“Building magazine has ruined my sex life,” says Tim mid-way through the evening. On the surface it’s not a ringing endorsement for the publication, but he quickly explains: “I read it in bed because I need to know what’s going on, but the missus gets fed up.” Cue jokes about tall erections …

When he adds that he and his wife live above a lap-dancing club called Wildcats, the conversation rapidly goes further downhill.

Things are only retrieved when Matt changes the subject: “Tim has the hairiest feet in the world.”

“It’s true, I do,” admits Tim. “I’m a hairy man. Think Teenwolf.” Then he asks everyone to stop picking on him.

So they start on his football team instead – Bristol City, currently vying for a place in the Premiership via the play-offs. “I’m not having my football team denigrated in the press,” says Tim. Matt replies that he won’t do that, but points out that he’s looking forward to Match of the Day if Bristol City go up.

“It will be a goal-fest every week,” he predicts.

Football is a sore point because Russ is still in mourning from the night before, when Liverpool went out of the Champions League to Chelsea. He apparently sent a text to Matt after the match that said: “I hate everyone.”

Bristol City’s ascent in the football league has matched the city’s own rise in recent years. Matt says: “It’s not on a par with Manchester or Leeds and it’s lacking a decent-sized concert hall, but in five years it will be a brilliant city. There are cranes everywhere now.”

Richard adds that a 30,000-seat stadium is being planned and that, bizarrely, Bristol will host Kenyan athletes during the London Olympic Games. “What are they going to do, run the marathon up the M4?” asks Russ.

The conversation then takes on a more serious note. In the middle of the Office of Fair Trading’s bid-rigging investigation and the gloomy news from the housebuilding industry, Building wants to know have they noticed a change in candidates’ attitude?

Natalie says: “They are reading the media and getting worried.”

But she adds that the OFT probe is not really an issue compared with the general downturn.

Richard adds: “What it has meant is that people are more receptive to the idea of going out to the Middle East.”

For those coming into the UK construction industry, Russ says South Africa is becoming the new recruiting ground. “The training they have there is similar to here. We went over last year and brought 20 South Africans back.”

And what job in the construction industry would they, as recruiters, fancy doing? The answer is unanimous: planning. “There are only a limited number in each region and some of them are on stupid money,” says Richard.

Venue: Hotel du Vin, Bristol Ambience: Provincial boutique hotel

Topics: Bristol City, bid rigging, Kenyan marathon runners, Tim’s sex life

Drinks drunk: 27 Japanese lagers, six glasses of rosé (plus three bowls of chips)

Russ Fry recruitment consultant
Hayley Schwab recruitment consultant
Natalie Griffiths recruitment consultant
Tim Dicks recruitment consultant
Richard Buchanan recruitment consultant
Matt Hassan-Ally recruitment consultant
Tom Bill Building