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Sawyer the Lawyer

Edited and tweaked a bit from the Sawyer the Lawyer Blog

Copyright 2014 Terry Ravenscroft

Published by Terry Ravenscroft at Smashwords

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This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Smashwords.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Cover by Daniel Maney


About the author

The day after Terry Ravenscroft threw in his mundane factory job to become a television comedy scriptwriter he was involved in a car accident which left him unable to turn his head. Since then he has never looked back.

Before they took him away he wrote scripts for Les Dawson, The Two Ronnies, Morecambe and Wise, Alas Smith and Jones, Not the Nine O’Clock News, Ken Dodd, Roy Hudd, and several others. He also wrote the award-winning BBC radio series Star Terk Two.

Born in New Mills, Derbyshire, in 1938, he still lives there with his wife Delma and his mistress Divine Bottom (in his dreams).

Also by Terry Ravenscroft
























My father Tom Ravenscroft, long gone, much missed and about as daft as I am, had a sideline in addition to his day job; a comic act in which he took the part of a racehorse owner, in which guise he sold racing tips to the clientele of public houses at a shilling a time. His supporting cast included a ‘trainer’ complete with bowler hat and leather waistcoat, a ‘jockey’, and two men in a ‘horse’. My mother, bless her, made the jockey’s silks and the horse from material purloined from the local CPA printworks by the jockey and the back end of the horse, who both worked the night shift there. The pièce de résistance of the performance was my dad holding a pint glass under the horse, at which point one of the men inside would pour a bottle of pale ale into it - it looked for all the world like the horse was having a pee in it - whereupon Dad would drink it with much enjoyment and smacking of lips, and maybe an appreciative belch.

To encourage a feeling of authenticity Dad dressed himself up in top hat and tails and went by the name of ‘Prince Razz’. (At the time there was a professional racing tipster called Prince Monolulu, whom some of the older readers of this book may just about remember.) Because of this he came to be known in ordinary life as ‘Razz’. When I grew up I had the same nickname bestowed on me, later extended with the addition of an ‘a’, as is the modern way with nicknames, making me ‘Razza’. It is a short step from Razza to Razzamatazz, and this was the original name I chose for my website, started some years ago.

On the electronic form you need to fill in when listing a book on Amazon Kindle there is a box for ‘Name of Publisher’. The first ebook I put on was self-published, and rather than put my own name as publisher I used the name Razzamatazz Publications, simply because it sounded more professional. As a result of this conceit I have since, on several occasions, received emails from authors asking me if I thought that Razzamatazz Publications might be interested in publishing their books. I have always replied to these authors, thanking them for their interest, but telling them that Razzamatazz Publications only ever publishes my own books. Until, that is, I received the following email from Jonathan Sawyer.

Dear Mr Ravenscroft,

Some months ago I started a blog, which I called Sawyer the Lawyer. I was aware at the time that several successful blogs have been turned into best-selling paperbacks but in truth publishing my blog was the farthest thing from my mind - the only object of the exercise being to tell of my life as a lawyer in an amusing a way as possible, whilst at the same time occasionally shining a light on the shameless ways that law firms sometimes go about their lawful business.

Until I read your book Stairlift to Heaven, that is. At which point it dawned on me that the rather bizarre account of your life as an old age pensioner was no more bizarre than my life as a lawyer - especially just recently - and it occurred to me that my jottings might be worthy of the larger audience that publication of my blog in paperback form might bring with it.

Soon after reading Stairlift to Heaven I read its sequel, Stairlift to Heaven 2 - Further up the Stairlift, and it was whilst reading it that I realised to my great surprise that we have communicated before - in fact I am the man who wrote to you pointing out that my law firm’s charge for writing a letter was £70, the story of which you included in your book under the heading A LITTLE LEARNING. Small world.

Maybe it is an omen, or just a coincidence, but whatever it is I would really appreciate it if you could find time to have a look at my blog with a view to judging whether or not Razzamatazz Publications might be interested in publishing it?

Yours etc

Jonathan Sawyer.

Small world indeed. Although not all that small; it transpired that Jonathan and I only live six miles apart.

I have never been a great reader of blogs; although a few are excellent for every one that’s worth reading there are ten that aren’t worth the candle. You have no doubt read the sort of thing - ‘Got up, had breakfast, lightly boiled egg, toast, coffee, one sugar. I slice the top off my egg, unlike some people who sort of bash the top in with a spoon, ha ha ha. After breakfast I cleaned two pair of shoes, one brown one black, then tidied out my sock draw as it was getting in a bit of a mess. AS USUAL!!!

I mean really. If you haven’t got a life why broadcast it? Far better to keep it to yourself.

Notwithstanding this, and although I was still not remotely interested in publishing someone else’s work, there was something about Jonathan Sawyer’s email that intrigued me, and a couple of days later, with nothing better to do, I took a look at the Sawyer the Lawyer blog.

Several things struck me immediately. The first - and the reason the email captured my attention - was the style in which Jonathan wrote, often lapsing into the sort of old-fashioned, flowery, language I favour myself. Indeed a few of the posts might well have been written by me. I wondered if, through his reading of the Stairlift to Heaven books, I had influenced this? Just as likely a reason, though, is that Jonathan is a lawyer and the way in which lawyers put pen to paper has always been more to the baroque style of the writing spectrum than the plain.

The second thing to make an impression on me was how very amusing Jonathan’s writing was; the funny things that happen to him, as they often happen to me. The only difference is that whereas I often actively try to make funny things happen Jonathan, for the most part, doesn’t seem to be able to help himself. In some ways he reminded me of myself when I was his age, before I settled down a bit. He even has prostate troubles!

