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Diary

With civil engineers statistically right up there alongside doctors and journalists as professionals destined to divorce, matrimonial disputes are presumably nothing new to most plying their trade in construction. So no surprise, perhaps, that relations appeared a little frosty between the Highways Agency and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association at Civils last week. Invited to give 'an industry perspective' at Wednesday's Highways Agency day, past CECA chairman Trevor Walker drew the ire of his hosts with a number of feisty comments during a ten minute 'constructive' lambasting of the Agency's performance, not to mention a punchy reference to the early start demanded by the Agency.

'We're the second oldest profession in the world, ' blazed Walker. 'Mind you, the way life's treated me so far this morning, I'm sure it's trying to tell me that I actually belong to the world's oldest profession.' Walker was unrepentant, assuring the audience that: 'As in all marriages not all is sweetness and light. As my wife would say ideas are sometimes robustly exchanged. But such is the inherent strength of the relationship that it now takes those problems in its stride.' Hmmm. Is the spare bed made up Trevor?

The stand shared by the Royal Institute of British Architects and Architects Journal magazine at last week's Interbuild exhibition caused quite a stir. Its mirror floor was dazzlingly stylish - and made it impossible for any woman in a skirt to preserve her modesty. Amusing for some and annoying for others, clothes shops near Birmingham NEC enjoyed an unexpected surge in trouser sales. The peepshow tiling also revealed that the undersides of tables on the stand were plastered with pictures of naked ladies (some of the women who'd just bought new trousers were scandalised). RIBA and AJ reckon it's fun to be risque.

That is, apart from when RIBA chief exec Richard Hastilow is around.

When Hastilow pitched up someone hurriedly blanked out the images with card - which was removed with equal speed just as stand designer and enfant terrible of British architecture Will Alsop arrived.

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