Archive for March 24th, 2007

Quiz nite…and Saturday thoughts…

I am at The Bollo. The England v Kenya cricket game is about to begin. I have a glass of Rioja to my right, Silk Cut to my left and I have just eaten a fiery Penne Arrabiata. All is, thus, good with my simple world today. Although I am not a woman, I can multi-task … OK … multi may be taking it too far… but I can drink Rioja, watch the cricket, smoke and blog at the same time.

Last Wednesday I attended a ‘Quiz Nite’ at The Bollo. Our team has racked up two wins, two second places, won five free drinks and two bottles of champagne. It may not be riches beyond the dreams of a City law partner or a coughing Major – but it is a way of ‘monetising a bit of leisure time’!

We were one down – a composer who is particularly useful on music and films. Our team usually has six members. I knew we were doomed when my friend Codebreaker walked in. Well…he launched himself in…announced that he had been ‘ginned’ and crashed down into the seat. Codebreaker is a stout fellow in many senses of the word – at 6′ 3″ and 22 stone he is a force to be reckoned with. He had been to watch his nephew play rugby for University College Hospital. I won’t bore you with the solecism he committed but, he had to pay a forfeit and drink 8 measures of gin in one go. Medical students are renowned for their drinking. Codebreaker had already consumed 6 pints of beer. Pretending to be sober on the way back to West London (his sober wife, Derry, driving) he was dropped off at The Bollo. Derry arrived on foot, after parking their car, about ten minutes later. Codebreaker was seriously over refreshed, blurted out the answers loud enough for competing teams to hear, ignored the increasingly ‘dark looks’ from his wife as he went from Defcon 1 to Defcon 5, drank several more beers and amused me greatly. I refused to let him see our answer sheet eventually – because when I did, he repeated the answer in a loud voice – to the delight of competing teams who amended their answer sheets accordingly. A command performance. He had a hangover the next day. I have no information on any other injuries, self inflicted or otherwise, which may have arisen on the way home – nor do I have any information on the views expressed by his wife on his one man show at The Bollo that evening. Codebreaker will not be appearing at The London Palladium. I do hope, however, that he will reprise his show soon. Rating: 4/5


The mania for apologising. While I can understand the need for people to apologise for their behaviour – I got caught up in a conversation, last night, about The Abolition of Slavery anniversary. The range of views expressed on the breast beaters, tree huggers, politicians on the make and sundry others who have been apologising for Britain’s involvement in the slave trade 200 years ago was, to say the least, broad based and robust.

I’m sorry – but… I have come to the view that I cannot be held responsible for the acts of others or the government of my country before I was born. I do not hold young Germans responsible for the acts of their fuhrerfathers. Do we ask the Normans to apologise for invading our country in 1066?

(My ancestor, Ricard de Charon, was one such knight who got on the cross- La Manche ferry all those years ago, and is pictured in the Bayeux Tapestry, on horseback, with a glass of wine in his right hand, a duck in his left hand – and… frankly, a good thing he did… the locals were descending into anarchy; wearing wode, driving far too fast in chariots, bringing untaxed wines and beers over from the continent in absurd quantities, not repairing the central heating put in by the Romans (as required by covenants of repair and maintenance in their residential leases) AND… they had no idea where all those tax returns were …Christ… one of their Kings couldn’t even bake a cake properly… Yes… the Normans were a good influence.)

Nor will I apologise for Julius Charon, who invaded Britain in 40 AD, after misunderstanding Caligula’s instructions, and spent many happy months smoking spliffs in Brighton, with his mate Cameronius of the Etonii, before trying to drill the locals and losing their ‘hearts and minds’. Nor will I apologise for the appalling quality of his Latin in his book “Absit invidia – no offence intended”. I have written about this before.

What I will do is this: remember history and hope that we don’t make the same mistakes, or engage in unlawful and oppressive acts, in this country or overseas, in the future. Interesting that Blair finds it easy to apologise for Britain’s acts 200 years ago – but does not seem able to apologise for … [fill in’act’ to suit your political or emotional persuasion]

Unfortunately… rain has delayed play in the England v Kenya match. Australia are 84-o against South Africa. I am going to have another glass of Rioja…


UPDATE 15.30 hrs… GMT. Kenya won the toss and elected to Bat. Puzzling….. given the rain on the ground. I see a glass of Rioja coming towards me as I type…. excellent.

