Work begins on 36 new luxury apartments at Laudanum House

Work has finally begun on a development of 36 affordable luxury apartments at a former mental hospital that will be sold exclusively to foreign investors, reports local correspondent Allie Bourne.

It was revealed back in July that a Saudi-based private equity firm had successfully negotiated for the apartments with the London Borough of Bluelands in a deal rumoured to be worth an undisclosed sum.  The apartments will fulfil the growing need for affordable housing in Bluelands specifically for foreign investors.  Prices start at just over 1.5 million pounds.

Architects Mansfield and Mansfield impressed the planners with their bold yet culturally sensitive proposal.  Partner in the local firm, Nathaniel Mansfield, said yesterday, “We are delighted to be working on such an important project for Bluelands. There simply aren’t enough luxury residences in London, and one cannot help but feel sympathy for those who contribute practically nothing to the British economy, yet still wish to expand their bulging property portfolios. It is hoped that the lucky buyers will enjoy not living in Laudanum House for at least 10 months of the year, secure in the knowledge that their little investment is growing exponentially and keeping the lower classes out of the neighbourhood.”

The deal does, however, include an agreement by the developers to fund a publicly accessible terraced garden that will be created in the old grounds of Laudanum House.

Award winning garden designer Crispin Harbinger, whose ambitious design includes a covered summer-only champagne bar with teak benches decorated in Shantung silk cushions, an aromatherapy arbour, and a Koi carp lagoon, says “Visitors to the garden can enjoy my centrepiece fountain, constructed in an Early Rococo aesthetic from Carrara marble with cast bronze figures. There is a beautiful view over Darke Park and beyond, but residents won’t need to worry that the council estate tower block at Night Heights will be visible, as I’m planting a weeping willow spinney to block the view.”

The gardens will be for the general public to enjoy, not just the residents, who will each have keys for when the gardens are closed to the public. Public access to the gardens will be between the hours of 7am and 9am Monday to Thursday during the summer, and 8am to 10am Monday to Thursday in winter. Closed on Bank Holidays.

Entry is free, but visitors must register online so that they can book their allotted time slot of 20 minutes.  CCTV will line walkways to prevent the inevitable vandalism that results from opening nice places to common people, and littering will be punishable with fixed penalty notices.


Weather forecasters strangely vague despite advances in meteorology

Getting a decisive weather forecast from the Met Office these days is impossible, and it’s getting even more impossibler, say fans of the weather.

“Once upon a time when most people were children, the BBC would put out a long-range weather report covering 2-4 weeks, and which were pretty accurate most of the time”, says weather fan David.  “Nowadays the Met Office only seem willing to predict up to 5 days ahead.”  This typical report from last Tuesday is a prime example.

“Wednesday morning across England may be windy at times, with winds possibly gusting from the west or north-west, which could bring a drop in temperature.  Clouds may clear in the afternoon to make way for some sunny spells, unless they don’t, in which case there may be scattered showers in some places. Any scattered showers may be quite heavy and cause localised flooding, or they may be very light and will clear to the east or west any time from late afternoon Wednesday into lunchtime on Friday.  Here’s lovely picture of the sun by Hannah Tompkins, aged 7.”

A Met Office spokesman told us they’re scared of getting sued by farmers who harvest their crops at the wrong time due to dodgy forecasting.  “When we get it wrong, which is between 40 and 90 percent of the time, we tend to blame it on a glitch in our computer system.  No one understands our highly complex programs which analyse global weather patterns, including the I.T. department, who have to re-boot it when it goes down.  In fact they had to turn it off and on again the other day when Angie clicked on a link telling her she’d won the Ghanaian national lottery.  The firewall failed so we had to stand in the car-park and see how big the storm clouds were getting.”

The North Wessex Pig Farmers Association is suing the Met Office after 8 herds of Gloucester Old Spot pigs were struck by lightning in a single night.  The Basingstoke Rib House is doing a ‘Buy 1 Get 3 Free’ meal deal until Sunday.

Your Swiss cheeseplant will ruin your life

Looking after a cheeseplant is not the simple job many people think it is, say horticulturalists.  And with the festive season in full swing, many garden centres and florists will be seeing a last minute rush on these popular Christmas gifts.

“A cheeseplant is for life, not just for Christmas”, warns Oliver Tummock of the National Cheeseplant Information Bureau.

75% triffid and 25% psychopath, the cheeseplant is hell-bent on gaining control of your living room, house, and eventually the street you live on.  Tummock advises owners to keep the leafy plant chained up and to play it ambient techno at least 3 times a week to keep it in optimum condition.

“And for crying out loud don’t let it make friends with any Japanese Knotweed.  A and E departments are full enough at this time of year.”

