There is cause to celebrate, because – despite efforts to prove otherwise – ours is still a country of mad dogs, prudish, tea-gulping Englishmen and the best, if not cleverest, eco-warriors in the world

You can’t be childish in parliament …

Attendees of the Department for Transport’s select committee on the future of airport operator BAA were last week left bemused when the hearing was interrupted by Plane Stupid, a group of eco-protesters against Heathrow’s mooted third runway. One agitator forced his way to the front and pointed his finger at BAA chief executive Stephen Nelson. “The future will judge you!” he cried. Luckily, committee chairperson Gwyneth Dunwoody wasn’t fazed by what future generations might think and sternly dismissed the “childish” protestors from the room. Plane Stupid, indeed.

Not in front of the architects

Guests at Lord Foster’s swanky bash at the British Museum last week were entertained by the surreal spectacle of a troupe of Catalan actors performing operatic passages from Wagner. One wonders whether the grandees – who included Lord Rogers, Zaha Hadid, Terry Farrell and Andrew Lloyd Webber – might have been quite so impressed had they known the background of the La Fura dels Baus group. In 2004 they memorably staged the “XXX” pornographic revue in Barcelona purportedly featuring live sex. Thankfully, the Foster show was slightly more restrained.

Credit: Scott Garrett

Watchdog extraordinaire

The Commission for Sustainable London 2012 is the independent watchdog set up to ensure that the Olympic organisers do their bit for the environment, but the organisers seem to have taken their role slightly too literally. Shaun McCarthy, the commission’s chair, revealed to me last week that one of its commissioners would be an actual watchdog – a labrador, to be precise. The dog, apparently, does such a good job as guide dog to disability rights commissioner Andrew Shipley that it has been rewarded with a place on the commission. Are they environ-mental or just barking mad?

A nation built on tea

Did you ever wonder how many cups of tea it took to build St Pancras? Well wonder no more, for the smart folk behind Make Mine A Builders tea have worked out a teacup-to-construction-phase ratio. Apparently, 6 million cups were drunk during the construction of the new Eurostar station. Just building a three-bedroom semi-detached house takes almost 10,000 cups. Perhaps the level of caffeine propping up the nation’s builders should be of as much concern to our Nouvelle Canteen judges as the level of fatty foods. Speaking of which, you’ve still got three weeks to enter your site canteen at

The weary traveller

On the subject of St Pancras, news reaches me of one union officer who booked a holiday to France on the Eurostar from Waterloo, and was surprised to find his return took him back to a different station. Guess he must have missed the TV series and endless articles and ads. He wouldn’t have minded so much, he says, only it took him longer to get across town to his car than it took to get from France to England. Surely it can't be too difficult to get the tube running at 186mph, too?

Well, it’s an improvement on Mr Bean …

We’ve had the Iron Chancellor, Stalin and Mr Bean. However, Gordon Brown’s latest persona would appear to be inspired by Harry Potter. At last week’s Thames Gateway Forum in London, officials had obviously been sworn to secrecy about the prime minister’s visit to the conference, referring to their boss as “he who must not be named”. Brown as Voldemort … does that mean David Cameron is JK Rowling’s boy wizard?