IT SEEMS never a week goes by without the British record for newt fencing being broken. There it goes again - the boundaries of newtfencing achievement have once more been breached.
Th is week it is East Midlandsbased contractor Three Shires Countryside Management that has toppled the reigning champion - whose name has already disappeared in the mists of oblivion.
I received this news last week via a press release from Herpetosure - arguably the last word in newtfencing, bat-boxes and concrete badger-bunkers. Shares in Herpetosure soared at the news and the Guinness Book of World Records dispatched a moderator to authenticate the claim.
There can be no doubt, though.
Three Shires installed a stonking 9 km of Herpetosu re in less than f ive days late last month, securing a 300 acre site near Goole from invasion by the rampaging amphibians.
'We believe this is the first time such distances have been achieved in less than a week by any newt fencing system on the UK market, ' said Three Shires managing director James Lloyd. I shall double-check his claim in the newt-fencing equivalent of Wisden, but I've no reason to doubt his honesty.
To find out what all the fuss is about I visited the Herpetosure website, where there is video footage of a rather smart Range Rover driving backwards and forwards over a length of installed Herpetosure newt fencing.
I guess if you're really worried about newts getting out, it's best to make absolutely sure.
IN THE week the Department of Health announced that the UK is now officially Europe's fattest nat ion, it's reassu r ing to hear that architectural watchdog Cabe is already on the case.
Cabe has already published a report on 'obesogenic environments' and calls on architects to design spaces that encourage really big, fat people to slim down.
'Cabe believes the design of the built environment plays a pivotal role in promoting and sustaining health, and in par t icular tack ling r ising levels of inact ivity, ' says the repor t.
The first thing you do is put buildings further apart so you have to walk further to get there. Then make all the buildings tall and thin, with plenty of stairs to climb.
You'll have to keep the lifts for those who are genuinely disabled. But keep them small so that lazy fat t ies cannot easily hitch a ride. Make doorways narrower and put two handles on the door so fat people will have to put their cakes down to get through.
These simple measures will help create a healthy environment. Believe that and you'll believe anything.
I KNEW I shouldn't have allowed myself to get dragged into the religious apparel debate - it's a bloody minefield.
Last week I posed one or two hypothetical questions on the practicalities of employing a Muslim woman, dressed in her traditional robes, on a const ruct ion site.
I should have known it would provoke a knee-jerk reaction from extremists. Sure enough, the letter came f looding in. It was from reader Alan Weir, who demanded to know how a woman wearing a niqab or a burqa could obtain 'a valid Skill/ CSCS card without a photograph'.
Mr Weir presupposes the individual would refuse to be photographed, but I have no evidence to suggest this is the case. The problem, if there is one, must therefore lie with the employer or the CSCS itself and their intolerance of cultural diversity.
Anyway, you don't need to see the whole face. Look into the eyes, not around the eyes, look into the eyes?