Liquid leisure is the order of the day this summer, whether it’s sailing the ocean waves, watching a play in the pouring rain or quaffing ale. Some people are even spending their hols designing WCs

Pleasure boating

Sailing with Franklin + Andrews in Cowes last week, a colleague learned of a great industry opportunity sadly missed. Some years back, executive board members were mulling over the future of their firm when they hit upon a great idea – merge with Cyril Sweett and create the best name in the business: “Sweett F+A”. Unfortunately for us, Mott MacDonald snapped them up instead. A shame, as it would have been an apt slogan to have flying above the yacht last week as the “sailors” lazed over champagne and croissants, served up by an attentive skipper.

Head for fantasy

Pete Redfern, Taylor Wimpey’s youthful chief executive, was the recipient of a glowing profile in a national newspaper last weekend – described as “taut and determined”, “assured” and “a star in the making”. Platitudes aside, Redfern revealed himself to be a bit of a fantasy fan – his favourite book, Raymond E. Feist’s Magician, is a wizards and dragons yarn, while his favourite film is Highlander, in which Sean Connery is an immortal swordsman who can only be killed by decapitation. Funny; we thought rolling heads might have been a sensitive topic over the past few months …

Toilet duck

Last week’s Ashes Test at Headingley wasn’t bad news for everyone in England. BAM Construction, currently building a pavilion at the ground, received plenty of TV coverage every time one of the Australian team’s sixes flew over and into the building’s exposed concrete columns, which were each plastered with the firm’s logo. Stuart Clark, the Aussie no. 10, even managed to knock a ball directly into the building’s toilet block. Will it remain there as a potent symbol of England’s cricketing hopes? A source close to the project told Building: “It’s going to be a stunning structure, but we did hope they’d let us finish building it before they tried to knock it down.”

Bitter? Not half

Owen Luder, architect and former RIBA president, has been in touch with some heartening news for fans of his Trinity car park in Gateshead, famous for its use in the 1971 Michael Caine film Get Carter. The building is still scheduled for demolition, but local brewery Wylam has created a special ale to commemorate its passing.

The beer is known as “Get Cartier – A Gem of a Beer” and is decorated with a picture of the brutalist structure. Let’s hope this memorable bitter can help overcome Luder’s bitter memories of the doomed car park.

Queen Elizabeth’s rain

I hear the Southbank Centre had a lucky escape last Thursday as it dodged complaints about a leak in the roof that let some of the evening’s torrential rain into a packed Queen Elizabeth Hall auditorium. Even though water was gushing down the wall, nearly every theatregoer in the room thought that it was part of the avant garde theatre performance taking place. The sound effect of falling water would have fitted quite well into Victoria Chaplin’s fantasy performance piece, Le Cirque Invisible, in which she appears to turn herself into a fish.

Flush in the pan

Speaking of toilets, the RIBA’s 175th anniversary celebrations have really gone down the pan. Quite literally, in fact. Earlier this year, the institute commissioned five architects – Will Alsop, DSDHA, Eva Jiricna, FAT, and Building columnist Robert Adam – to design a public lavatory. BBC Radio 4’s Today programme is to help publicise the resulting designs, with a discussion on their merits set to be broadcast on Saturday morning. Alas, the winning design will not end up being built, according to a RIBA spokesperson. “It’s just a bit of summer fun,” she told us. The bog standard designs can be seen at