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Michel de Carvalho, co-chairman of the board of Nikko Europe, has sore legs today, and probably will for a week or so. While others remained enthralled by the comparatively genteel tennis exploits at Wimbledon over the weekend, Mr de Carvalho chose to cycle up some mountains, notably the short but steep Alpe-d'Huez (1,900 metres) while taking part in the amateur Tour de France race on Saturday.

He finished the 160km stage in the Alps in 11 hours and raised about pounds 7,000 for the British Wheelchair Sports Foundation. Some would say this kind of spare-time activity was rather extreme. But the race is preceded by a 4am breakfast of lukewarm spaghetti and lentils. Now that's tough.

Expanding horizons are on food retail analyst Paul Smiddy's agenda. Mr Smiddy was junked in Nomura's January clear-out and now has a slot at Credit Lyonnais.

No gardening holiday for Mr Smiddy in between jobs, however. In fact he said he did "zilch" gardening while on leave and instead grasped the nettle and launched himself into three days of "work experience" with a supermarket.

He was reluctant to say which retailer might have had him stacking shelves. But when he was not wheeling trolleys he was flying high elsewhere.

Most people get about in a car, but Mr Smiddy prefers to zoom around Europe in a Beech Bonanza and is studying for a commercial pilot's licence. Come Big Bang II, if you want to rush to other markets, Mr Smiddy could be the man to get you to new horizons.

The John Lewis Partnership is about to wash the starch out of its knickers. This was the way it chose to describe its new approach to the media. The group is well known for being backwards about coming forwards, but things are about to change, courtesy of the chairman, Stuart Hampson.

A spokesman said the group had been playing the same tune for a long time. The problem, he said, was that no one could hear it any more, so they plan to turn up the volume.

Most radical of all, the partnership will be featured, warts and all, in a documentary for this autumn.

If you make it to today's start of the clearance - the partnership's name for what less starchy stores call their sale - you could get more than you bargained for. The television crew will be filming at the Chelsea branch - more usually known as Peter Jones, Sloane Square .

Grant Phillips, managing director of Barclays Unicorn, the unit trust arm of Barclays, is at one with his sticks these days.

It's harder than it sounds - have you tried positioning six bamboo sticks so that each touches every other?

Not content to be a passive supporter of Unicorn's team in this year's Mitel Telecom trophy, Mr Phillips took the bull by the horns and produced a spectacular performance. The team won the financial sector trophy and came second out of 70 in the overall competition.

Some people laid them out on the ground but Mr Phillips chose what looked like yoga to position his body around the sticks to hold them all in place.