It’s day one of the G20 summit. Barack Obama is town and London is packed with protesters and police
Adding to the tension, England are playing their qualifier against Ukraine tonight. On top of all this, it’s 1 April …
Impressive then, that four Faithful + Gould staff have ventured forth to the pub with Building tonight. We sit down and immediately Michael launches into a long story about some of the things he’s seen at Mipim (Overbury reception stunned into silence by arrival of dipping wet male tourist clad in nothing but a barely-there pair of Speedos).
Sarah and Helen look aghast. At the end of it all Stephen asks Helen, who is new to construction, if she has any idea what Mipim is. She doesn’t. Cue another long story from Michael, concluding with, “basically it’s great networking but the downside is you drink loads and eat about three times as much as normal. Which in my case is a lot, believe me”.
The conversation then leaves Cannes for the Bex conference in Valencia, where Stephen and Michael once did a hellish quickfire networking session where they mostly met carpet salesmen. “It was like speed dating – awful”, says Stephen shaking his head.
This sets off Michael off: “Speed dating. Honestly. How are you supposed to get to know someone in two minutes? I knew my wife for three months before I asked her out.”
There’s clearly a generation gap here. Sarah says: “These days you meet and then text two days later.” Helen nods sagely. “Exactly,” she says. “Two days is the standard amount.”
Next, another very modern phenomenon – personal trainers. “I’ve never fancied one myself”, says Stephen.
“You’re missing out,” says Sarah. “They’re great. They really push you.”
“That’s why I don’t want one!” Stephen retorts.
Michael is strangely silent. Could this be a topic he has no opinion on? “I’m interested in this conversation as an observer,” he explains.
Talk turns back to food and Michael’s back in his element. He decides we need tapas. Stephen takes control of the situation. He whips out a pen and ticks off our chosen dishes on the menu to cries of “typical quantity surveyor!” Then he actually adds up the cost. Surely this is an April fool prank”
“Don’t you find when you tell people you’re a QS it’s a conversation killer?” asks Michael.
“Maybe at first, but then I go into more detail and they warm up,” Stephen says. Helen and Sarah, both project managers, look doubtful. Michael looks sympathetic, and says: “No, Stephen, they don’t.”
Being a QS is a lot better than being a banker, though, we all agree. As the G20 tensions continue elsewhere in the city, it’s a comforting thought.
Venue: Queen’s Head and Artichoke, Regent’s Park, London
Ambience: Traditional boozer serving incongruous but delicious Spanish food
Topics: Speed dating, texting, personal trainers, QSing
Drinks drunk: 6 glasses of rosé, 4 white wines, 2 red wines, 3 Budvars, 2 San Miguels
Michael Martin director
Stephen Hateley director
Sarah Heppinstall TBC
Helen Brydson TBC
Roxane McMeeken Building