Along to the Burlington Hotel for the agm of lobby group Birmingham Forward attended by all the great and the good of Colmore Row.

Departing chairman Derek "Invite" Inman admits to 80 breakfasts, 40 lunches and 50 dinners during his year in office.

A munch mountain which would leave me several stones overweight but appears not to have put an ounce on his lean frame. I hate him!

As for his successor Diane Benussi, noted divorce lawyer, she admits that her main ambition for the next 12 months is to "not make too many gaffes in The Birmingham Post". I am confident we can make sure she does not succeed in this quest.

But we have thought up a money-making wheeze for the diminutive Diane who spent much of the evening's Deal of the Year awards hopping from floor to stage so as to be on the same level as everyone else for the photos.

She was doing the presentations in a double act with the lanky Ray O'Donoghue, of sponsors Barclays, in a kind of Mick Fleetwood/Samantha Fox Brit Awards display.

Anyway, what about a sponsored soapbox which could go with her everywhere?

Roll up, roll up. Get your lovely bananas here...

* * *

I hear there has been a surprising rush at accountants Deloitte to go on holiday to Butlins this year. Butlins?

Has it been a tough twelve months or what? No, it's just the marketing department having another knees-up.

Spin doctor Joy Stefanicki and the girls are heading for Skegness, where they should enjoy paddling in the mud and eating whelks. It follows Eddie Marston's spell at Butlins Bognor Regis where he attended some sort of return to the 70s weekend.

So what's with Skegness then? "It's some sort of 80s revival, or maybe its a 90s one - anyway, they're all very young," my mole tells me.

* * *

I hear CBI director general Sir Digby Jones - who is back to showing what seven years' of corporate breakfasts, lunches and dinners can do to your waistline - and the lascivious John James are to co-compere this year's BYPY Awards - the "Blue Peter badges" for the city's young professional community.

It's now been dubbed the Lewd and Large Show!

* * *

What has Bright's vicar on earth, Birmingham Post business editor John Duckers, been doing hobbling around all week? Has the old fart tweaked a muscle he didn't know he had? No, it seems he has been breaking in a new pair of shoes and they have been killing him. Well, it serves the cheapskate right. At #12 a pair mail order, he deserves all he gets, I say.

* * *

I hear rebellion is in the air among disgruntled revellers following this year's MIPIM, the huge property conference and beanfeast in Cannes.

Among those who descended on the place was Hot Property, the band composed of Birmingham property professionals.

They hit the stage at the conclusion of Birmingham City Council's annual dinner there.

But not everything went smooth, apparently.

The dinner overran, but some council jobsworth ordered them to start up anyway even though the many punters who had bodyswerved the speeches yet had tickets for the gig were still trying to get in.

And then they were ordered to pull the plug "early" when everyone was still enjoying themselves and bands in other rooms of the hotel were going strong into the wee small hours.

Talk is afoot among property professionals of organising the thing themselves next year.

* * *

Some guys have all the luck.

Word finally reaches me of how Birmingham businessman and Moseley Rugby Club stalwart John Nolan was quids in at the Cheltenham Festival.

The first race, no less, included a horse named Nolan. Well, how could our man resist the temptation?

It romped home at 6/1 and naturally Big John had strongly backed the nag. Celebrations all round.

* * *

I hear Birmingham businessman, property guru and Metro devotee Richard Graves has hit that magical age. Turned 50.

Still suave and sophisticated, the hair may be greying just a little, the odd crease is creeping across the craggy face, but the fair sex still love him.

The date was marked by a "quiet family supper", I am told. Sounds very un-Gravesie.

* * *

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Panadol, sun lotion or a sticky plaster, but could not inform those same parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility and his son, Reason.

He is survived by three stepbrothers: I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm a Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone.

* * *

Following the recent success of its presence at MIPIM 2006, the world's biggest property show, Lambert Smith Hampton has announced the opening of a new branch office in Cannes in the South of France.

Launched today, the commercial property consultancy has decided to maintain a year round presence in the top holiday resort to prepare for next year's event.

"Having done so much good business at MIPIM this year, we decided that it was crucial that we spend the next 12 months preparing for the next exhibition, and where better to do that, than in Cannes," said Ross Bendall director and head of office agency in LSH's Birmingham office.

Mr Bendall and his colleague Daniel Berko will be manning the Cannes office and have already driven to the South of France in branded Minis to find new premises.

"We are no fools. Dan and I spotted the opportunity," said Mr Bendall.

"The Cannes office market is every bit as challenging as Birmingham and I plan to become an expert on the needs of office occupiers in the South of France, as well as in the West Midlands."

Phew. What a scorcher.