Thursday, 22 January 2009

The Finishing Line...

The finishing line for the Legal Research marathon should have been in sight today, but alas, I appear to have misjudged yet again the distance.

The exacting standards of my provider are getting the better of me. Provider doesn't like electronic search terms that give hundreds of hits (and yes we have to list what search term we put in, how many hits it showed and which of those hits we clicked on), so my imagination has been having a field day in attempting to perfect this technique. Lexis-Nexis just leeeerves anything to do with sex, so tap in "artificial insemination" and hundreds of hits pop up, narrow it to "artificial insemination" AND "father" and hundreds of hits pop up and so on...

So, it is now quite a game, let's be very selective, let's really narrow it down, let's really impress the poor tutor unlucky enough to have been given the task of marking my LR paper, let's try - "artificial insemination" AND father AND "non turkey baster method" AND divorce AND "shared residence" AND drugs AND "having a slanging match over maintenance" AND she wants it all her way AND so does he AND he's got an illness AND mediation AND human rights AND "I hate family law".

Oh bugger, 3'783 hits

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The Boston Dangler

The weather was a little milder on Saturday, but still damp and pretty miserable, so Bar-Os had to wear his turnout rug as is usual for this time of year. He is usually clipped in Winter, but because he's on holiday he has grown his fur and is basically a hairy monster.The problem with this hair growing thing is that when the weather is a little milder, he gets quite hot, and when he gets quite hot he does certain things to cool off, such as rolling in mud.

So, there I am, taking a pleasant morning walk through the village on my way to the field and somehow got the feeling that people were paying quite a bit of attention to Bar-Os, he is a handsome chap thought I, no wonder people stop and stare and smile *mum's heart swells with pride*. I smiled at the neighbours, waved gratefully to the motorists that slowed down to allow us to pass safely, boy did they slow down, how good people are to think of our safety. However this attention did seem to be a little more avid than usual, so once I got near to the field I stopped to check him over and realised just why people were staring. You see when (male) horses feel warm and relaxed then 'dangle' and when Bar-Os dangles, it's well, quite an eyeful really. All very embarrassing for me and probably quite shocking to young innocents, sat in the back of Dad' car on their way to the shops.

I do wonder if I'm going to get a visit from the local constabulary, "Mrs Barmaid, I am arresting you on suspicion of allowing or permitting, on a public highway, the dangling of a said member, of a said ors you were in charge of, without lawful excuse or a licence", you do not have to say anything...".

Wonder if it's a strict liability offence?

Friday, 16 January 2009

O is for Ostler

Ostler - n - a stableman, esp. one at an inn.

This morning, my duties as an Ostler took preference over getting anything remotely difficult or academic instigated.

Yup, mucking out Bar-Os was a useful evasion of doing the dreaded Legal Research, but alas, I must now plod on and try to get top-side of the tomes.

It is a little milder here today and the birds and squirrels are making the most of it and are keeping me amused. We have a moorhen who visits and is convinced that if he stands on top of the shed roof, he will somehow be able to shimmy down and reach the bird feeder tube, that is hanging on the side. Each time he tries to land on the bird feeder, he misses and finishes up in an undignified heap on the floor.

One of the squirrels thinks that he is a 'chad' and peeps over the fence at me whilst I'm typing, with just his cheeky face and paws showing. There are two robins having a territorial war near to Bar-Os' stable, rich pickings for birdies around there, lots of bits of cereal and a barrow full of horse muck, a veritable feast, well worth fighting over. The bird population has increased this last year or two, probably due to an overgrown Victorian walled garden that backs onto our garden, perfect sanctuary for wildlife. We have great crested newts too, courtesy of a natural pond that is just a stone's throw from our house. I dread to think what will happen to the little wildlife haven because the estate has recently been sold to a wealthy American who seems to ignore each and every planning rule going. I asked the local authority to put Tree Preservation Orders in place, but they refused and acres of ancient woodland have been felled. There are some very old varieties of fruit trees in the walled garden, including a mulberry tree, a medlar tree and some lovely old fashioned apple trees. I have a feeling that their days are numbered and that it will all be bulldozed once the arrogant oligarch gets around to 'renovating' this area.

Oh well, must get on with my work...

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Writers Block

Sometimes the words flow from the end of my pen (or keyboard as the case may be) and sometimes they don't. I'm in the 'don't zone' today and despite valiant efforts on my own behalf, it's just not happening. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

I've done the difficult bit of my Legal Research - read countless statutes and cases, consulted practitioners texts, jotted down notes, done both electronic and hard copy research, put together the best bits and then some, but it's just not flowing and I've drafted barely 3 paragraphs, so I've taken an executive decision and decided to give it up as a bad job and will go supermarket shopping instead:-(

I think at the back of all of this nonsense is the fact that I'm knackered, but there (as usual) is a mountain of homework to plough through and at the back of my mind is the other 'stuff' that also needs doing before the end of the month. Having taken a nosedive in both Conference and Advocacy, I need to get cracking on both of those topics quite soon, particularly the Advocacy, but as usual my provider is silent on the basic structure of what the hell I'm meant to be doing? It's a hearing for an application to set-aside a default judgment and I haven't a clue what it entails and to make matters worse, we also have to do a skeleton argument. I suppose this is where part-time study is disadvantageous, it's such an isolated existence in the 4 weeks between each study weekend. I should really contact my Advocacy tutor, but having been such a gob-shite at the last study weekend, I'd really prefer to lay low and let the dust settle.

