Thursday, March 01, 2007

An Englishman's castle is his, er ... no it's not

New series of Grand Designs on Channel Four last night. I love this progamme. So matey boy buys this castle in North Yorkshire, planning to rebuild the ruins and make it livable. And, no word of a lie, guv, the first thirty minutes of a ninety minute programme were given over to his dealings with bureaucrats at English Heritage who had the legal power to prevent him doing with his property what he wanted.

And that takes no account of the remaining segments of the programme periodically dealing with same.

In other words at least one-third of this sorta-documentary about building and architecture in fact was about getting around the pen-pushers.

I realised it was like living in Italy, or Bolivia, where palms have to be crossed, letters written, pleas made, desperation revealed (so the bureaucrats can feel good about exercising their powers in the man's favour). And the whole thing takes months.

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