17:   Hit-and-run rent da Vinci style!

The normally tranquil village of Roslin grabbed its first taste of Hollywood this month when Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks and his entourage swept into town. They were filming the finale to Dan Brown's international best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code. An interesting angle was picked up by The Scotsman newspaper.

In the village a group of pensioners owned cottages in Manse Road with the best views of the scene-setting Rosslyn Chapel. They organised a "bidding war," according to the newspaper - selling prime-location spaces at bedroom windows to the world's paparazzi. All proceeds were being split between a kidney research unit at an Edinburgh hospital and the village's old folk's lunch club.

The main organiser, a retired teacher who did not want to be named, began the day by charging 25. But after a steady stream of desperate inquires, his price for a day's pitch soon rose between 50 and 75.

These wise old folk of Roslin effectively socialized the profit to be made from their location, for the benefit of the local community. Some owners might simply have pocketed an unexpected profit.

from Land and Liberty, Autumn 2005