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... in England, given the so-cunningly-timed introduction of the ban on smoking, are clearly the Clerk of the Weather's attempt to prove he has a truly unpleasant sense of humour. Either that or punishment for Gordon Brown. (But I thought Gordon Brown was our punishment for Tony Blair.)

Never mind. I shall persist in my stand against this government's roughshod trampling of civil liberties.. oops, sorry, wrong page, that's a rant for another day about something or other. I may not like the ban but this (the petition for JR referred to in the post, not the post itself, obvs) is clearly balls and I hope the costs order reflects that.

Going back to the weather, I bet the AELTCC wish they'd pulled their collective fingers out re sorting out that roof on the show courts at Wimbledon. This must be shaping up as one of the worst Wimbledons, weatherwise, of recent history, and I suspect I am not the only one whose interest has waned as a result.

Oh Great

Jul. 27th, 2006 05:49 pm
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So the storm hits now, just as I'm about to cycle to South Ken.

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The Standard headline is "Hottest Day [in london] EVAH [recorded?]" and it appears the National Grid are warning that electricity demand is hitting supply and we can't have any more from the French cos they need it, sorry. ETA:BBC in slightly less doom and gloom mode than Standard shocker

London is certainly reminiscent of Athens right now. I am off to the roof with my laptop and some gin.

ETA: 97.3/36.3 near Gatwick, says the BBC.

British temperatures this week have exceeded such holiday destinations as Malta, Athens, Bermuda and Rome.

The previous hottest July day was in 1911, when Epsom, Surrey, reached 36C. The highest UK temperature recorded was 38.5C (101.3F) in Faversham, Kent, on August 10, 2003.

I remember that day in 2003. Today is much better: less humid. Actually there's a pleasant cool breeze on our roof at the moment.


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.


Jul. 4th, 2006 02:17 pm
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Hot, dry, and sunny, that I like, and have spent much of the last three days enjoying. But as those of you in London don't need me to tell you, this afternoon's switch to the muggy is disgusting. I would rather like to go to sleep, however I am, all of a sudden, busy, plus we have an evening of watering with booze the hands that feed us this evening. With our luck there'll be a thunderstorm*.

Nasty close run thing on the bike at Holborn Circus this morning. God forbid that a bike should actually be in the bike lane when a white van wants to push over into it. Right into it, so that one of my pedals mounted the kerb and the other gave his paintwork a much deserved scratch. At one of the nastiest junctions in central London. Cycling in the sun would be fun if it weren't for the fact that everybody's concentration is that little bit off...

This post brought to you by the department of "for the sake of it".

*and, right on cue... "here comes the rain again...."

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Actually, it's my legs that sting. My face is fine.

When I say sting, what I actually mean is "I can barely walk." No, I'm not exaggerating. I just struggled across the room to turn off the television after Today at Wimbledon and the real reason I sat down by the computer was that I couldn't face going anywhere else just yet.

All this the result of a weekend spent with my mother. Very pleasant, but she's obviously feeling the lack of someone to whom she can natter, sad in itself, and also making weekends spent with her slightly more of an effort than I should feel them to be.

Anyway, I spent much of the weekend sitting on the terrace by the pond reading. (This week's trawl through the attics for something old to read brought up a crop of Mary Stewarts, which were rather better than I remembered: I knew the Merlin trilogy was exceptional but I'd forgotten the other things.)

That, however, brought its own problems. What whim of fate was it that I was born with (a) very sensitive skin; (b) a love of lying in the sun; (c) a bone-idleness that extends to not bothering to put any suncream on? I've known people -well, two people- who are notable for on occasion having used olive oil where ordinary mortals would use sunscreen. Hah. Ah well, if I live through the next day or so that should be the worst of it for the whole summer, on past experience. And yes, I know, skin cancer.

Incidentally, if the weather next weekend in Somerset isn't at least almost as good as this weekend in Hampshire, I shall be very cross. Please take note.

Apropos of which, last Thursday evening I received an email from Wayahead, telling me they had that day despatched my ticket. Which I find fascinating, because it actually arrived two weeks before that. Evidently someone's been buggering about with temporal continuity again.

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The taxman did indeed take all my dough, but that was two months ago, and a month in the future, so though I continue to suffer for my poor financial planning it's hardly news. I did, however, spend this sunny afternoon lazing. To be frank, I spent the morning lazing too. My only real accomplishment of the day was completing a straight-through re-read of Lindsey Davis' Falco novels, and hoping once again that the possible upturn in the last one after three duds does indeed represent a return to form. Action on global warming clearly is needed immediately, or my productivity will continue to deteriorate. God knows what it would be like if I was working, say, somewhere the water temperature is 79F at 9AM.

