Faire words butter noe parsnips

Notwithstanding my reputation [Banging on, 13th December, 2011], I am delighted to say that I do not find it easy in this season of goodwill to maintain an air of grumpiness.  Shakespeare has it that “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York.” He was talking about the man who became Richard III and there are divergent views about King Richard who Messrs Sellars and Yeatman (1066 and all that) would almost certainly have called “a bad king”.

Many people think that he was a manipulative and unprincipled devil, that he wrongfully inherited the throne and on the way murdered the Princes in the Tower or at the very least arranged for their disposal. As the only then living legitimate sons of King Edward IV and his Queen, Elizabeth Woodville, they certainly stood between him and the throne in 1483 and the elder of the two, Prince Edward, was proclaimed King as Edward V on his father’s death but disappeared before his coronation.

Much as I love this controversy this is not the time to delve into the conspiracy theories which abounded then and still reverberate in certain circles to this day (if you are interested see The Richard III Society website).

All I will say is that there are sufficient doubts about Richard’s culpability to ensure that a jury would acquit on the basis that they could not be sure of his guilt beyond all reasonable doubt. Whoever is right, Richard did not enjoy the spoils for long before, bereft of a horse, he succumbed to the forces of Henry Tudor at Bosworth Field on 22nd August, 1485.

One of the joys of any silly season is the errors which others make. Always thankful that it is not me, I am constantly amused by reports of instances where others have fallen foul of the law of unintended consequences. One such example recently came to my attention and concerned the story of a lovelorn swain berating his female companion of one date’s standing for her failure to respond to his efforts to contact her again. Sadly for Mike, Lauren is unlikely to be the girl of his dreams anytime soon after his email to her was made public by her, following what she described as a first “horrific” date. Read the report here: How not to get second date: Banker’s 1,600-word ‘email fail’ goes viral, Metro, 8th December, 2000.

Schadenfreude is a word which only the Germans could have coined. Laughing at the discomfiture of others is a pleasure few of us can resist and I am not talking about the current state of the euro either, but if anyone was ever in any doubt, it is increasingly clear that care must be taken over intemperate emails for exactly the same reason that those of us old enough to remember writing letters always used to place the first draft of angry responses in our bottom drawers overnight and almost always destroyed them unsent the following day. It made us feel better at the time and by not sending out the intemperate early response certainly saved later embarrassment.

The feeling of optimism described in my post Banging on was given a boost at the weekend when I was able to catch up on recent posts by Chris Dale. Always worth reading, there are some which catch the eye and make you chuckle, not least because there is a certain element of Schadenfreude involved when I read that he is yet again stuck on a train or has been irritated by the shortcomings of public servants.

I know he will not mind if I refer with approval (well, at least partially) to the following UK relevance in a Practitioner Guide to eDiscovery from the New York State Bar Association  [e-Disclosure Infomation Project, 7th December, 2011] and to Prosecution lawyers don’t want to take the CPS tablets [e-Disclosure Infomation Project, 12th December, 2011] .

The first post refers to an e-discovery guide produced by the New York State Bar Association which contains practical tips which will be of interest to all serious practitioners of the e-disclosure/discovery art but also a glossary of terms which you can access by clicking on the NYSBA website highlighted in the article. As I have not looked for some time at the glossary that is situated on the right hand side of this blog’s home page, I found the contents of this US glossary instructive. Of course it is US-orientated but none the worse for that as many of the concepts resonate here in this jurisdiction too.

The other post on his Google+ site concerns what Chris calls “staid old Norwich.” Now I do not often dare to disagree with Mr Dale but I draw the line at his description of Norwich as “staid.” The context in which he uses the word proves the contrary in that it concerns a report (that I had heard about locally earlier but which Chris was quick to blog about) that an application has been made to local planners for permission to change the use of a shop in Norwich to a topless barbers. I very much doubt that Chris was concerned about the propriety of a topless barber establishment as he was blogging about the proposed use by Norfolk CPS of tablet computers in the drive towards paperless courts, but I cannot let his description of Norwich as staid pass unchallenged. After all, the only other place where such an establishment exists is in Australia, where the business is said to be brisk, and there are no comparable delights in Chris’s home town, Oxford. One-nil to Norwich City I say.

If Norwich is up, it seems that Norway may be down! According to recent press reports, there is news that the country is running out of butter. It seems that fashionable diets and unproductive dairy cows have contributed to Norwegians eating up all their stock of butter, which is used in great quantities for traditional Norwegian Christmas fare. Let’s hope it doesn’t spread to the UK.

Despite that, I cannot help feeling a warm glow today. While we all know that “Faire words butter noe parsnips” and that we actually have to put into practice some of the fine things all bloggers (including yours truly) have urged upon us through the year, it is a great comfort and a source of no little amusement as we slip towards Christmas on a tide of too many lunches and not many fewer dinners, to know that things can surely only become less gloomy in 2012. Something for which we can be profoundly grateful!

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About Charles Holloway

Charles Holloway is a lawyer and accredited mediator. Formerly a senior litigation partner with Eversheds LLP and Head of Litigation in the East of England, Charles has been a director of Millnet Ltd since 2006. His interest in electronic document management arises from his wide experience of document intensive cases and his prominent involvement in investigations in the public and private sectors, notably both the Bloody Sunday and Harold Shipman inquiries. [View Charles Holloway's profile on LinkedIn.]