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Le Blog… critique et revue…

“The thing that’s wrong with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur”
George W. Bush, President of The United States.

UPDATE… I am grateful to Raymond P Ward, a US lawyer and well known blogger, for pointing out that President Bush did not actually say this… See here – the origin of the story is interesting!

Today, I begin my review of the week with two amusing posts by fellow law bloggers.

First… in the United States corner – we have Dan Hull of What About Clients? writing about the French: Link for story and quotation

“The French are designed by God to seem as provokingly dissimilar from the British as possible. Catholic, Cartesian, Mediterranean; Machiavellian in politics, Jesuitical in argument, Casanovan in sex; relaxed about pleasure, and treating the arts as central to life, rather than some add-on, like a set of alloy wheels.”

Cutting through the French line… in the finest traditions of Admiral Lord Nelson at Trafalgar…we have Corporate Blawg responding to Dan Hull’s original post.

“The British are designed by Darwin to seem as provokingly dissimilar from the French as possible. Protestant, Practical, Productive; cynical in politics, Aristotelian in argument, experimental in sex; intense about hedonism, and treating the arts as peripheral to life, being more focussed on science, global responsibility and the issues that make humanity prosper rather than celebrating being part of a catatonic clique of inward-looking patriots.”

Good stuff, gentlemen. Salut! As I am a Scot with republican tendencies (but waiting for the return of a Jacobite King…?)- “To the King across the water.”

I have been busy podcasting in the last week or so: Podcast 5: Dan Hull on US Lawyers and the work life balance, Podcast 6: Toby Davey, Barrister 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square on being a barrister, his work as an Immigration judge, wine and fireworks and Podcast 7: Dr John Birchall on Writing good English for law, business and other professionals.

It has been a strange week: We learned that Pakistan cricket coach, Bob Woolmer was murdered, The Great Train Robber, Gordon Brown, cut 2p off the rate of income tax (The Tories wailed as Gordon trampled over their wicket), It snowed / sleeted in London, The Lords rejected proposals to abolish juries in fraud trials, A council took a local farmer to court over accusations that his pigs scratching their backsides caused damage to protected trees… and finally… teenagers who skip school or college face a £50 fine and a possible criminal record under plans to increase the education leaving age to 18

So to the world of blogs….what are they up to?

Tim Kevan, Barrister Blog has an interesting post on the difficulties of telephone hearings, Batgirl is pondering about the difficulties of finding time to blog and anonymity, Justin Patten, Human Law has an interesting comment about conflict resolution in the UK, John Bolch, Family Lore has a wry dig at the DCA (Rightly, in my view) about their response to the legal aid protest by lawyers last Monday, Geeklawyer’s blog has been restored to health (with a new look) and he returns to form with pre-occupations about Ruthie’s birthday – but he was also gracious enough to ‘pimp my podcasts’, Lawyer 2 Be wrote a very interesting piece on diversity at the Bar, Legal Beagle is back and writes about ‘Turbulent Times’ at the Criminal Bar, Legal Scribbles has given his last Land Law Tutorial until October and has some useful advice for students who are about to face the examiner.

Lo-Fi Librarian continues to provide useful material and sees the lighter side as well with the information that “Juries are more likely to find less attractive defendents guilty than they are the prettier ones.”

Pupil Blogger reflects on Kids in court, sitting in the front row, reserved for Silks. Nearly Legal has a very useful piece on ‘the Age Bar’ -a useful read for all mature students contemplating a career in the law, Legal Spy is thinking about getting an even bigger BMW to irritate the senior partner! and Binary Law has a very useful post “Does IT matter?”

Finally… a blog I always read – despite the fact that I know little about criminal law – simply because Bystander JP always has interesting material about the human condition – as he sees it, daily, in the Magistrates Court. This week, he sentences a young man to his first prison sentence. I quote: “This chap was a young man who had been given every possible non-custodial disposal and had failed them all. You name it, he’s got it – drugs, drink, family problems, illiteracy, the lot. As he was taken down he called out “I’ll get worse”. He could have a point.The Magistrate’s Blog

UPDATE 15.30 hrs: … I am now at the Bollo watching the cricket…. rain delayed play – so viewing Australia and blogging, as may be apparent from the above. All I wish to add, for Dan Hull, who was kind enough to comment on this post: ….is Cry God, for Harry, St George and England for today we march against the French… again!

Bon chance…

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