A little time out…

I am not on vacation – god forbid that anyone should think that! I am, as it happens, fairly busy – but I will be back tomorrow and over the weekend.. I am getting blawgalgia – a rare medicial condition involving withdrawal symptoms from not being able to blawg.

Umpire Charon demands £1800 from The CCC…

Today, in a bizarre twist of fate, a local cricket club umpire has been accused of tampering with the ball by The Chiswick Cricket Club (‘The CCC’). Fiction can be stranger than truth and at a time when the ICC is beset with problems over Umpire Hair’s decision in the 4th England v Pakistan cricket test match last week and subsequent demand from Hair of $500,000 to ‘go quietly’ – it is ironic that we should now hear of an umpire being accused of ball tampering.

Apparently, Umpire Charon, who likes to smoke unleaded Silk Cut while umpiring, found that his matches would not strike on the matchbox. Calmly picking up the cricket ball at the end of an over, he attempted to strike the match on the worn side of the ball several times before the match would light. Fast bowler, James ‘Criminal’ Damage, then bowled a bowl at 93.6 mph which had a ‘reverse swing’ of four metres to the right; surprising the wicket keeper, who was not able to prevent the ball zipping to the boundary for four runs.

The CCC are relying on Rule 42 (Fair and unfair play) 3 (b) “It is unfair for anyone to rub the ball on the ground for any reason, interfere with any of the seams or the surface of the ball, use any implement, or take any other action whatsoever which is likely to alter the condition of the ball, except as permitted in (a) above.”

A spokesman at The MCC said “The Laws of Cricket did not anticipate that an umpire might interfere with the ball, let alone use the ball to light a match so that he could smoke on the field. But it seems to us, after consulting the eminent QC, Sir John ‘Stumper’ Oval, that the words ‘It is unfair for anyone and ‘take any action whatsoever which is likely to alter the condition of the ball’ are sufficiently wide to cover ball tampering by the umpire.

Umpire Charon is no stranger to controversy. A year ago, while umpiring a match between The Acton Irregulars and The Bollo Ball Scuffers, he walked onto the pitch after lunch with a bottle of Rioja which he proceeded to ‘neck’ while play commenced and was heard several times to shout ‘Howzat!’ before the ball had even reached the batsman.

Umpire Charon later sent an email to the Secretary of The CCC stating “that while it may have been inappropriate for me to use the ball to strike a match, so I could light a cigarette, I do not believe that the end result of the match would have been any different. When it was drawn to my attention that the ball did not seem to go straight after my actions, I was very quick to provide a new ball. In the circumstances if you put £1800 into my offshore bank account within 24 hours, I shall be quite happy to go quietly. I look forward to hearing from you by return.”

Bank Holiday Special…

” Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.”

It is, of course, the first verse of a poem by W H Auden made better known by Four Weddings and a Funeral – but appropriate given that law offices, chambers, training organisations, law schools are all closing for the last holiday weekend before Christmas. I am still at my post, but as you can see, I am not doing any sensible work. I am fiddling around on the net – it is, of course, too early to get my sabre out and cut the top of a bottle of rioja off – which is how I open bottles at the weekend.

Insane Lawyer… or, as Sean Hocking of Practicesource.com and Tab”law”oid puts it…Why lawyers should not be allowed to advertise.

This film is amazing. Jim “The Hammer” Shapiro may not be able to “rip out the heart of the person of the person who harmed you” but he will hunt them down and sue them for every dime they have on your behalf. Last week, I started my ‘Lobster Awards’ scheme. (Here) Jim “The Hammer” gets a Lobster Award (Third Class). I watched with increasing fascination. Maybe The College of Law and BPP et al should screen this film for their new litigation practice classes? Thanks for the link, Sean.

This guy eats 30 pancakes a day and, clearly enjoys eating them. He has made a film of himself making pancakes, composed a song to go with the film and is now featured on Good Morning America, Number 3 in the Israeli charts and has had over 700,000 views of his video on YouTube. It is a most enjoyable video (the song is not quite my taste – not Verdi enough) and worth a look. No law in it, as far as I could see. Go and watch the Pancake video – well edited!

