Friday, 27 November 2015

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Continental flavour for festive shoppers in Carlisle

Carlisle city centre took on a cosmopolitan feel this week as the city’s annual continental Christmas market got into full swing – to the obvious delight of shoppers.

Carlisle market photo
Festive decorations for sale at the continental market

There were products from across the UK and Europe, and among those who travelled from far away to take part were Scott Linden, from Dutch Flowers On Tour.

Having travelled from Amsterdam with an impressive stock of around 6,700 plants, the firm had all manner of plant specimens on display.

“There’s a really good atmosphere here,” said Mr Linden, who then sang along with the nearby busker who was playing catchy country tunes.

A short distance away, making its first visit to Carlisle, was the stall of the French cheese firm Le Specialiste Du Fromage.

“We have 45 different cheeses, including six sheep cheeses and nine from goats,” said the stall’s owner Andre Launay, from Normandy.

“It’s our first time here and it seems like a really nice place,” he added.

Also displaying produce for the first time in Carlisle was Jack Straws, who has been a traditional and expert basket weaver since 1976.

“Unfortunately, it’s a dying craft,” said Mr Straws, 68, whose Countrystore business is based in the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire.

“My first impression here today is that there has been a lot of interest.”

Mr Straws said he once had to weave a basket (for the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre) that was big enough to contain the body of the actor who played Falstaff.

The overall impression of the Carlisle market, he said, was positive and festive.

The mood was neatly summed up by 73-year-old Irene Eve, from Kirkpatrick Fleming, who took it all in as she took a breather on a bench. She said: “It brings Carlisle to life – and it’s all very festive and very cheerful.”

Organisers of the market say it offers “an extremely diverse and interesting experience” and traders are happy for people to sample some of the foods before they buy.

Made in Cumbria is expected to join the market for the weekend. Each day will feature different Made in Cumbria traders.

Providing a festive backdrop for the market are a sparkling 10-metre tree and a traditional Nativity scene.

The Christmas market is open every day from 10am to 5pm this week.


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