Bafflingly, Soph and I are living in a parallel world. While the UK has slumped into financial chaos and turned into a laughing stock, our little business has been doing rather well, mostly.

Spin class

We’re working hard on our pitch for the biggest PR client that has ever asked us to pitch. And there are two other clients we’re going for. It’s bizarre. But there is always a fly in the ointment. Our oldest client, both in terms of time with Pastis and his age, has put his last remaining shopping centre on the market – in desperation. Having complained during Covid of Mike Ashley’s rent tactics, he managed to sneak through a couple of centre sales last year – at prices that weren’t as bad as they might have been.

Now, he’s trying to offload the last – and worst – in his portfolio after the bank said it wanted its money back (or some of it, at least). He paid £40m for it and will be lucky to get £10m. He wants us to keep the deal out of the press. Our advice is to draft a press release, which we would give to one publication as an exclusive. The price we would mention would be the combined amount from the three sales, which would, of course, be “in line with expectations” and “at book value” – a meaningless book value, as the company is private.

He will come out of it smelling of roses. With a very fair wind.