liadnan: (Default)

So, how does this blogging thing work again?

As many of those who know me well are aware, I am not by nature an early riser. Nor am I particularly pleasant to know on rising or for some time thereafter, be it early, middle or late.

People tend to assume as a result that I don't like mornings. This is quite wrong: I love being up in the early morning, at least when the weather is decent. I'm just not very good at actually doing it.

For some reason I woke up before 6 this morning, and on looking out of the window and realising the weather was actually fairly decent, by comparison, decided to do something I've wanted to do for a while: rather than faffing around for an hour or two, just have a coffee and cycle straight into work and from there go swimming at the Oasis open air pool (which is only about five minutes walk away). I've only known about the place for a month or so: I think I first read about it in an article by Sedley LJ in the LRB where he mentioned his habit of swimming there every morning, but since then several people have mentioned it. The showers and changing rooms are a bit scuzzy but since there's a perfectly good shower in chambers that doesn't really fuss me, and actually swimming in a heated open-air non-chlorinated pool (and at local authority prices at that), in England, in the heart of central London, without having to faff up to Hampstead Heath and the Ponds or anything, is worth any number of scuzzy changing rooms.

So I did. Even the traffic wasn't too bad at that time (one of the reasons I habitually don't leave until 9.30 at the earliest is that I try and avoid cycling through the height of the rush hour). Swam for an hour in the early morning sun, with just a few other people in the outside pool (there's an inside one as well), had a leisurely breakfast in Soho at Maison Bertaux, and was working in chambers earlier than I'm out of the shower on a normal day. Must do this more often.

Oh Shite

Nov. 21st, 2006 02:42 pm
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I had reached my grand old age with nary a one Comedy Non-Fast Coloured Thing In The Whites Washing Mishap. No longer. I wonder if the judge will be amused when I stand up wearing vaguely baby-blue collar and bands tomorrow.

It wasn't even something that gets washed, it was the rag my fountain pen has been wiped on after re-filling for several years...

Arse.

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Gone midnight and I'm watching This Life re-runs on BBC2. Ho hum. Deja vu all over again. My trial went off, so I faffed around for much of today, then spent an hour or two sitting in Court 56 listening to the Whiter Shade of Pale trial for want of anything better to do. Highly entertaining stuff. Blackburne J, who knows his music, evidently fascinated... They have a portable organ in court, apparently Blackburne has indicated he intends to play it himself in the course of the trial.

Ooh, it's the arrival of the appalling Rachel, boo hiss....

Miles: "No papers, solicitor I'd never heard of, not a clue what I was doing". Yep, sounds familiar.

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.... just various things keeping me from my true calling of writing shite. Including but not limited to, over the last couple of weeks, helping with proof-reading/printing etc. K's PhD thesis, CPD bollocks (my Three Year New Practitioner's Programme which Must Be Completed by 31st Dec or I will be disbarred), difficult politics in Chambers, trying to write something completely new and different, and just this morning being instructed on a complicated trusts/land/mortgages trial starting Monday.

Have taken to reading everyone's posts via a desktop feedreader rather than my livejournal list, makes keeping track of things a lot easier but somehow makes it less likely I will be inspired to comment, possibly.

Ubuntu 6.10 v. nice and appears to have slightly remedied the otherwise increasing tendency of my laptop to fall over and giggle at random moments.

We now return you &c.

liadnan: (Default)

Working at home as I currently have a Man putting a water meter in. He seems a bit gormless but sufficiently competent.

To be honest I've been working at home a lot this week, largely because almost every morning I have woken up at 8.45 at the earliest feeling vaguely crappy. Presumably some kind of low-level virus. Unfortunately the risk of working at home is that although my library still lives in my office there nevertheless isn't a great deal of competition between, on the one hand, trying to construe an appallingly complicated clause in an A&M Settlement, and on the other livejournal, various boards, the interwebtype thing in general, and Buffy season 4. Yes, I know season 4, the Riley season, is generally not very good, but there is the saving grace of Spike to keep me going through that. Besides, I'm watching my way through the entire box set in order, it would be cheating to skip.