People who wear rucksacks on the tube to be handed on-the-spot fines

Transport for London have launched a new initiative aimed at reducing the number of rucksack related injuries on the London Underground.

“Most passengers will, at some point during their day, experience a moron with a complete lack of spatial awareness clobbering them with a massive rucksack strapped to their back”, explains Head of Baggage Enforcement for TFL, Mark Sanderson.  “Why a London commuter would think that rugged camping equipment is a suitable part of their business attire is frankly beyond me, but we will be taking direct action.  Plain clothes Baggage Enforcement Officers will be riding the tube network during peak hours and will hand out on-the-spot fines to anyone flouting new rules. Research has shown that the average sized ruscksack worn on the back takes up as much space as a person, and being twatted in the face whilst seated is a very real issue for many passengers.”

Commuter groups are angry with the news.  Rucksack user Jonty Hambling told us, “It’s so totally not fair.  My Kevlar polar explorer’s rucksack is vital for carrying my desk diary, pens, iPad and sandwiches.  How am I supposed to navigate the punishing environment of the Circle line when I have to take it off and carry it down by my side? I’m appalled.”

Rucksack users are advised to remove them and put them on the floor to avoid a fifty pound ticket, or twenty-five if paid within 14 days.

New game: try to guess who’s the mutual friend in the ‘People you may know’ bar on Facebook

Scroll down on your Facebook newsfeed with a few flicks of your thumb.  It won’t be long before you are confronted with a rogues’ gallery of people you don’t know in the ‘People you may know’ bar.  The chances of you even having met any of these people is remote, but Facebook still seems to think you’re desperate to be friends with any old humanoid their algorithm has come up with.

What’s even odder is that some of them will have a friend who is mutual to you both.  You won’t know who it is without clicking on their mugshots, but it’s fun to try and guess.

Our office team here at The Bluelands Gazette have been doing it all week.  Reporter Allie Bourne has scored the highest so far, with 6 correct guesses out of a possible 11 suggested profile pics.  “I had no idea my friends knew so many weirdos”, says Allie.  “I’ve never met the bloke with the purple Mohican and cobweb facial tattoo, I thought he might be mates with Mickey Fish who used to work down the morgue.  Turns out he’s my nan’s street dance teacher.”

Editor-in-Chief Laurie Hepworth has done well too.  “There was this picture of a woman wearing a hand-knitted beanie, a nose ring, and holding a cucumber.  She looked like she might be a vegan, which would make our mutual friend Mollie Nutbutter, who is a rampant vegan.  I was right, and the cucumber is a re-incarnation of her granddad.”

Shock new findings: vegans re-incarnated as fruit

New evidence has come to light that has sent scientists, theologians and people reeling.  Long thought by many to be a load of cobblers, the case for re-incarnation may now have to be re-examined, after secret lab tests on supermarket fruit suggest that deceased vegans may be sitting in your fruit bowl at home.

We met with practising Buddhist, Tristan Sparrow, who told us, “It’s what we have always suspected. Vegans are at one with nature and have been rewarded with the highest accolade the universe could bestow upon us; full transubstantiation from the human form, to the fruit form.”  Sparrow meets us in his local vegan cafe seated cross-legged on a giant velvet cushion.  The cafe may smell of B.O. and geranium leaves, but this self-confessed hippy has been gladly offering his support to fellow vegans, ever since the news broke.  “This isn’t easy for people to take in. I’m here to show them that being eaten in the afterlife is perfectly natural.”

However, Doctor Kathryn Hartz from the University of Tewkesbury, is unconvinced.  “This news is horrible, just horrible.  I’ve had to chuck a punnet of peaches in the bin because I noticed one of them looked like my Uncle Kevin, who was a hardcore vegan. I nearly cut him in half and whacked his stone out with a knife.”

A stroll around the restaurants of London’s Covent Garden  reveals a different mood altogether.  The chefs we spoke to don’t seem bothered that they have spent their careers cooking with metaphysical lifeforms.  “It’s all food, innit?” shrugs Carl Smith, a sous chef at a popular brasserie.  “I have no problem with peeling and chopping vegans and baking them in a crumble. I might even wait until they’re dead.”  He adds, “I’m joking by the way.”

Leading vegan author Olivia Shepherd is happy to eat her vegan ancestors.  “The circle of life is complete. We will provide nourishment for other vegans, and non-vegans if we have to, after we’re gone. We’ll be keeping it ‘in the family’ so to speak.”  We point out to her that this is technically cannibalism.  She smiles. “Cannibalism in this case is justified by the means.”

Non-vegans are reportedly being re-incarnated as non-vegans, news of which has been gladly received by everyone.



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