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The Satanic Verses November 7, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Big things, Bwargh, Edinburgh, Law, Sheer bloody-mindedness, University.
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I’ve just gone onto Wikipedia, and found out the plot of Salman Rusdie’s The Satanic Verses.  It was interesting.

Of course, I’ve heard of the book before – who hasn’t?  It’s practically synonymous with Rushdie’s name, with controversy, with all kinds of things – for the last few months, there’s been an exhibition about banned books at the National Library of Scotland, and I’ve gone round at least three times since August.  The Satanic Verses was all over it, that and Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

The last time I went round the exhibition, I went with my mother.

“Do you know what it’s about?”  She didn’t.  She remembered the controversy, the protests, the fatwah, but she had no idea what the book was about, and neither did I.  The exhibition wasn’t particularly enlightening on that front, although if I hadn’t known the plot of Lady Chatterley before I went in, I certainly did when I came out.

On Saturday, I went to Leeds, to see DV8’s new performance, ‘Can We Talk About This?’  I had no idea what I was going in to see – I didn’t look it up in advance – but it was one of the most thought-provoking pieces of theatre I’ve ever seen.  It’s based around interviews with all kinds of people, and has the basic premise of comment on how British attachment to multiculturalism means that it is failing to protect people who need to be protected.  It focuses on radical Islam.  There’s discussion of forced marriage, vigilantes, the murder or intimidation of writers and artists and film-makers accused of committing blasphemy, allegations of racism against people suggesting integration, or one law for everyone to abide by, or that Sharia might not be the right legal system for Britain.

I don’t know where I sit about this: it was more partisan than I was expecting.  I think I need to read more about it.

And yes, there was a bit about Salman Rushdie, and The Satanic Verses, and how dreadfully controversial it was and how some people took it as a religious insult.  And yet, until today, I had no idea what the plot of it was.

Other things I have found out in the last month: the workings of an international arrest warrant, what Idi Amin did, the geographic whereabouts of the Central African Republic and Nicaragua, who was in charge in South Africa when they implemented Apartheid, and that there is no actual treaty giving explicit state immunity to national Foreign Ministers.

What do you know?  The more about the world I find out, the more ignorant I am of it.  The more I feel like I’m swayed by anyone I meet telling me what the facts are and saying hey, well, you could look at it like this.  The greater the divide I feel there is between what I think about something, and what I happen to be arguing for this week.  (On the question of “Are human rights universal?”, in the last few weeks I have successfully argued both ways, in two different seminars, and in both I’ve succeeded in swaying several other members of the class.  It’s difficult not to feel manipulative, sometimes, even if it is in the safe confines of a seminar room.)

Having said which, I still don’t think I’ll bother reading any Rushdie any time soon.


LLM October 20, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Edinburgh, Law, Sheer bloody-mindedness, University.
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It’s hard work, this LLM business.

First of all, I have no lectures (well, one lecture, but the politics department are weird like that).  It’s all two hour seminars, once a week for each of three subjects, the result of which is that I don’t have a lot of contact time, but what I do have is very intense, and requires I reckon in the region of 300 pages of reading for every seminar.  Yes, you read that right.  Come to think of it, chances are I probably didn’t.  Read it right, that is.  Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less.  Most of the time I do as much as I can without smoke coming out of my ears and call it a day.

The content is highly technical, and assumes a good deal of prior knowledge.  For my politics module, International Relations Theory, I started off not understanding any of the technical language and having to sit down with a dictionary and try and work out what this means: “The anti-foundationalism of post-modernism so undermines the discipline… that it often provokes anger and despair among those it attacks.  It calls into question the very possibility of non-normative theory; to charge post-modernists with relativism does, of course, rely on the assumption that it is possible to be non-relativistic!”

For the other modules, the law ones, I (nominally) know what they’re talking about, so it’s just a case of processing the ideas.  Undergraduate law is child’s play.  Well, it’s not.  But it feels like it at the moment.

