Tuesday, May 05, 2015
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Orchardton - So many options

After the programme.

First of all, the property does not need a million spent on it, it was renovated in 2003. it does need some updating and full details are available from the owner but these would probably cost less than £80,000 including decoration, dependent on whether you want to line the walls with gold.

The full story of the DeVeres was not told. A strange romantic story with wisps of magic and the miracle of an unexpected child at the end of it. having divorced when they were in their teens, they didnt speak to each other for nearly 28 years, then they found each other through Friends reunited, met, fell in love again and married within a couple of months. Susan then went on to have her first pregnancy and birth at the age of 48 unaided by fertility drugs, though she does wonder if a certain vitamin tablet she was taking had something to do with it.

We also did not see much of the inside of the castle, the cinema, the large halls and stain glass interior windows, the history. Still you can't cover everything in a few minutes.

I understand that the DeVere's have already had calls this morning and are still looking for 1.4 million but we know from the programme that they would probably take 1.25. Valuated by the mortgage company at around 2 million, they just might hold out and get enough to have something left over to buy again.

Cash offers are always welcome, but getting a mortgage on the property should not be a problem for anyone. Sound building and also a brilliant investment opportunity. The DeVere's have had to turn down offers of up to £50,000 per annum to rent the place because they need to sell to move on but the possibilities of this building are endless.

Sadly few people have viewed it, thinking maybe that it is in the highlands? It is only a few miles (about 50) from the English border and Ireland is also easily accessible. Glasgow and Edinburgh are both 90 miles to the North.  It would make a great family home for five families or a wonderful wedding venue or hotel or anything else. Fire doors are already in place and emergency lighting from when it was a school years ago. It also has fire alarms. 

The TV company couldnt work out why it was still for sale and hadnt been snapped up. Perhaps one of them will nab it. It will be interesting to see.

http://www.channel4.com/tv-listings/daily/2015/04/15 / www.orchardton.co.uk

Million Pounds Properties -  Channel 4 Cutting Edge - 15th April at 8pm on Channel 4.

A beautiful castle just over the Scottish border almost half price. Offers around 1.5 million. But you could also trade your existing house in or strike a pay part now and pay part later. The owners are certainly open to offers.

Dumfries and Galloway is an undiscovered region of contrasting landscapes, green hills and forests collide with beautiful beaches along 200 miles of coastline.

Chances are you have already seen Orchardton in the newspapers, it seems to have become a stock photo  for fabulous buildings that are not selling in Scotland. But why hasn't it sold?

Does it show a lack of ambition and imagination in the British public or has the marketing been hampered by the uncertainty of the referendum, now resolved.

It is very large with over 40 rooms, large halls and for many can be a little overwhelming. It has its own cinema, libraries and many reception rooms. Not to mention it can seat 120 in the main hall for shows.

 It was renovated just over 10 years ago so one could say that it needs a few things doing again, although no where near the amount of work from the first time. 

The first thing to go in was central heating -  an unusual thing to find in a property this size. An upgrade to one of the boilers is now in order, some areas need to be lived in or aired but on the whole there is nothing wrong with this picturesque place.

It sits within 5 acres, has 4 stables and a strange outside sauna near the wildlife pond down the garden. 

It would make a beautiful wedding venue or could happily go back to being a hotel or guest house as it was before the war. Personally, I think it makes a splendid country home. The weather is the best in Scotland. it has it's own micro climate. Quite often the temperature in the back garden which stretched towards the sea is as good or better than London. Winters here are mild and there are no midges to be seen.

It is only 50 miles from the English border, 90 miles from Glasgow or Edinburgh or you could hop over to Ireland. 

One of the main reasons it has been on the market for so long is perhaps the owners lopsided optimistic outlook on life. They have waited for three seperate  groups to raise money to buy the property plus they ahd dealings with a conman that cost them 8 months. Due to this the property has had very few viewings and really needs to be seen. Those who do view have been captivated but unfortunately have just not had the resources. The owners should have just continued to look for a buyer who had the money in hand and not been so receptive to other peoples dreams.   Although it has the potential to make  thousands a week, it needs maintenance and heating. Though the heating costs are very good, helped by over 30 fire places and free wood from the garden, where over 100 trees live. Including a palm tree.

People who live there can call themselves laird and lady, though the current people do not. There are books about Orchardton, a possible film in the works and it is surrounded by wonderful, sailing, walking, riding on the beach and red kite trails.

It was valued at 2.5-3 million pounds in 2009. Large houses tend to go for around 700.000 - 900,000 in Scotland and castles anything from two million upwards. 