As loads of people have commented, ljchat has finally gone live, though since the beta has been happily working for ages this doesn't seem particularly special to me. The slightly odd thing is the little green buttons giving the option to IM or call which show up on the profile page when you are logged in to ljtalk. Seems to be a slight lack of thought on that one: first of all when I hit either of those buttons I get an error message because my system doesn't recognise the "gizmoljtalk protocol", unsurprisingly so since no one has ever told it about any such thing (how would I tell ubuntu/gnome/epiphany about it, anyone?). Secondly, despite what it says there is no point whatsoever in trying to call me through this, even though I am logged in and can be IMed, because I am logged in on Gaim which doesn't as yet have voice capability, and the client they are pushing doesn't appear to be available for linux yet: they need to change it so it doesn't assume that if you can be IMed you can be called. I suppose Ekiga would work but frankly I can't be arsed to try.

Ho hum. The Meter Man appears to have disappeared. I hope he hasn't been clamped. Oh, here he is. Hooray, I have a water meter. How long before I start putting bricks in the loo cistern I wonder.

Puzzlement

Oct. 5th, 2006 07:04 pm
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Michael O'Leary has bid 1.48BnEuro (£1Bn US$1.9) for Aer Lingus. Aer Lingus has refused saying it's an undervalue and the Irish Government has said they won't sell their golden share anyway (are they still allowed to do that under EC law?). What puzzles me is why O'Leary is interested in Aer Lingus at all. How on earth does the business of a medium to long haul flag-carrier fit with that of the utter bargain basement of European budget airlines?

Mind you since I'm not a multi-millionaire entrepeneur something tells me O'Leary has a better feel for these things than I do.

Ho Hum

Oct. 3rd, 2006 11:57 pm
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Feeling v. tired at the moment and constantly headachy. I have a vague suspicion I need an eye test. I am ridiculously busy with advisory work but all my court hearings keep settling: almost two thousand quids worth of chargeable work has gone off this week.

Spent yesterday morning at the Red Mass at Westminster Cathedral (service for the start of the legal year), all dressed up in wig and gown and uncomfortably aware, as I talked to various High Court, ECtHR, and Roman Rota (Catholic canon law) judges and drank slightlyfar too much for 11am on a Monday morning that Basil had left more cat hair on my gown than I had previously realised. Then dragged off to Soho by people I had never met in my life before for a "lunch" that went on until 3. Not an enormous amount of chargeable work that day...

Tumtitum. Vaguely bored with everything at the moment. The most interesting thing in my life is proofing etc K's PhD thesis. Oh, and Maid Marion and Her Merry Men, a work of genius.

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Being as I am in a mild fit of depression I decided to take my usual remedy of spanking the Blackwell's Account Card this morning: picked up various things, including the new Diana Wynne Jones, but also Byron Rogers On the trail of the last human cannonball a curious and fascinating book I heartily recommend. I don't know if Rogers still has his Sunday Telegraph column but in the days when I read it (Dad always insisted we take both the ST and the Observer "in the interests of balance", though as time went on his criticisms of both became more scathing; Murdoch papers never crossed the threshold, as anyone who ever met my father would pretty much assume as a matter of course) he was the best thing in the entire newspaper. It's just a collection of interviews with odd people, some of them notorious, some not, and pieces about places. To quote Rogers from the foreword:

[...] to walk through the mud of Agincourt with the weapons provided, [...] peer into the locked cabinets of the British Museum [... every sculpted erection of the ancient world...] attend one of Miss Cynthia Payne's remarkable orgies [...] walk the most familiar streets of all, those of a Western film town, in Spain, as well as the most unfamiliar, those of Tombstone, the real Western town, where nothing was as it should have been [...]

And more and more. I have yet to read about the one recording the revelation to "two OAPs that their mother, cranky old mum whom they thought had never been out of the town, had been Ethel le Neve and Dr Crippen's mistress." (A brief internet search tells me that Le Neve actually lived until 1967, which is remarkable, she must have been pushing 90.)

It's just a fabulous little collection of odd anecdota, brilliantly recorded by Rogers: reading them now I remember why on those Sunday afternoon's after lunch his was the one column I would invariably read.

Incidentally, a story not recorded by Byron Rogers but which I suspect he would like, from John Edwards in the current edition of the Soho Clarion (magazine of the Soho Society), in an article mainly about the retirement of Norman Balon from the Coach and Horses but remembering all the great Soho landlords of whom he was perhaps the last: "The Ship with Sydney (Jerry) Pratt, The Intrepid Fox with Gerry Mahon, The French with Gaston Berlemont and the Coach and Horses with Norman Balon".