If I'm honest, I'm really not enjoying BVC at the moment, there is just too much work and it's all a bit stressful. When I discovered that BVC was a continuous assessment course, I felt extremely relieved that there would be no more 3 hour, closed book exams to sit, but now that the assessments are about to start, with one each month until I finish, it is somewhat daunting. I do hope that I scrape through the assessments without having to do re-takes, I need a break over the Summer to re-charge my batteries. It was quite a relief to hear that everyone in my group is feeling the same (apart from the ones who do bugger all in between study weekends and wing it), I thought that it was just me being a bit slooooow.

I do promise to return to my usual, silly arse of a self at a later date, but my sparkle has waned a little at the moment. What's more, I'm festering with jealousy at Swiss Tony, who (bless him) has to slave over 7 pages of Legal Research, whilst my provider expects between 40 - 50 pages. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

So, there you have it bloggers, one fed up Bar student, who promises to make you smile and laugh, but just not today.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

The Real Thing

I'm currently working on my Legal Research Assessment paper and have collected together all of the statute and case law I will rely on. Reading through it all was a bit of a slog because the leading cases contain very long judgments and require a will of steel to study in their entirety. I'm spoilt for choice a little with the sheer volume of case law available and have the unenviable task of cherry picking the best of them, that will hopefully provide a rounded picture of the family law issues in question. Although it is very tempting to pick cases that I think reach the correct decision, I have forced myself to select a diverse mix of cases and will now have to structure my Advice section around them all. Unfortunately there are no conclusive answers to any of the questions posed, but I imagine that my provider wants more than "it depends" when it comes to the advice.

Family Law is a funny old area of law, it appears that most of the time the Mums do exactly what they want and the courts are extremely loath to enforce any of the Orders that Dad has issued against Mum in an effort to curtail her (sometimes) selfish behaviour. It does seem that divorced Mums punish the father's of their children by preventing access and the courts have the task of trying to smooth things over. I take my hat off to Family Judges, they must feel very frustrated at times and their job requires the patience of a saint. The courts go to great lengths in explaining that both parents are equal and that there is no favouritism towards mothers, but I'm not convinced. Dad goes out to work to provide the income to pay the maintenance and is then denied access because he's works and can't spend the time needed with the kids. It does seem that in many cases the fathers eventually give up trying to see their children, the time, effort and costs (emotional, as well as financial) prove to be fruitless in many instances.

This week it is my turn to be in the dog-house and Barman is very annoyed at the amount of time I'm spending studying. At the moment I'm being punished with the 'silent treatment' which is ok, because it doesn't interfere with my studying:-) I wonder if there is a Section 8 Order that can compel a wife to spend time with her hubby:-)

Monday, 5 January 2009

N is for novella

Novella - n - a short narrative tale.

I hope that you all had a good Christmas and I wish everyone who reads my latest novella a very happy New Year. I would have also included 'prosperous', but that's taking things a bit too far in the current economic climate!

Well, I came back from London yesterday a little bemused and a lot relieved that the first study weekend of 2009 is over. The workload for last month was huge and I just about got there with it all, but BVC is throwing up all sorts of surprises. I crashed and burned in both Conference and Advocacy and would like to say that I took the tutor's criticisms firmly on the chin, but what with all the homework and hard work I've put in, I didn't and instead committed the most cardinal of sins - arguing with the teacher. Today on reflection I realise that it would have been wiser to have kept my big mouth shut, but they are (or were) my favourite/best subjects and I was hoping to do quite well.

On the other hand, I received the results for my mock Legal Research paper and passed! I had expected a 30% - 40% mark, but did quite a bit better, so I'm hoping that the real thing will be okay. I also had my first Drafting classes and the second class, taught by the head of Civil Litigation, was incredible, so much so, that I actually quite like drafting now. Although I believe that teaching skills can, to a certain extent be acquired, truly great teachers are naturals and just instinctively know how to get the point across and instill confidence in the most nervous and hesitant pupil(s).

So today is a time for reflection (and sorting out the mountains of washing, mucking out Bar-Os's stable, sorting out my chaotic house and drinking coffee), to take stock of what I need to do studywise in the next 4 weeks and to then panic because it's all getting a bit 'real' now. BVC carries with it a total of 13 assessments and a few hidden/continual assessments too, so from now on, each month will include preparation for some sort of test. Legal Research is first (at the end of January), followed by the first Civil and Criminal MCT at the end of February. My Legal Research paper is once again on Family Law (everyone gets a different subject) and I'm unsure whether this is a good or a bad thing, time will tell, but at least I'm vaguely familiar with the topic - sort of...

As a mature student I need to do very well in BVC in order to stand a chance against the 'young uns', when it comes to pupillage. In a funny sort of way I'm really pleased with the outcome of this last weekend, not least because it appears that academically, I'm not quite as thick as I first thought. I have classmates who (unlike moi) have received the very, very best of British education all the way through their lives and at times the thought of keeping up with them is, quite frankly, daunting, but I'm hanging on in there and by sheer hard graft hope to do quite well. I think that I have relied on the Advocacy and Conference a bit too much because I'd assumed that they would be the ONLY subjects that I could be good at, but it seems to be the case that I can be quite good at the other subjects too if I graft really hard.

My group are worth a mention, cheesey though it sounds, they are all extremely nice and are such a diverse bunch that it makes for a really interesting mix of personalities. I'm very fond of all of them and it was really good to catch up with everyone and have a collective moan about BVC. With much of part-time BVC involving solitary, distance learning, it's very re-assuring to discover,when chatting with the others, that everyone has the same or similar difficulties, doubts and 'blonde moments'.

Anyway bloggers, all this chatter won't buy baby a new bonnet, so I must get some work done.