I took this photograph tonight, on my mobile phone, in Chiswick. The pyramidal construction in the background is not a new office complex or buy to let apartment block by Lord Rogers or any other British architect of note. It is part of my finger – but… I can tell you… tonight… it was hot; the dust was appalling…sand dunes were forming on the pavements and I did see a man on a donkey, leading two camels down Chiswick High Road.
I had to break away from my meeting, at a pavement cafe, to speak to the man on the donkey. He told me that he was a barrister in a small Common Law set and that work was a bit slow. He said that he had been following the global warming coverage in The Independent and had noted the rising tax and congestion charges for 4 x 4s in London. I asked him why he was leading two camels down Chiswick High Road.
“I have nearly two hundred camels now” he told me. “I have been buying camels from Egypt for nearly six months and have already had quite a few orders from people in Chiswick, Kew and Ealing… and, I can’t name him” he said, his eyes darting from side to side… “but one City associate, 5 years PQE, has bought two – one for weekdays, and the other, a racing camel, for weekends. The congestion charge does not apply to camels and they are cheap to run.”
I was astonished and, I have to say, a touch sceptical. I asked him which set he belonged to. I know the Head of Chambers by reputation and I have no doubt at all that the man I spoke to knew his law. He was not at all phased when I asked him about the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943 and the fact that it does not apply to cases of frustration under s.7 of The Sale of Goods Act 1979 as amended.
The man asked me if I had a car. I told him that I had a car but I preferred a motorbike and lent my car to friends.
It is probably not the most sensible acquisition I have made, but I bought one of the camels the barrister was leading down the street. It is in my back garden now, eating some dates I happened to have in my fridge Quite how the camel found them, troubles me not. Seems quite relaxed. I am looking forward to riding him (the camel) tomorrow morning when I go for coffee.
Anyway… be that as it may… carbon footprint…. global warming… we all have a duty to conserve energy…. save the world…. And: I note, tonight, that The Bar Council blog has a piece on the very topic which I am concerned with tonight… which is serendipitous.
Tim Kevan, who did a podcast with me only the other day, writing on the Bar Council Blog tells us that Yvon Chouinard, author of Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman (2005), takes the view “There is no business to be done on a dead planet.”
Tim goes on, in his post, to talk about ethical law firms, businesses making donations, facilitating their employees to be more environmentally friendly, law firms changing to a green provider, organising car sharing schemes and considers the possibility that law firms will go ‘paperless’. All good stuff….. of course… and good to see that The Bar Council blog is reporting on such matters.
I am doing my bit to be carbon footprint conscious. I now have a camel and it is so hot in West London now, because of global warming or some other unexplained scientific phenomenon, that I won’t need to get on an EasyJet flight or use my ageing Jaguar again. I shall holiday in Britain (probably in West London) and ride my camel – free from worry about congestion charges, in the knowledge that I am in the vanguard of a new green society. WebCameron may even want to interview me for his WebCameron blog.