Mystery Diggers Rest temple in ruins
by LIAM MCALEER
A series of large religious sculptures line the driveway of the Edwards Rd property, while several other marble statues remain in their tattered plastic wrapping inside broken wooden shipping crates.
Scattered around the grounds are crates of Vietnamese-style roof tiles, ponds, fountains, huts, lanterns and two high statues.
There are also three buildings on the property with metal shutters covering windows and doors.
In a small temple on a metal pole in the middle of an empty pond, a statue surrounded by plastic flowers sits behind glass doors.
But plates of fresh fruit placed around one statue indicates the property may still be used as a place of worship.
In 2003 the Leader reported the property’s owners had applied for a permit for a house and then applied to Hume Council with a landscape plan in 1998, which the council refused because it lacked detail.
Despite many attempts, Leader was unable to contact the property’s owners.
Johnny Cash Museum Planned for Nashville
by Erin Duvall
Johnny Cash fans may soon have another destination to add to their travel plans. The Tennessean reports that Cash biographer, William W. Miller Jr., is spearheading an effort to open a Johnny Cash Museum in a former warehouse in downtown Nashville.
“He’s been an incredible supporter of my dad and one of the largest collectors of memorabilia,” Johnny’s daughter Rosanne Cash says of Miller. “If anybody has the whole structure to put up a museum, he does. So I have a lot of trust in him, and I think it’s great at this point. I think he’ll do something with dignity and class that’s historically important, not some kitschy thing. I’m very interested in seeing what he does.”
According to the facility’s Facebook page, it will include items from Johnny and wife June Carter Cash’s former home in Hendersonville, Tenn., such as timbers, wrought-iron gates, railings and a portion of a small wall. In addition, the original sign for the ‘House of Cash,’ which was posted outside the Man in Black’s childhood home in Dyess, Ark., as part of a Cash family-operated attraction, will also be on display.
In the past, William W. Miller, Jr. had expressed plans to find a permanent place for items from his personal Johnny Cash collection.
“There’s some fragile stuff here and every time it’s transported, there is a risk of something getting broken or something getting lost,” he told The Press Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., in 2006 (quote via the Nashville Tennessean).
There have been several speculations that lyric sheets for ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and ‘Walk the Line’ as well as gold records, guitars, tour posters and artwork made by Johnny will be included.
An official announcement regarding the museum is planned for the week of Feb. 13, 2012.
The wrought iron gates of Landsborough’s Peace Memorial Park weren’t enough to keep them from ripping up the turf
Hoon rampage rips up sport field
The wrought iron gates of Landsborough’s Peace Memorial Park weren’t enough to keep them from ripping up the turf with a vehicle on Friday night.
The ground is home to the Landsborough Cricket Club and maintained by volunteers in conjunction with the council.
Cricket club life member David McIntyre said the offenders removed the bollards from in front of the fence and drove through it before smashing through a separate piece of fencing on their way out.
“They lifted the bollards and drove straight through the fence,” Mr McIntyre said.
“They then proceeded on to the ground and drove all over the grass, ripping up a lot of the turf.
“As they left they drove through another part of the fence.”
Mr McIntyre said the vandalism was a slap in the face for volunteers who worked tirelessly to maintain the once-immaculate turf, mowing the ground themselves.
“When I saw the damage my immediate thoughts were with all the volunteers that help to keep the ground in such great shape,” he said. “We’ve had so much support from those volunteers and to see the damage done is very disappointing.”
Early estimates put the damage bill at more than $2000, with the club having to dig into hard-earned fundraising dollars to foot the bill.
“We don’t know exactly how much it will cost at this stage,” Mr McIntyre said.
“They’ve done at least $2000 to $3000 worth of damage – maybe more.
“Along with ripping up the grass, they ripped up the artificial turf on the wicket as well, which adds to the cost and we’ll probably have to replace that too.”
“It means the ground will be out of action for some time,” Mr McIntyre said. “We’ll get it back as soon as possible but in the meantime the matches will be shifted to other grounds. We’re not sure where yet.”
Welwyn Garden City cat hotel looks to expand
By Ross Logan
The Longcroft Cat Hotel has proved a hit with owners and pets alike
DOES you dream job consists of working from home and looking after cats?
If so, then a WGC businesswoman may be able to help you achieve it.
After two hugely successful years in charge of the Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel – a “five star” cattery in Longcroft Lane, WGC – owner and founder Abi Purser is looking for franchise holders to take the company county-wide.
The 36-year-old launched the unique business from her home in Longcroft Lane, in 2010, in response to what she believed to be a dearth of quality catteries in the UK.
