This week, construction bigwigs discover pressing engagements in Australia, Burnley after the bulldozers and John Prescott cracks us up yet again
Memories of Webb Ellis
My congratulations to the England rugby team on winning the World Cup so spectacularly last Saturday. Reminds me of the time I had that git William Webb Ellis in the back of my cab back in the 1840s. The appalling fellow tried to scarper without paying. I naturally tackled him to the ground, whereupon he told me it was "worth a try". Speaking more contemporaneously, I was amazed at the number of functions that occurred in Australia last week that had to be attended by construction executives …

Bucolic Burnley
May I thank Burnley council, aka "the place to be", for sending me their 2004 calendar. Apparently, it was commissioned by the council's economic development unit "to promote the borough of Burnley", and it is adorned by the work of local photographer Alastair Lee. Surprisingly, the borough in question consists entirely of rough pasture and arable land, complete with strawberry-blonde moors, rippling brooks and new-born calves.

The enigma of John Prescott
I swung by the Prince's Foundation's Traditional Urbanism conference last week to hear John Prescott present a typically lucid and cogent case for Urban Design codes. Despite the fact that Four Pads had to leave early play in the parliamentary Ping Pong match over Foundation hospitals, he still managed a quip at Prince Charles. "Your Royal Highness," he said, "I think we share many things in common – and I don't mean that we're both deputies!" What could he be hinting at?

Well, I've seen a house fly …
It is always nice to hear of industry high-flyers. One such is HME paints, who inform me that their water-based enamels were used to adorn a flying Miss Piggy (above) for the Flugtag at London's Hyde Park earlier this year – an event where nutters strap themselves into crazy flying machines and launch themselves off a ramp above the Serpentine in a doomed attempt to remain airborne for a fraction of a second longer than a stone. It seems their flight of 4.6 m was sufficient to win first prize.

Moveable feast
Christmas day, it seems, now falls in early November and continues until it's time to get really drunk at new year. At least, that's the impression I derive from Hire Centre First Call's press release telling me about a snow-making machine – "the Backyard Blizzard" – that it supplied to Keith Giles of Penarth. It seems that it allowed a "doting dad" to keep his promise of a white Christmas to his 10-year-old son. Hire Centre presumably then supplied a snowplough and gritter once the blizzard had passed.

Bob’s on the run

It was reassuring to see another of the industry’s cowboys driven out of town, or so I initially thought when I received an email from Shepherd Construction. The electronic epistle included an image of a terrified Bob the Builder being chased over the Millennium Bridge in York by a crowd of 30 of Shepherd’s employees. However, the accompanying text explains that I couldn’t have been more wrong: Bob and his colleagues at Shepherd were taking part in a fun run to raise £1000 for Children in Need. Can he leg it? Yes he can.