Listening to/reading/watching

  • Spooks, Heroes and Little Dorrit
  • The Ascent of Money
  • Fountains of Wayne, Dusty Springfield, Nickleback, Talking Heads

Cluster Map

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What's New?

Honestly doesn't it drive you mental when people ask that ? My life is not one unending search for novelty thank you all the same.

Actually what is new is pretty scary. The "financial crisis " can seem distant and esoteric but to put some personal spin on it. If the American insurance company AIG had not been propped up by the US government and had folded, more than half of the solicitors practices in the UK would have had to close their doors over night. At least while they found themselves new professional indemnity insurance. AIG is the biggest provider of PI insurance - which is of course compulsory and without which necessary evil no solicitor can work. Fortunatley for now - until they turn out to be the next victim - I'm with Zurich!

Lots of litigation is also funded by after the event insurance - a client of mine has just concluded a deal on a case which was so funded. And this afternoon (3 weeks after it was promised ) we have had to have the "where is the fucking money?" telephone call.

Unsurprisingly I'm not lifting a pen without being paid on account!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Freelancing for the Faint Hearted

Yes it's true, I sit around the house all day, staring at a computer screen and waiting for the telephone to ring. I don't drag into the office on a train, I don't wear a suit every day anymore (just high days, holidays and court days!) and I don't have to worry about having partners in a law firm.

But I still haven't got it sussed yet, although having read the Sunday times this week I'm not as bad as some!

Stuff I don't do;

- take naps
- watch day time televisiosn
- lie face down on the carpet drooling
- sit in my pyjamas all day
- eat chocolate
- spread my work all around the house

Stuff I do do;

- walk the dog every day
- keep all my work in the office
- work odd hours if I feel like it
- ride the horse first thing in the morning instead of going to work
- have a bad addiction to celebrity gossip websites - mrpaparrazzi (don't go there, it's just wrong!)
- have a very, very tidy office with fresh flowers and scented candles - you sad indulgent bint Lippy!
- cook nice dinners every day (did this malaysian salmon recipie last night - stole it out of the hairdressers copy of OK magazine and it was yum! maybe I should post it?!)
- go out to business networking events at least a couple of times a month

Stuff I wish I did;

- went to the gym every day instead of a paltry couple of times a week
- understood my own tax returns instead of just bursting into tears and throwing the envelopes at my accountant - but he's a nice man and his wife is a lawyer who does exactly the same thing so he understands.
- really kept on top of all my legal research so I didn't have to rush around like a nutter trying to get all my CPD points in the last 3 weeks of the training year like everyone else.
- have enough self discipline not to leave all my really horrible phone calls until 4pm thus ruining the rest of the day!

C'est la vie de Lippy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The flexibility of being freelance is mosly lovely, but it can lead one to make appointments in a fashion that may strike others as well, frankly, a little bit mental.

For example next Friday I have a dressage test in the morning and a fast track trial in the afternoon..........................hmmmmm

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


It is very definatley autumn isn't it. And no sign at all of that Indian Summer that we all convinced ourselves we were going to get, on the basis that, after such a lousy August - WE DESERVED IT!

The weather God clearly disagrees.

The mantra for everyone seems to be "spend less and save more" - and it's certainly true Chez Lippy, in a fit of thrift I promised the TB that I wouldn't buy any new clothes for the next six months. As I've gone down one jeans size and am well on the way to dropping another this could be pretty interesting. So far I've stolen one of his belts, punched new holes in it and am adopting the baggy "boyfriend jean" look.........this isn't going to work quite so well with the suits that I wear for court. I may have to negotiate a "new frock for court" exemption and a "new suit disclamer" - but I'll allow the financial weather to make up it's mind first.

Even more disharteningly all the really crazy clients have decided that "Lawyers are not an essential business spend" . I am overwhelmed with nostalgia. Oh for the heady times when client's would fill their next door neighbours sewage outflow pipe with expanding foam (just in time for Christmas), the case of sunken floating restaurant which was owned by an insolvent partnership both partners in which promptly died, the grandmother who , when her son died, discovered he had been ripping her off for years and promptly (before the funeral) issued proceedings against her grandsons who were the executors of his estate. Ah well.....those were the days........

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quarks and Strangeness.

Well a couple of 5.30am starts this week (to get to London for 8.30 am meetings) led to some falling off the waggon. Having got myself to Liverpool St for 8 am I awarded myself a Cafe Nero skinny cappucino, twice - oh dear! And whilst I still haven't had any bread - a bit of pastry but no bread. And bizarrley with the cappucinos and some large glasses of white wine, and only going to the gym once - I've started losing weight again! Hurrah! But how weird is that - apparently tight lipped, hanging on in desparation is a self defeating posture to adopt. I suspect though that unless I climb back on the waggon pretty sharpish the gains will soon turn into losses.

Talking of losses - I can't actually worry about money at this point. I've taken my disaster on the chin and I'm carrying on. My poor Mum and Dad are very concerned as they have pensions and investment income only, quite a lot of it in the Halifax. But hell, if the worst comes to the worst, we've got a big spare room they can sell their house and move in. It would have to be pretty hairy for them to volunteer for that though - whilst we get on pretty well it's an exceptional family that gets on THAT well.

How was London? London was fine, very good meeting, very good conference. Ended up in a rather fabulous pub just off Kensington High St. It looked like a spit and sawdust boozer from the outside, but inside was all blonde wood and squashy leather sofas. We fell into conversation with a former "Miss Teen New Zealand" and her rich English boyfriend. The boyf had , like my brother before him, acquired a full on South African accent on the strengh of a six week stay in Cape Town and as a result was virtually incomprehensible. Almost makes you glad you are not rich enough to fritter your life away in Kensington Boozers every day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Planet Legal

Well here on planet legal insolvency is the hottest game in town and let me tell you it's not much fun.