US judge gets tough with mobile phone users in court – detains and questions five users. Story

“When no one admitted having the ringing phones Wednesday, Lake County Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell told all five people in the row to sit in chairs reserved for jail inmates. They stayed there for more than an hour until the morning court call ended.”

Milwaukee described as America’s drunkest city by Forbes.com: Story
“The people who are drunks, honestly, don’t get served here,” Brandon said. “If you can’t hold your head up and if you can’t walk straight, you get shown to the door.”

I did enjoy this comment from the report: “But there’s a difference between being a town of belchers on bar stools and a city with a drinking culture, some Milwaukee residents argued Wednesday.”

and.. on that note I have to sabre the top off a bottle of Rioja soon and close the blawg for today. Have a good Bank holiday.

Greed cameras…

According to the The Mirror – Essex Police are having problems with the locals who have risen in revolt at the proliferation of Speeding cameras. They have taken to ‘modifying’ the signs by taping over ‘Speed’ with ‘Greed’. Police have been told to ‘crack down’ hard on offenders – but so far the protesters have been too quick for the local traffic plod.

There is even a website where you can read about the campaign and print out signs to stick in the rear window of your car. Be warned, however: Police may not take kindly to this. Here is a report from the Association of British Driver’s website: “We’ve received a report from a driver who says he was stopped by police and this speed camera sign was ‘confiscated’. One of the policemen said he’d been told to take them off people. So much for freedom of speech. Print one and stick it in your car. If your are stopped and the sticker illegally ‘confiscated’, be sure to get the officers name, number and a receipt for your property. Then let us know.”

I ride motorbikes. I don’t speed in country villages and it is almost impossible to speed in Central London with traffic congestion. I make no admission of guilt to any particular offence, but it can be safe, and a pleasure, to exceed the ‘national speed limit’ on occasion. There are far too many speed cameras on our roads – and to watch cars speed up to the camera and then slam the brakes on, can be quite a sobering sight!

and so to other matters…

Sadly, Pluto and Charon, after being hailed the other day as binary planets, have now been downgraded to celestial bodies. Now 2,500 astronomers meeting in Prague have voted that Pluto (and, presumably, Charon also) should be redesignated as a “trans-Neptunian”, or dwarf planet. I do not possess a celestial body – I have a ‘two pack’ – the ‘six pack’ stomach is a thing of memory – but I think I would prefer to be a celestial body rather than a planet… and as for being ‘Trans-Neptunian’?…what can I say? Amazing that astronomers have so much time on their hands… but…what is time?

Bystander JP is inviting his readers to ‘have a go’: Here is an extract from a recent post on his blog: “Speeding kills. Speeding is fun. Cameras are there to collect revenue. You have heard it all before. Go on then, let’s have your comments. Be as rude as you like about magistrates but please don’t attack each other.”

He has received 73 comments already – some of them quite amusing.

Don’t send shoplifters to jail!

I don’t run a shop, but I do know people who do – and they tell me that stock theft can cause them serious financial hardship and loss. I read in my tabloid of choice, The Mirror , that The Sentencing Advisory Panel is not keen on shoplifters being jailed – preferring, instead, a high level community service order option. The paper reports that 280,000 people a year are convicted of shoplifting (£585 million lost in thefts) which could pose a problem for the prison service. Retailers are, not surprisingly, disgusted and Edward Garnier MP, shadow home affairs spokesman, points out from stage left (or should that be stage right?) “The law-abiding public expect that people stealing from shops should be properly punished.”

Apparently in Saudi Arabia, where they cut the hands off shoplifters, shoplifting is fairly rare.

Something for the weekend, Sir?…

There is, of course, absolutely no truth in this news cutting, but the thought appealed to me as I wasted yet another few hours trying to speak to people on the phone. I fear that all are departing for the long weekend – heading, perhaps to the shires, the coast or even as far as Scotland.

I will remain at my post in London but I am sure the opportunity will arise for some relaxation – perhaps a glass or two of Rioja and a chance to get off the world for a few days. I found myself looking at the Lawyer website – to see if there was any interesting news. I didn’t actually need to know that Scots law firm, Burness, has re-shuffled its management team – but it was quite interesting to see that the main focus of news on The Lawyer was about ‘who is doing what to whom’, ‘who is landing big deals’ etc, rather than any focus on legal practice or even law.

