… to plan your next step towards world domination, attempt to make stadiums out of ice, spend extraordinary amounts of money on garish knitwear and be miserable in Norfolk. Apparently.

What’s on Ray’s Christmas list?

I hear that Ray O’Rourke has been mulling over a fresh vision for his business, and Hansom enjoys nothing better at this time of year than speculating over such matters. As the Laing O’Rourke contracting empire already has hubs throughout the world, perhaps Ray will consider expanding his new consultancy arm internationally. Apparently, O’Rourke is already considering consultancy partnering deals in Abu Dhabi. Could it also be a good time to acquire a UK-based international QS or consultant?

Ice breaker

Has Sir Robert McAlpine’s reputation for stadium building been exaggerated? At the contractor’s annual reception there was a beautifully detailed ice sculpture of the recently completed Emirates Stadium. However, company director Benny Kelly expressed concern that the roof supports were dripping. Sure enough, the roof soon came crashing down to howls of laughter from party-goers. Spurs supporters, clearly ...

Alsop’s visioning exercise

Will Alsop was in fine spirits last week at the launch of his new publication, The Queen Mary Book, based on his experiences designing the science lab at the east London university. Perhaps it was the jet lag – he had flown in from the US that morning – or perhaps it was the glass or two of red wine before his lecture, but the architect had misplaced his glasses. Needing them to give his talk, he appealed to the audience to borrow a replacement and was flooded with offers, eventually choosing a rather fancy pair from a lady friend that he proceeded to wear for the next half hour. Stewart McColl, boss of Alsop’s parent company SMC Group, was sitting in the front row – obviously praying Will wouldn’t do anything too stupid.

Girl on a motorcycle

Girl on a motorcycle

Here’s Jo Brand sitting on a bright red Piaggio scooter. She was the guest host at this year’s Movers and Shakers dinner, which was held last Tuesday at Park Lane’s Four Season’s hotel. The scooter was the main raffle prize, donated by Rowan Asset Management, and won by Barry Hill (above) of Morley Fund Management. Mitie’s Stewart Owen was the winner of this ear’s “ultimate networker” prize. Does that just mean the person who goes on the most junkets?

You can’t put a price on style

Who’d have thought a bunch of cost-conscious QSs would place a value of nearly £1,000 on a garish woolly pink jumper? But that’s what happened when EC Harris moved out of its Tavistock Square offices recently, sparking an almighty clearout and a charity auction to sell off all the old stuff, including a sofa, a hat stand and some fans. The jumper, which was worn by auctioneer for the day, Simon Kolesar, went for a startling £800.

No fun to be had in Norfolk

Construction firms in East Anglia are officially the Scrooges of the industry. A survey by the Chartered Management Institute found that only 57% of construction firms in East Anglia will be holding a Christmas party, compared with 84% in London. On the bright side, at least workers in the region will avoid Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody, which was voted the Christmas song the industry dreads most.

Multiplex’s Christmas message

Last Christmas, Multiplex made the less than surprising announcement that Wembley would not be ready in time for the 2006 FA Cup final. One troubled year on, and I wonder whether Multiplex might try to make its Christmas announcement a tradition, in the manner of the Queen’s speech. Well, a source says the main structure is now 100% complete and the cleaners are busy polishing the marble interiors. Let’s just hope the problem with the sewers has been fully resolved …