If you want to view or for further info contact the owners Susan DeVere 01556 640004 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


For more than 30 years, P.E.S.T.S. (Parents of Ealing Self Help Training Scheme) has been a place where parents and carers of children with a disability or additional need aged 0-5 years and living in the borough of Ealing, can come together regularly in a friendly and nurturing setting.


P.E.S.T.S. believes that all children regardless of their disability should be valued and supported. They should be cared for within our society and be allowed to enjoy life to their full potential.

They run two play and support sessions per week, where children can enjoy carefully structured activities according to their need/stage of development. Many of the children who attend P.E.S.T.S. have autism, behavioural difficulties and complex medical needs.

At the same time, parents are offered advice, support, information and training opportunities, whilst meeting others going through similar problems and challenges. We also offer regular trips, outings and parties for disabled children, their siblings, parents and extended family and provide door to door transport to the play sessions and other events for families in need.


P.E.S.T.S. has been a real source of help to families of children with a disabled child, especially in the first few years of their life. Families who attend P.E.S.T.S. are often just coming to terms with the realisation that their child has a disability and are often overwhelmed by the rounds of form filling and appointments that follow.

Once a family realises their child is disabled, they are often left with an overriding sense of fear, confusion and grief. To find a place where all of this is understood by people who are feeling the same makes families feel less isolated and more hopeful at the beginning of the difficult journey that will be their child’s life.

The Outreach Worker works with families to provide information and advice including emotional and practical support. They provide a dedicated out of hours outreach telephone service for parents and carers facing difficult situations, a crisis or recent diagnosis. This is a vital lifeline for many, who are at a loss when faced with life changing news.


* Play/Activity sessions every Tuesday and Friday mornings 10.30-12.30 in term time, for babies and children 0-5 years.

* Activities led by experienced and qualified play leader.

* Multi-cultural assistant play-leaders and volunteers to help and offer language support.

* Talks and information for parents/carers from specialist health visitors, therapists and other speakers.

* Door to Door transport to and from sessions, if required.

* Toy Library with specialist equipment opens every other week.


* Holiday sessions and outings for the whole family.

* Parent/carer only evenings - meet others having the same experiences.


* Opportunities to learn more about working with disabled children .


* Opportunities for parents and volunteers.

* Training sessions for communication, child protection, behaviour, first aid etc.

A Typical P.E.S.T.S. Session

People arrive and we chat and share news. There are activities set up for nursery aged children, such as painting, gluing etc. There are lots of toys for babies as well as toys for toddlers. Sometimes we have a visiting speaker or therapist come to work with us at this time.

Coffee and tea for the grown-ups in the small room. Fruit and juice for the children.

Food and drinks are cleared away. Your child may go into the garden if it is not wet. You will need to keep an eye on them as they play on the big slide etc. If it is cold they need to wear a coat and suitable shoes. You can borrow Wellington boots from P.E.S.T.S.. If you stay in the big playroom please remove children's shoes when they are in the ball pool.

We clear up and sit together for a circle time. Please encourage your child to join in the circle. If they are not willing at first just stay for a few minutes and then take them to the small room - gradually encourage them to stay longer. This is good practice for the nursery school. We sing all sorts of songs and nursery rhymes, read stories from the big books or play musical instruments. You can talk and share all these things with your children when you go home. There are notices for the adults about upcoming events.


We have visited these sessions and can confirm that they are relaxed and friendly. The volunteers get a real sense of purpose and face many different scenarios with
a smile and patience.

Trips out include the very popular Heathrow Gym where the children can play on a variety of equipment in a safe environment. The Christmas party is also well attended and of course Santa turns up.

For more information please contact:

P.E.S.T.S. Office, Heller House Annexe, 124 Norwood Road, Southall, Middlesex, UB2 4DX.

Telephone/Fax: 020 8571 9954



(Statement provided by organisation)

Whilst P.E.S.T.S. is part funded by Ealing Council, we have to rely on fundraising and donations to maintain the charity.

As the council is reducing the amount of funding it gives to local charities, we need to rely on the generosity of our community more and more in order to be able to maintain our current support for disabled children and their families.

Each pound we raise goes directly towards running our play sessions, providing fun opportunities and events for children and towards training for parents, in for example, sign language or intensive interaction for children with autism.

By raising funds with a cake stall, or a sponsored silence, you would know that your support would be making a real difference in the lives of local disabled children and their families.

P.E.S.T.S. also needs more volunteer play workers for Tuesday and Friday mornings; - anyone with an interest in supporting disabled children under 5 would be welcome to contact us to find out more about what we do.


