My Mortgage week – Jeff sutherland-kay

Monday: One of the wonderful things about having left Alliance & Leicester after nearly 24 years is that I don&#39t have to get up early. Why then, am I up at 6.30? Still, I suppose that&#39s later than when I was on the treadmill so that&#39s some consolation.

Manage to shave without slicing bits off my face so clearly it&#39s going to be a good week. Head for the gym to work off last week&#39s lack of exercise due to helping to play host to two German teenage girl exchange students. Can&#39t get away from mortgages, though, as the editor of this august organ wants an article by the end of the week. Decide that sitting in the sunshine in the garden with a bottle of Chablis and the crossword is a much better idea.

Tuesday: Gym again. The only trouble about going at 9 o&#39clock in the morning is the absence of people under 60 (except me). Sunshine and garden beckon but I feel that maybe I ought to get on with the article, so it&#39s just half an hour and a mug of coffee rather than the full works, today.

The day is enlivened by a chat on the phone with John Malone of Prudential Premier Mortgage Service – it&#39s people like John and my old management team at A&L that I miss most. Good news on the contract front too, as a well-known financial services company wants my help. And two Premium Bond prizes in the post – can&#39t be bad.

Wednesday: Back to the gym to continue toning those muscles. My body is a temple – even the bits that spill over my trouser belt. Home again to find that an international firm of lawyers is interested in offering me a contract to help with client development – is there no way I can avoid work when the sun is shining? Off to collect my daughter who&#39s been staying with some friends of ours who not only have a house on the Thames but the income to go with it, not to mention a love of opera to match mine.

Thursday: No gym today, so no opportunity to be touched up in the jacuzzi by randy OAPs. Instead, a trip to the great metropolis to see a market research agency I&#39ve known for yonks. They&#39ve done some great work over the years, especially in the mortgage market – damn mortgages again, will no one rid me of this turbulent commodity! – and they&#39re toying with the problem of how to manage their client base, both to protect their current income and develop additional income streams.

Friday: No mortgages today – whoopee! Then again, no excuse for missing the gym this morning. Still, I enjoy it in a masochistic sort of way. Most of the rest of the day is spent doing stuff for my wife, who is a regional HR manager with Marks & Spencer specialising in performance management. And bloomin&#39 good she is too. Friday rounds off with the first of several recording sessions for a new CD by the bunch of professional singers I tag along with – bliss.

•Jeff Sutherland-Kay is an independent customer strategist. His diary runs from July 29 to August 2 2002.