Rive Gauche: Corbyn appears to be tweeting himself now…?

Corbyn appears to be tweeting himself now…?  Well, better that than actually trying to do a decent job as Leader of The Labour Party which he is driving headlong to extinction…Unfortunately.  Utterly useless leader. I’ve voted Labour for 40 years.  I will not vote Labour while Corbyn is Party Leader. I am not alone in that view. Get rid of him.

It may be that Corbyn has nothing to do with the Jeremy Corbyn for PM account.  But it would not surprise me if he runs that account as well.

But this sums it up rather well…



Some more Pics in Perth

Albanian Violin player – He’s very good.

Plastercast model outside Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber where I get my hair cuts.


Perth Museum.  I visit once a week, sometimes more often.  Good museum and Art gallery

A brother and sister piper and drummer.  They are extremely talented musicians.  Early to mid-teens?


A wonderful bronze of a stag in a shop selling astonishingly expensive watches.  I pass the shop regularly and I  have never seen anyone in it.


Marvellous graffiti on a wall in Perth (Council approved)

Scone Park near the duckpond in the early morning cold mist

Ian Duncan Smith rant about Supreme Court taken apart by barrister

1. Every sentence of this is provably false. It is Trump-like in its audacity. pic.twitter.com/eC3WwoAZBt — The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) January 24, 2017

2. There’s no issue about who is supreme between Parliament and Supreme Court. It’s Parliament. That is basic constitutional law. pic.twitter.com/Ls12PimYHX — The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) January 24, 2017

3. The Supreme Court is not self-appointed. It was established by Parliament by section 23 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. pic.twitter.com/6AY61inDyV — The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) January 24, 2017

4. There is nothing intriguing about dissenting opinions in Supreme Court (or House of Lords as was) judgments. Very common. pic.twitter.com/YF3krBTocB — The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) January 24, 2017

5. The Court expressly did not tell Parliament how to run its business. It clarified what the govt could not do unilaterally. pic.twitter.com/sQfYmp6yhH — The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) January 24, 2017

6. There is no new territory. Not even something that looks a little bit like new territory. As the judgment makes plain. pic.twitter.com/hs6wjSSSVc — The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) January 24, 2017

7. As IDS repeats his inarticulate point, I’ll repeat my rebuttal: Parliament has not been told what to do. Not in the slightest. pic.twitter.com/s1ZuNEBsI1 — The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) January 24, 2017

8. The only “real constitutional issues” are those arising in IDS’ own imagination, born of his own unstymied ignorance and base stupidity. pic.twitter.com/QPTXMCbPOt — The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) January 24, 2017


Rabbie Burns Night

haggisBurns Night 2017 – what is a haggis, what are the words of the poem Address to a Haggis and where can I buy one?

THE Sun – where else – has the info.


Everything you need to know about the traditional dish eaten during Robert Burns’ celebration

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne.

(Chorus: For auld lang syne, my jo,

For auld lang syne,

We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne)



I’ll drink the whisky, eat the neaps and taties and chuck the rest in the bin.  Can’t stand Haggis.

President Trump is a madman? Who knew?

The story is here

“The president is a 70-year-old child whose TV time must be closely monitored — because any news story that upsets his ego will trigger a temper tantrum followed by irrational demands that his indulgent, overwhelmed guardians will be helpless to refuse.

Or so Donald Trump’s aides keep confiding to the nearest available reporter.

On Sunday, one of the president’s confidantes told Politico that his staffers have to “control information that may infuriate him,” a task made difficult by the fact that the leader of the free world “gets bored and likes to watch TV.”

That same day, some Trump aides provided the New York Times with a portrait of the president as a moody adolescent.

Mr. Trump grew increasingly angry on Inauguration Day after reading a series of Twitter messages pointing out that the size of his inaugural crowd did not rival that of Mr. Obama’s in 2009. But he spent his Friday night in a whirlwind of celebration and affirmation. When he awoke on Saturday morning, after his first night in the Executive Mansion, the glow was gone, several people close to him said, and the new president was filled anew with a sense of injury…..”

The Supreme Court Brexit Judgment In Plain English

By , and

The Supreme Court has handed down its highly anticipated judgment in the Brexit case. This was, in part, an appeal against the High Court’s decision that an Act of Parliament is required to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union (TEU).

You can read our plain English explainer of the High Court ruling here, and an outline of the case before the Supreme Court here.

The Supreme Court joined three Brexit-related cases together, and was asked to answer the following questions:

  1. Is an Act of Parliament required to trigger Article 50 TEU (the procedure by which a Member State may withdraw from the European Union)?
  2. If an Act of Parliament were required, would the Northern Irish Assembly need to consent before that Act was passed?
  3. Does leaving the EU change the Northern Ireland constitution, and therefore does it need the consent of the Northern Irish people?
  4. Does the Scottish Parliament need to be consulted before triggering Article 50?

Before we get to the judgment, let’s start with the basics….

Read here

It’s time we all knew a little more about impeachment

The Independent reports:

Reality TV star Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States of America.

But ever since his election, some have been debating the possibility of impeachment and musing on the likelihood that the 45th President could be removed from office.

Now that he has been officially sworn in, there’s even a campaign and petition led jointly by Free Speech For People and RootsAction for Trump’s immediate impeachment.

There are multiple other petitions, including one Change.org campaign that has around 86,000 signatures so far.

But how much do you actually know about impeachment?

What does it mean?

  • The process of bringing charges against a high official of Government by a legislative body
  • Originates in English law also exists under constitution law in many nations
  • Does not necessarily imply removal of the official from office – only the first step
  • In the U.S., grounds for impeachment include: “Treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours”
  • These refer to crimes committed against the state by public officials

Summary: Refers to charges against an official, but not automatic removal from office

How does it work?

  • A document (or “resolution calling for a committee investigation of charges against the officer in question”) known as an Article of Impeachment is taken to the House Committee on Rules
  • They may take it to the Judiciary Committee for investigation
  • The House of Representatives has the power to choose to impeach (i.e. votes to bring the charges) – needs a simple majority
  • The Senate has the power to carry out impeachment (i.e. to try the case) – needs a two-thirds majority to convict
  • Trial is presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (if a president is impeached) or the Vice President (if another official)
  • Has it happened before?

    • Andrew Johnson (1868): narrowly avoided conviction by the Senate for violating the Tenure of Office Act (by removing the secretary of war)
    • Bill Clinton (1999): threatened with impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice, but acquitted by the Senate
    • (Richard Nixon [1974]: resigned over Watergate scandal before impeachment proceedings were approved by the House could actually begin)

    Summary: No president has ever been impeached by the Senate, but proceedings have occurred

  • Is it possible for Trump to be impeached?

    • Despite his plans to give up operation of Trump Organisation (but not income or ownership), there is a potentially serious conflict of interests between his business and his political position
    • In particular, it’s been suggested that his business income abroad could theoretically influence foreign policy
    • The 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act – or Stock Act – prevents the president from insider trading, or profiting off information they obtain on the job, and demands that officials reveal financial information
    • Tax breaks via Trump’s businesses since 1980, if they continue, could be in violation of the Constitution’s ‘presidential compensation clause’, which forbids withholding additional money beyond a fixed federal salary
    • Contract for lease of Old Post Office in Washington D.C. (Trump International Hotel) forbids elected officials being part of, or benefiting from, that lease
    • The Foreign Emoluments Clause in the Constitution forbids a president accepting a gift / benefit from a foreign leader / government
    • Rent paid by the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China for its space in Trump Tower, and spending by foreign diplomats at Trump properties, could be in violation of this
    • Trump also refuses to release his tax returns, which is technically illegal now that he is President

    Summary: Possible in theory, but there is very little precedent to guide lawmakers

    Is it likely? 

    • A campaign or document focussing on the legal aspects, particularly the Stock Act and the Foreign Emoluments Clause, could be used
    • A campaign or document focussing on Trump’s unpopularity and more unpalatable behaviour would be unlikely to work
    • No President in US history has ever been successfully impeached by the Senate
    • Only one President (Richard Nixon) has ever failed to complete his term in office due to the threat of impeachment
    • A Republican President would normally expect support from a Republican-majority government, making impeachment unlikely
    • However, despite the Republican-led Congress, Trump’s unpopularity within his own party could encourage lawmakers to pursue impeachment
    • Bookies have revealed a huge surge in bets on Trump’s impeachment, citing a one way traffic in betting
    • Betting odds on Trump getting impeached or resigning before the end of his term are extremely good

    Summary: History and process are against an impeachment, but the bets so far are on an unfinished term in office 

    We shall see…

Legislation to ensure the Government can trigger Article 50 by the end of March will be introduced “within days.”

