Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas card from BabyBarista!

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen's Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including Lawyers Uncovered. He also does the cartoons for BabyBarista and has had two more excellent books published recently: 101 Ways to Leave the Law and 101 Uses for a Useless Banker. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

Buy the first book of the BabyBarista Files which is published by Bloomsbury and called Law and Disorder.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book recommendation: 'The Good Psychologist' by Noam Shpancer

I've just read The Good Psychologist by Noam Shpancer and thoroughly enjoyed it. It follows the life of a man who is a therapist by day and a psychology lecturer in the evening. A man who teaches his students to treat their patients with humility and to listen to their own inner voices and the life unseen. It's a wonderful read which is a funny, intelligent and fascinating insight into the life of a psychologist. But it is much more than that and is written is such a way that it's like a gentle sea breeze carrying the voices of your own heart back with it. As an aside, I also liked the fact that the therapist at one point used the idea of harnessing the power of huge waves through surfing as a metaphor for over-coming one's fears more generally. I highly recommend the book and it is available at www.amazon.co.uk.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

BabyBarista now available on audiobook!

I recently went to London and recorded a reading of the whole of Law and Disorder which is Book 1 of The BabyBarista Files. It took three whole days of reading and is now available on both cassette and audiobook from www.wholestoryaudiobooks.co.uk. You can hear an extract here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Early bird GoldCoast Oceanfest tickets

Heads up for for a limited number of GoldCoast Oceanfest tickets which give a saving of £10 per ticket are now available here until 4 January 2011.

Monday, December 6, 2010

iPad tips

If you've been enjoying using the iPad but finding that you keep having to transfer documents from different devices, a few of programs I have found to be particularly helpful are:

SugarSync For online backup and accessing documents from the cloud
Simplenote To synchonise your note-taking between iPad, iPhone, PC and Mac
ResophNotes To access SimpleNote from your PC
NotationalVelocity To access SimpleNote from your Mac
Gmail Webmail and storage
Google Calendar Diary across devices
DocsToGo Reading Word and other documents on iPad

With a big hat tip to my business partner and IT expert Garry Wright.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Coming soon: 'Law and Peace'...


I have now finished the second novel in The BabyBarista Files and it will be published by Bloomsbury in May. it is available for pre-order on  amazon at £11.99.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Future of the media

Heads up for an excellent article by Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian on the future of the media.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Naked Lawyer

Heads up for the a new book entitled The Naked Lawyer by Chrissie Lightfoot, an entrepreneur turned solicitor turned entrepreneur and CEO of EntrepreneurLawyer. The book is a truly motivational marketing and sales book. It’s very readable and packed full of thoughts, ideas and modern cultural references. It also has the great benefit of someone approaching the law after having been in business beforehand and with the current shake-up of legal services comes at a particularly opportune moment. You can buy all twelve volumes of the book for £96 here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Library closures...

Terrible to read in The Guardian that government cuts could mean that there will be widespread library closures. We all understand the need for cuts but I would suggest that when times are hard and people are losing their jobs, free access to books is more important than ever. The picture shows my local Braunton Library.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sponsored blog post: Lord Young would be Wrong to Restrict Personal Injury Advertising & Referral Schemes

David Cameron’s Adviser of Health and Safety Law and Practice, Lord Young has recently reviewed the health and safety laws following on from recent concerns expressed over the rise in the ‘compensation culture’ in Britain; for which Lord Young holds the media largely responsible.
These recommendations have come about as Lord Young takes the view that “businesses now operate their health and safety policies in a climate of fear. The advent of ‘no win, no fee’ claims and the all-persuasive advertising by claims management companies have significantly added to the belief that there is a nationwide compensation culture.”
The report, titled “Common Sense, Common Safety” was published on the 15th of October and in brief contains suggestions such as restricting “the operation of referral agencies and personal injury lawyers and control the volume and type of advertising.”
Michael Jefferies, Managing Partner of First Personal Injury solicitors, says “I think that it is a good that advertising is monitored to stop clients being misled, however this is already strictly controlled by the Advertising Standards Authority. They have been appointed to fulfil this roll and do a good job, so I don’t think the government should interfere.”
Michael Jefferies also puts forward a much more positive argument for personal injury advertising and referral schemes. He believes that as these are both methods of gaining more business for accident claim firms, clients benefit from a firm’s increased expertise and knowledge as a result of the increased business gained.
Jefferies added: “Certainly the ability to advertise and pay referral fees has allowed us to specialise due to increased work volumes, and thereby invest in technology which improves the firm’s expertise and therefore quality of advice to the client.”

