As the search continues for a buyer for National Car Parks, barely a week passes without chairman Sir Donald Gosling featuring in the gossip columns or the pages of society magazines - usually in connection with something nautical. Indeed, as the proud owner of two floating palaces one can hardly miss him in the world's most exclusive yachting circles.
Curiously, his long-time partner and friend, 73-year-old Ronald Hobson, lives a positively Howard Hughes lifestyle in north London's Mill Hill. Apart from a brief report on a fire at his home in the early 1980s, and a 1977 Daily Mail investigation into the business backers of Harold Wilson when leader of the Opposition between 1970-74 (Hobson was quoted as giving a 'minute contribution'), he has avoided all publicity. No photographs, no society columns - and certainly, unlike his partner, no high-profile pledges of £5 million to start a fund to replace HMS Britannia. But then, unlike Sir Donald, plain Mr Hobson does not seem to covet the ermine robes of the House of Lords.