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Bungalows are back: Single-storey homes in demand and rising in price 

There is a ‘B’ word so offensive to some estate agents that they dare not speak its name — bungalow. 

Heaven knows why, but these classically British homes are considered a byword for boring by most of the shiny suit and clipboard brigade.

Just look in brochures and you will find them described as ‘properties with lateral space’ or, the latest, ‘barngalows’.

But why? People today love a good bungalow. ‘They have definitely seen a revival in popularity,’ says Vanessa Hale, head of insights at Strutt & Parker. 

Totally transformed: An extended and modernised 1960s bungalow in Wiltshire - these classically British homes are rising in price

Totally transformed: An extended and modernised 1960s bungalow in Wiltshire – these classically British homes are rising in price

‘Our latest Housing Futures survey shows that 22 per cent of those looking to move in the next five years are seeking a bungalow.’

Andrea Robertson, 61, and her husband Dennis, 73, are typical converts to bungalow living. 

Just 18 months ago they moved from a large granite house on the banks of the River Dee, Aberdeen, to a two-bedroom bungalow costing £325,000 on Dandara’s Hazelwood development four miles away.

‘Our old property needed a new roof and there was a lot of work to be done,’ says Andrea. ‘The new house doesn’t require constant maintenance, our utility bills are cheaper and we also save on council tax and home insurance.’

It is wrong to assume, however, that bungalows appeal solely to the baby boomer generation. 

‘Younger people see their advantages, too,’ says Carol Peett of West Wales Property Finders. ‘They are actively looking for them because they are ideal for young families.’

Bungalows are often built on large plots, with sizeable gardens where children can play and if it is an estate of bungalows, they won’t be overlooked by neighbours. 

Many of the revamped, modernised bungalows have large open-plan kitchen/ diners with bi-fold doors, ideal for family life.

 ‘Younger people see their advantages, too. They are actively looking for them because they are ideal for young families.’

Carol Peett – West Wales Property Finders 

The Lodge in Suton, Norfolk, is a prime example. The red-brick exterior isn’t promising, but inside it is all high-tech gloss. 

The open-plan reception rooms appear drenched in light thanks to internal glass block walls, there is under-floor heating and there’s a Duovac central vacuum system. The Lodge is for sale with Strutt & Parker at £825,000.

There are still some of the much satirised 1950s bungalows to be found with ceramic flying ducks on the walls and faded flowery wallpaper, but today these sell quickly as renovation projects. 

Any novice developer looking to make a quick profit could hardly do better than set about ‘doing up’ an old-fashioned bungalow.

Rightmove statistics show that in the last year the average price of a single- storey home increased by 10.5 per cent, while other types of homes appreciated by only 6.3 per cent.

How to go about it? ‘Many bungalows come on the market as probate sales,’ says Bill Spreckley, of Stacks Property Search. ‘

A good lateral extension with open plan designs inside is likely to show a good return.

‘Invest in energy efficiency — plenty of roof space is great for solar panels. 

‘Landscape the garden and look at ways of hiding car parking and adding character to a bland plot.’

It is doubtful if anyone has ever undertaken a bungalow renovation on the scale of 76-year-old businessman David Lodge’s home outside Sedgefield in County Durham.

He bought a battered old gamekeeper’s cottage in 14 acres from a farmer for £150,000 in 1999. 

Over the next 15 years he transformed it, building an office suite, a gym and a huge pool.

The property, which has a distinctly colonial look, is now on the market for £1.5million.

Anyone hoping to emulate Mr Lodge should consider The Bungalow, Beck Street, Hepworth. 

Dating from 1927, this charming cottage standing in seven acres of Suffolk countryside is trapped in a time warp. 

In the garden, there is a Nissen hut from a nearby airfield which was used by American forces as a post office during World War II.

Planning permission has yet to be applied for but Emmerson Dutton, partner at Bedfords estate agent, is confident it would be granted if there were no plans to build above the roof line. 

Sadly, the old house also comes with drawbacks — it has no water, electricity or drainage system.

‘Anyone installing big glass doors to make the most of the views and a modern kitchen could make a good profit,’ says Dutton who is selling the property for £595,000. ‘Bungalows are extremely popular again in this area.’

