Thursday, 18 March 2010


I took delivery of some trees today. Now is the time of the year to be planting them and I am always amazed at my stupidity in not planting more trees when I was younger. Not that I didn't plant any in my youth, I did, inspired by my mother who was something of a fanatic in the tree planting department. But there are gaps in my park and gaps in my woodland garden and these gaps must be filled in now as, of course, I am getting older.  One of the odd things in life is the only thing I have ever found which actually makes you look forward to being twenty years older is the prospect of seeing a tree or shrub you have planted partly grown up. Of course reviewing my past efforts - and those of both my mother and my father - it is heart breaking how often I have had to take a chain saw out as the tree is in the wrong place or is to close to another tree. We simply all underestimated the area of land a mature tree can take up. Looking across my lake I see a superb 200 year old Cedar of Lebanon and it's branches now covers at least a third of an acre and yet people plant these trees in little gardens! Of course one day they will look up and realise they are getting no light in as the tree is blocking everything out and they will call the tree surgeon - very expensive. Trees are my passion partly because they can give you a form of immortality or at least life extension. The trees I plant today should mostly be around in 200 years time and some of them, like the long lived Oriental Plane might well live 800 years or more. There is an ancient oak in my wood which I suspect may well be that age and it makes me think as I walk past it that when it was young my ancestors wore suits of armour to go and do battle with the Scots and the French and now we are all meant to be brothers at peace with each other - personally I wouldn't bet on it lasting.

Monday, 15 March 2010


It is a sad fact of life as a landowner that you spend an inordinate amount of time and effort planning your death. This is necessary so that your heir can inherit and pay the minimum amount in taxes and Death Duties, or what is now known as Inheritance Tax. One of the tricks of the trade is to ensure that any bank borrowing you may have - too many in my case sadly - are secured against property that is not eligible for any of the numerous 'reliefs' to Inheritance tax. So with co-operation of my bank - HSBC - I am now making sure that my overdraft and loans are secured against a group of cottages. Imagine my surprise when HSBC stated that they did not just desire a £500 management fee for doing this, but thought they were entitled to £250 for 'out of pocket expenses!!! Obviously I supposed that this was the amount they were planning to spend on lunching me and my agent at Exeter's most expensive restaurant. But no, it appears this sum is one they think is their due - unbelievable behaviour. Well negotiations are, as they say, ongoing - but they ain't getting that £250 out of me.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

My First Blog Post

Being by nature a pessimist I don't suspect anybody will ever bother to read what I write here but my 'up to the minute' techy friends say that this is the 'new age' and that I must 'sign up to it' by having a 'blog' - so here goes. I admit to being constantly surprised to read that not only do millions of people spend their time reading blogs and something called 'twitters' (definately not me - will leave that to ultimate morons like Stephen Fry and his ilk) but that the Great & Good spend many hours writing their blogs and twitters. I am of course not one of Great & Good but I hope I am also not one of the Bad & Beastly either, although I am sometime painted as such because of a TV programme on which I said 'fuck' a lot. The truth about that particular TV programme actually is that I don't - in normal life - say 'Fuck' that much, however during the thirty odd days filming of some eight hours a day the word did slip out occasionally - but I was unconcerned as I knew the programme was going out before 9 0'clock (the Threshold) and so all those incidents would be cut.  How wrong I was. Initially the editors did cut all swearing out but they saved it in something they chose to call the 'fuck box.' One day they looked in the 'fuck box' and eureka they had a programme! Not that I minded (though my wife did a bit) as I had been well paid and have since done quite a lot more TV work - all for good money. Still it sometimes is a bore being typecast as some sort of foulmouthed dim landowner of ancient linage - a sort of upper class Brontosorus Rex.