Legislation to ensure the Government can trigger Article 50 by the end of March will be introduced “within days.”

Brexit Secretary David Davis maintained Theresa May will stick to her timetable to leave the EU – despite losing its Supreme Court Brexit battle.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the Tory MP said the ruling – which stated that May needs Parliamentary approval before triggering Article 50 – would not derail Government plans.

He said the Supreme Court ruling did not affect the fact Britain will be leaving the EU in line with the result of the 2016 referendum, telling MPs: “There can be no turning back.

“The point of no return was passed on June 23 last year.”


You may find this article useful: Jeff King: What Next? Legislative Authority for Triggering Article 50

“The Supreme Court judgment in Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on the morning of 24 January 2017 made it clear that an Act of Parliament is required for a notice under article 50(2) of the Treaty of the European Union. The Government and Opposition should now state their positions clearly on the form of such an Act without delay.  So far, there has been little such discussion. This post (originally published on 8 November 2016 and reposted here for convenience) suggests form, content and conditions for such legislation that neither challenge the result of the 23 June 2016 referendum nor the Government’s stated timelines for giving notice.

The Form of Legislation

Read the rest of the article here

Jerry Hayes does it again…with this writing


Jerry Hayes. Ex-Tory MP, barrister, writer and bon viveur is a good friend..  He is also a very amusing writer…as this will confirm…


Jerry won’t mind me quoting his entire postbut his excellent blog is here for future reference

” I think that it is time for all of us to join Post Realism Politics. I am a passionate Remainer, but is delusional to convince myself that Brexit will never happen. It will. May gave us a pragmatic road plan of where she wants to lead us. It is strewn with potholes, land mines and ravines that have as yet to be crossed. But as imperfect as it is it gives the country focus. For fellow Remainers in Parliament I would urge them not to vote against the triggering of article 50. Hold the government to account by all means. Argue, debate, vote. But just try and get it right. The Lib Dem position is rather patronising. It’s basically that ‘a load of ill educated working class xenophobes got it horribly wrong due to the mendacity and down right lies of politicians egged on by the right wing press. We will now educate them and given them another vote to correct the error of their ways’.
Oh, for God’s sake grow up.

The burning and drifting hulk of what was Labour is both sad and bad. Sad, because although I am not a socialist, the Labour movement had its heart if not always it’s head in the right place. Bad, because although I am a Conservative, a massive Tory landslide and the total destruction of Labour would be a democratic disaster. Labour backbenchers will probably be given a free vote on Article 50 simply because the PLP is out of control.

The Kippers are interesting. They could win Stoke Central but I think that it is unlikely. All their foxes have been shot by May. Just what are they for? Fromage tried to position them as the nation’s conscience holding May’s feet to the fire on Brexit. Politics abhors a vacuum and the Tories have filled the void. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Douglas Carswell re rats and campaigns for the Tories.

After a refreshing lunch at the Savile Club, I watched (in the bar of course) the Trump inauguration. I, like the rest of the world, expected something unifying, healing, magnanimous and a glimpse of something Presidential. Instead, we were treated to a rust belt stump rant. A shiver would have ran down my spine had I not realised that the whole point of the American Constitution is to prevent dictators doing what they want. But there is absolutely nothing we can do about him. He is there. If Americans want to hobble him start fighting to take back control of both houses. Candle lit vigils and women’s marches won’t help them to do that.

But May has a unique opportunity. A bit of flattery goes a very long way with the Donald. She should lay it on with a trowel with a cement mixer chugging away in the background. However, the big question is what to do with Bozo. Easy, leave him at home. Keep him off the airwaves. The man is a dangerous distraction. He will say something stupid. It will be the Bozo show and a reminder to Trump of all the insults that have been hurled at him. And a little humiliation of our Foreign Secretary will go down well at the White House. This is all about two world leaders talking turkey over the pork barrel. It mustn’t be fucked up.

This must be May’s moment while the rest of Europe looks on in envious horror.

