Photos

Jun. 8th, 2009 09:32 pm
liadnan: (Default)

Haven't done much with them yet but some (yes, only some) of our honeymoon photos are here

Part 1 is Syros, a few shots of Beirut (well, mostly one cathedral, can't remember if it was the Maronites or the Greek Catholics (they're next door to one another and both Catholic in the sense of acknowledging the pope, it's complicated)), Baalbeck including the bizarre Hotel Palmyra, and, well, "Amman" amounts to no more than a host of shots of kittens at the hostel. Part 2 is Petra (and Ain Musa); Part 3 is Damascus, Aleppo, and San Simeon and some of the Cities of the Dead; and Part 4 is Istanbul (including a few shots out of the train window on the way there - not, sadly, the Taurus Express this time as per the original plan: it's temporarily suspended.

And Then

Jun. 2nd, 2009 12:18 pm
liadnan: (Default)

Well, that was fun. That being Syros - Beirut - Petra (via Damascus and a night in Amman in a hostel with a kitten tree) - Aleppo - Istanbul. I had intended to put up some photos today but I appear to have left the camera at home so you'll have to wait.

There are, however, photos of that wedding thing we did ages ago, to be found here and here (and a few other places too but I can't track the others down right now). More thanks than I can express to gmh and rhythmaning for all their work on these. And, once again, many thanks to all of you who helped us bring it off. I hope everyone who came had a splendid time and am only sorry we couldn't invite every single person we know.

More about the wedding and the honeymoon when I have time...

liadnan: (Default)
We are in Amman, in a pleasantish backpackers hostel with teeny tiny kittens. Memo to self, check O's backpack tomorrow. This morning we woke up in the rather crumbling grandeur of the Hotel Palmyra in Baalbeck, two of only six guests (of whom one was six). Fantastic place, where anyone who was anyone from the late 19th to mid 20th century stayed. That is in Lebanon, since when we have been through Syria to reach here. Petra tomorrow. All go round here.

We have only made it this far through the extraordinary kindness of a wide cast of people who have helped us out when we were befuddled. Chief among them ItinerantSphinx in Beirut, but also several people whose only mistake was to find themselves in a shared taxi with us. Always be nice to tourists. It may be you someday.

Dies Ipse

May. 9th, 2009 09:55 am
liadnan: (Default)

T minus 4.5 hours before I stand up in front of the altar in the Lady Chapel of Westminster Cathedral and marry Pashazade. (Actually, I'm assuming she'll be late, it would be shocking were she not). Managing to stay vaguely calm. Radio 4 is a great help. The Best Best Man Ever is more evidently nervous than I am. So far.

liadnan: (Default)

"It might be enforceable in a court of law this contract, but it's not enforceable in the court of public opinion and that's where the government steps in."

I'm not entirely sure whether Harriet Harman QC was being cretinously stupid or seeking to impress the ghost of Machiavelli when she said that the other day.

Fred Goodwin doesn't appear to be someone I would very much like if I met him. He also appears to have been the onlie begetter of RBS purchase of ABN Amro, which in retrospect was not a brilliant move. That, however, was not even the principal cause of the financial morass we are now in, any more than was Barclays' decision that after all they weren't so keen on buying Lehmann Brothers.

Read more... )
liadnan: (Default)

And how better to start it than by some gratuitous cat-blogging?

Campion and Gertrude sunning themselves by the chapel this morning.

Gertrude sensibly by the door.

And Campion... how the hell...

(Somewhat to my surprise Campion managed to get down with a minimum of fuss. Note also our Narnia lamp.)

In other news I am skint, my tax return and payment is in at the end of the month, there's some wedding or other to pay for, I have an ear infection and generally feel like crap and I have a trial next week.

But hey, I have cats and a Pashazade to keep me company, and the lunatic woman bought me the Folio reprint of the Eric Gill* and Golden Cockerel Press Four Gospels for Christmas, so it's far from all bad.

*"highly erotic ... eccentric", well, that's one way of putting it.

Off

Dec. 23rd, 2008 04:55 pm
liadnan: (armeneos)

Happy Christmas and New Year to you all.

VAT...

Nov. 27th, 2008 02:20 pm
liadnan: (armeneos)

Barristers have a "special arrangement" with HMRC over VAT: shortly put the tax point is the day we receive a cheque. The main reason for this is that, bizarrely, we remain unable to sue on our fees, at least until ongoing negotiations between the Law Society and the Bar Council are concluded. (Historically it had something to do with barristers supposedly being gentlemen*. If I had my Sarah Caudwell's here I would insert an appropriate quote from The Shortest Way to Hades...)

So what? Well, if I receive a cheque for work I did last year (don't laugh, I have invoices outstanding going back three years) tomorrow then VAT is chargeable at 17.5%. If I receive it on Monday then VAT is 15% and if it has been tendered at 17.5% the difference will have to be reimbursed to the solicitor's client account. (Memo to self, find chequebook, it must be over a year since I wrote a cheque.)

There is only one supplier of barristers' chambers management/fee accounting software. Did they factor accounting for such eventualities into the design of said software? Did they bollocks.

At any one time chambers have a few million of aged debt outstanding, on perhaps a few thousand cases.

We have perhaps four members of our own staff competent to even try and deal with this, from either an accounting or an IT perspective.

At least HMRC have said they will operate a light touch re the next quarter.

*Or ladies, but by that time the rule was already looking a bit antiquated.

Splendid.

Nov. 5th, 2008 08:19 am
liadnan: (Default)

Obvs.

Something I find interesting: despite all that is said about the religious right, despite the Palin effect, and despite the US Catholic bishops going all-out on abortion as an overriding issue in the last month, it looks as though there was a significant shift to Obama among both Catholics and other Christians. Even among the more devout the split was pretty close among Catholics, though less so among other Christians. (Would like to know if "white" in those tables includes hispanics, a huge proportion of the US Catholics, probably not). Evidently the vast majority of US Jews aren't too terrified by Barack Hussein Obama either, but that's hardly surprising.

liadnan: (Default)

As if the administration of justice wasn't in enough trouble already

A glance around the treasury figures (which are presented in a more difficult to understand fashion every year) suggests that Min Justice comes in at just under 9Bn pa plus a further 715M for the Law Officers departments. Not too much in the context of recent government spending...

In particular it would seem the 46M IT project that is fairly desperately needed is headed for the lavatory.

Harrumph

Oct. 14th, 2008 05:48 pm
liadnan: (Default)

I have had enough of tits of salesmen ringing me up and addressing me by my first name, as though we were friends or I had invited them to do so, before bothering to introduce themselves, and then eventually winding their way around to trying to sell me something. Particularly when it is the FIFTH FUCKING TIME in a couple of months. This time I tried to be polite while asking why they were calling me by my first name. Next time they get told to stick their new mobile phone contract up their arse. Or an invoice for my extremely expensive wasted time.

This is probably terribly pompous of me. But where do these fuckers get the idea they are entitled to address me as a friend?

Eh?

Oct. 10th, 2008 11:52 pm
liadnan: (Default)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7663225.stm

"The focus is now on the meeting of finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrialised countries as traders look for some steer.

"All the rabbits are dead. It's a pretty sad picture but they have no choice but to do anything they can," said one trader in the Netherlands."

Did said trader then take an enormous toke on his joint as he sat back in the Amsterdam coffee shop?

liadnan: (Default)

My feedreader is subscribed to the flood of Statutory Instruments that pour out of OPSI. This is really just so I can skim through them once a day and see whether or not some godawful new provision has received a commencement order, or if some rules about something that affects my work have changed: keeping up with this stuff is a tedious but essential part of the job and this is a fairly easy way to keep an eye on things. The vast majority of them are remarkably tedious. Have a look at this page, for example. We start with the Veterinary Surgeons (Examination of Commonwealth and Foreign Candidates) (Amendment) Regulations Order of Council 2008, and move to the thrilling heights of the A4123 Trunk Road (Sandwell and Dudley) (Detrunking) Order 2008 (and yes, something like that might be relevant to one sideline of my practice, though I hope rarely so). Admittedly then we have commencement orders for a couple of important criminal statutes but by and large this is the unbelievably tedious minutiae of government.

That's the page immediately before the current one, where suddenly the drama of Recent and Ongoing Events rears its head - The Heritable Bank plc Transfer of Certain Rights and Liabilities Order 2008, The Transfer of Rights and Liabilities to ING Order 2008, The Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Limited Transfer of Certain Rights and Liabilities Order 2008 and The Landsbanki Freezing Order 2008

The Treasury believe that action to the detriment of the United Kingdom’s economy (or part of it) has been or is likely to be taken by certain persons who are the government of or resident of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom.

[...] 3.—(1) The following are specified persons for the purposes of this Order— (a) Landsbanki; (b) the Authorities; and (c) the Government of Iceland.

[...] 4.—(1) The provisions of this article apply in relation to the following funds (“frozen funds”)— (a) funds owned, held or controlled by Landsbanki; and (b) funds relating to Landsbanki and owned, held or controlled by— (i) any of the Authorities; or (ii) the Government of Iceland. (2) A person must not make frozen funds available to or for the benefit of a specified person. (3) A person must not make frozen funds available at the direction or instruction of a specified person.

As the Explanatory Memo makes clear, the order is made "under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, in exercise of the power under sections 4 and 14 and Schedule 2*". My, we do live in interesting times: this rather seems to amount to an accusation against Iceland of committing a terrorist act. And while criminal and terrorist law always seemed a very long way from my practice, banking law, insolvency law and freezing orders are well within it (including these quasi-criminal freezing orders: I have worked on one of those, albeit in another jurisdiction, or rather several other jurisdictions), far more, thankfully than detrunking orders..

