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Editor's Comment Christmas 2016

PUBLISHED: 10:13 02 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:32 02 November 2016

The twelves days of Christmas © Michele Paccione

The twelves days of Christmas © Michele Paccione

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Stuck on what to get your loved one for Christmas this year? Editor Mike Lowe has a few suggestions!

We live in difficult economic times. Already some shysters are putting up the prices of their products “because of Brexit” even though we’re still in the EU and nothing has changed. (Yes, I’m looking at you at you, Unilever.) The pound is taking a hammering against other currencies with some airport cash machines doling out less than a Euro to your 100 pennies (although if you use an airport cash machine, you probably deserve everything you get – or don’t get).

That’s why it’s important that we budget carefully when it comes to Christmas presents and know exactly what we’re spending.

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So let’s say that you want to indulge in the ultimate romantic gesture and treat your loved one to everything on the list in the song Twelve Days of Christmas. What’s it going to cost? Well I may be able to help…

A partridge in a pear tree? Easy. Partridges are available fromm good butchers at around a fiver a pop, boned and stuffed. The pear tree will cost you £20 from Dobbies. What your beloved might have to say about raw poultry tied to a branch is another matter.

Best push the boast out with our two turtle doves. These increasingly rare birds can be spotted in the Cotswolds, but only in the summer, so some creative thinking is required. How about a trip for two to the Turtle Dove Lodge in the British Virgin Islands? A snip at £300 a nigh (we’ll stay the week) plus flights at £3,000 apiece? A snip at around £9,000 with a bit of spending money chucked in.

Now then, three French hens. One of the best winter layers is the Faverolles breed, also renowned for having quiet cocks (I’m reading this off Wikipedia). Available to you, Monsieur, at £35 apiece.

The four calling birds mentioned in the song are actually four “colly” birds, aka blackbirds, in Olde English. Now we could go out and trap them in a net (like our French amis above), but that’s not really a British thing to do and anyway we’re skint after jetting off to Caribbean. Best nip down to the nearest kitchen shop then for four blackbird pie funnels at £3 each.

Five gold rings? Well there are enough Olympians in these parts for us to assemble a collection of medals, but I’m not sure they’d be happy to part with them. Plus we’re still skint, so it’s off down to Asda for some Hula Hoops (£1.45 for seven bags).

Six geese-a-laying? Easy peasy, at £30 a pop dead or alive. Alive, obviously, in this case.

Seven swans-a-swimming are slightly more problematic. Did you know they can break a man’s arm with one sweep of their wing? (Have you ever met someone whose arm has been broken by a swan? No, I thought not.) So it’s off to the Swan Inn at Bibury for a table of seven and a meal of baked local trout for £15.50 a head.

Eight maids a-milking? Minimum wage, £7.20 an hour. Nine ladies dancing? Around £200 per lass according to an entertainments agency.

Ten Lords a-leaping might be tricky. They’re very wary of accepting the old brown enveloped these days. So it’s off to Lord’s cricket ground instead, where a box for 10 for the Test Match against the West Indies next year will cost you the thick end of five grand.

Back to the entertainments agency for the 11 pipers (£120 each – although I’d pay £150 for them not to play) and the 12 drummers (£80 each – although you can hire a bloke in a gorilla suit for £200 an hour) and we’re done.

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So what’s the damage, Squire? Well my rudimentary maths comes up with a total of £18,594.55. A pretty price, but surely your partner is worth it? No? A selection box it is then…

For more from Mike, follow him on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor

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