On the market… all on one level 

Hampshire: There are three bedrooms in this home which has an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. The property is in Sway, near Lymington. Winkworth.co.uk, 01590 642 641. £695,000

 Hampshire: There are three bedrooms in this home which has an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. The property is in Sway, near Lymington. Winkworth.co.uk, 01590 642 641. £695,000

Cornwall: Near Callington, this development is a collection of two, three and four-bedroom homes. Several of them are bungalows. Bakerestatesltd. co.uk, 01626 241 404. From £314,995

Cornwall: Near Callington, this development is a collection of two, three and four-bedroom homes. Several of them are bungalows. Bakerestatesltd. co.uk, 01626 241 404. From £314,995

Hampshire: This three-bedroom bungalow is in Fleet and is near some excellent walking trails. The rear garden has a patio area. Hamptons.co.uk, 01252 216 577. £775, 000

Hampshire: This three-bedroom bungalow is in Fleet and is near some excellent walking trails. The rear garden has a patio area. Hamptons.co.uk, 01252 216 577. £775, 000

 

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Culture

‘Mrs. Doubtfire’: The highlights Of Robin Williams’ Role That defined His Artistic Greatness

The highlights Of Robin Williams’ Role That defined His Artistic Greatness

The Voice Of EU | One of the most versatile comedian and actor Robin Williams left an indelible mark on an entire generation throughout the 1990s, evoking both laughter and tears. His portrayal of a strict yet endearing housekeeper in the hit film “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993) resonated deeply with audiences worldwide, propelling it to resounding success across global boundaries.

Señora Doubtfire Robin Williams
Robin Williams in a scene from ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ (1993). Archive Photos (20th Century-Fox / Getty Images)

Williams played the role, despite the adversities and addictions that plagued his life at the time, by putting aside the devised script and becoming a master of improvisation during the filming of the movie, which brought in more than €400 million.

In the year of its release it was only outdone by Jurassic Park (€1 billion). This is what its director, also an avowed admirer of the American actor, explained on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Mrs. Doubtfire’s debut on the big screen: “It took me three months to rewrite the script. I sent it to Robin and he said he loved it.” After Williams’ suicide in 2014, in an interview for Business Insider magazine, Chris Columbus unveils details that were buried 30 years ago.

“Four and a half hours, maybe five,” is the time in which, according to the director, Robin Williams was able to play Mrs. Doubtfire, a characterization for which the film earned the Oscar for Best Makeup. The actor was not comfortable in portraying his role: a father who disguises himself as a housekeeper in order to spend more time with his children after a bitter divorce. For him, it presented a challenge. “We never could shoot two consecutive days of Robin as Mrs. Doubtfire. It was a punishing day for him, so always the next day, we would shoot him as Daniel (the father),” the director of the film reveals three decades after its release.

Comedy is acting out optimism.” — Robin Williams

In between the laughs and moments that are etched in the minds of many, Columbus describes the challenge of keeping actors such as Pierce Brosnan and Sally Field, who played leading roles in the film, from breaking away from the script of their characters while Williams was at his most unrestrainedly creative.

Indeed, according to the director, his boundless energy even created situations where the script supervisor could not keep up, resulting in unrepeatable and spontaneous takes. “None of us knew what he was going to say when he got going and so I wanted a camera on the other actors to get their reactions.” Most of the sequences in the film, and specifically all of those featuring Williams, were the result of an incredible amount of improvisation from the American comedian. “If it were today, we would never end. But back then, we were shooting film so once we were out of film in the camera, we would say to Robin, ‘We’re out of film.’ That happened on several occasions,” recalls Columbus.

“Hey boss, the way I like to work, if you’re up for it, is I’ll give you three or four scripted takes, and then let’s play.” This was the actor’s first warning to the director of Mrs. Doubtfire. Robin Williams was a significant figure in Chris Columbus’ life, and he still is to this day. Not only because he was responsible for his move to San Francisco, the actor didn’t want to shoot anywhere else, but due to his ability to make people laugh and cry at the same time. “Williams wanted the film to be shot there because he was living in San Francisco with his wife, Marsha, and their children. Thanks to him I fell in love with the city that has become my home,” he explains.

“You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” — Robin Williams

The director also reminisced about some memorable scenes that contributed to the film’s status as a cinematic masterpiece, as perceived by many. However, what stood out the most was his innate ability to improvise: “The entire restaurant sequence was remarkable. When Robin, portraying Mrs. Doubtfire, accidentally loses his teeth in his drink, you can see the joy on Robin’s face; he’s almost smirking to himself for coming up with that.” Following the success of the Mrs. Doubtfire premiere, the production team is currently exploring ways to honor Williams and his portrayal in the film, although no definitive plans have been made yet. “There are approximately 972 boxes of footage stored in a warehouse somewhere in California. There’s something truly special and enchanting about his performances, and I believe it would be exciting to delve deeper into it.”

