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Correspondent’s Week

I planned to model my diary for the week on Piers Morgan’s new book but I have to admit this has been a week of failures.

I failed to get invited to lunch at Number 10, I don’t have any tales to tell about Princess Diana and I don’t believe that influential businessmen get all their best ideas from talking to me.

I did learn some secrets about the rich and famous this week but I promised to keep them that way.

Secret number one was spilled over Delia nibbles at Norwich City on Saturday. No, I cannot tell you what it is. I promised.

It was my annual visit to Carrow Road as guest of the world’s friendliest building society spokeswoman. Normally, I do not see much of my husband at the weekend but since his beloved Chel-sea were also visiting Norwich, we went together.

The game was entertaining enough but most interesting were the gasps from the girls every time Jose Mourinho stood up.

It struck me that if his silver-fox look is the new sexpot, then financial services chiefs are about to experience a surge in popularity. They just need to cultivate a Portuguese acc-ent and a grumpy demeanor – many of them are already halfway there.

Secret number two lea-ked out after a second Chel-sea game – the six-goal thriller against Barcelona on Tuesday. Again, I am sworn to keep it.

I should have been tied up in the office all Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night to attend a European game. That is what normally happens when I have a Cashflow supplement due. The supplements are supposed to appear in the paper fortnightly but the dates are often changed at the last minute to accommodate something more important.

This week’s supplement got killed because of “page pressure”. I am not really sure what that means but it did mean I got to spend Sunday with the kids, who had been farmed out on Saturday so I could go to snowy Norwich.

It also meant that I could accept an invitation late on Monday night to go to Stamford Bridge to see the Chelsea • Barcelona match on Tuesday.

I will admit to a lapse in judgement – clouded by my football addiction – that I accepted the invite before I knew who I was going with. In any case, the loan firm concerned turned out to be pretty good company and the game was superb.

My other half was also at the game and made it home to relieve the babysitter before 1am – long before me. I had been whisked off to have champagne with a famous businessman. His secret? No, I cannot say.

There was further cause for celebration the next day when I discovered that a piece I had written the day before had made it into the paper – some research about uninsured drivers from Sainsbury’s Bank. It was only a snippet but there is such competition for space in The Sun that every short and nib is worth a cheer.

Despite that success, I was feeling slightly the worse for wear when I met Steven Day and Jo Baker of Virgin Mobile for lunch. Steven, a former personal finance editor, is a serious luncher and insisted that my porcini risotto needed a glass of wine to help it down.

Thursday should have been busy from the start but my 9.05am meeting was cancelled at 8.30am and I decided to hunt around for some ideas for the next Cashflow.

I called Alex Barnett at Halifax with an idea for a feature about Howard Brown, the bank manager turned advertising star. He has got a charity single out and I suggested we could get Howard to do his tips for the First, Last and Everything (that’s the single) of family finances. I thought it might make a fun feature.

Six tips for each on the first things to do when you are getting a mortgage, insurance and so on and the last things to remembers when you are getting a mortgage, insurance and so on. I had not quite worked out the everything bit. Alex was pretty excited about it, too.

I am just about to call Alex back and give him the bad news. I have just read today’s Sun and there is a feature on the Most Annoying Man on Television – Howard Brown. Another great idea hits the bin.


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