It is 5.30am on Monday when I stumble out of bed in search of inspiration, black coffee and clean clothes. I am driving to work and if I do not leave the house before 6am I will be stuck on the chaotic A40 for the best part of two hours.
Crash downstairs to discover that Tara, our barmy lurcher, has created her own version of the River Ouse in the conservatory. Curse her, kick her into the garden and spend the next 10 minutes on my hands and knees trying to stem the floods that Tara has created.
Arrive at work covered in dog's hairs and spend the next two hours sorting out correspondence and reading the day's papers. I bark out a loud “Hurrah” when I spot that the Financial Times has followed up our story on the FSA getting tough with insurers which have been dragging their heels on sorting out endowment complaints. But my bark is wasted as I am all alone in room 356. Not another soul turns up until 10am when “Disco” Dyson waltzes in and proclaims he wants to become a hedge fund manager.
Disco spends the rest of the day updating his CV and pronouncing how he is going to make his first million.
After three hours editing copy on everything from the council tax to past performance figures, I am gagging for lunch. Meet up with former Financial Mail hack, Gaynor Pengelly, at Maggie Jones restaurant in Kensington. Over a delicious steak and mango casserole, Gaynor, now personal finance editor at the Yorkshire Post, tells me she is six weeks pregnant and that her handsome boyfriend Jonathan has proposed to her.
I let out another squeal of joy, which this time causes heads to turn. So I immerse myself in a glass of red wine until a basket of dried flowers, strategically situated on a shelf above my head, suddenly disgorges its contents all over me. I squeal and heads turn again but this time they are accompanied by howls of laughter. I slink out of the restaurant while picking out bits of leaf which somehow have got into my pants.
Tuesday is dominated by a Financial Mail lunch at Conran's Sartoria restaurant in Mayfair. Although reviews describe the place as pricey and pretentious, it serves up a mean bottle of Champagne. Guest is Sir George Mathewson, chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland. He is good company, sharing his views on everything from bank branch closures to travelling to the US by executive jet.
After Mathewson disappears, we retire to the Windmill pub for post-lunch analysis. It is not long before I feel tired and emotional. The train journey home is a blur, and on arriving at maison Prestridge, I spend an hour sleeping in Tara's basket.
Panic buttons are pressed on Wednesday as the subs demand the copy they failed to get 24 hours earlier. Aifa's Paul Smee pitches up and launches into a sterling defence of independent financial advice. I sit before him shell-shocked and do a good impression of Churchill Insurance's nodding dog.
In the evening, BGI's lovely Lynne Kennedy invites me to a screening of Big Fish at the Rex cinema in London's West End. A glass of red wine in one hand, Lynne's eyelids flutter every time that Ewan McGregor appears on screen. We give the film a thumbsup and retire to the bar for a swift cocktail.
Thursday starts with a five-mile cross-country run over the fields where I live, accompanied by mad, bad Tara. Despite wearing 15mm spikes, I fall over twice, much to Tara's amusement.
But the exercise sets me up for the day as I crank out articles on alleged endowment misselling at Legal & General and pathetic attempts by the Government to restore faith in pensions.
Friday sees me in the office at 6am to write my comment piece. The rest of the day is spent proofing pages, arguing with grumpy subs and drawing up next week's section. Crawl home exhausted at 9pm, only to be confronted by my eldest son Matthew, who reminds me that we need to be at West Bromwich for 11am the next day so we can get on the WBA supporters' coach for the game at Preston. Oh, the joys of fatherhood.
Jeff Prestridge is personal finance editor of the Financial Mail on Sunday