The real winner is Philip May. His role is to be entertained by the First Lady who scrubs up well.


President Trump – and may God have mercy upon what is left of our souls?

And this made my day…

At least Mr Trump has a sense of humour and he is, clearly, a clever man.  In truth, I rather like the man – and that isn’t a political judgment. President Obama was  no friend to Britain. I did not care for him at all politically. Fairly sure he will go down in history as a “Failed President”.  I am ‘hopeful’ that Trump will surprise us…to the good. We shall soon see. If not, we should get a few laughs over the next four years.

And this amusing tweet from Sean Jones QC, an amusing friend of mine who tweets regularly and is worth following. 

Rive Gauche: Rip Van Winkle

Still…it is very good to be free of Norovirus and on the mend…. walking again!

And this…

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s senior adviser has warned that Theresa May’s proposed Brexit plan is impossible.

Ms May used a speech on Tuesday to tell international leaders that she would take the UK out of the single market, but still wanted to negotiate access to it.

Yet German politician Michael Fuchs said the Conservatives plan was “not possible” because “you can’t eat a cake without paying for it”.

Latest Trump nonsense. The man really is a bit of a dick

I just marvel that in a few days time this dick will be President of the USA. He is a very odd man and cannot seem to accept success in others. It all seems to be “Me, Me, Me.” with Trumpenstein.

It would not surprise me if Trump gets a ruler out every night to measure his ‘membrum virilis’ just to check that it is a ‘monster’.

Let’s just hope that his Presidential advisers and senior Secretaries of State are at least sane within normal medical ranges.

Well done to Mr Marion for a measured and intelligent response.  I shall nip down to see if his book is at Waterstone’s in Perth and if not, order a copy.


BY Matt Torrens, Managing Director Sprout IT

Emails are at the heart of business to business communications and transactions. Very often, email will contain sensitive, client data along with personally identifiable information. This information should be secured and stored, just as you would with paper records. Indeed, there will sometimes be a requirement to be able to search and evidence all e-mail pertaining to a particular case or incident, even many years after the event.

Therefore, it’s very important to understand the difference between ‘backup’ and ‘archive’ systems, for email.

Email Backup
Data (email) backup, is the process of copying target files and folders, normally to a separate storage area or magnetic tape, for the purpose of being able to restore them in case of data loss or equipment failure. Backups are taken at particular points in time, often overnight or, on more modern systems, several times throughout the day. Ideally your backup system will be automated and largely independent of human intervention (e.g. the changing physical tapes), storing the backed up data in a geographically diverse, and secure, location.

Email Archiving
Email Archiving is the act of preserving and making searchable all email to/from an individual and organisation.

Archiving systems can be run in house, or in the Cloud. Typically, a good Cloud system is more scalable and flexible and is often bundled with other email services such as security and encryption.

The best Cloud email security and archiving systems, provide secure and scalable solutions to meet growing information management challenges, including adherence to data retention requirements to support legal discovery and regulatory compliance. Cutting the cost complexity of on-premise legacy archives, your Cloud system should ensure that litigation hold and compliance needs are supported by granular email retention policies and near real-time search. The archive should be encrypted and tamper-resistant, providing evidential-quality data for legal and regulatory purposes.

E-discovery (the process in which electronic data is sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case) can be performed at organisational level, or by an individual user themselves, using Outlook, Mac, a web portal or even a smart-phone or tablet.

A good email archive and discovery platform, means information can be found more quickly and reliably, boosting productivity and improving decision making.

What’s best, for you?
Well, both, actually. An archive system does not necessarily negate the need for a backup system. Backups are still required, in order to properly recover from equipment failure, for example. Good backup and archive systems should be used in tandem to provide a blended approach to email retention challenges.

The volume of email, and the size of emails and attachments, has increased dramatically in recent years. With that trend set to continue, the need for a scalable archive system is ever more important.

As with any IT system, making it user-friendly is key to ensuring user adoption. By removing the onus of mailbox management from the end user and allowing them to keep every email they send and receive, packaged alongside best-of-breed email security including end-to-end encryption, self-service quarantine and anti-phishing technology, we achieve rapid adoption rates.

Retirement? No. Cry FREEDOM? Yes….