[talking about being in The Ship, Jerry Pratt's pub, one lunchtime] At the other end of the bar sat Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole [...] getting argumentative about a newish actor's playing of a Shakespearian role and much heated f...ing and blinding was going on. Jerry could not tolerate bad language and asked the two great thesps to tone it down "for a lady could be present." Then through the door strode Elizabeth Taylor, be-minked and looking stunning, albeit somewhat flushed. She cornered Burton and screamed, "I've been waiting for you in that car for forty f...ing minutes." Jerry turned puce.

I can imagine Taylor swearing, but I find it difficult to envisage her in a pub. There's a good story about Gaston Berlemont and Francis Bacon in The French in the article too. All these stories, and things I hear from older people in my profession as well (usually involving El Vinos, or John Mortimer, or both), just make me think I was born too late.

That story reminds me of another recent story I read about Burton and Taylor meeting a party between marriages and flirting, Taylor's then husband desparately saying something on the lines of 'she's my wife now' and eventually asking Taylor to make a decision, whereupon she walked out with Burton. Irritatingly I can't remember where I read it: I suspect it was in the TLS or LRB but the much vaunted TLS Archive turns out to have an absysmal search engine on which I can't find anything, and it doesn't appear to be in the LRB either.

Apropos of something mildly different, Liberal England has an interesting post about the differences between the 1964 and 1970 editions of Ladybird's Peter and Jane (for those who don't know, very popular learning-to-read books in England at the time and, for all I know, still).

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Glad to see Midsomer Murders remains as ludicrous as ever.

I am procrastinating again. I had decided, due to financial pressures, not to go to Georgia this autumn as planned but to leave it until spring. Until, that is, a colleague who was by coincidence also headed there ended up having to change his plans: shortly put his flights are available if I pay half the original cost and half the cost of changing them. Hmm. Saving is significant, but maybe not enough. The flights are via Riga (why?) and arrive at 3.30 am. A friend of his who lives in Georgia had assured him that this wouldn't be a problem, but since said friend recently cheerfully made a jaunt to Abhkazia from Tbilisi -if you aren't Nhw you may need a bit of googling to find out why this makes our eyebrows raise- we both suspect his views of what does and does not constitute a problem may differ from both of ours, despite our mutual penchant for mildly difficult travel. Ho hum. Bookings have to be changed by midday tomorrow...

In the meantime, may I assure all readers that my professional life fails to much resemble either of these two stories. Sad to say. Ours is a dignified and noble profession.

liadnan: (Default)

Working at home today for a variety of reasons: mainly because my back appears to be buggered again. Eleanor-the-bike* also seems slightly unhappy at the moment, so I've spent a fair amount of time already fiddling around with her. (Hmm.) I'm now faffing around tidying the flat and doing unimaginably tedious administrivia with occasional breaks to check K's PhD data (simply checking numbers add up properly, nothing more complex) and procrastinate about going to Georgia. Also faffing about on the Barbican website: I think I may go to this tomorrow, definitely this next month, and this looks vaguely intriguing...

I'm feeling slightly unsettled and angsty at the moment, nothing special, simply a vague level of discontent, probably largely down to post-holiday tristesse, but there are some other bits and pieces playing on my mind. Trying to finish something I was writing back in the spring, but it simply isn't happening. As a result of this I don't feel I have anything remotely interesting to say about Interesting Stuff at the moment, so I'm not.

*After Eleanor of Aquitaine. This is a private joke that would be unintelligible to all but a few even after explanation and unfunny even to them.

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Lots of points for the title source. I am unshaven, but no pockets alas, still, I have just returned from a port through which those currants would certainly have passed. Typical that when bookculling in a hurry at Gatwick I couldn't consider ditching that.

Am back in the Bar Ock, one of the long list of Liadnan's Favourite Bars Around That Bit Of The World He Has Visited after an eventful day. Among its benefits are ridiculously large measures and one of the best music collections in the known world (oddly enough, one of the few competitors of which I know is a bar in Monemvasia).

I'm not quite as foolish as I suggested in my last post: there have been three serious accidents on that path in the last fifteen years (which is about as far back as the collective memory of the regular visitors goes, probably as far back as tourism on this island goes) and I was actually waiting around for company on the walk over rather than doing it alone.

What I also didn't mention is that as I wrote a dose of the meltemi was coming in. Those winds are just one of the things that come with the Greek islands, so it didn't seem worth mentioning. However... this was a strong one. And when putting up my tent I had discovered (unusually, and carelessly, not having had it out since I packed it up a year to the day ago on pretty much the same spot) that one of the poles was slightly damaged...

OK for most times, but not last night. Yes, at 2.30AM last night, in pitch darkness, drunk and also nevermind, I stumbled to where my tent should be and discovered it had come down. These are not ideal conditions for putting up a tent (or any sufficient approximation to putting one up).

