It's been a good week for ...
Treemungous gardenmostiest! In the ultimate wizardly spell, Harry Potter author JK Rowling has been granted permission to build two luxurious Hogwartsesque tree houses in her Edinburgh garden, despite protests from neighbours.
The writer applied to have the 40ft-high structures erected, at an estimated cost of £250,000, as part of a programme of renovations at her home in the Cramond area.
The two-storey tree houses on stilts are for her nine-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter and boast secret tunnels, a rope bridge and turrets. I hope her children are as content with the magical edifice as we were with the precarious (actually, downright dangerous) tree house we engineered as children from bits of old wood and twine.
Merchandising has always felt out of kilter with the mood of educational wholesomeness encapsulated by the original Potter phenomenon. It was brilliant that the books rekindled a desire to read among children the world over. Why indulge their fantasies with material goods when the power of the written word can take them on innumerable adventures at the turn of a page?
Alas, the merchandise happened, and I have to admit that some of it made its way into our household. A lump of plastic reminiscent of the infamous Whomping Willow Tree was top of our son's Christmas list of most-desired objects one year. Mum and Dad were sceptical, but Santa prevailed.
It moved for a bit and made scary noises – until the batteries ran out. Real trees are more fun after all. Even without turrets. Meanwhile, Cramond residents are hoping that Ms Rowling conjures up a cloak of invisibility for her new creations.
It's been a bad week for - spies
Sweden's spooks have blown their cover by racking up a rather hefty eccies bill.
Government accountants are concerned about a James Bond-themed party thrown for the country's spy agency, Sapo. The Dagens Nyheter news website has reported that the party for 1000 staff in June last year featured casino tables, a gala dinner, celebrity entertainment and big band music. Questions are now being asked about the bill for 5.3m kronor (£508,000).
That's a pretty money penny in anyone's books.
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