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Correspondent&#39s week

I awake on Monday at 6am with aching limbs suffering from a hard-fought football match on Saturday. The early hour is because I need to finish an advertorial on equity release for The Mirror.

I should have completed it on Friday but I got more involved in trying to find out gossip about Piers Morgan&#39s sacking from the paper.

Monday is my day for looking after the children, George, four, and Freddie, one, so I finish the copy by 7am, when they emerge shouting from their rooms. The client&#39s brief is typically twice as long as the copy required so it is a real struggle to fit it all in.

The day proceeds according to strict routines and George is successfully delivered to the nursery by 9am while Freddie and I are enjoying Wimbledon Park by 9.30am.

Adrian Warr of Hill & Knowlton calls to invite me to Ascot to watch the FA Cup Final on Saturday with specialist lender First National. “We&#39re inviting some key mortgage journalists,” he tells me. I question why I am being invited. “Some one has drop-ped out,” he admits. It was ever thus for freelancers.

Kevin Rose, editor of Niche Mortgages, calls to see if I can make it for a beer later. I tell him I already have plans for the evening. I meet up with Matt Wall of the Sunday Times and Beverley Harvey of Parkside PR. The three of us work from home in various parts of South London so we have taken to meeting semi-regularly to gossip. We repair to the basement of Bar Amber in Soho which is pleasingly empty apart from us, which means that we can drink and shout.

On Tuesday, I bash out a piece on Millwall&#39s wartime Wembley final for a new football website I am putting together with The Guardian&#39s Ian Wylie. At present, it is simply a chance for us to write about the football nostalgia that interests us but we are hoping to develop it into something more serious.

I head off to Vauxhall for lunch with Citywire editor-in-chief Gavin Lumsden. Things seem to be going well for the site. Next, I head to Holborn for a quick drink with Nationwide&#39s Alan Oliver before meeting friends in Leicester Square to watch the film The Football Factory.

Alan mentions that about one-third of cash machines now attract a charge. I make a mental note to follow it up in the morning. I wake up to hear Danny Baker discussing cash machine charges on BBC London. Sainsbury&#39s Bank has put out a press release. There goes my story. It is all over the nationals, too.

I put the finishing touches to a feature on offset mortgages for the Express before getting a call from IFA Brian Dennehy. Ostensibly, he has some ideas for a feature on the new bear market. In reality, he is calling to discuss Millwall&#39s chances in the cup. Brian is a season ticket holder at the Den and holds forth at some length on the Lions&#39 prospects.

I decide that Brian&#39s feature idea has some merit so I send a speculative email to Naomi Caine at the Sunday Times. In a burst of enthusiasm, I put together a couple of other ideas and despatch them to Tony Hazell at Money Mail. Money Marketing arrives with news of the shrinking IFA world as Aegon merges its five IFAs.

Bradford & Bingley has also announced that it is selling Charcol. I try to think of an angle for this activity for the nationals.

On Thursday, lunch with Headline Money&#39s Roger Anderson at the Bleeding Heart leads to a commission to do their weekend review of the papers. We discuss at length although Roger does most of the discussing, the specialist briefings which have been appearing on the site.

From there, I wander across the river to Blackfriars to have a drink with the Express&#39s David Prosser. I want to discuss feature ideas but after a couple of vodkas at Baltic, we talk about the cup, of course, as David is a Manchester United fan.

On Friday, I nurse a hangover and work quietly at my desk. On Saturday, I head off to Ascot with First National and a chance to enjoy the final in the comfort of their box.

Simon Read is a freelance journalist


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