Monday, July 26, 2010

Review of Law and Disorder

Thanks to the blogger from North Devon who writes the NoClue Blog for a lovely review of Law and Disorder. In particular they say:

"’s very funny to read and you don't need to come from a legal family or be in law to appreciate the wry humour and enjoy the anecdotes and the devilishly funny stories...It’s a book that will appeal to anyone with a sense of humour and one which I simply could not put down until I had read it from cover to cover laughing out loud with every page. It’s nice to know that what happens in every office of any business in this land happens in exactly the same way within the legal profession - but done with a helluva lot more style and panache."

Watch Braunton's Lydia Cross star in ITV programme...

Following up on my article in Devon Life about Lydia Cross here, you can watch her star in an ITV programme called 'All the Queen's Men' with Alan Titchmarsh here. It covers her run in Braunton and also shows her presenting a bouquet of flowers to the Queen. It's from 29 minutes onwards.

'Scribblings from the Surf' - Devon Life 8/10: Lydia Cross and Help for Heroes

The fourteenth 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


Barrister and writer Tim Kevan meets an incredible family

Braunton in North Devon is home to some extraordinary people, but none more so than nine year old 
Lydia Cross who, despite having lost both her legs to meningitis when she was two, has been inspiring the nation with her positive attitude and good works. So, too, Lydia’s father Tony Cross who is the Devon co-ordinator for Help for Heroes.

Lydia Cross
Back in October 2003 Tony and Jodie Cross’s worst nightmare came true. Their two beautiful little daughters Lydia and Millie both contracted serious meningitis. First it was seven month old Millie who was rushed to hospital and given a 15% chance of survival. Then as soon as they arrived home, two year old Lydia wasn’t well. Unfortunately for the first few days they were told variously by health professionals that it was a virus or an ear infection until eventually she collapsed and was blue–lighted to hospital where on arrival she stopped breathing and was found to be suffering from among other things full multi-organ failure with septicaemia which it transpired was also due to meningitis. That night the plastic surgeon warned them that Lydia could lose her arms, cheeks, tip of her nose, lips and legs. Truly a parent’s worst nightmare. 

From those terrible weeks, Millie has thankfully fully recovered. As for Lydia, after two weeks in intensive care she had to go to the renal ward for dialysis. Luckily, her kidneys, arms and face all recovered but unfortunately she had to have below-knee, bilateral amputations on both legs. However, her parents were above all thankful that she was alive. As her mother Jodie says, “I thought I had the best cuddle in the world with Millie. Little did we know that we'd be in the same situation with our other daughter days later. When I had that cuddle with our little Liddie I felt the luckiest Mummy in the world. I'd secretly, at the beginning, dreaded that I wouldn't get the chance to hold her in my arms again, but thankfully I did.” Yet despite her disability, Lydia has managed to live as normal a life as possible, attending the local school and learning to walk, jump and ride a bike with her prosthetic limbs. She’s also learned to surf, getting up on the board and standing on her knees and thanks to the brilliant tuition of Maggie Buckland at the Leisure Centre in Barnstaple she’s even learned to swim without swimming legs.

But simply fighting for her own survival was not enough for the indefatigable Lydia. She campaigned to raise awareness of meningitis and by the age of six had already won the Pride of Britain Award for both her courage and her conviction. Then at the age of eight she did a sponsored one mile swim and in the process raised £13,500 for the Help for Heroes charity and this year completed a mile run in Braunton for the same charity with among many others two injured servicemen Ben Mcbean and Mark Ormrod. Oh and if that’s not enough she’s also helped support the British Legion and their poppy appeal. All of which led to her being awarded a Rotary Young Citizen of the Year Award by TV presenter Connie Huq this year as well as receiving perhaps the greatest accolade as far as kids (as well as many adults) are concerned: a Gold Blue Peter Badge. Not that it stops there. When I visited the family, she had been asked to be a patron of Help for Heroes and in the following weeks had a visit to see the Queen and a presentation to make of a Hero Bear to Prince William at the official opening of the swimming pool at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court. She then plans to walk up Pen Y Fan in Wales in August for Help for Heroes and the British Legion. But beyond all of this what shines out from Lydia is her love of life, her cheeky sense of humour, her kindness to others and a maturity beyond her years. It really is both a joy and an enormous inspiration to see. All the more so for the injured servicemen she has worked so hard to support. As Jodie says, “The lads say Lydia is an inspiration and when they find it hard they see her jumping around and smiling and wondering how they can give up.”