While I have no intention of ever retiring – my interest in all law – save for Human Rights – has diminished. In fact it has evaporated entirely, which is liberating.  I am coming up to 64.  I’ve been in law – teaching and writing about it –  since I was 21. That is long enough.  I will continue to cover the excellent work done by lawyers who blog regularly.  It is, however, unlikely, save in the most rare of instances, that I will write about law again myself on my blog.  I have thrown all my law books  in the bin a few moments ago.  They will be taken to a place of execution – the dump.

I will continue with podcasts which I enjoy doing (They resume soon)  and will be writing about many other things which I hope will be of interest  on the blog.

As the geezer above in that nonsense of a film about Scotland – Braveheart – said…CRY FREEEEEDOM!


PS If I had my time again – would I have chosen Law?  Absolutely NOT!  It is not a career I can recommend for many. I know far too many disillusioned experienced barristers and solicitors.  There are so many far more intellectually  rewarding fields of study and practice. If you are going into law talk to as many current practitioners about their experience and come to a view based on that.  The advice of your university tutors who teach law is largely irrelevant here – unless, of course, they have long standing experience as practitioners themselves.   That said, many enjoy legal practice and have found it a rewarding career, intellectually and financially. 

Samurai Warrior 19th Century woodblock for sale

I am selling two of my collection of  early 19th Century Woodblocks of Japanese Samurai for £75 each

Here is one of them.  I purchased them from the Japanese Gallery in Islington in 1981 for £50 each un framed.  I had them valued some years ago at upwards of £250+ each – albeit in London at London prices..

I am selling this one for £75 + Postage email me if you want to buy it
Email: mikesemplepiggot2@gmail.com



Rive Gauche: Will President Trumpenstein be a turkey or a great US President?

In just under a week President-Elect  Trumpenstein will be ‘Inaugurated’.

The question is this: Will he be a great President or a Turkey?

I wouldn’t spend much money, in fact none, on the first choice.

I suspect that Popcorn shares will be rising…go long?

An American friend of mine is bemused that his country managed to “elect the clown. ”

We are used to strange leaders.  Gordon Brown, Corbyn to name just two – and I am a lifelong Labour voter.  My only political regret is that Boris was not elected Prime Minister – at least we could all have a laugh on ‘this side of the pond’.  With Two ‘blonde bombshells’ running two of the the most important countries in the world, what could possibly have gone wrong?


Rive Gauche: I particularly like this HAT

I spent far too much of my life being sensible, formal and serious – running law schools. I have not worn a tie now for over 15 years.  I got rid of all my suits.  I used to have over 200 ties.  Why?

Now I wear casual clothes, heavy coats which go to just below the waistband of jeans and HATS!  There are five feathers in the hat, a plume and a silver cap badge.  The design on the hat is a Black Watch Tartan (Green and Black)  which doesn’t come up on the pic above, I have nine hats, including a Panama for summer and ‘Deerstalkers’ and a very good Green waterproof Barbour hat which keeps the rain off.  The Yellow glasses, I particularly enjoy wearing.

I am 64 in May of this year.  I won’t retire, can’t afford to, nor do I wish to.  I live alone and shall continue to do so for the rest of my life.  I’ve done the living with someone else routine, married or otherwise  – enjoyed it,  but prefer the solitary life now.

I am now recovered from the Norovirus bug and the injuries to leg, lower back and bottom when I got blown into a drainage ditch by a passing lorry and was impaled on nasty barbed wire fencing are beginning, finally, to heal.  I’ll soon be able to resume my walks.

I hope to shoehorn some LAW into the blog at some point and Podcasts will be resuming shortly.

Have a good weekend.




Friday 13th….

I am not superstitious…but?

Woke early from severe pain caused by broken rib and lacerations to back and buttocks from barbed wire when I got blown into drainage ditch by a passing lorry on my walk to Perth last week. Thankfully, the wounds are healing but the pain is quite intense this morning.  Fortunately, I had some wine left and some Neurofen painkiller tablets  A glass of wine at 4.30 am is unusual – but needs must and I don’t have much on today.  Given my recent luck – it might be wise to confine myself to ‘barracks’ today!

Not a great start to the year

Also recovering from Norovirus bug and severe cuts and injuries when got blown into a drainage ditch near Perth by a large lorry passing at speed and lost my wallet and bank card and free bus pass!  Rescued from the barbed wire by two passing motorists.