I am getting through an ink cartridge every six days, on average.  It’s taking me longer to get to sleep, because I have to shut the thought processes down, and longer to wake up in the morning, because I have to start them all back up again and these days it takes a few warm-up exercises.  It’s very strange, to get to the grand old age of twenty-one and be very, very aware of your own intellectual limits, in the sense that at times, I feel like I can’t make my mind go any faster.  I genuinely can’t figure concepts out in my own head fast enough to have time to process them, and that’s something I’ve never really dealt with before.

Oh, but it’s such good fun, though.  In the last five weeks, I’ve dredged the depths of GCSE History (League of Nations, self-determination, post-war social movements), Year Nine Geography (who knew half of these places were countries, never mind where they are and who they border!), Politics-By-Osmosis (I spent an entire afternoon last week looking at Central African dictators in the 1970s on Wikipedia – which, by the way, is an absolute godsend – I really have no recollection of international current affairs pre-2006, which is a bit scary).  It’s like the world’s biggest pub quiz has gone crashing into a newspaper archive, and expected you to have something useful to say out of the end of it.  The remembering, and rediscovering things I used to know about, is just as much fun as the finding out new stuff.  I love it to pieces.

The trouble, then, is working out where to stop.  Historically speaking, I am not very good at this.  It is very difficult to put the brakes on.  But I’m trying to remind myself that if I want to keep going, I have to pause occasionally.  Sometimes your brain freezes up, or grinds to a halt and there’s nothing you can do, and you just have to accept that and take a break.  So it’s taking a bit of practice, at the moment.  We’ll see.

Graduation July 1, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Big things, Durham, Law, Look what I did, Lovely people, Really good day, Theatre, University.

Graduation means movement.  Colour graduates.  Two days ago, so did I.

My university experience involved a lot of sitting in libraries and accompanying backache.  It involved a lot of coffee, and fruit tea, and late nights, and massive books.  To begin with, I thought I’d read the massive books cover to cover and that’d be fine.  I never did that once.  I pulled more all-nighters than I care to mention.  I blagged a lot.  I slept in, and panicked, quite a few times.  I came home at the end of every term and slept for several days straight, and I cried at eleven o’clock at night because I didn’t think I could keep going but I still had several hours’ work to do.

I didn’t get a first in anything.  Not once.

I learned how to paint floors, and walls, quickly, and how to put up lights and hem tablecloths and take in clothes.  I learned to knit jumpers.  I made gallons of tea and cooked for fifteen with half an hour’s notice.  I gave up my sofa, my living room, my entire house to other people, and I didn’t leave my bedroom for three days at a time.

I got drunk with people I didn’t know and regretted it every time, but kept doing it anyway.  Eventually I knew the people and I still regretted it.  I walked on cobbles and down steep hills in 5″ stillettos, and had to be walked home at two in the morning in the snow.  I ate rice for five days in a row, and spaghetti bolognese four times in the same week.  I stayed up til the small hours, drinking blackcurrant squash and playing Lego Indiana Jones with seven or eight people crammed onto two sofas.

When I graduated, I didn’t go to the law department.  The law department is not representative of my university experience, even though I did a fair bit of law and I enjoyed what I did.  My university experience would not be summed up anywhere near my department.

It’d be here, after working on a show with the other techies, all gathered round a table at the pub, dressed in black and grimy because we haven’t had time to shower for three or four days and so tired we’re all getting distracted by the lights on the slot machines.

Or it’d be here, eating cake backstage and trying to avoid being one of the people who has to move the piano and surruptitiously keeping an eye on my props table.

Or else it’d be at a college do, scrubbed up well and surrounded by friends, and smiles, and good conversation.

I’ll miss Durham, and I’ll miss my degree, and I’ll miss spending hours browsing Westlaw and reading things just that bit off topic.  But if something sums up the last few years, it won’t be the law department.  If I had to pick a building, it’d have to be this one.

Back home now.  You’ll probably hear from me more often.  Not that that’s in any way difficult.

Copy-ouch March 8, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Craftiness, Law, Sheer bloody-mindedness.

It’s that point in term where my saturation of law is such that I’m blogging about it!  This term, commercial contract law.  Let’s talk about the terminology of selling things.

