The country is in sporting mood, and the construction industry is no exception, cycling, diving and sailing the summer away. Oh, and rescuing some cute little kittens. Aww …

How do you design a barricade?

I hear there was trouble at the RIBA last Friday, as peace-loving beatniks descended on the neighbouring Chinese embassy to protest against Beijing’s hosting of the Olympic Games. Urgent internal missives were sent warning RIBA staff to avoid visiting the building to avoid the throng. It’s a good thing nobody told the protesters that Sunand “Business Class” Prasad and “Junket Jack” Pringle were soon off to Beijing to “foster cross-cultural links”, or it might have been No 66 that the crowd turned their wrath on.

Boris, Beijing and the Barracuda

The Barracuda Bar in the City of London opened its doors at 7.30 on Monday morning as Tom Daley competed in his first event in Beijing. Family, friends and media gathered to watch the ridiculously famous 14-year-old diver, but the man describing himself as mayor of London was conspicuously absent. “There’s still hope Boris might change his mind and show support,” said one bystander halfway through. “We thought the offer of an all-you-can-eat fry-up may have swayed it.” But alas, the sausage sarnies failed to lure Boris from his lair. “I hear his response was ‘Seven-bloody-thirty? You must be joking!’” said another guest.

Balfour in taxi shuttle shock

Taxis – as readers are no doubt aware – are a mode of transport close to my heart. So it’s good to hear that Balfour Beatty staff will be relying on them a whole lot more over the next three years. As part of its £350m upgrade of Blackfriars station in central London, the company is to close it until 2011. This is annoying for us hacks, who are based right next to the site, but worse for Balfour managers a few floors below, who use Blackfriars to shuttle back and forth to their base in Victoria. According to one employee it’s going to be either taxis or bikes from now on. I have a sneaking suspicion I know which they’ll choose …

Steady as she sinks

I slipped into my deck shoes last week for a day’s sailing with Franklin + Andrews during Cowes week off the Isle of Wight. We weren’t actually racing, but I must applaud those who were, above all contractor Dean & Dyball, whose boat won two of the event’s races – which is most fitting for a builder of Olympic sailing facilities. I wish I could say the same for all those present. The sight of a Royal Bank of Scotland yacht coincided with news that it had just made a first-half loss of £692m. Suspicions of a leak on board were unconfirmed …

Wetting their whiskers

Normally construction sites are places where fur tends to fly as opposed to being stroked smoothly into position, so I feel proud to report that a soft-hearted builder on an HBG site in Milton Keynes recently helped save a cat and her six kittens. They were rescued from an area that was due to be bricked up, so obviously the kitten, whose mewing attracted the site’s own Dr Dolittle, was named “Lucky”. The names given to Lucky’s siblings are rather more revealing, though: they are variously Toffee, Sparkle, Whisky, Toddy and Bailey. Clearly the site workers were in celebratory mood.

Do it if you Cannes

To continue the cycling theme of this week’s issue, it has been brought to my attention that, if watching, reading and talking about cycling wasn’t enough for you, you can also participate. Yes, that’s right – Peter Murray is calling all budding Nicole Cookes and Chris Hoys to enter his annual cycle to Cannes, which is a mere 1,500km away.

And if you still have the energy, you can write about it on our new cycling forum at Email for info about the 5-10 March 2009 trip to Cannes if you dare.