Small Scottish firm vs Zaha, local resident vs Nick Candy, pensioner vs planners, man vs wife: this week proves that sometimes, just sometimes, the underdog comes out on top

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

Congratulations to Scottish practices Nord, Elder and Cannon and JM Architects, who beat the likes of Hadid, Rogers, and Chipperfield to the shortlist for a £50m building for the Glasgow School of Art. Embittered designers who missed out have noted that Nord’s Robin Lee and Henry McKeown of JM Architects have been employed as teachers at the GSA’s Mackintosh School of Architecture. And Tom Elder of Elder and Cannon sits on the school’s board. This may be a bit of the green-eyed monster, though – after all, Charlies Sutherland and Hussey both teach at the Mack but their practice, Sutherland Hussey Architects, didn’t make the grade …

Double or quits

Piqued by the Chelsea Barracks scheme on their doorstep, residents of Kensington and Chelsea have started to refer to the scheme’s founder brothers as “Candy floss” because they stand for “no real substance”. And to make matters worse, the slurs directed at the millionaire duo now extend to their perceived thriftiness. A noted Belgravia-ite told us at last week’s Chelsea Flower Show that Nick Candy was once interested in one of her properties – to rent for himself. “His estate agent kept ringing up to ask, could I bring the price down?” said the well-heeled west Londoner. “I asked the agent who this guy was and when he told me it was Nick Candy, I said: ‘You can pass on the message that for him, it’s double.’”

Let them eat hummus

It was kind of the housing minister Margaret Beckett to invite the press to a reception at the House of Commons last week. An unseasonably cheery move, given that the event coincided with the inglorious spectacle of the speaker resigning over the expenses scandal. Greedy hacks wondered whether concerns about lavish spending were a factor behind the choice of catering for the event. The pots of hummus and dried pitta husks could have happily graced a student party. No need to fear that the minister is wasting taxpayers’ money here.

Credit: Morten Morland

Midfield general

Galliford Try boss Greg Fitzgerald recently likened running the company to playing for his favourite team, Manchester United (who else would a man from Devon support?) “I’m an attacking midfielder type but over the last year I’ve had to play a more defensive role,” he said. The ebullient chief exec was also frank enough to admit that buying Linden Homes at the top of the market for £245m in February 2007 was an “own goal”. He didn’t say whether shareholders had since given him the hairdryer treatment.

Lionel tamer

Speaking of Beckett, a colleague recently bumped into her husband and office manager, Lionel, or “Leo”. He told us that, far from benefiting from his wife’s powerful connections, having a partner in the Cabinet is something of an emasculating experience. “The only time I’m free is when I’m driving the car which tows the caravan on holiday,” sighed Lionel, who married Margaret in 1979 after meeting her on the campaign trail. “For those two weeks, I wear the trousers. When we get back I have to have a little cry.”

We shall, we shall be moved

Whoever said DIY is a man’s game has been proved resoundingly wrong by one little old lady in Norfolk who, it emerged this week, single-handedly demolished her house and rebuilt it more than 100 miles away – brick by brick. In defiance of developers who wished to crush the cottage to build a road, May Savidge decided to move home – literally. The 23-year project left her battling ill health as she took the house from a Hertfordshire high street to the Norfolk countryside. Mrs Savidge proved the authorities don’t always win – a heart-warming tale if ever we’ve heard one.