I do love spring in London though. It's just unfortunate it gives me itchy feet, particularly as I grow older and the list of things I haven't done looks ever more hopeless. The breeze blowing through the window I am now able to leave open all night, and the daylight in my flat at times I'm there cruelly reveals its grubbiness. And Now 60 is out. The last time I moaned about time passing I think it was in the context of Now 59. Obviously that was only a month or so ago, but still, it bothers me.

My feet aren't itching to leave the profession, or even my branch of the profession (senior silks from nearby sets writing on the wall by heading off to join notably litigious Magic Circle firms and David F. Clementi not withstanding - no, I don't know if his middle initial is an F, but it is to me). I've already had a gear-wrenching change of life-plan once. But various things to leave me feeling like a change of scene, at least for a while, and I also want to do something else as well. Ruts need to be dug out of.

Sometimes, chance actually might be a fine thing. I've had more than enough of being single too, but I fear that may be a far deeper rut.


Heading back from lunch today, from Soho via Seven Dials, I noticed that the shop which has long had in its window a book of cut-out and keep paper dolls of His Holiness JPII (ventilator not included) now also has one of George W. Bush and family. What a wonderful world this is, that has such people in it.


Mar. 18th, 2005 09:48 am
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I hereby declare the 2005 Gin and Tonic Season open. Gorgeous day, even if I did have to spend some of it in Luton. Good choice of weekend to go down to Hampshire I feel. Even if I am going to be spending a fair amount of my time filling out forms and spring cleaning the house.

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Not a poetic statement, or the title of a historical novel by Barbara Willard (actually, that's untrue of course, it is the title of an historical novel by Barbara Willard that I was reading only last week) but a simple statement of the thought that's dominated my mind much of the last few days. I don't deal with the cold very well you see.

I said I was going to write again, but haven't. There are several reasons for this. The first is that I'm still not really in the mood. The second is that writing "I am so cold" over and over again is hardly likely to thrill and engross you, unless you're very weird. I did find myself strangely drawn to Friday's Standard by the way. The headline on the boards, Friday Freeze: All the details was just so tempting. But it's better to imagine the story... It was very cold today in London. As a Standard reader you may have noticed this. Also, public transport was a bit screwed. As a Standard reader you may have noticed this. (Cont. p.94).

There are other reasons, too. They include "my arm still hurts really badly", "my USB mouse has stopped working for no apparent reason and the trackpad drives me up the wall with its flakiness", and the real killer "this week, I have mostly been getting drunk with friends". Apart from Wednesday, when instead I went to a lecture by Lord Bingham about the history of law reporting (edited to remove any chance of anyone assuming it was a lecture about Lord Bingham's law reports) and had my drinks courtesy of the Official Law Reports.

Normal service will be resumed as and when. In the meantime I'm going to Athens for a long weekend to see K on Friday. Hurrah. Bloody well better be warmer than here. I've also just this moment bought flights for two weeks in Greece in August, for yea and verily we (ie, Rob, Steph, Steph's sister and I) had booked the self-same villa we had two years ago for another week. Now we just have to find at least two more people to come with us. Oops. No, I have no idea what I shall be doing with the second week. I'm sure I'll think of something.

Look, it's my first post in what seems like ages. I'm out of practice.

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God it's cold in London. Mind you, was cold in Winchester too, but there was a big log fire there. Half of me is wishing I'd booked this week out as well, the other half is thinking I really need to bill every penny I can right now. In any event, a couple of months ago, when a trial set down for a day against a LoonyLitigant in Person unsurprisingly went over, and the judge asked me for dates to avoid for the return, I really didn't imagine I needed to state that I'd rather not be in court the day before Christmas Eve. Foolish, foolish. The mills of the law grind exceedingly small. Or something.

I'm supposed to be writing up some tedious minutes (juniormost tenants always get the fun jobs) but Miss Marple is on, and while I'm not convinced Agatha Christie would really recognise it, it's highly entertaining. Intrigiung speculations about her losing a man in WWI (I don't think that has any canonical foundation). Stephen Tomkinson a more convincing dumb inspector than Jack Davenport, incidentally.


Dec. 16th, 2004 07:15 pm
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Oi like Zummerzet.

