The mortgage mole

Of pots and peacocks It&#39s a brave pot as calls the kettle black – especially one who urges the mortgage industry to higher service standards while her own back office lies in tatters. But such was the lot of Lynne Peacock, chief executive of The Woolwich, as she took the helm of the Mortgage Strategy Mortgage Processing 2002 conference in London last week. With a mauling in The Sunday Times behind her, Peacock&#39s speech as chair on the first day was cut short by more tardy service – yup, the trains. “I know you have had horrible journeys,” she whispered, “We&#39d better crack on.” Peacock sat riveted by presentations on service standards before displaying her own excellent time-management skills, leaving the conference at 5pm sharp.

Erotic corner (Not) Despite appearances, it seems that lenders really are interested in fashion. Indeed, it was only last week that Kensington Mortgage Company staff forsook M&S for the more exotic fare on display at an exhibition of risqué Versace costumes in London&#39s Victoria & Albert museum. The inevitable result – a general clamour for a bondage-themed Christmas party. The management response? “Don&#39t hold your breath.” The thought of what lies beneath those sensible brogues and grey suits… Mole is just glad he is near-blind…and always keeps his fur on.

Where&#39s johnny? With John &#39One-G&#39 Wriglesworth braving the wilderness of Kenya on safari, the media has been sadly bereft of his punditry. Nobody to call the latest wobble or remind us that we live on an overcrowded island. So quiet, in fact, was the Doc during his vacation that Mole hears his loyal office team began to fret. Had he been trampled by a rhino, or eaten by a lion, or… Then, one day, there came the long-awaited call from his trusty Nokia. “I&#39m in Zanzibar”, he announced proudly while sipping a cocktail – in Tanzania! Sorry, what bar?

Sweet talker Maybe it was the wine, but Financial Dynamics PR, Louise Dolan could only lap up the dulcit tones of Chez Gerard waiter Pierre after forcing him to read out the dessert menu. “Petit pot au chocolat garni?” he smoothed. “Tarte Tatin?” – Dolan&#39s knees weakened. (Good thing she was sitting down, really.) “It&#39s the accent,” she cooed to Mole. “It doesn&#39t matter what accent it is but accents really…do it for me.”

Hole sweet hole

It seems Mole&#39s colleagues really should stay in the burrow. After losing his luggage, then his duty frees on his travels to Chicago&#39s MBAA convention last week, editor Hall&#39s travel non-nouse was spookily paralleled by Ed Power and Ben Stafford on their Chilean expedition. Keen to keep in contact with the office as ever, Power left his mobile on the plane while Stafford later spent six hours beside a broken bus on the Pan American highway, thus contriving to miss his flight home.