Fainted in Scone Park and passed out, banging my head ! .  Ambulance called and got me home.  Not a great start to the year.

Ex Tory MP and practising barrister Jerry Hayes is always worth reading

Jerry Hayes, ex Tory MP and barrister is a good friend of mine.  His blog is hilarious.  Do have a read. Here is one of his latest posts – well part.  Read the rest on his blog.



“Let it not be said that Theresa May hasn’t been well and truly Rogered. The radioactive fallout from the atomic detonation unleashed by our man in Brussels will linger and poison for years to come. This is the beginning of May’s nuclear winter of discontent.

What is so troubling is that Ivan Rogers did not resign over policy disagreements. Far from it. His job was to get the best deal for Britain’s exit from the EU. His sin is that he is an expert. The most skilled negotiator that we had. His job is to advise, to give policy options and then do his best to carry out ministerial instructions after a decision had been made. His mistake was to by pass Timothy and Hill on a press briefing when May was Home Secretary. These guys never forget and never forgive. Roger’s revenge was to do it again. Number 10 never had an inkling about what was about to unfold. And their response was pathetically amateurish. The official line at the moment (it will change because it is so ludicrous) is that he is leaving early as his posting finishes in October and wants to put in a fresh team for the long haul. And the ‘ill founded arguments and muddled thinking’, refers to the civil service who should have been working on how we Brexit before the result of the referendum was known. The second stage will be to rubbish him as a Foreign Office, Brussels lacky, who wants to sabotage the May master plan. But as the Queen discovered there is no master plan nor even a plan. Just blind faith. The Brexit strategy is like an American motivational DVD. ‘You can do anything you want if you really believe in yourself. Sadly not. But the ’plan’ is probably nearer to that great philosopher Noel Edmund’s cosmic theory. His belief is that by writing what he wants in life and puts it under his pillow the cosmic forces oblige. This is government by miracle. A particular brand of Voodoo economics where anyone who warns of the serious consequences of Brexit are nothing more than doom mongers who want to thwart the will of the people. Judges are unelected and therefore can’t be trusted. And experts? Pah!!!

Read the rest on Jerry’s blog 

Pics from my early morning walks Scone – Perth

I walk 10 miles, at least, every day. I usually start walking at 5.30 am.  I enjoy walking.  Time to think, natter to people en route and take photographs.

The first picture is my view every morning, when it is not raining.

And, it was degree ceremony day in Perth just after Christmas. The building in the background is the Art gallery and Museum – great place.  The building to the left is Perth Concert Hall.

My PIN for the Co-op Bank debit card arrived. I can eat again!

Thankfully, the PIN for my lost debit card arrived today, so I am solvent and can buy food again.

It has been been a very strange Christmas / New Year period.  Norovirus bug (sick, very, for 10 days), getting blown into a drainage ditch by a passing lorry on my walk from Scone to Perth, losing my wallet and Free Bus pass.    If a very good friend had not helped with ‘food parcel’ which had fags and some vino, it would have been  ‘difficult’…very.

Friends and friendship is very important to me – as important as family. I’ve met quite a few  I tweet with.  I hope to meet more.  If you ever make a trip to this part of Scotland or Glasgow / Edinburgh send me an email and I’ll get on a Bus!

I hope your year is a good one.

I am enjoying my new £20 Glengarry Hat with feathers! Quite a few people in Perth have remarked on it.   The hat makes people smile – which is rather good.

The hip flask will be replaced to allow me to have a ‘nip of whisky’  as I do my long walks!  30 mile walk planned for tomorrow.  Not much work about at the moment…none, in fact! I have seen a hip flask with a Scots Saltire flag on it (£5)….just have to have that!   Very pleased to be back in Scotland again.  My homeland – Independent or not.  Not that bothered either way, frankly about Independence.


Law Society Head Honchess resigns… Surprised?

Catherine Dixon, chief executive of The Law Society, has today resigned after two years in charge at Chancery Lane. She blamed lack of progress made by the organisation’s 100-strong Council in streamlining governance, adding that she ‘cannot in good faith continue to be CEO of an organisation which is not prepared to change’.

Link to the story

Why should anyone be surprised?  Remarkable.