Never mind. Today I went and did something I have meant to do for years, discovered the secret (and totally deserted) beach in the north of the island (it's lack of use may have something to do with the fact buses go nowhere near there, and once you have convinced a taxi driver to take you up to the end of the road, you then have half an hours walk on a goat track before you actually get there); also went to the nearby Cycladic sites, not that there's much to see, and generally pottered about.

liadnan: (Default)

The Today presenters seemed to have difficulty avoiding cracking up when covering this story this morning. Particularly given the introduction by a sample of regional "moos".

As I write Basil the Cat is looking sceptically at me from across the room, where he has taken up residence on my wig and gown. I only let him in out of the kindness of my heart, given it was pissing with rain. I forgot this was the same Basil who occasionally disappears for weeks on end and, once all hope seems lost, turns up having a luxurious break in some City office and saunters back into the Green.

Idling

Aug. 4th, 2006 11:57 am
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"Working at home" today. Actually, I do have some work to do, which is currently somewhat remarkable (Charon QC has a superb musing on the start of the Law Vacation here: that doesn't actually have much of a direct impact on my practice but it's true business is pretty slack in August), and the main reason I am at home was to take delivery of my BT Broadband dooberries, which means I really can work at home. Nevertheless, what I'm actually doing is trying to sort out some fifteen years of accumulated crap. I am a Thing-Collector by nature, and every phase of my life is littered with the detritus of film tickets, letters, postcards, termcards, fliers, this that and the other. Most of this stuff then sits untouched for years in a box in the corner of the room, and quite a lot of it has gravitated to my mother's house over the years. Last weekend I picked up a stack of it and brought it back: I'm now trying to make some sense of it all.

Thing is, I meant to throw much of it out. But when it comes down to it, I can't bear to part with scribbled scores of epic games of Hearts at Walton St (H, there's a scoresheet here with you on a couple of thousand and someone initialled "MH" playing, I wonder who that could possibly have been...), torn tickets for Greek ferries (including the ill-fated Express Samina, the godawful Naias II, and my favourite ferry, the Milos Express (built in the 60s on the Tyne as the Vortigern for Sealink google tells me, good grief: looks as though quite a lot of the old Greek ferry fleet was ex-Sealink/Townsend Thoresen/etc, sent to Indian breakers 2004)), the menu for an MCR Guest Night Dinner when I, um, nevermind. I shall have to have a rethink...

liadnan: (Default)

Probably just weather, tiredness, possibly not eating entirely properly due to a surfeit of Proms, and deciding that today was a good day to reorganise my bookshelves...

That part of my library that had made it to London before I went off last year was put into storage in my office for the duration, and since my house is fairly small and lacking in shelves whereas this office has acres of shelves for the law reports I can't see the point of shelling out for (since I have on-line access to Justis etc), they have stayed there, to the vague bemusement of clerks and colleagues who wander in. They came out of the boxes and went onto the shelves fairly randomly, and there was still only enough shelf space for a selection of them: today I decided to sort them into sets, and also, to be honest, to make sure the creditable ones were on the shelves and the trashy ones piled up in the corner. A more knackering job than I anticipated, and far from finished. I blame CoughingBear for inspiring me to delve into the pile to try and find an Antonia Forest the other day in the course of an IM conversation...

Off to Hants to see me mum for the weekend. Have a good one all. Despite the general shite feeling I'm in a rather good mood as I have, just in time for the taxman on Monday, been paid a rather large and very overdue fee.

liadnan: (Default)

Feeling unwell (permanent mild hangover without the drinking, prob dehydration) and tired: going to the Proms every night and cycling all the way home after a quick drink in ICU takes it out of you, and watching an episode of Buffy every night when I finally reach home probably isn't that bright. Tuesday was a godawful load of old rubbish with the BBC Pops (aka the BBC Concert Orchestra) which I should have given a miss. Evening not improved by a very near-miss on the bike. I use the road inside Hyde Park (which includes a cycle lane) to go home from the Albert Hall to Hyde Park Corner (then Constitution Hill, the Mall and on through central London) as it's less busy than the parallel road outside the park. It's unlit of course, and for some reason cars -I suspect chauffeurs- occasionally park along it, in the cycle lane of course. Those cars that do use it at that time, mainly taxis, tend to race along it as they do with Constitution Hill and the Mall, so you still want to keep in as much as possible of course. Cycling along, lights on et al, move out to go past one of these... and at the last minute he cheerfully swung his door wiiiide open....

