A 20 mile walk on the morrow…if it does not rain too hard

Planning a 20 mile walk for the morrow….provided it does not rain too hard.  I have a Barbour rain hat and two cameras and a fine walking stick and a book on Perthshire walks. I enjoy walking10-20 miles a day  and meet up with other old gits in Perth who smoke and laugh…there are some fine older gentlemen in Perth who enjoy smoking and having a laugh and a fine pub The Half a Tanner – where the Guinness is poured expertly as I fall in the door at opening time at 11.00.  I take my Guinness with a small Cafe Creme cigar wearing a Tartan Glengarry hat with many unusual  feathers in it.- and other clothes, of course, including trousers and heavy duty professional walking boots.

Have a good weekend…

Bridge over troubled legal water? Legal issues of the Brexit transition period

Professor Steve Peers
Website / Blog 

Compared to famous Florentines, Theresa May’s recent speech on the UK’s Brexit plans inevitably owed more to Machiavelli than Leonardo da Vinci. Nevertheless, it gave a rough indication of the basic legal architecture that the UK government would like to govern its relationship with the EU for a transition period after Brexit Day. I have previously summarised and commented upon the main points of the Florence speech, but there is more to say on this legal framework – and also on the rules which would apply to EU27 citizens in the UK during the transition period.

Legal framework

First of all, is a transition period after Brexit Day even legally possible? If so, what provision of EU law would apply?

Article 50 TEU, which sets out the basic rules on Member States’ withdrawal from EU membership, is silent on the issue of any transitional period after the withdrawal date. However, it might be noted that Article 49 TEU, governing accession, is equally silent on transitional periods after joining the EU; nevertheless such periods are an established feature of the accession process.

In its negotiating guidelines on Brexit, the European Council (EU27 States’ leaders) stated that:

To the extent necessary and legally possible, the negotiations may also seek to determine transitional arrangements which are in the interest of the Union and, as appropriate, to provide for bridges towards the foreseeable framework for the future relationship in the light of the progress made. Any such transitional arrangements must be clearly defined, limited in time, and subject to effective enforcement mechanisms. Should a time-limited prolongation of Union acquis be considered, this would require existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures to apply.

These principles are set out again in the negotiation directives handed down to the European Commission by the Council (EU27 States’ ministers) at paragraph 19. Those negotiation directives go into no further detail on the transition period issue for now; instead, there will be further negotiation directives in future, once the EU27 side has decided that there has been ‘sufficient progress’ on its priority issues (EU27 and UK citizens’ rights, financial issues, Northern Ireland) during the Brexit talks.

For the UK’s part, the Florence speech states that on Brexit Day, the UK will cease to participate in the EU political institutions. The period must be ‘strictly time limited’, suggesting ‘around two years’;  but the two sides ‘could also agree to bring forward’ aspects, such as a new dispute settlement system. The latter point implies that the ECJ will apply until that point.

Substantively, during the transitional period, ‘access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms’; the UK will ‘continue to take part in existing security measures’; and the ‘framework’ will be ‘the existing structure of EU rules and regulations’.  There would be no change to other Member States’ payments and contributions during the current funding cycle (ending in 2020), implying that EU laws on funding and spending continue without amendment until then.

EU citizens can still come to live and work during this period, but they will be registered; but as I noted in the previous blog post, such registration is allowed under the EU citizens’ Directive. (More on that below). Finally, the speech referred to one substantive difference in law: the UK would hold its own trade negotiations, and would ‘no longer directly benefit’ from the EU’s trade negotiations.

Moreover, the speech made comments on another aspect of the withdrawal agreement – maintaining EU27 citizens’ rights – that may be relevant by analogy to transition issues. The Prime Minister said that the UK would ‘incorporate our agreement [on citizens’ rights] fully into UK law and make sure the UK courts can refer directly to it’; and that UK courts must be ‘able to take into account’ relevant ECJ case law.

Comparing the UK to the EU27 position on the transitional period, there are lots of similarities. Both sides are willing to contemplate such a period (the EU27’s ‘legally possible’ caveat is considered below). Both sides want it to be for a limited time. The Florence speech states that the transitional rules would be linked with the future permanent UK/EU relationship (‘a bridge from where we are now to where we want to be’), matching the EU27 position. (Note there’s no need to define the future relationship in detail in the withdrawal deal: Article 50 refers only to defining a ‘framework’ for that relationship, and the EU negotiation position refers only to bridges towards the foreseeable future framework).

