Continued a confused four-day email conversation with Virgin’s Scott Mowbray about a taxi receipt but I am still not sure if I owe him money or not. He assures me not.
So the week effectively began as last week ended, with the MM team enjoying pints of Guinness while people-watching in Soho with Skandia PR lovelies Alex Jones, Charlie Musson and newbie Myrrh (yes, as in gold, frankincense and…) Walker.
A mention of possibly going for dinner at the Red Fort was met with rapturous enthusiasm by MM news editor Paul McMillan and myself, so much so that we even persuaded politics and protection reporter Helen Pow to join us instead of going home to do her laundry.
To Scott’s in Mayfair for a catch-up/farewell lunch with Intrinsic CEO Kevin Ronaldson and a delightful smoked haddock on colcannon (although I had food envy eyeing up his posh fish and chips and mushy peas).
The highlight, though, had to be us sitting literally yards away from Gordon Ramsay, who was not only not swearing and throwing tantrums (well, it wasn’t his kitchen, was it?), but looking rather younger than he appears on the telly. And a bit of a dish, actually.
Tales of my fellow Shaws’ several lost items from last week’s awards: many.
Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
To sunny Manchester for the BSA annual conference. The convention was brief and low-key compared with previous years but those denizens of the dusty mutuals know how to shake a leg and an early night proved impossible as the wine flowed.
It was good to learn that Leeds CEO Ian Ward and his team had booked their berths at the luxury Palace Hotel – once the rather forbidding HQ of Refuge Assurance – through Lastminute.com “to keep management costs down”, he explained with a twinkle.
Mike Lazenby, chief executive of Kent Reliance, who was celebrating his birthday during the conference, was extending his usual largesse and distributing corporate gifts to conference attendees. The irony of the names of the executive puzzles – The Ironman and The Menace – was were not lost on maverick Mike (he likes being called this), whose controversial management methods have been known to cause a few gasps within the building society sector.
With typical Northern humour, the after-dinner entertainment was nothing so mundane as a stand-up comic. The finest that Manchester could muster was one Bruce Airhead, a man who drenched himself in baby oil and then climbed inside a giant balloon. No kidding.
Number of vital items of clothing and footwear needed by me for a black-tie dinner left at home 200 miles away: two
Esther Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
First to Hakkasan with the well-coiffeured Kevin Carr from Lifesearch, who I can safely say felt just as ropey as I did a full two days after the Headline Money Awards.
But a Bloody Mary served to set us both straight and we were soon chatting protection statistics (and who did what with who at The Chesterfield) as we tucked into our shark’s fin soup and dim sum.
After lunch, we decided to move on for one more beverage and headed towards Poland Street so we could hook-up with MM’s finest once their news conference was over.
But alas, on exiting Hanway Place, the heavens opened, leaving dear Kev and myself really rather unequipped for such inclement weather.
Fear not however, as ever-resourceful Kev promptly purchased the first umbrella he could lay his hands on.
On the downside, it was not until we had been walking for some time that we realised the aforementioned brolly was emblazoned with the words I love London.
Elsewhere this week, some of PF’s keenest football fans were left hanging on until the very last minute to find out whether Abbey’s much talked of trip to Madrid for the Real Madrid v Barcelona match would go ahead. Abbey, seemingly keen to maintain the suspense, finally confirmed the details at 6pm on the night before the trip was due to depart.
Hours spent in A&E getting my knee checked out following a netballing incident: far too many.
Months since I was last on crutches: about 10.
Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Helen Pow at firstname.lastname@example.org telephone: 020 7943 8038