The work-life quiz

Paul Groobey, head of London office, Hammonds

What was your first-ever job?

Labouring for a marquee firm, developing my team skills and use of the sledgehammer.

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

Lighting the senior partner’s coal fire. Each morning I would have to rake out the ashes, carry them down two flights of stairs and carry the coal up again, before lighting the fire with a gas flame-thrower.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?

That has got to be my secretary.

What time do you usually leave the office?

Usually when the phones have stopped ringing and the emails have stopped pinging.

What do you do at weekends?

I’m brought down to earth – activities include digging my wife’s vegetable plot, walking in the Peak District, riding, playing chess, avoiding mucking out the stables and digging my wife’s vegetable plot.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Il Bordello in London – it’s a local Italian, it’s friendly, it has good food and it’s relaxing.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?

Racing any form of fast car.

Who was your mentor or role model?

My grandfather.

What’s the best thing about your job?

That I still enjoy it.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Not spending enough time with my family, especially my children when they were young.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?

Choosing a firm that didn’t have central heating.

What car(s) do you drive?

In London, a Lancia Integrale complete with two yellow rally stripes. In Yorkshire, a 1973 Landrover and, on occasion, my wife’s Porsche.

What book are you currently reading?

The latest ‘Emperor’ instalment by Conn Iggulden.

What’s on your CD player at the moment?

My daughter’s Katie Melua CD.

What’s your favourite children’s book?

The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis.