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Mild Christmas sees the first signs of spring

We're seeing the first signs of spring in the mild temperatures Credit: ITV Meridian

Well, temperatures balmier than Barcelona are doing funny things to our garden plants.

Experts say even though Christmas is almost upon us, we're seeing the first signs of Spring.

And with no frost, winter bedding plants are blooming, adding a splash of colour on mild but dull days.

ITV Meridian spoke to Horticulturist, Heather Taylor.

Could it be the warmest Christmas on record?

Well, it may have been a dull and gloomy start, but it has been another unusually mild December day.

This Christmas could break the record for being the warmest ever, with temperatures here rivalling California.

Bad news if you were hoping for a white Christmas, but good news for our heating bills. With more here's Richard Slee.

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Ready for the races at Christmas

The Christmas holidays may mean feet up, telly on and a break from work for many of us.

But at stables across the region, the alarm will still ring before daybreak on Christmas morning.

This is one of the busiest times of the year in horse racing as Chris Maughan now explains.

A busy Christmas for Network Rail

It will be Network Rail's busiest ever festive season Credit: ITV

With just over a week to go until Christmas, Network Rail is preparing for its busiest festive season ever.

Planned major improvements will be taking place across the network from Christmas Eve until 3 January 2016 as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan. This means there will be no Southeastern trains at London Bridge, Charing Cross, Waterloo East and Cannon Street over the period, including three working days.

Passengers will still be able to reach London with services diverted to Victoria and Blackfriars, or terminating at New Cross for London Overground connections. In addition, stations between Deptford and Westcombe Park, including Greenwich, will be closed and trains replaced by buses.

Southern and Thameslink trains from London Bridge will not be affected.

Commuters should leave plenty of time for their journeys.

Winchester Cathedral: one of the busiest places in the region this Christmas

How much preparation have you done for Christmas so far? All ready? Are you leaving it to the last minute?

For churches in the South it's their busiest time of the year - and for months they've been preparing for carol concerts and Christmas services.

No where more so than at Winchester Cathedral - where for the last decade thousands have flocked to the ice rink and Christmas market. Rachel Hepworth reports

The secret behind Christmas kisses

This month, most of us will be giving out Christmas presents… but we're not the only ones. Mother Nature also brings us a few gifts at this time of year - and, this week, we'll be looking at them in a special series all about Christmas crops.

Tonight we start with mistletoe - to find out why it's so popular and why it's associated with Christmas kisses. Lauren Hall reports.

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How much will you spend on Christmas?

New research says that people in the South spend an average of almost £1,400 on Christmas each - including gifts, partying, festive activities and travel - but is it too much?

Fred spoke to Sarah Willingham from Dragon's Den.

The Christmas tree and angel - all made from Lego!

Legoland has unveiled its Lego Christmas tree and angel. Rare transparent bricks were used. Altogether 300,000 Lego bricks were needed to complete the project. Interview with Lauren Moss, PR manager.

Ambulance service posts its Christmas wish list

Winter & the festive season means a busy time for ambulance service Credit: South East Coast Ambulance Service

With the festive season approaching, people are being reminded to only dial 999 when it's absolutely necessary.

South East Coast Ambulance (SECAmb) says it will receive many calls this Christmas, and most won't be an emergency.

It's suggesting people should drink sensibly, look out for vulnerable neighbours and make sure the turkey's cooked properly.

People can help us by following our simple advice and remembering that there are a number of ways in which they can seek help rather than dialling 999 when it’s not an emergency – be that via their GP, local pharmacist or by calling 111."

– Andy Cashman, Head of Resilience & Specialist Operations, SECAmb

SECAmb's Christmas wish list:

  • Stock up on your medicines cabinet as well as the Christmas chocolates - cold remedies, pain killers, indigestion tablets, diarrhoea or constipation remedies and plasters are useful to have in the home all year round
  • Order any repeat prescriptions you or your friends and family need
  • If drinking alcohol - have fun but be sensible and look out for others you're with
  • Excess alcohol consumption on its own isn't usually a reason to dial 999 for someone but if there's another complaint causing concern or someone loses consciousness then dial 999 without delay
  • Please remember 999 is for emergencies - if it's not an emergency and you need health advice then you have a number of options including calling 111, making an appointment with your GP or visiting your pharmacist
  • If you're in an at risk group - don't forget it's not too late to book a flu jab
  • Look out for any vulnerable friends and neighbours - what could you do to make their Christmas and New Year safer?
  • Take extra care if it's icy or wet. If driving keep your distance and drive to the road conditions
  • Wear layers as they keep you warmer than one thicker layer. They can also easily be removed as you warm up
  • Keep homes at the right temperature - ideally 18-21 degrees
  • If you're in charge in the kitchen, make sure you don't serve up undercooked turkey which can cause salmonella poisoning
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