I did however feel uplifted when I read that “North West firm Hill Dickinson is going green with a scheme designed to offset its carbon footprint and create a local community woodland. The firm is working with environmental company co2balance.com to plant 1,149 trees in order to cancel out the carbon dioxide it uses each year. In addition Hill Dickinson also plans to switch to a renewable energy provider when its current power contract runs out.”

I decided to move on to other websites to see if I could find anything mildly surreal.

And then I found this… The Most Incredible Knife
Wenger wants you to do one thing: throw out your old knives. Actually, it wants you to do several things: throw out your bike tools, your toiletries, your laser pointer and so on, because you can find all of these instruments in a huge Swiss Army knife, which includes every tool the company makes. Wenger is calling the contraption ‘Giant Knife Version 1.0.’ It debuted with all 85 features and can perform hundreds of functions. Who doesn’t need a cigar cutter next to a bicycle chain rivet setter next to a golf divot repair tool.

And then I hit the jackpot with this Ant desk…

It may not appeal to everyone – but I rather liked the idea of ants scurrying around under the glass of a desk… here is a most interesting article on how you can build one for yourself – should you have time to do so over the coming bank holiday!

I read the comments on this chap’s blog – apparently ants build their colonies vertically – so it might be a problem!

And finally… A U.S. psychologist says we might not be able to tell a book from its cover, but we can decide if a person is attractive in only a tenth of a second.

Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov says people respond intuitively to faces so rapidly our minds may not have time to influence the reaction — and our intuitions about attraction and trust are among those we form the fastest.

“The link between facial features and character may be tenuous at best, but that doesn’t stop our minds from sizing other people up at a glance,” said Todorov, an assistant professor of psychology. “We decide very quickly whether a person possesses many of the traits we feel are important, such as likability and competence, even though we have not exchanged a single word with them.”

A bit quiet today…

Having foregone the pleasures of a holiday for some years, I am re-charging my batteries by taking a few half days off over the next three days to ease myself into the final Bank holiday before Christmas. In any event…it has been a complete waste of time trying to do any business this week as everyone has either left the country or is stuck at one of our airports being searched. So… I thought I might do a spot of blawging.

So..have I really been to a Japanese restaurant to play with alphabet soup? No… messing around in Photoshop, but should opportunity arise in the future, I may well wish to do so.

Hunted long and wide to find some law worth commenting on and did not find anything fascinating.

Apart from a story in The Telegraph - A wife who axed to death her cheating husband after a decade of lies and deceit was freed by a judge yesterday. there is not much about. It was a diminished responsibility case. Mr Justice Fulford said jailing her would serve no purpose.

“This was a spontaneous act committed when you were under great personal pressure and suffering from a depressive disorder,” he said. “You have now been on remand for 10 months, which is the equivalent of a sentence of 20 months. Since I have accepted that your responsibility was low, I do not think it is in the public interest to keep you in prison for any longer than this.”

This nonsense caught my eye: Warm whiskers eye pillow
“Our Warm Whiskers freezable or heatable eye and eye pillows help reduce eye puffiness and strain, headaches, facial tension and sinus pressure. Each animal is filled with relaxing lavender and chamomile.”

Can’t quite see me wearing one these. However… could be just the thing after a night on the Rioja.

Is Bush an idiot… or is he just inarticulate?

Well judge for yourself with this excellent film. It is quite long but well worth watching if you can view films on the net.

Anyway …here is a joke which amused me.

“President Bush is going to establish elections there in Iraq. He’s going to rebuild the infrastructure. He’s going to create jobs. He said if it works there, he’ll try it here.” David Letterman

Bringing the game into disrepute…

“In summertime village cricket is the delight of everyone. Nearly every village has its own cricket field where the young men play and the old men watch. In the village of Lintz in County Durham they have their own ground, where they have played these last 70 years. They tend it well. The wicket area is well rolled and mown. The outfield is kept short . . . [y]et now after these 70 years a judge of the High Court has ordered that they must not play there anymore . . . [h]e has done it at the instance of a newcomer who is no lover of cricket.
This newcomer has built . . . a house on the edge of the cricket ground which four years ago was a field where cattle grazed. The animals did not mind the cricket.”

