Former GNER man Andy Naylor flies in from Tenerife

Along with everyone else in Scotland I was gutted last night by the Italian team’s last gasp winner which ended our Euro 2008 hopes.

But at least I got to watch a thrilling match with a good bunch of mates in the Bailie – including suntanned Andy “Knocker” Naylor, who was back in town after a long sojourn in Tenerife.

Andy is the supreme networker. He knows everybody and spent many years based in Edinburgh during his 24-year career in GNER‘s media office.  In fact, he knows that many people, the only giveaway that he hasn’t been part of Edinburgh society from birth is his broad Yorkshire accent.

Since taking a redundancy package from GNER Andy’s been cooling his heels for six months or so in Tenerife. A couple of weeks ago he bumped into a Scotswoman in a bar and during the ensuing conversation agreed to write a press release for her new venture. That woman was Audra Laverty.

Her new business is Training Abroad and she has hooked up with a former surfing world champion to deliver corporate away days with a difference. It’s one thing to pep up yor sales team by taking them go-karting in West Lothian – but that looks a bit lame next to  surfing, scubadiving and other adrenalin-fuelled activities in Tenerfie. So good luck to Audra and co with that.

When sobriety set in and came to writing the press release, the pair realised they had at least one shared acquaintance – me! (Confession time: back around 1998 when I was so disillusion with newspaper life under Martin Clarke at the Daily Record, I actually considered taking up a sales job at Thomson Directories – and met to discuss the possibilitie with Audra, who was the boss there at the time).

<>And so it was I got a phonecall out of the blue from Andy and we marvelled at the coincidence and discussed how small the world really is. Andy mentioned he was due a visit back in Edinburgh, but it was still a very pleasant surprise to see him in Stockbridge’s finest boozer – and he was cheering on McLeish’s boys louder than most of the Scotsmen in the pub (Andy was actually a decent player himself, but had to give up the beautiful game due to his dodgy knees).Unsurprisingly, you can’t keep a man of his quality quiet for long and in his usual, incredibly well-connected way, Andy is mulling over various options and opportunities and hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more of him back here in Blighty before too long.

But a word to the wise: Lock up your daughters. Andy’s a notorious one for the ladies and with that Tenerife tan he’s likely to be even more lethal.

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