Whatever field you are in - be it the world of business, politics or even sport - success always seems to depend on whether you can "get the numbers to stack up".  Earlier in the week, Joe Root gambled that setting the West Indies a target of 322 runs to win in their final innings at Headingley was simply too many for the tourists to chase down.  The cricketing statistics weighed heavily in England's favour, but a certain Shai Hope had not read the script (or studied the statistics!) and promptly bludgeoned his second century of the match to pull off the unlikeliest of wins.  Bad maths by the England captain, or just plain good Windies batting?  In the altogether murkier world of the Brussels Brexit negotiations, the week has been dominated by rather bigger numbers.  David Davis has promised to "interrogate vigorously" EU demands for a divorce settlement - no small task given the demands could reach 92 billion Euros!  Neither party looks likely to emerge from this monster financial reconciliation unscathed.  Except perhaps some well-paid lawyers!  Yet, when it comes to the increasingly crazy football transfer window, the parties appear to take an altogether more laissez-faire attitude to numbers.  After two months of mind-boggling spending, the transfer window has now closed and we are left to reflect on the headline deals.  £35 million for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; £165.7 million for 18 year old Kylian Mbappe (?); and £198 million for Neymar!  Now how exactly do those numbers stack up?! 

If you were asked 10 years ago to put together a short list of "up-and-coming" office hubs outside Central London, it is unlikely that Croydon would have been very high up.  If, that is, it featured at all!  For decades Croydon has ranked low on the list of most desirable office locations, with a poor reputation for brutalist (read "concrete") architecture.  All that, however, is changing with major regeneration around East Croydon station creating a compact CBD and a budding tech scene, helped by a £2m council-funded tech incubator, in Croydon Old Town.  Add in the arrival of a £1.4bn Westfield shopping centre and perceptions are changing too.  Many developers and investors now have the Borough firmly in their sights. Schroders and Stanhope, for example, have already lured HMRC to take 183,000 sq ft of offices at their Ruskin Square scheme.  With prime office rents hovering around £35 per sq ft, and both Victoria and London Bridge only 15 minutes away, you can't argue that the town now offers real value for money.  Even if it is still Croydon!

Finally, this wouldn't be an edition of The Weekly without a brief round up of some of the more unusual stories of the week.  Third place on the "most bizarre list" is reserved for the hapless, armed robbers who held up a bank in Pennsylvania, whilst dressed as nuns.  It's reported that the two "nuns" remain on the run!  Second place goes to a lonely monkey at an Israeli zoo who has reportedly adopted a chicken as an outlet for her maternal instincts. Zookeepers say Niv, an Indonesian black macaque, has had difficulty finding a partner, and has been caring for the bird for the past few weeks.  Macaque's normally eat any stray chickens that enter their enclosure so The Weekly can only hope that this tender love story has a happy ending?!  And we've awarded top spot to a 27-year-old musician who was asked by surgeons to play his saxophone during an operation to remove a brain tumour.  Recounting his experience, Dan Fabbio said, "it was strange because I was lying on my side, and that's not how you usually play the instrument.  And, also, my skull was open."  We can only hope his medical team weren't too distracted by the music!

 

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