Dick Strawbridge admits he and Angel are 'in trouble' after Escape to the Chateau decision
Dick Strawbridge and Angel Adoree spent less than an hour of their time looking around Chateau de la Motte Husson before they "fell under its spell" and were determined to call it home. In the very first episode of the Channel 4 show Escape to the Chateau, the couple were seen arriving at the property with the estate agent to view what was for sale and when they found out the walled garden had been bought by a developer, Angel had to work hard in persuading the agent to sell them the Chateau and all of its land - including the walled garden. Dick, on the other hand, said they "we're in trouble" after Angel "found the property she wanted" and luckily because they were cash buyers and wanted to move quickly, a deal was done.
The Chateau was listed at £250,000, which was the equivalent of 345,000 euros at the time.
Dick told viewers: "I'm trying to be sensible, this is a huge house, it's got the Orangery, the walled garden, it's got all these things going for it, but we're talking a lot of money to get it back to where it should be. It is so doable and it is so beautiful, it's almost too good."
Those watching at home learned a developer had already put an offer of 50,000 euros in for the walled garden with plans to build two new homes right in the middle of the grounds.
"We need to have the walled garden in it," Angel told the estate agent. "Not having the walled garden is just a no-go for us. We need the stables, we need it all for it to work for us.
"Keep in mind, we're cash buyers, what will he take for the entirety?" She enquired and the estate agent said: "If you say, we offer 390,000 euros today for the whole lot, then I stop the visits."
Angel called for Dick and he replied: "I missed the conversation, what did you say, darling? Have you bought the place?"
"If we offer 390,000 euros, he will stop the visits and we can get going," his wife explained and hands were shaken.
The couple went for one more exploration of the Chateau and were seen leaning out of the two windows above the entrance.
Dick shouted: "When she finds the one she wants, we're in trouble!"
The narrator explained: "But to secure the house and walled garden, they will have to spend £280,000 of their £300,000 budget, leaving next to nothing for renovation."
Dick explained the position they were in: "If you look at the sewage if you look at the electrics in here if you look at the lead paint, it basically says 'Don't buy me.'"
The race was then on to pack up their belongings in their flat in England and ship it to France for the big move.
Dick added: "Every hour is spent trying to work out details of the move and we're going into January, in a Chateau without water, electricity, or sewage or heating."
Their plan was to get enough work done with the £20,000 they had remaining and make it hospitable enough for the immediate family to live in - three weeks after they got the keys.
"My head is spinning," Angel admitted. "We've got so much to organise and our family to look after."
"It's got to be warm enough, the kids have got to be able to have a bath at night," Dick said. "We've got so many things to sort out."
The next scene saw the Strawbridges bundled into a van with their vital possessions and heading to France.
It was then revealed the property had 450 faults listed in the paperwork and Dick explained: "The whole of this document says 'Do not buy The Chateau'. It says it's all our risk if anything happens."
Dorothy, who was a baby at the time, was heard crying out and Dick replied: "Dorothy, it's enough to scare me, let alone you! It is, it's really quite worrying."
"He's going to say 'it's sold as seen,'" Angel commented and when Dick asked whether she was "fine with that," she said "yes".
"Even though we've got 200 pages of reasons not to buy it?" Her husband remarked.
After a meeting with the vendors, the paperwork was signed and the keys were handed over and Dick and Angel made their way to their new home.
Revealed: the huge British property empire of Sheikh Mohammed
The controversial ruler of Dubai has acquired a land and property empire in Britain that appears to exceed 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres), making him one of the country’s largest landowners, according to a Guardian analysis.
The huge property portfolio apparently owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and his close family ranges from mansions, stables and training gallops across Newmarket, to white stucco houses in some of London’s most exclusive addresses and extensive moorland including the 25,000-hectare Inverinate estate in the Scottish Highlands.
The Guardian has mapped these expansive private holdings linked to Sheikh Mohammed, who is vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, using Land Registry records and company filings.
The exact scale of his British landholding is not known because most of the properties connected to him are owned via offshore companies in the tax havens of Guernsey and Jersey. That raises familiar questions about the secretive nature of large amounts of property ownership in Britain, and whether it is structured in ways to avoid paying UK taxes when the properties are sold.
A lawyer for Sheikh Mohammed declined to confirm any details of the properties or companies that own them, saying his financial affairs are private and confidential. The lawyer denied, however, that properties owned by Sheikh Mohammed had been bought by offshore companies, or that they were structured to avoid UK taxes.
A sprawling portfolio
Details of Sheikh Mohammed’s property holdings, which the Guardian compiled with Transparency International, suggest he owns more than 40,000 hectares, forming one source of his power and influence in Britain. The portfolio ranks him among the country’s biggest landowning families, and surpasses the size of the Queen’s personal estates, according to Guy Shrubsole, a leading expert in land ownership.
Sheikh Mohammed’s £75m Longcross estate in Surrey, bought in 1976, is now notorious as the residence from which his daughter, Princess Shamsa, tried to escape from his control 21 years ago. Last year’s devastating high court judgment found on the balance of probabilities, the civil standard of proof, that Sheikh Mohammed had Shamsa abducted in Cambridge, taken to another of his properties, in Newmarket – understood to be Dalham Hall – then flown back to Dubai, where he has since kept her captive.
Throughout that time and since the judgment, which also found that Sheikh Mohammed had Shamsa’s younger sister, Princess Latifa, abducted then imprisoned in Dubai in 2002 and 2018, he has constantly enlarged his British property portfolio.
In June, three months after the judgment was published, the same Guernsey-registered company that owns Longcross, Smech Properties, bought Woodhay, another huge mansion in Surrey, for £13m. A formidable, whitewashed pile with an entrance of neo-classical columns, Woodhay, according to its sales brochure, offers “a palatial” mansion with 10 bedroom suites, several living and entertaining rooms, a cinema and a “swimming pool hall/ballroom”.
Set in 10 hectares of parkland, the mansion is four miles from Ascot, where Sheikh Mohammed races thoroughbred horses from the stables of his global Godolphin operation. He has been a guest in the Queen’s carriage to Royal Ascot and strengthened their relationship through horseracing.
Sheikh Mohammed’s ubiquitous property ownership in Newmarket, headquarters of British horseracing, has long been a feature of the town, and the horses in his blue Godolphin livery are seen being walked from his historic stables to the open spaces of his training paddocks.
Less well-known is his ownership of many exclusive properties in some of the most prestigious parts of London: Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Kensington. In 2013, one of his family’s companies bought a property in Belgravia’s historic Eaton Square from the estate of the Duke of Westminster, for £17.3m – an illustration of historic British gentry selling to the dynastic billionaires of the Gulf.
In 2018 the purchase of Rutland House, a six-storey terrace in Knightsbridge, made headlines for its £61.5m mega-price, and the profit that made for the luxury property developer, Christian Candy, who had fitted it out with an underground swimming pool, aquarium and cinema.
The owner’s identity was unknown at the time, because the company that bought the house, Lizzium Ltd, is registered in Jersey, an offshore tax haven where the identities of beneficial owners are not disclosed. The Guardian’s investigation has found that Lizzium Ltd also owns Warren Towers, known to be one of Sheikh Mohammed’s main properties in Newmarket, overlooking his training gallops.
Sheikh Mohammed’s growing prominence in Britain, and the UAE’s booming fortunes, have increased his influence with the British establishment.
In the high court case, his sixth wife, Princess Haya, alleged that a Cambridgeshire police investigation into Shamsa’s abduction was halted in 2001 after representations were made on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed to the UK government.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, which denies intervening, refused to disclose relevant information it held, saying that doing so “would reduce the UK government’s ability to protect and promote UK interests through its relations with the UAE.”
The judge, Sir Andrew McFarlane, said he could not make a finding on whether representations were made to the government, but the circumstances have led to a perception among the princesses’ supporters that Sheikh Mohammed has been allowed to operate with impunity in Britain.
His journey into the rarefied echelons of British society has been smoothed by his unrivalled investment in horseracing, more than £600m from 2011 to 2020 alone according to published figures, which has increasingly made the sport, and Newmarket itself, financially reliant on him.
On a map of Newmarket, the properties Sheikh Mohammed has acquired, principally via Arat Investments Ltd, a Guernsey-registered company, appear to occupy an area equivalent to roughly half the town.
