Daily Archives: November 22, 2010

Winter Wonderland opens at Hyde Park

It is mid-November and the festive season of Christmas has begun in Hyde Park in London.

Twenty acres of Hyde Park has been transformed into a fair and Christmas market called the Winter Wonderland. Entry is free but you have to pay for the games, rides, observation wheel, circus, ice-skating and food.

Winter Wonderland is open from November 19, 2010 to January 4, 2011 from 10 am to 10 pm.

Things to do

Winter Wonderland is an ideal outing for the whole family. The event has something to offer to all age groups. “This place is really good. The lights, decoration and Christmas carols being played has has gotten me into the Christmas spirit more than a month before Christmas,” says Jackie Smith, a visitor.

Families can enjoy shows in a heated big top or a cosy meal in restaurants. Small children can enjoy the carousel or the helter-skelter. Older children can enjoy the rollercoaster called the Euro Coaster, outdoor ice-skating, the giant observation wheel and other rides such as the Black Hole and Power Tower. Young children can visit Santa’s free grotto to meet Santa Claus and receive a gift.

One popular activity for people of all ages is ice-skating called the Lidl Magical Rink. “I want to go ice-skating but I have never done it before and I am just too scared,” says Sam Blake. The ice-skating rink is the largest open-air rink spread over 15,000 square feet created from 405,000 pints of frozen water. There are several ice guides to help those who have never used skates before.

For those who want a glimpse of London, the giant observation wheel is an excellent alternative to London Eye.

Food and Markets

Angel’s Christmas Market is at the entrance of Hyde Park. There are over a hundred stalls featuring arts and crafts, jewellery, wooden toys, decorations and more from around the world.

The German Christmas Market has a range of wooden huts offering continental food and sweets like roasted nuts, gingerbread hearts, crepes and confectionary.

The Bavarian Village is an impressive wooden structure that offers Bavarian Hog Roast, seasoned steaks and hearty German Bratwurst sausages. Accompanied by the German food are Bavarian chilled beer and warming ‘Glühwein‘ (German Mulled Wine).

The English style cafés and bars serve real ales, pies, fish and chips, hot cider and other gourmet.

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How is Britain going to suffer from the Irish bailout?

The UK is not obliged to contribute, but decided to offer support amounting to the equivalent of £300 per household because of the close trading relationship with Dublin.

Speaking to The Telegraph, former Conservative Cabinet minister John Redwood said that European Central Bank should be responsible for ensuring Ireland remains solvent and claimed the burden should not fall on Britain’s shoulders because we are not part of the Euro single currency.

Mr Redwood, who is co-chairman of the Conservative Policy Review Group on economic competitiveness, told Channel 4 News: “I don’t think this is Britain’s problem; I think it’s a Euro area problem. Ireland is part of the Euro because it wanted to be. It is the duty of the European Central Bank to make sure that their banks are solvent and liquid.”

Impact of the bailout on Britain

Sam Bowman, head of research at Adam Smith Institute, the free market think tank said that the Government’s decision to offer around £7 billion in aid, including direct loans, to Dublin, was a “bad deal” for Britain.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom confirmed that Britain would provide an international rescue package of around £7bn to support Ireland.

“What we have committed to do is to obviously be partners as shareholders in the IMF in an international rescue of the Irish economy,” Osborne told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “But we have also made a commitment to consider a bilateral loan that reflects the fact we are not part of the euro but Ireland is our very closest economic neighbour.”

UK anger

Twitter users from the UK have condemned the governments decision to provide a financial bailout to Ireland. AnnJ says “Is the UK so rich that it can afford to bailout Ireland?” JohnnyLee5 says, “We cannot take this lying down. The government should not be so generous.”

Ireland’s request for a financial bailout

After weeks of speculation into the financial situation in Ireland, the country has come out in the open and has asked for help of £16bn.

Speaking to Channel 4, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said, “The European authorities have agreed to our request. A formal process of negotiation will lead to the provision of assistance on the basis of programme to be negotiated by the government with the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund in liaison with the European Central Bank.”

For over a week, the Irish administration insisted that they did not need financial help. This has left the public angry as they feel thy have been lied to.

People of Ireland have vented out their anger on Twitter. “When have we ever been told the truth about our economy?” asks Bond123 on Twitter. Alpha says, “First they take Northern Ireland and then the entire Ireland will go into UK pocket.”

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