I've been in Taunton all day. Well, or on trains to and back from Taunton (and if I ever find the moron whose decision to go rambling on the high speed line somewhere between Pewsey and Newbury meant we did that stretch at about five miles an hour on the way back they're going to wish God's Wonderful Railway hadn't bothered to slow us down). A vaguely existensialist hearing, as my sole purpose in appearing was to ask the other side (or the one of the three other sides whose responsibility it was) why I was there, a question which they failed to answer once I'd pointed out that the relevant rule in the CPR said "may" not "must", and then to get them to pay for the fact I was there.

Are you all lost yet? Good, proves there's a purpose to my professional existence. Anyway, gorgeous part of the world, even the weather was significantly better than in London, and to my vague surprise Castle Cary does actually exist apart from during the first weekend after the summer solstice (when it's the railway station for the Glastonbury Festival). Having done my stuff discovered there was an hour and a half before the next train, so wandered round the Museum of Somerset and the church of St Mary Magdalene.

Few bits of linkage: the Law Lords kick a man when he's down and good for them: the UK's answer to Guantanamo -though to be fair nowhere near as bad in practice or principle as that hellhole- was something of which we should have been ashamed. Given that a normal judicial committee of the House of Lords consists of five members, seven being called in when they're considering upsetting the applecart, the fact they had nine sitting was something of a hint there was a possibility the shit might hit the fan. When I was a pupil we had an appeal to their Lordships where we were asking them to extend a principle in a rather dubious case they'd decided some years before still further. When, two days before the hearing, word came down that their Lordships required an addititional two copies of the papers, ie making seven, we began to get worried (as it happens they stuck with five and we still lost).

ETA: coo, someone at Bailii is in a hurry to get the judgment up. I wouldn't have expected to see it until next week. Seems they didn't even bother to call on counsel instructed by the Treas. Sol. on behalf of the applicants (who were unable to discuss matters fully with their real clients) but just heard from Amnesty and Liberty.

I particularly like Hoffman at paras 86ff:

"# This is one of the most important cases which the House has had to decide in recent years. It calls into question the very existence of an ancient liberty of which this country has until now been very proud: freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention. The power which the Home Secretary seeks to uphold is a power to detain people indefinitely without charge or trial. Nothing could be more antithetical to the instincts and traditions of the people of the United Kingdom.

# At present, the power cannot be exercised against citizens of this country. First, it applies only to foreigners whom the Home Secretary would otherwise be able to deport. But the power to deport foreigners is extremely wide. Secondly, it requires that the Home Secretary should reasonably suspect the foreigners of a variety of activities or attitudes in connection with terrorism, including supporting a group influenced from abroad whom the Home Secretary suspects of being concerned in terrorism. If the finger of suspicion has pointed and the suspect is detained, his detention must be reviewed by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. They can decide that there were no reasonable grounds for the Home Secretary's suspicion. But the suspect is not entitled to be told the grounds upon which he has been suspected. So he may not find it easy to explain that the suspicion is groundless. In any case, suspicion of being a supporter is one thing and proof of wrongdoing is another. Someone who has never committed any offence and has no intention of doing anything wrong may be reasonably suspected of being a supporter on the basis of some heated remarks overheard in a pub. The question in this case is whether the United Kingdom should be a country in which the police can come to such a person's house and take him away to be detained indefinitely without trial."

(I think in Latin that question would begin "Num".)

and at 97:

"The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. That is the true measure of what terrorism may achieve. It is for Parliament to decide whether to give the terrorists such a victory."

Completely irrelevant to that, but for those who haven't seen it yet, Ursula LeGuin has been narked enough by comments made by the director of the TV adaptation of A Wizard of Earthsea to break her frosty silence (and see also here, for further more extensive criticism - both links from the Culture list).

And, in a vaguely parallel story, the director of the films of His Dark Materials has quit as director (but remains consultant on the script he wrote after sacking Tom Stoppard).

On yet another tack, this, from Tim Lambert, is one of the funnier smackdowns (on bonkers arguments against climate change theory) I've read recently:
It takes a rare kind of talent to present an argument on climate change that is inconsistent with the existence of seasons
It also seems a little odd that if the Medieval Warm Period ended with the Earth shifting its axis of rotation, that no-one wrote down something like “Holy Cow! The constellations are in a different place!”. You’d think they would have noticed.
being particular high points.

Finally, What is Happening to Me?. Worth a look.

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It's that bank statement time of the month again and my dead reckoning has gone horribly wrong. If I hadn't been paid a significant fee early (a week after it was incurred instead of the usual 3-6 months) I'd be absolutely buggered. At the worst time possible. I think some fee-chasing is in order.

