Saturday 13 October 2012

A Law Unto Myself .... Reprise

Interesting times at Hedges Towers. Have been writing my legal summary, as I am lay advocate for our upcoming Village Green Public Inquiry in December (see Keeping it Green) and now I know exactly why barristers and those who practice the law are so b****y expensive. Hard work? Tell me about it.

Days 1 & 2: Assembled all the stuff I thought I needed, downloading several very long actual cases, and printing out helpful emails from Open Spaces adviser, and some articles. Went through 5 years worth of files accumulated since I started working on this campaign, extracting bits and pieces that looked interesting. Took everything up to my writing room and arranged it in nice neat logical piles. Was impressed.

Day 3: Began writing. Quickly discovered that arrangement of stuff was not the same as order in which I needed stuff. Nice neat logical piles began to disintegrate into smaller and smaller piles spread over an increasingly wider area. Started to realise that legal writing is not the same as writing fiction. Absence of characters and plot. Also completely different style. Got horribly bogged down in great long sentences that went on and on with small side wanderings at every twist and turn for almost the whole paragraph so that by the time I'd got to the end I'd completely lost the thread of what I intended to say when I started out, rather like I'm doing now.

Day 4: Brain hurt. Seemed to spend ages staring at nothing. Hours passed. Something occasionally got written. Every now and then  totally understood the legal thread I was pursuing. Then it all went opaque and runny at the edges. Smaller and smaller piles became even smaller piles and began to take over every available flat surface. At one point, couldn't locate laptop. Managed to compose a whole paragraph without understanding a single word. The phrase 'upon the balance of probability' now starting to creep relentlessly into everyday conversation. Cat not convinced.

Day 5: Reality fading. Began to have strange fantasies about being a lawyer dressed in a long black gown and curled wig kept in a wig box under the table. Was writing with a quill pen dipped into a wooden inkwell. Sat at a high wooden desk and had a pet raven called Quoth. Unable to cross room without treading on pieces of paper. Not sure if ate anything all day.

Day 6: Can't remember.

Day 7: Conclusion finally reached. Re-read whole thing. Seemed to have more clauses than the lion house at London Zoo, but sounded exactly like the actual cases I'd been using. Probably because had lifted large sections and transplanted them. Printed it all out and placed in boxfile with rest of documents before temptation to edit and do second draft took over.

Day 8: Slept. Ate. Recovered equilibrium. Reconnected with real world.

Day 9: Wrote this post.
The Public Inquiry resulted in a recommendation from the Inspector that the County Council could choose to await the outcome of a similar case, being heard in the Supreme Court in 2014. Sadly, Harpenden Town Council chose to ignore this, used their ''influence'' on their colleagues in the County Council and got my application turned down. However, it is not over until the Mad Redhead sings...and this mad redhead isn't even tuning up.

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  1. I go into a strange (an unpleasant) quiver at even the thought of handling anything legal. I turn into a giant jelly when one of those brown Tax envelopes lands on my doormat. In short if ever I need a legal hand I shall call on your experience and pet Raven. You're a braver woman than me.
    Funny how paper and documents mess themselves up when you turn your back on them or disappear altogether. I have that problem all the time. Whatever I want is not where I think it might be.
    Good luck with the enquiry M'Lord.

  2. Well I hope you win the case after all this hard work and I promise not to grumble at our solicitor in future re his bills - although I suspect that conveyancing is considerably easier than what you're trying to do. P.s. I looked up peroration and I'm still not quite sure...

  3. Legal stuff is never fun. Good luck, Carol. Have some tea and relax for a while.

  4. I like Day 6 best, I have lots of days like that! Good luck with it all Carol.

  5. It would be nice NOT to do this again!

  6. Oh goodness, I know how that feels! I don't often have to do legal things, but I'm busy with a dissertation and I seem to go through the same process as you've just described. I LOVE your header photo. What a gorgeous 'eintje' as we call them on this side of the water! And I love the cover art for your books. Really excellent!

  7. PS, I also teach English, but to non English speakers....

  8. Carol, keep going. Imagine you're writing crime fiction!

  9. How anyone who has ever had to write a long, complex, official report will identify with this. (Someone once suggested I needed planks, like little bridges, between the piles of papers, if I had any hope of getting across my sitting room!) I hope you had wine and chocolate, even cake, when this was done - you'd earned it!

    1. Haha - it did get a bit crazy! Now I'm in 'spreadsheet land' but fortunately, lovely husband is able to help!
      Ginger thins are helping a lot!

  10. I really hope you win against the big boys. It's awful that they want to destroy every green area we have left. Power to the people!


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