Strange sounding words are bandied about when Building buys a pint for DTZ, and the trouble with romance and extreme activities is revealed

The meeting takes place early in the new year. Consequently, the team has done well to make it - and it is impressive how many are happy to drink alcohol. However, the new year doesn’t seem to have done a great deal for market sentiment. Gary Lagdon characterises it as bumping along the bottom. “Do you know,” he says, “that the Mayans predicted that the end of the world would arrive in 2012?” I get the feeling he thinks there might be a link.

The others point out that the ‘average person’ doesn’t live in stockbroker hamlet Fulham

As the conversation moves, somewhat inevitably, to the subject of the Olympics, some of the group dynamics starts to suggest themselves: Kate, the lively and youthful provocateur from the West Country, challenging the old ideas; Gary, the cynical and entertaining maverick (with proud Scottish and Essex ancestry); and Robert, the adult in the room - as well-heeled and well-spoken as he is undoubtedly well-schooled. Robert lightly ribs Kate on her Devon origins, while the others jibe his traditional world view.

Titters are provoked when Robert, discussing the disruption that the Olympics may cause to Londoners, uses the example that “the average person in Fulham will not be that affected”. It takes the others to point out that possibly the “average person” doesn’t live in stockbroker hamlet Fulham. However, Robert leads the teasing when Kate refers to non-London residents “bimbling” around the city during the Christmas break - when she was working in the office.

“Is that a Devon word?” he asks, pondering how, if “to bimble” is a verb, then how on earth does it decline?

I leap to Kate’s defence - bimbling is, I agree, an occasionally-used variation on “bumbling,” and is perfect to describe the actions of tourists who stand around looking confused at the top of tube escalators - a classic complaint of the seasoned Londoner. Kate sticks to her guns: “I’m just saying that there was an influx of bimblers over the Christmas period.”

Robert leads the teasing when Kate refers to non-london residents ‘bimbling’ around the city during the christmas break

A discussion of the perils of insuring a charity hitch-hike to Paris then ensues (Robert: “You don’t need to worry in France - the lorry drivers are too busy rolling Gauloise and steering with their feet to do anything dodgy”) leading to a tidal wave of crazy shenanigans the team has got up to, including a barrel roll in a Tiger Moth, camping with lions in Kenya and a sky-dive over New Zealand’s Fox Glacier. Nigel Green has the most romantic extreme activity though - he booked a hot air balloon ride over London to propose to his wife.

The trouble, he says, is that the conditions must be right - otherwise you end up floating into the Heathrow flight path. By the time the British weather allowed them to make their flight, they were already married.

Chosen watering hole: Jamaica Wine House, City of London
Topics: The Olympics, bimbling, extreme activities and the end of the world
Drinks drunk: Four glasses of red wine, two cokes, two white wines, three pints of San Miguel and a bitter
Who was there:

Nigel Green associate director, project and building consultancy
Kate McCue senior surveyor, project and building consultancy
Gary Lagdon director, building consultancy
Anna Foreman-Peck global communications manager
Robert Beaumont director and head of London project and building consultancy
Joey Gardiner Building