I swung by the the annual get-together of the Electrical Contractors Association at the Grosvenor this week, hoping to catch a speech by construction minister Nigel Griffiths. Imagine my dismay, dear reader, when the Grifter's lacklustre understudy Ian Stewart MP turned up instead. And imagine the egg on the faces of the ECA grandees. But what had caused this sudden swerve of fate? Rumour has it that Griffiths was delivering a belated Ode to a Haggis at the Speaker of the House of Commons' Burns Night do. Great chieftain o' the puddin-race, indeed …
Layers of talent
May I extend my congratulations to the British team that won the first ever European Team Floorlaying Championship, beating stiff opposition from both Austria and Germany. I'm told the championships were based on the international show jumping format – only without the horses and the jumps. To win, the three British lads had to demonstrate their prowess in laying a variety of floors, including carpet, laminate and vinyl. Expect to see this on a small screen near you. Well, if they can televise darts …
Make me green … but not yet
It's nice to know that changes to building regs don't just rattle builders; they put the wind up the rule-makers, too. At the National Home Energy Rating Conference the civil service's head of building regulations, Paul Everall, admitted that his own property would score one out of 10 for energy efficiency. Everall's confession came when the World Wildlife Fund's Paul King called for all homes to be carbon neutral by 2015. "Not in my lifetime, I hope," muttered Everall. No wonder it takes so long for the regulations to come into effect.
The missing link
It would appear the PR team at the Channel Tunnel Rail Link have lost some facts in the memory hole. The CTRL's press office sent me a video and CD entitled A Year in Pictures. The material is an image-fest of last year's construction events on the high-speed rail link. However, one of the project's more significant events was missing – the collapse of Mrs Benjamin's shed. The Stratford resident's utilitarian building disappeared after a 10 m deep hole appeared in her back garden, caused when one of the project's tunnelling machines bored through a disused well. Just to keep CTRL's pictorial record complete, here's the picture of Mrs Benjamin's (ex) shed.
Batting for England
I hear that Jeremy Hackett, bon viveur and scourge of the RICS, is about to leave the country. Jeremy, you see, is an England international croquet player, and he's off to compete in the Western Cape championship in South Africa. Is there a connection between his success in this most savage of all games and his attack on the RICS? "Fearlessness and a determination to go for it," replies Jeremy grimly.