If you think that you might be able to help P.E.S.T.S. and you would like to know more, or see our charity in action, we would be more than happy to arrange a visit to one of our play and support sessions, or organise a short presentation at your convenience.

11 reasons why Colorado is quintessentially cool

The launch of responsibletravel.com’s in-depth guide to authentic Colorado highlights 11 reasons why this state is a quintessentially cool travel destination.

The new travel guide, written by responsibletravel.com, the leading online site for authentic travel experiences in partnership with the Colorado Tourism Office, incorporates expert tips and podcasts from local Coloradans to allow tourists to discover the state ‘like a local’ and to connect more deeply with its people, food, culture and landscapes.

Trudi Pearce, Head of Destination Partnerships at responsibletravel.com says “The guide highlights that Colorado is not just a destination for adrenaline-seekers, but is instead somewhere where wholesome, reinvigorating holidays come naturally.

“We hope it will become a leading resource to help tourists find the best places to explore Colorado’s mountains, rivers and dunes, to walk, kayak, and go horseback riding, to discover more about its fascinating Native American history and to find the most delicious locally produced food, wine and beer”.

The guide, available here – http://www.responsibletravel.com/holidays/colorado/travel-guide - brings to life the stories of inspirational Coloradans enjoying life to the full and keen to share it with travellers. The travel guide has hundreds of reasons Colorado is a quintessentially cool holiday destination, here is responsibletravel.com’s pick of the best:

1. Coloradans – Super-fit, super-friendly and not super-obsessed with living the American dream. Just living. And hearing the stories and sharing the passion of the state’s inhabitants, high on life in an incredible landscape, is addictive.

2. Zapata Ranch - Situated on the edge of the prairies, dunes and rocky peaks of the other-worldly Great Sand Dunes National Park. Ride on the dunes, even as a beginner, and contrary to popular stereotypes most of the wranglers working this 1000 acre ranch are female, super-educated and environmentally aware.

3. Ute Indian Mountain Tribal Park – Take a hike with a Ute Indian Guide into this remote and otherwise un-navigable park, and discover ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings with Native American artefacts more beautiful than many found in museums. And all trip fees support local American Indian culture and economies.

4. Aspen Meadows Resort – Home to an annual, world-renowned Ideas Festival at The Aspen Institute, where world-changing American thinkers have come together to discuss ideas since the 1940s. Its access into the mountains via cycle and hiking paths make a true retreat for body and mind.

5. Soaring Treetops Adventures – Not just a standard tree-top zipline, this course through the San Juan Mountains in Durango is only accessible by train and has a unique, low impact system which protects the trees, allowing for eco-friendly, high-adrenaline adventures through forests and over rivers.

6. Chipeta Solar Springs Resort & Spa in Ridgway – Named after the silent and wise wife of Ute Indian leader Chief Ouray, Chipeta is a tranquil escape in the Cimmaron Range of the San Juan Mountains. Run on solar technology and with a spiritual heart it offers a place to recharge, relax and connect with Colorado.

7. Float and boat with Rondo – Swap the well-known white water rafting rapids for a more leisurely float downstream in a traditional wooden ‘dory’. Along the Colorado River from beautiful De Beque Canyon, hear stories from expert oarsman, Rondo Beucheler of Palisade River Trips, before ending in Colorado wine country. A taste of real, local life.

8. Orvis Hot Springs – Considered a sacred place by the Tabagueche Indians who once soaked here, these hot springs have retained an intimate, sleepy feel a world away from the commercialisation found at many other sites.

9. Devil’s Thumb Ranch – The full cowboy experience, but with some luxury creature comforts. Spend the day riding out through the Arapaho National Forest by day, before relaxing in a geothermically-heated pool at night. After a dinner of locally sourced Wagyu Beef and Colorado Beer.

10. Rocky Mountain National Park – The backbone of Colorado, the Rockies do, in fact, rock. The Rocky Mountain Conservancy lead talks and walks along the Big Thompson River, up to hidden waterfalls and lakes, past moose, elk and a host of other wildlife.

11. Anderson Ranch, Snowmass Village, nr Aspen – A thriving ranch which has swapped cows and livestock for the arts. Typical of Aspen’s creative, sharing ethos, local and international artists run prestigious programmes, or simply turn up to wander round the open galleries and eat their locally-sourced cafe fare.

Find more cool things to do in Colorado with responsibletravel.com’s indepth guide at http://www.responsibletravel.com/holidays/colorado/travel-guide.

Merlin Annual Pass

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