IT'S MY last full day on holiday in the North of England, so I'm determined to make the most of it. Out all day on the boat, then home early to get ready for big "last night" party. In the pub by 8pm. Once there, five of my friends persuade me to go water-skiing with them. By 10pm, I'm weaving - drunk and in pitch darkness - in the boat's wake. After drying off, we head down to the house party. I drink a stupid amount of vodka.
Wake up at 10am with a terrible hangover. When I come downstairs, breakfast has been cooked and is all laid out on the table. What would we do without mothers? Only half a day left. Back on the boat by midday. Huge picnic, for 25, in a quiet bay. The food is basically just 's left-overs jazzed up. Still, we fish, chat and drink. Towards the end of the day, a friend and I are dropped off by boat (Yes! By boat) at the train station. We just make it. The journey back to London is quick (we have a couple of bottles of wine) and comfortable (we're in first class). We arrive at 9.30pm and head straight for the Blue Elephant restaurant on the New King's Road. Another long day and late night; to bed at 2am.
It's bank holiday and I'm up ridiculously early (8am). Meet a friend at Waterloo. We've been invited by a client for a spot of sailing on the south coast. Great fun. We sail around the Solent for three hours, including a huge boozy lunch. Back at 9.30pm. Tomorrow it's back to work. Shock. Horror. The fun is definitely over now. I go straight to bed and read a few chapters of Tim Bell's autobiography.
This is it! Up at 6am. Ouch. Leave home by 6.35am. Thank God I can drive to work, the last thing I would want to do now is have to catch the Tube. Get to work at 7am totally shattered. It's so depressing: same old desk, same old office, same old FT. The markets were down yesterday (Monday) in New York, so everybody in London is very cautious. All our clients want to wait until 2.30pm, when Wall Street re-opens, before they make any investments. The media are frightening the life out of potential investors.
Straight from work to Eco - a cheap and cheerful (only a tenner a head) Italian restaurant on Clapham High Street - for dinner with some friends. Then on to the Clapham Picture House to see The Horse Whisperer. It's okay, but it's basically just a chick flick! Finally home by midnight and in bed by 12.30am. That's too late.
On arrival at work, I am greeted by an e-mail from my landlord. Rent's due. How very depressing. It's easily affordable but still unpleasant to pay. At 7.30am, I receive some half-yearly results. Four companies, which we advise our clients to invest in, have done reasonably well. Calling those clients who followed our advice is rather pleasing. Phoning those who didn't is less fun. Pop out to grab a quick lunch and get my holiday snaps developed. Totally by chance, I bump into one of the girls who was on holiday with me. She's just got her photos back, so we go to lunch and look through the pics. Seeing myself on a boat with a beer in my hand, I can't help feeling depressed. Still, it redoubles my desire to make loads of money and retire early. That evening, I take a friend - who happens to be a client - out for a quiet dinner in Putney. Nothing flash. In fact, I'm pleasantly surprised the bill is only pounds 50. I go home to watch News at Ten. Five minutes into the programme, I fall fast asleep.
On the way to work, some lunatic in a left-hand drive, cuts me up and almost clips my TVR. Typical!Carry out a couple of presentations for some clients. Then out to lunch with a journalist and a company representative. They want to talk about the property market. Fine by me, especially as they're paying. On returning to the office, I find that the Dow has opened down. Again. And the FTSE has closed down. Again. At least I have a good night out. I love going out on Thursdays. Fridays are usually quiet, so I can afford to have a bit of a hang-over.
After a hectic morning, I have a quiet lunch. I'm taking it easy because I know tonight is going to be huge. After work, I go to an art exhibition in the West End, with some friends. I make myself a promise to take art up as my winter hobby.
Already drunk, we go out for dinner in a swanky restaurant. Several bottles of wine and spirits later, we stumble out and decide we want to dance. So we pile into a taxi and head off for the Met Bar. Once again, I'm not in bed until 4am. Despite my resolutions, I'm drunk, tired and back in the old routine. Nothing ever really changes.
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