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Correspondent’s Week

This week Simon Hildrey, freelance financial journalist

Hanging on to the side of a racing yacht for dear life may not be everyone’s idea of the ideal corporate event but this is how I found myself during Skandia Cowes Week. Gripping the side of the yacht as half my body hung in the Solent, the merits of Skandia’s multi-manager offering were far from my mind.

Three of us ended up over the side of Nick Maloney’s yacht as a result of an accident while trying to transfer from a rigid inflatable boat, when the driver of the rib pressed the accelerator by mistake. After what was probably 10 minutes but felt like 100, the people on the yacht thank- fully pulled us on board. I learnt one lesson as a result of this – do not wear jeans when you go swimming as they become like weights round your legs.

You might think it would be all down- hill after this start to the week but this was not the only surprising development. On Tuesday, I attended the BNP Paribas party, where I bumped into a woman, Vicky, I had not seen since I worked with her at Reed Business Publishing about seven years ago. The next day, I was walking across Waterloo Bridge when I bumped into Cath, who I had not seen since working at the same company.

When I asked Cath what she had been up to over the last few years, I did not expect the answer. She had written a book about the history of the vagina, which was published in 2003. I was not quite sure what to say on hearing this but could not resist checking out the book when I got home. Sure enough, it had been reviewed in the Guardian. It looked quite interesting. Cath told me she was quitting journalism to open a bookshop, which on some days sounds a very good idea.

Before departing, Cath said she had thought of me after the bombings on July 7. That was nice after all this time, I thought. Then she told me the reason. She said I was the only person she knew would be OK because I have not used the Tube for 15 years.

The next day I received a call from a concerned PR. “We have just seen an article on the internet that you wrote for What Investment. It quotes the wrong fund manager,” she said. I asked whether the manager had ever run the fund. “Yes, but not since last year.” When was the article published? “I don’t know but the date on the printout is yesterday.” When I checked, I found the article was published in March 2004.

On Monday, I went to Manchester to host a Round Table discussion with 10 tax lawyers, accountants and private bankers. The great thing about these lunches is that the food supplied by Coutts is always terrific and it is a chance to get some free tax advice, particularly about my self-assessment form.

After the rearranged Investment Week party, it was on to more important things – the first day of the football season and finishing my fantasy football team. Final arrangements were made for where to meet before Newcastle played Arsenal at Highbury on Sunday. Even though Graeme Souness has fallen out with or sold most of our good players, Newcastle supporters still believe this will be our season. At least, that is what we would be telling ourselves eight pints before the game against Arsenal.

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