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Archive for July 1st, 2007

While William Blake was prone to fantastic visions, including seeing God, and angels in a tree – I do not, of course, suffer from the same problem. There are, after all, limits to what Rioja can do. But Blake could do a good painting.

My day in smoke free England started at 7.00 this morning when, armed with The News of The World, The Observer and The Independent on Sunday, I arrived at my cafe of choice (Hothouse Cafe on Chiswick High Road) to order espresso, three slices of toast and a banana. I have decided that I need potassium, so, in recent days, I have not ordered my usual breakfast and have taken to ordering a banana to spread onto buttered toast. A man in his early forties, clearly returning from a late night, stopped, looked at me spreading banana on my toast, and then lurched off up the road baffled, no doubt in search of his home. It was raining but not sufficiently to make the lighting of a cigarette difficult.

The front page of The Sunday Times had a story about a Zimbabwean ‘top cleric’ calling on Britain to invade Zimbabwe to topple Mugabe. Given that Gordon Brown (a) wishes to reduce the prerogative powers of the Prime Minister (discussed during his 55 minute briefing with The Queen when he took over as PM last week) and give Parliament the right to decide who we invade, when, how and who with, and (b) is rather committed with Iraq and Afghanistan, let alone bombers and floods, it is unlikely we will, on this occasion, be able to oblige.

I decided that it would be best for me to turn to page 2 of The Sunday Times. There I found a story about, actor, Peter Bowles (70) who played the role of Guthrie Featherstone in Rumpole of The Bailey, telling theatre goers at the Chichester Festival, 15 minutes into the play they were watching, that he had to “put the cat out” and then walked off stage. His agent later said “Peter is confident he will make a full recovery.”

I knew that the day would be ‘unusual’ when I read, also on page 2, the story about the possibility that The Queen will be charging tourists, who wish to watch the Changing of the Guard, £10 to help pay for renovations at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. Apparently, and this should be of interest to online personal injury lawyers, bits of the masonry at Buckingham Palace are falling onto the forecourt and Windsor Castle needs £6 million to fix a dodgy bit of roof.

The Sunday Times continued with a story about the graffiti-style Olympic logo. Apparently, Lord Sir Sebastian Coe, was ‘shocked by the extent of the backlash’ that followed the launch of the logo. Lord Coe could certainly run; a skill, possibly, which is of little assistance in assessing design and the taste of the British people.

And then…we had Alex Salmond telling The Queen, at the Royal opening of the Scottish Parliament, “It will not have escaped your attention that I am the first SNP first minister that this parliament has elected. I believe in the restoration of an independent Scotland.”

Excellent stuff. Time and place came to mind. Not many in the Scots parliament were amused by Salmond’s comments.

I began to worry about the potency of the Rioja I drank last night, as I smoked myself into the new era, when I saw a story about ‘stressed fish’ being given a bill of rights.

Apparently scientists have finally worked out that fish posses a greater intelligence than was at first thought and they do feel pain when scientists experiment on them. Zebrafish are most commonly used in these experiments. It is, perhaps, fortunate that they are able to regenerate their fins, skin and hearts following injury in an experiment. It seemed, to me, as I read the story, that these fish are pretty bright.

I do not know Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Quack to H M Government, but for some totally irrational and bizarre reason he irritates me – and I am, these days, not easily irritated. It was a pleasure to read that Sunday Times columnist, Rod Liddle, planned to spend the first day of the smoking ban coming into force in England handing out free cigarettes near Sir Liam Donaldson’s home. Rod Liddle calls for a ban on Donaldson in all public places and, I have to say, now they have their way on smoking bans, I tend to agree. Doctors should be seen, when it is necessary, but they should not be popping up on television, and certainly not on a Sunday morning when the Cricket is about to start, to tell us what to do. [England won the first one day international against West Indies]

Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer is always worth reading. He has a deft touch, is incisive and, whatever your viewpoint, is usually interesting. This week, not surprisingly, he considers the coronation of Gordon Brown. I need not comment on this – the papers have been full of it – but I was interested in the fairly obvious point he made that Brown has no rivals, and is in a far stronger position than most recent Prime Ministers. Rawnsley reminded us of the famous Spitting Image sketch when a waiter asked Margaret Thatcher what she would like to eat. “Steak”, she replied. “And what about the vegetables?” asked the waiter. Margaret replied, in a reference to her Cabinet, “They’ll have the same.” Will Brown’s Cabinet be able to take on the mantle of Cabinet government signalled by Brown? Time will tell, of course.

And so… what is happening in “Blawgistan” ?

Nearly Legal is, on 2nd July, to write Blawg review 115 for US based Blawg Review (Charon will be doing the 7th January 2008 Blawg review) In an ironic confluence of circumstance, almost certainly predicted by Nostradamus, UK Blawgers are to write Blawg reviews 115 and 116 – on either side of the US July 4th Independence celebrations; prompting the Editor of Blawg Review to comment that ‘The British are coming“.

I wait… as Dr Frankenfurter said in The Rocky Horror show… with anticipppaaaation.

The Bar Council blog reports:

“This will be a short blog, as the Chairman’s diary is very busy this week.

I find it disappointing when members of the Bar assume that the Bar Council does nothing about their problems. The truth is different. The Bar Council and the officers spend all their time trying to improve the position of the most hard-pressed members of the Bar, particularly the publicly funded Bar.” Report

Fellow smoker, John Bolch over at Family Lore (now his own domain) receives an email response to an E-petition from the new Prime Minister.

Geeklawyer and Ruthie go their separate ways on the blawgosphere. Head of Legal does a bit of hyperventilating over the abuse of human rights legislation in relation to the smoking ban: “Apparently a group called “Freedom2Choose” claims that the smoking ban breaches human rights legislation. How unspeakably tiresome! This is obviously wrong.”

Martin George does not think he is lucky to be poked by Charon on Facebook – and now that I know what ‘poking on Facebook’ means, I can well understand his concern. Pupil Blog wears a wig and gown in combat for the first time.

“Working and lawyering abroad isn’t just cool. It’s hard work with frustrations you can’t possibly anticipate unless you’ve done it a few times.” Thus spake Dan Hull of WAC? who is appreciative of the fact that UK blawgs are less inhibited than some US blawgs. I suspect this may be due, in part, to the fact that some blawgers in the UK (perhaps only one?) tend to find themselves enjoying wine as they blog. I could be wrong. Lo-fi Librarian, who has been making strawberry jelly on Facebook, has another crop of useful web/blog tools for you this week. Justin Patten, Human Law Mediation, wonders whether Blair can succeed in the ultimate mediation.

And finally, apart from to say that it was remarkably easy to sit outside smoking today… I end with a rather unusual event: Worm Charming.

A group of people, in Cheshire in the North of England, gathered to compete in the 28th World Worm Charming Championships. The current world record was established at that first event with teenager Tom Shufflebotham collecting 511 worms in 30 minutes. Apparently these people collect worms for fishing bait.

It is good to know, in time of floods and terrorist bombs in London and Glasgow, that the British are able to hold such an event. We shall never surrender. Terrorism cannot ever win in Britain.

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