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We are now landing in Amsterdam, or is that Aberdeen?
ON Saturday morning I awoke with a splitting headache.
The previous evening I'd attended the NECC Tees Valley gala dinner held at the Thistle hotel, Middlesbrough. I had taken the car so the bad head wasn't, I am sad to report, the result of too much wine.
My brain was still struggling to digest the speech from Keith Skeoch, Chief Executive of Standard Life Investments that launched the evening's entertainment.
Asking the Teesside-lad-made-good to share his thoughts with a room full of local business folk sounded like a good idea. Mr Skeoch is clearly an expert in his field and a lovely chap but his highbrow discourse was way beyond mortals like me and, it transpired, most of an audience who were eager to unwind after a busy week.
Some light relief came later in the evening with the draw by master of ceremonies Peter Broome on behalf of event sponsors Durham Tees Valley Airport. "First prize is a trip for two to Amsterdam," he declared, much to the delight of the winning ticket holder, whose joy was short lived when Peter corrected himself: "Apologies, I meant to say Aberdeen, not Amsterdam. But the Granite City is lovely at this time of year," he added, rather unconvincingly.
Thanks to John Dickson, group chairman of building firm Owen Pugh for inviting me to chair a seminar at Billingham Forum on the need for investment in North-East infrastructure.
The event wasn't so much a call for tens of millions to fund major projects such as dualling of the A1, but to highlight how spending small sums on work, such as repairing bridges and potholes, could give the construction trade a shot in the arm.
The industry isn't alone in calling for more support to offset a dramatic slump in demand. But was heartening to hear that the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Civil Engineering Contractors' Association and the Association of Consultancy and Engineering have joined forces to get their message across. I hope the Government and Local Enterprise Partnerships sit up and take notice.
New research shows that North-Easterners are saving less of their hard earned cash. Hardly surprising when you consider the number of people who are struggling to make ends meet. The national average for savings rose slightly to £90 a month but people in our region are now squirreling away on average just 5.93 per cent or £77 of their incomes each month, compared to 8.71 per cent or £100 this time last year. Another sign of the tough times.
A guided tour of a funeral home isn't my idea of a fun day out. What do I know?
About 60 people turned up at The Cooperative Funeralcare in Norton Road, Stockton for its open day. It included a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the room where bodies lie in state. "Residents were encouraged to ask questions about the work of a funeral director" said the press release. I'd have thought a query from one of the funeral home's residents was highly unlikely.
Follow me on Twitter: AndyRichardson @BizEcho