About First Personal Injury
First Personal Injury is a trading name of Jefferies LLP one of the UK's leading personal injury law firms.  Jefferies LLP has over 16 years experience in personal injury claims. They have won justice and personal injury compensation for tens of thousands of people all over the country from its base in Altrincham, South Manchester. The firm deals with all levels of personal injury claims - from minor to catastrophic.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dave the Gun's Sloe Gin

This recipe was recommended to me by a friend from Cornwall called Dave. 


Fill a gallon Demijohn to just under half-way with pricked (or cracked after freezing) clean sloes. Add a couple of handfuls of blackberries and a couple of handfuls of rasberries which will act as natural substitutes for the usual sugar. Fill to the top with one litre of gin, one litre of vodka and 70cl of port. Leave until Easter. The result is a fruity, slightly tart and rather potent sloe gin. For those who prefer it sweeter, sugar can be added at that stage to taste.

RIP Andy Irons - obituary in The Independent

There's an excellent obituary of top surfer Andy Irons who tragically died very recently in The Independent written by Andy Martin the author of Stealing the Wave.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review of 'The Wave' by Andy Martin

Very entertaining (and damning) review of 'The Wave' by Susan Casey in The Independent by my good friend Andy Martin, the author of Stealing the Wave which is my favourite non-fiction book ever written. Having pointed out that the author paid Laird Hamilton for his 'collaboration' the review concludes:


Laird has a feudalistic tendency to assume some kind of droit de seigneur over "Jaws" in Maui, Hawaii, one of the few waves on the planet to which the word "awesome" can reasonably be applied. So be it. But it looks stupid or besotted for a writer to jog along with this mentality and confine herself to saying, in summary, "Oh, Laird, you are sooooo wonderful, you great, gorgeous, rippling, sublime hunk of a guy!"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review of 'Law and Disorder' at DefrostingColdCases.Com

Nice review of Law and Disorder at DefrostingColdCases.Com. He says in particular:

"British humour, subtle power play, plots and intrigue…Vidocq was sold! I cannot wait to read more about this barrister."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Exmoor, The Country Magazine

For anyone who has never read it, a big heads up for Exmoor The Country Magazine. It's got an excellent new editor in Naomi Cudmore and a brand-spanking new website here.

Buyer beware! The Quay Restaurant, Ilfracombe

I've ummed and ahhed about whether to write anything about The Quay Restaurant in Ilfracombe since in general I tend towards subscribing to my mother's philosophy that unless you've got something nice to say then it's better not to say it at all. But despite that I had such a bad experience there that I feel something really has to be said. All the more so as I am local and am usually extolling the virtues of pretty much most things down here.

It was terrible from the start. I'd specifically booked a window seat so that we'd be able to look over the sea. No such luck since the lighting was so glaringly bright that not only was it killing any possible mood but what you would actually have been able to see if you tried staring outside was the reflection of the two young waitresses who were failing to serve us. Not that I'm usually fussy but when you order wine with your food you do tend to expect it to be brought a little before the first course arrives. No such luck here. Instead, after telling them that we'd have a look around at the Damian Hirst artworks, we were quickly summoned back to our tables having been told that our food was already done. We dutifully rushed back and indeed found our food already sitting there. Quite the romantics these girls. But wait, not a drop of alcohol to accompany it. After much waving at the waitress she waved back and eventually acknowledged that we still needed our wine delivering. But no, she then proceeded to ignore us whilst we sat there like a couple of lemons  starting to wonder exactly what parallel universe we had entered.