Tony Cross
Lydia’s parents Tony and Jodie are equally inspirational in the way they have handled their family difficulties and turned them into gifts. Tony was in the army for some fifteen years and during that time served in Iraq, returning to work there later as a close protection officer. He is now, among other things, the Devon co-ordinator for Help for Heroes which involves him going around the county explaining what it is all about. Above all, he is keen to emphasise that it is absolutely non-political and is about helping injured servicemen and not whether the fights to which they are sent are right or wrong. Their aim is to establish recovery centres around the UK not only to provide specialist care for the horrific injuries which are suffered but also to help those people to re-integrate themselves back into civilian life as well as relieving the burden on the NHS. When your country is at war and there are people not only fighting but also dying for the freedoms you often take for granted, it is hard to think of a more noble cause to be supporting. 

But beyond even the charity work and the determination of this formidable family, there is above all else an incredible spirit and love which radiates from them all. If ever there was going to be anything that left you with a lump in your throat, it is the sight of two such incredibly loving, modest and courageous parents and their happy, fun-loving and equally courageous daughters. Definitely heroes helping heroes.

For more information on Lydia Cross and to donate to Help for Heroes, click on the links on the article. 

Don't forget jury trials in the great repeal act

I've just done the second in my series of monthly articles for The Guardian Law urging the government to repeal the provision that allows for judge-only trials. You can read the article here and follow the series here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Devon blog: Ebb and Flow

Heads up for a great new blog called Ebb  and Flow which is full of ideas for what to get up to around North Devon. You can check it out here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Poem on my Dad Rob the Rubbish by Radio 4's Matt Harvey

The wonderful Radio 4 Saturday Live poet (and fellow Devon resident) Matt Harvey did a poem about my Dad Robin Kevan in his guise as Rob the Rubbish a few years ago which was broadcast on Fi Glover's programme on Radio 4. Now it's going to appear in a new book by Matt entitled Where Earwigs Dare which is published on 14 October 2010. It is a collection of Matt's latest poems, horticultural, whimsical, ecological, political and just plain funny. You can pre-order it at amazon. With Matt's kind permission, the poem about my Dad is also printed below.

Rob the Rubbish…..My Hero

He isn’t where the glamour is
Or where the glitz and glitter is
He’s far away from cameras
Rob is where the litter is.
Whose litter?

Sound citizens like me and you
Who leave behind a residue
The wrapper of a snacky thing
Petroleum based packaging
An apple core, a bottle top
Look! Someone’s dropped their glottal stop
The stray lid off some Tupperware
The forelock of a Sherpa there
A crushed carton of apple juice

The landscape soaks up this abuse….
….Then Rob steps in

And…by picking up crisp packets, cling film and tin foil
Incongruous empties of Sprite and Drambui
He nurtures the flora and fauna and topsoil
And subtly recharges the Feng of its Shui

Rob is more than merely stoic
He’s verging on heroic
He’s a super-dooper human
Doing topographic grooming
He’s a man whose civic pride
Extends up every mountainside
He de-clutters their crevices
He’s even done Ben Nevis’s
The litter droppers’ nemesis -
Is he a hero? You decide….

It’s a dirty world - but Rob won’t let us ruin it
It’s a dirty job - we’re glad that Rob is doing it

Matt Harvey, Radio 4, 27th January 2007

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Letter in The Independent from my Dad Robin Kevan (aka Rob the Rubbish)

There's a lovely letter from my Dad Robin Kevan in The Independent today about picking up litter. He is famously known as Rob the Rubbish for his efforts which include not only cleaning up his local area but also mountains such as Snowdon, Scafell and Ben Nevis and as far afield as the trek to Everest Base Camp. The Daily Telegraph has 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! You can read more about him on his wikipedia entry. The letter is also printed below.

