Ghostly engineers, altruistic architects, NHS party animals and mysterious rugby fans help our phantom diarist enjoy another week on the tiles

Hague for Tory leader?

Forget William Hague, I hear that Willmott Dixon’s former PR guru Gary Hague is the new man to watch in the Conservative party. After recently being re-elected as the Tory ward councillor for Chafford in Essex, Hague has now been made deputy leader of Thurrock council. Better still for Hague, I hear he has also been appointed to the board of the local Unitary Development Corporation to kickstart the region’s Thames Gateway regeneration plans.

The Procure for a hangover

More news reaches me of the doings at Procure21. One disgruntled contractor on the supply chain informs me that there have been dark mutterings over the way the NHS client’s away days are run. Apparently, while members of the supply chain do battle with the morning rush hour to make it to the hotel in time for the day’s proceedings, Procure21 staff are put up for the night. The only glimmer of comfort for the supply chain is that they seem to avoid the mysterious headache-and-nausea-related illness that afflicts the poor Procure21 staff whenever these get-togethers occur.

Doing it for the kids

The altruistic side of Ken Shuttleworth was in evidence at engineer Whitbybird’s evening gathering at the New London Architecture exhibition space in London’s Store Street. Architecture students take note because, according to Alex Whitby, son of Whitbybird director Mark Whitby, it was surprisingly easy to get Shuttleworth to give a talk for his university architecture course. Seeking confirmation of this, one of my colleagues asked the Make architect how a group of students would go about getting a repeat performance. “Well,” pondered Shuttleworth, “all you have to do is ask.” With that type of attitude, he should have more students queueing outside his door than a kebab shop after last orders.

Spooky structures

Church crypts are clearly the latest must-have venues for engineers hosting their pre-Christmas knees-ups. While WSP had a pleasant party in the surroundings of the Crypt in Ely Place, London, last month, the prize for making the most of these subterranean venues must go to structural engineer Price & Myers. Guests descended into the dark, dank space under St Pancras Church nervously clutching their drinks. Negotiating their way round the labyrinthine crypt was tricky as the only illumination was provided by ultraviolet light. The spooky atmosphere was made complete by a series of glowing apparitions hovering in mid-air, which turned out, on closer inspection, to be models of the firm’s engineering structures picking up the UV light. It was so artfully done that Price & Myers will have to pray the ethereal nature of these structures won’t scare off potential clients.

Zed’s not dead

More on Z-squared, the huge Foster-designed “son of Bedzed” estate touted for the Thames Gateway by sustainability consultant BioRegional. BioRegional is desperate for a site to build 5000 ecologically top-notch houses somewhere in the Gateway. Meanwhile, the firm has just struck a deal with developer Quintain, which owns all of the area around the Greenwich peninsula. So, what chance a Millennium Zed? BioRegional chief executive Pooran Desai is keeping shtoom, but did tell one of my colleagues that he had met the Olympic authorities to discuss ways of ensuring a green Games. Expect an announcement soon …

Less handy for half-time pies …

Anyone wishing to convince the nation’s youth that construction can be an attractive career could take a tip from Saturday’s rugby union international at Twickenham, in which England “thrashed” Australia 26-16. By far the best seat in the house was taken by a mystery fan located in a tower crane high above the ground. Mowlem has yet to confirm whether he was one of its staff working to redevelop parts of the stadium – or indeed whether he put in for overtime for working the weekend.