Pembroke: Oh rats, what a tiring business

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PETER Griffiths, the cuddly, cigar-toting head of structured export finance at Singer & Friedlander, is feeling rather sorry for himself at the moment.

He has just returned from a debilitating trip to Uzbekistan, one of the former Soviet republics.

Conditions were, how shall we say, poor. 'I was told to pack a pair of flip-flops, which I thought was a bit odd as the state is practically landlocked,' he says. 'But when I saw the bathroom facilities I understood why. I also saw a rat in the room, but then I hear that's quite normal in those parts.'

He did manage a decent night's sleep, however, due to his normal practice of taking his own duvet on business trips.

THE latest management buyout backed by Schroder Ventures has proved a great hit with the firm's skiing fraternity. The deal involved the Kassbohrer Group, which makes machines that flatten pistes to motorway standards.

A key man in the deal was Schroder Ventures partner Eric Walters, who, as chance would have it, is an accomplished skier and owner of a pleasant chalet in a Swiss resort. Also likely to volunteer for company visits are Peter Falkman, the firm's north of England man, who is a keen heli-skier, and Charles Sherwood, son of James Sherwood of Sea Containers fame, for whom ordinary Alpine pistes are not enough. Colleagues say he once clambered halfway up Mont Blanc and skied back down.

ROGER Myers, hirsute chairman of the brasserie group Pelican, know hows to enjoy himself. For the launch party last night of Sheila's, his new Aussie-themed restaurant, he assembled a guest list of film premiere proportions including Britt Ekland, Mandy Smith and various cast members from Neighbours.

Mr Myers amply demonstrated that he knew what to do with a didgeridoo. 'I've been practising,' he said.

Anthony Robbins, a 6ft 7in self-improvement guru with chiselled soap opera features and hands the size of table tennis bats, jets into town this weekend. The American is not one to shy away from the big idea, and his visit includes a 'Celebrate Sheffield' evening - an attempt to motivate an entire city.

Sheffield United are turning up, as is the boxer Errol 'Bomber' Graham.

Michael Palin, and Def Leppard, the heavy metal band, are still being courted. 'What we are doing is trying to get people to think about all the positive things that have come out of Sheffield and some of the exciting things that are going on now,' says a spokesman. 'Such as the tramway.'

IT'S an expensive business being a director of Eurotunnel. The board members take it in turns to buy shares in the company at awkward moments, which is often.

Yesterday it was Lord Tugendhat's turn. He bought 650 shares, presumably as a demonstration of faith after a Eurostar train carrying 400 journalists broke down at Waterloo. Earlier this week Sir Alastair Morton said he was instructing his broker to buy 5,000 shares. Given the subsequent tumble in the price, he has lost money already.