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squirrel Pretty good night


Sadly I could not make the Mayfair Hotel dinner hosted by the HBF in honour of David Pretty, the former Barratt and New Homes Marketing boss, who has retired from the industry. Although I still can’t believe Pretty will content himself with golf and clay pigeon shooting. Wish I’d been a fly in the rocket salad to see what Tony Pidgley said to Tony Carey, the latter now no longer with the Berkeley Group. The Tonys set up St George with David. Pretty did, lightheartedly, refer to the room as a ‘mafia gathering’ who in years gone by would have ‘cut each other’s throats for a deal.’ I wonder if Margaret Thatcher, who Pretty sold a Barratt home to, was invited? Sir Lawrie Barratt had huge respect for David, although despite being told not to pollute the Pretty jaguar Sir Lawrie would light up his pipe and then fight against the air-con which Pretty put on full blast. “David has always have been a true gentleman with the ability to generate huge energy to achieve a task, motivating all around him in the process, with a remarkable eye for detail and a wicked sense of humour,” said HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley, speaking at the dinner. I second that, but David Pretty retired? Nonsense. I expect a missive on the plight of first- time buyers within the hour.


Rugby on the menu


A couple of good feeds recently which shows that the market is picking up – hell it works as my barometer anyway and is far more accurate than all those indices. The Gilbert Scott is the restaurant within the wondrous restoration that is the Renaissance Hotel at St Pancras station, with the apartments by Manhattan Loft Corporation What House? Award winning two years ago. Telegraph restaurant critic Matthew Norman did not seem overly impressed by the fare, but my Cumbrian spring lamb was to die for, which some poor lamb clearly did. My host was Richard Davis (left), CEO of LifeCare Residences, purveyors of fine retirement villages with its newest scheme in Battersea. Davis is from Christchurch in New Zealand, before moving to Richmond earlier this year. “I will be keeping my head down in Richmond but you can be sure that the silver fern will be coming out if and when New Zealand win the RugbyWorld Cup. If we don’t win this next one at home, we never will.” Pessimistic about his nation’s rugby prospects, but hugely optimistic about the retirement homes business model LifeCare Residences has brought to the UK. You can read a full interview with Davis in the August issue of Show House. Next up was Searcys at the top of The Gherkin in London, courtesy of Travis Perkins. If you want to turnip on time (geddit?!) at the Gherkin get there early to pass through


security and work out the lifts to the 39th floor. Foie gras, pig on toast and Gressingham duck, I think there was a course for every one of the builders’ merchant’s 600 plus branches nationwide. TP is a long-time sponsor of Northampton Saints rugby club, so just to wind up Davis, we publish pictures of England’s Northampton backs Ben Foden (below) and Chris Ashton (above) in full flight. I know this column rarely touches on the sport, but it is time to turn up the heat ahead of theWorld Cup.


Your new name


Squirrel has not stopped chuckling – more hyena than squirrel – since receiving news of a ‘re-branding’ of something called Your Show Home - no I’ve never read or seen the magazine either. “After some serious thought, hard work and internal investment” the magazine has changed its name to...cue drumroll...Showhome. Wow, eat your heart out Saatchi & Saatchi. Showhome – wherever did they get that idea for a magazine from?


112| July 2011 showhouse


Why don’t they go the whole hog and reduce it down to Sh.. magazine? I look forward to these masters of innovation and originality starting a diary column called Chipmunk “after some serious thought, hard work and internal investment” obviously. I suppose you’d class this title as a periodical, although what period is not clear, as the June/July issue will be the ‘third issue of 2011.’ You do the maths.


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