IF THERE'S one thing worse than working as a contractor on the Wembley Stadium project, it must be working on the project and constantly hearing it being compared to Arsenal's impressive and hasslefree Emirates Stadium.
While Wembley is a national embarrassment, the Emirates Stadium is the envy of Premiership clubs across the land and a proud exemplar for the construction industry. Makes you want to puke, doesn't it?
It might cheer you up to learn there's a cloud hanging over the Emirates Stadium too. It's cursed.
Rumour has it that somebody failed to check the sporting allegiances of subcontractors hired to work on the stadium and a hard core of Tottenham-supporting steelworkers infiltrated the job.
There is now rumoured to be a Spurs 'shrine' with a shirt, scarf and badge buried within the Arsenal ground.
Just a rumour? The culprits claim to have photographic evidence of the voodoo sabotage. But already the more superstitious Arsenal supporters are wondering if this could have anything to do with the team's lacklustre start to the season.
I'm not bothered, myself, not being a supporter. Just as long as the piece of concrete containing the 'shrine' isn't supporting anything either.
WHAT SORT of people hang out at the Environment Agency? What do they do for fun? I ask only because I have received the most bizarre invitation from them and I just wonder what they're up to.
The invitat ion is to what is termed a 'photo-opportunity', which in this context redefines the meaning of the word 'oppor tun ity'. The even t takes place this very day at 2 pm in the Cotswold village of Stratton, near Cirencester. At the appointed time, EA staff will inspect a stone culvert then use a water jet to blast out any muck that might have accumulated in it.
That's it. They will clear muck out of a culvert for the benefit of the assembled photographers - who, I might add, have already missed the really interesting bit. That was the removal a few weeks ago of a 600 mm diameter water main from inside the culvert in order to prevent muck from building up and blocking the hole. There is, therefore, the worrying possibility that, on opening up the culvert, the Environment Agency staff will find no muck to clear out at all.
Then what will the photographers do?
Par t of me wishes I were up there in Stratton watching the culvert and the muck. And the EA chaps with their water jet. Because directions to the site identify its location as 'opposite the Stratton House Hotel', a rather nice country house affair with a good bar.
Perhaps these EA fellows know how to enjoy themselves after all.
WHENEVER I travel to other European countries I always note, with a cynical curl of the lip, how they all f lout the EU laws our nanny state rigidly enforces. The latest cause for jaundiced mirth is the news that the European Commission is taking the UK Government to court for failing to properly implement European health and safety law.
According to the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Britain's crime is to adopt a commonsense approach to hazards, dealing with severe ones and leaving trivial ones alone. Instead, we should treat all risks equally or, as IOSH puts it: 'Dangers presented by envelopes, plant pots and paperclips [should] be treated the same as the dangers presented by scaffolding, machinery or electrical equipment'. IOSH is hopping mad about it, but there's no point. Let them re-write the legislation then just do what the rest of Europe does. Ignore it.