Sport, Guinness and unusual jaunts abroad topped the agenda when Building bought a pint for Blake Newport

Chosen watering hole: Devonshire Terrace, Devonshire Square, London

Topics discussed: Guinness, sport, tropical (and obscure) travel destinations, more sport

Drinks drunk: 3 Peroni, 2 Diet Cokes, 3 Guinness, 1 Amstel, 2 lime and sodas, 1 Corona

Who was there:

David Blake: chairman
Simon McGrail: associate
David Scrimgeour: senior consultant
John Delaney: consultant
William Powell: associate director
Paul Cinnamond: director
Jessica Baron: Building

As I sit down on the plush sofa in this city pub-cum-bar nestled in a quiet courtyard with fresh flowers in vases all around, David Blake points out that while Building may be buying his pint, he’d rather have the champagne circulating at the private do in the pub’s courtyard: “We’re planning on gate crashing once you’re gone”. This leads to a discussion on drinks and Simon announces “the great beer debate - where can you get a good bitter?” John - an Irishman - laments the fact that Guinness just doesn’t travel well. “It’s brewed here so it shouldn’t be any different but it’s poorly served and not very nice.” How is it poorly served? In Ireland they let it sit halfway through pouring but over here John says barmen just leave the tap running then bang it down in front of you.

Talk then moves inevitably from booze to sports (one woman among six men - I have no chance). It turns out that William has written 23 books on cricket. “He’s great,” says Blake. “He knows everything about cricket and we get invited to Lord’s off the back of it”.

From Lord’s to Ethiopa (via horse riding, camel riding and Irish dancing) and John regales us with tales of his recent trip. “They have a series of churches carved into the ground where religious men sit and read the Bible. Unfortunately none of them jumped out at me. I felt like saying: ‘Haven’t you seen the Life of Brian?!’”

Blake has just got back from an orangutan sanctuary in Borneo and Paul and David Scrimgeour have been in Dubai for work. QSs know how to travel. “I went fruit picking in Sussex and had a few days in Frinton-on-Sea,” pipes up a dead-pan William. He made 14 jars of damson jam. “Nothing has changed since I went with my parents in 1972 except people walk around with iPods and the newspaper has today’s date.” John laughs till he nearly falls off sofa.

This reminds them all of nearly capsizing in this year’s Dragon Boat race. “It was our first year and we won every race,” says Blake - after that shaky start. The chairman says that he likes to get people from the different offices together every now and then: “I believe strongly in team spirit. Treat people how you’d like to be treated.” To which David Scrimgeour says: “So you’ll be inviting us to Scotland vs England and putting us up in a hotel, then”. More laughter and a sheepish-looking Blake, then back - inevitably - to the rugby.