Monday, 16 January 2012

Hello, it's only me

Sorry to bother you and all that, but I thought it time to have a few words about things.

Having found myself in the doldrums last year, for reasons last blogged about, I think it's about time to pull my socks up (not least because it's too bleedin' cold to shave my legs and they look blue and hairy) and to get on with being my usual stupid self.

The touchy subject of pupillage has been on my mind of late, although I haven't looked at Monsier Olpas for months - I doubt he's missed me. So, I shall have to yet again try to make myself interesting AND appealing to chambers. Having thought long and hard about this, I've carefully prepared a strategy that is sure to wow em, or at least make go 'ooh'.

I'm not one for being furtive and sly (well that's me *ucked at the Bar:-)), so I thought I'd share my 4 golden rules for grasping the Golden Snitch:

  1. Lie about my age,
  2. Lie about my gender,
  3. Lie about my statistics (in a non 'vital', but a uni 'where you went' sort of way),
  4. Resume The Walk. I can't for the life of me remember why I stopped in the first place. Personally I always hum Blues Bros. 'Soul Man' when walking the walk, but do feel free to adapt Rule 4 to your own personal taste.
Just in case you're not aware (*tut* and shame on you), here it is:

Whadya reckon? I'm really optimistic:-)


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Just to say

I haven't blogged for a while because there's nothing much to tell. I'm still painting furniture and doing quite well, but I'm hoping it's not a forever job - tis a bit like watching paint dry (sorry, I'll get my coat). By my calculations I've painted circa 90 - 100 items so far, but I keep forgetting pieces, so it's probably more. Alas, my niche seems to be the big stuff, which means lots of grunting and groaning and cussing and back ache.

I've done bugger all on the (law) CV enhancing side of things, there's been no spare time (see below), but maybe in a few weeks time I'll do a bit.

My father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. The initial prognosis was years, rather than months, but things didn't quite work out as expected and he is rapidly losing his battle against the disease. He was admitted to a hospice last week. It's a small(ish) Victorian house, that has room for just 4 patients at any one time. Although he has plenty of (too many in fact) visitors in the day, there were few volunteers for the night shift. Upon his admittance, the hospice staff explained that they felt that my father-in-law had days, rather than weeks. It came as no surprise - each day I had wondered if it could get much worse. I went and sat with him Saturday night. He has lost his sight, has a catheter, a syringe in each arm, can only just move one hand and his voice is disappearing. He is frightened. I set off from home just before midnight and drove through the country lanes in dense fog to the hospice.

I sat quietly, looking at a man sleeping, who bore no resemblance to the person I have known for many years. The hospice had been trying to get his meds sorted out, to get the pain under control and it was some solace to see him snoring his head off, looking relaxed and comfortable.

There were a few things I wanted to say to my father-in-law. He was particularly kind to me a few years ago when I went through a difficult time and I'd never thanked him for his support. He lay there snoring, sound asleep. I prepared my 'closing speech'. Father-in-law never stirred whilst I sat there for a few hours. As I rose to leave, I went over and very gently touched his hand; it was ice cold to the touch - he is so frail, that he can only bear a cotton sheet over him, anything heavier hurts his now tiny, fragile frame. He continued to snore. I whispered that I was going and the care assistant would come and sit with him for a while. I gave my short closing speech with a choked, quivering voice; he snored (loudly) all the way through it! I made my way to the car. The fog had enveloped the Victorian garden and the damp, dark atmosphere was depressing. I felt drained and exhausted. Fearful of falling asleep whilst going home, I wound down the window and drove off. I thought it would be a good idea to put the radio on once I left the hospice grounds, but was fearful that the music would be something depressing. After a brief pause I pressed the button and heard "Wake me up before you go go". I laughed.

When I got home, Barman asked me how his Dad was. I explained that he had never stirred, was sound asleep and free from pain. I said that he'd no idea I'd been.

The next day, when Barman came home from the hospice, he said that his Dad mentioned that I'd visited.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Naughty Corner

It's a small village community I live amongst. About 150 people, perhaps a few less. In such a small place, it's important to get along with everyone.

