Trying times – geddit?

Last week I went to two meetings at two different venues, both of which I used to work in back in the day, as the young people say. First it was a half day on a new study I am on the steering group of, held in the building which used to house Quit and then on Thursday another half day at the NICE offices which still is the base of the British Council in London. When I worked for the British Council, back at the tail end of the 1970’s, there was a bar in the basement and a restaurant with waitress service. No-one thought anything of people going to drink in the basement at lunchtime. The bar was busy and popular and it was common to go down there with a group of friends and have a drink. How times change!

The other thing reminiscent of the late 1970’s is my hair. Having grown somewhat, as hair does, it now looks like a perm which is growing out. If I have it cut, as you would with a perm to cut out the curly bit, it will only grow back in the same way, unlike cutting a perm out. I think I am going to have to see it through and see where it takes me. I decide another colour will help so I change myself quite dramatically before going to meet 2 friends for coffee and cake on Saturday. One of them is my partner in crime, Ms Marsden, and the other is Jet, one of my blog friends who I have never met before. We rendezvous at Patisserie Valerie in Chiswick. Such sumptuous cakes! We find a table right at the back and spend a lovely couple of hours tossing ideas and stories about, chatting easily like old friends.

This week is all change. I am on jury duty and, after a lot of waiting around,  I am put on a trial. This is the third time I have been a juror while some people I know have never been one so I don’t know whether to feel privileged or put upon. While I can say nothing about the trial I am sitting on, there seem to be plenty of strange fellow jurors I could tell you about. I feel there will be trouble with a 60-something Liverpudlian man who is keen to tell me what the essential elements of the case are and where the defence barrister has gone wrong. I suspect conversations with him will be interesting. I have not yet confessed I am a magistrate after a woman announce loudly “ANYONE can be a magistrate” which has elements of truth to it but is not strictly true. I certainly know people who I think shouldn’t be allowed within a mile of any criminal court decision-making but luckily who is appointed as a magistrate is not up to me. Luckily for the defendant, we are a varied group of individuals of mixed race and age and hopefully will have varied opinions as to what has happened. Our deliberations will be interesting and whilst I can’t report what they are, I will be able to give character sketches of the individuals. Watch this space!

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