Listening to/reading/watching

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

Cluster Map

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Really not dead!

Not sure where to start really; the over riding theme of the last couple of weeks has been commuting in to London to work for a couple of days, then working like mad to catch up when back out in the sattellite office at home.

If it was just easy straightforward cases it wouldn't be so bad, but some of this stuff is so difficult that it's frying my brain to the point where I am having problems stringing a sentance together.

One high point was AB's school concert on Tuesday, where, in addition to the usual recorders and squeaky violins there was a top drawer rock outfit playing some Chilli Peppers and AB's jazz group with some rocking Nina Simone covers... and they are only 12!

I also seem to be having a social life which is a bit of a shocker, went to dinner and a jazz night last friday and discovered that my ability to drink a bottle of wine and not fall over has not been lost due to lack of use. And we are all off to London en famille to the theatre next Friday to see a Little Night Music at the Garrick - hope it's good!

We had mates round for lunch on Sunday - and had a bit of a lemon meringue pie disaster, the lemon tart bit was fine, but cooked the meringue too hot and not for long enough so it melted rather than cooked - gross! I have taken advice and am going to practice before I attempt it again.

Been back to yoga - "root flow yoga" to be precise, and it's killing me far more than the very fit and lithe pensioner on the next mat, which is more than a bit depressing. Horse all good - but other pressures have meant less dressage schooling and more thrasing round the country side at high speed, jumping ditches to work off the stress!

OK really got to go and finish this brief. Will try to have a more interesting life.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Oh dear dear dear

Oh dear, I've horribly neglected my poor blog and have taken to twittering like a duck to water. It requires so much less effort to put together one sentenance than a whole , hopefully cohnerent paragraph for a blog. It also panders shamelessly to my borderline ADHD personality! I will do better.

A shamelessly lazy Sunday here - no guests, not much dog walking in evidence and no one but the AB has cooked anything since breakfast. She made chocolate fairy cakes with sugar sprinkles and I've eaten three!!!!

I've played a little badminton ,read the newspaper (nothing so taxing as a book!) and tried to write a bit.....the dismal ongoing saga of my attempts at writing a detective story is not something I shall bore you with. Suffice to say I am writing words - I am not troubling myself at the moment with trifles such as the appropriateness or relevance to the plot of the words that are being written!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hate objects!

Some times I really hate lawyers . I have an opponent on a case who has resorted to hectoring emails because I won't do what he wants me to. And although I can see all sorts of holes in his case, when someone shouts at you for long enough and loud enough I (at least) really start to doubt my own position. Of course I'm not admitting that, but I would really like some nice barrister to hold my hand on this case now - so part of this morning will be dedicated to trying to pursuade the client to pay for one!

Things I did last week;

1. Took the skin off my feet walking around London in new shoes.
2. Fixed my cousin up with a blind date.
3. Got cross in a committee meeting - I'm amazed that I could summon up the energy!
4. Got my blackberry charged up for free by the nice man on the vodaphone counter in Harrods.
5. Had a 7am breakfast meeting.
6. Made a great lamb curry.

Must work, there is great piles of the stuff wafting around the office!

Monday, April 20, 2009


We don't actually own a Wii (or an X-box or anything) we are of the pre-gaming generation . But one of the AB's mates came for a sleep over and brought hers and what a hoot! I was mocked mercilessly for having a Wii fit age of 52 when I'm only 46 until the AB had hers assessed at 25 when she's only 12 and the TB who is 44 came out as 72!!! Serves them both right for laughing.

I cannot race in Mario Kart and was heard frequently screaming "Why is eveyone else going the other way?" with replying screams at even louder "turn round". But I'm a passable ski jumper and a "YOGA MASTER" go me!

We may have to buy one.

Lovely weekend though - of doing very little, sat in the sun , went swimming with the fam and walked the dog along the river. And ate and drank. Isn't it spring though, everything is growing so fast now. All the flowering cherries are out and some of the May, most of the daffodils are over and the tulips are full on and the wild garlic in the woods is starting to smell REALLY strong.