Incidentally, re the news that an awful lot of local authorities seem to have put their deposits in the Icelandic banks - I can't help thinking of the last time the local authorities (who tend to have very large sums of money sitting around much of the time and probably ought to do something productive with it) got into trouble re their money management (the mistaken idea in the late 80s that they were allowed to punt on the interest rate swaps market, though I'm also reminded many of them lost a packet in BCCI). That resulted in a host of landmark House of Lords judgments, first deciding it was illegal (ultra vires, to be precise) and then trying to unravel the consequences of that decision: Hazel v Hammersmith & Fulham, Westdeutsche v Islington, the various Kleinwort Benson cases including in particular Kleinwort Benson v Lincoln City Council, Kleinwort Benson v Glasgow City Council (HL and ECJ) and so on ad infinitum...

ETA meanwhile solicitors' firms are beginning to wonder about the client account - even a smallish provincial firm is likely to have a client account worth worrying about. The Times seems to think many of them may well be with RBS... (the main point in issue is whether protection would cover one £35/50k, or £35/50k for each client with funds in the client account)

ETFA Prompted by Charon I've been finding the CityUnslicker an interesting read recently: see in particular his comment on events in Iceland and Pakistan: A real game of Risk

*The section says:

4 (1) The Treasury may make a freezing order if the following two conditions are satisfied. (2) The first condition is that the Treasury reasonably believe that— (a) action to the detriment of the United Kingdom’s economy (or part of it) has been or is likely to be taken by a person or persons, or (b)action constituting a threat to the life or property of one or more nationals of the United Kingdom or residents of the United Kingdom has been or is likely to be taken by a person or persons.

Query whether as a matter of statutory construction section 4(2)(a) requires a reasonable belief in a mens rea of intent to cause such detriment on the part of the person in the context of the Act as a whole. If not, why is it in this Act, which is clearly about criminals and terrorists (An Act to amend the Terrorism Act 2000; to make further provision about terrorism and security; to provide for the freezing of assets; to make provision about immigration and asylum; to amend or extend the criminal law and powers for preventing crime and enforcing that law; to make provision about the control of pathogens and toxins; to provide for the retention of communications data; to provide for implementation of Title VI of the Treaty on European Union; and for connected purposes." ), rather than, say, FSMA, which is about market regulation?

LHC

Sep. 10th, 2008 09:21 am
liadnan: (Default)

Adam Hart-Davis is currently on Radio 4 being taken round the Large Hadron Collider. From his description it appears to be suspiciously akin to the set for the climactic scenes of a James Bond film. Pashazade and I suspect the Welsh one who didn't quite get to say "Energise the Large Hadron Collider", possibly because that would have sounded silly. "Throw open the switches on the sonic oscillator... and step up the reactor power input Three More Points" would have been perfectly appropriate though.

I confess there was a part of me that wanted to hear a few seconds of dead silence after they started, followed by a very quiet "Oh... Shit." But hey, isn't it supposed to be the Big Mistake of '08 that drives us into space?

PS Diamond Geezer on the Mail's take.

liadnan: (Default)

Am amused to see that the volume on the BBC iPlayer goes up to 11. Would prefer to just download stuff though, bloody thing keeps hanging (nb so far as I know, the download capabilities of BBC iPlayer are still not available on Linux, which makes me glad I still have my ancient cassette player).

Terribly irritating. Once again I am a Proms Season Ticket holder, which means I have guaranteed entry until 10 minutes before the concert begins. Sunday I was enjoying myself with so much in the pub with Coughingbear post mass that I arrived at the Albert Hall nine minutes before a sell-out performance of the Verdi requiem began - which proved, I am told by smug friends, to be absolutely stellar - and was told to get lost. So I had to walk back to South Ken in the pouring rain. Poor me.

Largely consoled by last night's Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester under Sir Col though: quite apart from my obsession with the Beethoven Violin Concerto the Sibelius 2 was outstanding. Undoubtedly the best performance I have ever heard of a Sib symphony. Have a listen, if you like this sort of thing.

You What

Sep. 1st, 2008 04:31 pm
liadnan: (Default)

Can anyone explain to me what the point is of alleging Sarah Palin has taken a leaf out of Bree from Desperate Housewives book? Even if it were proven to be true I mean. If I had a vote in the US presidential election I would be using it for Obama, but I don't really see how Palin comes out of this particular story looking particularly bad either way. While dragging a sixteen year old into their parents' political story more than is inevitable is generally considered a bit shitty, no?

Incidentally, the (until-recently assumed) fact that Palin had a Downs child was said to be evidence of just how strongly against abortion she is. As I understand it, her views are indeed as strong as they get, but that particular point seems slightly dodgy logic to me. Surely being pro-choice doesn't require you to abort your fetus when you find out it has Downs...

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