The greatest difficulties may come with the issues of post-Brexit EU legislation, and the legal effect of EU law. At present the European Communities Act provides for the adoption of new EU law into the UK’s legal order. It gives that law direct effect and supremacy, and gives effect to ECJ rulings in domestic law. However, the proposed EU Withdrawal Bill would remove all these provisions, instead retaining pre-Brexit EU rules and ECJ judgments in force pending potential amendment by government or Parliament. Pre-Brexit ECJ judgments would retain their force subject to such amendments or overruling by the UK Supreme Court, and UK courts would have an option to take post-Brexit ECJ case law into account. The Bill would also remove the principle of damages liability for breach of EU law, and would not keep the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as part of retained EU law in the UK (on the latter point, see discussion here).

Technically, anything which the UK agrees to in the Withdrawal Agreement can be incorporated into UK law easily enough, since clause 9 of the Withdrawal Bill would give the UK government unlimited power to amend any UK laws to give effect to that Agreement. (Note, however, that the Bill could be amended in Parliament as regards any of these points before it becomes an Act of Parliament). So the issue is not the capability of the UK government to give effect to the Withdrawal Agreement, but its willingness to negotiate on these issues.

After her speech, the Prime Minister deliberately avoided answering a question about whether the UK would apply post-Brexit EU law during the transition period, saying it was a matter for negotiation. In fact, there is some flexibility on this, since the EU27 negotiation position does not take any view on that point. (Remember that the EU27 negotiation position on transitional issues will be enlarged later). In the meantime, UK cabinet members have tried to rule this prospect out. (Note that the speech refers to keeping ‘existing’ and ‘current’ EU law in force).

There is less flexibility as regards the legal effect of EU law, where – to recall – the EU27 position is that ‘existing EU regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures’ should apply. The combined reference to ‘judiciary’ and ‘enforcement’ structures suggest that the ECJ’s current jurisdiction, and the current legal effect of EU law in the UK, should apply. While the Prime Minister obliquely referred to the ECJ, she hoped that its role could be terminated early as regards the UK; and the UK government’s position on the legal status of EU27 citizens (no ECJ role; option to take account of ECJ rulings; incorporation of Withdrawal Agreement into UK law but no special status), if extended to the transitional rules in the Withdrawal Agreement, would fall short of the EU27 position. Equally, while it is not expressly mentioned in the current negotiation position, the EU27 might, when amending that position, argue that the EU Charter should still apply to the UK during the transitional period. (Note that the Charter does not apply to all actions of Member States, but only applies to Member States when they implement EU law).

Three further points. First, what happens to the position of non-EU countries as regards the UK? They are parties to some treaties with the EU alone, and to some treaties with the EU together with its Member States. The legal issues arising in this respect during the transitional period will have to be addressed.

Secondly, what happens after the end of the transitional period? In particular, what if it is deemed desirable on both sides to continue the arrangement, in whole or part? In that case, the special decision-making rule applying to Article 50 (see next point) will have expired, and so the normal decision-making rules of EU law will apply. Depending on the content of what is carried forward then, this may require some unanimous voting and even ratification by all Member States, although it should be recalled that the EU side can decide to apply treaties provisionally pending national ratification.

That brings us to the most fundamental legal issue: can the EU27 side include a transitional deal within the scope of Article 50 in the first place? The words ‘[t]o the extent…legally possible’ hint at some doubt on this point, presumably because of an argument that Article 50 cannot extend to the regulation of legal relationships that are created after Brexit Day, but only to the regulation and/or termination of those created before that date. However, while little is certain now about how the ECJ might interpret Article 50, in my view that interpretation is too narrow, given that Article 50 refers to taking account of the framework for future relations with the withdrawing state, and Article 8 TEU refers to maintaining strong relationships with neighbouring non-EU countries. If this is correct, it follows that as long as the transitional deal is limited in time and linked to the future framework for relations – as both the EU27 and UK side intend – there should not be a legal problem. (On the other hand, there is nothing in Article 50 to require that anything in the withdrawal agreement must be subject to ECJ jurisdiction, besides the usual rule that only the ECJ can rule definitively on how to interpret EU law for EU Member States).