I would like to see Foxes armed to protect themselves against these awful people

An unpleasant ‘pastime’. It is very easy to kill an animal…but why is it necessary to do so? .  Do these prats feel ‘Big’ when they kill a fox?  If so, that is troubling.

Scotland is a civilised country.  Surely the Scots Government can act to ban it up here?  I do hope so.


I suspect that this prat in fancy dress on a horse with his horn would not like to be hunted by dogs who will tear him to bits if they catch him.  Fortunately, dogs are more civilised than he seems to be.


Time to bring in ‘SuperNicola’ to deal with this nonsense.  I hope the Scottish Government will ban fox hunting in our country.

Just back from a 10 mile walk


Woke at 4.30 as usual and decided that I need a 10 mile walk.  The walk from Scone to Perth, around Perth and back to Scone is always enjoyable – particularly when I have Perth streets to myself.  I didn’t see a soul at 5.00 this morning, not one person, although a lorry passed me on the 4 mile walk back to Scone at about 5.30 am. .

It was cold -4 Centigrade, but I was adequately clothed and walking quickly warms one up.  I enjoy the walks, but on top of the 22.5 miles yesterday, the 10 miler this morning has taken a toll on my ageing legs!  On top of the 22.5 miles walked yesterday I may be overdoing it?

Scotland is still shut after New Year – two days of holidays after 1 Jan up here.  Normal service will be resumed on the morrow when I can get my Free Bus Pass replaced after I was blown into a drainage ditch by a very large speeding lorry before Christmas and, apart from being injured by barbed wire, I lost my wallet including debit card and Bus Pass. The clowns at the Co-op Bank have not performed well.  They did, finally, replace the Debit card after 10 days but forgot to send a PIN. A clown on the telephone ‘Un-Help-ful’ line said the old PIN would work.  It didn’t work, predictably.

I have had more than my fill of the clowns at the Co-op so I am opening an account at the HSBC branch in Perth. One of the managers at this fairly large branch told me, a wry smile playing on his lips, “We don’t employ clowns in personal banking at this branch!”

So I will actually be able to draw some of MY money and get on. Thankfully, a very good friend is sending me a package of food, fags and wine by Sainsbury’s delivery between 12.00-1.00 today, so I will be able to eat again.  She covered food needs for the last two nights by getting take away curries delivered from Just Eat!   She is a very good friend, and I am grateful.  Eating sugar, which I had to do  after Christmas for a while for calories is not pleasant – although I did find a jar of Cranberry jelly in the cupboard.


2016 was not a great year for me.  I am an optimist and feel ‘certain’ that 2017 will be a lot better.  I am delighted to have returned to Scotland,  It is unlikely I will ever visit England again – for any reason. My brother is more than happy to pop up to Scotland if he wants to see me.  We tend not to see a lot of each other in any event.  keeping in touch by email works for us.


Have a good 2017.  Normal service on the blog will resume when Scotland re-pens tomorrow.  Another Bank holiday today.

Charon goes to a restaurant run by East European border guards?

Some years ago I did a few restaurant reviews for an excellent website,  Here is  a ‘review’ I wrote some years back in the good old days when one could smoke as one ate and drank vino rosso. 

A Bar & Dining Room
Somewhere in London

Meal for two with wine: £90
Nil points

Charon goes to a restaurant run by East European border guards?

“Have you booked?” asked the black silk shirted Maitre D’ guarding the entrance. The abruptness of the greeting took me by surprise.

“I have not booked. Do you have a table?” Blackshirt’s eyes narrowed as he flicked open the diary. The page had one entry. Blackshirt looked up, eyes darting. “How many of you are there?” It may seem to the casual observer that I suffer from dissociative identity disorder, but I was alone. I heard Sir Alec Guinness in the recess of my mind: “Charon” he said, “Use the Force….”

“I am one.”

The Maitre D’ surveyed the dining room. It was that sort of place… Not a restaurant, but a Bar and Dining Room. It was 12.30. Only two tables were occupied. “Do you smoke?” Blackshirt snapped.

“For England.” I replied.

I was escorted to a table in the corner of the room – a table for two. An East European border guard, dressed as a waitress, appeared with a menu. I selected a bottle of Claret and asked for two espressos and a glass of tap water, no ice. “You want espresso?” the waitress asked, unsmiling. “Now?”

