CITY DIARY

For years the Treasury has been trying to shake off the description of its panel of experts as the Seven Wise Men. First it changed the number of wise men from seven to six. Now it has a chance of losing the tag altogether when three of the current bunch leave at the end of the year. I hear the blokes in Great George Street are determined to appoint a woman.

Two names stick out. The first is Dr Penelope Rowlatt, a director of the National Economic Research Associates with degrees in mathematical physics, econometrics, and mathematical economics. She went on to work for 10 years at the Treasury where she did some forecasting. A mover and shaker in the Labour Party, she is considered bright and dynamic.

A more likely candidate is Kate Barker, chief economist at the Confederation of British Industry, where she oversees a series of surveys and forecasts. With a big brain inside a small and quiet person she has made a name for herself as a spokesperson for industry.

The final of the grand Firkin pub-naming competition has finally arrived. I can announce that Dawn Lardner of Bingley, West Yorkshire, has won with a suggestion for a Baker Street pub called Fingerprint & Firkin.

The winner will receive six bottles of Beefeater gin and six bottles of Ballantines whisky from Allied Domecq, owners of the Firkin chain.

"Many of the entries were littered with swear words as entrants seemed determined to refer to farting and sex," said one sensitive judge.

A jaunt by some of the City's biggest legal brains nearly ran a cropper when terrorist police intercepted their bus when it left the safety of the City and conducted a search.

The lawyers, including David McIntosh of Davies Arnold Cooper and Henry Hodge, formerly president of the Law Society, were due at an Oxford Union debate on whether the British legal system offered access to justice. The trauma did not disturb the team's concentration.

After arriving late for their dinner they beat the opposition, by a healthy margin.

Warm weather put paid to one of the City's most unusual events yesterday. The annual Gulls' Eggs City luncheon, sponsored by headhunters Baines Gwinner on behalf of Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund, usually attracts several hundred keen to taste what was a staple item at City wine bars until the black-headed gulls became a preserved species.

Each year, gull's egg lovers get to taste their favourite dish when an anonymous wealthy Scottish patron sends the charity a consignment. Party organisers were therefore horrified when they opened egg boxes yesterday morning to discover the consignment had gone off in the spring weather. Party-goers made do with hastily ordered quails' eggs instead.

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