The importance of this is that the Article 50 agreement needs only a qualified majority vote to be approved by the EU27, without national ratification by Member States (as confirmed in the negotiation directives). But the EU27 and UK should prepare a ‘Plan B’ in the event that some Eurosceptic devoted to a ‘WTO-only’ and/or ‘no deal’ relationship between the UK and EU brings a legal challenge. If such a challenge were successful, the ECJ might anyway maintain the problematic parts of the treaty in force temporarily due to legal certainty; and the UK and EU should aim to agree the impugned parts of the Withdrawal Agreement on the correct legal basis as soon as possible, applying that new treaty provisionally.

Extension of the Article 50 period

Some have suggested extending the negotiation period for the Brexit talks instead – as Article 50 expressly allows for – arguing that a transition phase is no different from extending the negotiation period anyway.  It’s true that legally the extension of the negotiation period would be simple: it requires only a unanimous vote of the EU27 Member States (with no national ratification) required, plus the UK government, with no role for the European Parliament. As a matter of domestic UK law, arguably an Act of Parliament would be required to this end (note that the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act, which gave the government power to invoke Article 50 pursuant to the Miller judgment, does not mention the issue of extension).

But an extension to the negotiation period would be politically difficult. It’s not known whether the EU27 would give their unanimous consent, particularly given the awkward consequence that the UK would then end up participating in the 2019 European Parliament elections. And within the UK, announcing an intention to delay Brexit would likely mean that Theresa May would immediately be the centrepiece of a modern version of Da Vinci’s Last Supper – followed swiftly by the political resurrection of Nigel Farage.

Furthermore, it’s false to say that there is really no difference between a negotiation extension and a transition period. First of all, during a negotiation extension the UK would still participate in the EU’s political institutions. Secondly, it’s certain that there would be no change in the legal effect of EU law in the UK or the substance of EU laws in the UK, and that new EU laws and new ECJ judgments would continue to apply, in the event of a negotiation extension – whereas those issues may, as discussed above and below, be addressed differently during a transition period.

Thirdly, in the event of a change of mind in the UK on Brexit, remaining within the EU on the basis of a negotiation extension may be different from rejoining the EU after having left. This depends (a) on the resolution of some legal issues concerning Article 50 (Can the withdrawal notice be rescinded? If so, must the EU consent? If so, can the EU attach conditions? Or can the Article 50 period simply be extended indefinitely, with no further negotiation taking place?) and (b) on the extent to which the UK could rejoin on the same terms (Would the EU have already removed the UK’s opt-outs from the Treaties? Would the UK rebate on the EU budget have been rescinded yet?).

EU27 citizens

As noted already, the UK government’s intention to require EU citizens to register if they come to the UK during the transitional period is consistent with the EU citizens’ Directive, which allows registration for stays longer than three months. Indeed, the Commission has reported that almost all EU states register citizens from other EU Member States. But a failure to register can only be punished by proportionate penalties, not expulsion or detention (see the ECJ ruling in Watson and Bellman, concerning a prior version of this law). According to the ECJ ruling in Huber, Member States may include information on EU citizens in a database, but this can only be used for the purpose of administering EU free movement law; if they put information on EU citizens in a criminal database, they must be treated equally with nationals of that Member State.

The Directive goes on to say that Member States cannot insist that registration certificates must be the sole method of checking entitlement to reside or any other right, since other forms of proving identity are possible; and that Member States can only penalise EU citizens for not carrying their registration certificates if they penalise their own citizens the same way for not carrying ID cards (see also the ECJ judgment in Oulane). It follows that as long as the UK doesn’t have an ID card system, it could not penalise EU citizens for not carrying registration certificates.

So while registration of EU citizens is permissible, the limits set out in the legislation and case law put the more general questions about ‘transition law’ raised in this blog post in a particular context. It would not be credible for the EU27 to insist that the UK not register EU citizens at all, particularly given that most of them do the same thing themselves. But will the important limits on registration apply? It’s an important question given the tendency of the UK Home Office to create a ‘hostile environment’ for EU and non-EU citizens alike, and the risk that absent the application of EU case law and legislation to this issue, there could be fines, detention, expulsion or other refusals of rights for EU citizens who didn’t register, lost their registration certificate or forgot to carry it. (All the same issues arise if the UK extends – as it could – the registration obligation to EU citizens who were present before Brexit Day).

If the EU27 and UK agree that the existing EU law still applies and the pre-Brexit ECJ case law remains binding, in principle the issue is resolved, at least during the transitional period. But what if the UK breaches this agreement, or if there is some question about how the UK applies the requirement, or if there is some new relevant ECJ case law? Then the important questions will be whether the existing EU law remedies (direct effect, supremacy, damages) are still available; whether UK courts can still ask the ECJ questions; and whether the UK courts are obliged to follow post-Brexit ECJ case law.