With “guests” treated to wrought iron beds, individually decorated suites and a gourmet menu all served on bone china, Abi’s eccentric business model quickly attracted the attentions of both the media and cat-loving customers looking for a safe place to leave their moggy while they were away.
The concept has garnered mum-of-three Abi with a host of award nominations, and bookings are currently being taken for Christmas 2013.
In order to meet the ever-growing demand for spaces, Abi’s looking for partners to join in Longcroft’s success – and has already received interest from a number of potential franchisees.
“Running a business from home and looking after cats is my dream job,” said Abi.
“When we first set up the business, we knew there was a demand for a truly five-star cattery dedicated to looking after much-loved feline guests while their owners are away.
“We just massively under-estimated the level of that demand and are excited about offering our business formula to others who want to be cat hoteliers in the region.”
Each potential franchisee will be vetted by Abi herself, with successful applicants receiving full training in order to meet Longcroft’s precise and exacting standards.
They will be given help with the planning application and building materials for the hotel, and help and advice whenever needed.
“We are looking for partners who want to run their own sustainable and profitable business from home, which fits perfectly around any type of lifestyle or family commitments,” said Abi.
Franchisees can apply for hotels of up to nine suites, with each hotel carried out to Longcroft’s specifications.
“You can only give a great service with small numbers, particularly when what we are offering is a far cry from just a feeding and cleaning exercise,” said Abi.
24-hour room service: Shangri-La Hotel, Paris
Paris has another star from the East
So far, so French. But as you step inside the hotel you’re greeted by two giant Ming dynasty-style vases standing sentry at the door, hinting at the provenance of this new address on the Parisian hotel scene.
The Shangri-La was the second of a trio of Asian-based luxury hotel groups to open properties in the French capital in the past 18 months (joining Raffles Le Royal Monceau and followed by Mandarin Oriental). It celebrated its first anniversary last month and is arguably the most romantic and intimate of the three, housed in the Belle Epoque Palais d’Iéna, the former home of Napoleon Bonaparte’s grand nephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte. The family coat of arms, lions’ heads and antlers can still be seen, carved into the pale stone façade.
Inside, a spectacular sweeping staircase leads to the principal salons on the first floor. The Grand Salon – all chandeliers, parquet, gilt and mirrors – recalls the grandeur of Versailles and is among several elements of the palace now protected on the list of “Monuments Historiques”.
The restoration of the building, which latterly belonged to the French Centre of Foreign Trade, took four years. It involved some additions, which are mercifully subtle.
Gentle hints of the Orient infuse the hotel. For example, delicate Jasmine Chung Hao tea from China’s northern province of Fujian is offered when you are taken to your room.
It’s no coincidence that the arrival of these Asian hoteliers coincides with an influx of well-heeled Chinese visitors eager to spend their yuan. During my stay, enthusiastic groups were jumping into the hotel’s fleet of slick limousines, presumably off to peruse the luxury brands of the nearby Avenue Montaigne.
The Shangri-La’s prices reflect this profligacy – you’ll need a stiff drink before reading the bar, restaurant and room-service menus.
There are three restaurants. La Bauhinia features a stunning glass cupola uncovered during the restoration, while L’Abeille, the gastronomic French restaurant, takes its name from the Napoleonic bee. The Shang Palace, which opened last September and was immediately booked solid, is easily the city’s most sophisticated Chinese restaurant, serving refined Cantonese cuisine.
Later this year, an indoor swimming pool and spa are due to open in the former stables. The currrent lack is of little consequence: there are still few more romantic places to stay during Paris’s loveliest season.
The hotel clings to the side of Chaillot Hill in Paris’s chic, buttoned-up 16th arrondissement. The Shangri-La is just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower and is only moments away from the Trocadéro with its views of everyone’s favourite landmark.
Several museums and galleries are also a short stroll away: the Guimet Museum, Musée du Quai Branly, Palais de Tokyo and the Marmottan Monet Museum. Perhaps more importantly, the Golden Triangle is a mere Louboutin’s totter down the hill.
There are 81 rooms and suites divided into five categories. The view that all visitors lust after is the symbol of the city and my room had just that. About half of all the rooms and suites have Eiffel Tower views and it’s hard to drag yourself away from the window.
Interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon was tasked with decorating the guest rooms, channelling a Gallic-Oriental fusion with Empire-style furnishings in hues of blue, ecru and white. Apart from some of the more lavish suites, it seems a bit sombre given the opulence of parts of the palace, but maybe that’s the point.
Bathrooms are decked in chocolate brown marble and buff limestone with separate baths and shower heads of dinner-plate proportions. There is also a Nespresso machine, kettle, DVD, TV and free Wi-Fi.