Lovesick phantoms, a paranormal ability to rewrite the past and a man who can talk to the animals (to the animals) – recently, construction has been getting decidedly weird

Ghostly visitors

Ever wonder why there aren’t more women in construction? After a recent stay at the National Construction College (NCC) in Norfolk, one of Building’s team has a theory. On her first night she had bad dreams and imagined a cold finger stroking her face. Relating her story to NCC regulars the next day, she was shocked to find that she may have been the victim of paranormal activity. You see, a fighter plane crash-landed at Bircham Newton during the war, killing a group of servicemen who were on their way home to see their wives. Legend has it that their ghosts roam the site, searching for their lost families. According to one old-timer, “they search night after night for sleeping women”. If she thought she had a bad night’s sleep on the first night, it was nothing compared with the effort needed to fall asleep with her lights, radio and iPod on. In Norfolk nobody can hear you scream …

Oh, didn’t recognise you …

Comedian Jenny Eclair revealed the RIBA awards to the eagerly waiting world last Friday evening – and added a few more intimate revelations as well. The self-styled “Grumpy Old Woman” of comedy informed us that her own house in south London had won one of the prestigious gongs a couple of years back, but it did have one or two problems, she admitted. “It has underfloor heating, so I walk around naked inside. But it also overlooks the 176 bus route and has a lot of glazing.” So the awards ceremony allowed her to make amends. “To any 176 passengers in the audience, this is what I look like with my clothes on.”

Pity, terror and 20/20 hindsight

I heartily enjoy Greek tragedies, so look forward with excitement to the start of the housebuilders’ results season. All the great themes are there – the dangers of hubris, the hazards of deception, the pathos of defeat. So I read with particular interest Taylor Wimpey’s Monday trading update, which informed the City that it was well placed to weather the downturn because it had been clever enough to stop buying development sites in September last year. However, I seem to remember TayWimp weren’t quite so cut and dried about reporting their “halt” to land purchases at the time. In fact, Building received a statement at the tail-end of last year flatly denying media reports that they’d stopped buying land, and their mid-January trading update said they were merely being “selective” about purchases. So what’s changed?

Site life on the Tower of Babel

Here’s an idea for the 2012 Olympics, considering the variety of languages and nationalities of the workers that will be employed on building the venues for us. Workers on the stadium for this summer’s games in Beijing were so great in number – and from so many of China’s provinces – that the powers-that-be came up with a system of colour-coded hard hats so that people knew which dialect each of the 5,000 workers spoke. Talk about using your head.

Dr Doolittle, I presume
Our exclusive a few weeks ago on the unnamed construction director with a curious relationship with a primate has prompted the party in question to send in a picture of himself spending some quality time with his simian chum. Despite initially mistaking it for a poster for a Burt Reynolds comedy, we decided toa share it with you, the reader, to see if you can identify the man in question. His appearance is, shall we say, somewhat different these days. Email your guess,and your reasoning, to The winner (and we must regrettably exclude employees of the monkey-loving managing director’s firm) will receive a DVD of The Jungle Book.