Alas, I've upset one of my neighbours, who moved to the village a couple of years back. She was telling me about a legal battle she had in her previous village. It concerned a right of way that had been blocked off by the landowner. Neighbour, along with other villagers, were litigants-in-person. She was telling me about an old book they had cited in court, as proof of an ancient right of way. Unfortunately when she said the title (Great Dykes of Lincolnshire), I got the giggles and she got very shirty. "Oh trust you to laugh. The lawyers for the other side laughed, but we won you know". For some reason this made me laugh even more and she stomped off in a huff.

I'm in the naughty corner - does it make my bum look big? Nah, it's just about right:-)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Ooh 'eck, please don't tell anyone

You can keep a secret can't you?

I might as well come straight out with it.

Ooh but I can't.

It's just so embarrassing.

It's Bar-Os.

He's....  ooh 'eck, I don't quite know how to put it.

Well you know...

I went to the stable and he was er, well you know..

Oh dear, it's very shocking, here we go...

I caught him... wearing lipstick!!!

Please don't tell anyone.

To make matters worse, the colour doesn't suit him and he'd just slapped it on willy nilly. No lip brush, no nuffink, just bright red lips.

I don't know what to do - I mean at the rate he's getting through it. I can't afford to buy him Lancome and imagine a Bar-Os wearing Rimmel! What would the BSB think!

I have tried to reason with him, but he just stuck his tongue out at me, laughed and said I was an old fuddy duddy and needed to get wiv it innit.

Perhaps he'll grow out of it. Just in case he doesn't, can anyone recommend a decent make-up artist to give him a few lessons.

I would like to reassure readers that no horse was harmed during the making of this blog post, although the horse's mum did get gooey molasses block spat down her top. She intends to sue for something or another, but it's so long since she looked at a law book, she cannot remember anything remotely legal at all.

Sorry, it wasn't anything sensible, maybe next time:-)

Saturday, 6 August 2011

In the matter of Carrot v Decency

I'm a country bumpkin.

I don't get out much.

In the country, we have to make our own entertainment.

I buy big sacks of carrots for Bar-Os (no wait, it gets better).

They are the ones that don't make it to the supermarket. For reasons that will become all too apparent.

(Is the excitement getting too much to bear yet?).

I'm old enough to know better.

A mature aspirant to the Bar for God's sake.

But still find carrot pornography very funny.

The poor chap on the right went to Snips R Uz for a vasectomy. I have a date with the one on the left:-)

Friday, 5 August 2011

Friends in high places

A couple of grumpy swallows moved, uninvited, into Bar-Os' stable a few weeks back. They built a nest of sorts, on a beam, smack bang in the middle of the stable. They dive bombed me. They dumped on Bar-Os.

I explained to them that I paid the mortgage and as such had every right to be there. It made no difference.

Soon enough, 3 baby swallows hatched - very peculiar - 1 large, 1 medium, 1 small. They would sit in a row on the beam, looking just like a set of Russian dolls, all neatly lined up. They had inherited their parents grumpiness. They glared at me. They dive bombed me. They too dumped on Bar-Os.

In the morning my poor boy's back would be twitching and he had a resigned look on his face "look what they did mum". I wiped away the bird droppings each morning.

As the days passed, the swallows spent less and less time in the stable and I noticed that there didn't appear to be much muck on his back. It was quite difficult to tell though because he's taller than me and I can't see right over his back.

On an evening, I let him graze on the lane for a few minutes when I bring him home from the paddock. As he leans forward to munch, his back dips slightly and I get a better view of his back. On several occasions, I was surprised to see quite a lot of bird droppings and assumed that I missed them in the morning.

I went to the paddock one day last week and noticed something on his back. As I approached, I realised it was a swallow; sat there, not a care in the world. The next day there were several on his back; all sat relaxing in the sun, as though it were the most normal thing in the world to spend the day riding around the field on a horse. None of the other horses in the surrounding paddocks have the same embarrassing problem. I've come to the conclusion that it's the same swallows, who think Bar-Os is their dad.

They say that getting dumped on by a bird is lucky. I keep meaning to buy Bar-Os a lottery ticket; he's in for a megga win!

Here are the culprits, waiting for Bar-Os.

There haven't been as many firework displays from the hotel this year. I'd like to think that the 'talking to' I gave to the hotelier some while back was the reason, but suspect that it's the recession (the displays start at £600).

I received an email from the village idiots Parish Council earlier this week to say that there would be a display this evening at 9.30 "the usual quiet ones followed by a few bangs at the end".