Per Lord Denning MR

—Miller v. Jackson (1977) Q.B. 966, 976

It seems that lawyers are now involved in the extraordinary events which brought the 4th Test between England and Pakistan to a premature end. DLA Piper are representing Pakistan Captain, Inzamam and “are confident that justice will prevail in this case,” according to The Independent

It may only be a game (and, as Umpire Hair remarked “nobody died”) but an allegation of ball tampering is serious and proof of cheating will be required. It is curious that none of the 26 Sky TV cameras picked up any dodgy ball scuffing. We shall have to wait for the outcome of the grand inquisition to be conducted by the ICC. It was a great game, a good series. Meanwhile, I have a new outfit (pictured) to wear when I umpire the game between The Acton Nomads and The Swan XI to be held this Bank holiday weekend if Pakistan decide not to proceed with the one day series against England.

It was a very secure flight…

The use of Churchill’s wartime image by Ryanair ‘to keep Britain Flying’ which has appeared in various newspapers in recent days – has, clearly, led to a counter-attack from other airlines.  These passengers solved the problem of delays at UK airports by having no hand baggage.

Anonymity

I picked up the ‘Nearly Legal’ blog from Binary Law – and I am glad I did.  There is an interesting article on the subject of blog anonymity. For years I have been deluding myself that my alter ego as Charon QC was heavily masked – but as my blog became slightly better known, a number of other blogs gave the game away.  It does not trouble me – but for the sake of continuing self delusion, I continue to pretend that I am, in fact, Charon – when I write on here.

Saturday in West London

I claim no originality in the idea for this pic – but as some readers may not read Private Eye and Eye did not publish the cartoon which inspired this variant on their website – I have done a variation of the idea for you. The original, worded differently (“Ladies and gentlemen…the bride and groom will now cut the wedding coke”), amused me.

Food writers and restaurant reviewers. For some reason I find many food writers and restaurant reviewers irritating. I’m not a ‘foodie’ (I do enjoy food and a penchant for reds is quite apparent, perhaps from some of my writing) so I find some reviews over the top.

Imagine if there was a restaurant called The Charon? This is the sort of overblown claptrap produced by some foodie hyperbolators. I prefer the writers who tell it straight

The Charon, 1234 Greek St, Soho
There’s great excitement at Soho’s latest bijou restaurant, The Charon. Head Chef, Marco Worral Charon, has found the last ever supply of the mouthwatering fungi Toscana while on holiday near Siena. He won’t reveal where he finds these extravagantly expensive, but delicious, relatives of the humble button mushroom – all he can say is that there are no more to be found anywhere in Tuscany this season. Chef braises the mushrooms first in a rare Chianti, then sautees them off gently in garlic butter, before sprinkling them with a fine dusting of ligurian sea salt and black Florentine pepper – to a recipe first used by Michelangelo when he carved the famous statue of David. Three of the Euro (€) sized mushrooms arrived on a pristine white plate, slightly off centre, with just a drizzle of olive oil and an exquisitely shaped piece of raw carrot, carved to look like a ‘V’ sign. My dining companion, a particularly exacting chartered accountant from one of the Big Four, told me that it was a long time since he had such an orgasmic experience. I bit into the delicately flavoured fungi. I had to agree. I gasped, such was the fragrance, the taste, like foie gras melting on the tongue. We drank a fine Montepulciano, a wine of such depth that I could not see my dining companion through the glass when I held it up to the light to look at its legs. It would have been sacrilege to have taken further food from this great chef – a redundancy.

Sadly, you won’t be able to experience this Charonic feast for yourselves, because, all the fungi Toscana have been eaten by restaurant reviewers – an ephemera…which reminded me of the death of a beautiful yellow butterfly when I was eating at an exclusive restaurant set on the hills of Eze on the Cote d’Azur above St Jean Cap Ferrat, but a week ago. (£200 for 2 with wine)

The sun has broken through. Pakistan are giving England a hard time at The Oval – which is a good thing, because Pakistan are playing superb cricket – and it is time for me to prepare myself for an evening of conversation at The Swan. Perhaps Codebreaker will be there?

On a wet Friday… ephemera

It is Friday… and no-one seems to be around. So it is time for some ephemera and, just perhaps, a bit of law – indirectly.