What I do is rubbish
Terence Blacker's article (16 July) is another in a long list by journalists and others trying to understand the phenomenon that is a British countryside blighted by litter. I achieved some notoriety a while ago by responding to a radio report about Ben Nevis being strewn with litter, going there from my home in Wales and cleaning it up. I worked on the basis that, if litter offends you, pick it up. It can then no longer offend you and the beauty behind it can be seen. It's simple.
Most people see litter all around them every day, but, because we are all so focused on just getting through the day, we don't actually notice it.
Once you really notice litter you are never quite the same again. I regularly clean up my small town and my activities have taken me to Britain's highest mountains and the Everest trail. 
It's a never-ending job but I'm sustained by the fact that everywhere I roam, things look a lot better behind me.
Instead of getting angry about the huge global litter problem, we could all try to deal with litter on the street outside our own front doors. Clear it up every day. Britain could then be seen for the lovely country it is.
Robin Kevan
(aka Rob the Rubbish)
Powys, Wales
The beautiful photo of my Dad cleaning up Snowdon is copyright 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.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Follow BabyDoc on his travels!

Heads up for a blog which has just started and will follow the adventures of North Devon's James Yeo as he sets off on his surf holiday medical elective to Vanuatu. See

New record for Archie the incredible beer mat catching springer spaniel

Meet Archie, the incredible beer mat catching springer spaniel who belongs to Rick Yeo (of Rick Yeo Plumbing and Heating - tel: 07789 640966) who lives in Braunton in North Devon. He's been well-known for a long time for his special skill and became a YouTube star after breaking the world record with nine beer mats in one catch here. But he's been practising hard since then and on 16 July 2010 in the Black Horse Pub in Braunton, he scored a new beermatastic record of twelve! You can see it on the video below.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Legal training system failing law students

Heads up for a very interesting article by Neil Rose at The Guardian Law which says that “While the number of places on the LPC has exploded over the last decade, increasing by nearly 70%, there has been only a 20% rise (to 5,809) in the number of training contracts for them to go on, a figure that is falling in the recession.” Cartoon by Alex Williams.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Great review by Andy Martin in The Independent of Sam Bleakley's 'Surfing Brilliant Corners'

Great review by Andy Martin in The Independent of Sam Bleakley's excellent new book Surfing Brilliant Corners. As well as lamenting the  "adolescent brawling on the beach and the drunken orgies" of old he says among other things:
"Surfing Brilliant Corners is a jazz-inspired song of surfing...[which] easily transcends the traditional surfing-magazine brief. Part-memoir, part-metaphysics, the book is brimming with epic pictures of camels, deserts, jungles, oceans and occasional human beings...Bleakley argues persuasively that surfing, and therefore life generally, consists of imparting some new syncopated swerve to an old standard and improvising amid the maelstrom, "between chaos and control"."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Article at Online Journalism Blog

Thanks to Paul Bradshaw for allowing me to do a guest post at the Online Journalism Blog entitled 'Why I escaped The Times' paywall'.

Iceland’s safe haven from litigation

There's a fascinating article by Afua Hirsch at The Guardian Law Section about plans in Iceland to make it a safe haven for journalists through the introduction of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lord Rodger: “homosexuals are to be free to enjoy themselves going to Kylie concerts, drinking exotically coloured cocktails…”!

In a judgment of the Supreme Court today, gay and lesbian asylum seekers have won the right not to be deported from the UK if they would be persecuted in their home countries. But what jumps out at you is a particular extract from one of the Supreme Court Judges (at para 78):

"...just as male heterosexuals are free to enjoy themselves playing rugby, drinking beer and talking about girls with their mates, so male homosexuals are to be free to enjoy themselves going to Kylie concerts, drinking exotically coloured cocktails and talking about boys with their straight female mates."

And to make it even better, the name of that Judge: Lord Rodger [honestly, that's his name - you couldn't make it up!]

