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Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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   Inside Out - East Midlands: Monday February 27, 2006

Behind the scenes at Kedleston Hall

Kedleston Hall
Kedleston requires an army of cleaners and restorers

Kedleston Hall near Derby was built for lavish entertaining in Georgian times.

It's nearly 250 years old and 85,000 tourists parade through it in the summer.

But what happens when the shutters come down at the end of the season?

And is it true that there's a ghost which makes its presence felt?

Inside Out's Marie Ashby stays behind when the shutters close, and spends time with the cleaners and restorers over the winter months at this National Trust property.

Restoring treasures

Kedleston is a neo-classical mansion with landscape gardens built between 1759 and 1765 for the Curzon family.

The house boasts the most complete and least-altered sequence of Robert Adam interiors in England.

Cleaning statues at the hall
Finishing touches - a statue is given a dust down

It's also well known for its magnificent state rooms with their great collections of paintings and original furniture.

And there are more treasures under Kedleston's roof in the museum which houses a fascinating range of objects collected by Lord Curzon when he was Viceroy of India (1899-1905).

Keeping the house and its treasures looking their best is a year-round job, but it's in the winter that this job is at its most demanding.

That's when the cleaners and restorers descend on the Hall to make it look immaculate for the coming tourist season.

Marie Ashby looks at how the hall and its treasure trove is getting a good dusting down during the off-season.

Ghostly stories

There's many a tale of a ghostly apparition in Kedleston's history.

One of the haunted parts of the house is said to be the staircase.

Maureen and Diane, who do all the dusting at Kedleston, reckon that the spirit of the Hall's first housekeeper is with them rather more than they'd like.

Inside Out also checks out the ghostly apparitions.

Send an e-postcard of Kedleston Hall.

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Cat show

Show cat
Looking purrfect - glamour pusses in Derby

There was a time not so long ago when our pets led very dull lives.

With only milk and mice to relieve the monotony eight out of 10 cats were rather fed up felines.

But things were about to change… enter the world of the show cat and feline fashion.

Inside Out enters the sometimes dramatic world of the cat show in an attempt to find the real glamour pusses.

Cat capital

FEATURED CATS


Sphynx or Canadian Hairless
* A rare breed of cat with extremely little fur and no whiskers. Suede-like skin. Very inquisitive and affectionate. Loves attention.

* In 1966 a domestic cat gave birth to a hairless kitten in Canada. It was discovered to be a natural mutation and the Sphynx came into being.

Norwegian Forest Cat
* A very old breed of domestic cat, native to Northern Europe, and adapted to cold climates.

* Nicknamed "Wegie" - short for Norwegian. Also known as Skaukatts or Norsk Skogkatt (Norwegian Forest Cat).

* Has a thick, fluffy, double-layered coat, and tufted ears with a long bushy tail to protect against the cold. Their coat is basically waterproofed due to its coarse outer layer.

* Intelligent, playful and sociable.

Maine Coon
* One of the oldest breeds in North America - admired for its mouse-catching abilities. Suited to harsh winters.

* Kindly nature and intelligent.

Bengal
* Cross between an Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic breed, such as an Abyssinian or Burmese.

* Short and dense coat, patterned in random spots or marbled. The coat may appear as if sprinkled with glitter.

* The Cat Fanciers Association consider this to be be a "wild cat," and do not accept the breed for registration.

For one weekend in February 2006 Derby was the cat capital of the nation.

Hundreds of animals and their owners descended on the city to compete in one huge cat competition.

With judges flying in from across the world, and owners travelling from all over the UK, the claws were out to be 'best in show'.

These shows always begin with 'vetting in'.

All cats have to pass a strict vet's inspection to make sure the animals aren't ill or carrying any unwelcome guests like fleas or mites.

As soon as the cat and its owner enter the show hall, it's preparation time.

The pressure is really on to get the cat and its cage looking their very best.

Cat shows are one of two types - either "open" or "closed".

If it's a closed show it literally means that when the judging starts, the owners aren't allowed to watch and have to leave the show hall.

However the Derby show stays open to all - and the result is great excitement and a little trepidation.

Dozens of cats are being judged at once and the pressure is really on.

Each cat has been coiffed and presented to look its very best.

Finally it's time to decide on 'Best in Show' - but not before a lot of nail biting from the owners.

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The 4x4 debate

4 x 4 car on road
4x4 - king of the road or gas guzzler?

To some they are the ultimate in freedom, to others they represent a major threat that could enslave us all.

We're talking 4x4s... and the mud-slinging may have only just begun between those who love them and those who think they are just too big for our roads.

Inside Out investigates the 4x4 controversy and looks at two very different points of view.

Controversial cars

It's the car that gets everyone in a heated debate - the 4x4.

Users say they're comfortable and safest for their children.

Campaigners say they're endangering other people's children to say nothing of destroying the planet.

We put Vicky Harrison a Greenpeace campaigner and Neil Brownlee who owns three 4x4s in the car together and let them argue it out.

Neil Brownlee loves his Land-Rovers. But not everyone's impressed by Neil's passion.

Greenpeace campaigner Vicky Harrison thinks people like him are public enemy number one.

While Neil spends his weekends having fun in his 4x4s, Vicky spends hers protesting against them.

She's been demonstrating at a Land-Rover dealership in Neil's home town of Northampton.

Greenpeace has specifically targeted the 4x4 company, accusing it of selling gas-guzzling cars which contribute towards global warming.

At the Brownlee household choosing a different car means deciding what Land Rover to drive.

They've got a fleet of three - mum's already left for work in hers - so the kids get to choose between the V8 Discovery and the V8 Range Rover - both cars top Greenpeace's climate hit list.

The kids love the cars so much they've even given them names.

On the road

Vicky agrees to go for a spin with Neil once the children have been dropped off.

She's concerned about greenhouse gases due to what she says are the high fuel consumption of the vehicles - and safety, particularly children being knocked over by the bumper.

Vicky and Neil in car
Vicky and Neil agree... to disagree on 4x4s

Neil disagrees - and reckons by dropping the children on his way to work he isn't making an unnecessary journey.

Land Rover didn't want to take part in our report - but they did tell us that 97% of sales of the new Discovery are diesel models which average around 30 miles to the gallon.

Meanwhile Neil and Vicky will never agree.

During a heated debate Vicky asks Neil, "don't you care about your children - they're going to inherit the planet".

Neil retorts, "They're going to inherit a 4 x 4!"

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