A COLUMN used to appear in the Sunday business section of this newspaper called My Working Week. In it, illustrious members of the Crown Colony's populace recounted a typical week in their life. It was popular, but only, it must be said, because it proved how many fatuous hams there are out there. It was rare that a column did not start: 'Monday, 7am. Took my usual five-mile run along Bowen Road, trying to work out my strategy for the day's vital budget meeting.' They finished: 'Saturday, 8am. After my regular 6am workout at the gym, spent the morning catching up with overnight faxes from our various offices around the world and looking over my stock portfolio. Seems I am a bit heavy on industrials.' One of the most memorable was by an expatriate businessman. I have been looking back over the files and, luckily for him, have failed to find the piece in question. But one line sticks in my head like a meathook. It said: 'Woke up early and reached for the alarm clock. Then realised I was not at home, but in the First Class cabin of a jumbo jet, heading back to Hong Kong from a meeting in London.' The person who wrote that, it is to be hoped, has since fallen prey to some horribly debilitating disease. It is time, in response to all the fan mail (thank you mother, but I can assure you I have plenty of warm underwear) that I set the record straight regarding my own working week. Most of you understandably think it's a hectic round of commingling with the titled and of having my photograph taken alongside grinning superbimbos at cocktail parties to celebrate the launch of the new Bore & Mercier winter carriage clock collection. Of course this is just part of it. What follows is not this week, but the week before. This week would be a bad example because it is Christmas - the first mention of it in this column and the last - so I am preoccupied with finding a suitable gift for my wife. So strong is my hatred of shopping that in the past I have always taken the easy way out and bought her things that I like. She is, I suspect, brassed off with receiving books about medium format landscape photography and compilation video tapes of Liverpool Football Club's finest moments. She seems to want jewellery, so this could be her year. Anyway, to my working week, which often begins on a Monday. Monday: Got up early to make a vital telephone call. 'Is that the South China Morning Post ? This is David Dalton. No, not Michael Bolton. He's a singer, although you could have fooled me. David Dalton. I write the column in the Satur . . . No, no. That's Nury Vittachi. Yes, he is very good, I agree. You think his new book is brilliant? Well I might write one too someday. 'Anyway . . . no, I'm not applying for a job. I have a job. Yes, The Hong Kong Joke Book. It's available in all good book shops. Ninety-nine dollars. No, I haven't heard the one about the tai-tai who got in the wrong queue at a bank and accidentally made a deposit. 'Listen, do you mind if we get to the point? I was phoning to say that my aunt has dengue fever and I have to go and visit her in hospital. Then I've got a dental appointment. And my grandmother died. So I won't be in today.' Tuesday. Woken by the telephone at 7am. Surprise, surprise! It's my dear old friend, the gorgeous Miss Terri Holladay, calling to ask me for cocktails this evening. 'Hello, is that Timothy Dalton, the actor who played James Bond with such panache in The Living Daylights '? 'No this is David Dalton, the colum . . .' click. Wednesday. Another early start, and another important telephone call. 'Good morning. South China Morning Post? Not too well I'm afraid. She's had a relapse. I won't be in today. Did he? Well you can tell him from me that my aunt's health takes precedence. What's that? I can pick up my severance pay tomorrow? I see. Goodbye.' Thursday. 'Is that the Hong Kong Executive Placement Bureau? Well anything will do really. I used to be a columnist on the South China Morning P . . . No, that's Nury Vittachi. Yes, he is very funny, I know.' Friday. Woken by the telephone at noon. It's the Hong Kong Executive Placement Bureau. 'Sounds interesting. Job becomes available in late 1996, big salary, chauffeur, government housing, frequent trips to Beijing and no need to pay for one's own bullet in the event of summary execution without trial. Sounds too good to be true. I'll take it.' Saturday & Sunday. Congratulatory telegrams pour in from around the world. I am particularly proud of one, which I intend to frame. It begins: 'Dear Mr Dalton, I saw you in Licence to Kill and thought you were great. I have a big favour to ask. Is there any way you could get me Nury Vittachi's autograph?'