This week, Labour’s shadow construction minister reveals his inner child, Tessa Jowell recalls Howard Shiplee’s feminist leanings, Building fails to cut it with a mallet and a saucy video for … paint

hansom for i pad

It’s the taking part

One of my hacks enjoyed the hospitality of Sweett Group at their summer reception last week, which featured a croquet tournament. Between generous portions of BBQ food, he took on representatives from Kier, John Laing and Sweett at the gentleman’s sport. He was less than happy when he was beaten by all of said opponents and is blaming a rain-logged pitch for his performance. Rest assured, next year he will be replaced with a staff member who is more proficient with a mallet. I cannot have my hacks embarrassing Building at lawn games! 

In praise of dexterous women

Having Dame Tessa Jowell speak at the launch of the Creating Britain’s Future campaign last week was a smart move. Before bigging up Building’s own 2012 campaign, Jowell’s speech looked back at the achievements of the Olympic build from her perspective as a key player. A novel element was her revelation that Howard Shiplee, former head of construction at the ODA, had been an indispensible ally in her drive to get more women involved in the project. Shiplee, she said, had “confided” in her that women were better than men at teamwork and, also, better at using computers thanks to their “dexterity”. What a reassurance to have this level of enlightenment at the top.

50 Shades of Grey emulsion

Since 50 Shades of Grey topped the US and UK bestseller lists, hordes of companies have sought to cash in on the craze with marketing promos inspired by the erotic novel. Perhaps the most tenuous so far comes from tradesmen listings website, which uploaded a
spoof trailer for the upcoming movie featuring a builder painting a living room wall with - you guessed it - 50 shades of grey paint. Needless to say, the video features lots of dipping, dripping and long lingering shots of, err, paint.

Wet, wet, wet

One benefit of this year’s sunken design for the Serpentine Pavillion was apparent at a reception hosted by Fenwick Elliott at the venue last week. As guests braved the ceaseless deluge of the English summer to cross Hyde Park and gather at the venue, many were relieved to notice that the structure’s subterranean position meant rain was unable to seep in through its open sides. As those present enjoyed the dryness, as well as some classy live jazz, the only regret of one guest was that the rain was putting people off nipping outside to view the “pool” that tops the Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Wei Wei collaboration. Still, I think we all know what a large amount of water looks like by now.

He’s not there (is he?)

Further to our observation on James Pellatt’s eyesight last week - after he waxed lyrical about Paul Morrell, believing him not to be in the room, when in fact he was - evidence has emerged to suggest Pellatt may not, in fact, be overdue a trip to Specsavers. It turns out Morrell was meant to be sitting next to him, according to the table plan for the CEO breakfast, but cheekily swapped tables to sit at the back of the room. Hence, Pellatt thought he was a no-show. Clearly Morrell is getting restless as he nears the end of his stint as government construction adviser.

Child’s play

Iain Wright cartoon

Who knew Labour’s shadow construction minister Iain Wright had such a mischievous bent? Last Thursday night he tweeted from his train, presumably on the long haul back to his Hartlepool constituency after a busy week in the Commons, that, as everybody was asleep in his train carriage, he was “desperately trying to curb the urge to draw comedy moustaches on their faces with a marker pen”. Well, Wright did use to be a junior children’s minister.

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