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Correspondent&#39s Week

It is the middle of August so it must be the silly season which is why I found myself spending most of a bright Monday writing about what you should do if you are lucky enough to win the Lottery. (Chance would be a fine thing.) If you do not decide to invest your Lottery win in property or equities, you could always splash out on breast enlargement – a suggestion which I am impressed to say got past the scrutiny of both Mr Prosser and the subs unedited. It is not often that we get such titillation (excuse the pun) into the PF section.

It would have been quite a nice piece too – if I say so myself – had that man in prison not managed to get his face splashed all over the front pages of daily papers on the same day by winning £7m while on bail.

Tuesday was consumed with sobering up those exci-table little 18-year-olds who are packing their bags in preparation for Freshers&#39 Week with the news that they are set to graduate from university more than £12,000 in debt so it is no nights out for them then, huh?

I would advise them to concentrate on study, books, and on getting a well-paid job – a formula which worked perfectly for me.

On Wednesday, in bet-ween detailing the finer points of how you can save money by improving the energy efficiency of your home, I met Prudential&#39s Leila Dean and Ali Crossley to talk equity release, mar-athon running and diets at the Baltic Restaurant in the sunshine.

Then it was time to head to Soho House for the deb-auchery that known as Corey and Chris&#39 Money Marketing leaving do.

Suffice it to say that I have no recollection of the alleged dancing incident – or much of the evening post-Sambuca.

But the greatest respect must be extended to Bruce Love for having the courage and the optimism to buy two triple sambucas towards the latter stages of the eve-ning – one for Corey and one for himself.

So, Wednesday blurred into Thursday and it was time to write student finance mark II with something of a sore head.

This time, the brief was to advise those debt-laden young undergraduates on what financial help there is available to get them through three years of Tesco value beans.

It seems that those lovely people at the Student Loans Company will dish out up to £5,050 a year to help keep undergraduates from the breadline while the student grant is set to make a reappearance in the form of a £1,000 maintenance grant so maybe they can get the drinks in after all.

Even by my poor arithmetic, £6,050 will go a long way when beer is only £1 a pint.

Friday morning saw the Express crew back on deadline once again for the Sun-day section and I was given the ever-enjoyable task of talking to Chas Roy-Chowd-hury of the Association of Chartered Certified Accoun-tants about his specialist subject – tax.

An hour or so later, I had filed a damning piece on what Roy-Chowdhury dee-med the ever-profiteering Inland Revenue&#39s “inexcusable” move to raise the interest rate it charges on late tax payment at four times the Bank of England&#39s base rate increases.

On Friday afternoon,I started the less then enviable task of opening the Justice with Jessica mail sent to the recently departed Miss Bown.

Among the somewhat predictable tales of missold endowments, holiday club rip-offs and Big bank gripes was a gem of a letter which read: “I read in The Daily Mirror about a machine that you put in your garden to deter rats. I am terrified of rats owing to Hackney Council.” Need I continue? I think not.

After a long hard week of work and play, the pros-pect of a weekend absorbing the sights and sounds of the Edinburgh Festival – courtesy of the ever-obliging Aegon – seemed like the perfect antidote.

Twenty-four hours later as I found myself dancing with a life-sized alien made entirely of balloons, having heckled the comedian and been locked out of my own hotel room, I did have to question this notion.

Still, I think the staff at the Glasshouse Hotel very much enjoyed having personal finance journalists to stay and a great time was had by all.

I promise to be on best behaviour when it come to drawing up the guest list next year.

Esther Shaw is a personal finance reporter for The Express

•”It&#39s very exciting sitting beside a rock star, breathing the same air as him. Sometimes I even swap cups so I can drink from his.” – Very excited Lansons PR discusses rock star Richard Winder.

“Wilson Morton! Wilson Morton! Wilson Morton!” shouted the sweaty crowd at the Ambassador Rooms at the Edinburgh fringe festival. Morton, of Scottish Life fame, was invited on stage by comedian Adam Hills to perform the famous James Brown routine complete with cloak and leg-jiggling in front of hundreds of people.

Funny how he volunteered, with very little persuasion, to be made into a “rock god”. Wilson “Hot Pants” Morton says he will not be embarking on a singing career but may buy himself a brand new bag.


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