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'St Wayne is the patron saint of cowboy builders. The Romans instructed him to install the stone at the entrance to Christ's tomb following the crucifixion'

This coming weekend we celebrate the first Easter of the new millennium, an event redolent of new beginnings - both real and symbolic.

For construction, Easter marks the onset of the year's busiest period: spring is upon us; the weather is improving; and the long, productive, days of summer beckon.

But we must not forget that Easter is a religious festival, a fact all too often ignored in this secular age. Particularly overlooked - to our great shame - is the Saturday before Easter Sunday, which my diary calls Easter Eve. It's not Easter Eve, of course; it is really St Wayne's Day.

St Wayne is the patron saint of cowboy builders and without him Christian civilisation would not exist. For it was he whom the Romans instructed to install the stone at the entrance to Christ's tomb after the crucifixion.

Wayne tendered for the job, which specified the use of a new high-strength Pozzolanic cementitious material developed by the Romans and called 'concrete'. His bid came in at 27 pieces of silver, three below his nearest rival, and he was duly awarded the contract.

Christian scholars believe that Wayne underwent a miraculous conversion on his way home from a post-crucifixion drink with St Thomas. An angel appeared and spoke unto him and told him to bodge the job, allowing the stone to roll aside to give the risen Christ pedestrian access to the Garden of Gethsemane.

So instead of concrete, Wayne substituted a traditional soft mud grout with virtually no compressive strength. The stone fell away under its own weight and a dispute arose with the client, who smote Wayne under Clause 13 (ii) of the contract and did cast him into the wilderness where he did perish.

So we should celebrate St Wayne this Saturday, for without his shoddy workmanship, the resurrection would have backfired, the whole Christian tradition would never have made it off the starting blocks and we would never have had the Millennium Dome.

Weather wise

Did I just say the weather is improving? Sorry, I must have got carried away.

It happens every year: we have a couple of decent weeks, just enough to pop open a few daffs, and then it's out with the shades and T-shirts and everybody starts having lunch in the street and talking excitedly about global warming.

We are famous for our obsession with weather in these islands, but that's because it always keeps us guessing. Who would have thought two weeks ago, with the sun shining and the balmy breeze rustling the fresh young leaves, that there would be high winds and horizontal sleet today?

The construction industry knows all too well how fickle our climate is - or at least it should do. But there is one corner of the industry that still refuses to admit that our skies are predominantly grey, and its delusions are being prolonged by the current fashion for sustainable development.

I am talking, of course, about solar energy.

I could not help smirking at the headlines a couple of weeks ago enthusiastically welcoming Gordon Brown's Budget decision to cut VAT on solar panels. What desperate optimism. Brown's scant generosity is derisory: he is only reducing VAT, not cutting it, and he is not extending the concession to private home-owners. Why bother? It's still going to be uneconomical unless you live in Arizona or Abu Dhabi.

Shell Renewables certainly is not fooled. This leading producer of solar panels decided last week to pull out of the UK market, citing 'lack of support' for the concept.

Let's be honest: it is lack of sun.