Art?: Mixed media chess board

Chess is by far my favourite game these days.  I have several chess boards, including a glass board with glass pieces.  I play Chess against the iMac Computer on the very clever electronic chess game which comes with iMacs.

I thought a creazzione using wooden board, some gold, brown, black and purple paint and some small balls stuck on with glue and paint would keep me amused.  It did.

 

F*ckART: Time Star

With way too much time on my hands this wet, cold, windy morning in Scone, Perth & Kinross – and with no appetite at all to write about Law today – I amused myself first by buying a large RED suede hat in excellent condition from The Salvation Army shop in Perth (£5) and then created some ART by sticking a broken Hunter watch onto a canvas with superglue, and a red Labour Party Star which I obtained from a Labour Party stall in Perth High Street a few weeks ago and smeared some fast drying acrylic paint onto the canvas.  Kept me amused and I like the effect. It is a form of ‘Re-cycling’ ?

It is unlikely that anyone will want to buy this work – but I would be happy to sell at £30 if it would amuse you to buy it.  I will sign it “Charonasso”….in fact, I have signed it twice at the top and at the bottom – so you may display the ‘work’ as you wish – even upside down!

Syringe Art from Charonasso

SyringeArt 1 with SNP key ring and syringe
Charonasso Syringe Period
June 2016

This is what I do to amuse myself when there is no law lurking in the shadows to write about.

The pharmacist in Perth was very worried that I wanted to buy syringes – fearing that I may be a drug taker.  I assured him that I was a professional smoker, did not take drugs and wanted to squirt paint onto a canvas with the syringe to keep myself amused.  He was a young Indian pharmacist and was nervous.  I took this painting into his shop afterwards – about 20 minutes later to reassure him. (One of my nicknames when I painted at School was ‘Risotto’ and sold various ‘creazione‘ to fellow students – ready in 20 minutes)

He asked if I ever sold my ‘works’. My pulse raced, believing that I might be on the brink of making a sale.  I told him that I had sold a few.  He did not offer to buy it!

 

Injected paint squirted through a syringe at a canvas II 2016

Injected paint squirted through a syringe at a canvas II 2016 – Charon QC 
After a most enjoyable walk to Scone and back – a good few miles, and a quick pint of Guinness…I thought I should fill my syringes with coloured acrylic paints and do another painting.  I’ve not painted by using syringes to fire paint at a canvas before – kept me amused for a good half hour earlier ‘thinking and executing the work’.  The canvas is 3t x 1ft.  Paints used – acrylic.

Happy to sell for £30 + posting.  Equally happy to keep them and hang them in the new flat in Scone when I move….soon.

Charon’s “Lost The Plot INJECTION ART Series”

Having exhausted myself reading a rather dull law report – so dull, I can’t even be bothered to write about it. I decided to amuse myself by doing a new painting – not with a brush, mind – but with a plastic syringe purchased from a Local Pharmacist.  the pharmacist asked me why I needed a syringe – suspicious, perhaps, that I was going to ‘inject something into myself’.  He seemed even more baffled when I told him the truth – that I wanted to squirt acrylics paints at a canvas for a new series of F*ckART paintings I am doing.

The first in the series “Charon’s Syringe Period 2016′ is pictured. The ‘Work’ – took about 1 min 50 seconds to execute.  I suspect that it may well be my last…?

The painting is 3ft x 1 ft… 

 

For Sale £30 + postage. Email Me

Shark in the sea with Diamonds By Charon in his ‘Lost the plot’ period.

Shark in the sea with Diamonds
By Charon in his ‘Lost the plot’ period.

This ‘Homage’ to Damien Hurst – a famous artist who amused the world by pickling sharks in tanks and encrusted a skull with Diamonds is now available at a much more modest price than Mr Hurst would sell for…. a bargain at £10 + pp – and, so you get some additional benefit for your professional work  – you may have a free advert on the blog for a year.

Do email me if you would like to buy it.  Can deliver in London and you can even sign the painting yourself or I can… or, indeed, we both can sign it.

 

F**kArt: I thought it was time for a few Twitter Commandments and…“There’s a plot…let’s go and lose it!”

