May 2011 issue

Do you remember the Gem of Tanzania? The ruby was on Wrekin Construction’s balance sheet at a value of £11m – and was sold last month for £8,000. I briefly considered claiming against the destruction by fire of an extremely old possession, but then thought that the insurance company may not see a lump of coal as an antique – despite possibly being a million years old! Value truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Sometimes it’s tricky to know what to put in an opinion column – do you get all optimistic and risk upsetting people who are having a pretty bad time of it – and at the moment there’s a lot of that around – or do you reflect the mood of the news and have others wonder what you’ve got to be so down about? Sometimes you need to get things in perspective, and realise that we rarely have to face up to the sort of hardship others around the world have in their daily lives. “Stop complaining”, says Bruce Mau in Architect: the magazine of the American Institute of Architects. “It’s a great time to be an architect. Is it really difficult being an architect in America? It’s difficult to be a female intellectual in Kandahar. It’s difficult to raise a family living on waste products in the garbage dumps of China. It’s difficult to find your way as a child in Malawi, where the infection rate of HIV/AIDS is 17%, having already wiped out a generation of mothers and fathers. It’s difficult to overcome drug addiction from the quicksand of poverty and incarceration in America’s overpopulated prisons. These conditions are difficult. Being an architect is not difficult.” All in perspective.

Well done to our Publishing Director Sam Ball, who completed the Brighton Marathon in 4 hours 44 minutes and raised £780 for Unicef! We’re very proud of him. Iron Man next, Sam?

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