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Correspondent’s week

My health has reaped huge dividends from my new job as senior reporter for Finance Week, the new Centaur magazine for finance directors.

Or so I thought.

Long days (8.30am until at least 7pm on press days) and endless copy deadlines leave little room for the copious amounts of alcohol to which I was allegedly well accustomed in my previous job at another publication.

Perhaps that’s what motivated an all-night clubbing session with a former colleague on Friday night.

But that’s another story.

The week started well with a very interesting chat over coffee with Northern Rock finance director, Bob Bennett and his press aid, Tony Armstrong, to discuss the bank’s 2004 preliminary results.

Anyone who’s not impressed at a company’s ability to achieve a 51.9 per cent increase in net lending, against a ratio of cost to assets under management of 0.38 per cent in a year, is in the wrong job.

A pressing business lunch appointment followed.

A wonderfully seared tuna steak – sans vin – saved what was bordering on a very dull affair.

Tuesday is always a good day for two reasons – press day is over, and, more important, there is only a matter of hours until the next episode of Desperate Housewives.

Tuesday afternoon is spent gauging the City’s views on the unresolved Legal & General/FSA case.

It will be interesting to see if the FSA uses criticism made about its Regulatory Decisions Committee to review its internal processes, and if so, whether this will have any impact on next year’s levies.

I drag myself to the gym in the evening to try to maintain, or should I say, rediscover, a decent level of fitness following my charity bike ride in Brazil last year, particularly as I’m off to the Grand Canyon for another event this Autumn.

My training is sporadic, to say the least, thanks to the freezing British winter weather and, of course, my own lack of motivation.

It is only when watching the members of Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday night – yes, I forgot that I would have to miss tonight’s episode of Desperate Housewives – that I see the results of serious fitness training.

The performance certainly impressed Chelsea Building Society’s Public relations and corporate affairs controller, Jeremy Hicks who is planning to produce a Cirque du Soleil-inspired staff calender this Christmas.

Just how keen Chelsea’s staff will be to don leotards, remains to be seen.

Several glasses of champers left me in no mind to revise my idea of an early morning gym session on Thursday.

Jarring my back in the afternoon also put stop to a guilt-easing gym session in the evening and gave me the perfect excuse to enjoy my favourite indulgence – massage.

However, what I thought would be an hour-long session in the healing hands of a sports therapist turned out to be me lying in excruciating pain and being told to apply frozen peas and deep heat for the next few days.

Fifty pounds later – sterling, not fat – and no sight nor sound of peas or deep heat and I have turned to chocolate and wine for my consolation prizes.

Friday is more of the same in terms of work, followed by another night-long drinking session.

In my defence,- though why I need to defend myself to an industry in which my penchant for alcohol was born is anyone’s guess – it was with my oldest school friend to celebrate his engagement, which I really do think is the very best reason to indulge in very expensive port and brandy.particularly when it’s behind the bar of the hotel, which he and his fiancee now manage.

Who said you don’t learn the important things in life as a financial journalist?Clare Bettelley is senior reporter on Finance Week”It’ll be at least two years before I get one of those Blueberries.” -IFA Geoff Tresman might want to try getting a Blackberry.

Is Hargreaves Lansdown supremo Peter Hargreaves moonlighting as a World War Two TV sleuth? The Diary has had its attention drawn to the remarkable similarity between Hargreaves and the star of Foyle’s War Michael Kitchen. Judge for yourself: Hargreaves is pictured here on the immediate right and Kitchen on the far right or is it the other way round, the Diary just can’t tell.

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