When it comes to polls, most of us will immediately think of YouGov. They poll pretty much everything. The likely results of elections are an obvious area of focus, but this week their polls included ‘whether Irn Bru recipe changes will damage the brand’ and ‘how does the UK public feel about being shown recent photos of a friend or family member’s baby’? YouGov have also recently polled over 1,600 people to determine which is the most boring sport to watch. And the winner? Golf. The pursuit famously described by Mark Twain as ‘a good walk spoiled’ topped the charts, with 70% of those who had ever watched it describing it as ‘very/quite boring’. Seriously??? What’s not to like about watching (usually) dull men and women walking around a big expanse of grass for over five hours, tapping a tiny white ball into a hole once every twenty minutes or so? In second place for the most boring sport to watch was American Football and in bronze position, cricket, clearly a knee-jerk reaction to the recent Ashes debacle. Meanwhile, for those still reading this paragraph, the winner for ‘most exciting sport’ was athletics, with football second alongside tennis, with rugby union and gymnastics just behind.
It's not easy for a property deal to make headline news in our industry press. It’s even more difficult for a deal to make headline news across all mainstream media outlets. However this week, thanks to yet another tweet from the leader of the Free World, question marks were raised about the sale of the U.S. embassy in Grosvenor Square and the decision to relocate to the "off location" that is Vauxhall/Nine Elms. It was, apparently, a "bad deal" that involved the transfer of some peanuts. The new embassy, which opens for business on Tuesday, is the culmination of over ten years of hard work from people right across the property industry, work that included selling the existing embassy in 2009 plus other surplus US-owned buildings in London to ensure the overall project was cost neutral. Then there was the task of finding a secure, five acre site closer to Downing Street than Grosvenor Square that could accommodate 800 staff in a 500,000 sq. ft. embassy, not to mention the design and construction of a building that is not only architecturally 'eye-catching' but above all fit-for-purpose, something the old embassy most certainly was not. It goes without saying that every investor who sold a property in London in 2009 probably wishes they were selling it today. That's called hindsight. But to call it a ‘bad deal’ is yet more 'fake news'.
With Christmas now a distant memory and children firmly back to school, this weekend will see for most parents a return to the role of taxi-driver. Fill the tank, don the cap and let the weekend rituals resume of ferrying little Alex or Rose to swimming/football/mini-rugby/ballet/gymnastics or yet another kid’s birthday party. Well, the good news for us parents is that a survey released this week has tallied up all this taxi-driving so we can tell our kids just how lucky they are. The bad news is the results! According to the Vauxhall Motors survey, the average parent spends almost two months a year driving their children to and from school and taking them to activities. Parents, on average, clock up 1,283 miles a year, roughly the equivalent of driving from London to Lisbon! We spend 286 hours a year at the wheel, the equivalent to two months’ worth of working days. This would earn us around £10,000 if we had a taxi meter! And just when you felt it couldn’t get any more depressing, we also spend an average of two working days a year just waiting for our children in our cars!