‘Bossed around by p****s’: Mick Jagger bemoans lockdown and mocks anti-vaxxers in surprise new track
‘Bossed around by p****s’: Mick Jagger bemoans lockdown and mocks anti-vaxxers in surprise new track
“Easy Sleazy”, Jagger told Rolling Stone, is “a reflection on... the physical and mental strains put on society”.
The track takes aim at conspiracy theorists, with the lyrics: “The Earth is flat and cold/ It’s never warming up/ The arctics turned to slush/ The second coming’s late/ There’s aliens in the deep state… Shooting the vaccine/ Bill Gates is in my bloodstream/ It’s mind control.”
Speaking about these lyrics, he told the publication: “It just seems to be that even people you know that are relatively sensible about a lot of things have one thing that they just don’t kind of get. I have several friends and relations and they go off on these things… They’re just irrational.”
Jagger also sings about “stupid dances” on TikTok, the “prison” of lockdown, endless Zoom calls and the sound of fake football fans.
One lyric reads: “Trying to write a tune / You better hook me up to Zoom / See my poncey books / Teach myself to cook / Way too much TV / It’s lobotomising me / Think I’ve put on on weight / I’ll have another drink / Then I’ll clean the kitchen sink.”
He also bemoans being “bossed around by p****s”, presumably referring to the government’s lockdown rules, but adds: “We took it on the chin / the numbers were so grim.”
It’s not all doom and gloom though, with Jagger looking forward to “a garden of earthly delights” as lockdown eases, when “everything’s going to get real freaky… it’s gonna be smooth and greasy”.
It is Jagger’s first solo single since 2017’s double A-side, Gotta Get a Grip / England Lost.
Grohl plays drums, bass and guitar on the new track, released as fans await the next Rolling Stones studio LP, which was teased in 2020.
Chris Brown sued by housekeeper
Chris Brown is being sued by his former housekeeper.
he 'Loyal' hitmaker is the subject of a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Patricia Avila, who has claimed the singer's dog attacked her sister, Maria, when they were cleaning the 31-year-old star's home on 12 December last year.
According to the lawsuit, which was seen by People magazine, Maria - who was bitten around her eye and her leg and had "several inches" of skin missing from her arm - needed two surgeries and spent several days in hospital, while Patricia "suffered severe emotional distress" including post traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.
The housekeeper is "reluctant to leave her home and cannot stop re-living the pain that she experienced as she watched her sister suffer through that horrendous attack that day", and as a result is seeking unspecified financial damages, citing loss of wages due to being unable to work, medical bills, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
The lawsuit explained that prior to the day in question, Chris had kept his dogs on another part of his property, where the housekeepers couldn't see them or interact with them, but on the day of the alleged attack, one of the animals - a Caucasian shepherd which can weigh between 110-200lbs - was in the backyard.
When Maria went outside to empty a vacuum cleaner, the dog growled and "proceeded to viciously attack" her.
After hearing her sister scream, Patricia ran outside and "found her sister covered in blood while she was screaming and crying for help," prompting the 'Gimme That' singer to call emergency services.
More than 30 people fined under Covid rules for attending London house party
Police broke up a house party with more than 30 guests at a property in central London in the early hours of Sunday morning.
A total of 34 people were fined for breaking Covid rules, with the organiser facing a penalty of £10,000.
Guests at the party on Dover Street in Mayfair were playing music and drinking alcohol when the Metropolitan Police arrived at 12:52am, the force said.
Superintendent Daniel Rutland said: “As we prepare for more restrictions to be eased in England it is more important than ever that everybody is following the rules and avoiding unnecessary risks.
“We all have a part to play to ensure the Covid infection rate does not rise again and this type of behaviour risks jeopardising the progress that has been made by the majority of people who have followed the rules.”
From Monday, non-essential shops and outdoor attractions like zoos and theme parks will reopen, as will gyms, self-contained accommodation and personal care businesses like hairdressers.
Pubs and restaurants may serve customers in outdoor seating areas, but only in groups of up to six from multiple households or more from two households.
Large groups will not be allowed to meet indoors until 21 June at the earliest.