I didn't actually know I had good enough reactions and instinct to do that kind of emergency stop. Only real damage was caused by my fairly sturdy bike to his nice shiny Mercedes, as the taxi behind me just missed me and the bike. Lost yet another pair of sunglasses though, the case must have fallen out of my pocket.

Still, last night we had a pretty good Shostakovich Violin Concerto and Brahms 4 (Leila Josefowicz and the CBSO), and then a gorgeous late night Monteverdi & c. affair with John Eliot Gardener, Monteverdi Choir, and co. Not sure about Sir John's black silk shirt with lime green cuffs though.

Could do with a night off to be honest... but it's Mahler 4...

Hiatus

Jul. 18th, 2006 03:08 pm
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I have no inclination to write anything at all while the weather is like this. Gorgeous. Yes, I know many don't like it, and I'm sorry. But I'm just revelling in it.. And the Glyndebourne Cosí fan tutte semi-staged at the Proms tonight...

In short, later. I have gin, also tonic and ice.

Cf the fabulous summer of 1914? Maybe, but I have nothing productive or interesting to say about Lebanon (save to hope that ItinerantSphinx and everyone else there stays in one piece), or indeed anything else, so I'm going to refrain from saying it.

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... Friday early eveningmid-afternoon (I admit it, was a slow afternoon) to the Seven Stars, then to Proms (first half variable, once it started 15 minutes late, but Dvorak in particular prety good, Shostakovich fab: good to see that with a decent conductor the BBC SO is back on form, they really lost it under Slatkin) missed post-Prom IC drinks with the usual suspects to run off to RollonFriday drinks... Sat to Kasia's gig at Metro: v. good indeed... Sun up early to head off to idyllic South Oxfordshire village where my friend Stephen's parents live and then on to Ewelme (wherein lie the bodies of Thomas-son-of-Geoffrey Chaucer and his wife together with that of his daughter, the foundress of the Almshouse and church there, Alice duchess of Suffolk: the Chaucer's did rather well for themselves in three generations) for the christening of Stephen and his wife's son and also of his sister's daughter, back to the grandparents' for champage and lunch and lying on the lawn, back to London in time for 7pm mass at the cathedral, back to Trinity Green planning a quiet evening and bumped into K. and B. who were off to see Pirates of the Caribbean at the local cinema, joined them, back at midnight (good, but it really should have been cut better), so to bed, and wake up early to prepare for this afternoon's con... sometime I'll find the time to breathe and sit in the sun...

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with Friday afternoons? It's not as though anyone actually does any work on them. Is it? We might as well all just sod off to the pub at lunchtime.

Even the LRB personals failed to lift my boredom this week. Ho hum. Someone amuse me.

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An entry on Martin's journal about public holidays with special reference to the Civil Service was about to give rise to my usual muttering of "for this I pay my taxes" when I learned that I am actually one of only three in our office today. This doesn't improve my mood significantly, already suffering as I was with a monstrous headache and several sets of yet more monstrous instructions.

I have been attempting to cheer myself up with crappy music, including Rolf Harris' version of Stairway to Heaven (a genius re-interpretation of that hackneyed and trite piece of pomposity) but it hasn't taken me very far.

Spent the first half of the bank holiday weekend being a Catholic at Westminster Cathedral and the latter half being an uncle in the wilds (and I do mean wilds: two miles to the nearest other building of any kind) of County Durham, where my sister and her brood have settled. Gorgeous countryside and they have an enormous decaying farmhouse, three acres, a bunch of chickens, a few sheep, and no television, which seems to suit my nephews and nieces (the latter just became plural, it was the christening that actually dragged me the length of the country for the first time... enduring a closed Kings Cross, a GNER train that had to be caught at Finsbury Park an hour or so before kick-off of an Arsenal game at home, and three and a half hours on the bloody thing for nearly a hundred quid). I think I'm too old or too young to live that much in the middle of nowhere for the present though. And lovely though they all are, how my sister manages to deal with one child, let alone five, a dog, two cats, the sheep and the chickens, in the wilds of nowhere, when she's actually fairly unwell, is beyond me.

Ho hum. Back to disentangling CPR Part 64...

Done

Mar. 31st, 2006 06:11 pm
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Ten past six and I am responsible for halfd a bottle of Veuve and two glasses of red (not counting the two at lunch. Tomorrow I have to be on the other side of the island for luinch at 1....

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