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Correspondent’s Week

This week by Mortgage Solutions features and supplements editor Andrea Tryphonides

Merely one week after leaving Money Marketing, I find myself back with the MM gang at Aegon UK’s annual Edinburgh festival jaunt. The weekend consists of the usual shenanigans one expects.

I have hazy memories of scolding The Independent’s James Daley for not knowing about Greek Cypriot politics (“What do you mean, you don’t know about the broken ceasefire agreement of 1964?”), throwing beer over myself while dancing to Boney M at the post-festival disco and catching a hotel sculpture that I may or may not have knocked from its plinth. I come back from Scotland without a voice and with a headache, the perfect way to start the week.

Monday is broken up by lunch with the Llewellyn Slade PR team. Mark Llewellyn Slade tries to convince me and MS editor Ben Marquand that buying a property in Kuala Lumpur is a safer bet than Bulgaria or any of the other promising Eastern European countries welcoming Brits and their money with open arms. I am not convinced. Kuala Lumpur – which means muddy confluence – is only just emerging from the economic crisis that gripped the region’s economies in the late 1990s during the Sars crisis. But one man’s muddy confluence is another man’s home.

The highlight of the lunch is hearing that Mark’s colleague Francis Higney is an avid Eurovision fan. I visited Athens this year for the contest and share in Francis’s enthusiasm for Ukrainian and Romanian vocal talents. Mark and Ben sit in stunned silence.

Tuesday is a very busy day for me but Ben runs a very tight ship at MS so everything is well ordered on my arrival last week. All pages go off with little fuss, thankfully. One of the subs even offers me a mini Cornetto ice cream. Does that mean that I am in the subs’ circle of trust?

I have dinner with Em-Financial managing director Roger Morris at a curry house in West London. Roger is a good guy and great company. When asked about his interests, he informs his dinner companions that he loves shopping for women’s shoes with his wife “but in a non-sexual way”. I tuck my stiletto-heeled feet under my chair and change the subject.

Wednesday is a pretty slow day and I spend most of it trying to sort out one of the many round tables that MS likes to hold. I also manage to secure a feature article from Edeus that afternoon. Edeus – the lending company set up by Michael Bolton – has had some flak recently because of its portrayal of women in its ad campaign. Edeus is writing a human resources article on women in the workplace. I am looking forward to reading it. In the evening, I meet up with my brother to watch the England v Greece match. We both wear blue and feel blue by half-time.

By Thursday I am a little worried that I still have only a squeak of a voice following my weekend in Scotland. I sound a bit like Orville (of Keith & fame). As it is press day, the desk is pretty busy. Spending so much time on the phone is certainly not helping matters. I spend an hour speaking to consultant Adam Samuel regarding mortgage endowments. Somehow during the conversation he convinces me to buy him lunch next week. Smooth.

I have little voice left by Friday. I am frustrated that I have to communicate through hand gestures and facial expressions.One reporter misinterprets my hand signals for “coffee, please” as something more sordid. Most of the Incisive fourth floor makes its way to the pub by 5.30pm but I decline the offer of a pint and decide to rest my voice and liver. I vow to be back to full volume by next week.

Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Paul McMillan, email: or telephone: 020 7970 4776


Broker talkback

Are you recommending alternatively secured pensions to clients who do not want to buy an annuity at 75?

No – 63%
Yes – 37%

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