please empty your brain below

Not envious. AT ALL. Grrrrr.

Allen & Overy are an international law firm with a particular expertise in finance. They have 29 offices worldwide (you were in the head office) and are ranked as the sixth largest law firm in the world by revenue.

learning that Gallagher pay half a million in rent a year for the Hoover Building was one of the highlights for me (I got there around midday). I was so pleased to have finally got in, as I often shop in the tescos, though was dissapointed at lack of original fixtures and fitting.. Great view from balcony!

My choice of "brand new shiny City office block" this year was 125 Old Broad Street (the former Stock Exchange tower).

No "architect-led tour" as listed in the catalogue, but after a shortish queue we were squashed into a lift and then left to roam the empty 25th floor. Fabulous views from the floor to ceiling windows. Being right in the heart of the City, you could look down into the many otherwise hidden gardens, courtyards and roof terraces of the surrounding buildings.

A very enjoyable time spent 'building spotting', but I learnt nothing about the building I was actually in!

St Marylebone School was also a good visit. Architects explained the design process of the huge subterranean gym. School staff and students were also on hand to talk about a building that they obviously enjoy using and were keen to show off.

Excellent weekend - focused a bit more on Essex borders and the City than usual, and more on churches and less on homes than in past years (as my usual companion for this sort of thing was away on holiday..)

Sat: churches in Rainham, Hornchurch, Romford (quite exceptional that one), and old and semi-derelict chapel that is intended to be converted into some kind of arts centre in Upminster, a Norman Chapel (from an old hospital for lepers) with three, superb, stained glass windows by Burne-Jones in Ilford (THE highlight of the day), "Village Underground" (tube trains as offices/studios on top of viaduct in Shoreditch) and Charnel House at Spitalfields.

Sun: The Malthouse, Barking (another bit of early creative regeneration in former industrial buildings by a river...the next Fish Island or Trinity Buoy Wharf?????), Harmony House community centre, Dagenham (an absolute, unexpected, gem), Christ Church Spitalfields, 13 Princelet St (old Hugenot House in Spitalfields), St Ethelredas Bishopsgate, St Helens Bishopsgate, the Charterhouse Chapel, and Wilton's Music Hall

Pity it's only one weekend a year...

(And don't mention rail replacement bus services. Grrrrrrrr. District line AND c2c AND Jubilee line AND Hammersmith & City/Circle lines AND the GOBLIN all out at strategic points - and Tower Gateway still closed, etc)

What do you mean, you think A& O are a bank? They're an international law firm... (and wouldn't they have been in the press rather a lot more lately if they were a bank?)

Rachel: When you're standing in the A&O building, writing a post by email, it's surprisingly hard to know who they are.

Really? I would have thought that they'd make more of an effort... How odd. (And I didn't realise you were posting by e-mail either, very sophisticated!)

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