Norway in memory of the help given to that country during World War Two. It is erected every year in London’s Trafalgar Square.


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Your dreams on canvas

Have a veggie festive feast

CONSIDER these masterpieces By Mathew Elliot CENTURIES ago before the advent of electricity, and even before Coca Cola invented Santa Claus, Christmas was largely celebrated through art and prayer. People continue to pray today of course, but strangely enough all the great masterpieces of Christmas art are hundreds of years old. Perhaps it’s because there could only ever be one Caravaggio, or perhaps it’s because humanity has been distracted by the glitter and glamour of a modern Christmas. If you ever want to gaze upon the artistic creations of old, when painters used only their imagination (with a gentle nudging from the allpowerful church) to portray their interpretation of the miracle of Christmas then consider these masterpieces. In 1609 Caravaggio finished his

The Adoration of the Shepherds, an oil painting which focused on the poverty of Mary and Joseph as Jesus was born in a humble barn. It was controversial not for his radical departure from classic Renaissance art, but precisely because it emphasised that the holy family were ordinary peasants. One work that will take your breath away is The Mystic Nativity by Sandro Botticelli, completed more than half a century ago in 1500. You can spend hours pondering over the combination of angels and devils, hope and apocalypse, with your interpretation changing by the second. It remained hidden for almost 300 years until discovered by a young Englishman in the 18th century and now resides in London’s National Gallery.

THE MYSTIC NATIVITY: Takes your breath away.

WHETHER you’re a hardcore vegan, looking to lose a few pounds over the holidays, or just want to exact some revenge upon your in-laws, there are plenty of delicious options for a vegetarian Christmas dinner. For starters why not try a walnut, chestnut and mushroom soup? It’s a healthy, filling, warm and nourishing way to fight off the cold and whet your appetite for the feast ahead. There are 101 options for a wholesome mains but it wouldn’t be Christmas without a roast and cranberry sauce. Your veggie-friendly base for a roast will be nuts, ideally either pistachios or walnuts, with a tasty cranberry sauce on top it’ll be so delicious it could almost pass as a dessert. Speaking of dessert, that’s the easiest part when concocting a vegetarian extravaganza. Take your pick from a spiced butternut strudel, to a decadent cheesecake. Or keep it classic with a mouthwatering Christmas pudding with plenty of brandy to placate those angry in-laws. Bonus dishes include roasted potatoes, Christmas curry and, of course, Arctic Roll.


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Ten Christmas facts SOME surprising information that you might not know • Santa’s sleigh would have to travel at an average speed of 2,340,000 miles per hour in order to deliver presents to every home in the world on Christmas Eve, at a rate of 822 every second. • The first Christmas card was made by artist John Callcott Horsley after being commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in 1843. • The tradition of placing robins on Christmas cards began around 150 years ago as a means of poking fun at postmen, who wore red uniforms at the time. • Almost 60 million Christmas trees are grown for the European market each year, with the UK alone requiring eight million, where they outsell artificial trees by three to one. • The ‘Xmas’ spelling is not anti-religion, since in Greek the letter X is used as an abbreviation for Jesus Christ. • Christmas pudding was initially cooked as a type of soup with raisins and wine. • Eating at Kentucky Fried Chicken has become a Christmas tradition in Japan, and is now so popular that people are forced to book two months in

EATING AT KFC: Has become a tradition in Japan.

advance. • The amount of wrapping paper used in the UK each Christmas would be sufficient to parcel up the island of Guernsey. • Prior to turkey, an English Christmas dinner comprised a pig’s head served

with mustard. • The red poinsettia plant is native to Mexico and was historically grown by the Aztecs, who believed that the plant’s bright colour symbolised purity, and they also used it as a medicine to combat fever.

