Ashtray World, for the holiday of a lifetime

'Empty Barclays branches are haunted by ghosts that cry: "I want to pay in my week's takings very slowly"'
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The Independent Online

Bank Holiday Monday today, and time to be out and about in Britain's countryside, joining the queues of holidaymakers looking for something to do. Look no further! Here is a list of some of the best attractions available...

Bank Holiday Monday today, and time to be out and about in Britain's countryside, joining the queues of holidaymakers looking for something to do. Look no further! Here is a list of some of the best attractions available...

Great British Diseases

Just as the Sealed Knot goes around recreating old battles, so the Sealed Flask keeps awake memories of old diseases, from the Black Death to scrofula and dropsy. Today, they are making a rare foray into the Victorian era and the ladylike world of consumption and the vapours, so 20 Victorian ladies will be at the National Epidemic Centre in Birmingham today, swooning and fainting all over the shop. "If you've never had smelling salts or sal volatile applied to your nostrils, you've never lived!" says Sealed Flask director Vernon Nosegay. "Come along for a sniff today!"

The Unmakeover Centre

So many people have had TV companies come in and brutally transform their gardens, houses or cooking habits, that many of them, following nightmares about gardens with purple wallpaper or balsamic vinegar waterfall features, have sought help in rebuilding their lives at the Unmakeover Centre, near York. Today is their open day, when you can see their work at close quarters. Special attraction: personal appearance by several people who auditioned for Big Brother but never made it.

Ashtray World

George Portwine has been amassing ashtrays for more than 50 years and has now opened his vast collection to the public in a converted warehouse in the appropriately named Wiltshire village of Cold Ash. The exhibits range from a tiny portable ashtray that women would carry in their Edwardian handbags to a giant 15-man ashtray that would have been used in Victorian poorhouses. Open today 9am-5pm. No smoking.

Toast-Throwing Contest at Sheeps Wyngate

For as long as anyone can remember, there has been a summer toast-throwing contest at Sheeps Wyngate in the Yorkshire Dales. The object is not to throw the toast the furthest but to be the first to land a piece of toast in Bishop Bunting's Butter Dish 35 feet away. Who Bishop Bunting was, and how it started, is anyone's guess, but the sport has known a huge revival in the last century (except during the Second World War when the lack of butter caused the contest to be suspended for seven years).

Operation City Paintball

The paintball game, in which energetic businessmen fire paint at each other from behind trees, has always been played in the depths of the country. But today, when the City of London lies empty, they take to the lanes and streets of the world's financial capital for the first time and will be hunting each other in the nooks and crannies of the financial jungle. Watch out for wet paint on bank windows tomorrow! Meet at Mansion House Tube for a 10am start. Bring old clothes.

Britain's Most Haunted Bank

Ever since Barclays started closing down rural banks, rumours have spread of empty branches of Barclays being haunted by ghosts crying "I want to pay in my week's takings very slowly" and "Can you let me have £300 in 50p coins, please?". This weekend the hunt has been on for the most haunted empty premises, the winner to be announced somewhere in East Anglia today.

Blotting Paper World

The last blotting paper mill in Britain closed in 1967, but the abandoned mill house at Worplesby in Derbyshire has been restored to working order and reopened as a blotting paper heritage centre. Here you can hear the forgotten sound of the thumping steam-driven machinery and see the soft weft and woof of the absorbent strands of paper being woven into sheets of the traditional pink, blue and white "blotch", familiar to anyone over the age of 40 and baffling to anyone else. Visit the new Blotting Paper Museum, where you can see signatures of famous murderers who were trapped by their incriminating use of blotting paper...

David Shayler in Dover:A Commemorative Walk

This historic walk follows the exact route taken by the celebrated intelligence agent when he returned to England to face the music and asks the question: turncoat or patriot? Stop press: we have just learnt that this attraction has been closed by government order and will now not take place.

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