This issue, important as it would be for many EU citizens resident in the UK, is only a microcosm of the legal issues raised by the transition period – and which the UK and EU27 will hopefully have time to consider properly.

Barnard & Peers: chapter 27

Photo credit: Thousand Wonders

Buying a fast Motorbike

hindablackbirdI’ve decided to go back to biking and buy myself a second hand Honda Blackbird.  I have had 21 motorbikes in my life – mostly Honda Fireblades 900cc and Honda Blackbirds 1100cc.  Top speed is 198mph.  I also bought a Ducati 916 which was fun. Got stopped in Spain by Guardia Civil bike cop at 6.00 am on a motorway near Mojacca – empty road – doing 194 mph.  I was on a Honda Blackbird. Speed limit was 80 mph..  The cop fired a red flare into the air and the red smoke was very visible as was his light wand to wave me in!  He just laughed.  We smoked cigars and sat on each others bikes and chatted.  He did suggest that I only drove at 30 mph above speed limit near the big towns and cities on my way back as Motorway car cops were not so amusing or relaxed.  It was good advice.

I am going to get back on a bike – I am on a ‘Mission’. The bike pictured above was one of my Blackbirds.  A good second hand Blackbird is not expensive.  Few bikers want such a fast bike these days in Britain and prefer the slightly smaller 900 cc bikes like Fireblades etc.

The best money I spent was not on a bike but on an Advanced Riding course with a Metropolitan Police bike copper who was also a bike instructor.  a 2 day course 6 hours riding each day – in the cold pouring rain.  The instructor was brilliant.  We could talk to each other through microphones fitted in our helmets.  I was cornering at speeds of 70 mph by the end of the course – in the rain.  Before the course I would have taken those corners at 40 mph!

And the latest news on President Trump

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers September/October 2017

The latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published.

In this issue

  • Data protection – Eduardo Ustaran of Hogan Lovells helps you focus your efforts in preparing for the GDPR
  • Security – Robert Casalis de Pury of UniRom Systems explains what https is and why you should implement it
  • Justice system – Paul Magrath considers the efficacy of the ongoing developments in HMCTS’ Reform program
  • Websites – Delia Venables and guests consider why solicitors might want to provide free legal content online
  • Resources – Lisa Davies of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies describes the many resources IALS hosts
  • Security – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words explains what encryption is, the pros and cons and related legislation
  • Publishers – Several online publishers describe recent developments in their services for lawyers

Access the Newsletter online

How’s your CPD competence planning going?

Very soon you are going to have to account for how you have assessed and met your learning and development needs to remain competent to practice in 2017. How’s it going?

Using our Internet for Lawyers CPD 2017 competence service you can quickly and easily create a Plan and keep the appropriate Records for SRA and BSB compliance purposes.

Our courses courses guide you, via online articles and exercises, through the legal resources and tools available, help you understand the internet and the legal issues it raises and assist you in the practical application of internet services to your legal practice.

A CPD 2017 service subscription is £120+VAT. Groups of 5 or more £60+VAT per member.

Sign up online now. And please tell a friend!

 

Guest Post : Merchant Taylors’ School: A Different Kind of Sixth Form

Merchant Taylors’ School: A Different Kind of Sixth Form

Jon Rippier | Director of Communications & Teacher of Modern Languages

Across the country, time spent in the Sixth Form is increasingly seen as a waiting room for university. When I joined Merchant Taylors’ in 2016 I was delighted to find that it is a school where this is very far from the case. Yes, we ensure that boys are well prepared for the process of university application (we send large numbers to Oxbridge and Imperial each year, as well as to Russell Group universities and to the US) –  but we also create an environment where boys can fully flourish. This might be in small classes (often just 8-10 boys) which facilitate more receptive learning, or in sports teams which achieve boarding-school levels of achievement (our U17 cricket team are the new national champions) or in a memorable concert or play. Beyond that we also encourage boys to give back through charities like Phab, where Merchant Taylors’ boys and St Helen’s girls work together to look after severely disabled children for a week, or in outreach to local primary schools.

