Year 4, week 10: Lord Finchley

OldRuinI happened to mention to OldRuin today that I had been struggling with a little DIY last night and had decided that it wasn’t something in which I excelled. “BabyB, I’ve always subscribed to the philosophy that it is essential to earn enough to ensure that one never has to pick up a paint brush. You know about Lord Finchley, I’m sure?”

I replied that I didn’t. OldRuin said, “Hillaire Belloc I think. Now let’s see if I can remember how it goes. It’s been a few years.” He paused and looked up and then slowly recited the following lines:
“Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light
Himself. It struck him dead: And serve him right!
It is the business of the wealthy man
To give employment to the artisan.”

Listening to his gentle delivery it brought me back once again to the thought as to what might have been had he been my pupilmaster rather than TheBoss. Almost without realising I was articulating my thoughts aloud I said, “And the only advice I was ever given by TheBoss came from ‘The Art of War’.”

Old Ruin gave an understanding look. “I used to give my pupils two books when they started with me,” he said. “The first was a little volume called ‘The Expert’ by Bernard Picton which said among other things that “the ‘X’ is for an unknown quantity and the ‘spurt’ for a drip under pressure.” The other was Cyril Northcote Parkinson’s volume ‘Parkinson’s Law’ where he explained that work expands to fill the time available.” He smiled and said with a twinkle in his eye: “They provided more valuable insights for the practise of law than either Sun Tzu or for that matter the likes of Dicey and Halsbury. Oh, and I’d occasionally pass them old copies of Henry Cecil’s wonderful ‘Brothers in Law’ series whenever I stumbled upon them in second hand book shops.” His gaze strayed and he looked as if his mind was travelling back over the years. “His real name was His Honour Judge Leon, you know. Lovely man and a good judge, too.”

December 2, 2009 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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