Day 164, week 34: OldFatherTime

What is it about the Temple and its inhabitants which defy the onward march of time so successfully?  It is as if, as someone has written, old Father Time himself had just popped in a few hundred years ago and decided to perch down for a rest. 

“Here you are my friend.  Have a seat next to the fountain.  Put your feet up.  A cigar maybe?  Then perhaps a stroll around the garden?  Won’t keep you long.” 

And after all, there’d be no rush when you’re Father Time himself. 

“Oh, go on then.  Maybe just one dinner in Hall.  And my, this is rather fine wine I must say and not bad conversation either.  Maybe I’ll stay just a little longer…” 

Easy to imagine how he might have got waylaid. 

Anyway, last night I felt as if I met OldFatherTime in the flesh.  I was dining in Lincoln’s Inn Hall with several other members of Chambers and all the pupils since OldSmoothie was being made a Bencher (it’s better than it sounds).  We were all invited to the formal drinks beforehand with the other Benchers.  As we were standing around OldRuin called me over and introduced me to the real life OldFatherTime.  Stooped and with a walking stick, he looked as old as the common law itself and as wise, to boot.  OldRuin told me that he was his pupilmaster’s pupilmaster (did that make OldRuin a grandpupil?) but it seemed to me that he had the Highlander-type quality so that he had probably been a pupilmaster to countless generations before that.  This really was OldFatherTime and no messing.  So what was I going to say to him?  Pay my respects?  Ask about his view on the European Convention of Human Rights?  Those are the sorts of things I’d have liked to have done.  With hindsight.  Instead I came out with,

“Nice walking stick.”

Which to be fair, it was.  But I needed help to get out of this one.  And when it wasn’t forthcoming, I proceeding to dig my hole deeper,

“Birch isn’t it?”

“Elm actually, but good guess.  They look a lot alike.  Delighted you noticed it.  No-one’s ever commented on it before.  Took years to find.  What’s your name, young man?”

“BabyBarista, my Lord.”

Oh, I forgot to mention that he was also an extremely well-known judge in the House of Lords for about fifteen years.  Doesn’t come any bigger, in fact.

“Nice to meet you BabyBarista.  It was Lord Denning who recommended elm, you know.  He had a similar stick straight out of his own garden.”

So, how was I going to make up for my plunging in with both feet (so to speak)?  Let’s see,

“Thanks for the advice, my Lord.  May well come in handy when I get older.”

“Never too early to start planning BabyBarista.  My advice, if you spot a good stick, buy it there and then.  Don’t wait forty years and then be caught short when the time comes.”

“No, my Lord.  I’ll do just that.”

“Helps to get one with a few good knots in as well.  Stronger, you know.”

This was the man who single-handedly changed the law in about a dozen different subjects and all I was going on about was walking sticks.  I was struggling to think of any way of bringing the conversation back to reality.  The OldRuin piped up with,

“BabyBarista here’s just started on his feet in April.  Making some waves in the County Courts, I hear.”

“Quite right, young man.  Quite right.  Important for a man to cut his teeth in our county towns…”

We were almost there, back onto solid conversational ground, when he was off again,

“…not that I have teeth any longer.  Well, not my own, anyway.  Dentures, you know.  Essential to get the right ones…”

And so, as you might imagine, it continued.

May 24, 2007 · Tim Kevan · 3 Comments
Posted in: Uncategorized

3 Responses

  1. Law Girl - May 25, 2007

    Had me laughing out loud as per usual!

  2. D Brown - May 25, 2007

    This is absolutely hilarious stuff!!! I couldn’t stop laughing.

  3. david giacalone - May 26, 2007

    Canes and dentures — OFT sees you as a human being. That’s not all bad, BabyB. You can wow him with your legal brilliance later, if necessary.