I’ve always wanted to say that I was sitting, sipping sangiovese and smoking in Sicilian Avenue this morning….. because I enjoy alliteration when I am in the mood. I was in Sicilian Avenue this morning, early, for a meeting – but it was black coffee and a very pleasant way to spend half an hour.
I know the area well. In another life, in my other guise, I helped found what is now the second largest law school in Britain and the law school was nearby in Theobalds Road. In fact it is still nearby. I watched as people rushed to work; some earnest, some burdened by the cares of their day, others quite cheerful. I waved at a few tourists. It wasn’t particularly cold, but I was the only person sitting outside The Onion sandwich bar – a well known cafe. I was also the only person wearing an Australian Drizeabone stockman’s coat and growing on my hitherto hair free face, the makings of a very fine silver and black arctic explorer beard. My Panama hat was, perhaps, a bit excessive and certainly not quite right for winter – but…. I was a man on a mission and the paradox did not trouble me greatly.
A small group of about twenty Japanese tourists wandered by. Three of them took photographs of me sitting there enjoying my coffee. Thank god I was reading The Times and not The Sun or The Mirror. I raised my hat. I now know how people from far off lands must have felt when the first American, British and European tourists visited and took photographs of ‘quaint locals’.
One rather pleasant, elederly, Japanese couple asked if they could have a photograph of me with them. I was more than happy to agree. So… there I was, at 6ft 1″ in a long *How the West was Won* style of long coat, a panama hat, smoking a woodbine… towering over the diminutive Japanese couple… smiling like the Prime Minister, or ‘Prime Mentalist’ as Guido Fawkes calls him. I shook hands, returned their bows – I even spoke a little Japanese. (I did Karate and Kendo when I was a younger Charon) and wished them well for their whirlwind tour around Britain. Shakespeare was next on their list. I assured them that I knew Shakespeare well. Language difficulties can be problematic and I had to agree with them that Shakespeare was, indeed, dead, but his spirit lived on…
I even gave them a favourite quote from my favourite play Richard III…
” And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.”
Lest the new visitor to my blog should wonder why, on a law blog, I am prattling on about Sicilian Avenue, Japanese tourists and Richard III…. I should explain that I was about to attend a rather useful meeting with lawyers about law and law was discussed with enthusiasm. And then, in the time honoured tradition of lawyers, I asked them to get their partnership wallet out. I counted the notes most carefully.