We’re only a few minutes into this week’s “Pint” and already disaster has struck – Building’s camera is on the blink.
Regular readers of this column will be aware that this is not the first time a technical issue has affected our pint buying. This time, though, we’re drinking with engineers.
“Give it here,” says Paul, offering to fix it. Thank God we’re with technical types – this could have been really embarrassing.
After turning the camera on and off a few times, Prashant steps in. “Let’s have a look.”
Prashant confidently takes out the battery and then puts it back in. He does the same with the memory card.
It’s really impressive watching these professionals at work.
We wait expectantly while the camera warms up. Sadly, when it does the screen still says “memory card error”.
Over to Bill. Now he’s the kind of guy who seems to know what he’s doing. Frowning with concentration, Bill expertly shakes the camera, turns it upside down and finally, with a flourish, bangs it on the table.
It’s still dead. Now things are serious. Everyone is on their mobiles trying to get a camera.
I call the Building team, who are in another pub down the road, expecting someone to dash over with a backup – or at least show some sympathy. Instead, there is nothing but widespread hilarity.
Thankfully, WSP’s colleagues take our plight more seriously and within minutes have arranged for Stephen Parnell to dash over from their office with a camera. He’s slightly flushed but reassures us that everything’s under control.
Stephen sets to work immediately, moving round our table taking shots from all kinds of angles and telling us to “act natural and pretend I’m not here”. Phew!
Just as we’re all starting to relax, Paul suggests we have a Prairie Fire. This turns out to be a shot of tequila with Tabasco as an extra kick – as if it needed one.
Jane has apparently experienced the delights of the Prairie Fire before and politely declines it. One swig of the stuff and it’s pretty obvious why.
Paul says that he was first “treated” to this terrifying concoction by WSP’s US chief executive. “WSP is very much about knowledge share, passing on skills, you see,” Arthur explains.
The conversation dwindles as we settle down to watch the Champions League final, but things don’t get any more comfortable …
Venue: The Last, Holborn
Ambience: Lawyers and City types
Topics: Rubbish cameras and a tequila-drinking chief executive
Drinks drunk: 7 Coronas, 6 Budvars, 4 gin and tonics, 7 Prairie Fires and 2 bottle of wine
Paul Tremble managing director
Bill Price director
Arthur Tizard graduate engineer
Jane Richards technical director
Prashant Kapoor associate director
Stephen Parnell marketing and communications manager
Roxane McMeeken Building