I'm also absolutely freezing. It may well be entirely in the mind, but I'm convinced Primrose Hill is noticeably colder than the rest of London at any given time.

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I have an absolute bugger of a headache behind my left eye (yes, I know I really ought to do something about the glasses I bust about five years ago), it's pissing with rain, and I'm in a very bad mood. I'm just not sure quite what to rant about. Or hit.

This'll do: Un-nameable sources say the issue fees for High Court Claims (and probably County Court claims as well I suspect) are set to at least double come January. To bring an action to recover, say, £20,000 the fee payable up front is likely to be over a grand possibly nearer two. Civil justice isn't a fundamental duty of a state, equal only to defence of the group and the person, any more you see, it's a business like any other that must pay its way. Excuse me while I go throw up.

(Edited to add: my choice of music to put me in a slightly better mood is Aqua's Aquarium. Does that make me a bad person?)

(Edited to further add: actually Mahler 2 is doing the job better)

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One of Graham Greene's lesser known works, perhaps.

Still in Istanbul, where it's been coming down stairrods today and yesterday. Ah well, never mind, it isn't as though I came here to sunbathe anyway. But it damn well better be sunny in Sorrento. Have so far bought only one more carpet to add to my current two, (and a leather jacket, somewhat worryingly) but I suspect tomorrow may hold more.

I would write more, but shan't as a turkish keyboard that has been told it is a (US) English one is just too much like hard work. Irritatingly 128bit security issues appear to be keeping me out of my email, so i trust nothing devastating has happened.

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(1) The lights of central London blur into a threatening orange glow in a storm.

(2) Also, your humble correspondent is sodden. Rain, apparently, is wet. Who'd have thought?

(3) There is no third thing I have discovered from my foray into the downpour. And my jacket still has streaks of Pilton mud on it. Maybe I should scrape that off and sell it (link courtesy of Katy).

I was supposed to be on a book-buying moratorium, having been rather staggered by a few bills that came my way recently, not least the one for the VATman. I really ought to sort out my finances to prevent myself spending money I'm eventually going to have to pay on to Uncle Gordon. However, I wandered into Blackwells the other day and discovered that Louis de Bernières has a new novel out, moreover, a new novel about the aftermath of the Greek-Turkish war of the 1920s, by which I've recently become fascinated; also that Arturo Pérez-Reverte (also here) has a new novel out; also that Blackwells has discounts on both. And I have an account card....

So why the hell am I pissing around on the Interweb?


Jul. 7th, 2004 09:51 pm
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I thought I could smell a thunderstorm in the air, and feel it itching in the scars on my leg (the result of my complete destruction of a plate glass balcony door in a very posh hotel in Greece 19 years ago -white spirit, no anaesthetic and 12 stitches) earlier today but nothing came of it until now.

The sky is lighting up over St Johns Wood and the rain comes hammering hammering down. Maybe I should go for a walk on Primrose Hill.

Or possibly not. Tempting though. It would clean my jacket.

Oh soddit, why not?


Jun. 21st, 2004 12:20 pm
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Navratilova 4 Castano 0. After 21 minutes. Which decade is this again?

Edited to add.. and 25 minutes after the start of Wimbledon 2004 play is suspended due to rain. Heigh ho. Anyone got a Glastonbury forecast to hand by the way?

Edited to further add, on watching replay of Janes-Sugiyama: commentary "well, it may have been a little bit long actually, but she's British, this is Britain."

That's what I love about this country, the sense of fair play.

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So, with the full day (and the rest) trial with which today was supposed to be occupied adjourned after half an hour (with an order for indemnity costs for the wasted costs of the day against the other side -don't ask, it's a Very Good Thing though) I decided to take the rest of the day off. Offices in central London are not the place to be in this weather (and it isn't even sunny..,)

Have voted. Don't like the PR system for Europe though, I don't mind the idea of PR as such but I object to having to vote for a party slate en bloc without any say in which member of the slate is my preferred candidate.

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It's hot, and for once I'm wearing a suit in the office, having had a depressing and unsuccessful application for an injunction first thing this morning. It's a good, and indeed rather expensive suit. Wool. Dark.

Fucking hot.

I think I shall go home to work for the rest of the day. Where I shall make a point of loafing around in cut off jeans.

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I appear to have big interweb at home. WATCH as my productivity descends to hitherto unimaginable levels.

Also, the sun is shining. Unfortunately I have a long and complicated job involving strict construction of a deed written by someone who had not the faintest whit of a clue how to do what they were trying to accomplish. Ho hum.


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