Lucinda Newell - The Super Sleuthing Property Rental Expert - One Woman and Her Dog

To be seen pottering along the highways and byways of Luton in her Mini Clubman, her trusted Scottie Malcolm at her side, our super sleuthing property rental expert Ms Lucinda Newell is on the case on your behalf! December is upon us and it is impossible not to get caught up in thoughts of Christmas as our shops and TV screens are full of festive fayre and fun. Christmas for many is a time of religious celebration but for nearly everyone it is a time for families and fun. My nieces still get excited and I must admit to enjoying a few extra glasses of sherry with an occasional mince pie! Christmas Day is also one of the ancient quarter days of British and Irish tradition. Quarter days were the four dates in each year on which servants were hired, and rents were due. They fell on four religious festivals roughly three months apart and close to the two solstices and two equinoxes. The significance of quarter days is now limited, although leasehold payments and rents for land and premises in England are still often still due on the old English quarter days. Quarter days have been observed at least since the Middle Ages, and they ensured that debts and unresolved lawsuits were not allowed to linger on. Accounts had to be settled, a reckoning had to be made and publicly recorded on the quarter days. My modest portfolio of rental property is all let under Assured Shorthold Tenancies with monthly rents and so the quarter days are not relevant but I do think it is a nice piece of tradition with an interesting history. Another tradition at this festive time of Christmas is the character of Santa Claus or Father Christmas. Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas and simply "Santa", is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins who, in many western cultures, is said to bring gifts to the homes of the good children during the late evening and overnight hours of Christmas Eve. The modern figure was derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, which, in turn, may have part of its basis in hagiographical tales concerning the historical figure of gift giver Saint Nicholas. Santa Claus is generally depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man - sometimes with spectacles - wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots. This image apparently became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the significant influence of Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" and of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast. This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children's books and films ever since. According to a tradition which can be traced to the 1820s, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, with a large number of magical elves, and nine (originally eight) flying reindeer. Since the 20th century, in an idea popularized by the 1934 song "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", Santa Claus has been believed to make a list of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behaviour ("naughty" or "nice") and to deliver presents, including toys, and sweets to all of the well-behaved children in the world on the night of Christmas Eve. He accomplishes this feat with the aid of the elves who make the toys in the workshop and the reindeer who pull his sleigh. Images of Santa Claus were further popularised through Coca Cola’s Christmas advertising in the 1930s. The popularity of the image spawned urban legends that Santa Claus was invented by The Coca-Cola Company or that Santa wears red and white because they are the colors used to promote the Coca-Cola brand. However, historically, Coca-Cola was not the first soft drink company to utilise the modern image of Santa Claus in its advertising—White Rock Beverages had already used a red and white Santa to sell mineral water in 1915 and then in advertisements for its ginger ale in 1923. Despite being too old to be brought gifts by Santa myself, I still love seeing the wide eyed innocence on young children’s faces at Christmas and I shall undoubtedly enjoy this year as always despite the ever growing commercialism that inevitably accompanies the season. 2012 has been a good year in Great Britain with The Diamond Jubilee and The Olympics and Paralympics. The economy has, of course, been difficult and I hope that those that have struggled will find some comfort at this time. I shall be spending Christmas with my nieces and friends in the village. No doubt a few carols will be sung and some mulled wine drunk at the local hostelry. Malcolm will get a new coat and some doggie treats and we will relax and recharge our batteries for 2013. Whatever your plans are this Christmas, I wish you and your families and friends good cheer and best wishes for the New year also. Come on Malcolm, walkies!
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