I am a litigator, all of my client's are therefore, by definition, unhappy people. As things stand in the world of business many of them are also desparate people. And there are limits to what can be done to help.

If your business is looking shaky don't hang around hoping that things will get better - chances are they won't, draw a line, call a halt, get some help. And keep chasing your debtors hard - very hard and if you haven't got the knackers to chase hard pay me and I'll do it for you.

So keep your costs down, and your product development up - and don't ask me how to do those two things simultaneously, I've spent a small fortune on training updates for myself this month which is what passes for "product devlopment" in my profession....well that and going to the gym so you don't have a heart attack in the court room. I do sometimes wonder whether the old school litigators had it right, the ones who had to be fetched from the snug at the Dog and Duck when it was time for closing submissions. On the other hand the last one I knew who had survivied chirossis went bankrupt.............

Friday, September 12, 2008

When John McCain dies it's going to be very bad!

Well you may think it is high time that I took my head out of my arse and had a look at the outside world...and you would be right.

Oh dear I know Barack Obama had many reasons not to want Hillary as vice president but I think that is a failure of nerve that he is going to live to regret for ever.

Sarah Palin is clearly a bloody nightmare ; doesn't believe in sex education in schools (doesn't look like the parents did a very good job in her house!); doesn't beleive in global warming; has never travelled any further afield than Canada and Mexico. And has all the empathy and intellecutal depth of the moose heads she sticks on her walls. But she clearly has the "Daily Mail" factor going for her in spades. Putting the governor's private jet up for sale on ebay was a political masterstroke. If you don't think about her policies for too long they almost sound sensible - "We are importing a lot of oil - that's bad" "We could dig up Alaskan oil that would be good. And so if a few polar bears die there's plenty more and this global warming stuff is a myth anyway."

I admit that she gives me hives. But I think part of what makes her so scary is that she represents the America that none of us card carrying lefty Europeans want to admit even exists. The red necked bit in the middle. We've seen Deliverance. We know they are out there - looks like they are coming to a White House near you very soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Doing something right?

Our lovely French exchange student goes home next week. We will miss her she is so sweet. And she said "I am really going to miss all the lovely food you cook when I go back to France.."

So I'm not totally hopeless!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Head down...but doesn't that leave your arse exposed?

So how is it all going? The family are OK - TB is working hard as his factory gears up for their annual insanely busy phase. AB is back to school and loving everything about school apart from the actual lessons. She tried "forgetting" to do her homework on Thursday, nice try, but it only resulted in her being woken up at 6am and having to finish it before school, don't think she will try that one again in a hurry. Her father never shouts at anyone but he is really difficult to argue with.

As for me, I have stuff to do..which is good. But I have a confession...........although I work hard for my clients I don't have a really giant legal brain (although when I go for the complete head and body transplant I'm going to ask for the brain augmentation chip as well, might as well get the whole package). I had an interesting trial in Manchester on Monday where although I won I did come out thinking "Lippy not one of your best performances, in fact face it babe you were more than a bit shit." Client is happy enough but I am really really not.

I want to be on top of my game and doing my best work, but I seem to be skidding along from one fire fighting job to the next. And my confidence in my own abilities is pretty low to say the least. Added to which I am having to go out and "sell" what I do in a competitive market and what I really want to say is " actually, I'm a bit shit at the moment, I would go and see someone else if I were you."

Oh well, keep trying eh, it's never going to improve if I give up.

Diet and fitness wise , I'm also at the point where I have to stop moaning and just accept that it will never get any easier. I've lost a stone since the beginning of the summer and am a fairly respectable size 12-14 (except shirts, I think I just have to give up on shirts, boobs and shirts are just never going to be comfortable together, at least not with all the buttons done up!). I walk the dog every day for 40 minutes, ride twice a week and go to the gym three times a week so not too shabby for an old bird. I kind of feel as if I'm getting nowhere - I've entered the loan horse and me for a local mini hunter trial in October and another dressage competition. But she is the sort of horse where you have to work for every stride so if either of those is not going to end in disaster I need to be fitter!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Back to School

I always liked going back to school for a new year - new pencils, new uniform, nice new exercise books. And it's even better now that it isn't actually me who is going back to school!

But in sympathy with the atmosphere today I made sure I cleared off the lingering nasty cases last week so that I could attack some new ones today with vigor! And low and behold a couple of new cases turned up to be attacked , hurrah! And went and did the marketing thing at lunch and networked my little socks off, then had payback and went for coffee with a friend . She is off to do research in Egypt for 10 weeks the lucky thing.

Anyway came home, finished the accounts and did some admin and everything is still looking shiny for tomorrow.

In other news - don't look now but I've been coffee free for a whole week, shhh , don't jinx it. White tea with pomegranate and a blueberry yoghurt fruit tea - in other words just drinking vats of hot water.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Letting the side down...

I have to say that it is very difficult to lecture my child on being a responsible citizen when between them her aunts, uncles and grandparents have variously;

- run off to join the circus,
- been the bodyguard of the president of an African Country,
- been sent to prison for telling a judge to fuck off during their divorce case,
- had 5 children by the age of 23,
- had the pub close on the day of their funeral because it had lost it's best customer
- travelled overland from London to Australia in a Land Rover pausing only to have a baby on the back seat en route
- defended a charge to a public order offence on the basis that none of the witnesses had seen them or they would have mentioned the naked man with purple bollocks.

There is no hope, or at least.............very little

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A blog about being middle aged, in England in 2013