Diary: A ghoulish getaway

You’ll remember Diary’s support for starting Halloween celebrations as eagerly and early as possible, and with just a couple of weeks to go it’s time to ramp up the efforts.

Holiday home search engine Holidu has obliged, sending out a list of the spookiest medieval castles across Europe that you can rent for a getaway. Most of them actually look more stunning than scary, but Diary has seen enough horror movies to know that appearances can be deceptive.

The list includes a castle in Italy (pictured) with a torture museum nearby; a French chateau from which you can visit a zombie parade in late October; and, closest to home, an apartment in Narrow Water Castle in County Down, Northern Ireland, close to which will be a train ride through a “wicked witch’s haunted graveyard”.

Spooky stuff!

Great up north

With Channel 4 moving its headquarters from London to Leeds, the broadcaster is keen to address any lingering belief that, as is often said of the media industry, it has an inherent bias towards the capital.

Following up a series of videos titled “Complaints Welcome”, in which Channel 4 stars read out moans from viewers about their shows, the channel has saved the biggest statement for its new HQ, currently undergoing a refurbishment.

Blown up across a banner spanning the outside of the building is an unattributed comment sent in by a viewer who quips of the move: “Didn’t think Channel 4 knew there was life outside the M25.”

Underneath the quote, Channel 4 announces it is going to be open for business in its new HQ in 2020.

The channel tweeted a picture of the banner and received a warm response from other users – “Welcome to Leeds!” – but given reports earlier in the year that many Channel 4 employees were opting for redundancy rather than up sticks from London, the complaints might not be over yet.

They see me rolling

We’ve all heard for a long time now that the way we live and work will forever change in “smart cities”. It all sounds very exciting, and it seems even the most mundane aspects of our day-to-day lives could be set for an overhaul.

“This is the real future of smart cities,” said James Rundle of The Wall Street Journal this week, tweeting a link to a story about – wait for it, wait for it – a self-driving garbage can (or bin to you and me).

The SmartCan, designed by Boston-based entrepreneur Andrew Murray, is a motorised bin that you control with an app, setting a date and time for it to roll itself out to the pavement ready for pick-up.

Think of the arguments you’ve had over whose turn it is to take out the rubbish on bin night – all finished with. Just load up the app and it’s done. Of course, you still need to take the rubbish and recycling out to the bin in the first place, but perhaps Murray can work on a small robot to take care of that too.

Welcome to the jungle

Once ITV was on board as the anchor leisure tenant at Lifestyle Outlets’ £26m Watergardens development in Manchester, it was only a matter of time before news broke of which of the channel’s flagship shows would form the heart of its new “immersive attraction”.

Well hold on to your cork hats, because the companies have now revealed plans to open an “I’m a Celebrity… Jungle Challenge” event next year. Yes, you and your family can follow in the footsteps of Harry Redknapp, Tony Blackburn, Kerry Katona and other past winners of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

The attraction will be a 2,500 sq m indoor course full of “obstacles and challenges”. Collect enough stars and you’ll be crowned king or queen of the jungle.

Now, Diary must admit to not being a dedicated viewer of the show (thank goodness there’s a list of past winners online), but isn’t one of the main challenges eating revolting-looking bugs and suspect parts of kangaroos’ anatomy? Lifestyle Outlets previously said its development would include “polished casual and contemporary dining” – hopefully there’s something more polished than witchetty grubs on the menu.

Been there, done that…

We all have those go-to phrases that we drop a little too frequently, prompting eye rolls among weary colleagues. Some have standards, though, and clearly there is a better class of debate within British Land’s Canada Water team than there is here in the Diary office.

Tiring of her co-head Roger Madelin forever describing himself as “a free market liberal with a re-distribution bias”, Emma Cariaga did the only sensible thing: she had the slogan printed on a T-shirt.

Rather than take umbrage, however, Madelin has taken to wearing the T-shirt with pride.

Main photo: EasyReserve via Holidu