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National Trust’s multi-million electronic tagging project ‘proves stately homes do not migrate’

it was previously believed they spent the winter in AfricaA six-year research project costing £345m has proved conclusively that stately homes remain in the United Kingdom throughout the winter, the National Trust has announced. ‘After years of painstaking research, we are delighted to have absolute proof that none of our properties ever move south for the winter months,’ said National Trust director Dame Fiona Reynolds. ‘This conundrum has puzzled the British public for years, and we’re pleased to have a conclusive answer.’

Scientists captured forty stately homes and attached electronic tags to them, allowing their movements to be monitored at a state-of-the-art satellite tracking centre in Banbury, Oxfordshire. ‘We also followed ten other attractions, including Alton Towers Theme Park and the Baltic Centre in Newcastle, to compare their behaviour patterns,’ said the project leader, Dr Philip Simpson, of Somerset University. ‘Using sophisticated software adapted from NASA, and a team of 100 experts in architectural migration, we plotted the movements of the tagged buildings once every four hours, round the clock, for six years. The findings shocked all of us.’

Dr Simpson reported that not a single one of the stately homes had moved even an inch during the entire lifetime of the project. ‘We were astonished,’ he told reporters. ‘After years of wondering what happens to these buildings during the winter months, when they are closed to the public, we finally have an answer. We had expected to find that they moved south for the winter, herding together and sweeping across the plains of southern England like huge brick wildebeest, heading for the English Channel, taking flight and landing in sunny Africa for six months of the year. But in fact they just stayed put and didn’t move a bloody inch. I was gobsmacked, not to mention a little bored.’

why aye, manDame Fiona remained upbeat about the research, denying that cancer research would have been a worthier cause. ‘Yes, I admit that we didn’t find anything that we couldn’t have worked out just by driving up to these homes and looking at them every few weeks,’ she said candidly. ‘But even if we’d done that, we wouldn’t have been totally sure that they weren’t flying off to Spain for a week here and there. This way, we can categorically reassure the public that National Trust properties never leave Britain – not like the Angel of the North, which buggers off to Rio every August for six weeks.’

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Posted: Jul 18th, 2009 by The Paper Ostrich

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