Pembroke: Motor dealer Cowie is back behind the wheel

Sir Tom Cowie, the larger-than-life motor dealer, has returned to the fray. Sir Tom, who retired from T Cowie in December after more than 40 years at the helm, has resurfaced as a non-executive director of European Motor Holdings, the car dealer run by Richard Palmer.

Sir Tom played down suggestions that his swift return implied that he had left T Cowie a little earlier than he might have liked. 'I'd rather not comment on the past,' he said. 'Let's just say I'm pleased to be joining a happy team.' Asked whether that meant T Cowie was not a happy team, he said: 'You can draw your own conclusions.'

He is looking forward to working with some old friends such as Roger Smith, non-executive director of European Motor Holdings. 'It's nice to know that someone still wants me,' he said.

The rough and tumble jollity of Sir John Harvey Jones even extends to the great man's answering machine. Callers to his office in Ross-on-Wye receive the following message. 'Here at Parallax Enterprises, the office of that media star Sir John Harvey Jones, we think we have the best job in the country. The fact that it mostly consists of saying no in various inventive and charming ways doesn't put us off one bit. Go on. Leave a message and brighten up our day.'

Sir John's staff have indeed been saying no rather a lot recently as the former ICI chairman has been feeling rather unwell. All last week's appointments were cancelled, including a speaking engagement in Dubai (Sir John Banham gamely stood in at short notice), and staff were not sure whether he would be recovered for a book-signing session in Birmingham last night.

Sir John, thought to be suffering from a stomach complaint, faces a bit of a test with an engagement tonight: having a curry. Sir John, who was born in India, is hosting a 25th anniversary meal at Shezan, a fine Indian restaurant in London's Knightsbridge.

Iunderstand refurbishment work at Savoy Taylors Guild, the upmarket outfitters in the Strand, has accidentally uncovered some pleasant surprises. Workers dismantling an unsightly shirt rack found some very attractive wood panelling lurking behind.

The panelling, which is due for a thorough polishing, is the second 'find' at the shop. A year ago decorators working outside the shop accidentally chipped some paint off the front to reveal some splendid brass carving. 'I think it must date from the war when the Ministry of Defence commandeered all metalwork for the war effort,' says Rowland Gee, managing director of Moss Bros, the company's parent. 'I suppose it must have been painted over to conceal it.'

Geoff Morrow, director of the much-hyped Flora Aerobathon, is going scatty trying to organise 4,000 aerobics instructors and 860,000 bottles of water for his big day. The event takes place next month and will see upwards of 100,000 lycra-clad fitness enthusiasts take part in the mother of all step classes for charity.

But the aerobathon is a mere sideshow for Morrow. A songwriter by trade, he wrote 'Can't smile without you' for Barry Manilow and (it gets worse) 'There's a whole lotta loving'.

While the aerobathon is taking up most of his time, he has written the songs for a new musical called San Francisco and has just returned from the US where, he tells me, he has been trying to persuade Tom Jones to play the lead. 'He is considering it but wants to change some of the songs to suit his style,' he says.

The battle in the credit card market has extended to a version of car wars.

In January, Bank of Scotland announced a new credit card package backed by a chance to win one of 24 Renault Lagunas, each worth more than pounds 12,000. Over in Singapore, Standard Chartered has gone one better.

The bank is giving every 1,000th customer of its new credit card a spanking new Volkswagen Golf. This is a better prize than it sounds. In Singapore, a tiny island, the car tax is exorbitant to discourage motorists. A VW Golf would be worth about pounds 40,000.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee