Pembroke: Lime Street blues

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The Independent Online
The hurling of empty champagne bottles at the chairman of Lloyd's of London, David Rowland, at the Royal Festival and Queen Elizabeth halls on Tuesday will have to stop smartly at 2pm, due to the intervention of Louis Armstrong and Beethoven, whose twin delights are on offer to a wider audience that same evening.

An annually fraught event, the meeting of Lloyd's underwriting members has become the longest occasion on the daily business calendar as members grill the market's authorities over the state of their losses. Last year's meeting at the Lloyd's market itself finished around sundowner time and ruined a day's business, so this year Lloyd's is holding meetings off- premises or at the close of play.

Concert promoters for that evening might dedicate a number or two to the distressed underwriting members - a rendition of Armstrong's version of 'You're driving me crazy' at his anniversary concert at the QEH, and the prisoners' chorus from Fidelio at the RFH.

Hatfield airfield, it is said, was the final British departure gate of the fugitive Asil Nadir, who allegedly donned a curly wig to expedite his passage to northern Cyprus. If it's true, the airfield has clearly learnt a lesson. A colleague who recently passed through noticed that passport formalities, with picture and number checks, were discreetly but strictly observed on outbound and inbound flights. Alas - too late.

Turning eagerly to the equity market review for June produced by SG Warburg Securities, we flick to the section on hotels and leisure. There, sandwiched between other bits of handy advice ('Compass now looks to be undervalued', 'The outlook for Rank's managed businesses in the US and UK remains promising') is the recommendation that shareholders sell their Queen's Moat shares.

In fact, QM shareholders have little option but to hold on. The shares have been suspended at 471 2 p since the last Wednesday in March.

Separately, they've been supplying wine to the City's company dining rooms, institutions and livery companies, as well as private customers, for more than 200 years. Now they have merged. As of today Russell & McIver (founded 1865 and the City's longest-established wine merchants), becomes part of Mayor Sworder & Co. The chairman will be Sir Christopher Leaver, a former Lord Mayor of London and the new chairman of Thames Water.