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A shaw thing

Sam Shaw is a reporter on Money Marketing

Last week I had the pleasure of spending Sunday in the great company of Abbey’s press team soaking up the sunshine and glamour at the British Grand Prix. Never having been to a Formula One event, I was beyond excitement.

As guests of Abbey/Santander, we toured the paddock, spotted the tops of the heads of Button, Alonso and Hamilton as they came off their welcome circuit (all of us were rather surprised at how tiny the cars and the drivers were) and enjoyed the very impressive hospitality area, playing spot the broker, which then turned into spot the celeb. Aifa’s Chris Cummings was spotted mingling in the VIP section.

It was definitely my most salubrious of weeks of press junkets, with Monday night spent at the very posh Home House for a private dinner with mortgage network Home of Choice.

On Tuesday, I was spoilt further by the team at Axa, my hosts at Summer of Swing, with Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra at Kew Gardens. That rounded off press day nicely and I found out much about Axa’s Peter Webb and our shared tastes in – and lack of talent for – music.

Sambuccas regretted: about four. Repeat invites to afore-mentioned very posh members’ club: none expected in a hurry.

Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist

To Wimbledon as a guest of Nationwide, where fortuitously I managed to watch brief Centre Court play featuring both eventual champions Venus Williams and Roger Federer before the heavens opened.

Lunch was co-hosted by members of the Middlesex Lawn Tennis Association and I was seated next to the urbane Sohrab Daneshku, sports lawyer at solicitors Lewis Silkin and a former colleague of his at Silkins, the appropriately named Neville Illingworth-Law. Neville was waxing lyrical about the benefits of mutuality. He just loved his mortgage and the deal his lender had given him on home insurance and the members’ annual bonus.

It turns out this mortgage from the gods was arranged with Nationwide’s rival Britannia. I considered feigning a choking incident or myocardial infarction to divert attention. However, the good-natured souls from Nationwide were far too busy discussing the intricacies of top-spin service returns to notice.

It was then on to the Building Societies’ Association’s annual summer press bash at a grand venue with a roof terrace overlooking Hyde Park. Sadly, the clink of wine glasses was drowned by the sound of rain lashing against the windows as we huddled indoors.

Joining the Mail on Sunday’s Helen Loveless on the sodden terrace while she indulged in a now illicit fag was the people’s money editor Simon Read, who also doubles up as money editor of The People newspaper.

Canapes lost down cleavage: two. Umbrellas lost: several.

Esther Shaw is deputy personal finance editor at the Independent on Sunday

In my dedication to “doing the season”, I soldiered bravely on from a long day drinking Pimm’s in a posh frock at Henley to the Grand Prix in the company of the ever jovial Anglo-Irish Bank.

Despite my hazy post-Pimm’s state, I managed to get me, my plus one and two tickets on to the train at Euston with a good five seconds to spare. Unlike one of our hosts, I might add, who had to get his driver to turn round so he could pop back home to pick up the tickets he had left on his coffee table.

On arrival at Silverstone, the assembled party managed to work up quite a thirst walking the wrong way around the track to the hospitality suite located really rather near the gate we had entered through.

But fear not, as soon enough we had filled our glasses and donned our earplugs. We headed out to our fourth-floor balcony to watch Raikkonen, Alonso and homegrown Hamilton work their four-wheeled magic out on the track.

Number of times the rather confused lady sitting next to Moneyfacts’ Andrew Hagger on the way to the Grand Prix asked him if we had got to Chester yet: several. He must be congratulated on his patience.

Number of doors that AWD Chase de Vere’s Sue Hannums walked into with some force as we were leaving the hospitality area in the misguided belief that it was unlocked: one.

Glasses of wine quaffed by me at Kew: many. So many that the barman asked me: “Aren’t you here to enjoy the music?”

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