Column Eight: Harland shares in handicap

Mental distraction was offered yesterday for the upper echelons of Harland Simon, the control systems company whose shares remain suspended at 20p (year's high: 653p) and which implemented pay cuts after a small problem with working capital. The 3.30 at Nottingham, the Harland Simon Claiming Handicap, boasted prize money of pounds 3,000, half of which was put up by the company.

Apparently 22 executives and guests were taken along to watch. How jolly . . .

There is just a whiff of fiddling while Rome burns about the decision by Unit Trust Association members to spend today on the golf course at Sunningdale. Helping to take their minds off more share and currency chaos in the City no doubt.

A letter arrives in the office for Sarah Hogg, late of this parish but now, in her role as Downing Street policy adviser, fingered as one of the 'Guilty Gang' responsible for the Government's economic policies.

Marked 'Time Sensitive Material', the letter is from an organisation called CareerTrack International (which should, you may think, have realised that Ms Hogg left the Independent in 1989). Seminars organised by CareerTrack are aimed at 'any woman who has been in management for a while and wants some new ideas'.

We'll forward the letter.

Terry Smith, once of Phillips & Drew and now world-famous author of Accounting for Growth, was recently spotted tramping through Broadgate Circle near the offices of his ex-employer. Approaching P&D he was recognised by the doorman, who waved him over for a friendly chat. Soon, however, Mr Smith was to be seen entering the building by the other door, coincidentally marked: 'Deliveries and Messengers'.

Chris Bryant, hosting his last results conference as chairman of the family housebuilding firm Bryant Group yesterday, had the consolation that it has wiped spots off most rivals by announcing a near- doubling of profits. But he still expressed his sadness at leaving the group (although he remains life president and will retain his 15 per cent stake) after 30 years at the helm.

Mind you, given world economic conditions and the unprecedented housing slump, he must be secretly relieved that there are no junior Bryants queuing up to fill his shoes.

Not that creditors are finding it tough tracking down the ex-boxer George Walker (he of Brent Walker fame), but we like the venue chosen for the creditors' meeting on Thursday - the Sherlock Holmes hotel in Baker Street, London.