Sponsored guest post: Motorcyclists make up 1 in 4 of all fatal road accidents

Motorbikers fare badly in Road Safety Foundation’s latest report
Bad news for motorbikers – a recent study into A-roads and motorways in the UK has found that motorcycle riders are involved in 25% of all fatal accidents on these roads.  The ‘Saving Lives for Less’ report, commissioned by the Road Safety Foundation, looked at fatal accidents on 28,000 miles of motorways and A-roads in the UK and found that in one quarter of these accidents, a biker was involved.
The Road Safety Foundation is the British arm of the European Road Safety Assessment Programme and produces a detailed annual report examining data from accidents that have resulted in serious injuries and fatalities on major roads throughout the country.  As well as looking at the overall figures, the RSF has ranked stretches of road according to the number of accidents that have happened on them in the past year.  Once again the A537, a popular biking route between Buxton and Macclesfield in the Peak District has been named as Britain’s most dangerous road.
This road, known to bikers and other road users as the Cat and Fiddle road after the pub at its summit, has consistently been amongst the top 10 most dangerous roads in the UK for the last decade.  The combination of steep gradients, tight corners and its formidable reputation have made it both one of the most popular roads amongst bikers and one of the most dangerous.  Police accident figures mentioned by the Road Safety Foundation in its report show that fatal and serious collisions on this section of road increased by 127%, rising from 15 in 2003-2005 to 34 in 2006-2008.
Claiming accident compensation after a motorbike accident
If you’re a biker, and you’ve been injured in an accident, you might feel like your insurance company are on another wavelength entirely. At Motorbike Accident Law, we provide free legal advice, by bikers, for bikers.  Our service aims to help bikers who have been injured through no fault of their own to claim the motorbike accident compensation they deserve.  Our specialist bike claims solicitors are all bikers themselves and they understand what really matters to you after a crash.  To find out more about Motorbike Accident Law, and how our service could help you after an accident that wasn’t your fault, visit the My Motorbike Accident Claim website or call 0800 158 5540 now to speak with one of our claims advisors.
Author: Neil Worrall

Civil Liberties article for The Guardian: 28-day detention

I've just written the first in a series of monthy articles for The Guardian addressing different issues affecting our civil liberties. The first condemns Theresa May's decision to extend the 28-day period of detention without trial and can be read at The Guardian.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Law and Disorder: coming soon...

Advance copies of Law and Disorder: Confessions of Pupil Barrister have just arrived. This is the mass market edition of BabyBarista and the Art of War which was described by broadcaster Jeremy Vine as "a wonderful, racing read - well-drawn, smartly plotted and laugh out loud" and by The Times as "a cross between The Talented Mr Ripley, Rumpole and Bridget Jones's Diary". It follow's BabyBarista's fight for tenancy during his first year in chambers. It is officially released on 2 August and can be pre-ordered at

Monday, July 5, 2010

BabyB hits the front page of The Guardian Online (click to enlarge)

Sponsored Guest Post: Free coaching session with lawyer and professional coach Sonia Gallagher

Are you willing to really succeed this year?
Do you wonder why success comes so easily to some people but difficult for others?
It all has to do with your mind set.
People who achieve success on a consistent basis have one thing in common. Whether they are successful athletes, business owners, or lawyers, they all have a consistent knowledge that they will succeed. When you know what you believe to be true, you take action based on it.
This frame of mind enables you to conquer obstacles, solve problems creatively, and get more done in less time. Having the right skills is not enough. Your mind set is the most important factor.
Your beliefs hold you back, keep you in the same place, or move you forward.
Become familiar with your beliefs and start making leaps in your life. Once you are aware of your beliefs, you can apply strategies to modify and replace them with beliefs that enable your peak performance.  
Sonia Gallagher is an Executive Coach at Time for Life, LLC. She works with Lawyers and Business Owners who are ready to reach new levels of Success through Balance. Request a Free Coaching Session now at

Frame your photos with Phlib!

Heads up for a brilliant new way of framing your photos from Phlib run by my good friend Harry Singer, kitesurfer, surfer and top TV presenter. As the website says:

Psst! Not a lot of people know this.... your photographs are actually ALIVE! They have feelings too, you know. So how do you think they like being suffocated behind glass? Trapped in a box? Sentenced to Flickr? Or jailed on a hard-drive? Exactly! So FREE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS with a Phlib. It's the pain-free, friendly way of displaying your photos without torturing them (and yourself) with frames, clips, glass or backing panes. And why is it called a Phlib? It's short hand for Photo Liberation! Print your photographs. Smell your photographs. Touch your photographs. Love your photographs. Phlib your photographs! 

Have a look how they work hereYou can order direct from Oh, and check them out on BBC1 in a show called High Street Dreams on 9 July at 7pm where  famous fragrance genius Jo Malone and business tycoon Nick Leslau take Harry on a fantastical journey through time and space!

Saturday, July 3, 2010