19 December 2011

Posted by DMC on 20 December 2011 in Diary |

A welcome knock on the door at 7.30 this morning. It was that good Carla, the carer Ross Nursing have dedicated to us, who had just returned from one month’s holiday in Mexico, with her family.(She has a Mexican husband. It sounds so romantic. I love pulling her leg, from time to time, suggesting that he is tall handsome, deeply sun-tanned, he-man with a large drooping moustache, who wears a sombrero, but Carla disenchanted my vivid imagination by telling me that he looks just like the rest of us!) We were very pleased to see her back. Not that I had any complaints whatsoever about the people who stood in for her while she was away, they were all absolutely wonderful but it is nice to have back one’s regular carer. Ross Nursing tend to send the same carers to individual patients, so far as possible ,as this makes a good relationship between care and patient and also means that the carer understands and satisfies the needs of the patients more easily than carers who only turned up from time to time. Or, put another way understand the patient’s funny ways!

In fact Carla arrived back on Tuesday but in strict accordance with Harriet’s instruction, no carer is allowed anywhere near me who has a cold or sore throat, as in my case the consequences could be fatal if it turned into pneumonia.

‘My lovely’ spent six months in Rio de Janeiro in her late teens. She told me all about the wild three-day carnival that they have in Brazil. In fact, South America is one of the very few places I haven’t been to myself ,so she has one over on me there.

To be honest, I spent the best part of the day struggling with Dragon (I feel a bit like St George must have felt at the end of his battle with the Dragon!) I am determined not to let up on getting this remedied. In the meantime I have patiently gone on logging off and then on again, time and time again, whenever it decided the freeze (or not respond) on me. The latest trick it’s up to is whenever I want a drop-down menu, it appears as a complete black patch which is not exactly helpful. I can’t help feeling there’s something radically wrong with the hardware as well as the Dragon software. The problem is that as the MND Association have terminated their contract with AbilityNet, (who acted as agent for the MND Association in the purchase of computers and the like) I doubt whether they would be able to tell me whether or not this particular laptop is still under warranty. We are getting close to where we wlll have to backup everything on one of my standalone hard disks, find a second computer that I can use in the interim and then send this one back to Toshiba. One of the two USB ports, or its cable, is suspect but this is the very worst time of the year to consider such a course of action. With people winding down for Christmas, not to mention the ‘office party’ and long Christmassy liquid lunches and then Christmas Day, Boxing Day conveniently intervening over two weekends making it worthwhile tacking on a couple of days holiday to give a ten-day break and I would not see my laptop again until well into the New Year and clearly I cannot do without something very similar in the meantime.

Okay, so today’s diversion is about the 10 worst golfing partners you could possibly imagine. .’Fair go’ as my Aussie friends would say, I have given you non-golfers a good rest from golf stories but even the non-golfers amongst you might appreciate why playing with such people could drive you crazy. Click here and see for yourself. Incidentally, if any of my readers have any videos or funny stories that they think the rest of us would enjoy why not send them to me and I can use them in the blog. Bear in mind you must avoid jokes about fat or thin people, black or white, religious, sexist (or even sexy) short and tall, in fact anything to do with colour, class or creed and you are not left with much but by all means send them to me and I will vet them before including them in the blog.


  • Dear Mark,

    First, I must apologise for taking so long to get in touch with you. I have been following your blog from time to time and exchanged occasional emails with Michael Long, who has kept me up to date on his time and travels with you.

    Congratulations on your blog; it is quite inspirational and it is no surprise that you have had so many hits. I get a smile out of it each time I open it and see you wearing the MCC tie. I have one also, but I was only entitled to wear it for one year – in 1960. That year I played a full season of first class cricket in England as a 17 year old fresh out of school, touring with the Australian Old Collegians team. The average age was mid twenties, so I was nicknamed the “baby” by the other players and the Press. Someone thought I had some promise (misplaced judgement) and I had a thoroughly enjoyable season, playing on all the Test Grounds except Lords, where I carried the drinks; a major disappointment, but at least I was given an MCC Honorary Membership and a tie, which is still in great order.

    At the end of July I retired from full-time executive work with Bilfinger Berger, at 68 this made me their oldest retiring employee for some time apparently. It was time I handed over to the younger guys, but I am not stopping work and will now concentrate on dispute resolution. Which brings me to the next inspirational thing you have done for me. In pride of place in my home office bookshelves are the two magnificent volumes of The Sanctuary House Case. It is time I read them again, as I have started doing some arbitrations.

    My wife Andrea and I are living in Wiesbaden and I get to London for a couple of days every so often, but to date these trips have been rushed business ones and I have not been out of London into the countryside for a long time.

    Mark, I wish you a Very Merry Xmas and Happy New Year and all the best for 2012, whatever it may hold. I admire your great spirit and positive thinking, “carpe diem”, etc.

    Best regards,

    Charles O’Neil

  • DMC says:

    Dear Charles

    How very nice to hear from you. You certainly do not need to apologise for not being in touch. I know what a busy life you have and how quickly time passes

    I’m pleased to hear that you are retiring and will devote more time to dispute resolution. I’m sure you will be very good at it and it is quite an enjoyable thing to do in one’s retirement. You might be interested to know that a fourth edition of my book Arbitration Practice and Procedure – Interlocutory and Hearing Problems is currently being updated by probably two of the best academic lawyers are arbitration in the UK-Dr Julian Critchlow and Prof Robert Merkin. Sadly, I can do no more than approve the style of the odd chapters as I have completely lost the use of my hands. Anyway I anticipate this book will be published probably about June of next year and you might find it useful in your new practice to obtain a copy. Incidentally, one word of advice. Do not be bamboozled by the Giants in the international circuit on arbitration. Then they know the law better than I do but they certainly did not know more about practice and procedure which is where I believe most international arbitration breakdown. Get the guidelines sorted out in the early days and the whole thing should run pretty smoothly. By all means let one of the bigwigs-assuming it is a three-man arbitration-take the chair and you concentrate on the directions, timetable and procedure etc making yourself indispensable in that area, you will probably find yourself in demand

    I’m so glad that you are enjoying the blog. I had high hopes that it would have hit the 2 million hits mark on Christmas Day-you might recall it was 1 million last Christmas Day. (It was my Sir Edmund Hillary moment) But I fear I’m going to be a few days this year out probably we will reach this milestone in first week in January. I hear by e-mail from people around the world particularly carers who seem to gain some comfort from it.

    As to the MCC tie I think you probably have more right to wear it than I do as you will see if you read The Cricket Match in the Anecdote section of the blog.

    Alice and I would be delighted to see you here sometime next year on one of your travels and come sooner rather than later as one never knows with MND. I suggest perhaps the spring when the weather is getting a little warmer and we can sit in the garden sitting a chilled glass of champagne.. It is a very easy journey from Liverpool Street virtually straight through to Audley end station-about 50 min From there a taxi will take about 10 or 15 min. What a lot of my friends are doing these days is to come up and we have lunch at The Cricketers next door and I can get there in my electric wheelchair. (It’s where Jamie Oliver was born and his mum and dad still run the pub.)

    Incidentally, as you have sent this through WordPress, on My Blog I have to answer it in the reply section on the same entry. If ever you want to write privately then you have my e-mail address otherwise the world and his wife know about our movements.

    Please give my very best wishes to Andrea and I wish you both very happy and relaxed Christmas and look forward to hearing from you in the New Year.

    Best wishes


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