I May Be Some Time…


In the U.K. a friend who was a big wheel in a major accountancy firm gave me a rule of thumb for estimating the trustworthiness of organisations in which you might think to invest or with whom you were thinking of doing business.

If they had a water feature in the lobby of their head office they were either about to go bust or they were running on funny money.

On that basis, then, my regular lawyer is neither going to go bust tomorrow nor is he dealing in narcotics.

I take his office for granted…I grew up in a period when money spent on offices was regarded as sheer waste…so climbing a steep flight of steps to a labyrinth of small rooms around a landing where the lawyer’s office door is closed by a padlock when he goes to lunch comes as no great surprise.
It does to various visitors from Europe who have accompanied me.

They take one look at the wooden bench in the joint waiting area and decide to go elsewhere for a coffee while I conduct my business.

They don’t know what they are missing. Like all waiting rooms, gossip is rife, but only in a lawyer’s waiting room in Costa Rica have I seen a client rise to his feet and sing to entertain the rest of us when the television broke down.
Very good he was too.

I have been frequenting offices lately, as I am off to Europe and need any number of documents notarised, even, in some cases, given an apostille by the Foreign Ministry.

Costa Rican legal documents bristle with fiscal stamps, legal stamps, stamps for the preservation of national parks – you name it there’s a stamp for it, not to speak of the enormous gold stars applied by notaires – as if you had done very well indeed while at primary school.
Whether you can read the text underneath this gallimaufry appears to be irrelevant.

But it’s not all indoor work.

If you need an apostille, then the notaire’s signature has to be confirmed by the notaires’ governing body and as this entity lurks in the bowels of an office block out in the suburbs you get a little tourism thrown in.
You get even more tourism thrown in if your notaire has made a horlicks of the stamps as you then have to go to a bank to buy the appropriate digital fiscal stamps.
Half an hour’s wait to buy a one hundred colon (0.1324 of a British pound) stamp does not appeal to me, especially as no one seems to sing in a bank.
I prefer not to contemplate what you would need to do if the notaire forgot a national parks preservation stamp….probably go out to net an unwary sloth.

Still, by tomorrow all should be in order – as far as the documents are concerned anyway. My packing preparations are, as yet, non existent, apart from bags of coffee for friends.
What will the weather be like? The current heatwave, or a reversion to normality? What to take by way of clothes? Where in the name of the wee man are my comfortable shoes for the ‘plane?

I don’t look forward to a long flight, jammed in a seat and fed buns by the keepers, but far worse is the fact that this trip totally upsets my cricket listening plans for the summer.

It is, should anyone not be aware, an Ashes summer. England versus Australia. The big one.

My routine is to rise at three thirty in the morning, make a cup of tea and switch on the computer in time to hear the start of the morning session on Test Match Special, that gem of broadcasting so far unsullied by the BBC’s predilection for political correctness and paedophilia.

Mark you I did have quite a surprise when returning from letting the sheep out in the lunch interval to hear Phil Tufnell refer to a Duckworth-Lewis blow job….but it turned out to be a reference to fellow commentator Henry Blofeld jamming with the Irish musical group the Duckworth Lewis Method, so that was all right.

But what will I do when in Europe? I’m taking the laptop…but most of my business will be conducted in the hours of play – lawyers on the continent of Europe having no conception of decency.
I think it will be all right in England…the lawyer there is a cricket nut too and mother will be glued to TMS from morning to night, thermos at hand, but until then I shall have to resort to sitting up all night in the guest bedroom of friends’ houses with headset linked to the laptop, listening to a replay of the ball by ball commentary on the BBC iPlayer.
If there’s a plug.
If their computer is switched on all night.
If the wifi works.

It doesn’t bear contemplating.

The First Test has shown that this is going to be an exciting series…and where shall I be?

Stuck in lawyers’ offices.
In a heatwave.
With no water feature.


48 thoughts on “I May Be Some Time…”

  1. Ha ha love this post. We also love cricket and it is a real pain that we abandoned Sky when we left the UK. Free view and French TV are just not much good though we do get the TDF!

    Have a safe trip and look forward to your return. Diane

    1. The last Ashes series I was able to see was that of 2005, thanks to the rights being awarded to Sky….but TMS does a wonderful job.
      I was wondering if I could see a match when I get to England…but even if there were tickets available I’m sure the price would induce heart failure.

  2. “Mark you I did have quite a surprise when returning from letting the sheep out in the lunch interval to hear Phil Tufnell refer to a Duckworth-Lewis blow job….”

    I’m still chuckling over that one.

    I’m flying out on 25 July for the states. Maybe we’ll meet up in the airport. If not, have a safe trip and keep us posted on all things GB. 😉

    1. It did rather take me aback, I must say…

      Safe trip to you too….I’m on an ‘if it’s Tuesday it must be Paris’ sort of trip, but I hope I’ll have time to at least keep up with reading blogs

  3. One of the requirements Niall stipulated when we bought our house in France was that it be in range of radio 4 LW so as TMS could be listened to. The 1st test was a belter :-)! Onwards to Thursday. Not much of a compensation but channel 5 are doing 1 hr of highlights each evening which you should be able to catch.

    Safe travels. Are you just in the UK or also popping over to France?

    1. That match had me on the edge of the seat! If the rest of the series lives up to this it will be some summer!
      I’m off to France, then Spain, then Belgium and finally England, trying to tie up a whole load of loose ends at once….if I survive!

  4. Pack for warm weather at the moment, Helen as the forecasters aren’t predicting an end to this lovely sun for some time yet. 🙂 I so agree about disliking elaborate and expensive offices as we all know the expense has been taken from the pockets of the clients, not the firm.

    We may have to agree to disagree about the virtues of TMS. 😉 Not being a cricket fan, DH starts to foam gently at the mouth when he switches on Radio 4 LW here in France, only to hear cricket when he was hoping for one of his favourite programmes. What he’ll do when LW is finally switched off doesn’t bear thinking about. 😦

    Safe journey and may all the paperwork fall beautifully into place.

    1. I suppose the only answer to the end of LW is the iPlayer…but that’s far from perfect. I was listening to an Ian Rankin serial…and it disappeared after episode three….

      Oh, fingers crossed for the paperwork!

  5. Not a cricketing fan, but I was rather impressed by that young Aussie lad’s debut. Not too shabby for a bowler! (Even more impressed when England got it together and worried the Aussies!)

    1. Stunning wasn’t he. Imagine being nineteen and scoring 98 in your first Test!
      I can’t say I was too impressed by Stuart Broad, though. Blatant gamesmanship.

  6. Oh dear. Isn’t it on radio? I can listen to radio on my tiny little cheap MP3 player that fits in my pocket. That’s all the help I can give you. You are not the first I’ve encountered who will, or would if they could, be immobile except reaching on occasion for the tea thermos.

    1. I could get it on long wave, but the area of coverage is a bit dicy.
      I always regard TMS time as being rather like the truces the ancient Greeks used to have for the sacred games.
      No one disturbs me for cups of tea while it’s on and lunch is in the microwave.

  7. I have no idea what you’ll be up to in legal offices but it is too bad if you’ll miss any matches…Best to to you and Leo and safe travels.

  8. I loved your description of the lawyer’s office in Costa Rica 🙂 I’m not a cricket fan, but I’d love to get on a plane and go home to the UK for a couple of weeks…. spare a thought for MM and have a bacon sarnie for me whilst you’re there, please, Helen 🙂

    1. Apart from the padlock it’s not unlike legal offices I used to know in my youth – except there are no coal fires.

      A bacon sarnie is available in Costa Rica…lovely bacon….but I’m not at all reluctant to have anpther for you when in the U.K.!

      1. You can also have a cheddar and tomato granary sandwich, lots of Walkers crisps and a bottle of Bishop’s Finger for me. Oh yes, and jam roly-poly pudding, and scones with clotted cream and jam, and lots of chocolate buttons (don’t forget to read the nursery rhyme on the back of the packet). Thanks 🙂

        1. I think I could manage the sandwich and the beer…probably the crisps…the scones are a good bet if I take mother out for tea somewhere…chocolate buttons – no – and jam roly poly in a heatwave might just topple me over the edge.

          1. Hmm. I suppose that’ll have to do, then. Try eating the jam roly poly when sitting in the vegetable tray in the fridge? Now off to get my head around the fact that you don’t like chocolate buttons. Please don’t say that you like Marmite, or you will be considered to live in the Gastronomical Dark Side.

  9. I now have an Archos that allows me to listen to Radio 4, Radio 4 LW and Radio 4 Extra via the router and Internet. R4 Extra are re broardcasting Dessert Island Discs of cricketers and those connected , it’s just been Aggers’ choice. They’ve just played again An Hour with Brian Johnston. Happy result 1-0 so far, fortunately we can watch the crcket .

    1. Whatever is an Archos?
      I heard the Aggers Desert Island Discs…that got him into a bit of hot water with his first wife, I gather….and I heard the Brian Johnston hour too, which disappointed me rather…more like a watered down smoker.
      I’m just wondering if one of mother’s friends has Sky, but I doubt it or she’d have moved in there for the duration.

      1. Archos 3.5 home connect. Advanced webradio powered by Android. It says on the box. Lets me listen to the radio – favourites pre programmed – in a room/place other than where my laptop lives. ie in bed! Can also plug in ear phones so HimIndoors is not discomoded.
        My Son-in-Law got e-mail and stuff on it but that is not what I wanted. You know, if I wanted a camera on the mobile phone…….
        Trouble with Sky is having to listen to radio where the tv box is with some blue screen illuminated. BTW, Radio Times does a good web page with progs. on it.

  10. Perfection for me would be to hear you reading this on the radio…you are a genius. I can’t stop laughing!

    PS. Have a good trip – will miss you SO much.

        1. Well I couldn’t do worse than the series of five fifteen minute slots by a prat going down the Seine in various boats. Didn’t even know about the inland navigation museum in a town he went through…Tchah!

          1. It has just struck me that just as you offer to write to the BBC I have in this very post accused that august body of an obsession with political correctness and paedophilia…..this may not be my lucky day, methinks…

            Should I go the whole hog(wash) and say what I thought about the ‘White Queen’ series?

  11. I don’t envy you the time spent with paperwork and lawyers. Our recent small brush with a lawyer in order to close our house sale was enough to put me off for several more decades. 🙂

    I must confess as a North American that cricket baffles me. Some day I need to sit down and watch a match (is that what a game is called?) and see what it is all about.

    I hope your journey goes smoothly, and that you are able to keep up with your cricket. And that you pack the right clothes for the weather!

    1. Most of my dealings with lawyers in France have left me close to suicide: incompetence, arrogance and greed just about sum it up. You can do it and eat it while they’re looking at it and then you need a mortgage to pay them off…and don’t let me start on the corruption.

      Cricket is fascinating because it is a mind game as much as a physical game – living chess in the hands of the best players.

      Thanks for your kind wishes….to think it’s hotter in Europe than in the tropics!

  12. Cricket? Always loathed it. My father was obsessed with it. Never forgave the introduction of one day matches or whatever it was. Cricket was so exciting it had to be dragged out over three boring bloody days.

    We played it at our school. I did not.

    Lawyers. I toyed with the idea of law originally. I’ve met the odd decent one though.

    Where in Spain eh? Buen viaje.

    1. As a true Scot my father only watched cricket if there was some chance of some other team beating England…but my grandfather took me to matches and I grew to love the game.

      South of Barcelona……if I make it that far…

  13. Hi there – enjoy London but do take water – I melted there yesterday and will no doubt do so next week.

    Apologies for lack of comments recently – struggling with grief for Google Reader

  14. I spent yesterday by the pool, alternating between sun and shade….listening to Tuffers and others commentating on the 2nd Ashes test, relayed by the amazing power of the internet through my phone, and into speakers placed strategically by the poolside. It was heaven.
    Are you in France for long ? anywhere near Carcassonne ? You could join me for further listening!
    We go back to England at the start of August to catch the Test in Durham, staying at the gorgeous Lumley Castle hotel, overlooking the Chester-le-St pitch.
    Hope your’ travels are safe and effortless. Jx

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