In the meantime, we'd ordered some lobster and another waitress had taken great pleasure in explaining to my guest how she loves watching diners making fools of themselves as they send bits of lobster flying all around the restaurant. Not exactly comforting as we set about that particular task. Given that there appeared to be only about four couples in the whole place on that particular Friday night they can't exactly claim to have been overbusy. Of those guests, you could pretty much tune into whatever conversation you liked since not only were the lights up bright but also there was no background music whatsoever and the acoustics were such that the complaint being made on another table could be heard by all. Particularly when they packed all the guests close together. Though actually even if the waitresses had had radio one blaring out at full volume, it still wouldn't have masked the response from one of them to the complaint which clearly embarrassed the person who'd made it in front of the other few of us unlucky enough to be eating there that night. Public humiliation was obviously her thing.

The food, for what it's worth, was passable but nothing special and most certainly didn't justify the bill of over £80 for two courses and a bit of alcohol. I think everyone must have felt the same since even though we were just keen to get out of there as soon as possible, the other three couples had by then already made sharp exits. Which meant that it took another long while to even find a waitress to take payment. In the end I made my way downstairs to find a bar which seemed to be dominated by screaming kids and again a waitress determined to ignore my by now keen desire to get out of there. Honestly, the good/bad dial had been turned so far to the extreme towards atrocious that it had almost started hitting good again just for the comedy value. That is, if I hadn't been stung for such a hefty bill which made it a very big laugh at my own expense.

But hey, if owner Damian Hirst one day decides to do a modern art installation to see quite how much the restaurant-going public can take without complaining this might be a good place to start. I have no idea how much he has to do with this place but for my part, I'd have rather eaten his formaldehyde-soaked sharks than visited this restaurant.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Legal Week reviews the Law Blogs

Nice article by Alex Aldridge in Legal Week in which he reviews the UK's law blogs. You can read the full text here. He says the following about the BabyBarista Blog:

"Individual blogs like BabyBarista, Charon QC, Head of Legal and Geeklawyer led the way...
BabyBarista - Fictional insider account of life at the Bar, running since 2006 and made into a book, Law and Disorder, last year. In adapting a Bridget Jones-style comical account to the law, author Tim Kevan arguably invented a new sub-genre that has sparked a number of imitators. The blog is now hosted by The Guardian website."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Alex Aldridge starts writing for The Guardian's Law Section

Great to see that Alex Aldridge, the contributing editor of Legal Week, has also started writing for The Guardian's Law Section. You can read his excellent first article on financial regulation here. Alex is one of the stars of his generation of legal journalists and it's another coup for The Guardian to get such a great writer on board.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Profile on DefrostingColdCases.com

I've answered a few questions for the website DefrostingColdCases.com. You can read it here.

Minehead man designs a card game app for the Apple iPhone

Heads up for Minehead-born Jason Wright's latest computer game which he has specifically designed for Apple's iPhone and which has now been approved as an office App. It's is called ThreePlay (3Play). It’s a simple, yet addictive card game and cab be purchased on iTunes here. As Jason says:

"I got bored of all the same blackjack, poker, solitaire etc apps in the app store and decided to make a card game that was a little faster paced and more fun. The object is simple, make sets of three. Either a run of cards, for example 3,4,5 or Jack, Queen, King or three of a kind, 4,4,4, Ace, Ace, Ace. A same suit run gets you the most points at 1000 with a simple mixed run getting the least at 100. Three of a kind is 500. You get a bonus for Picture card runs on top. It sounds simple, and the basic concept is but once you get playing you realise it takes a little thinking and planning to get a good score. There are 4 card banks at the bottom for making the sets of three and 3 storage slots for one card each at the top. It’s a dual iPad/iPhone app and I am working in improvements already. I hope you like it!"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review of BabyBarista by Charles Courtley

Nice review of Law and Disorder by Charles Courtley, the pen-name for the author of the excellent Wig Begone. You can read the article here or below.

LAUGHING AT THE LAW

I’m delighted to state that my book now appears on the 
Lovereading website and so I  join a pantheon of other legal humorists – a bunch of writers all dedicated to treating the Law as a bit of a joke.
So, if you’re tired of serious coutroom novels, lighten up a little with a toddle through our pretend world.
Henry Cecil’s ” Brothers in Law” series will take you right back to the career of a rather prim barrister of the 1950s, whilst John Mortimer’s immortal “Rumpole of the Bailey” books examine the legal scene from the other side of the age spectrum.
Tim Kevan will bring you bang up to date with his witty book “Law and Disorder”  – a  brilliant parody of the modern profession and I trust that my own, more traditional tale, “Wig Begone by Charles Courtley” , the nostalgic story of a young barrister’s shenanigans in the 1970s will raise a laugh too!

Monday, October 11, 2010

'Law and Disorder' book-signing at Hammicks Legal Bookshop on 25 October

I will be doing a book signing for my book Law and Disorder from 6-8.30pm on 25 October at Hammicks Legal Bookshop at 191-192 Fleet Street (corner of Chancery Lane and Fleet Street). It is open to anyone although so that they can get a good idea of numbers, please RSVP if you or your friends can attend to events@hammicks.com.

Plea for help for Everest's Lama Geshe

I have just received this email from top Everest mountaineer Dr Rob Casserley. It is a very worthy cause.


Dear all,
 
So sorry to write a group email, but time is short and the reason is very important. Sorry to any of you that I should have written to before but have not managed to do. Please don't hold this against me when considering the topic matter!
 
A couple of weeks ago, Lama Geshs very nearly died. You are being written to, because almost certainly you have had the pleasure/honour of meeting him and will know what a wonderful person he is and probably appreciate, in some way, that he may well have done something very positive for you. He lost the ability to move his Right Hand Side, couldn't talk or swallow and deteriorated very badly. Everyone thought that he had had a stroke. It was felt that he would die.
 
Thankfully Jigme, Lama Geshe's son, from whom the forwarded message is below, managed to organise enough funds to get him a helicopter to Kathmandu. It was found on CT scan of his brain, that he had in fact had a subdural haematoma and required neurosurgery. He underwent this immediately and thankfully, he is now making a good recovery. He is still bedbound (when I saw him 10 days ago in Kathmandu), but he is talking, eating, moving his right hand side etc.
 
Bottom line, the care for him in hospital and the helicopter ride was extremely expensive - in total I would guess that it will exceed $5000US. I think that the family need help in trying to cover this bill and hopefully you will join me in donating. I am in Pheriche at the moment, but will be donating $200 as a start point. Please join me in whatever you can manage, to help this amazing man.
 
As a matter of interest, having examined him in hospital, I sincerely believe that he can make a good recovery, perhaps almost full. But that depends on after care such as physiotherapy and good nursing care. He is suffering from a bedsore at the moment which may hold him back, but he is in good spirits and I believe ge is over the worst. Your money will be used for very positive reasons.
 
Jigme sent me an email with a link to a paypal account. Please get behind this. I will be doing so on my return to Kathmandu in 10days. I will check in n him again and give you all a progress report.
 
Thanks for all of your help, and PLEASE forward on this email to anyone that you may think I have left out and has an interest in Lama Geshe's recovery,
 
Cheers for now,
 
Rob Casserley, Pheriche
 
--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: jigme sherpa <jigmedorji@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 6:22 AM
Subject: Thank you and Link for fund
To: rhcasserley@gmail.com


Hello Rob,

It was really nice to see you today. Thank you so much for your continued support and care for my father. It means a lot to my family and Pangboche villagers. He is getting better day by day and things are looking much better compared to past week. I am sure Ang Nuru have told you about it. 

Below is a link for the donation. I am sure you will write to everyone you know in a respectable and dignified way, but just to reiterate please write with great care and stress that the fund only be only used for my father's health. And please add something about your visit today to the hospital.



Below are links to articles about my father,

http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2010/09/29/lama-geshe-suffers-a-stroke-a-call-to-climbers-for-help/#utm_source=arnette-blog&utm_medium=arnette-blog&utm_campaign=arnette-blog

http://outside-blog.away.com/blog/2010/09/lama-geshe-suffers-a-stroke-a-call-to-climbers-for-help.html

http://mountainguides.com/wordpress/ I like how it is written in IMG website.

Could you also send an email to Dave Morton. I am sure that he will have lots of friends and he can get the article on Alpine Ascents website.

Once again thank you so much,

Jigme
Lama Geshe Family

Friend's VW Caravelle Transporter for sale for £7,850 o.n.o. (click to enlarge ad)

A good friend of mine, Amy Krazizsky who runs the Tiki surf shop in Braunton is about to move to Canada and so is being forced to sell her van. The details are in the picture opposite which you can enlarge by clicking on the picture and they are also below:

FOR SALE
2000 VOLKSWAGEN CARAVELLE TRANSPORTER 8 SEATER 2.5Tdi 102 bhp
£7,850 o.n.o.
Manual 5 Speed, MPV. Diese, 107,000 miles, Blue
2.5tdi Turbo Diesel, 8 Seats, Opening Rear Windows, Power Steering, Full service history.
Very Good Condition, Recent New Cambelt & Service,
Full set of brakes and discs 1 month ago
Long MOT, Roof Bars
Mobile: 07787 241 414, £7,850 o.n.o.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fire and Knives - a new breed of food magazine

Heads up for a relatively new food magazine called Fire and Knives which is run by award-winning food writer Tim Hayward. It strikes a punch against the celebrity-obsessed world of food PR and offers instead interesting and intelligently written articles along the highways and byways of food culture. With no advertisements, no celebrities and no recipes, it's a rare treat and I will be looking forward to the new issue each quarter. It's a brave and exciting thing to have launched and I wish Tim all the very best with it. You can subscribe here.

Sponsored blog post: Claiming compensation after an accident in a public place

Picture the scene; you’re visiting an office or business premises.  As you go to enter the building, you trip and fall.  When you get up, you notice that one of the steps up to the front door of the office gave way as you stood on it, causing you to trip up.
Whilst it may not be a situation that many of us have experienced, similar accidents can and do happen to dozens of people around the country every day.  Whether you have tripped up on a poorly maintained footpath or pavement, slipped on liquids spilt on a stairway, been hit by a falling object (such as a ceiling tile) or suffered any other injury in a public place or on a commercial premises through no fault of your own, it is your right to pursue a claim for compensation against those responsible.
Making a successful accident claim
In order to make a successful accident claim after suffering an injury in an accident on commercial premises or in a public place, you will need to prove that another person was responsible for your accident.  In the case of most compensation claims, this would be the owner of the premises, but it could also be the responsibility of the business that is renting the premises, or an external company that might be contracted to maintain the building and its surroundings. 
Finding out who was ultimately responsible for making sure that the area where your accident occurred was safe and well maintained can be a confusing and time consuming process.  This is just the kind of situation where a specialist accident claims solicitor could make all the difference as to whether your claim is a success or not.
As well as undertaking investigations to pinpoint the precise reasons for your accident, a personal injury solicitor can take the strain out making a claim in other ways.  As part of your claim, it is necessary to get medical evidence of your injuries from an independent medical expert.  Your solicitor will arrange for you to receive a consultation with a GP or a consultant specializing in the treatment of your particular injuries.  This ensures that any compensation settlement you are awarded is based on an accurate assessment of your injuries, their impact on your life and the length of time you are likely to need before you are fully recovered.
For advice concerning all aspects of non-fault personal injury claims, including claims for injuries suffered in a public place or at work, contact Camps Solicitors, the personal injury specialists.
Author: Neil Worrall

Monday, October 4, 2010

Book recommendation: Where Earwigs Dare

I highly recommend a book of poetry by fellow Devon resident Matt Harvey called Where Earwigs Dare. It is a collection of his latest poems, horticultural, whimsical, ecological, political and just plain funny. The book includes a poem about my Dad Robin Kevan in his guise as Rob the Rubbish which was broadcast on Fi Glover's programme on Radio 4. You can order the book at amazon. With Matt's kind permission, the poem about my Dad is also printed here. You can also watch a clip of Matt talking about transition towns here.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Law and Disorder reviewed in The Solicitors Journal

Great review of Law and Disorder in The Solicitors Journal by Martha Swann. You can read it here or see below.

Law and Disorder - Confessions of a Pupil
26 September 2010 Tim Kevan Bloomsbury

When I landed my training contract I was so enthused that I went through a stage of purchasing a library of legal books off the internet, as you do.
One of the books was BabyBarista and the Art of War. This has now been republished under the title Law and Disorder – The BabyBarista Files with a funky new cover to appeal to the masses ahead of a second book set to be published next year.
It was definitely one of my better purchases – as a trainee solicitor I quite like getting a glimpse of what life might be like in chambers as it seems much more… how shall I say this… exciting than my life behind a desk building forts out of files. I therefore cannot vouch for the book’s accuracy, but I can vouch for its humour, wit and brilliant plot.
If you’ve ever read the BabyBarista blog, formerly in The Times and now featured in The Guardian, you’ll know that it has sharply drawn characters with appropriate monikers. BusyBody and OldRuin are two examples – guess what those characters are like. They all work together (or at odds with each other) in a London chambers.
The book focuses on BabyBarista’s pupillage year and the fiercely competitive nature of the pupils as they try and learn their trade while simultaneously battling it out against each other to try and get tenancy.
This brings me to the rather obvious book review question of whether or not I would recommend this book to my friends, my colleagues and to you, dear Young Lawyer readers. I would.
I suspect I am biased as I love the blog (I even am sad enough to follow BabyBarista on Twitter) and I found the book hilarious.
When I enjoy a book I tend to read it in one fell swoop, as I did with this one. So, go and buy it. Even if you’re not familiar with the blog this is a brilliant introduction to it. I just hope you’ve got a spare moment to read it in between job applications and all that photocopying you’ve been asked to do...

Postscript:
Martha Swann is a trainee at Stone Rowe Brewer

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Please sponsor local vet Rachel Kyle

My good friend and my dog Jack's vet Rachel Kyle of Argyll Vets is running the London Marathon next year and has pledged to raise £2,500 for the Princess Alice Hospice. It's a fantastic cause and an enormous amount of money to be aiming for and so every penny counts. Please do consider sponsoring her at JustGiving.com (just click this link).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Has The Times' paywall started leaking?

Having blogged for The Times for three years, I resigned several months ago due to their introduction of a paywall. My reason was simple: less people would now be able to view my blog. I concluded that 'inside the paywall no-one can hear you scream'. Given that Rupert Murdoch apparently sees the iPad as the saviour of newspapers I was therefore fascinated to find that The Times' blogs are not even included in the content provided. I was also interested to discover today that unlike the other blogs Mary Beard's excellent A Don's Life continues to appear outside the paywall but on a Times-branded site. Is this the first leak from the paywall? You can read her blog here.

Untested tranquilizer circulates at Yale Library

Funny piece from The Yale Law Library.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Superheroes in court!

There's a piece about an exhibition at Yale University entitled 'Superheroes in court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books' in The New York Times.

Friday, September 17, 2010

RIP Lord Bingham

Very nice article in The Guardian by Afua Hirsch about the great Lord Bingham.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Introducing The Real Boar Co - providing wild boar meat in England

Having eaten wild boar meat in Portugal in the past and absolutely loved its rich flavours, I was really delighted to stumble upon an English company which is now both rearing and selling this wonderful meat. They are called The Real Boar Co. and their website is here. I can already recommend their Wild Boar Salami with Sloe Gin and am about to order some of their meat.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cambridge ousts Harvard as best university

According to The Guardian, Cambridge University is now officially the best university in the world.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Bristol-based food blog

Please note that the blog mentioned below has now (October, 2011) changed it's name to South West Foodie and is at www.southwestfoodie.com.

Heads-up for a new Bristol-based food blog A Foodie's Guide - Brizzle and beyond. It's definitely written by someone who's passionate about food and quick to praise what's good. But there is also a sharp eye for the over-priced and the sub-standard. Must be fun to write too! You can read it here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Help the environment by voting for Moixa's Home Energy System

Moixa, the company who make the fantastic USB Cell battery have entered their home energy system in the Ecomagination Challenge in the States. The company is run by a friend of mine Simon Daniel who is a British inventor and entrepreneur. Please help Simon and Moixa to win funding by voting for them here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

'Scribblings from the Surf' - Devon Life 9/10: Extreme litter-picking

The fifteenth in a series entitled 'Scribblings from the Surf'. For more information on Devon Life, click here. To read the article, see the text below or click to enlarge the pictures of the original article below that. To see the whole series, click here


EXTREME LITTER-PICKING

Barrister and writer Tim Kevan tells the story of his father’s inspirational efforts to clean up our countryside

Okay, once in a while you hear a heart-warming story that inspires you to go out and do a little better each day yourself and I’ve got one of those to offer this month and it just happens to involve my Dad Robin Kevan. You see after around thirty years of being a social worker he woke up one day in his little Welsh village of Llanwrtyd Wells and decided that he still wanted to be helping people and improving their lives even though he was now retired. But where to start? Well, the most obvious place was his own back yard and he quietly starting getting up very early in the morning and cleaning up the litter in his village. Not for any other reason than to make the place a nicer place to live. Eventually just as the milkman was called ‘Hugh the Milk” and the postman ‘Ken the Post’, he came to be known as ‘Rob the Rubbish’ and he took on a yellow gillet emblazoned with this catchy name.

But whilst he continued to keep his village clean, the pleasure he got from this meant that slowly he started spreading his wings and bringing in his passion for the countryside and in particular for the hills. So when he heard that Scotland’s highest mountain Ben Nevis was absolutely filthy, he drove right up there and spent two days cleaning it up. So, too, with Wales’ Mount Snowdon and England’s Scafell Pike and slowly he started to become a little well-known making his way up those mountains with a black bin liner and his trusty pick-up stick. It also meant that the people responsible for cleaning up these beautiful places were forced to sit up and take note and it led to meetings with the likes of the John Muir Trust and a local aluminium plant in Scotland which has definitely improved local practice and it’s undoubtedly the case that there’s a lot less litter around in these places than when he started out.

As word spread the media picked up on his work. Richard and Judy did a profile and when Griff Rhys Jones followed him around on Snowdon he was given a gillet with the name ‘Griff the Garbage’. The Daily Telegraph described him as “the unlikely new hero of the environmental lobby” and The Independent said that “Mr Kevan thus follows in the footsteps of others who have decided something must be done and done it. One thinks of Florence Nightingale, Albert Schweitzer, Bob Geldof, Diana, Princess of Wales...”. Oh and he even featured in a book called One Can Make A Difference alongside the likes of the Dalai Lama and Paul McCartney. All from picking up other people’s rubbish! He also entered the debate about litter on programmes such as The Jeremy Vine Show and despite the fact that he clearly didn’t like rubbish, he also steadfastly refused to get angry about it. There are lots of reasons people leave litter as far as he was concerned and although he hoped to inspire (or even shame) them into not doing so, he simply said “I just pick it up”. As he explained: “If litter offends you and it’s there then pick it up and it’s won’t offend you any more.” There’s a kind of hunter-gatherer element to this and also a great satisfaction as he says in seeing that “everything behind you is so much better than everything in front of you.”

This simple message spread around the world with people contacting him from as far away as China, the Middle East and South America and telling him that he’d inspired them to clean up their own local mountains. It also led to Terry Crosby of Travel and Trek taking him on trek to Everest Base Camp and helping to clean up that well-trodden path. Now this is no mean feat even without a pick-up stick but there he was in his sixties and setting an example to trekkers and locals alike.

However, the one downside was that whilst he got to the little village of Pheriche which is over 14,000 feet above sea level, he didn’t quite make it as far as Base Camp itself and this is where I came in. I’d already been inspired by his efforts and supported the likes of Mikey Corker and Surfers Against Sewage and their work to keep the beaches of North Devon clean. But then I was given an offer I simply couldn’t refuse. Former Braunton-resident and at the time five-time Everest summiteer Rob Casserley runs a company called Trek 8848 (named after the height of Everest in metres) and he offered to take me on a trek to Base Camp. An incredible opportunity in anyone’s books to be given a true insider’s guide to the Khumbu Valley by Rob and his Sherpa friend Ang Nuru Sherpa who had summited with Rob back in 2003. But all the more so when I was able to finish the job my Dad had started. So it was that a new yellow gillet was put emblazoned with the name ‘Tim the Trash’ and I brought out my own pick-up stick and black bags and took on my own share of litter-picking from Namche Bazaar through to Pengpoche, Pheriche in the footsteps of my Dad and then eventually to Everest Base Camp at 17,500 feet and even to the mountain just above it Kala Patthar at around 18,500 feet. It was undoubtedly a great feeling not only to follow in my Dad’s footsteps but also to be able to finish what he had started as well as to be able to share such an incredible experience.

These days my Dad can still be found cleaning up both his local village and surrounding hills and seeing it very much as something which gets him out into his beloved countryside. In the meantime, it’s also worth mentioning that Rob Casserley entered the record books this same Everest season by summiting twice more to bring his total ascents of the world’s highest mountain to seven. In the process he also became the first Westerner to summit the mountain twice in a season in two different seasons. Two inspirational men called Rob who bring to mind the following words of William Blake: “Great things are done when men and mountains meet; This is not done by jostling in the street.”

Links
Robin Kevan on Wikipedia
Trek8848
Travel and Trek

Please note that the beautiful lead photograph is the copyright of photographer Howard Barlow who also sells iconic images of in particular seventies rock stars such as the Ramones and Blondie on his website here. He also has a blog here

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rock from the summit of Mount Everest

The rock that Jack has his paw on was very kindly carried down from the summit of Mount Everest by seven times summiteer and high altitude medical specialist Dr Rob Casserley of Trek 8848. Actually, it apparently comes from about 150 yards just to the side of the icy summit but who's counting! If you're interested in trekking to Everest Base Camp with Rob and fellow Everest summiteer Pasang Nuru Sherpa just drop them a line here. You really do get to see the Khumbu Valley from an insider's perspective and I simply couldn't recommend them more highly. Jack's been boasting ever since this photo that he's rested his paw on the summit of Mount Everest and has been cheekily crowing, 'That wasn't so hard - I really don't know what all the fuss is about!' Though in actual fact there really has been a dog get at least as far as the Khumbu Ice-Fall - here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Independent on Sunday gives 'Law and Disorder' four stars!

The Independent on Sunday today gave Law and Disorder four stars in a book review by Inbali Iserles. To read it click here or see below:

"Litigation is like war." So BabyBarista is told on being presented with a copy of Sun Tzu's The Art of War during his first day in chambers. BabyB is about to find out that the battle lines are drawn not only in the courtroom but between the barristers who will be his neighbours for the next year of continual assessment. It is a lesson he is quick to learn – if fraud, philandering and a string of transgressions are to dictate which of the aspiring pupils make tenancy, BabyB plans to give as good as he gets.

Law and Disorder started life as an anonymous blog and its appeal as a novel is obvious. Tim Kevan, a former barrister himself, has a sharp eye for detail. While his cast tends toward caricature, one suspects that there is more than a kernel of truth to the pompous, sexist HeadofChambers, BabyB's conceited peer TopFirst and SlipperySlope, a solicitor "skilled in the creative art of billing".