Yes, we know its early but a

3 November 2000

Yes, we know its early but a

few ideas for gifts

might be timely…

Its just seven weeks to

Christmas and while we all

groan at the way preparations

start earlier each year, if you

want to order presents by post

or like to seek out

unusual gifts, now is the

time to get started.

Farmlife offers a few ideas

TRAVEL to any town shopping precinct and what will you find? The same retailers, the same brands and the same atmosphere of rush and push as busy people try to find that elusive "something different" for family and friends.

But Christmas shopping doesnt have to be like this. You can shop by mail order, e-mail or telephone – or you can find somewhere to shop that affords easy parking, a calm atmosphere and something different to buy. Impossible? Not according Barbara Cameron, editor of the Alternative Shopping Guide.

She has discovered retail outlets in farm barns, stately homes, listed buildings, small villages and amid wonderful scenery. Whats more she collated them into a series of six guides covering most of England.

Typical of her finds is Cedar Farm Galleries – a collection of outlets in restored farm buildings at Mawdesley, Lancs -where there is an ever changing collection of British crafts from ceramics and glass to wood, textiles and jewellery. You can buy artists materials, prints, designer and ethnic clothes and gifts. You can buy wonderful foods to take home and even enjoy a meal on site at the cafe. There are also farm animals to see and a play area to amuse the children.

This is just one entry of the dozens in the Alternative Shopping Guide covering Lancs and the Lake District, which like the other guides in the series costs just £3.50 plus 50p p&p from The Stable Publishing Co. Tel 01476-870770 to find the right guide for your area.

Just the thing for your favourite little terror…this sweatshirt (£15) from the Start Smart range is one of several for babies to eight-year-olds bearing witty ditties. We like Small But Dangerous best, but

I didnt do it is a close contender


If you know someone who just cant get up in the morning then the WakeYoo (£14.99) could be the alternative alarm clock to do the trick. Tempt sleepyheads from their beds with an alarm that jogs the conscience or tugs the heartstrings by recording an appropriate sound on the WakeYoo. Try the baleful bleat of a new-born lamb or a moo from the milking parlour; the school bell, a hunting horn, a military march, a tinkling mountain stream – any sound that might encourage them to forsake the duvet. And if the effect begins to wear off – just record a different morning call. The WakeYoo is available from stores such as Comet, Dixons, WH Smith, Our Price, and Toys R Us.

Now, who are you? This worldy-wise cat and a young pup is one of six delightful pictures by photographer and shepherd Wayne Hutchinson on his Sheep Dogs at Work calendar for 2001. Printed with two months and a picture to each page, it has space for important appointments to be written against each date. For your copy send a cheque for £8.50 plus £1.95 p&p to farmers weekly Reader Offers,

PO Box 261, Slough,

Berks SL2 3RU.

Ear,ear…combat chilly winter weather with these

Swedish-designed warmers (from £6.50) which snap

onto your ears. "A faithful ally against the coldest and windiest of conditions, preventing painfully cold ears and

wind-induced earache," promise Earbag UK. They come in a diverse

range of colours and fabrics



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