From January 1999’s issue.

News Millennium house parties. Party planners are working overtime to ensure the millennium goes with a bang, and for those who don’t fancy the 35,000-strong bash at the Dome there are plenty of alternatives. Lillingston Associates has a range of stately homes, castles and shooting lodges, all of which can fully cater for groups of 10 to 30 people. Sporting activities can be arranged to work off hangovers. 

Venues include the Duke of Hamilton’s home, Lennoxlove House, in East Lothian; Lismore Castle in Co Waterford, the Irish home of the Duke of Devonshire, which is available fully staffed from £35,000 plus VAT for the four day/three night millennium period; and Blairquhan Caastle in Ayrshire, which is available for 20 people for £44,760 plus VAT (based on a three-day stay and includes all staff, meals and a well-stocked cellar).

Property The Welsh Pencelli Estate. Want to own 14,000 acres? Of course you do. Want to pay peanuts for it? Yes, again. Well here is your chance: 14,000 acres in the Brecon Beacons are for sale. What’s the catch? Well, mainly that it produces no income at present nor, as far as I can see, is there much chance of it doing so in the futue. But the freeholder becomes Lord of the Manor of Welsh Pencelli and gets the sporting and mineral rights over the land.

Knight Frank says: “Grouse have reduced in numbers but the estate offers very good walking.” Having spend a considerable time walking over the land when playing soldiers I can honestly say I never saw a single grouse, so if you buy it please don’t invite me to a walked-up day.

So who will buy this land? The National Trust, a neighbour, must be a prime candidate being long on cash and short on common sense. However, a private individual cannot be ruled out. Think of the cachet of owning 14,000 acres.

Country queries What’s a Barbary? I recently served Barbary duck at a dinner party and was asked whether Barbary was a breed of a method of feeding. Can you tell me what the answer is?

Barbary ducks origniate from the Barbary Coast in North Africa and are a cross between a Muscovy and a domestic duck. They are an excellent table bird with good, lean meat and are also prolific layers.