Friday, 1 December 2006

Rice pudding

Not much doing today. No sign of The Master again, but he has called a few times to give me a couple of things to look up and to require my presence at Reading County Court at 8.30am on Monday morning. Cripes. The whole of this morning was spent doing one single update to one single practitioner text. This was only a medium-sized update, apparently. I'm sitting in the chambers library now and in the corner, right next to the door where it is hard to ignore, is a stack of updating that needs doing. It is as tall as I am, and I'm over six foot. It is in cardboard boxes, which hopefully take up quite a lot of space, but nevertheless it is a sinister and alarming presence.

Last year's pupils may have something to answer for. If I end up having to work my way through that lot I'll have plenty of time to think of imaginative ways to kill them both.

My heart goes out to legal librarians everywhere.

I did notice that the QC's personal copy of Hershman I was updating had been signed off for the last four updates by the pupil from last year who did get tenancy (his name appeared on the board outside chambers the morning after the decision, incidentally, which is nothing short of miraculous given how long everything else takes around here). 'Bloody goody two shoes', I found myself thinking, a split second before realising that I was about to sign my own name under his.

Batgirl (, based at one of the Inn libraries, expressed an interest in how I would describe the Inns. There are four of them: Inner and Middle Temple and Lincoln's and Gray's Inns. I'm a member of Middle Temple, but I honestly now have no idea why on earth I joined that one. It was while I was still at uni, which is an alarmingly long time ago now. It's the opposite end of Chancery Lane to me now, and therefore rather inconvenient for lunch and library. I believe it is possible to secure transfers but why one would bother eludes me.

Essentially, each is a place where a boy (these seem to be peculiarly male institutions) who was traumatised by the rejection of early separation from his mother through being exiled to a 'house' (pronounced 'hice') at some boarding school, was brought up on overcooked roast meats, boiled potatoes and rice and bread pudding (consumed always at long mock-medieval tressle benches and tables) who wangled his way into a home-from-home Oxbridge college where these facilities were again available and who then made his way to the Bar will feel perfectly at home, protected from the ravages of the wider world, growing plumper with every passing lunchtime.

The Inns do dinners as well, a certain number of which have to be consumed before one can call oneself a barrister (or whatever it is the regulations say it is you are allowed to call yourself after Call, which is basically like a graduation ceremony, but with more wigs). I personally ended up being Called to the Bar two years after I'd finished my BVC, as I made a silent one-man stand against this arcane ritual. I didn't actually tell anyone I was making a stand, so it wasn't a particuarly worthwhile protest. I wouldn't particularly recommend it.

As far as most barristers seem to be concerned, the only other real feature of the Inns, the libraries, are very much secondary to the lunches. Virtually no-one seems to go to the dinners except the students, who are forced to, and a bunch of leery old guys incapable of cooking for themselves.

1 comment:

Batgirl said...

That would be roughly what I waffle at people when asked, mostly in the hopes that they give up asking me...

As you've been called to the bar, you can of course, use any of the inn libraries. Not sure about lunches etc. but the food at my Inn is not that bad - one of the additional perks at work is free lunch when served. Saves me making a packed lunch every morning.