Plenty of seasonal fare here: a ghost story that Dickens would have been proud of, at least one joke worthy of a Christmas cracker, 10 Santas, and a well-earned nap in a snoozarium

Just the job

You couldn’t make this up. Well you could, but I haven’t. Scott Brownrigg has recently boasted of a series of contract wins in one rapidly emerging sector. Yes, the architect has been commissioned to design three Jobcentres for the Department for Work and Pensions. Or should that be the Department for the Out of Work and Pensioned Off. Hutton Construction, BAM, and Midas Construction are also in on the act, alongside WSP, Gleeds and Ridge. Given the spate of redundancies in construction, you’ve got to wonder how many of those firms will be doing their bit for the Jobcentre boom.

Truly incredible

Mortgage broker John Charcol may just have answered the age-old Christmas conundrum: “What do you get for the person who has everything?” How about an “incredible opportunity to purchase a full building on the Dubai Waterfront”? Sadly this offer does not come complete with tenants, as is perhaps implied. And then there is the price: a mere £64m. Oh and it hasn’t actually been built yet. Still, it beats socks.

A ghost of Christmas present

Networkers attending last week’s central London breakfast to hear Lib Dem treasury spokesman Vince Cable pronounce the death of the British economy were witness to a ghostly phenomenon. During the meal a phantom singer hijacked the PA system and began crooning fifties hits to the crowd. David Jennings, head of Marks and Spencer, leaped to the stage to reassure his fellow schmoozers. What can we expect from next month’s breakfast with London mayor Boris Johnson? A haunted croissant?

Run, Santa, run!

Run, Santa, run!

I’m never convinced it’s Christmas until the Boxing Day sales begin (around the end of November), I’ve heard Jingle Bells for the 1,000th time and the first press release lands on my desk about a Santa charity run. First out of the blocks this year was regeneration company Frank Haslam Milan, 10 of whose staff donned the obligatory beard and boots combo and legged it 2km round Brindleyplace in Birmingham last week. This frankly insane dash did, however, raise £2,000 for charity, so maybe it was worthwhile after all...

Acting your age

Who says old age isn’t something to look forward to? Design consortium Advantage is currently working on a series of upmarket care homes for the elderly which incorporate an intriguing new facility – the “snoozarium”. The relaxation rooms are kitted out with soft lighting – including lava lamps – music systems and special sensory finishes, making them the perfect space for whiling away those long winter afternoons. Well, it’ll make a change from falling asleep in front of the TV.

Those in glass houses …

I say, I say, I say: how many construction workers does it take to change a pane of glass? Four men, one crane and three years – if you work on the Great Glasshouse at the National Botanical Gardens in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Although the offending pane on the Foster-designed building cracked way back in 2005, it took until last week for the 4 x 1.5m, half-tonne replacement to be installed. Even then it took four days. The garden’s marketing manager, David Hardy, said it had been a “tricky operation”. Indeed.

Hey, you, get off of my land

What links Satisfaction Street, Ruby Tuesday Drive and Little Red Walk? They will all be streets in a £350m development in Dartford, Kent by Taylor Wimpey. Sadly this is not just my imagination – this PR stunt in the home town of Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards also includes a bus stop called Gimme Shelter. Email me at the usual if you can do any better.