Monday, 18 August 2008

The 'C' word

cacography - n - Poor handwriting or grammar. (A subject very dear to BM's heart!)

Example - Is this cacography your pathetic excuse for a skeleton argument?

Bad Example - Is this cacography your pathetic excuse for a judgment?

Saturday, 16 August 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with London. On the one hand, it has a certain vibrancy and buzz about it, on the other hand it can be a very cruel city. Sometimes I have to travel to London in connection with work. It is usually an incredibly busy day, with a hop off the train, onto the tube, get the work done and a mad dash to get the train back home, late at night. This week I've had a few days in London, with a little more time to observe.

It is the cultural divide between city and village that is most remarkable to me, as an 'outsider' looking in. Where I live, the total village population is circa 150, the residents are made up of a variety of ages and professions. My friends in the village, who are of a similar age to me, come from a variety of backgrounds and we all get along great 'despite' our differences. If we each chose to only mix with people from similar professions or backgrounds as ourselves, we'd have no friends, simply because people are thin on the ground around here, so you take each person as you find them. But it appears to be quite different in the City. Go into a pub and you find a certain 'type' of people gathered together, all from the same profession. In short, London is quite cliquey. In other ways London is friendly, for instance whenever I get my battered A-Z out, someone will always stop and ask if they can help me find my way, but when travelling on the tube, people stare, God, how they stare, unsmiling and cold, particularly on the escalators.

Coming home on Thursday night, a man seated opposite me on the tube, hadn't noticed that his phone had slipped out of his pocket. His reaction to being told about the 'loss', was completely OTT, I could see the amazement on his face, that someone wasn't out to fleece him. He was still saying thankyou to Barman when he got up to leave several minutes later.

This week, I've had reason to meet people who really have had a raw deal 'London style' and was busy telling Barman all about it. Barman works in London regularly and is more used to the poverty than me, but when he came home Friday night, he told me that he'd walked past a homeless man, turned around, had a brief chat with him and had then given him some money. It seems that Barmaid's advocacy is improving, she actually persuaded her better half to part with some cash :-)

The letter 'b'

Word of the day

bravura - n - 1. a display of boldness or daring. 2. a piece of music requiring great skill by the performer.

Example - My learned friend has shown great bravura in attempting to raise the defence of insanity in this case.

Bad Example - He's a WWII veteran don't yer know, with a medal for bravura, yer can't send 'im down.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Word of the day

Well, I said that I might and having just read the latest from Simon Myerson's blog, I've decided that I will 'do' a word a day. I'll try and choose something that could be used in a legal environment and of course it has to be a word that makes a nice sound when uttered. Being endlessly imaginative, I thought I'd start with 'A'.

anathema - n - 1. a detested person or thing, 2. the person or thing so cursed, 3. a strong curse

Example: I don't like the defendant, he is anathema to me.

Bad Example: My client cannot attend court today, he's had anathema attack :-)

Monday, 11 August 2008

Back to School

Barmaid remembers perhaps a little too vividly, the sinking feeling that she felt when the Summer holidays were drawing to a close and it was soon to be time for the dreaded lop-sided fringe haircut, embarrassingly bad new shoes (that Mum thought were 'nice and smart') and back to school. With BVC drawing ever nearer and last minute doubts setting in, BM feels ill prepared and anxious again. She's had six years of LLB to prepare, but somehow it isn't enough and there is always that area of law that she knew that she'd studied at some point, but can't for the life of her remember a thing about it.

To make matters worse, her provider has kindly banked the BVC fees and gone into silent mode, despite desperate attempts by BM to talk to someone, anyone! Barmaid has no idea about what time to turn up, who to ask for, or what she will need to take with her (perhaps a new jotter covered in wall paper will suffice)? Oh well, if she cannot arrange train tickets because of THEM, she'll just have to travel in style and bring Bar-Os into class with her, she can't leave him outside, he'll get clamped.