Of course, in what is a fiercely competitive job market, we also endeavour to guide boys in their early career planning. We do this by giving every boy an individual career plan, through our Careers Department. They can also tap into our network of alumni and parents to gain vital work experience and advice; for example, this year we placed boys in work at range of different places, from consulting firm Deloitte, to Oncopole, a world-leading cancer research facility in Toulouse. Our Scholars gain the additional benefit of specialist mentors, Oxbridge-style tutorials and a workshop with a leading academic – last year’s cohort benefiting from a session with Lord Mervyn King and a talk on monetary policy. Parents are rightly concerned that their sons are ready for the real world but intense study complemented by little else is no such preparation. We look to help boys realise their varied talents and build their characters as well as learn the importance of academic rigour. To illustrate the point, our newly refurbished Sixth Form centre has a large area for social interaction, as well as space for collaborative study and the latest IT facilities. The ideas for Young Enterprise companies, plans for House drama and allocation of Prefect responsibilities are all forged  in this productive space. We are convinced that the Sixth Form should be the best two years of their school careers. The 250 recent leavers who returned for drinks in the Head Master’s garden at the start of term hopefully shows we are striking the right balance.

I have retired from Law blogging

freedomI am 64 and I have just had enough of Law in my life.  It has been interesting – but far less interesting than history, art, photography, politics and all books I read which interest and educate me far more than law ever did.

 

I regret now, looking back, ever reading Law.  That was a foolish decision – although I did enjoy quite a bit of my time teaching law – rather more than founding law schools and having the tedious hassle of actually running them.  64 current practising QCs taught at my law schools in their early days in practice.  They were excellent men and women and proved their excellence in later life in practice.  I enjoyed working with them.

I will cover the occasional law story, particularly Human Rights and matters judicial and professional  – but the blog is going to be much more varied….and eclectic, a better word for what I plan for the blog.  I will also cover what my fellow Law Bloggers are writing about.

I hope you will continue to visit from time to time.

Bon Voyage, Folks  CRY FREEEEDOM \o/

 

(I suspect that I will get bored of retiring from law blogging by Saturday evening and un-retire!)

Saturday night update:  Can’t possibly retire from Law blogging!

 

Time for a Bit of Jerry Hayes – ex Tory MP and barrister

jerryhayes5IF YOU KNEW SUSHI LIKE SHE KNEW SUSHI

Jerry Hayes, Barrister

 

“If the Number 10 operation resembles Fawlty Towers on a bad day the upcoming party conference will be a bit like Titus Andronicus without the jokes.

There are four stages in the downfall of a Prime Minister. Arrogance, incompetence, ridicule and pity. Madame has the gift of being able to portray all four simultaneously. It is quite an art and must have taken years of practice. Her trip to Japan has been a masterclass of how not to behave in front of the Japanese. She was surprised that she was served sushi rather than steak. After all you don’t go to Japan to eat their bloody foreign food do you? And then she told the press that she doesn’t go too much on Karaoke either and has NEVER performed. That’s almost as bad as telling Mr. Abe that she has never dated a Japanese man because she was of the belief that they had small penises. But traveller beware. Penises are a particularly no go topic of conversation in Japan. A friend once went into a gay bar in Tokyo, sat next to a thong of pretty boys and raised his glass in salute in anticipation of a night of unbridled debauchery. “Chin, chin,” he leered. Well, the reaction was not one that he expected. The crowd went mad and beat the crap out of him. You see, chin chin means small cock in Japanese. I do hope someone has warned Madame. On the other hand it will be fun if they haven’t. It reminds me of Thatcher’s disastrous trip to Turkey where her speech writers had put in a couple of lines from Bryon where he said how much he loved the Turks. The poor scribbler hadn’t read the rest of the poem which went onto explain why Byron loved the Turks, which was basically that the boys were a great shag. This didn’t go down at all well and Thatcher’s bid to build the new Bosporus bridge went to Japan.

Anyhow, Madame braved her sushi and ate an urchin. No doubt this was a subtle signal to the carpet biting wing of the Conservative party that she was launching a new, radical, child poverty initiative. Eating an urchin cleverly solves two problems. It culls those awful chavs that those delightful people in Activate seem to despise and will provide a vital source of food after we have left the EU and the starving roam the streets. Splendid. A stroke of genius….

Read the rest here

Mike Briercliffe at briercliffe.com – a useful resource

Mike Briercliffe writes..“One of the key aspects of my work is “Content in Context” curation – this site is a “one stop” showcase for much of the content streams and digests that I preside upon.

I hope you find it interesting and pay regular visits to catch up with what I’m seeing that I think is relevant and read-worthy.

As you will see, I sometimes carry “sponsored” links. My policy is simple: if I like it AND it’s relevant – I’ll maybe tell you about it.

