The hidden perils of walking around Canary Wharf, more tall yarns from the high seas, and evidence of the self-sacrifice of structural engineers

Worth a flutter?
Times must be tough for construction managers after the kicking the procurement route got in last week’s Fraser report on the Scottish parliament fiasco. It must come as some relief, then, that the method is being considered by horse-racing venue Kempton Park for its upcoming redevelopment. Cue gags about the odds on the scheme hitting time and budget …

The Stelio diet
Hats off to lawyers Fenwick Elliot for putting on another splendid function at their rooftop gardens in Kensington, south-west London, last week. As ever, the barbecued grub on offer was eagerly gobbled up by the gaggle of subbies and consultants present, not least among whom was Stelio Stefanou, Accord chief executive. Poor old Stelio was clearly a little sensitive to jibes about his capacious appetite for second helpings. “I’ve eaten nothing today. I’ve been working hard – unlike some of you,” he retorted.

All in the line of duty
Jim Bell of structural engineer Connell Mott MacDonald came up with a tenuous way of explaining his rather cheesy taste in music at Saturday’s Open Site at Wembley national stadium. Apparently, the Wembley engineers absolutely had to go and see the Bee Gees live in concert several times. The reason? The “pulsating” music of the squeaky kings of 70s disco is ideal for researching the effects of natural frequency on large stadiums. Sure, Jim. Whatever you say.

O come all ye carpenters
It’s heartwarming to see that the Church of England is focusing its attention on builders. A prominent sign outside the historic stone church of Hornchurch in east London declares: “This church needs joiners.”

George Dawes scores
Speaking of Little Britain, news reaches me of intriguing internet confusion over the name Little Britain. You will be doubtless aware that the name of the industry sailing event is better known in public circles as a TV sketch show, which stars Matt Lucas (tubby, bald, used to be George Dawes in Shooting Stars). Imagine then the confusion at the Little Britain (sailing) event office, which is now regularly receiving emails from Lucas’ agent confirming future appearances. Could this lead to Lucas appearing at next year’s event? After Tom O’Connor’s show last weekend, one can only pray.

Bird droppings
Bird droppings
A chilling insight into the homicidal instincts of seagulls: one of my colleagues was on a tour of Barclays' new HQ in Canary Wharf this week and was shown up to the building's roof to take in the office's magnificent chiller units. However, it was not the plant that interested him (although, it has to be said, a finer collection of evaporating units would be hard to find). Rather his attention was drawn to the collection of fist-sized pebbles forming the roof's finish. "Why such big stones?" he asked innocently. "To stop the birds picking them up and dropping them over the edge onto the pavement 33 storeys below," his guide explained.