Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Saturday list #155 - Ten tips for a great Xmas in the London Borough of Barnet!

Image result for Xmas Mill Hill broadway
A seasonal view of Mill Hill Broadway
The Christmas Season is nearly upon us. Yesterday Mrs T (my long suffering better half) asked me whether we should have "people around for a Christmas drink this year". I'm a sociable sort of chap, so I said yes, of course. Much as I'd love to ask all of the thousands of readers around to join us, sadly, Tichborne mansions probably wouldn't fit you all in! So I thought, maybe I could at least give you a few pointers as to how to have a great Christmas. Now I know that not all of my readers celebrate it, but I'm pretty sure for all of everyone there will be something interesting here for you.

This list is purely based on my not always very objective view of living in Barnet. I rather hope that everyone has a great festive season and if you check out these recommendations. I always try and support local traders and great businesses.

1. Getting a Christmas Tree.
I always get mine from Finchley Nurseries, in Burtonhole Lane in Mill Hill. They will deliver the item to your house, so no need to worry if it won't fit on the back of the moped. They also have a great selection of jams, plants etc for a gifts etc. They also sell seasonal organic vegetables. I often use the opportunity for a walk around the Totteridge Valley and Darlands Nature Reserve first. They have a lovely tea room, so if you get a nice sunny day, why not check it out. Here are a couple of tweets from the Better Mill Hill blog, showing what you could enjoy. It really is a highlight of Mill Hill.



2. Getting a Turkey.
We are blessed with some excellent butchers in the Borough. They supply quality products. I always use Cooksleys in Mill Hill. The Mill Hill Broadway blog likes them as well.


I can also recommend Highland Organics at Mill Hill East. If meat isn't your thing, then Elias Fish at Mill Hill East is a fantastic place to get fresh fish and a few brilliant tips on how to cook it. They gave me an excellent tip for barbequing Sea Bass, although it may be a bit nippy for that at Xmas! Whilst at Mill Hill East, A&D Fruiterers are a great place to get the Spuds and Brussels Sprouts!


3. Christmas Panto.
If you want to do something with the kids, the Arts Depot in Finchley has a whole series of shows and events for kids. The one that caught my eye was the Tiger that Came to Tea.

Another great place to check out is the Bull Theatre in Barnet. They have 'Twas the night before Xmas'.


4. Christmas Presents.
If I want to make my good lady happy at Christmas, I generally find that some Jewellery is a guaranteed winner. She is rather fussy, however I find that Rockman in Mill Hill are brilliant. I am not alone in thinking this. I've even heard Vanessa Feltz on BBC London mention this.

Sadly most of the things we get at Xmas we play with for an hour then we put them away and that's it. I personally would always recommend learning to play a musical instrument. Mill Hill Music Complex sell a great range of Guitars, Ukuleles, Violins and Drum kits.

Another thing which tends to go down rather well is a nice bottle of wine, whisky or Brandy. There is no finer shop to buy them than Mill Hill Wines.

5. A party.
There is nothing better to do at Christmas than have a party. We are having one! Whilst we can't fit most of our readers in the house, we hope we can fit you all in the Chandos Arms in Colindale. Even better, it's all free! Come along on Saturday 9th December for the Barnet Eye community awards and Christmas Party. There will be live music and a DJ. 

It will be a blast!

If you can't wait until the 9th, we will also be having a bit of a knees up in Mill Hill on 1st and 2nd of December. There will be live music, the official lights turn on and a Christmas market. Watch this space for more details.



6. Christmas Carols.
For me as a musician, I have a special affection for Christmas carols. They are a huge part of our culture and heritage and for many of us are the way we first got involved in music. There are several fantastic carol services. St Michaels Church in Mill Hill always have a great carol service and have an excellent choir.


Another event which looks to be rather special is the at St James Church in  New Barnet. The choir will be accompanied by the Barnet Band on the  17th December at 6.30.




Finally if you want a more modern take on a Christmas Choir event, checkout the Choirs are US event in aid of North London Samaritans.   With special guests: Gwalia Welsh Male Voice Choir
7.30pm Saturday 9th December 2017.  Ewen Hall, Wood Street, Barnet EN5 4BW,  Tickets: £10 adults (include glass of wine and mince pie).  Free for under 16's, Doors open 7.00pm.   Celebrate Christmas with some fabulous Christmas and pop songs from two great choirs!


8. Checkout some great live music.
Of course not everyone is into carols. There are plenty of other gigs and events coming up in the Borough of Barnet (apart from our party!).

There is far too much to list here, and there is a great website that lists all of the forthcoming gigs, so checkout http://www.barnetmusic.co.uk/

A few I've picked out that I'll be checking out

ThuDec14
gig details
The Portobello Jazz Band (Jazz, 6 piece) at The Greyhound, Hendon
8.30pm - 11pm Info »









SatDec16
gig details
The Looters (60s / 70s covers, 4 piece) at The Three Wishes, Edgware
9pm - midnight Info »








FriDec22
gig details
Odyssey Blues & Soul Band (Soul, Blues, Jazz, 4 piece) at The Elephant Inn, Finchley
First time here. Come down for a Pre-Christmas knees-up.
9.15pm - midnight Info »





9. Christmas Lunch.

Are you looking for a great place for a Christmas lunch? Here's a few suggestions. All of these are places I regularly visit and can thoroughly recommend.

The Chandos Arms, Colindale
https://www.thechandosarms.com/copy-of-main-menu?lang=it

The Bohemia, North Finchley
http://www.thebohemia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Bohemia-Christmas-Pack-2014.pdf


Haven, Totteridge
https://www.haven-bistro.co.uk/pages/christmas-2016

The Rising Sun
Rising Sun Xmas Menu

This year, my business are having our party at Valentino's oon th A41. I always think of them as a Mill Hill venue, but they are of course in Hendon! They are also worth a visit
http://www.valentinositalian.co.uk/christmas-menus

10. And finally......
I spent a couple of hours putting this together for you. Please could you do something for me? It won't take you very long. At this time of year, I hope everyone has a great Xmas or festive season. Sadly some of us won't. Many families are under strain. Colindale Foodbank supports families during this period. Next weekend, the Sacred Heart Church in Mill Hill is having a collection for them. It's really easy. You just get a bag of non perishable food (They are asking for tinned meats, fish, soups, tea, coffee) and leave it in the reception area at the front of the church. The church is open from around 8am till 2pm then from around 5.30-7pm. Donations can also be dropped into the presbetery. The church simply acts as a drop off point, the food is collected on the Monday.  There is also a drop off point at Waitrose in Mill Hill. So if you are shopping there, simply buy a couple of extra items and pop them in the box. I was speaking to Fr Michael at Sacred Heart and he told me he was genuinely touched at how many members of the wider community now dropped off regular donations for the first Sunday of the month regular collection.


We couldn't finish, without a little music, could we. This is surely the finest Christmas song of them all.


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