This is something that’s come up in copyright discussions all over Ravelry for ever and ever, and it’s irritated me since almost that long.  I’m going to talk about it in relation to the law of the sale of goods in England and Wales.  I have no idea how similar or different it is in America, or anywhere else in the world, but I will say that the UK has a very well-respected, old legal system and that therefore the rules elsewhere in the world are probably similar-ish, and the terminology is almost certainly more or less the same.  I say this because I know it’s true of a lot of criminal law and tort law, and so I assume it’s also true of some of commercial and contract law.

When you sell something, for example a car, according to the law, you’re not selling a car.  You’re selling rights with regard to the car, or ‘interests’ in the car: that is, the right to take possession of the car, the right to use it however you like, the right to say who can use it and who can’t, the right to take all the profit if you decide to sell it on.  If you sell me the car, what you’re doing is selling me all the interests in the car, and all the interests put together are called ‘property’ in the world of commercial law.

Now, obviously, if what you’re selling to me is the pdf of a knitting pattern, you’re not giving me all the rights to the pattern.  I can’t take credit for the pattern, I can’t sell it on as if it were my own.  But, under UK commercial law, and the commercial laws of countless other nations, you don’t have to sell me all the interests to the pattern just by taking my £3.50 and sending me a pdf file.  What is usually being sold is not the pattern, but a license to use the pattern.

Use of the pattern, you’ll notice, is an interest in the pattern.  It is but one interest.  Right to reproduce the pattern, that’s another interest.  Right to sell the pattern on, that’s another interest too.  None of these interests are necessarily inherent in me getting my hands on a copy of your pattern.  Those rights belong to the designer automatically, as do all of the rights, because they’re part of the property of the designer.  So if I particularly want to reproduce my copy of your pattern, I can only do that if you’ve sold it to me.

The difficulty here arises when designers don’t state in advance, “If you buy this pattern from me, you are buying a license to do x, y, and z.  You are not buying a license to do a, b, and c, and you may not do these without my permission.”  So a lot of the problem with the law with regard to this comes from the question, what rights do we assume the ‘standard’ license to contain?  In other words, if it’s not made explicit in a contract, what can we imply are the license’s terms?  Everyone has different views on this, and I’m not going to offer mine because I’m scared the Copywrong Police will come and eat my brains.

The other thing that comes up and annoys me is the speed of people to say that they don’t need to honour license agreements, even informal or implied ones, because if it got to court it wouldn’t be upheld.

You’ll notice the enforcement of licenses of knitting patterns is not a hot topic in the legal world right about now, and that is because they basically never get as far as court.  You can say that this is because knitters and crocheters are all lovely and like keeping their goodwill and all that, but the fact is that out of all contracts, very, very few get as far as the courts.  That’s because contract law is not about who would win in front of a judge.  Contract law is about making people feel more confident about entering into agreements, so that more agreements are made, and things get done.  It’s also largely about creating avenues that the parties can go down to sort their disputes out without having to go up in front of an elderly man in a silly wig and talk about how someone stole their instructions for a scarf.  Just because something might not necessarily be enforceable in court – and I’ve no idea if these things would be, this is a flight of conjecture already – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.  Equally it doesn’t mean that contract law isn’t working with regard to it, and it doesn’t mean nobody is bound by anything.  Being bound does not equal having a remedy.  The law still sets a fair bit of store by good faith: it’s still a principle of the courts in the UK at least that you’ll do better if you approach the court with clean hands.

I think that’s about right, anyway.

If you’re on Ravelry, you’ll see that I’ve taken lots of pictures of jumpers and things.  Prepare to be bombarded with them here in the next day or two.

Also, Lent starts tomorrow.  I’m giving up buying yarn and casting on new things, with the two parameters that the second in a pair of socks doesn’t count as a new thing, nor does it if I rip something back and completely start the same item again.  I’m looking forward to getting a few things finished.

Coming up for air March 7, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Big things, Breaking the fourth wall, Craftiness, Durham, Knitting, Law, Sheer bloody-mindedness, University.

Well, phew, frankly.

The first draft of my dissertation was handed in about 11 o’clock at night on Friday, which was the deadline.  In the last week, I’ve seen closing time in two different libraries, and opening time in one of them.  I haven’t really had much of a week, frankly – it all seemed to disappear in front of a computer screen.  I’ve slept twelve hours the last two nights, so that should tell you something.  The paper is mammoth, though – twenty-five pages plus bibliography.  Aside from NaNoWriMo, I’ve never written anything that big in my life.  It’s kind of a big deal.  I keep rolling the words undergraduate dissertation around in my head, and they don’t sound any less grand than they did this time two years ago.  Grief.

Anyway, it’s onwards and upwards – I have another essay due in ten days, and there’s no rest for the wicked, so that’s where this week is going.  But you don’t want to hear about that, do you?  You want to see this lovely finished thing:

(Please excuse both the state of my room and the crappiness of the picture – I’m hoping to press-gang the relevant parties into helping me take proper photos tomorrow. You will also note that my house was furnished by the Sprawling Mass of Bureaucracy that is one of the University departments, and hence my bedroom mirror is in three parts. Also, I have a pretty awesome poster on my wall.  You may blame aforementioned Sprawling Mass of Bureaucracy that it appears to be split in two.)

This is SOMETHING I FINISHED!!  I actually have two knitted tops that I’ve finished in about the last six weeks – not because I’ve been knitting so fast my hands are on fire, but because I am a lazy sod who hates sewing things up, so when I do sew things up, it tends to be all in one go.

I started (Get Off My) Cloud (Rav link) by Kate Davies over the summer, if you recall, and it’s involved so much Icord, and so much sewing up, that I finished the main body of it in maybe November, and the hood in December, and I’ve just failed to do anything with it since.  It’s all done now, though, and I wore it to London to meet knitters last weekend and was met with a lot of pointing and “I know what that is!” and compliments, so it definitely feels done.  There’ll be pictures, as soon as I can get someone to take them

The cardigan in the picture is Harvest Moon (Rav link) by Heidi Kirrmaier.  I started it on Christmas Day to make up for all that knitting for everyone else, and it waited for about a month for me to sew the pockets on, and another month for me to block it.  And I adore it.  And it’s alpaca so it’s the warmest thing in the world.  And it sheds cream coloured alpaca all over my black brushed wool coat.  If it didn’t do that, I’d never take it off.

What I’m knitting at the moment, then, is quite mysterious.  I’ve had this on the go for a few weeks:

Why yes, it is a Great Green Thing, and getting greater by the day.  Not so much lately, that’s a lot of stocking stitch, and I tend to need to alternate between it and something a bit more exciting.  The exciting things have been socks, essentially: I’m one down on a pair for Dad, whose birthday is at the end of the month, and I’ve just cast on another pair with this:

I love this yarn very, very much.  It came on Friday, the day I handed my draft in, and my reward for finishing said draft was to cast on the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry’s March Mystery Sock.  The theme for this month is lace, and the mystery sock is gorgeous.  I finished the first clue today, and it reminded me how much I love just blindly following patterns occasionally.  You don’t have to worry about how it’s going to turn out, you don’t have to keep in mind what amendments you might want to make, you can just take the instructions and run with them.  It makes me happy.

The yarn is Juno Fibre Arts Buffy Sock, and it’s a superwash BFL, and I love it. I haven’t knit with Blue Faced Leicester in far too long – I’d forgotten how much it practically glows.  This stuff is so much fun to work with.

So that’s what’s happening knitting-wise at the moment, for the most part.

As for the rest of this blog, I’m afraid you’re rather going to have to bear with me at the moment.  You’ve probably noticed it’s been a bit thin on the ground, of late.  This year is not an easy year, it’s my final year as an undergraduate, and at the moment I feel a bit like I’m treading water.  Of course I’ll do my best to keep going – I love this blog, and when I’m able to do things with it, I love it and I love hearing your feedback and comments.  But if they’re sparse for the next four or five months, please do hang on.  Normal service will be resumed when I’m not up to my ears in the All England Law Reports and for now, well, I like you lot.  So I hope you’ll hang around.

Thank goodness for that December 9, 2010

Posted by Fiona in Durham, Law, University.

Disney got it wrong.  It’s not cute, it’s not special, and all girls don’t secretly want it.

Embedding’s disabled, but I do recommend you watch this and, if you’re anything like me, tape your own reaction.

I haven’t written much recently because not all that much has happened: it’s just chugging along as usual.  Last week, I reaffirmed my monumetal crush on the collected works of Tom Stoppard, by calling a production of Travesties at the theatre.  To quote Lawyerly housemate, “The thing about Stoppard is he’s trying really hard to show you how clever he is, and at the end of his plays three people come out of the audience feeling very smug because they understood it.  And you’re one of them.”

I’m taking this as a badge of honour, myself.

I had a lecture recently on the conflict in Kosovo – isn’t it amazing how when you’re a certain age everything slides past you?  I’ve known for years that when I was fourteen or fifteen I had no idea what was going on in the world, but the fact that the Kosovan declaration of independence was signed in February 2008?  Where on earth was I?  During the second term of my second year of A levels, I read the newspapers religiously.  How did I not have any idea that one of the biggest international political events since the Second World War was going on under my nose?  This scares me a little, and I wonder how much is passing me by right this minute.

As for the lecture, though, it was the most interesting and stimulating subject I have come across possibly in my entire three years of studying Law – and I don’t use that lightly, there are a fair few things I’ve found interesting practically to the point of obsession.  I had a tutorial on how to define a state the other day.  International public law has rather grabbed me round the throat this term.  I wonder, again, if I’m trying to do the wrong thing with my life.

Oh, and I’m learning French.  That’s exciting.  That’s happening.  And I ought to be working and I’m not, and my current knitting project is Christmas-related, just like the other two, and suddenly I’m desperate to knit something for myself and I can’t until I’ve finished these.  Which is not to say that they’re not fun, and probably that they’re a metaphor for my failure to cross anything off the right end of my to do list at the moment.

Article 3, or, I love the smell of controversy in the morning September 21, 2010

Posted by Fiona in Big things, Breaking the fourth wall, Law.

(This is a law post, not so much a knitting post.  I actually published it a while back, but wasn’t particularly happy with it, so got rid of it.  And now I am happy with it, and quite interested to hear what people have to say about it.)

At some point last term, I read about the judgment of the Grand Chamber in the European Court of Human Rights in a case called Gäfgen v Germany.  It’s kind of famous in some circles, and one of those situations where I’m really, really glad I’m not sitting on the Grand Chamber.  The facts are thus: Mr Gäfgen was threatened with torture while being held in custody in Germany for the kidnapping and murder of an eleven-year-old boy.  He was later found guilty – he killed the boy, and then contacted the boy’s parents asking for a ransom, and was detained just after picking it up.  There’s really no doubt that he did it.  Thinking that the boy was still alive, the police officers involved threatened Mr Gäfgen with torture.

The national courts in Germany acknowledged that threatening to torture him was a bit of a bad thing, and kind of half-heartedly told the policemen involved how naughty they’d been.  The case was up before the ECtHR because Mr Gäfgen alleged that his human rights had been breached: not to be tortured, under Article 3, and to a fair trial, under Article 6.  He argued that the national redress for the violation of Article 3 was not enough to provide a deterrent to doing it again, and that his confession was invalid because of the techniques used beforehand – although his confession under threat of torture was not used at trial.

Particularly, Article 3 reads, in its entirety:

‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’

There are two tiers to the European Court of Human Rights, the Chamber, and the Grand Chamber, and every case that gets to the Court goes to the Chamber.  The Grand Chamber is a bit like the Court of Appeal, and involves more judges.

In Gäfgen’s case, the Chamber decided that torture was a breach of Article 3, but the threat of torture wasn’t, and therefore there was no violation.

It’s very easy, I think, to side with the Chamber here.  Mr Gäfgen is a bad man.  Not a character, a real person, who brutally murdered an eleven-year-old boy and dropped his body in a pond.  When I think about some of the eleven-year-olds I know, I get a lump in my throat and a not insignificant rage.  On top of which, it’s very easy to say well, he wasn’t physically hurt, they didn’t do anything to him, therefore the Chamber was right.  I had a tutorial on this case in which there was a very clear split between people who thought that the seriousness of Mr Gäfgen’s crimes, and the fact that he wasn’t actually physically tortured, meant that he wasn’t entitled to any protection, and people who didn’t think so.  Even if this is pretty extreme, it’s clear that Mr Gäfgen had done far worse to the boy and his parents than was done to him.

The Grand Chamber thought that the mere threat of torture was enough to constitute ‘inhuman treatment’ under Article 3 (and also that the trial was fair, because the confession extracted under threat of torture was not used).

Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights is an odd one.  It’s very controversial.  On the face of it, everyone thinks that not torturing people is a good thing, it’s fair, and it’s right that it should be absolute.  In a case like Gäfgen v Germany, though, opinion is so divided.  How far does it go?  Does it extend beyond peacetime?  Does it extend to people for whom nobody has any sympathy, or who have done horrible, utterly reprehensible things?  And what about if the perpetrator thinks there is some real, tangible and vitally important reason for acting as they did, like saving a human life?  In some ways, Gäfgen is a bit of a paradigm thought experiment.  In other ways, it’s as real as you and I are – real people, real emotions, real fear, stress and pain.  These people, Mr Gäfgen, the boy’s parents, the policemen, they’re still alive and they’re living with this.  Who are we to punish and pass judgement?  And at the same time, who are we not to?

The other problem a lot of people have with Gäfgen v Germany is that the threat of torture was seen as inhuman treatment.  Well, it is.  Psychological torture has been used through the centuries, and is still used.  I went to a talk last year hosted by the Durham Law Society where the gentleman speaking told us in detail about how the threat of torture was used on him.  But it isn’t physical pain, and sticks and stones and all that, so in a case so marginal and controversial as this one, does the fact that there was no physical torture tip the balance?  The Chamber obviously thought so.

When I think of all the things I’m glad of in life, more and more frequently these days, ‘not being a judge’ enters the list.

A tragic loss September 12, 2010

Posted by Fiona in Big things, Law.
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I’ve just this minute got onto my computer and discovered that Lord Bingham died yesterday.

I am shocked.

You may well be aware that Lord Bingham was a great hero of mine – always precise, to the point, and accurate, and practically never wrong.  For the last two years, when I’ve been reading case law, I’ve skipped straight to his judgements, and it’s his influence and writings that made me interested in UK public law, and resulted in my doing the dissertation I’m currently working on.  He published a book last year called The Rule Of Law.  I bought it in hard copy the moment I knew of its existence, and read it cover to cover immediately.  If you have any interest in fairness, current affairs or the constitution as it is in the UK, I recommend doing exactly the same right now because you won’t find a better or more readable introduction anywhere.

He was probably the most influential proponent of human rights this country has seen in recent years – always fair, always outspoken when he thought something was wrong (or, indeed, right), and always very practical.  He is widely acknowledged as the best judge Britain has seen since the Second World War, and I feel honoured to have been able to study his work while he was still around to create it.

The Guardian thinks so too.

That’ll do June 23, 2010

Posted by Fiona in Big things, Durham, Law, Lovely people, Theatre, Uncategorized, University.
1 comment so far

It has been said among law students that, in an essay or paper marked out of 20, only God can get 20 marks.  His angels and archangels can get a maximum of 19, the lecturer’s lecturer can get 18, and the lecturer himself can get 17, so the best a student can ever hope for is 16 marks.

Got my results back today.  They’re not sparkling and wonderful.  They’re not even particularly great.  I probably couldn’t get an overly spectacular job with them (yet) but hell, they’re so much better than last year that I can’t bring myself to be disappointed.  I’ve scraped a 2:1 (if you round up by 0.3%, which of course I do) and because of what I got last year, and what I was honestly expecting based on how I think the exams went… I’m just unbelievably relieved not to have to resit anything in August.  I couldn’t be happier.  It’s odd, I’ve always been the girl who looks for A*s, who vies for a spot in the top three of a class.  Now I’m just happy to have scraped an average.

Anyway, I improved by nine percent this year, so it’s onwards and upwards, I suppose.

The last few weeks have been very busy: college ball, the D’Oscars (student theatre awards), A Chorus Line rehearsals 9 til 8 most days and then, of course, last week was production week!

So much fun.  The cast were spectacular, the music almost entirely hummable, there were some exciting bits from my point of view and I enjoyed almost every minute of it.  Although as far as I’m concerned, no cast will ever be as good at it now, and I’ve spent the days since with the main song running through my head.  It’s so scalp-tearingly catchy…

(The line is, “Loaded with charisma is my jauntily sauntering ambling shambler.”  Just try it very fast!)

Oh yeah.  And the mirrors.  Well they seemed like a very good idea until they actually got to the theatre.  Do not get me started on those mirrors.  But of course, you can’t do A Chorus Line without the mirrors, and they looked very good even if they were a royal pain in the proverbial.  Luckily, though, Lawyerly Housemate was the stage manager, which meant that they were in the best possible hands – although neither they nor we escaped without injury – and most importantly those best hands weren’t mine.  Joy!

I went to see His Nibs for a few days, which was a breath of fresh air.  I’ve been stuck in Durham for too long.  We drank coffee and went charity shopping and cuddled because it’s not been an easy, or a comforting term for either of us.  I spent a fortune on dresses and impractical shoes, and finished a shawl, of which I hope there will be pictures shortly.

Oh!  I tell you what I’ve missed out!  Just found the pictures for it: from the people who brought you rubber rings and broom handles paddling down the Wear, comes…

…Durham University Giant Chess Society.

How would I sum up my experience of Durham in one picture?  Probably something like this.  Silly hats and all.

Still, I’m tired now, and I’m missing home.  The end of term is full of people and very late nights, and while I am generally a great fan of both, it is all a matter of extent.

I’m planning to check out the new yarn shop in York (where Sheepish was) on Friday, and, of course, Duttons, under the pretense of a visit to see Captain Shakespeare and his new theatrical endeavours.  (Oh yes, and there shall be ogling of his theatre also, no doubt!)  It’s only going to be me, depending on when CS can get away from preparations (law of the universe: expect nothing from anyone involved in the theatre twenty-four hours either side of opening night) but you know… I might just dress up.

Another one bites the dust May 26, 2010

Posted by Fiona in Knitting, Law, Sheer bloody-mindedness, Uncategorized.

Hurrah hurrah hurrah.  No more trusts, not ever, none at all.  No more Re London Wines, no more McPhail v Doulton, no more dread at the phrase “Lord Millett dissenting” or some silly mock-scientific graph about what happens if you put someone else’s money in your bank account, and no more Stack and Dowden ever ever ever.

That latter I’m particularly happy about.  It’s a case about a cohabiting couple with joint ownership of a house and what happens when it all goes horribly wrong.  If I ever end up buying a house with someone, I want to have sole legal ownership, let the other person pay the mortgage, tell them the house is as much theirs as my backside’s and wallpaper the whole place twice over with no help, just to mess with the family lawyers.

Anyway, it’s all done and dusted now and the two left are far more my cup of tea.  Exams mess with my head a bit.

Have some more shawl, anyway:

It’s grown a bit, and personally I think it looks glorious, even if the photo is a bit smudged.  I’m a fan of the pattern.  It’s Judy Marples’ Calais Shawl.  I had the pattern memorised in one six row repeat, and once you’ve done it a few times the double-decrease (sl2, k1, psso) hardly interrupts my flow at all.  Plus, I think it looks better than the ordinary sl1-k2tog-psso double-decrease – you don’t get the ‘bar’ of the slipped stich jumping out at you so much.  It’s something I’d like to experiment with.  With all this time and yarn budget at the moment, however, I think it’s going to be a while.  She’s written another one, however, called the Dover Castle Shawl (Ravelry link), which looks unbelievably wearable – my summer knitting is multiplying by the day at the moment!

Friday afternoon’s going to be exciting.  I’ll say no more now (ahem) but it involves about a dozen of us, all various combinations of techie, archaeologist and boy scout.  Rest assured, there will be photos.  And, at the time, probably a fair bit of staring, too.  Heh heh heh.