Business Diary: August 17

Crossed lines during the holiday season

IT'S the phone call every journalist dreads.

You come into the office, listen to your messages and find a terse one asking you to call back immediately as there are "serious issues".

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The call is from the director you spoke to yesterday about his company's results. The director in question was kind enough to call you from his holiday villa, interrupting his summer family holiday.

You call him back. No reply. You leave a message. You call the PR. They are just as flummoxed and worried as you. They couldn't see anything wrong with the article.

You re-read it three times searching for clues.

An hour passes. Then the director in question calls you back full of apologies – he rang your number thinking you were the holiday villa company as there were serious issues with the villa.

It's a tough life being a hack...

Grains of truth

AS construction activity in Yorkshire's towns and cities continues to be slow, chartered surveyors are turning their thoughts to the beach instead.

This week, Colin Harrop, a construction spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Yorkshire and the Humber, sent Diary his top tips for building the perfect sandcastle.

"Before building starts, choose a good site. It should be sustainable – a major buzz word in construction today – so not on a main route to the sea or near an ice cream van which attracts heavy 'traffic'," he said.

"The sand should be firm and compacted to give a good foundation and not too close to the sea. Subsidence can wreck even the best castle."

Project management is another key to success.

"Make sure you have all the equipment you need – buckets and spades – and all the right materials, from damp sand to seashells, flags and even seaweed."

Mr Harrop added: "If it's a big project, you may need a team of skilled builders with experience – and this is where grandparents usually work quite well.

"From a project management point of view, the secret to a good build is to give set tasks and specific deadlines.

"During building, there's no excuse for sloppy workmanship, so you must double check everything they are doing as you go along, just like a building surveyor."

Shower proof

IT seems the most hum-drum activity can inspire purple prose. If you thought our working lives were drudgery, think again.

Diary has received a cheery press release which states: "We've carried out some research and we've uncovered that 15 per cent of people in Leeds feel happiest after a great day at work, a close second to having a lie-in (20 per cent). Which is great news, we're enjoying our jobs and it's adding to our happiness!"

The research, which is based on a survey of 264 Leeds people, conducted by shower company Mira, also found that 63 per cent of respondents had a shower to "wash the day's stress away".

This may not sound like a surprising discovery. But it inspired the following quote from Ian Lynch, of the Happiness Project, which offers courses and books on how to lead a happier life: "The shower offers us a great mini-meditation in setting ourselves up for greater levels of energy and some much-needed relaxation, as well as washing the blues and the dirt away.

''Having a space such as the shower gives us a place to think about how we wish to be, and to feel our self in our body...we feel a strong connection with water, which is why the shower is a great place to initiate a mind shift and take away the day's stress."

How many Diary readers, we wonder, have actually experienced a "mind shift" while taking a shower at the end of a hard day at the office?

Where there's brass...

NEW York jazz trombonists are travelling to West Yorkshire this week to visit the company which manufactured their instruments.

David Gibson, James Burton III and Michael Dease are visiting Holmfirth-based Michael Rath Brass Instruments as part of a promotional tour of their album, American Rath: Going Somewhere, when they will be performing at local venues around the township.

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