“Yes please.” I watched her walk towards the bar. Well it was more of a march… more Red Square than Sandhurst. I was not invited to taste the wine when it arrived.

The menu was fairly typical of many gastros – a mix of “Confu**tion cooking” with a bit of thai/vietnamese nonsense thrown in. I enjoy reading Anthony Bourdain… but his books, do on occasion, get into the wrong hands… and so it was, today. Couscous and polenta featured heavily. One day I am sure that I will find a gastro pub with a dish called “Irish tagine”.

A couple were seated at a table nearby – both late twenties, both City professionals. I know this because they managed to tell me, indirectly, by relating events to each other of their successes during the week. They talked at each other; he admiring himself repeatedly in the mirrors lining the walls on our side of the restaurant. They obviously knew each other well – at least one assumes so, because, later, declining the offer of pudding, they started eating each other.

I have no idea why nutters on trains, tubes, buses and restaurants gravitate towards me – but it happend again today. The East European border guard escorted another customer to the adjacent table – a man in his early sixties, blazered, highly polished Oxford shoes, grey trousers, Turnbull & Asser shirt, silk tie and a traditional ‘British’ haircut. One could almost smell the George Trumper cologne.

“Good day to you.”

“And to you.” I replied.

“Writer?” the man asked, pointing at my laptop. I learned long ago not to answer that question.

“Just doing a bit of surfing.”

“Surfing Eh?…. yes… I used to surf when I was a junior partner with X&Y in Hong Kong…. on trips to Australia…. tied up a few M&A deals, I can tell you… out there…. those were the days…”

God in heaven. I know I drank a bottle of cider in Church once when I was at Prep school… but I had no idea, then, that I would continue to be punished for that sin nearly 40 odd years later on Easter Sunday 2007… in the form of a retired City lawyer, from the days of Tai Pan, sitting at the next table.

“Really…? good stuff.. ” I replied, affably, but with what I hoped was the correct tone to indicate that I wished ‘to be alone’. It was too late to pretend I was Bulgarian and could not speak English.

So there I was… a couple of young professionals, but a few tables away, talking at each other and Mr Drone, to my right.

“Been to Church?”

I was looking intently at my laptop screen. The words appeared to come from above. I looked at the ceiling. I looked at my bottle of Claret. I had only had one glass.

“The Vicar had a few of us back for a glass of sherry after the service”


“Yes… quite a few actually. Have to splice the mainbrace after sitting through all that without being able to charge fees at the end of it! ” a statement which provoked so much laughter from the speaker that I was concerned I may have to do a Heimlich manoeuvre on him.

“Oh Yes… Vicar did us a good sermon today…”

Mr Drone told me at length that he would have been in New York to advise on a merger but the US firm had ‘cocked up’ on timing… adding that he liked to take on important cases on a consultancy basis from time to time…


I drained my glass, re-filled and lit a cigarette.

“Smoker Eh?…yes… used to smoke until the Doc said to me ‘My dear chap, unless you pack in the gaspers now you won’t be able to get it up when you are 65′.” Another burst of self satisfied laughter, gave me the opportunity to wave at the waitress and explain to the gentleman seated at the next table that I needed to concentrate on my work. He made a curious signal, tapping his finger against his nose and said “Got it…Roger… mustn’t stop a chap from his work “

“You are ready with your orders?”

I smiled at the waitress, trying not to look as if I had something to declare, and ordered a main course. I justified my lack of a first course, when questioned, by explaining that I may have a pudding. She seemed satisfied with my explanation and marched off.

It takes a rare talent to cook roast lamb badly, but only inhalation of super strength cannabis would suggest beetroot risotto and chilli jam is a sensible, or even suitable, accompaniment to lamb. The waitress looked at my plate, barely touched. The lemon meringue pie had the merit of being bought in. The wine was more than drinkable and, after negotiating my release without the aid of the Foreign Office, I returned to familiar surroundings.

Postscript:  What is wrong in the picture of the food and wine glass?

Several things:  1.  The wine glass is absurdly empty. 2.  The Chef may have been smoking the garden again believing that a piece of lamb needs to have grass sprouting out of the bone  3.  The plate is almost empty of sustaining food, although I did detect some mash and a brussell sprout hiding in plain sight with a carrot.