Sunday December 14th 2008, 9:40 pm

Old fashioned Victory V throat sweets

I’ve recently had a yearning for Victory Vs, which is quite handy as my cold has now morphed into a throaty, coughy thing. My Grandmother used to eat Victory Vs and would, when I visited her as a young child, break them in half in the palm of her hand and give me a half. She’d send me out to the Co-op to get them for her, where they were weighed out loose and I’d run back to her house with them in a little paper bag. They weren’t exactly childrens sweets, but things were grim up north.
Apparently these lozenges, which still have a very charming look about them, were originally made in Nelson in Lancashire (but no longer are) since the mid 1800’s and as well as liquorice, included ether and chloroform in the ingredients (but no longer do).
When searching out Victory Vs I also came across Grays Herbal Tablets – ‘For Cold Nights and Mornings’ and was drawn to the quaint design of the packaging.

Grays Herbal Tablets

Wednesday December 10th 2008, 5:18 pm

the tenbury wells mistletoe auction december 2008

Each year the Tenbury Wells Mistletoe auction is held over 3 days and I usually manage to remember after the event (regular readers will be familiar with this scenario). This year I put the date in my diary then two days before came down with the lurgey and spent a day in bed trying to recover enough to drive up to Tenbury. I’m so glad I made myself make the 70 mile trip, it would have been so easy not too.
The area where I live, the Forest of Dean, is one of the best places in the country for native British mistletoe, along with Herefordshire and Worcestershire, where a proliferation of orchards gives this parasitic plant plenty of opportunity to flourish. Changes in how orchards are tended may mean that, long term, mistletoe could be in danger, but for now at least, this is a bumper year and the berries are in abundance.

bundles of mistletoe at tenbury wells mistletoe auction 2008

The auction is quite a sight to behold with row upon row of bundled up mistletoe divided by channels of muddy ground for strolling down to peruse the quality of the lots. There is other foliage for sale as well with different varieties of holly covered with red berries and some, simply green and glossy, without berries. The sellers bundle up their wares in different ways, using bits of old plastic feed bags, woven groundsheets and various colours of twine and each bundle is then labelled with the sellers name and a lot number.

lots of mistletoe the tenbury mistletoe auction december 2008

It is a long cold day as the auctioneer and the buyers make their way along the lines and the successful bidders heave their winnings away, filling the backs of trailers, vans and cars for distribution throughout the country. If you buy some mistletoe from a florist over the next few weeks it may have come from this auction.

carrying bundles of holly bought at auction december 2008