It’s Shrove Tuesday, and Pringle Brandon has suggested we meet in town for pancakes. Now London is not overstocked with pancake houses, and the one we choose comes with a long queue of gourmands outside. Luckily PB had the foresight to book a table
Inside the waiters look bone-weary already, and it’s only 6pm. “This must be like new year’s eve for them,” muses David. The table considers what to give up for Lent. Kate is going to stop checking work emails in the evenings. “It’s like crack,” she says, shaking a well-used iPhone. David is going to give up reading free newspapers. “They’re always just sitting there on the train, and it’s too easy to just pick one up and start reading. They’re a complete waste of time,” he says. Much better to stick to weekly subscription titles, I say.
Steve makes a snap decision to give up drinking. “This will be my last beer,” he proclaims, holding up his glass. David looks dubious. “I think it’s worth emailing the whole company about that,” he says. Steve frowns. “Wait a minute – there are no awards ceremonies during Lent, are there?”
The table considers what to give up for Lent. Kate is going to stop checking work emails in the evenings. ‘It’s like crack,’ she says
Only the Building Awards, Steve, but they’re usually a fairly sober affair. Honest.
David is making the journey to Mipim this year, and says teetotalism would be a tricky act to maintain at the annual Cannes knees-up. “People say they can do it, but they’re always drinking champagne by the end of the week,” he says.
Only one company in the world makes this marvellous machine. The only problem is, he can’t remember the name
Victoria, after some pressing, reluctantly agrees to give up ready meals. “It’s so late after getting home and putting the baby to bed that it’s just easier to pop something in the microwave,” she sighs. What would Jamie Oliver say?
Talk of abstinence leads Steve to his favourite topic – energy reduction. “Steve’s building his own house,” explains David. “He likes to tell people about it.” Steve says he is searching for a complicated piece of Japanese machinery that can heat your house by drawing energy from the air outside. “What, even when it’s winter?” asks Victoria. “It can heat radiators even with an outdoor temperature of –10ÞC,” boasts Steve. “Only one company in the world makes it.” The only problem is, he can’t remember the name. “Mitsubishi, perhaps?”
David says Grand Designs has given self-builds a difficult reputation. “I think everyone should build their own homes.” Kate disagrees. “Frustrated architects build their own homes.” Chat of frustrated architects bring us to the work of Le Corbusier, an exhibition dedicated to whom has just opened at the Barbican. Kate talks of a visit to Ronchamp and seeing Corb’s celebrated chapel bathed in early morning light. “It was just magical. You began to understand his inspiration,” she says. “The only problem is, you have to park about five miles away from the thing.”
Chosen watering hole: My Old Dutch Pancake House, Bloomsbury.
Ambience: Your standard pancake joint.
Topics: What should we give up for Lent?
Purchases: five pancakes, two pints of Amstel, Leffe Blonde and strawberry beer, two glasses of red wine and one milkshake.
David Kiernan director
Kate Hopkins design associate
Steve Masterson director
Victoria Connell The Holistic Group
Dan Stewart Building