Despite initial reservations about creating a sequel, the notion of a new spin-off gained traction shortly before the actor’s tragic passing on August 11, 2014, at his residence in Paradise Bay, California. “Robin’s only concern was: ‘Boss, do I have to spend as much time in the suit this time around?’ The physical toll of portraying Doubtfire was immense for Robin; it felt like running a marathon every day,” the director recounts. Following a brief meeting at the actor’s home, and a simple handshake, Chris Columbus began outlining the script mere days before the unfortunate event. “During the rewrite, we contemplated reducing the role of Doubtfire. However, Robin’s untimely demise extinguished any hopes of a sequel,” he laments. Although not spearheaded by its creator, Mrs. Doubtfire has found new life as a stage musical. “What set him apart as a performer is that there was no one like Robin Williams before him, and there will never be anyone like him again. He was truly one-of-a-kind,” reflects the actor’s superior.

Mrs. DoubtfireRobin Williams and Matthew Lawrence in a scene from ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ (1993).

In addition to the director, another Mrs. Doubtfire star who later spoke of Robin Williams’ brilliance was Matthew Lawrence, who played Daniel’s son. Lawrence was just a teenager in the film, which also gave a debut to his co-star Mara Wilson, the unforgettable Matilda. One day Lawrence went to Robin’s dressing room and did not expect what he was told: “‘Stay away from drugs, particularly cocaine.’ He was being serious and told me: ‘You know when you come to my trailer and you see me like that?’ He’s like, ‘That’s the reason why. And now I’m fighting for the rest of my life because I spent 10 years doing something very stupid every day. Do not do it.’ I stayed away from it because of him”, Lawrence recalled in an interview with People magazine in March 2022.

The lesser-known chapter of Williams’ life, while unrelated to his demise, shed light on the inner struggles of a comedian committed to bringing joy to others yet grappling with profound personal sorrow. “As charismatic as he appeared on screen, I’d often visit him in his trailer for chats, he was tormented. It was truly agonizing for him. He didn’t conceal it. He confided in me about his battles with addiction,” the actor concluded.


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Congratulations, Privacy Just Took A Great Leap Out the Window!

Your Data Is Being Used Without Your Permission And Knowledge

The Voice Of EU | In the heart of technological innovation, the collision between intellectual property rights and the development of cutting-edge AI technologies has sparked a significant legal battle. The New York Times has taken legal action against OpenAI and Microsoft, filing a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court. This legal maneuver aims to address concerns surrounding the unauthorized use of the Times’ content for the training of AI models, alleging copyright infringements that could potentially result in billions of dollars in damages.

READ: HOW YOUR DATA IS BEING USED TO TRAIN A.I.

This legal tussle underlines the escalating tension between technological advancements and the protection of intellectual property. The crux of the lawsuit revolves around OpenAI and Microsoft allegedly utilizing the Times’ proprietary content to advance their own AI technology, directly competing with the publication’s services. The lawsuit suggests that this unauthorized utilization threatens the Times’ ability to offer its distinctive service and impacts its AI innovation, creating a competitive landscape that challenges the publication’s proprietary content.

Amidst the growing digital landscape, media organizations like the Times are confronting a myriad of challenges. The migration of readers to online platforms has significantly impacted traditional media, and the advent of artificial intelligence technology has added another layer of complexity. The legal dispute brings to the forefront the contentious practice of AI companies scraping copyrighted information from online sources, including articles from media organizations, to train their generative AI chatbots. This strategy has attracted substantial investments, rapidly transforming the AI landscape.

Exhibit presented by the New York Times’ legal team of ChatGPT replicating a article after being prompted

The lawsuit highlights instances where OpenAI’s technology, specifically GPT-4, replicated significant portions of Times articles, including in-depth investigative reports. These outputs, alleged by the Times to contain verbatim excerpts from their content, raise concerns about the ethical and legal boundaries of using copyrighted material for AI model training without proper authorization or compensation.

The legal action taken by the Times follows attempts to engage in discussions with Microsoft and OpenAI, aiming to address concerns about the use of its intellectual property. Despite these efforts, negotiations failed to reach a resolution that would ensure fair compensation for the use of the Times’ content while promoting responsible AI development that benefits society.

In the midst of this legal battle, the broader questions surrounding the responsible and ethical utilization of copyrighted material in advancing technological innovations come to the forefront.