Have a nice Monday!

Friday, April 17, 2009

So what's been happening?

I finished teaching the second part of the law diploma yesterday, the students all seemed very happy. Which, as they are all perfectly well qualified solicitors, barristers and surveyors who are just doing this as an "extra" qualification, was quite hartening. And I've written my exam questions and sent in my invoice! So that's that until next year!

Other than that, driving along the M25 is a dreadful bore, and isn't Windsor castle close to the M4??? The Queen must get terrible traffic noise!

I have a new blackberry - which I fiddle with constantly as I'm still trying to work it all out. The TB is most dischuffed that BT gave me a better model on my business account than his firm gave him...he's actually right, it's not fair. I can also now send people irritatingly long text messages with proper punctuation.

Must do some actual work now, so far today been riding and had mate round for coffee ..,.this does not get the billable hours in!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reality blogging in real time!

I'm currently on hold waiting for the Uxbridge County Court to answer the telephone and as this state of affairs is likely to continue for some time I thought that I might update my blog.

I love Easter, it's SO much better than Christmas, less pressure, better weather. On Sunday we decided we didn't fancy our leg of lamb, so had curry and then ate the lamb yesterday. I can't imagine deciding on the spur of the moment to eat Christmas dinner on Boxing Day instead, can you? But then why not? And it's very telling that a few chocolate eggs seem to make people just as happy as expensive Christmas presents. It's a ll a matter of expectation, legitimate or otherwise.

I can't say I did much over the break, slept, walked the dog, went swimming and watched a bit of telly - I loved the Dr Who special and thought Michelle Ryan was fab....she does need her own decent action woman type show. She's fun and "the Bionic Woman" was awful.

I've given up and sent Uxbridge an email insteand - I shall expect a response in October.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

It might be summer?

Winter isn't always kind to those of us who work from home. No christmas office parties and no after work drinks, no sneaking off to the pub for a gossip at lunch time and the same long hours as everyone else can make you feel very mushroom like.
But summer! We come into our own, I can get up early do a couple of hours work then head to the stables or the beach and make up the rest of the time in the evening. And if I'm not feeling quite that keen, then my wi-fi link stretches into the garden, in celebration of which I've just bought a new parasol and a new barbeque - hurrah! Oh and since the picture of my office was taken it's acquired doors and blinds so it looks a bit less spartan.
For those who have been paying attention, brother didn't go down in a hail of bullets in the African bush, he and his family made it out. And now, in a demonstration of OUTSTANDINGLY chav like behaviour, his current wife , his ex wife and all his children are living in the same house in South Africa, whilst bruv has taken a job in Dubai. Next installment will be the wives embarking on a lesbian affair . innit.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Advanced Law Diploma thingy!

I've been "doing teaching" this week , it was the first time I have worked on this course, in fact the first time this course has run. And boy it was hard work. It was presented in a "team teaching" format, which involved in effect being a group tutor from 9am to 7pm for 3 days.

My head hurts. I'm not sure I can remember my name now let alone any law.

College life is fundamentally not meant for grown ups. Being in a group that big for that amount of time constantly, and meals and the bar after .....I found exhausting! And the little turrent room that I had, whilst cute, was basic in the extreme, less "en-suite" , more "en-cupboard".

Will write more next week when head back on shoulders!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I wanna be sedated!

I spent Friday afternoon in hospital having tests , laproscopes and stuff, just to make double triple sure that I don't have cancer. And, as we pretty much knew, I don't, - excellent.

The sedative was amazing, knock out drops WITH muscle relaxant, the knots in my shoulders have gone completely and I slept for two days. I think litigators should get a six monthly shot of this stuff on the NHS!

Clients don't really get the concept of "I'm in hospital" and were still hopefully ringing my mobile at 8pm on Friday night!

I'm away teaching on an advanced law diploma for most of this week. So, see you Friday.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kate Moss

"Kate Moss!" screams the fashion press, "what a style icon, what a goddess!"
I think the whole thing is a bit Emperor's New Clothes, and one day a little boy at the back of the crowd is going to say in a very loud voice "Mummy, aren't those men funny all taking pictures of that raddled old hag!"
And Kate, as one raddled old hag to another, it's not such a bad life, but you don't need the Botox nearly so often if you stop smoking.

Monday, March 16, 2009


When asked I will tell you something vague about my brother being "in security".

The truth is that , as we speak, he is hunkered down in the bush with an ousted African president being shot at by half the Madagascan army.

He's a jammy sod my little brother - but today he really , really , really needs to be.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Day at the Races

On Friday we headed off to the Gold Cup Meeting at Cheltenham. So here is Lippy's on course guide to a day at the races;

First of all check the form;

Then stick on some slap so that you don't frighten the horses!

Getting to the course on time helps!

Check out the runners in the paddock and see if there is one that you fancy. You might also get to see the Queen..

Fight your way through to the bookies and have a bet.

Then watch the race - only I didn't get any good pictures of that I was too busy jumping up and down and shouting. Although I did pick the winner in the first race the final score was Lippy - 1 Bookies-6
Oh well.
There is no getting away from the fact that Cheltenham on Gold Cup day is rammed, with the crowd pretty evenly split between Essex boys with black shirts and Grant Mitchell haircuts and those found drunk in charge of an Irish accent! I don't really quite understand why it is such a boys day out, with suited and booted blokes out numbering the women about 15 -1.........well I suppose those are slightly better odds!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Litigation 101

Well here on planet legal it's all happening.

There are definate trends and waves in the sorts of proceedings before the courts. To put things in perspective before we start, the sort of work I do - business and property disputes - is a minority interest. Over 60% of the work of the county court is family proceedings - divorce and children actions. When economic times are bad divorce courts are extra busy. I don't do that sort of work as it gives me hives but when the courts are full of family work (which gets priority) it means that my clients wait longer for cases to be heard.

Anyway on the menu today we have;

Bankruptcy - only available to a creditor where the debt which is owed is undisputed. So we have a debtor trying to manufacture a dispute in order to avoid a petition and it's my job to put together the evidence to show that his so called "dispute" is merely fanciful and has no basis in either fact or law ( and yes I am planning to use that in my submissions, I think it's aposite!)

Application to set aside Default Judgement - if you ignore a court claim form your opponent gets judgement by default and the baliffs still appear at your door regardless of how the judgement was obtained (so sticking your head in the sand is not an option). In this case though the proceedings were served at some seemingly random address which has no connection with the debtor company - so we're asking to court to set it aside, strike out the action and give us costs. Which won't please the PLC on the other side will it?

Claim for Unpaid invoices - about £130k's worth. At the moment if your opponent can pay it's worth having a judgement debt as the interest rate is 8% pa which is more than you will get anywhere else.

I need to get the desk clear by end of the day tomorrow as I'm off to the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday - hurrah a day off! Can't wait.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I'm sort of dreading writing this post as Tickers is going to say "I told you so" - I've felt knackered since I got back from London last week, couldn't put one foot in front of another. I finally ended up in hospital yesterday and came back with a new inhaler and huge antibiotics, I've apparently been walking around in the throes of a major asthma attack and a chest infection for about a week..........I thought I felt a bit rough.

Added to this the business has spent rather more than it has earned over the last two months - quite a lot (the tax bill, the VAT bill ) has been absorbed by savings and even more is the huge annual items like law books which are annual editions at between £500 and £1000 a time. It's a bit worrying but I think it's turned the corner, I don't owe anything I just don't have much of a float any more.

And the financial arises just when I want to spend some cash going to Hydrabad for a wedding. My best friend's cousin's wedding to be precise. The TB (my toy boy husband to save you scrolling down to the bottom of the blog for a translation) is not keen on such a big spend on travel right now. My best friend on the other hand is desperate that I go to India. I can just see this panning out in a way that means I am in trouble with both of them.

Right - chargable time is ticking away, timesheets await! Onward! - do I need to blog about all that stuff ?!

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Everyone seems to be crazy busy which is good - me too. Worked in London end of last week, 7am starts, 8pm finishes - and not all of it chargeable unfortunately but you have to lay the ground work with clients , so there it is.

I couldn't get through to the Fox to book a room and ended up in the Malmaison. It's a lovely looking hotel but christ on a bike the beds are hard. It was that "hall of residence bed" experience , where you sit down on the bed too quickly and it's so hard that your spine almost jars out through the top of your head! Ouch ! I slept, but only, I suspect, because I was completely shattered .

Luckily, as I was off to Starbucks I met the manager of the Fox and Anchor who had had an empty room on the nights I was stuck in the hard bed - so bless him I now have his direct line so it won't happen again. Hurrah!

I also got my make up done in Harvey Nicholls by the lovely Eddie on the Trish Mcavoy stand which was fun - and confirmed that all the colours I already own are the right ones.

And it's Lent and I've given up two of my favourite things for the duration - bread and booze, 5 days in and it's going OK , I even fished the croutons out of my soup!

Monday, February 23, 2009

What's in your bag?

Ages and ages and ages ago , Frobisher and Beast set a "what's in your bag" challenge. And I did take the picture but never posted it.

So here it is, ipod , phone, business cards, mirror, notebook, cheque book, purse, book and lippy (Mac natch!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

I think we looked good!

I have been thinking that this blog needs photos. So ...showjumping today.

They are horribly blurry, and I was a wimp and entered a really easy round ( and still got 4 faults) - but horse is still a bit green and tends to bolt!

The AB won her class though - red rossette - groovy.

And we've done the shopping and cleaned the house so this evening she and I have awarded ourselves pizza and popcorn - yay!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sod's Law

However deadly quiet work has been , the minute the AB gets any time off school it goes fricking mental! And it's been the same this half term. 2 new instructions a day - papers arriving at 5 for meetings at 9 the next morning. Cases I thought had gone dead magically resurrecting.

The whole nine yards.

So sorry about the short , borning posts, but I need to clear the decks and we have indoor show jumping tomorrow - got to do better than the flat on my arse effort at Christmas!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

All that glistens.............

My sister is off to the Brits today and is staying at her posh hotel in Park Lane. She has the outfit, she has the shoes, she has MY Italian handbag.

But sometimes it seems, glamour is only skin deep - the catering at the Brits is not, apparently, all that it could be. As, along with her tickets to get into the venue, she also has a food voucher which entitles her to..............................a can of Carling and a pasty.

I am not kidding.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chance Encounters

Some years ago I fell in love with a man who was funny and sporty and had loads of mates and seemed to me to be everything I wanted to be in life. He fell for me fast and hard and then fell out of love with me equally fast - being slow to catch on I took longer to figure that out. He was quite difficult to be with, moody, changeable , quick to take offence - and even I , thick as I am , figured that had something to do with his cocaine and marjuana consumption.

Life moved on , I have another relationship, happy , stable, quieter.

I've always known where my former love is and how he is doing and we talk from time to time - and so we did yesterday. And he's living on his own, not sporty in fact so thin it's quite scary (got to have a bit of meat on a bloke) no mojo, no band - just an even bigger coke habit. And just to break your heart properly there were snatches in the conversation of the guy I used to know. I am left with this stupid desire to go round to his house, clean it , get the shopping in and cook his dinner - but that way madness lies.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bored now!

There is definately a point around the beginning of February, when all those winter things that seemed so appealing back in October have definately lost their shine.

I am now officially fed up of the following things ;

"Bracing" walks with the dog - bracing in this context means frozen solid and miserable.

Comfort food - particularly anything involving either chips or mash.

Cosy evenings at home by the fire, which in reality occur because we are snowed in/cut off by flood water/too knackered to go anywhere*.

*delete as appropriate.

My sister , on the other hand, has won tickets to the Brits - from Tesco of all places. They are putting her up in the Park Lane Hilton and she gets to go to the after show party too! Obviously she is having a "what do i wear?" crisis and for some reason is ringing me about it. WHAT DO I KNOW????? I am in my mid 40's and live in the middle of nowhere!!!

What is occuring.

My buddy in Victoria and her family are all fine - hurrah and still have working internet so even better.

What's happening here ? - work mostly to be honest. I'm giving out lots of free initial advice still but some of it turning into paying jobs which is not to be sniffed at. It's a sign of the times that I am off to an "Advanced Insolvency Updater" course on Thursday morning - bet that will be a bundle of laughs, and it's in Holborn.........yukkky.

The conclusion to be drawn from "snow week" was that sitting indoors on your backside does you no good at all. I rode only once last week and the horse went brilliantly once she realised we were going to be indoors! She did give me a rather "old fashioned look" as I led her out of the stable into the snow, it was clearly intended to convey the phrase " you have got to be fucking joking!" But once in the relative warmth of the indoor arena things perked up no end. The downside was that after a week of inactivity an hours show jumping training meant I couldn't actually walk properly the next day!

This week I am not repeating the same mistake , I am walking and riding come sleet, rain or snow. And there is no excuse really as there is a heated pool and sauna just across the road that I can go to to warm up after.

On the voodoo front, I've now had two sessions of accupuncture and two of hypnotherapy. I think I'm calmer - a bit, and the pain seems to be subsiding. I have to give it a fair go, can't expect to go from feeling crap to feeling brilliant over night and frankly chaps - I am all out of other options.

The Italian students have been and gone. They ate all before them and watched a lot of telly and didn't really say much - so that was money for old rope.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


I am very lucky in that I have lots of good friends. I am even luckier in that I have two very exceptional ones, S &S who I have known since I was 18 and would do anything for. Sadly for me neither of them live in the UK anymore, S1 is in the Phillipines with her family. S2 is in Australia.

I hold powers of attorney for both of them which means looking after their UK property, and in one case their parents ashes!

S2's place is in rural Victoria. I was speaking to her on Thursday and she said temperatures had been over 45 degrees for weeks only going "down" ha ha to 35 degrees at night. She was sending the kids to school with their lunch boxes frozen solid so they had a chance to make it to lunch without "turning".

So having seen the bush fires on tv tonight I am now officially shitting myself. Not sure what the chances are of her having internet or phone. She isn't in either of the towns that have been completely burnt out so far. Fingers and everything else crossed here.

They put me through it these two - S1 was in Sri Lanka on a beach holiday when the Tsunami struck , she was fine, here's hoping our luck holds!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Week ahead

It's going to be a busy week. Plenty of billable stuff to do - hurrah! Another article to write - on personal bankruptcy this time and gearing up for the second rounds of accupuncture and hypnotherapy which are happening on Thursday and Friday.

In addition we've got a couple of Italian students staying with us until Saturday. I am officially a freak in that I don't find looking after people work, I will quite happily iron your shirts, cook your dinner, bake cakes and ferry you around the place. I enjoy it. It's also nice to be bought presents and thanked for looking after people, not many legal practice clients do that.

Lets face it what people really want in litigation is for the judge to say "oh you poor dear, how could such a terrible thing have happened to you, let me put it right," and that is , of course, never ever going to happen. So there is always some degree of dissatisfaction at the end of a case, the only question is how much! Although, I did have one very nice email from a client this week saying how pleased his company were with the service they had from me, so that was nice.

It snowed today and should still be white over tomorrow , I love it , so pretty!

Friday, January 30, 2009


Over the last couple of days the work has arrived - and it's all very weird , very convoluted and not conducive to the use of standard paragraphs Tick! In fact my brain hurts quite a lot.

I have been through all my horse pics and she doesn't look suitably beautiful in any of them so I will take some more tomorrow and see if they work out any better.

Meanwhile I have been dipping my toe in alternative medicene and so far , much to my surprise, it works! I have had two sessions of accupuncture and it's as if someone has turned the pain switch off. I am I admit, amazed and very relaxed and sleeping really well. The needles do hurt and when they are in place they feel hot. So whilst I am not exactly looking forward to next week's sessions the results are enough to make me keep trying. And as conventional medicene can't do anything to help - it has tried its best bless its heart but its no good. Why not? Part of the plan is one session of massage and hypnotherapy - I'm not entirely sure how a control freak like me is going to cope with that but we will see!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Had the BEST just the BEST horse ride for ages this afternoon. It helped that it was a lovely crisp sunny afternoon and it helped that the horse was not in a mood. But it wasn't anything fun like a hack, or show jumping or even hunting, was dressage training. This is the "doing very hard sums" of the horse world. And it went like an absolute dream. Rode without stirrups for the first half hour to get my seat right and then rode long, and actually managed to think up a decent schooling sequence. M y friend who was watching and offering "helpful" (*ahem*) comments said at one point, "that's just amazing you look like a German dressage rider!" hurrah the holy grail achieved.

And I've made bread again today - getting better, my loaves are now getting "high" as well as "wide". And I baked a cake, it's an almond cake with clementines where the clementines have to be boiled for two hours - I admit I forgot them, killed a saucepan and filled the house with smoke but they were resucable and the cake is lush!

And yesterday went to the gym for the first time this year - it was dreadful and I'm trying not to think about it but I'll go back tomorrow.

You will gather from all this that I have absolutely bugger all work........well OK not none. But I have taken the decision not to worry about it. What's the point.

Before I forget , did you watch Barack's inauguration? I loved it all, I liked Michelle's frock, Aretha's hat, the "Washington crossing the Deleware" quote and I didn't cry until Beyonce sang "At last". This morning I looked at my "to do list" complete with all the difficult dog end type clients and thought - hell Barack's is roughly my age, he's a lawyer to and his list is a damn site worse than mine is so stop whining and get on with it !

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Being Freelance

Being Freelance is easy when you are busy,honest you just start work and go. Running round all day on a little rat run between the computer the kettle and the loo ! There are lots of people to talk to on the phone, meetings and court hearings to go to, no problem.

Quiet patches (with the benefit of 18 months experience) are MUCH MUCH harder. You have to be "out there" chasing the work, but out where? Marketing is an art not a science and if you are too much in someone's face then you may lose work that you would otherwise have got down the line.

Do you go out? What if the phone rings and it's a job? Do you take on time expensive but relatively lower paying stuff to fill in the time? I've taken on four days teaching for March which is great but I know I will be busy in March, I can just tell!!

I am crummy - I tend to stretch little bits of work to fill in stupid amounts of time because I hate the feeling of being "finished" and having nothing at all to do.

So today I am not going to spend 4 hours playing "Free Tetris" and waiting for the phone to ring - today I shall bake bread, finish the ironing, read the pile of legal journals on my desk and do my nails - all before the telephone hearing I have at half past three!

*update it's now five past two and I've done the bread, the ironing, read the journals and walked the dog. Going to do hearing then go for a swim. Still waiting for all the people who need to send me stuff so I can get on with the next stage of my work to send it though!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

My brain has gone awol again.

As an "end of the holidays treat" I took the AB and her friend to the cinema to see Twilight , it's all the go with the tweens, a vampire love story type thingy. The film is very slow and very dull but the Washington State scenery is amazing and the house the vampire family live in is amazing. One of those modern glass and wood structures, all clean sweeping lines.

And it started me thinking that your activities would be restricted if you lived in a house like that. Not no sex on the sofa, because the neighbours could see in ! - it's in the middle of the woods. No, becuase certain activities just would feel wrong , you couldn't sit in that perfect modernist sitting room in your jammies, watching cartoons and eating baked beans out of a tin. It would just be wrong on a cosmic level. In fact I'm not convinced that the house would permit tv watching at all, it would prefer you to read books and listen to Debussy! If you tried to cook a burger in the open plan , stainless steel kitchen the fridge would open up and consume you in anger. Burcher muesli would be the only permitted breakfast cereal. Beautiful to look at but having a house that you had to live up to would be hard work.

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A blog about being middle aged, in England in 2013