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NCE's delegates to MIPIM, the annual property and development bash in Cannes last week, came back brimming with enthusiasm for the event, and I'm assured this was not just to do with the South of France location.

They also very much enjoyed the tale of the contractor who returned to his hard to come by hotel room one afternoon for some well earned sleep after extensive late night into morning business meetings, only to find a naked woman smoking a cigarette wandering out of his bathroom.

The hotel had been subletting his room during exhibition hours in a fit of French entrepreneurialism.

Our contractor made his excuses and left, obviously.

Women are not the rarity they once were in civil engineering circles, but they are still an unusual sight at annual dinners, it seems. NCE's reporter, glamorously dressed in black for a recent local association dinner, had a hard time getting through the door because the toastmaster kept directing her towards the kitchen. Obviously, as this was an all male event she must have been one of the waiting staff.

The women who do make it to the top of the corporate tree are not developing the egos of some of their male counterparts. One very senior executive seen reading proofs of her new corporate brochure on a train, rang her designers and insisted her photograph be taken OFF the front cover.

The docudrama 'If . . . . the lights go out' screened last week picked up some good reviews and raised the issue of Britain's forthcoming energy crisis further up the political agenda. ICE's David Anderson did a very good job but in case you think he was having too much fun being a TV star, he tells us he paid for it with a bout of food poisoning following the champagne and canapes of the after show party. It's tough being a media pundit.

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