More news today on Sir Benjamin Slade's plan to give away his Somerset manor house—this time from the New York Times.
Sir Benjamin says the new owner can't be a drug addict or a Communist, and "It's politically incorrect to say so, but he can't be gay, because he may not produce any children." Oh, yes, and he must be wealthy enough to fix the place up.
Slade's given up hope of producing an heir of his own, though he has made a deposit at a sperm bank ("they said I had nine months' supply, whatever that means"). And he's ruled out giving the estate to a close relative, none of whom take enough interest in their family history.
"If you ask any of them, 'Who was your grandmother?' 'What did Sir John Slade do in the Peninsular War?' they have no idea," Sir Benjamin said.Slade himself came to own the manor under conditions less than ideal.
When he took possession of Maunsel House, it was a ruin, his surviving aunt confined to just two rooms.
"She lived on Mars bars and Milky Ways," he said. "She drank for Somerset. She had about 18 different driving offenses — hit and run, driving over a policeman's foot. When she died, she left £22.50, and she didn't leave it to me." Once, Sir Benjamin said, the aunt set the house on fire, hoping to collect insurance, only to have the fire fizzle out because of the pervasive dampness. [Link]