I got Bar-Os in from the paddock early so that I could get him groomed without getting my teeth kicked out when the big bangs commenced. At about 10, I heard loud bangs and assumed that I'd missed the 'quieter' fireworks which precede the very loud ones at the end. Nope, that was the beginning of an horrendous episode. The fireworks got bigger and louder, resulting in my house, garden and stable (and a few neighbours homes) getting showered in glowing cinders. The ones that landed in the garden soon went out because the grass is damp from the recent rain, but the roof on the house and stable had burning cinders on them for some time. I'm not in a good frame of mind!


Saturday, 23 July 2011

What a farce

I received an email from the Portal the other day, informing me that there had been a problem with their system. Some pupillage applications were missing the main body of the form (the application questionnaire) when chambers downloaded them.

I received this email on the 19th July; nearly 3 months after the closing date for pupillage applications.

I received an email yesterday from the Portal assuring me that none of my applications were affected. This was shortly followed by an email from one of the chambers I applied to, informing me that my application questionnaire had been absent when it was downloaded.

The original email from the Portal said that the Bar Council and the Bar Standards Board were considering postponing the date when offers for pupillage be made (2nd August), so that the process be 'transparent and clear'.

Transparent and clear, my foot!

I really cannot see chambers re-starting the whole application sifting and interview process again, some 3 months after the closing date for pupillage apps. I cannot understand why it has taken this long for the problem to come to light.

What a farce!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Curious Tale of Mr O' Dringle

There is one day from my BVC studies that is most memorable. A day I'll never forget and one that I think of to this day, and no doubt will for many years to come.

It all started with a compulsory, supervised court visit. For those unfamiliar with BVC, the course includes 4 court visits, 2 unsupervised, 2 supervised.

What with the demands of working and studying at the same time, I put off the supervised court visits until the last minute because it meant a day in London during the week and my time was squeezed.

Anyway, off I trotted to a well known London Crown Court for the second of my supervised visits. I didn't know any of the other BVC students; most were from the full-time course. The supervising tutor I knew vaguely.

So, supervising tutor asked us to put a tick next to our name on her sheet and explained that before we were let loose in the courts, we were to have a privileged tour of the Court by the Court's very own resident tour guide. We were led into a courtroom, where each aspect of the room's geography was explained in great detail. I should add at this point, that I was the oldest student there; a mature, professional woman.

The 10 - 15 minute guided tour lasted 45 minutes, despite the tutor's embarrassed gasps "Yes, yes, they know what a witness box is for, they've done mini-pupillages, law degrees, and all sorts of things to do with LAW; they know about witness boxes". Alas, when the tour guide said "You will all be wondering what these 12 seats are for. They are for a jury, j.u.r.y.. The jury decide whether the defendant is a bad person or a good person", I corpsed big style. Tears and the lot. So much for my maturity and all that. The tutor kept mouthing apologies to us and writhing in embarrassment, but the tour guide was oblivious and kept going.

We were shown a law book. It was a new one on me called "Archibold". I wasn't the only one laughing at this point (thankfully). We were also shown the VERY stairs that the judges walk down on their way to the court rooms. Tour guide seemed a tad disappointed that no-one fell to their knees to kiss the carpet, but nevertheless continued until the supervising tutor told her that we needed to really get to see some cases. Tutor then told us to go and find a case to watch and pissed off. So much for a supervised court visit.

Given my uncontrollable fit of giggles, I thought it best if I just find something boring to watch, as I didn't want to start corpsing in court.

I wandered into a room that had a very, very ordinary Public Order Offence trial going on. A one day trial that was really just suited to the Mags, but had found itself in the Crown Court. The trial had overrun, so I was joining it on the second day, towards the end. This I thought was an excellent idea on my part; I could watch an hour or so's advocacy, grab lunch, whilst writing up my visit notes and go home early.

Two barristers made their way into the court room; one male, one female. The female barrister was prosecuting. She should have been ugly. A young woman, not long out of Bar School I guess. She had hooded, slanted, masculine, grey eyes, a large hook nose and a jutty out chin to rival the nose. She also had a complexion as pure as alabaster, with the merest hint of pale pink about her cheeks. She was in short, so ugly, she was beautiful and had a face that was just so infinitely interesting, despite the fact (or maybe because of the fact) that it was emotionless and still and perfectly controlled. The slight upward tilt of her face gave her an air of confidence, perhaps even arrogance. A few other Bar students had joined me and she gave us the merest uninterested glance as she sat very still, waiting for the trial to re-commence.

