It is difficult to say anything bad about this industry when your Monday kicks off with lunch at somewhere like the Wolseley. Having moved to the Telegraph at the end of last year, I am discovering a few interesting restaurants around the new offices in Victoria but it is good to know that all-time favourites for meeting industry contacts are just a moment’s bus ride away at Green Park.
After catching up with emails and discussing possible stories for the week with the newsdesk, I make my way to the Piccadilly haunt for a catch-up with Rachel Snow of the Building Societies’ Association.
I have no idea of the time when I leave and we have clearly been talking for longer than I imagined as Snow says a very polite “goodnight” to the doorman who wishes her goodbye on her departure from the restaurant. We had a bit to drink and a good chat but I am sure it was not that late.
The next few hours whizz by and it is soon time to step into my other life as an aerobics instructor to teach my weekly class South of the Thames. Any guilty feelings about tucking into a whole sea bass and a couple of glasses of wine at lunch soon disappear as the gym’s air conditioning is broken and the class ends up working out at 24 degrees centigrade instead of the usually comfortable 16. But with all those corporate lunches ahead, perhaps it is not a bad thing to shed a few extra pounds.
Back in a suit at the Telegraph offices the following day, I cover a news item for the daily business section highlighting how hundreds of thousands of first-time buyers are spending more than 9,000 a year on remortgage payments. A depressing story, not least as I interview a 25-year girl as a case study who has been given a mere 100,000 by her parents to buy a four-bedroom pad in Fulham. It seems first-time buyers are not having such a raw deal after all – at least those with rich parents. Bank of Mum and Dad is more prominent than ever, is seems – an idea I pursue for a piece on Saturday.
I decide to console myself about owning a new flat in London that is the size of a garage in the only way every good female knows – by going shopping. I manage to catch the end of the sales and make a few purchases at stores which offer discounts for those proud owners of a press card. (Warehouse and Oasis are among them, girls).
The middle of the week starts with an early-morning speed training session at the gym. One of the big cheeses at the Telegraph walks in and approaches me. I do not catch what he says and rather embarrassingly trip on the edge of the treadmill, spraining my ankle and putting me out of action for a couple of days. I down a red bull to ease the pain and soften the redness that had spread across my face.
In a week that sees the Telegraph’s Jeff Randall in a one-off ITV special called, Where’s My Pension Gone?, we cover the story from every angle. The gentleman I interview is 60 and is hoping to retire, having worked for the same company for 38 years. But after the company went bust and he lost his pension, he finds himself working full-time for minimum wage to pay his bills. And the Government wonders why the younger generation does not want to bother with pensions.
On a lighter note, I shall return to my London Marathon training in earnest next week and make a shameless sponsorship plug to visit my fundraising page at www. justgiving.com/butterworth. You get to leave me a message of support and to see pictures of me training. I can feel myself going red again so I am off to find yet another shiny can of pop that will give me wings.