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A shaw thing

Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist

Can it be true that PR man Dominic Hiatt has a social conscience? I have learned that the leading light at newly renamed Rhizome PR and the spokesman for broker Cobalt Capital who is known as “The Polecat” is thinking of trading in his BMW Chelsea tractor.

His voice was nearly cracking up as he announced the rueful decision to move to a smaller vehicle in the name of saving the planet – and his wallet – so I did not catch what model of motorised monster he currently drives but I gather it makes a Hummer look modest.

Dom and his sparky colleague Jonny Stevens, who turned up late to lunch and spent the duration of the encounter rebalancing his impressive South Coast buy-to-let portfolio, were treating a colleague and myself to pizza in the most bizarre ristorante ever to produce a Capricciosa. The music would have been embarrassing during a smoochy evening on Valentine’s Day after several bottles of house red. At lunchtime on a Wednesday, we found ourselves all trying to remember urgent appointments on the other side of town.

Talking of his new-found conscience, it seems Dom’s must have absented itself temporarily if his blog is anything to go by. I have yet to receive the bottle of Cava cheapa promised to the freelancer who guessed the new Rhizome name was “all about non-hierarchical structures”.

Earlier in the week, as a keen ebay enthusiast, I was looking for a laptop bag on the site and spotted one I liked the look of but where the postage rate was hefty. Since the location of the item was listed as London, I emailed to ask whether I could pick it up in person if I won it. I received a frosty answer that collecting ebay goods was not really a suitable activity on a City trading floor. Intrigued as to who this seller might be, I looked at her other items listed on ebay. Blow me down if it wasn’t all gold – she was buying and selling tons of the stuff, in fact thousands of pounds worth of trinkets, fine jewellery and broken bits for scrap. So trading in the City by day and on eBay by night. Eat your heart out, Graham Birch of BlackRock.

Number of train tickets lost by a certain freelance journalist: more than you would think. (Serves her right for having a Mulberry Roxanne bag, which devours everything.)

Esther Shaw is a freelance financial journalist

First to Cirque de Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall courtesy of the Yorkshire Building Society, where I had the pleasure of sitting next to corporate development director Andy Caton for the duration of the ever-spectacular performance display of jugglers, gymnasts and contortionists. Andy and I agreed that our time in the office could be better spent learning how to touch your toes on your head while balancing on one arm or brushing up on how to juggle your colleagues on your feet.

I could not help but pass comment on the size of the men’s muscles as they soared through the air on their trapeze although Andy did admit that he had been thinking much the same thing.

Having spent the evening with Yorkshire’s Tanya Jackson – looking resp-lendent as ever – she and I decided it might be sensible to cancel the breakfast meeting we had managed to schedule for the following morning. “That’ll give you another hour in bed and me the chance to be first in the queue at John Lewis,” she said. All in the name of mortgage research, of course.

Elsewhere this week, I found myself at a certain black tie awards do at the Grosvenor House Hotel as guest of Andrew “personality of the year” Montlake from Cobalt Capital. The mood was jovial and the wine was flowing but Nationwide Building Society’s Matthew Wyles was in cautionary mood, warning that “we’re not out of the woods yet”.

After adding, rather cryptically, “there’s certainly a lot of them in intensive care while we’re kind of the walking wounded”, I felt that it was the least I could do to raise a smile by suggesting that perhaps all that was needed was just a good nurse.

Suffice to say that having rubbed shoulders with the mortgage world’s finest, including the inimitable David Hollingworth from London & Country, and the impeccably turned out Louise Cuming from Moneysupermarket. com, I found myself knocking back yet another glass of champagne with the select few who ended up back at the suite of compere Jimmy Carr. Sans Jimmy Carr, I might add.

Hours spent sitting on the sink in the ladies at the awards do putting the world to rights with Laura Brady: around one.

Number of times I got asked by management to stop playing the piano in the Grosvenor Bar at four in the morning: too many.

Sam Shaw is away

Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Nicola York at telephone: 020 7943 8042


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