The rain held off long enough on Wednesday to make for a glorious day at the Henley Regatta, watching other people making a lot of effort in boats while we hacks took it easy on the riverbank as guests of Clerical Medical. Mind you, PR man Richard Janes had a bit of an advantage over us girls in our ditzy shoes as we hiked from the station to distant Fawley Meadows. Richard had only a week or two ago braved a 32.5-mile charity walk halfway round the perimeter of the Isle of Man (the full distance is 85 miles, which only the hardiest souls completed) in the worst conditions in living memory, which included galeforce winds and driving hail.
A trim Mr Janes had been training in the previous weeks by making the journey between his Old Broad Street office and West End appointments on foot. As we struck out for Henley’s riparian marquees accompanied by Tom Wilson, who had that very day rejoined the HBOS publicity team after a brief interlude at GE Money, Richard strode ahead of the hobbling hacks while his fellow PR Emma Johnson could only look down at her gorgeous blue footwear and put on a brave face.
A space at the lunch table was eventually filled by Moneysavingexpert’s Archna Luthra who, true to her money-saving vocation, had left her wallet at home. Sadly for the professional pennypincher, the inevitable need for even modest expenditure had forced her to return to fetch it, resulting in her missing the train.
Number of other notable money-saving experts spotted trying to persuade fellow guests to share their taxi with him after a recent media event: 1. Number who succeeded: 0.
Esther Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
First to Henley for the annual gathering of rowers, regattas and all things er, lycra, courtesy of Rick White and Jane Bland from the Invesco press office. On arrival in the middle of the Surrey countryside, we were ushered into the Old Rectory and were soon happily supping away on Pimm’s and Champagne. At lunch, I found myself happily sandwiched between Rick “I’ve got a horse called Alfie” White, who informed me that he has in his past tried his hand at the odd game of netball, and Phil Halliday, who recently departed from his long-held post in the personal finance world to take up a position on a mining journal. I can also confirm that he has just been offered his first press jolly to Australia for a conference named Diggers and Dealers.
Conversation over our beautiful buffet lunch turned from the credit crunch to how we like to enjoy the finer things in life, at which point What Investment’s Keiron Root piped up with the story of a certain group of IFAs he once knew who played a game at a certain hospitality event to the tune of “How many lobsters can we consume in one sitting?” Thirteen, if Mr Root’s sources are to be believed.
As the lunch spilled over well into the afternoon, we decided it was high time to take ourselves off to the stewards’ enclosure to watch a little of the rowing action close up. Rick did the honours with the Champagne while I stood by the river, cheering the lilac-clad boys from Durham (my old university) across the finish line.
Unfortunately, the merry gathering of personal finances’ finest – which included The Times’ Mark Atherton and lovely Lansonettes Jeena Nadarajan and Ali Merrigan – got a little too engrossed in the rowing, and, er, the Champagne, and consequently we actually managed to miss the scheduled boat trip with all the other assembled Invesco guests, which we saw pulling away from its mooring just as we turned up.
But fear not, the Invesco team were soon on the case and chartered a small launch to take the remaining six of us up the river so we could catch up with the rest of the guests, albeit a little red-faced. Apologies again, Rick, although I did say we could blame my fat knee for our tardiness…
Glasses of Pimm’s consumed at Henley: really rather a lot. Bar room brawls witnessed at close proximity in the Angel pub in Henley: one too many.
Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Nicola York at nicola.york@ centaur.co.uk telephone: 020 7943 8042