Boxing Day… who knows the reason why? AS a festival Boxing Day is actually only celebrated in a very few countries, the UK and Commonwealth members principally. The term is thought to have come from the tradition of giving traders and merchants a Christmas ‘box’ by way of thanks for good service throughout the year. Another aspect of the ‘box’ tradition could be the practice of breaking open the containers in which Anglican churchgoers had put money. Although it is a secular holiday, there is also a religious element in that it is the feast of St Stephen, the first Christian martyr. In another possible source of the term, Good King Wenceslas in the carol, saw a poor man picking up wood in a snowstorm and following him home, presented him with food and wine. No-one knows which of these is the right source of the term Boxing Day, but it is celebrated with particular fervour when it comes to shopping. Some of the country’s biggest retailers attract hordes of shoppers by offering loss-leading deals. And the pictures, usually of Harrods’ doors being burst open, can make the top slot in the evening’s news if there’s little else about. In Britain, the day is associated with sport and a full fixture list for the Premier League. Christmas marks the halfway stage of the season although there is always pressure, resisted so far, for the games to be dropped and players to have a winter break. For those of us who don’t want to brave the cold and watch sport, and those of us who don’t want to shop and brave the cold, it’s another day of eating and drinking. Or it can be the day to head home when getting the family together from all corners of the country might just be too much of a good thing…..


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Hotel Carmen: take a bit of La Cala with you WHERE everyone feels at home HOTEL CARMEN’S story started midway through the last century, by the hand of Miguel Arroyo and Josefa Calzado, a young couple with an entrepreneurial zeal and an insatiable desire to work. With huge effort and determination they managed to gather some savings and invested in premises in La Cala de Mijas to start a business. In the beginning it was merely a restaurant, to which they hoped one day to add a grocery store, a clothing store and even a hotel. Soon after investing in the property the couple had children, who helped them greatly in growing the business to what it is today. Over the years there have been countless travellers, guests and friends that have stayed with them. After decades of working the restaurant, the children grabbed the reins of the business with the same spirit as their parents.

They demolished the old inn, deteriorated by the inevitable passage of time, and they built a new, modern hotel in the same plot where everything began. The brand new Hotel Carmen is located in La Cala de Mijas, Malaga, at the heart of the Costa del Sol. This coastal enclave, originally a fishing village, has undergone great growth in the last few decades thanks to tourism. The town has grown over the years, making everyone who arrives feel at home and whoever goes away does it with the idea of returning soon and taking a bit of La Cala with them. The hotel has 12 double rooms, with all amenities. All rooms have parquet flooring, air conditioning, a fridge, a 32� HD LED TV, free wi-fi connection, fully equipped bathrooms (with bathtub or shower) and spacious windows with a balcony. The ho-

tel has rooms with a double bed and one specially adapted for people with disabilities. They also have rooms with sea views, two of them with a large furnished terrace as well as a cafeteria on the ground floor with a spacious terrace for relaxing. For more information visit their website at www.hotel-carmen.es, send them an email to reservas@hotel-carmen.es or phone them on 952 494 014 where you will be attended 24 hours a day.

Promo code exclusively for EWN readers: HC16S2PE


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A future ‘full of hope’ for Vision Aid PROVIDING appropriate glasses is important A VERY Happy Christmas from everyone at Optica Machin who would like to thank its clients for their support this year. It has been a busy year for Optica Machin as this autumn the consulting room was upgraded and shortly afterwards Jane made another trip to Africa with the Vision Aid Overseas charity. This was a trip to Sierra Leone which was probably the most challenging yet and the group of six spent two weeks working out of the hospitals and going to schools and village health clinics in the Eastern region of the country. While there, they were also teaching local interns practical skills as well as providing eye care for the local community who would otherwise be unable to access spectacles. As the major cause of blindness in the world is a lack of spectacles, providing appropriate glasses is very important. Vision Aid Overseas is dedicated to providing affordable spectacles to those who need them and also to provide training to local students so that the eye care in these countries becomes sustainable.  In Sierra Leone, Vision Aid has collaborated to set up vision centres in three towns so far. Kenema and Koidu have been established for a few years and Makeni was started in September 2016. Next year, in March, the plan is to estab-

lish a fourth in Kailahun. The team spent a week in Kenema and a week in Koidu. During that time they visited a number of schools where both children and their teachers were screened. They also visited local health clinics on outreach and set up eye clinics with ophthalmic nurses and a local cataract surgeon. Prescriptions for spectacles or a referral if necessary for appropriate medical care could then be given. In some cases, magnifiers could offer some help where the vision was very poor. The team returned from Sierra tired but full of hope for the Vision Aid project. As we enter the Christmas season, the team at Optica Machin would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2017.

in Sierra Leone. up in three towns so far set en be ve Ha S: RE VISION CENT

For anyone interested please see the Vision Aid website. Our eyesight is precious. We need to look after it! www.opticamachin.com • www.visionaidoverseas.org/sierra-leone


Euro Weekly News - Costa del Sol Christmas Special