The dispute between the Times, OpenAI, and Microsoft serves as a significant case study in navigating the intricate intersection of technological progress and safeguarding intellectual property rights in the digital age.


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Culture

Conflicted History: ‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders

‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders

The Voice Of EU | In the highly anticipated blockbuster movie, “Oppenheimer,” the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man behind the first atomic bomb, is portrayed as a riveting tale of triumph and tragedy.

As the film takes center stage, it also brings to light the often-overlooked impacts on a community living downwind from the top-secret Manhattan Project testing site in southern New Mexico.

A Forgotten Legacy

While the film industry and critics praise “Oppenheimer,” a sense of frustration prevails among the residents of New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin, who continue to grapple with the consequences of the Manhattan Project. Tina Cordova, a cancer survivor and founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, expresses their feelings, stating, “They invaded our lives and our lands and then they left,” referring to the scientists and military personnel who conducted secret experiments over 200 miles away from their community.

The Consortium, alongside organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, has been striving to raise awareness about the impact of the Manhattan Project on New Mexico’s population. Advocates emphasize the necessity of acknowledging the human cost of the Trinity Test, the first atomic blast, and other nuclear weapons activities that have affected countless lives in the state.

The Ongoing Struggle for Recognition

As film enthusiasts celebrate the drama and brilliance of “Oppenheimer,” New Mexico downwinders feel overlooked by both the U.S. government and movie producers. The federal government’s compensation program for radiation exposure still does not include these affected individuals. The government’s selection of the remote and flat Trinity Test Site, without warning residents in the surrounding areas, further added to the controversy.

Living off the land, the rural population in the Tularosa Basin had no idea that the fine ash settling on their homes and fields was a result of the world’s first atomic explosion.

The government initially attempted to cover up the incident, attributing the bright light and rumble to an explosion at a munitions dump. It was only after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Japan weeks later that New Mexico residents realized the magnitude of what they had witnessed.

Tracing the Fallout

According to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, large amounts of radiation were released into the atmosphere during the Trinity Test, with fallout descending over a vast area. Some of the fallout reached as far as the Atlantic Ocean, but the greatest concentration settled approximately 30 miles from the test site.

Now I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

The consequences of this catastrophic event have affected generations of New Mexicans, who still await recognition and justice for the harm caused by nuclear weapons.

A Tale of Contrasts: Los Alamos and the Legacy of Oppenheimer

As the film’s spotlight shines on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a contrasting narrative unfolds in Los Alamos, more than 200 miles north of the Tularosa Basin. Los Alamos stands as a symbol of Oppenheimer’s legacy, housing one of the nation’s premier national laboratories and boasting the highest percentage of people with doctorate degrees in the U.S.

Oppenheimer’s influence is evident throughout Los Alamos, with a street bearing his name and an IPA named in his honor at a local brewery. The city embraces its scientific legacy, showcasing his handwritten notes and ID card in a museum exhibit. Los Alamos National Laboratory employees played a significant role in the film, contributing as extras and engaging in enlightening discussions during breaks.

The “Oppenheimer” Movie

Director Christopher Nolan’s perspective on the Trinity Test and its profound impact is evident in his approach to “Oppenheimer.” He has described the event as an extraordinary moment in human history and expressed his desire to immerse the audience in the pivotal moment when the button was pushed. Nolan’s dedication to bringing historical accuracy and emotional depth to the screen is evident as he draws inspiration from Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

For Nolan, Oppenheimer’s story is a potent blend of dreams and nightmares, capturing the complexity and consequences of the Manhattan Project. As the film reaches global audiences, it also offers a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the downwinders in New Mexico, whose lives were forever altered by the legacy of nuclear weapons testing.

The Oppenheimer Festival and Beyond

Los Alamos is determined to use the Oppenheimer Festival as an opportunity to educate visitors about the true stories behind the film’s events. The county’s “Project Oppenheimer” initiative, launched in early 2023, encompasses forums, documentaries, art installations, and exhibits that delve into the scientific contributions of the laboratory and the social implications of the Manhattan Project.

A special area during the festival will facilitate discussions about the movie, fostering a deeper understanding of the community’s history. The county aims to continue revisiting and discussing the legacy of the Manhattan Project, ensuring that the impact of this pivotal moment in history is never forgotten.

As “Oppenheimer” takes audiences on an emotional journey, it serves as a reminder that every historical event carries with it complex and multifaceted implications. The movie may celebrate the scientific achievements of the past, but it also illuminates the urgent need to recognize and address the human cost that persists to this day.


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