To the left is a famous advert. I have a copy of this and another, depicting a doctor being woken up at 4.30 in the morning by a patient captioned “More Doctors smoke Camel than any other brand”, framed in my bathroom. Soon, of course, the social lepers that we are will be forced to pursue our evil habit in the open air (but not in bus shelters), leaving sensible non-smokers, roundheads, busybodies and members of ASH delighting in the clean air and lack of noise inside. I shall simply start taking snuff – which I do from time to time – if the weather is too appalling to nip outside for a fag. Mind you, I did read, earlier in the week that Mayor Bloomburg of New York is giving away $125 million dollars to help stamp smoking out all over the world. I am sure that this news will have had the worthies over at ASH hyperventilating with excitement as they sip their camomile tea.

A woman who returned to her car after her pay and display ticket had expired had her ticket cancelled by Brighton Council. She received a letter to this effect which ended with the request: “Please make sure your daughter only vomits within pay and display time.” Laurie Ward, 30, was not amused and moaned that she did not expect to be treated like that by a public body. Brighton Council apologised.

I am going to institute “Lobster” awards: Regular readers of Consilio will be aware that I have a plastic lobster which does strange things and goes to extraordinary places. Consilio asks readers to find the pic of my lobster – and when they do, they get a prize – a simple marketing ploy where everyone wins. Here is my lobster sitting on the chair (I am sitting on it now) which is reputed to have come from HMS Bellerophon which fought at Trafalgar (I always believe dodgy antique dealers). I will be awarding “Lobsters” for ‘outstanding conduct which enriches the human spirit’. Brighton Council gets the first award for their response to Laurie Ward (supra).

Mel Gibson is getting quite a lot of flak for his recent anti-semitic outbursts while drunk.

Here is an amusing pastiche done by roningraffiti. Worth a look if you haven’t seen it. A short film.

And something for Family lawyers…

A couple is lying in bed. The man says, “I am going to make you the happiest woman in the world.”

The woman replies, “I’ll miss you…”

And so I leave you, on this Friday afternoon, with the thought: If your parents never had children, chances are you won’t either. (Dick Cavett)

Fancy being a secretary for a year?….

I do enjoy visiting RollonFriday

… and yet again their journos have found a gem. Read the advert below which I have screen grabbed from LawCareers.net

Apart from a dodgy typo (and I am prone to those myself) the advert is fascinating. Here we have an entrepreneurial solicitor Tony Seymour @ hotmail (Liked the classy email address) seeking an ‘uber-secretary’, no doubt at secretarial salary (not made known) who has to possess a good (2.1) LLB, have completed the LPC, hold an LLM in advanced civil litigation and have 12 months paralegal experience. The advert, curiously, does not specify any particular level of typing skill or PA experience – was that an oversight?

Of course, there will be few legal secretaries with such a profile, and the ‘lure’ of the ‘possibility’ of a training contract gives the game away. Seymours clearly want to get a high quality trainee lawyer at a more modest cost. Why not? Probably better than luring bright young graduates into paralegal work – hinting at ‘development to a training contract at some unspecified time in the future’ – where they are consigned to the bowels of a grand building in the City to do fairly routine work, photocopying and sundry other tasks which do not require the skills of a highly qualified young trainee lawyer.

Mr Seymour clearly does not wish to be troubled initially with having to wade through pleading covering letters, carefully constructed CVs – for he requires ‘concise details (1 page only) – or perhaps that is because his Hotmail account can’t take attachments !

I may well apply for the job. I may not have the precise qualifications he seeks, nor, indeed, high level typing skills – but I feel sure that I would be able to bring vitality, enthusiasm and vigour to the post – especially if the firm provides Rioja, espressos and Silk Cut as ‘staff benefits’.

I am sure that Tony Seymour’s Hotmail in-box will soon be bulging – especially if RollonFriday discussion board members decide they all wish to apply.

I am sure that Anonymous Lawyer would approve of this advert and recruitment policy!

Art is anything you can get away with…

…. so I decided that I would spend today cradling a dead pig in the middle of an art gallery. Well… that is not entirely true. In fact, while I have a taste for the surreal, I will not be doing this… but there is someone who will be.

