Damsels in undress cause great distress

City Diary

Imagine our intrepid reporter's surprise yesterday as he made his way to the BBA interim results press conference at the Chiswell Street Brewery in the City, only to be met by two scantily clad young ladies.

Had BBA expanded from its usual business of brake linings and nappies into lingerie, our man wondered?

The chairman of BBA, Vanni Treves, and his colleagues were distraught. The damsels had nothing to do with BBA, but were models preparing for a Playtex press conference at the brewery that evening. "We can't compete with what is going on outside," one person wailed.

I don't know. I'm sure brake linings have a fascination all their own.

It is well known that the Lloyd's of London insurance market in Lime Street celebrates good news with two rings of the historic Lutine bell, and bad news with one.

David Rowland, chairman of Lloyd's, had the bright idea of ringing it an unprecedented three times yesterday - one for the losses that market had made, and two for the Government's go-ahead for Equitas, the reinsurance company which will spearhead Lloyd's restructuring.

Mr Rowland recalls that the last time the seven-and-a-half-ton bell was rung twice because of maritime good news was back in 1981.

The last double-chime for any other reason was when John Major attended as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1990 to mark a European Directive which opened insurance markets in the European union to Lloyd's.

Mr Rowland says that although the bell was actually rung by one of Lloyd's pink-coated waiters and not Mr Major, the latter was the "official" ringer.

"You see what happens to people who ring the bell," the chairman said, referring to Mr Major's subsequent elevation to No 10.

David Newbigging, chairman of Equitas, added quietly: "If they can count."

British Gas and HFC are launching a multi-million pound joint venture called Goldbrand, whose first product will be a credit card called the Goldfish Card. Presumably it will only be available at fairgrounds.

Ward Thomas, the cheeky chairman of Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television, has written to Channel 5 insisting that when their people turn up at his home to retune his telly to receive the new channel, they will have to do the job out in the drive.

"To avoid any security risk I will not permit any of your operatives access to my house," writes Mr Thomas.

He then includes a form Channel 5 must sign and return, indemnifying him against damage or worsening of interference he may suffer as a result of the retuning.

Channel 5 has written back to Mr Thomas, saying: "We regret that we cannot sign the attached form."

Robert Heald, head of customer services at Channel 5, goes on to assure Mr Thomas that all staff are fully trained in retuning, that any complaints will be dealt with swiftly and that no one is being forced to accept a visit from a retuner. Mr Heald concludes: "In the event that retuning cannot be successfully implemented, a blocker can be fitted to exclude Channel 5 [and any associated interference]."

I call that 30-all. New balls, Mr Thomas?

Cadbury's results yesterday were the swan song for chief executive David Wellings, who is retiring to devote all his energies to his first love: ornithology in Majorca. Mr Wellings wants to help preserve wildlife on the island, which includes the rare Black Vulture (above).

News reaches us, however, of a damaging boardroom split at Cadbury. The chairman, Dominic Cadbury, likes going out and shooting magpies as a hobby. Mr Wellings is aghast that as fast as he is saving birds, Mr Cadbury is blasting them to pieces. Mr Wellings says, sorrowfully: "Every time he does that, I give him a bollocking."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
Sport
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
News
i100
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

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas