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TR: Solo in LONDON for ten days on unfinished business ...

TR: Solo in LONDON for ten days on unfinished business ...

Old Jul 12th, 2014, 05:45 AM
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Glad you saw "Handbagged" and enjoyed it, LDT and LOL, annhig. You have really covered some ground---good job!
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Old Jul 12th, 2014, 07:17 AM
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Hi TDUDETTE,

Really enjoyed HANDBAGGED. I noticed that two couples in front of me left during intermission - probably just didn't get it.

Didn't the gal who played the older version of the Queen look just like Her Majesty - her stature, the way she walked, and held her handbag etc?

Thanks for your original suggestion....
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Old Jul 12th, 2014, 09:25 AM
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Judges and lawyers do wear wigs in the criminal courts, right?>>

wigs and gowns are worn in "open court" - which means most hearings before a circuit judge and above except ones involving families and children. So that covers all criminal hearings [except ones before magistrates], and all civil hearings except minor ones.

All appeals are heard in open court, including family appeals, so everyone would robe, except in the Supreme Court where the judges don't. [can't remember why, sorry!]

i will certainly go and see the new court if I get the chance. for anyone who is interested, the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand [Fleet Street end] are very interesting - though it is a mock-gothic pile built by the Victorians, there is a great sense of the majesty of the law, especially if you can get into Courts 1-4 where the criminal appeals are heard. [open to all if there is room].

The same can be said of Court 2 in the Old Bailey, which often features in plays/TV scenes of old trials, Rumpole, etc. though you can't go into the court itself, you'd have to queue up to go in the public gallery.

lots to see in legal london if you're interested.
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Old Jul 12th, 2014, 03:53 PM
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Hi ANNHIG,

"lots to see in legal london if you're interested." True indeed.

Thanks for your explanation about the robes and wigs. I just thought that witnessing the UK's Supreme Court justices in action seemed so accessible to the public including those passing by from the other side of the pond.
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Old Jul 13th, 2014, 07:02 AM
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I agree lateday, that the Supreme Court would be a good place to see the law in action, especially as there isn't likely to be much competition for seats.

It is likely that the criminal Court of Appeal in the Royal Courts would be more entertaining, with convicted "felons" appealing against either conviction or sentence, despite what some might see as the efforts of the participants to make it as boring as possible!
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Old Jul 13th, 2014, 07:39 AM
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Agree completely Late Day. The actress really nailed it. It helped to be interested in the subject as well. Except for not knowing the names of a couple of MPs, I wasn't "lost" at all and found it drolly civilized after the raucous "Book of Mormon".
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Old Jul 13th, 2014, 11:55 AM
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Hi ANNHIG, good point. Stay tuned - I checked out the OLD BAILEY the next day.


TDUDETTE, regarding the play HANDBAGGED "Except for not knowing the names of a couple of MPs, I wasn't "lost" at all and found it drolly civilized after the raucous "Book of Mormon".

Good point. Thanks for the suggestion - really enjoyed the play.
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Old Jul 13th, 2014, 03:48 PM
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************************************************** **************
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25 - a Wren Church, the OLD BAILEY, COURTAULD GALLERY, "State of London Debate" with Boris Johnson
************************************************** **************

More sunshine and good weather. After visiting the SUPREME COURT in Parliament Square the previous day, I continued my judicial adventure by visiting the OLD BAILEY. I took a bus along FLEET STREET to the City, a view I never tire of. When I got off, I noticed an old church ST. MARTIN WITHIN LUDGATE, one of some 52 (!) churches built by SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN after the GREAT LONDON FIRE of 1666.

St. Martin's (barely a stone's throw from St. Paul's Cathedral) has many charming features such as a 17th century "breadshelves," provisions for the poor from the wealthier members of the parish, and an 18th century "sword rest". A precious piece of London's history.

The OLD BAILEY, formally known as the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, had been in the news again the previous day when Rebekah Brooks (you know, with the flaming red hair) who worked for Rupert Murdock, had been cleared of "phone hacking" while Andy Coulson, spin master for PM David Cameron, had been found guilty. The British press was still swarming around the building when I arrived - waiting for sentencing, I believe. This investigation had started when I was in London in the summer of 2011 - finally resolved.

The present building, dating from the early 20th century is rather utilitarian compared to the romantic version I had of the Old Bailey from Dickens's novel THE TALE OF TWO CITIES. Oh, well. Security was tight. No cell phones, inspection of all handbags and such. I was told that I could "sit in" on a trial in a small gallery above the court room where family members of the accused were also sitting. Spectators had to remain a minimum of 30 minutes - no going in and out.

The three defendants sat impassively while the prosecutor reviewed multitudinous cell phone records from the night of the alleged murder. Supposedly the accused were affiliated with a gang, although they appeared to be much older than one would associate with gang membership. The judge, and many lawyers in the court, wore the traditional wigs (some were askew) and black robes.

Back out into the daylight and on my way back down FLEET STREET on a bus heading for the COURTAULD GALLERY which I had visited before. The Gallery is a "doable" museum which is a "must see" for those interested in IMPRESSIONISM and POST IMPRESSIONISM. Their signature pieces include "A Bar at the Folies-Bergere" by Manet and "Self Portrait with a Bandaged Ear" by Van Gogh. (Poor guy).

http://www.courtauld.ac.uk/gallery/c...-postimp.shtml

A short walk from my hotel, the Courtauld Gallery is housed within the sprawling, originally Tudor complex of SOMERSET HOUSE with its "dancing fountains" in the expansive courtyard, a popular backdrop in several films. Many museum goers were enjoying lunch in the Gallery's leafy outdoor cafe on the day I visited.

Truthfully at this point I was winding down so I returned to the hotel to rest before my big night. I had a ticket for the STATE OF LONDON DEBATE where London Mayor Boris Johnson (not to be confused with the Lord Mayor of London) would field questions and concerns from his constituency. Boris first came to my attention in the summer of 2012 when he rebuffed criticism by then US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney about London's readiness to hold the Summer Olympics. Johnson told him "what for." Just love this clip...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5TUXmj8Btw


When I first read about the debate on line, I assumed that it would be held at the New City Hall on the Southbank, a modern ovoid shaped glass structure. But no - the venue would be enormous the 02 ARENA in NORTH GREENWICH which housed many Olympic and Paraolympic events in 2012. Another lovely evening, I set off after five on the Tube from Charing Cross, changing at Waterloo (a huge interchange) for North Greenwich on the updated Jubilee Line.

Alighting from the station, I crossed an enormous concourse leading to the 02 complex. Nearby was the EMIRATES AIR LINE, " the UK's only urban cable car," which provides a 10 minute journey across the Thames for commuters and tourists - quite unique I guess.

Lines were soon forming at the O2, one for ticket holders (moi) and the other for those hoping to gain entry just before the event. I was talking with a sharp young man in line who lived in London, originally from Northern Ireland. He had been a pharmacist, now working for some medical research firm and appeared to be doing well in the new London economy. \

Inside, I took an aisle seat when a young woman in front of me started conversing. She said she had many concerns, especially about the escalating cost of bus fare and the condition of the coaches which she said "were filthy." When I mentioned London rents, she said, "Well, I guess I am lucky. My parents helped me buy a small flat in Brixton eight years ago." Sounds good to me.

As thousands filed into the 02, the host NICK FERRARI, a jovial morning talk show host in London, warmed the audience up for Boris's entry. Bouncing on to the stage, Boris launched into his familiar mantra of how much the city has improved during his mayoralty: better security, more housing, faster transport, and the like. Then the barrage of questions and catcalls from the audience. I will paraphrase:

Number one concern - the cost of housing in London which has increased at least 20% in the last year. What about "all these foreigners" buying up the best parcels? Boris maintains that only 6% of housing stock in London is owned by 3 % of "foreigners," a situation repeated in other cities throughout the globe (New York, for sure).

"Boris, what about unoccupied housing bought by outsiders as investment property?" Answer "Let the local councils tax them to death!"

The increasing cost of public transportation? "Can't be helped, part of the cost of maintenance and improvement." I could see that myself at Tube stations, temporarily shut down for repairs to escalators.

"Boris, how do you have time to write books and your newspaper column?" Reply, "Disraeli and Winston Churchill did it, didn't they?" (You gotta love this guy.)

Boris has announced that this is his last term as mayor. Query - "Boris, are you going to run for Parliament and do you want to be PM?" Circumlocutions, but no direct answers.

"Boris, what about David Cameron and the Andy Coulson mess?" Obviously "no comment" about his fellow Etonian regarding the PM's embarrassing predicament.

Catcall from the rear - "Boris, I am the owner of a Black Cab for the past twenty years. How could you have permitted UBER [an unlicensed ride-sharing service activated on mobile devices] to operate in London?" Answer - "Our legal team is working on it." Disgust from other cabbies in the audience.

And so on. Just before nine o'clock (sorry 21:00) I slipped out and took the Tube back to Charing Cross before the crush. Here's the whole program if you are interested.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-UpLyQDO8I


Time for my last salmon salad (with artichokes and avocado - yum) and vin rouge at the nearby Pizza Express. Talking with the server, a young man in his late 20s, I asked him how folks in the service industry afford transportation costs to get into central London every day. "Do employers reimburse them?" I asked. "Not usually," he said, "most use buses which takes longer, but are cheaper. Personally, I ride my bike to work (in all weathers) because it's only about eight miles each way, just north of Euston Station." Where there is a will, there is a way I guess.

************************************************** *******
THURSDAY, JUNE 26 - Departure.

Yet another beautiful day - was I lucky with London weather or what? Packing was easy since I did no shopping. After reading the London Times, I proceeded downstairs for my last English breakfast. Had a pleasant conversation with the woman next to me from Norway and her grandson who was the exact age and size as my own grandson. He loved the shopping in London. Seeing him really made me think of home.

After expressing my gratitude to the maitre 'd and the concierge, I waited in the lobby of the STRAND PALACE for my HOTEL BY BUS connection at noon. The driver was early, and led me to his spiffy black SUV. Recall, this is a shared service, but I was the only passenger which I think speaks well for the company.

We went along the Strand, through Admiralty Arch, down the Mall, and past Buckingham Palace just during the Changing of the Guard. What a nice way to leave London, eh?

Of course, I had to ask the driver for his take on the UBER situation. London BLACK CAB drivers had staged a sit-in strike jamming traffic badly a few days before my arrival. The driver chuckled, "The strike only brought more attention to UBER service. Most people had never heard of it, but now many want to try it because it is less expensive!" The law of unintended consequences I guess.

I was early at Heathrow, but no problem because I had plenty of time to read my WWI book and pick up some chocolates for the grandkids. I stopped at the bar where I met a fellow heading for Boston, then on to Vancouver, to scout "promising bars and entertainment venues" for some investor. He told me he had lived in Ealing, made a substantial profit in selling his house, and was now considering moving to Chelsea. For him, times were good no doubt.

Fortunately, the flight home was uneventful. A few more reflections on my first truly solo trip if you are still with me. To those who are - many thanks!
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Old Jul 13th, 2014, 04:47 PM
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I'm still with you lateday. Very interested to hear about your Boris interlude. I would have had to 'sit on my hands' during that. Also with the woman who said she was lucky that her parents helped her to buy a place in Brixton a few years ago. OK for some. But it's really interesting to hear all the things you did 'off the tourist trail'. The Old Bailey stuff is rivetting isn't it... I went there about 10 years ago to listen to the Hutton Enquiry and was as engrossed as you. I'm not sure it is general knowledge that this is free entertainment in a spectacular setting in the centre of London.
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Old Jul 13th, 2014, 04:49 PM
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I have certainly enjoyed being along for the ride! Thanks for sharing so much good info!
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Old Jul 13th, 2014, 06:04 PM
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Hi GERTIE3751,

Re the OLD BAILEY "I'm not sure it is general knowledge that this is free entertainment in a spectacular setting in the centre of London." True, but the trial I caught was somewhat dull in that there was no cross examination. Glad you witnessed a more exciting exchange when you visited before.

Yes, I was "off the tourist trail," but I had been there several times before - would never get tired of London.
Thanks for following...

IRISHFACE,

Thank you for your kind thoughts. I really enjoyed Boris - sure we will hear much more of him when he leaves office. One thing is indisputable - the guy LOVES London!
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Old Jul 13th, 2014, 08:50 PM
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>>the guy LOVES London!<<

Hmm... he loves the platform the job gives him. But let's not wander off topic....
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 03:39 AM
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Hi PATRICK LONDON,

"Hmm... he [Boris] loves the platform the job gives him. But let's not wander off topic...."

Indeed, he is a showman. But with all of those in public office, their star seems to dim with time, don't you think? Who is waiting in the wings to take his place?
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 07:42 AM
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Very good question. He's rather overshadowed any potential successors on his own side, and though lots of names are mentioned for Labour, none of the familiar names is saying much more than "maybe".
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 09:49 AM
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Thanks for a fascinating and unique trip report. Just curious about your next trip - are you already cooking up some new plans?
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 12:57 PM
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Boris has announced that this is his last term as mayor. Query - "Boris, are you going to run for Parliament and do you want to be PM?" Circumlocutions, but no direct answers.>>

that would be a yes then. He is someone who will always be looking for the biggest stage possible and the HoP is the obvious next step. Apres Cameron? watch this space.

Interested to read your take on the criminal trial you watched. When I was strutting my stuff in those hallowed portals, there was one older member of the bar whose wig and gown were so disreputable that judges were always pulling him up about them. [a bit like one of the stories about Rumpole - perhaps John Mortimer had been in court during a similar exchange?] He never did go and get a new one

PS - the Old Bailey is the old name, the Central Criminal Court the "new" one.

https://courttribunalfinder.service....criminal-court [Old Bailey is the name of the street that it's in].
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 02:48 PM
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Hi PATRICK LONDON,

Thanks, it's rather fun for me to follow British politics a bit - actually tired of politics on this side of the pond.

ENEWELL,

Thank you for following along. Really haven't decided on any other trip at this point. You know - age, resources, energy - who knows?

ANNHIG,

"PS - the Old Bailey is the old name, the Central Criminal Court the "new" one." Thanks for the correction. I am glad I saw both the OB and the Supreme Court - not to forget the pub walk through the Middle and Inner (?) Temples.


It's pretty obvious that Boris will run for Parliament - but from where? I can't see him as PM, can you? Thanks for your observations on my three last trips - I really do love London!
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 02:58 PM
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Thanks Latedaytraveler for a great trip report. I enjoyed following along on your adventures and learning tidbits about different aspects of London--the legal system, the silver vaults etc. Quite different from the usual and makes a really enjoyable read.
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 03:20 PM
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Middle and Inner Temple is correct - with Lincoln's Inn and Gray's Inn they make the 4 Inns of Court to which every barrister must belong [just one of them, that is, not all 4!]. Strangely, though you refer to the pub walk through Inner and Middle Temple, there are no pubs as such within their grounds. They each have a bar, of course, [well, we need them after all those long speeches] and a dining hall, but no pubs. The nearest ones [that I can remember] are the Devereux to the west, the Clachan to the east [a clerks' pub, not for the likes of me] and Ye Olde Cock Tavern up on Fleet Street. did you go to any of those?

looking at Google maps, I can't find the Clachan [has it closed or changed its name? - there is one of that name apparently round the back of Liberty's but that's definitely not the one I'm thinking of] and of course I had forgotten El Vino's, immortalised by J. Mortimer as Pomerol's, and eschewed by all good feminists like myself because of its sexist policies of not allowing women to stand at the bar and buy a drink.

i really enjoyed your TR too, lateday, and hope you soon find somewhere else equally interesting to go.
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 05:01 PM
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"Middle and Inner Temple is correct - with Lincoln's Inn and Gray's Inn they make the 4 Inns of Court to which every barrister must belong [just one of them, that is, not all 4!]".

Let me ask a question--all barristers throughout the UK must belong to one of these 4 Inns of Court? Or is it only those practicing in London? Just curious.
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