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A shaw thing

Sam Shaw is a reporter on Money Marketing
In a very non-Shaw fashion, I have managed to abstain from a number of social engagements over the last week. I started by blaming Alistair Darling for sapping the energy from MM’s newsdesk last week but then realised I was also saving myself for a weekend in Madrid to celebrate the birthday of PR queen Ali Merrigan from Lansons and a gaggle of other girlies. As a result of the Budget and said weekend, I unfortunately missed out on seeing Ken Davy and co tearing around Huddersfield’s Galpharm Stadium in SimplyBiz’s annual provider event, It’s A Knockout style.

While I was stuck in the office wrestling with a laptop, MM’s Paul McMillan, John Lappin and Will Henley were mixing it with Aifa, hearing all about policy analyst Nitesh Palana’s move to the dark side of the FSA in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, over at the leaving drinks for the very lovely and super-smart Anna Bowes and Sue Hannums leaving drinks, leaving AWD Chase de Vere and saying farewell to the distribution group at Firefly in the City, it seems that on his way there, a certain bearded one had to get off a London bus before his destination. Hmmm… having witnessed first hand Beardsley’s aversion to public transport, I am amazed that he got on the thing in the first place.

PR events I had to decline due to long overdue illness: at least four that I had penned in my diary. Sorry.

Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
The previous week had ended on a gloomy note, with the cancellation of a trip hosted by Abbey to the Cheltenham Gold Cup. While one gets used to being metaphorically “blown away” by the Abbey press department’s generous hospitality, I had not expected the catering facilities for the world-famous steeplechasing event to be literally flattened by high winds, leaving festivalgoers no shelter in which to raise a glass.

The night before, I had attended a dinner for property writers at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall in the City, where Martin Ellis, chief economist at HBOS, had divulged that – believe it or not – Merthyr Tydfil was the UK town whose house prices had seen the greatest growth per square metre since 2002. Sod’s law ensured that my own town was already among the most expensive outside London.

Meanwhile, I learned from my old friend the cellist Steven Isserlis that Paul McCartney had just the other day been on the phone to see how he was fixed for some joint venture or other. Isserlis, who has previously recorded with McCartney, was on a concert tour of New Zealand at the time, so the ex-Beatle had a jolly chat about this and that with Isserlis’s wife, Pauline. Since Sir Paul has been somewhat distracted with matters in the High Court and has yet to call back, the maestro still doesn’t know what the original call was all about.

Number of social events missed while on vacation out in the sticks: at least two but most lamentably the leaving party of PR doyennes Anna Bowes and Sue Hannums, who have departed AWD Chase de Vere. All the best to them for the future.

Esther Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
And so to a meeting with LV=, in which luscious media relations manager Lucy Pope and I discussed the finer points of the protection gap over a cup of coffee or two. We reminisce about a recent dinner with the Express money team in a top West End eatery in which the fine French cuisine proved just a little too “acquired taste” for our liking, especially the bacon-flavoured fudge.

LV= general insurance guru Emma Holyer informs me that that back in the days when the friendly society was called Liverpool Victoria, the oft-mundane task of “going through the cuts” was brightened up by the fact that there was also a successful racing greyhound that went by the same name although something tells me there is little risk of the flat-capped pundits having to yell “go LV=” at the side of the track.

Elsewhere this week, I was also rather amused to see that as part of the entertainment listed on the invite to a forthcoming Sex And The City screening with Norwich Union, we are to be looked after by some “Butlers in the buff. A little journalistic research has led me to discover that this “male order company” are “specialists in the supply of scantily-clad hunky butlers”. No wonder NU household insurance PR Rebecca Holmes, tells me “we are very excited”.

Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Nicola York at
nicola.york@ centaur.co.uk telephone: 020 7943 8042


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