The Mirror reports (or should that be ‘reveals’?) that “a naked artist will caress a slaughtered pig for four hours..at gallery funded by lottery cash, of course.”

“Kira O’Reilly, who may even cut into the corpse with a knife, says bafflingly the exhibition is about “pigginess, unexpected fantasies of emergence and interspecies metamorphose”

You may be inspired to read the full story – but, yet again, I found myself just having poached eggs for breakfast. Two weeks ago it was Gordon Ramsay slaughtering his favourite pigs for the edification of the British public on Channel 4, now a naked artist wants to cradle a dead pig, dig her hand into its belly and perhaps even cut it with a scalpel – while viewers go into a room for 10 minutes a time to gape.

As the Mirror reports…“Protesters said yesterday: “This isn’t entertainment – it’s sick. She needs help.”

On that note… I am surfing over the Independent which may have other delights for me to reflect upon. Barking!

It is getting serious..when the serious get you!…

I visit Human Law regularly – because the blogger (Justin Patten) knows what he is talking about – and is a well known blogger. I am not given to vanity (although I do appreciate mentions from fellow bloggers – and appreciate the camaraderie of the blawg world) However….
I spilt my espresso all over my desk when I saw a pic of myself staring out at me from his serious blog! This is what Justin Patten wrote about this blawg : …. Charon is a prolific poster of content, sometimes eccentric but clearly shows a razor sharp mind. It is well worth a look.

Editorial comment: I feel certain that Justin meant to say ‘Rioja sharp’ (I have been blawging nonsense for 4 years – but using html on the Consilio magazine. This new technology version is recent.)

Reading his blog has already yielded benefits for me. On his blog roll, Charon refers to the management consultant,Nick Jarrett-Kerr – As a result of this, I called Nick up and we subsequently had a meeting in London.

Editorial comment: I know Nick Jarrett-Kerr well. His management course available from The Legal Practitioner is a serious course and – cheap. He is also an innovative thinker. A lot of solicitors would benefit from talking to Nick J-K. Thanks for the recommendation, Justin.

Don’t drink drive…drive on your drink…

My brain needed a short break – My attention turned to the net. I am fascinated by gadgets and bizarre human behaviour.  Here we have two in one. I found this ‘cruzin cooler’ on the net.

This is what they say…

Cruzin Cooler  combines two basic necessities of life, the ability to have cold food or a beverage handy along with the means to get somewhere, without walking. With modern technology, the Cruzin Cooler is light-weight and comes in various sizes and is available in gas and electric models, with a 10 mile range on electric models and 30 miles on the gas models.

It could, of course, be adapted to carry heavy ‘bundles’ for Court.  So, instead of looking like an airline steward / stewardess, dragging a bag on wheels behind one -  solicitors and barristers could cut a bit of a dash going down Fleet Street on one of these on their way to The Royal Courts of Justice. I would imagine, however, that the Court Service may take a dim view of lawyers driving through the magificent concourse inside the RCJ – so it may not catch on.

 

If you go down to the courts today…you are in for a big surprise…

A solicitor doing a moonie? Surely not.

Bystander JP, in his excellent blog ‘The Magistrate’s blog’ (Formerly known as Law West of Ealing Broadway – a title which I rather liked) presents this excellent story from the BBC.

Bystander, who is a real JP, takes a stern line: “I was deeply shocked to read this story. Does this solicitor, an officer of the Supreme Court, not realise that the gluteus maximus is for sitting on, and certainly not to be used to express opinions? I have heard a few lawyers talking through their arse in my time, but none has so far felt it necessary to drop their trousers while doing so”

Briefly: Willie Johnstone of Harding, Swinburne, Jackson & Co, Sunderland decided that enough was enough. Defence solicitors were being required to undergo a search – whereas prosecutors, magistrates and court staff did not have to be searched as they went through a back door!. Other solicitors objected – but Willie decided to pull his trousers down in the court corridor – provoking the Court Service to issue a statement saying that they were treating the incident “very seriously”.