The male defending barrister, who I shall call Mr O' Dringle, looked to be in his late 30's, early 40's. He appeared very bored indeed; totally fed up to be going into a second day (a Friday at that), of a run of the mill trial with nothing at all exciting about it. His demeanour was unfriendly and he cast an annoyed glance at we handful of students.

"Excuse me" ventured I. Mr O' Dringle cast a slow, arrogant, sarcastic glance in my direction and said nothing. "We're Bar students on a supervised court visit" I said. "Can we have both your names and your Chambers too, so that we can jot them down for our written court reports?". Mr O' Dringle's demeanour instantly and surprisingly transformed. He flashed a smile, stood up quickly and bowed, waxed lyrical and carefully spelt out his name, so that we could be sure to get it right.

The judge arrived and the trial resumed. There were a few odds and sods to go through before closing speeches, which filled us in on the gist of the case. The witness/victim said that the defendant (who she didn't know) had verbally abused her and spat at her whilst she was stood at a bus stop. The defendant denied the allegation.

The prosecuting barrister gave a very short closing speech, very simple, very concise, very clear. She pointed out that the victim had described the defendant's appearance comprehensively and accurately to the police before his arrest, and as such, the detailed account of her description was reliable.

Mr O' Dringle stood up. He was very tall. His legs were of normal length, but his back was very, very long. He bowed to the judge. A long, low, slow bow, made all the more animated by the sheer length of his back. Mr O' Dringle gave the jury a Turnbull Direction, which rather surprised us law students. He also directed the jury incorrectly on the burden of proof. I think there was a bit of Galbraith in there too, but can't be too sure.

Mr O' Dringle was in his element. A gaggle of Bar students, there to see how it was really done.

It was only a small court room. The jury were but a few metres away from Mr O' Dringle. They were sinking in their seats, they were yawning, they were hungry. Mr O' Dringle noticed none of this because he wanted to address the jury about mobile phones. No-one knew why and we students cast confused glances to one another. There had been no mention of the offence including a mobile phone. Nevertheless, Mr O' Dringle spoke at great length about mobile phones, well, until the judge stopped him that is. The judge huffed, puffed, coughed, shuffled papers, intervened and corrected - several times! Mr O' Dringle would slowly bow low to the judge, thank him for his assistance and continue where he left off. Mr O' Dringle's closing speech went on for over an hour. The judge adjourned for lunch and asked the Bar students to come back into court 15 minutes before the trial resumed.

We Bar students complied and went back to court early. The judge came into court and spoke to us. General chit chat. Who had a pupillage? Which Bar School? Which Inn? And so on. He asked if we had any questions. There were only one or two half hearted questions put forward. "Well I am surprised" said the judge. "This is the first time I've met a group of Bar students who haven't wanted to ask questions about advocacy". The court room fell silent. For what seemed a very long time there was complete silence. "We didn't like to say anything" said I. "Oh you must be talking about Mr O' Dringle" said the judge. "Don't worry, I've just given him a bollocking" said the judge. "My summing up should have been a few minutes. I'll be all afternoon undoing the bloody mess Mr O' Dringle has made. He's a very nice man though really" said the judge as he made his way back to his chambers to get ready for the afternoon.

When I got back home, I googled Mr O' Dringle. I expected to find that he was a mature aspirant to the Bar and hadn't been at it long. I was surprised to see, on his Chambers website, that Mr O' Dringle was of 17 years call.

How bloody weird is that?

Monday, 4 July 2011

Go on, you know you want to

I have just entered my email address into the sign in box and for whatever reason, Google ignored my initial bit of typing. I glanced up and saw ''. Ok, so I have no pupillage interviews, but gin on a Monday morning! I don't think so Google, I'm a respectable laydee don't yer know. Whatever next?

And just for Michael (yup, I liked the fruit bowl btw), here's the Ercol court cupboard before, middle and after pics. I only finished it 4 days ago and sold it yesterday. Well that shut Barman up, who said that Duck Egg Blue was a bad idea and I'd be stuck with it forever. Oh well, seems that I shall not be able to assemble my own little court room in the garage after all. I'd have quite enjoyed pretending to be a barrister (hiya Andro - read your blog:-)).

And just for Michael - I decided against a bird of paradise; no room for all the plumage, so went for a hummingbird design instead: