Looking back on a week that involved an out-of-body experience, four seminars, over 200 IFAs, 72 virgins, a one-legged man, a TV remote control, a Skoda Fabia, gridlock on the M25, a farm in Dunstable, a cockerel and my daughter's birthday. It was always going to be an interesting one.
Straight to head office in Southampton. Five meetings later, I finish at 2pm and pick up a hire car for travel to Luton Airport. The 6pm Easyjet leaves on time (for a change) so I arrive home at 7.45pm.
My wife and I attend a Burns supper organised by a friend. A very enjoyable evening with fantastic food, haggis, etc, comes to an end with a red wine and whisky-induced out-of-body experience. I would not recommend it if you have not tried it before.
I wake up at 6.30am on Monday and get to work, putting some finishing touches to a presentation on the Green Paper that I am doing with our group pension sales manager (known to his colleagues as DL). I leave at 7.30am for the two-hour drive to Edinburgh. Present to 40 of Edinburgh's finest IFAs before proceeding to Inverness.
Up at 7am on Tuesday to check email, then off to the hotel leisure centre for a swim and steam, as agreed under influence of alcohol the previous night. The average age of the people in the pool is 80. Nobody takes up my challenge for a race.
The seminar is attended by 30 of Inverness's finest IFAs. A story about a one-legged man goes down well and gets a laugh. At noon, we head off to Aberdeen for another seminar. DL drives. At 12.03pm, I decide it was a bad idea letting DL drive.
The 3pm seminar in Aberdeen is attended by 40 of the areas finest IFAs. I decide to drop the one-legged man story and replace it with story about a colleague who tried to make a phone call on his TV remote control on a train. It gets a laugh but not as good as the one-legged man.
On Wednesday, the Glasgow seminar is attended by 108 of Glasgow's finest (you get the idea, it is a Skandia seminar). I notice an entertaining story in the letters page of the morning paper about 72 virgins.
I decide to use it in the seminar but attribute the letter to our senior Glasgow sales consultant. Almost 108 IFAs laugh, one sales consultant does not. He tells me afterwards: “What would I want 72 virgins for?” A valid point very well made.
DL upsets the ladies in the audience with his mortality theory on why woman live longer than men.
Get up at 7am on Thurs-day, brush four inches of snow off my car and drive to Prestwick for a flight to Stansted. I arrive at the airport with a question in my mind – £21 return. How do they do it? Get on the plane, then immediately work out the answer to my question.
Arrive at Stansted and pick up a hire car, a racy Skoda Fabia. Drive to South-ampton for a couple of meetings. They both go well and are extremely worthwhile.
I leave Southampton at 5.30pm for my return drive. I reach the M25 at 6.30pm to find the authorities cannot handle a couple of inches of snow and the result is gridlock. A total of six hours and 30 miles later, I decide that the Skoda Fabia is without doubt the finest car I have ever driven – in first gear.
I give up on the journey and, 30 phone calls later, I have a room in a farmhouse near Dunstable. I arrive at 1am. The nice lady asks: “Have you come far?” Obviously not one for watching the late news.
I go to sleep planning:
1: How to get home on Friday. For my daughter's birthday
2: A red wine weekend.
At 5am, I am woken by the farmyard cockerel. When your luck's not in, your luck's not in.
Billy Mackay is pensions brand manager at Skandia