for the Construction Industry Council

Building’s digital camera isn’t working. While Eve helpfully rushes back to fetch one from the office, William makes us all feel old.

“Do you know, digital cameras have been around for so long now that they have them at my son’s nursery? Old digital cameras for two year olds to smash up! There’s a mobile phone aimed at four year olds now.”

Richard is concerned: “But doesn’t it fry their brains?”

The group ponder whether they would let their four year olds (real or imaginary) have a mobile phone. But Graham has other worries. “The thing that bothers me is MSN Messenger – my daughter’s never off it. We have talked to her about strangers, but she says she only talks to people she knows.”

Actually, says William, the strength of MSN is that you can only really talk to people you already know. In fact, he uses it to message Richard at work. And Janette. And Janette messages Fiona … It turns out that everybody in the group uses it all day long, except Graham.

Eve returns and begins snapping away. She won’t let her son have a mobile until he’s 12, and she doesn’t use MSN, either. “Oh good,” exclaims a visibly relieved Graham. “I’m glad I’m not the only one.”

There is a smattering of worthy conversation about carbon footprints and the misguided search for symmetry in architecture, but Graham can contain himself no longer. “I can’t believe you haven’t mentioned the burning issue of the week,” he complains. “Pete and Nikki have split up!”

It turns out he’s talking about Big Brother, although he swears he only watched it because his wife and daughters insisted. Richard enters the same plea, and only William fesses up to being a fan. “I was voted Person in the Office Most Likely to Watch Big Brother,” he admits.

Everyone likes Dragons’ Den however. “That’s the acceptable face of reality TV,” says Graham approvingly. “I love the Australian guy. The others are really cautious but he’s really gung ho and comes in at the end and completely undermines them. I love that.”

“Did you see those women?” asks William. “They were trying to set up an employment agency for female builders but it completely misrepresented the idea. And they were very defensive.”

“Oh no, the dragons hate that,” Janette chips in.

“I’ve often thought we should submit the CIC’s Design Quality Indicators to Dragons’ Den,” muses Graham. “We’ve got a track record, we’ve got the sums, we can prove there’s a demand …” Everyone agrees it’s a very good idea …

  • Chosen watering hole: The Rising Sun, Tottenham Court Road
  • Ambience: Rowdy Friday afternoon boozer
  • Topic: technology and trash TV
  • Drinks drunk: three glasses of dry white wine, two pints of London Pride, one pint bitter top, two white wine spritzers

Those present …

  • Graham Watts, chief executive
  • William Hawkins, DQI manager
  • Richard Biggs, operations director and registrar
  • Janette Welton, regional co-ordinator
  • Eve Farraud, PA to Graham
  • Katie Puckett, Building