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Correspondent’s Week

If I had 1 for every time my name has appeared in this column in the last fortnight, I would have 2 (still, it is better than nothing).

Just to recap, two weeks ago, Charlotte Beugge wrote this column in the style of me but it appeared with my name. Then last week, I am there again with a note saying it’s not me, it’s Charlotte. This week, it’s me again.

Confused? You are not the only one. I have been walking round in a skirt and high heels for the last 10 days in an attempt to discover whether or not I am Charlotte.

Oh, when practical jokes go wrong (sounds like a new series for Channel Five). Anyway, I can assure you that normal service has resumed and this is me. Three weeks in at the Mail and I am very much still finding my feet, reassessing my priorities (something that they do not tell you on the trades. Appar-ently, normal people are aff-ected by all this financial wheeler-dealing)

For starters, Monday is a torrid time. I am forced to keep my head down because my Norwich City gags are just not up to the high standard set by the rest of the office.

Press day on Tuesday whizzes by with the news that Eurolife policyholders have opted for restructuring and a story on mortgages for prefabricated homes.

Before you know it, it is Wednesday. Arrive wide-eyed and immediately regret it as in the foyer I bump into colleague and running fan James Hopegood clad in shorts so tight you can tell what relig-ion he is. I suddenly remember I have some squashed plums left over in my bag from yesterday.

Then I realise that most of the day will be spent listening to Gordon Brown. Luckily, new consumer priorities dictate that I spend the afternoon chatting with nice pensioners about what Gord should have done.

Things look brighter still with the arrival on email of another David Hasselhoff picture courtesy of the BSA’s The Two Rachels (a bit like The Two Ronnies, only funnier). It does, however, mean that I am forced to admit my troubling obsession with the Knight Rider star to the office slightly earlier than anticipated. Thankfully, it prompts the astounding revelation that Liz Phillips, who sits opposite, has interviewed the great man and has even been to his house. Now that is what journalism is all about. Two weeks have gone by and I did not know this. How has this happened?

Forcing tales of The Hoff’s thighs to the back of my mind (apparently, he does not like them), it is back to the grindstone to craft some words on cashing in your endowment and the battle for care fees for Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Thursday and it is a news meeting. No matter how much I prepare, I am still completely lost as the conversation turns to what at first seemed to be the new sport of shoulder-surfing but turns out to be something to do with chip and pin fraud.

I feel much more at home as consideration turns to what colour socks you should wear with brown shoes (FYI: consensus seems to be that grey is no good).

Then a quick trawl through some press releases finds an easy winner for the weekly No sh*t Sherlock Award, with Co-op Bank’s assertion that the change in the stamp duty threshold could save first-time buyers about 1,000.

I am rather flattered when I open my emails to discover colleague Justin Harper has mailed to invite me for a heart-to-heart this evening. I have recently changed my aftershave but I never believed it could have this effect.

However, a clue to veracity of this email is in the wording. I am paying, he says. Note to self: do not leave computer unlocked while out of office.

Heeding this warning, I pop out because a polling company is prepared to pay to hear my opinions on various financial services firms. My excitement in earning extra cash is outweighed by the tedium of the exercise. By the end, I am feeling cheap and dirty. Still, you can’t have your cake and eat it or, as the Italians say, you can’t have your wife drunk and the barrel full. Now there is a set of priorities.

James Coney is a personal finance reporter for the Money Mail section of the Daily Mail”It seems it’s only good for middle-aged cider drinkers who renovate churches in their spare time. I nodded off halfway through.” -IFA on the Budget.

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