Spare a thought for those singled out by fate for special treatment, like the chairman who lost his bag, the woman who preferred injury to dishonour … and the union man who invented a new way to protest
Fasten your seatbelts
What with all the hoo-hah over Heathrow’s third runway, the fate of Stansted airport’s expansion has rather escaped the public’s attention. Not for much longer, though. Rumour has it that the long-awaited public inquiry into the second runway is set to be dropped, as the government has apparently lost its appetite for expansion outside the Heathrow area. BAA, which is trying to sell the airport, swears that the project is taxiing for take-off. Whom to believe? Sources say a decision on the inquiry is expected before the end of May – and it’s likely the scheme will soon be in the departure lounge …
Not one for the squeamish
Construction union firebrands: you have a new role model. A union official in Serbia reportedly became so distressed at the plight of his workers that he bit a finger off and ate it. “We, the workers have nothing to eat, we had to seek some sort of alternative food and I gave them an example,” says Zoran Bulatovic, a rep at the Raska Holdings textile factory. “It hurt like hell.”
Is this the sort of dedication we can now expect from the likes of Ucatt’s Alan Ritchie? Or, as we have long suspected, are our union brothers more likely to put their feet in their mouth than their hands?
As luck would have it
I was sorry to hear of a mishap that befell Vaughan Burnand, the former boss of Shepherd Construction, now chairman of Constructing Excellence. After a few drinks with Don Ward, that body’s chief executive, and some of my colleagues, Burnand went off into the night in search of more fine wines. Unfortunately, while he was holding forth in a London hostelry, it seems some n’er-do-well made off with his briefcase. As if this weren’t horrifying enough, the case contained the BlackBerry, supplied by his new employer. Strangely enough, just hours earlier Burnand had been laying into said device and demanding an upgrade from a reluctant-looking Ward …
The whisky maiden
A special mention must go to Helena Shone, training manager for civils firm Barhale, who broke her thumb after tripping over a newly installed step at the firm’s training centre in Peterborough. The plucky Ms Shone was carrying two bottles of malt whisky, but saved them from destruction by twisting in the air like a cat, thereby causing the cracked digit. The booze was a “thank you” to her staff from ex-offenders who’d recently taken a course in road building. Sacrificing your own good health so that your staff can celebrate – what a heroine!
Tucker … now what rhymes with that?
Viewers of In The Loop, Armando Iannucci’s sweary comedy about the politics of going to war, will have noticed one of the main characters unleashing a tirade against builders (despite the presence in the cast of former Building columnist Chris Addison). “Have you ever seen a film where the hero is a builder? No, because they never turn up in the fucking nick of time. Batbuilder? Spiderbuilder? That’s why you never see a superhero with a hod.” Malcolm Tucker, the film’s central monster, is an irascible Scot with an exceptionally foul mouth. We wonder, though, who would be construction’s version of Tucker? Nominations to the usual address, please…
Meet my shortsThe Met Office predicted a barbecue summer last week, with temperatures expected to hit upwards of 30ÞC in July and August. What better way for you to celebrate than buying a pair of “craftsmen’s shorts”? Mascot, the firm behind the soft canvas workwear, says they give extra freedom of movement when the wearer moves around on site or, intriguingly, is out with a customer. If that weren’t enough, it has thoughtfully sewn a magnet into the top of the holster pocket to hold nails, screws and drill bits. I reckon the shorts might just catch on – after all, site workers are invariably at the forefront of the latest fashions. How else do you explain the mysteriously persistent vogue for low-slung trousers?