Sunday, 10 August 2008


Barmaid sometimes gets a rude awakening with regards to just how incredibly boring she really is. Due to torrential rain and the avoidance of doing anything useful, Barmaid has spent many hours delving into the diverse and piecemeal topic of Environmental Law. Today, she decided to impress all those nearest and dearest to her with a wealth of mind blowingly, fabulous statistics. Starting off with fly-tipping, she eagerly told her captive audience just what a serious problem this was and not only that, but that it was also very lucrative to those organised criminals who fly-tipped on a grand commercial scale. Barmaid was met with "So, did you try that new jasmine scented wash powder then, it's nice isn't it?"

Not to be put off, Barmaid marched onwards, really getting to grips with her finely honed advocacy skills, telling her audience that the average fine for destroying a bat colony was a pathetic £200. She was told "You're so full of shit, your eyes are brown".

Barmaid is quite certain that a judge would never be so rude as to undermine her incredible talent in such a way, but just in case, she has somewhat prematurely decided that she will wear sunglasses on her first professional visit to a court.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Raspberry Ripples

Barmaid has got to know you a little better and feels comfortable enough to mention something that has been perplexing her for some time. It involves the Law of Gravity.

Barmaid's village is a hotbed of salacious gossip. Topics, such as the mobile library being 10 minutes late last week, are discussed with earnest animation. I've no idea who Ernest Animation is, by the way, but he's a scandal monger.

Anyway, the latest hot topic involves something a bit more juicy. It involves a lady who has recently moved into the village and who's presence is threatening the rural, sleepy idyll that the residents have enjoyed and indeed taken for granted for centuries. You see, it's her breasts. In every way, she epitomises respectability and decency - apart from her knockers. Come rain or shine, she is bra-less and 'alert' if you get my drift. And she wears crochet tops, with big holes, without a bra! But that's not the end of the sorry tale. It's the, well, position of the raspberry ripples that are causing most concern amongst the villagers. Roughly speaking, as far as we know, they should be more or less central, but, these aren't. They are about 2 inches higher. Barmaid thought that they were rubber ones that had slipped upwards, but closer inspection has verified that they are real! Not only that, but they also point upwards, a bit like coat pegs and equally as dangerous.

Well, you can imagine what a turmoil the village is in. None of the men have a clue what she actually 'looks' like - hair colour, eye colour - nope, not a clue.

Barmaid was consulted by the Parish Council regarding the legal aspects of such 'items'. She told them, that as far as she knows, planning consent isn't required for the offending 'items', not even in a Conservation Village, although they do definitely protrude beyond the building line.

Over the years, the village has successfully fought the onslaught of BSE, Foot and Mouth Disease and the decline of the local bus service, but this latest threat could well put an end to us.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

New Groom Sweeps Clean

Barmaid has got a new job. It's only temporary and involves being in charge of 8, in the afternoon. Impressive eh? Perhaps further explanation is required. A friend who has a livery yard (b + b for horses), has gone away competing for a few days, so, Barmaid has the highly esteemed (or should that be esteamed!) job of mucking out the horses in the afternoon. Barmaid can confidently report back to friend that none of the horses are constipated!

The horses are all very well bred and one young stallion has been picked for the Pathfinder Scheme, with a view to competing at the 2012 Olympics. His name is Ingliston Twister and he is a show jumper. Barmaid has accompanied Twister out on exercise and was somewhat nervous due to his reputation for being a tad excitable. Now a 'tad excitable' by friend's standard, roughly translates to being a complete nutter. God bless Bar-Os, who was unimpressed by Twister's reputation and took it upon himself to be boss and to show us all a thing or two about how to behave in public. A mile or two into the hack and both horses were calmly cantering along side each other with confidence and contained power. Due to Bar-Os's calming effect on Twister, Barmaid has been promised a ring side seat, should he qualify for the Olympics. She will no doubt brag to all unfortunate enough to be seated near to her, how instrumental she was in the stallion's education.

Barmaid has also been studying. Remedies. Not the most straight forward of subjects, but the first few chapters of her book are, if nothing else, providing a refresher on the fundamental principles of Contract and Tort. She must also try and do something about her legal research skills, which she fears may let her down when doing BVC. Next time she visits her Inn, she will bribe the law librarian into providing a 'Janet and John' style intro into their electronic databases.

Just to update you on Mr Blackbird. His son/daughter has flown the nest and he has indeed, as suspected, taken his affections next door. Barmaid does get the occasional glimpse of him, but he pretends not to recognise her, she's not bothered - much.