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Correspondent’s Week

This week by The Scotsman personal finance editor Rosemary Gallagher.

I want to point out before you think I am the most boring, desk-bound journalist ever that my working week is usually much more glamorous and life does not stop north of the Watford Gap.

Normally, I can squeeze in two or three lunches in Edinburgh’s top eateries (or the Scotsman canteen if I happen to be paying).

But as anyone who has celebrated New Year in Scotland will know, it takes the population a few days – or weeks – to recover after Hogmanay celebrations.

So, on Monday, January 1, I wake with a hangover but the realisation that it was not a working day and I would not be putting pen to paper on personal finance stories until Wednesday raises my spirits a bit.

It is a relief that the storms which forced the Edinburgh street party to be cancelled has calmed down and there is no longer a threat of being killed by a flying wheelie bin.

I stroll over to visit a friend for dinner without realising I will be forced to play the board game version of the worst programme on TV – Deal Or No Deal.

But I manage to get a case study for a pet insurance feature out of my visit. My friends’ retired greyhound, which they have only had for a few months, has stuffed its face with festive chocolates and ended up at the vet on a drip. Luckily, they have insurance and the dog pulled through.

Tuesday is a day I have been looking forward to and it does not disappoint. Like most people, I find January 2 a pretty depressing date but I have six corporate hospitality tickets for me and some mates for the Celtic v Kilmarnock match at Parkhead. These were courtesy of some nice contacts at Football Villages, which develops holiday villages in Spain for football fans. Oh, the perks of the job, and to make it even better, Celtic win 2-0.

But a few hours later, the dreaded Wednesday arrives and I am back to work with the knowledge that I have to get the whole Saturday Scotsman Smart Money section written by the next evening.

I have commissioned pieces from my regular contributors so it is a matter of getting on with what I have to write.

I have one feature on the supposed renaissance of split caps almost finished so I am on the lookout for a few seasonal ideas.

My email is full of press releases on how much debt we are all in and how we are doomed, which is something I do not want to think too much about but there seems no way to escape.

To break myself in gently to the working day and forget my debt worries, I go for a swim in the pool opposite work at lunchtime.

I am home at about 7pm, with the stress of Thursday to look forward to, which is not helped by my January detox.

On Thursday, I am relieved that I have managed to get so much information on debt and January sales being held by banks to fill some space for Saturday. I manage to leave work by 6.30pm, having got all the copy to the sub-editor, and go to the gym, leaving me to write my column the next day.

On Friday, I get into the office by 9.30am to prepare for the slightly scary news conference with all the editors from various sections of the paper in the knowledge that some of my stories could be snatched by news, meaning that I am left with spaces to fill.

I get my section for Saturday to press and get things rolling for next week, which kicks off with a trip to Dundee for an Alliance Trust press conference first thing on Monday.

Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Paul McMillan, email: paul.mcmillan@centaur.co.uk. or telephone: 020 7970 4776

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