I won’t carry links to anything I don’t consider worthy. Sometimes I get paid for these links.

If you’d like your company to be featured here – drop me a line and we’ll make an arrangement. Painless.”

Link to Briercliffe.com 

Dr Death told me 5 years ago that I had 3 days to live… he was wrong….thankfully

I am still blogging…and I have absolutely no trust in medical doctors (Nor Doctors of Law)  now.,..none at all.

 

I will die, in time, like we all do  (I am 64) – but I do hope that there is no Doctor at my bedside or at the pub where I am taking a picture and  pint of Guinness. in Perth.  (Four Tanners opposite a church where people pray to a god that does exist…Fine by me.)

The greatest game on earth? Cricket…here are some cakes!

I enjoy cricket… I try to watch or listen to every first class test cricket match.  I played cricket reasonably well as a youngster.  I was a wicket keeper – I enjoyed stumping and shouting “Agggghhhhht” at the umpires.

I also bowled rather badly.  I remember practising my bowling in Crete on a holiday many years ago by bowling pebbles from the beach into the sea.  I may have had too much of the local hooligan juice – Retsina.

 

As for batting… Mixed fortunes – I did score 110 in one innings in Africa.  I was 21.

 

Cricket is a fantastic game – subtle, tactical and far more dangerous to players than Rugby and American football.   The commentators on test Match Special – are world class.  I miss Jonners and the cakes.  And as for his immortal commentary England v West Indies:  “The Batman’s Holding, the bowler’s Willie”…one can only laugh.

Law is tedious. Far better things to study and do in life

I read Geology at University before law after working in Zambia as a geologist after school.  I really regret both studying law at university and running two law schools.  I look upon it now as a wasted life.  History would have been far more interesting to study. So would English literature and Art.

For those contemplating law as a career:   Don’t read law at University.  You won’t learn much of value to you in later life.  Law teaching in universities can be patchy and certainly, in many instances I suspect,  would not survive a rigorous inspection by serious education inspectors. Study something else at university and do a Diploma in law and then qualify as a solicitor / barrister in the usual way by doing their fair but  unchallenging examinations.

Nothing wrong with a career in law – be you a fair minded individual who cares about society and practices in those fields or one who simply wants to make loads of dosh.

 

I wish all those who do law and work in law well.  I am not going to be covering as much law – apart from Human Rights and instances of Injustice in the English Legal System – on my blog from now on.  There is no shortage of injustice in English law to write about.   Google throws up many instances of it. I don’t blame the lawyers or the judges.  They merely have to follow Government produced ‘Laws’. That is their job.

Rive Gauche: The Shipping and Drinking Forecast

panamahatphone16I often go to sleep listening to the Shipping Forecast and wake to it at 5.20.  I keep my Radio on BBC Radio 4  on all night.

I amused myself one evening by doing my own version of the Shipping Forecast – The Drinking Forecast.

I often phone friends on my iLobsterphone 7.0

Have a good weekend…

 

Here is “The Drinking Forecast” in the style of The Shipping Forecast, if you would like to listen to it….

 

Postcard from the Scone Staterooms in Scone, Perthshire

After 52 days of rain without a break – the sun has been released from Guantanamo Bay by the absurd President Trump  of “America needs to heel’  (sic) fame.  and appears once again over the pleasant lands of Perth & Kinross where I live in a village called ‘Scone’ – pronounced ‘Scoon’. A wonderful place with a duckpond and a swan and five cygnets.  The male swan, sadly, was killed by a thug with a catapult.

I have several cameras and a book from a good friend “40 Town and Country Walks in Perthshire”.  I plan, over time, to complete all 40 walks in the book with my deerstalker hat, walking stick, camera, cigars and hip flask.  I tend to try and walk 10 miles every day and 25 on Sundays.  It is excellent exercise and I stop to natter with kindred souls en route – many of who smoke.  Two also carry hip flasks with the water of the Gods (Whisky) in it.

 

Unusually, the sun is shining.  52 days of rain in last 53 days.  So good to see the sun as we head towards Autumn and Winter. Winter is my favourite season. I also enjoy rain – bracing

 

It is good to be back home in Scotland, particularly Perthshire which I know
glenalmondcoll2
well from my schooldays at Trinity College Glenalmond (Now Glenalmond College) , a well known school in Scotland – now co-educational.  In my day the only women we saw were in the newspapers, the Geology teacher and the kitchen staff and a wonderful lady who ran the ‘Tuck Shop’.