Hey Presto! it’s Lord Horatio here,

Up until now I have always kept my distance when it comes to wizards and witches, but a strange encounter last night brought the whole question of magic a little too close for comfort.

On my way out of The Hall for a stroll round the grounds with Whimsy, I happened to glance into the Lounge. Standing in the middle of the room was Lady Dawdle clutching an ornate looking wand.

With a look of intense concentration on her face she was waving it about and jabbing the air. Had my good lady wife secretly taken up the dark arts or just taken leave of her senses?

I became somewhat spellbound watching her antics. Eventually a polite cough from yours truly brought the curious choreography to an abrupt halt and dangled a large question mark over the proceedings.

Much to my relief Lady Dawdle revealed the wand had been a gift from our mercurial nephew Simon and his dearly beloved, Belinda. Once programmed, the clever stick controls all manner of household gadgets.

With a dramatic swish you can turn on the televisual device, a casual flick will change the channels and a sharp jab selects your favourite programme. Tremendous fun. Eat your heart out Harry Potter, I say!

Apparently Simon and Belinda had tried it out while staying at a suitably Gothic folly down in darkest Kent. In a bid to escape the winter gloom they had decamped to Hadlow Tower in Kent for what’s known as a “Potterthon.”

While the rain lashed against the windows and the wind howled around them they snuggled down to watch all of the Harry Potter films, including the extras, back to back – fuelled by a supply of suitable provisions and libations.  

The Hadlow Tower (pictured above) has been recently restored at vast expense by the wonderful Vivat Trust. Tastefully furnished to a very high standard, it has all mod cons – including a lift – and is available for self catering holidays.

It soars to a height of 175ft and was reputedly built in “Strawberry Gothic” style with intricate stonework so a jealous husband could spy on his estranged wife and lord it over snooty neighbours, who looked down on him socially.

There are now three bedrooms, including one close to the top of the tower with magnificent views, bathrooms, a kitchen, lounge and dining room. If you would like to see more I have placed a magic lantern show in The Snug 

For those who fancy sprinkling a little magic dust onto the sedentary act of channel changing I heartily recommend a visit to Diagon alley, or if this proves too difficult, the Wand Company at 

Dr Who fans take note – they also do a Sonic Screwdriver. All splendidly supercalifragilisticexpeallidotious!

Hats Off photo


Hats Off this week to: World pun champion Benjamin Ziek of Glendale, California, who will defend his crown in May. Can he better the fiery routine peppered with spicy quips that took the title last year. My personal favourite is the football headline about Ian Callaghan and Queens Park Ranger from the 1970s: “Super Cally Goes Ballistic, QPR atrocious.”

Also the space experts at NASA who are preparing for a manned trip to Mars in 2033. Contrary to popular belief the type of person who is likely to survive a journey of 56 million kms lasting eight months is not a superfit, outdoor loving fighter pilot. They are talking about someone who likes things like films, stamp collecting and “confinement.” 

Plus Alessandro Alessandroni, revealed as the man who whistled his way through the spaghetti western soundtracks, taking tweeting to a whole new level. And Alex Holland who is the reigning Shed Of The Year champion thanks to his upturned boat conversion.