CITY DIARY

Yesterday's criticism of Northern Foods' management by William Waldegrave carried all the superiority of a man whose family background is steeped in rural industry.

After all, the agriculture minister does jointly own with other family members a 1,000-acre dairy with 400 prize Friesians, which supplies milk to the family cheese business run by his brother, Lord Chewton.

However, his politically sensitive criticisms against Northern Foods' management, led by the Labour supporter Chris Haskins, are not directed against a grey man unused to dairy issues. Mr Haskins, like his Irish father before him, owns a dairy farm himself. The 200-acre estate in County Wicklow has a 120-cow business and is run by his younger son, Daniel.

Mr Haskins has been on a dieting drive recently, substituting pasta for pork pies, he tells me. But this bout of modern vegetarianism will not dent the special place the dairy industry has in his heart.

"It is a 52-week-a-year business, which depends on the love of long-lasting, living assets and is like no other in the world," he told me.

The Ministry of Defence's disastrous attempts to privatise 70,000 of its service homes have led to a bonanza for a former Laing director, Mark Taylor. Mr Taylor joined the Crown Housing Trust last year with the aim of leading its attempts to raise £1bn in private finance to repair the married quarters of the three services. The plan was a failure and, instead, the MoD is merging the three housing departments into one from next week.

This decision was sadly not made before the department spent £5m on various advisers' fees. These now include £170,000 given to Mr Taylor, who had a three-year contract, for a job he never started.

The board of Wolverhampton-based Manders can take solace from the defeat of local team Wolves to Crystal Palace in an FA Cup quarter-final replay.

Manders backed the team during its remarkable ascent from fourth division to first over the past four years, but was outbid by Goodyear, which became lead sponsor last year. Since then Graham Taylor's injury-stricken team have often been less than scintillating and Goodyear's hopes of Cup glory this year have been dashed.

Manders' chairman, Roy Amos, a Birmingham City supporter, must be having a quiet laugh on his own.

The success of a travel bookshop in central London could lead to a windfall for a group of investors from JP Morgan and several Notting Hill worthies such as John Julius Norwich, Thomas Pakenham and Sir Tim Sainsbury. Six years ago, James Daunt, then a 26-year-old banker at JP Morgan, quit his job to set up a specialised bookshop. He found the ideal location in a Victorian bookstore designed by Francis Edwardes, the antiquarian bookseller, which features a high-domed skylight that evokes a temple atmosphere. High rents and recession hit trade initially, but now Daunt says it earns a handsome profit on its £1.5m turnover. The original BES financing matures next month and the investors are trying to decide whether to sell the business, encourage a management buyout or fund further expansion. "It's been one of the most satisfying investments of my career," said one shareholder.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?