Not the best start to what was going to be a typically hectic week – a hangover on Sunday morning. Luckily, my mother was there to take care of the children but I still had to get up before 9 o'clock for a tennis match with one of my colleagues. Lunch with my in-laws meant I didn't have a chance to do my weekly scour of the money sections of the Sunday papers until the evening.
Living in Hampshire, I rarely drive to work but dinner that evening in town meant I couldn't risk missing the last train so I set off at 6am. My first priority, with 17 roadshows in 16 cities starting on Tuesday, was to check my presentation and then play the usual fun and games with compliance. Edward Bonham Carter and I then joined Amy Rennison, our advertising manager, for our weekly update with our PR consultancy, Lansons.
The Lanesborough, just next door to our offices, provided a handy meeting point for a candidate we are interested in bringing on board. Then off to another hotel – the Great Eastern in Liverpool Street – where Lynne Ross, who manages our Far Eastern fund and who was over from Hong Kong, was meeting investment journalists in the Miyabi Japanese restaurant.
Lynne, boosted by her weekend shopping trip to Milan, regaled us over sashimi, sushi and other delicacies with her views on the Far East and how she manages the fund. A lady who likes to take a decision and then act on it immediately, Lynne saw value in the old-economy stocks of Japan earlier this year and took her fund out of tech stocks. Being a canny Scot, must be a comfort for her investors.
Interviewing another candidate the next day in Reading meant another early start, then zooming down to Plymouth. The surroundings were lovely but the accommodation was like an army barracks. The 100 IFAs who attended the presentations and dinner seemed to appreciate we had gone down to the West Country and their feedback was very positive. Debrief was, as usual, held in the bar and I finally managed to get to bed at 1.30 am.
Wednesday – Bristol, which meant I could have a lie in until 6.45am. A two-hour journey, which Giles Kidd-May, head of broker support, spent on the phone to his girlfriend, was followed by a lunch presentation to 120 intermediaries in the sumptuous surroundings of Leigh Court, on the edge of Bristol. Then off to Cardiff for an evening presentation at Miskin Manor. Before the presentation, I had to go through the advertising briefs for the new campaign we will be running in September.
The Cardiff presentation, attended by 90 IFAs, gave me my first taste of being heckled – by a robin! With it being an unusually hot day, we had left the French windows open and the robin had managed to get through the curtains.
The IFAs at the back of the room must have wondered why the people at the front found Lynne Ross's presentation so funny. We managed to usher the robin out of the windows but he just kept coming back for more
Thursday, after five hours' sleep I couldn't stop my car alarm from going off. Having woken up most of Hampshire, I ended up missing my train and travelled with the mums and children going to London for the day. One keen visitor enquired whether I was going to the Planetarium, as that was where his mother was taking him. I felt I couldn't confuse him too much by saying I was going to Jupiter. But I was spotted by a man who asked if I worked for Jupiter. He turned out to be an investor in our ecology fund, run by Simon Baker.
Thursday's London presentation enabled me to spend some time in the office, catching up on post and phone calls. Likewise Friday after the usual train delays and between lunch with a journalist, I prepared for the following week as I was only going to be in the office for half a day.
The weekend promises the delights of Chicken Run and Stuart Little with my children, a small dinner party and polo at Windsor Great Park on Sunday, courtesy of a recruitment agency. And, hopefully, some sleep.