With the scent of a great story in my flaring nostrils, I reached for the phone, almost hyperventilating with amusement and telephoned the offices of Harding, Swinburne, Jackson & Co because I could not access their website. Willie is away on holiday in Thailand and no-one was available to comment. I spoke to a great guy who was manning the fort, explained that I was a journalist (which, of course, I now am) and asked him how the firm were reacting. He spoke with a gentle Sunderland accent and told me that there were quite a few reports about it. I asked if the press attention was the reason the website was down. He laughed (Did I hear a quiver… a hint of nervous anxiety?) No, I was told. The firm are simply updating their information. I wasn’t going to embarrass him, nor for that matter, Willie Johnstone (had I got through to him) – so I asked what sort of guy Willie was. I was told that ‘Willie is a great guy’. I laughed, said that the firm had nothing to fear from my report, thanked him for his time and rang off. You know? I have a feeling that Willie may, indeed, be a good guy.

I can understand frustration and anger at discrimination. I have to say, had I been in his position, I may have chosen a different method of protest. Charon’s bum is for sitting on while guzzling Rioja, smoking Silk Cut and sipping espressos – it is not for criminals, witnesses, defence lawyers, plod or other associated legal people to look at. Made me laugh though. I hope the Court service deal with the matter leniently. I can’t imagine that Willie is a serial mooner. I was about to telephone The Law Society when I re-read the BBC report. The Law Society have not received any formal complaints about Mr Johnstone’s behaviour.

Let us hope – to coin a phrase – they ‘drop’ the matter quietly.

Bush is “crap” says Prescott…allegedly..

Having read in The Guardian this morning that Prescott described George Dubya as “crap” at a private meeting (Which Prescott denies), I felt I needed a photograph which gave insight into Prescott’s character. I went to H M Government’s website. Nothing suitable there.. but…what should I find on Havant Conservatives’ website? – this picture of Prescott. Of course – the pics of Tories on this website show thrusting, clean cut, dynamic men! Apart from a woman sitting in the audience at some conference, I could not find any pictures of women. It is a very modern, representative, party – looking forward. There was a pic of Boris Johnson – offset and below the others. Is he anything to do with Havant? Perhaps his pic was just there to excite female viewers or irritate Liverpudlians who might surf over to the Havant Conservatives’ website?.

I did read the website front page. At the foot of the page I read there is a “Joke” for the party faithful. Here it is:

JOKE OF THE WEEK?

A doctor writing in the Daily Telegraph thinks Patricia Hewitt’s idea to treat Ashma and Angina patients at home is a financial masterstroke. Not only will she be saving the NHS money, there will be a considerable saving on pensions as well!

I have never been to Havant – to my knowledge. it is, of course, possible that I may have been. Judging by the joke – It must be a bit quiet down there.

Anyway…back to Prescott… The Guardian reports that Prescott responded to the allegation that he was heard describing Bush as ‘crap’ by issuing the following statement: “This is an inaccurate report of a private conversation and it is not my view.”

I liked the closing paragpraphs of the Guardian report and quote it in full:

“The revelation will disappoint Mr Blair, the US president’s key international ally. And it will do nothing for Mr Prescott’s prickly relationship with the media, not least because the story surfaced in an article by his biographer, Colin Brown.

But the view Mr Prescott expressed privately is standard among Labour backbenchers and is held widely in the cabinet. Colleagues inside the parliamentary party are likely to be more critical of Mr Cohen for breaking ranks.

Another day in the life of Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister of Great Britain. Lord Protector Blair must dread reading the papers while he suns himself and hangs out his washing on the luxury yacht in Barbados where he is ‘en vacances’.

“Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” …

The Lord Protector in his quest to be tough etc etc etc.. has produced more than 3000 new criminal offences during his reign over us – as The Independent points out – almost one new criminal offence for every day his government has been in power. Quite remarkable.

I feel particularly reassured by this particular crime being stamped down on..

Polish Potatoes (Notification) (England) Order 2004

No person shall, in the course of business, import into England potatoes which he knows to be or has reasonable cause to suspect to be Polish potatoes.

What is it with ‘Polish’ potatoes? I shall have to do some research when I sip a Rioja later in the week.

Charon is now a planet: Official

One may be forgiven for taking the view that Charon may be ‘off the planet’ at times – but it was interesting to see the astronomers have finally decided that Charon is not Pluto’s moon, but a planet in its own right.  This knowledge will add to my enjoyment of life in the years remaining to me.