The Ten Twitter Commandments
Charon 2009

Back later…quite possibly with some LAW even… etc etc… a fine sunny evening…perfect weather for some Smokedo

I unashamedly modify my friend The Fat Bigot Opines’ “There’s a goat, let’s scape it”.. for the title of my latest post.  It seems that I may be losing the plot.

This was my view some years ago when I first wrote this post…I am ‘cured’ now…I think?

Many years ago, until I was about 35, I was fairly fit.  A couple of years ago I had an unpleasant illness which I survived and,  fed up with the advice of doctors and pills,  I decided three weeks ago to dispense with both and  that loads of fruit, vegetables and a lot of strength training was needed.  So… I developed a taste for doing press ups while taking a cigarette outside on the top floor of a building.  This graduated to push ups, squats, calf lifts, abs and with a 5Kg dumbell purchased a week ago,  the repertoire increased to all the things one can do smokedo18jun7with a dumbell.  There are dangers with Smokedo.  The picture to the left demonstrates that excessive use of weights while smoking can cause the outer skin to fall off. A Doctor of Law friend of mine told me that he was very concerned about this – so gave up weight training while smoking.  My muscles grew, the fat started to burn off and now… I have two 20kg dumbells…delivered this very morning by Mr Amazon who was not happy about lugging 100lbs worth of weights up several flights of stairs.   He muttered about lifts when he arrived at my door.  I smiled and said that the lack of a lift (or elevator for my american friends) was a bore, thanked him and waved goodbye.  He looked a bit pale.

I am a 30aday Dan…  so each time I smoke, alternating days for upper body and lower body, I do  sets of eight to ten  exercises with reps varying from 20-50 depending on the exercise.

I noticed that my stomach was getting bigger.  The thought dawned on me that I should burn off the fat on the waist before doing abdominal crunches! So that is what I shall do.

Unfortunately, gentlemen drinkers will know that men put weight on around their gut and it is the last fat to get burned off.  Gentlemen drinkers will only know this, of course, if they have a taste for exercise.  Not all do. I do not exclude women, of course, but I am advised by a very fit woman friend of mine that with women the thighs and the bum is the most difficult to keep under control.  This conjured up images in my mind which I shall not dwell on in this serious law blog.

I have also noticed that I appear to have started walking like an australopithicene.  I am told that when the muscles get used to the assault I am putting them through I shall start to walk normally again provided I don’t overdo the thigh exercises. I won’t.

I have a rowing machine arriving – a cheap one – to get a bit of cardio done and I’m toying with the idea of getting a bike so that I can exercise and smoke as I go to interesting places on the bike… or even to collect my supplies of cigarettes.  As I  am now a wine reviewer,  and I am receiving a fair number of bottles to review,  I am in excellent spirits… so… I am going for the burn… possibly, literally…
I no longer drink.  I continue to do Smokedo

Rive Gauche: Over-refreshed groom tries to eat bride’s leg

The Huffington Post reports: “No one will ever begrudge a groom for having a couple of drinks at his own wedding but there’s a limit. Unfortunately no-one told this chap.

He is absolutely bladdered. And his bride is absolutely raging.

Not content with giving a horrifically toe-curling lap dance in full view of everyone in front of his new bride he then sets about trying to eat her leg. Bravo…”

***

It might be best to follow that story with something just as surreal?

Diamond Shark
Charon

I met Damien Hurst many years ago at The Groucho Club in London with an old friend – who was masquerading as a television ‘celeb’ chef at the time.. We were mildly over refreshed.  It was a Saturday night as far as I can recall now. Hurst also studded a skull with diamonds.  It was but a short leap of ‘F*ckart‘ for me to combine the two concepts in one of my ‘paintings’ (Above).  Not surprisingly, I never sold my ‘work’ and still have it!  But there we are. I could be ‘persuaded’ to sell my shark for a tenner.  If you fancy it – send me an email. 

 

A Charon painting for sale – “Let There be Greed” + AGE!

Let There Be Greed (December 2007)
Charon
Oil on canvas. 

If you would like to buy it – £20 + Post. I will also give you a free advert on the blog for a year if you would like one.   Please send me an email and we can take it from there for  delivery

And here is another smaller painting

Age
SOLD

If you would like the Greed painting above for a Send me an email if you are interested or a DM on twitter

Charonasso ‘Artwork’ for sale! A rare opportunity for a connoisseur – £20

Barristerman with bankcard, lucozade and cheque from law publisher
Charonasso 2015

An opportunity has arisen for you to acquire a Charon ‘painting’ in mixed media.  This work will almost certainly be a talking point at dinner parties should you wish to hang it in your dining room – particularly if your guests are ‘over refreshed’ with the fine wines you provide for them.

A particularly strong part of this mixed media ‘work’ is a cheque from a Law Publisher who cancelled it without any justification whatsoever – in my view…. but there we are, be that as it may…

If you wish to purchase this ‘work’, I will undertake not to produce a replica and will be more than happy to sign it or, indeed, leave you to sign it yourself, as you wish.  If you live in London I can deliver to you and we can have a coffee.  I will spare you any conversation about my ‘art’ etc etc etc…or, indeed, law of any kind.

If you fancy it – send me an email or DM on Twitter. £20 suit you? O.N.O – you may also have a free ad on my blog for a year – which probably makes more sense anyway?   I can also post it to you for whatever our fine postal services charge to either deliver the item or lose it en route

I have no idea who the old git with the tache is…he turns up like a porter at an auction to hold items up in front of the camera on my Mac computer…it seems to keep him amused and it assists me greatly because I can nip out for a fag while he does this important photographic work.

 

‘Important artwork for sale’ – A major find?

Barristerman with Lucozade, expired debit card and cheque from client in ‘payment for services rendered’ which was not ‘met’…
Charon 2015

Perhaps not the pinnacle of artistic achievement – or even definable within a ‘school of art’ –  but some would describe this as an attempt by Charon to keep himself amused on a quiet day and quite possibly, also, as nonsense.

I am selling this ‘work’ for £15 – or £16 if you would like me to throw in a Union Jack flag on a plastic flagstick which I brought some time back to wave at a Royal ‘event’. The cheque was from a ‘client’ which was not met by them…but these things happen… (I’ll pay the postage or give it to you in person if you live near a tube station in London)

 

 

The Social Media Maven pronounces … a painting from my past…

The Social Media Maven pronounces (2010)
Oil on Canvas
Charon

In the Collection of @ScottGreenfield

And it came to pass, when the Maven came down from the mount with the two tables of twitter rules  in Maven’s hand, when he came down from the mount, that Maven wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when@stephenfry and all the children of twitter saw the Maven, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.

And the Maven said… I have been a stranger in a strange land…. and I say unto you…whatever you tweet…happens…

Rive Gauche: A few paintings wot I did in the past….Happy Chrimbo etc etc…

I did paint ‘reasonably’ sensibly while at School well back into the last Century.  I am going to start painting again in the New Year.  It is unlikely that I will paint sensibly…. more of this sort of thing, I suspect:

But I may also do a few in this ‘style’….

Or even…this style…

I’ll Passmore on this (2009)
Oil on Canvas
Charon

Geometry was a bit of a mystery to the young Charon – but over time, and through necessity,  he came to understand the principles.  Now geometry fascinates Charon more in the shape than the practical application and for the possibilities of optical illusion. If one looks at the two circles in the middle of the painting;  soon one sees a cylinder, for the brain fills in the lines to connect the circles…and then the cylinders appear to change direction.  I put this to Charon.  He told me:  “See what you like, mate…. When I look into the circle at the bottom left, I am looking down into a wine bottle and it has wine in it… this is good.  When I look at the circle on the right, I am looking down into the bottle and there is no wine in it and I can even see the bar code.  This is not good.  When I look at the circle top right… it is the morning after and things, sometimes, are a bit bright.  I have no idea who did the circles and geometry in the middle… it is possible that I may have been burgled during the night.”

Au revoir for now... I am certain that I shall post on the morrow…I am not a great fan of Chrimbo…

Giving up smoking?

Having just recalled the advice of an old friend on Twitter…”If there is a plot…let us go and lose it.” – I took the advice and came up with some nonsense to hang on my wall.  I am using E-cigarettes in a vain attempt to give up smoking.  I have many of these E-cigarettes.  The conclusion I draw from this is…that my attempt to give up smoking is not going terribly well.

Well….at least I can put the used e-cigarettes to some good.  Am I getting the hang of this recycling thing?

Fence with Nosy Neighbour: Charon F**kArt painting.

I appear, still, to be using my time ‘wisely’.  I am painting a garden fence for the friends I am staying with.  I could not resist translating this rather unusual activity (for me) into a painting to add to my collection of F*ckArt nonsense.

I shall call this “Fence with Nosy Neighbour” (Not that neighbour is nosy).

***

The fence is the colour  in the painting.  Bright!  In fact, the paint I used is the fence paint.

***

Mind you – this ‘painting’ could equally be entitled “Surveillance Society”

 

UK Blawg Review #10 – Part 4

HUNT THE DRINKING & SMOKING LOBSTER COMPETITION

In Part 4 – the last of my reviews – I am hiding a picture of a  lobster that smokes and drinks in one of Parts 1-3 of UK Blawg Review #10 from earlier in the week. 

The challenge, for which there will be a prize of Professor Gary Slapper’s book –  More Weird Cases – is as follows:

1.  Locate the lobster and email it to me. The lobster wasn’t there when I published Part 1-3 – but it is now!

2.  Write in no more than 140 characters (as in tweets) – your opinion of the Justice system

3.  The best 140 ‘opinion’ on the Justice system will win

4.  Charon Rules – as per the Caption Competition in Part 1 – apply.  (PS There is still time to enter the Caption Competition as well)


I’d like to thank Michael Scutt, who set up the UK Blawg Roundup concept,  for giving me the opportunity to have a romp through a few UK Blawgs.  I can’t cover every blog – but as my Weekly Law Overviews  starts next week, bloggers can be sure that I will be highlighting a few UK law blog posts each week going forward.

So it seems appropriate, given that practising solicitor Michael Scutt also blogs, to start with this post from his Jobsworth blog: Vince Cable: In the Eye of the Storm

***

A barrister’s job is to put the case for the defense as effectively and clearly as would his client if he had an advocate’s skills. The barrister’s belief or disbelief in the truth of the story is irrelevant: it’s for the jury to decide this often difficult question. 

Sir John Mortimer QC

Since I still have ‘something of the random’ about me since I started writing UK Blawg Review #10 last Sunday – a post about coffee which keeps many lawyers at the grindstone,  written by Jon Bloor of Peninsulawyer, caught my eye: Coffee week

And so to more serious matters…

I like a bit of dirt… and while I am not a Property Lawyer (Although I defeated the Land Law examiner who said I would fail because I attended not a single of his Land Law lectures or tutorials by getting a First in the subject.  He was even more astonished than I was. I got lucky,  revising five subjects with all five coming up for the four questions required – not a technique I recommended to any of the many students I taught over 30 years!)…

I do read Jon Dickins’ Digging The Dirt from time to time: Apparently – Al-Jazeera to Become First Tenant of The Shard?

And since we are in this together – I thought a trip over to Bearwatch ( a blog I enjoy visiting) would cheer me up.  It didn’t!  UK debt far worse than USA’s

Milly Bancroft, a regular on our Without Prejudice series of podcasts (and short listed for The Orwell Prize this year),  has an amusing post from her Beneath The Wig blog which I just cannot resist: And I am not making this up…

Paul Bernal, an experienced academic, has a fascinating blog on human rights, privacy and the internet.  This latest piece gives a flavour: Who goes where???

Nick Holmes who runs the Infolaw websites, blogs from time to time:  I enjoyed this post: Scooping up work online with the “long tail”

I believe that most, if not all, lawyers need to be up to date on financial and economic matters.  I am a regular reader of  the excellent Capitalists@Work blog.  This post provides a very good taster: U-turns are healthy

Fill My Days in Legal London can provide amusing diversions in the day.  This post illustrates: Lately, I’ve been mainly reading erotic literature

And on that note… time to move on to my next semi-structured section….

***

Barristerman! (2009), Oil on Canvas
Charon

Charon read too many Marvel comics when he was a kid…and he likes Roy Lichtenstein also….nuff said.

If you are planning a career at the Bar – a good starting point would be visit a visit to Simon Myerson QC’s blog Pupillage and How to Get it blogFilled with top quality advice and guidance.

The Pupillage Blog is another ‘must read’ for intending barristers.

AND since we are talking about barristers… I am delighted to punt Tim Kevan’s Babybarista book.. Law and Peace currently just £1.19 on the Kindle for the Jubilee!

Family Law barrister Jacqui Gilliat continues to amuse with serious and odd snippets on her Bloody Relations blog: D.I.V.O.R.C.E: the mother of all separation songs

And we must not forget about the clerks… this from the energetic Jeremy Hopkins –  who has recently moved from 3VB to be Director of Operations at Riverview LawClerkingwell is a pleasure to read.  Try this for size: Psilkology

The Free Movement blog is written mainly by barristers in the immigration team at Renaissance Chambers. In a recent post they ask: Can the UK suspend free movement?

And.. an essential resource from Inner Temple’s Current Awareness Library team – a very good source of news, casenotes and other law materials

The Barrister Bard continues to analyse and provoke...The New Jerusalem

Come the New Jerusalem, when I am elected Divine Leader, I shall abolish all Public Inquiries as a complete waste of time and space.  They are excruciatingly boring, and for the most part, they tell us nothing we didn’t already know…..

Barrister James Vine on thebungblog – a lightheartedly serious look at the Bribery Act 2010: “A QUESTION OF INTERPRETATION”

I don’t usually write about my own cases, because I have never been a big believer in blowing my own trumpet. In addition to that, this blog is supposed to be about the Bribery Act, although with the caveat in the “About” section (which nobody reads) that I may wander off at a tangent from time to time. Well this is that time…

Read more…

In parts 1-3 you will find many examples of blogs written by barristers.

***

A lawyer without history or literature is a mechanic, a mere working mason; if he possesses some knowledge of these, he may venture to call himself an architect.
Walter Scott

A knowledge of what is happening in Europe – apart from irritating shield munching tory beserkers on the backbenches is always useful to a lawyer: IPrivacy4IT – Clarinette’s blog: French Presidential elections a successful story of divorce

International Conflict of Laws is an important subject for many lawyers. Conflict of Laws. net is a remarkable resource edited by Martin George and others.  The old cliche..”the devil is in the detail’ is a useful aphorism to remember.  This website is detailed: Folkman on International Judicial Assistance

Written by Jon Harman director of The College of Law Multi-media unit, – Digital Adventures is a delight to dip into: The Dinner Guardians

I read Law Actually most weeks.  Always incisive.  A recent post delivers a taste of the analysis provided: Fighting back against the PI claims scandal

 The personal injury niche generally comes in for a lot of bad press – deservedly so at times. As well as the infamous ambulance-chasing antics, sketchy client care and extortionate success fees, the dubious business of cross-referrals can badly impact the credibility of firms which work in this area.

Perhaps most pernicious of all is the practice of insurance companies selling potential claims to the firm of solicitors with the highest bid. (Think of it as exploiting claimants via e-Bay)…..

Law & Sexuality written by Chris Ashford, Reader in Law and Society in the Department of Law at the University of Sunderland in the UK, provides a clear and critical analysis of the application of law in this field: A Conspiracy of Silence

LawBore Future Lawyer, edited by Emily Albion is a most interesting and eclectic resource worth dipping into.

***

And so to a few blogs from the USA, Ireland and Canada – which I read and enjoy….in no particular order.

UK Blawg Roundup will be, I am sure,happy to tip a hat to Blawg Review, edited by the mysterious ‘Ed’.  I have had the pleasure of writing six Blawg Reviews over the years and will do so again if invited so to do.  It is an exceptional blog – hosted each week by a different lawyer (in the main from the US – but lawyers and academics from other countries  are often invited to host.)

WhatAboutClients? – which transmogrifies at weekends into WhatAboutParis? is written by good friend, US lawyer Dan Hull – an anglophile who claims roots in East Anglia, from the Normans and, like me I suspect – from whatever stock du jour it is which pleases him.  We are all, thankfully, mongrels at heart.

The client focused side of Dan’s blog is direct, blunt and to the point. The WhatAboutParis? side is thoughtful, suggestive, provocative, informative and, above all..an interesting read.  please do have a look:  a post from each side – 12 Rules of Client Service: You don’t get to have a “bad day” and Remembering: What do you remember about childhood? Does it matter?

And so to one of the most incisive and direct legal minds writing on law blogs anywhere in the world – Simple Justice.  Scott Greenfield does not mess about – except when accepting Earldoms from me or playing himself as a US defense lawyer representing the hapless George in West London Man (infra) – but that is another story.  He is direct..very direct… and he accepts criticism and takes it on.  Simple Justice is an excellent read – even if you know nothing about US (New York) law or criminal defense work. Scott Greenfield is wide ranging in critical analysis.  The post that follows will give you a very clear taster!

If You Say So

Some clients want to tell their lawyer everything under the sun, using tens of thousands of words to express thoughts that require maybe a dozen. Some answer questions posed to them succinctly and clearly.  Some don’t say much.  Some lie.

The liar isn’t malevolent. He’s manipulative.  Maybe he survived on the street by his wits, and can’t quite give up the tools that kept him alive thus far.  More likely, he believes, as many do, that if he convinces his lawyer that he’s an innocent man, his lawyer will love him more and represent him better.  It’s not that he views his lawyer as the enemy (though that often becomes the case as the lawyer is the messenger for a miserable system, and comes to personify all the client comes to hate), as much as he can’t quite bring himself to trust someone.

And so the lawyer asked the client questions, and the client responds.  The lawyer knows that the client isn’t being forthright with him, and pushes the client. Sometimes, he even tells the client that he’s lying, and that his lies won’t serve his cause.

Do you really want your lawyer to be the stupidest guy in the room?

They can’t help it. This isn’t an intellectual choice, but an emotional one. The believe they can beat the system, outwit it, by lying to their lawyer

Read more….

Colin Samuels, a good friend, has won five Blawg Review annual prizes for the exceptional quality of his writing.  I had the pleasure of doing an Unsilent Partners collaborative Blawg Review with him and we are now collaborating on the social atrocity satire of George aka West London Man.  (Episode 26 is here: West London Man (26): THE ADVENTURE OF THE FINAL PROBLEM)

Colin Samuels writes on his own blog Infamy or Praise. (The service was down this afternoon – hopefully a temporary glitch)

Finally in the US selection:  Gideon – A Public Defender

Another good friend and fellow blogger, Antonin Pribetic is an enthusiastic supporter of UK law blogs.  His Trial Warrior blog is thoughtful, analytical and incisive – a very enjoyable read. His recent Blawg Review #319 will also give you an insight into his views and thoughts.

And finally… a must read for all interested in Human Rights Law:  Cearta.ie (Irish for Rights) written by Dr Eoin O’Dell a Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin.

***

AND really finally… Chef Charon présente

Originally, I awarded myself 21 stars. But upon reflection and coming to the view that readers would find this preposterous ‘cheffery’ on an industrial scale – I have reduced the number of stars to a more credible 18.  Here is a recipe for my ‘famous’ Boeuf Buggerorf

Not that I need a reason for introducing complete nonsense into my UK Blawg Review #10 – but, as it happens, there is a reason…. Nicky Richmond, a property lawyer, writes a very amusing blog about Law and food… well… mainly food – Saying It Straight.  The reviews may assist you in deciding where to dine.  The writing is wonderful.  Most enjoyable.  Dip in and read… you won’t regret it: The Arts Club. Do you have to be a member to join?

Time to say goodbye for UK Blawg Review #10.  I leave you with two pieces of nonsense wot I knocked up some time back.

I have enjoyed reading and writing about the blogs in parts 1-54.  I’m only sorry I can’t cover every UK Blawg. Reading and writing  for all Blawg Reviews (US and now UK) I have done takes a fair bit of time.  (I often get asked how long blog reviews take. These four parts took just under 24 non-billable hours! –  for me – a pleasure.

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”

“Really…?”

“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…

“Ah….”

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.

I often listen to The Shipping Forecast on Radio 4 before heading for sleep.  Here is my Drinking Forecast, complete with ‘Drinking By’

listen (3-4 mins)

Well.. there we are.  Fin.  Adios for now…

Part 1 of UK Blawg Review #10 is below and linked  here

Part 2 of UK Blawg Review #10 is here

Part 3 of UK Blawg Review #10 is here

I am delighted to be hosting #10 of the UK Blawg Review roundup