DIGGING IT… We know how much Place readers love a good garden, so here’s a treat. Gardens designed by Thomas Mawson, widely considered to be the founder of modern landscaping, at Graythwaite Hall in the Lake District have been protected with a grade-two star listing by Historic England. The wondrous gardens were created between 1889 and 1895, at a time when garden design was at a crossroads and moving towards the Arts and Crafts principles of the early 20th century. These were Mawson’s first major designs, in which he pioneered his ‘composite’ garden: a combination of the formal and informal. From a Dutch garden that features a striking sundial to the beautiful rose garden, Graythwaite is a popular spot for visitors during the summer months, and still fully reflects the original design. Among the 58 sites in the North West that have been added to the National Heritage List this year were Plau, the former Plough Inn at 115 and 115a Friargate, Preston; Ollerton School House, Knutsford; and Barton Lane Aqueduct Portal, Salford.

OFFICE HEAD…With the world of work in need of guidance, why not turn to a man who in his own words is a “friend first, a boss second…probably an entertainer third”? Always on the front foot, consultancy OBI recently drafted in the top team from TV’s The Office, in the form of David Brent and Gareth Keenan – well, impersonators anyway, Ricky Gervais don’t come cheap these days – for a session looking at the new ways of working, complete with some typically terrible Brent gags.

ROCK ON!…Always a lively developer on social media, the excitable folk at developer Glenbrook have surpassed themselves during the festive season with an album cover lookalike competition, featuring staff made up as rock and pop stars:

  • Adele, 25  – Laura Reid
  • Hole, Live Through This – Shannon Conway
  • George Michael, Twenty Five – Dan Symonds
  • Craig David, Born To Do It – Stuart McCrone

Pick your favourite and add it to the comments below. It’s got to be between Craig David and Hole, no?

DW Christmas Tree

ELF & SAFETY…Either some consultants have way too much time on their hands or the year has sent people mad and they are straying wildly off course – or both. The genius emanating from DW Consulting is a thing to behold. Have you got your “excrement removal plan for reindeer” in place? What about an electric charging point on your roof for Santa’s new e-sleigh? Worry ye not a second longer, because DW has produced a comprehensive guide to safely preparing for Christmas tree arrival and Santa’s arrival. It’s not too late to check back before the inspectors arrive. Download this masterpiece of niche Christmas humour here for the full effect of how many company hours were wasted spent on this vital piece of work.DW Christmas Guide

DW Christmas Tree 2

L R Steve Hartley L 39 Aviation And John Hurrell, Chieft Test Pilot And Owner Of High G Jets

Steve Hartley, left, with John Hurrell, chief test pilot

JET TO…If you fancy blowing off the winter cobwebs in the new year, why not book a trip to the skies in the style of Tom Cruise in Top Gun courtesy of the newest tenant at Blackpool Airport? Private jet company  L-39 Aviation plans to operate a range of services in its Aero L-39 Albatros planes, including experience flights, filming work, high performance training and also third-party maintenance and refurbishment for other owners of similar high-performance ex-military aircraft. Company owner Steve Hartley plans to add further war planes and aerobatic and display aircraft to the fleet at Blackpool. Roger that.



PLATFORMER…Well, it was a nice idea. The application by Mellors Vents Group for Skyview360, an 80-metre-high viewing platform to be installed at Manchester’s Exchange Square, has been withdrawn, timings working against the project. With a Covid-secure plan in place, the intention had been to offer shoppers and visitors something to do in lieu of milling around packed market areas with their gluhwein and bratwurst. A shame, but understandable. One for the glorious, post-vaccine sun-soaked summer of 2021 instead, maybe? We can but hope.


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