Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Day One...

Got on the train at new Brighton. Just before we were due to go, all the lights went out. The train went nowhere. Eventually, a guard came through the train explaining that there were children on the line near grove road, and that the power had been turned off. It took around an hour for the service to be resumed. So I got to Liverpool crown court at about 10:30, about an hour late. No problem. I had phoned the court to explain my situation, and they said that was ok.

Finding the right entrance took a bit of exploring and several wrong doors. I was scanned and someone came down and took me up to the jurors bit of the court. A big concourse filed with chairs and tables. A small cafe charged too much for food and drink. Toilets, wifi that I can't get on, and games books and magazines all available . Expenses are complicated because I am self employed.

And now I wait. There is a rooftop outdoor area where you can't smoke. It does not explicitly prohibit vaping though, so I will go outside from time to time and vape away unless someone tells me not to. You can see Birkenhead through a gap in the glass walled blocks. There is quite a lot of construction going on in Liverpool. Cranes punctuate the skyline, their jibs maneuvering girders and buckets of concrete. Window cleaners clean windows, fearless in their cradles.

It's interesting to people watch. People are sat by themselves, plugged in to some mobile thing or other, or they read. Many wear headphones. Some people have formed into groups. They talk, laugh. Occasionally there is an announcement over the speakers. Everyone goes quiet. Sometimes it's an explanation of something. Occasionally, it's to call a list of people into court. Everyone listens carefully. My name has not been called yet.

Another list of names. Mine is not among them. And again.

And then it is. Twenty five of us are led up to an empty courtroom. 18 men and 7 women. We are given pens and notepads. There are bibles with oath cards before us. An usher gives each of us a questionnaire. This tells us a little about the case, and asks us if we know any of the people involved. It informs us that the trial is expected to last for about two weeks, but with an outside chance of a further, third week. It will involve reading a lot of financial documents.

A fraud case then. No murders or rapes or anything that will require us to see pictures of mutilated babies or hear distressing accounts of screams and sudden appalling silences.

The twenty five of us are led to another court room. A bewigged judge thanks us for our attendance. We look at the defendant and he looks at us. We do not know each other. A couple of us are excused as they have some connection with the plaintiff. Another because he might have struggled to understand the complexities of the documentation .

A court official shuffles the remaining names. I am the second person to be called. After the twelve seats are filled, a further three names are called. Reserves. One of us good people and true might break a leg. Everyone but me swears to be a good juror on the bible. I am the sole affirmer. By now it's about one o'clock . We adjourn for lunch with instructions to return by 2:15.

I am back in the jury concourse , with a belly full of crisps and sandwich from tesco. More people are talking now. They've had time to break down barriers. The boredom unites them. They have something in common to talk about. It is two o'clock . Almost time.


And of the afternoons events, I can't say too much. It was taken up almost entirely by a monologue from the crown prosecutor setting out its side of the story. We had big ring binders with all sorts of documentary evidence in them, and we were directed to particular sections and pages from time to time. The prosecutor was finished by around twenty to four, and after the judge had gone through what had been said, we were free to go. 

On that basis, without hearing the defence, the bastard is guilty as hell.

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Monday, 13 August 2018


Corbyn must be the problem here.

I can almost 100% guarantee that should Corbyn be forced to stand down, the issue of anti semitism in the Labour Party will instantly disappear.

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Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The great soup disaster of 2018

I should perhaps have taken photographs before they got poured away.

But that would have told you nothing about the smell, the texture, the mouthfeel.

There was the one with all the onions.

Take about 8 medium onions, an entire head of celery, and some chillies. Add some spices and a bit of water. Cook in a big pan for half an hour then blend into soup. I managed to get through about a third of it before it went down the loo. My shit smelled of onions for two days.

The one with all the fibre was the worst though.

Take a load of broad beans, and some runner beans. Add some nice delicate asparagus. Cook and blend. The tough fibrous pods become tough fibrous fibres that are difficult to swallow. After extracting enough of them from my mouth to leave a sizeable pile next to my bowl, I gave up and got a tin of Heinz lentil soup from the cupboard instead. Only 186 calories. Cost less than a quid. Other soups turn out to be equally or almost equally low in calories, so instead of further culinary disasters, I shall be having three tins of soup on my 600 calorie days.

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Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Like forgetting the clocks went forward, only bigger....

Well I just got myself a new car, because I though my old one was due to go back on the 6th of August.

Nope. 6/9/2018 is the 6th of September, not the 6th of August.

D'oh. Out of pocket to the tune of one months car lease, and one months extra insurance.

Also several weeks of walking a few hundred yards. Space is limited. One car per flat.
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Monday, 30 July 2018

Moderation in all things

You may notice that I've changed the settings on this blog so that comments are now moderated, and anonymous replies to my post are no longer permitted.

The reason is that for the past couple of weeks, I've been getting a steady trickle of inane and childish comments. I've just deleted them but they're still happening, so for now, comments will be pre-moderated.

I have a fairly good idea of who the inane and childish poster is, but since he or she has bravely hidden behind the cloak of anonymity, I can't prove it.

I think it all stems from an incident last September. I went to Wales with someone, and we climbed a mountain together. Well actually we only climbed a bit of it together. After this trip, I severed my ties, moved on, drew a line under things, and got on with life.

Here's a series of videos I made during our trip.

And at that point, the battery on my phone died. I started walking towards Llanberis, was kindly given a lift by a passing climber, and completed my journey back to the car by taxi. Then I drove us home. Pete, if you happen to read this, I apologise for not keeping the pace you wanted to set, but I did not understand your behaviour at the time, and I still don't now. When I eventually made it back to the car park, and met you there, you talked at length about how you were planning to get to a train station so that you could make your way home. I wonder if at any point you thought about the fact that I had not come down from the mountain. If I'd chosen to behave the same way, I'd have got in my car, and left you at the car park.

If it is you that's posting abuse on my blog, perhaps as some socially fucked up way of trying to re-establish contact, you're wasting your time. There's good and bad in everyone. You've made me laugh. You've annoyed the shit out of me. The events of last year tipped the scales, and you probably still don't get why.

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