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Correspondent’s Week

This week by Simoney Girard, managing editor for a range of financial magazines.

People who know me think I am cheerful and nice. Well, I am not. I am a pessimist. I expect the worst to happen to me so, when it does, I can feign sang froid and make like I ain’t bovvered.

Here I am in a new job, striving to make a good impression. I am still in finance but learning to love contract publishing. It has not been easy.

The first week, I had a meeting with a client I knew from days of yore. She mentioned story after story with an openness that would have floored Jodie Marsh. She looked over at me, as previous exclusive-hunting tendencies took over. My pen was moving fast.

“Stop twitching, Simoney,” she joked.

“I can’t help it. This would have been a gold mine,” I replied.

“I know,” she said, laughing. “But if I see it in print, I will know where to come.” Oh, how we laughed. End of matter?

Ha! That evening went out with my boyfriend who writes for Reuters. In the car with him and his mates, he turned round and said: “I think I got a great story today from XYZ company. They’re doing a big ABC.”

Bovvered? You bet. Screw sang froid. Same story, wasn’t it? How could I respond? “Please don’t write it?” Like that wouldn’t give the game away. Might as well just walk into a police station and say: “I didn’t kill that postman.”

But what would happen if I didn’t say anything and he wrote it? Cue clearing my desk on Monday. And he would be funding my lifestyle. The prospect of curries for the rest of my life did not thrill me but, thankfully, he said he was meeting the company on Monday to confirm it. Phew.

Friday came and I had survived until late in the day. Then I fell into Dante’s seventh circle. The toilets here are right next to the office. At around six o’clock, the office was quiet but several folk were around. I went in, shut the interconnecting door but someone came to empty the bins and left it open just at the moment I happened to emit a squealer. A nanosecond of silence. As I debated what to do, there was a sequel, followed by uproarious laughter from my new colleagues. What to do? I walked out but, instead of being able to laugh it off, the room was silent as everyone was studiously intent on their keyboards. Utter mortification. End of matter?

Well, Monday came and went without any problem. I got some juicy articles which kept me out of trouble and the Reuters article did not appear.

Tuesday started well. I was waiting in for a washing machine repair. The price I was quoted was £94. Mr Fixit looked at me and said: “Look, I’ll charge you the estimate charge of £39. I don’t think charging you the full amount is right for such a small job as your warranty is about to expire.”

Since when did that ever happen? It made my day, especially as I had just agreed some new terms of insurance with my bank, which effectively covers plumbing repairs from the end of the month, coinciding with the expiry of the machine warranty.

Perhaps this week was going to make up for the horrors of last week. But being a pessimist, I thought: “There’s probably some pit around the corner waiting for my unwary footfall.”

The crunch came after an afternoon visit to the toilet. When I got back to my desk, an email, circulated to the whole office, was waiting for me. It read: “Please shut the toilet door. You don’t want to be named and shamed, do you?” Face? Red? Bovvered?

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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