What a journey that was! I’ve just returned from yet another trip to Scandinavia, this time to collect nearly 1000 slabs of lichen, also known as moss, for the Reindeer.
Lichen is what Reindeer eat in the wild and although it does grow in Northern England, I prefer to give our Reindeer the lichen that comes from their natural habitat which means a 2000 mile round journey for me and the Reindeer truck!
Reindeer love moss; in the wild they can smell it under up to a metre of snow. At Blithbury Reindeer Lodge our Reindeer have it a bit easier than their Scandi counterparts and take it from our hands. As well as being extremely tasty it also contains sugar and friendly bacteria that’s needed for their digestion systems – kind of like Actimel for Reindeer!
The journey out was fine but on the return leg, due to the faithful Reindeer truck springing a leak, we arrived at the docks in Sweden late – just to see our boat leaving! Cue a 900 mile drive across Europe to reach Dunkirk which has to be the worse signposted port I’ve ever used – and that’s saying a lot.
We got onboard (just) and the crossing was fine but on arrival at Dover we were pulled over by customs who suspected that our lorry was full of cannabis and not lichen! Two hours later I had delivered an impromptu training session to HM Customs officers on lichen, what it is, why we use it and notably how to tell the difference between it and class B drugs.
So if you’re passing through Dover in the future with some moss in your bags and don’t get stopped at customs you probably have me to thank for our port officers knowing what this key component of the Reindeer diet is!
The Reindeer Man