The thing that most impressed me however, and what convinced me to help him if I could, was that he is even less politically correct than I am, which, as anyone who has read any of my stuff will know, is pretty politically incorrect. Also like me, I don’t think he goes out of his way to be politically incorrect, it is just the way he is, just the way he sees things.

Jonathan is also very honest - not that he doesn’t tell lies, he does, and admits to it ‘when an advantage can be gained by this (but mostly when under pressure)’ as he puts it - but honest in the way an autobiographer has to be in his reporting of all the facts, even the one’s which it may be embarrassing for him to report, at least if he’s going to make a decent fist of the job.

I had no idea how popular or otherwise the Sawyer the Lawyer blog was, and never asked, but I would think it must have been reasonably successful judging by the amount of comments it received. It didn’t matter. What I read convinced me that the book had some sort of a chance of being successful. Time will tell if I was right.

I replied to Jonathan’s email, telling him that I would be more than interested in publishing Sawyer the Lawyer, and that just as soon as he had written enough to fill the pages of a paperback and transcribed it into book form to let me see it.

In the meantime I continued to read his blog occasionally. Until one day it suddenly stopped.

Terry Ravenscroft, August 2014.

Note: Due to the fact that Amazon Kindle, quite understandably, take exception to the content of their books being available for free elsewhere, I have had the Sawyer the Lawyer blog removed from the internet.



My hands grip the lapels of my cloak in the time-honoured manner. I look from the jury to the defendant in the dock. I eye him with all the distaste I can muster, which is considerable, and turn slowly back. The eyes of the twelve good men and true, or in this case seven good men and five good women and true, are riveted on me. After a pause for effect I begin: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury; you have heard expert witness testify to the effect that the knife wound was caused by a sharp upward thrust with the murder weapon to the heart of the deceased, and, due to the angle at which the knife entered the body, that the mortal wound could only have been made by a left-handed person. Bowing to their superior knowledge in this matter, the Prosecution does not refute this evidence. It is cut, dried, and beyond a shadow of doubt.”

I pause again before going on. “You have further learned that the defendant is right-handed.” I note that this last remark brings a smirk to the face of the defendant. He won’t be smirking for much longer. I continue. “That the defendant is right-handed is not only the contention, under oath, of the defendant himself, but also of his father, his mother, his twin identical brother, similarly right-handed, and several….acquaintances of the defendant.” (It is possible to give a word a quite different meaning simply by the way in which one says it. In this instance I might just as well have said ‘liars’ as ‘acquaintances’, so far as the jury is concerned).

I cross the well of the courtroom and make my way to a point about three yards away from the defendant, immediately to his right. I turn to the jury to assure myself that I have their undivided attention. They are rapt, hanging on my every word. As are the twenty or so spectators packed into the small public gallery, and all the court officials, most of whom have admired my advocacy skills many times before. They are expecting something special. I don’t let them down.

I reach inside my gown and produce a tennis ball. All eyes are upon me. I pause for effect once again - it is difficult to have too many pauses for effect when you are an advocate - then suddenly, without warning, I cry “Catch”, at the same time throwing the tennis ball hard at the defendant. Although I am to his right, his left arm instinctively shoots across his body and he catches the ball in his left hand. My bottom lip curls as I smile at him, turn to the jury, sweep my arm theatrically in the direction of the defendant and say, with a raised eyebrow that would have done credit to Rumpole of the Bailey, “Right-handed?” The jury gasp. A few of them start to applaud spontaneously and....I stop daydreaming about what my life might have been like had I chosen, on obtaining my law degree, to become a barrister, and with a sigh get on with the house conveyance of No 32 Sycamore Road.

That’s right, I’m not a barrister I’m a solicitor. I would have preferred to be a barrister - which is why I sometimes fantasise about it - mainly because since becoming a solicitor I have realised what a bloody dull profession it is. It is the price one has to pay for having one of the cushiest jobs imaginable.

It is a bit less dull if you get the chance to appear in court, which I do occasionally. In fact although I began to study law at university with the intention of becoming a solicitor I did once seriously think about becoming a barrister. In the end though, I settled for being a solicitor. The truth is that after spending three years being skint at uni, followed by the prospect of another year being just as skint in pupillage, I couldn’t bear the prospect of God knows how many more years being skint that working my way up through the ranks from Junior to QC would entail. I just couldn’t be arsed. Not that the money is a great deal better as a junior solicitor, but at least I can manage.

My problem is that I’m not ambitious. It just isn’t in my make-up. Not being pushy and go-getting has its compensations however, the main one being that if you don’t have any ambitions you are never disappointed when you fail to achieve them. So there’s no being utterly pissed off when I fail in my ascent on Mount Everest with just a couple of hundred feet to go. But no getting frostbitten bollocks in getting as far as the last two hundred feet either. I’ll take warm bollocks and a long life any day of the week.

There are many reasons why people become solicitors. Some choose the profession because they have a genuine interest in the law. Others because of the prestige it brings with it. Some because of the intellectual challenge. Others because of the flexibility of setting one’s own fees and hours of work. And many enter the profession simply because their fathers were solicitors. I chose to become a solicitor because of my father. Although not because he is solicitor. In fact he is a chartered accountant.

I remember the moment exactly. I was aged thirteen at the time. It was shortly after we’d moved into a more upmarket house in the same town, the town we still live in. My father was reading the morning mail at the breakfast table when he said to my mother, on opening a letter and reading its contents with an ever-increasing look of shock and deep-loathing on his face, “Bloody solicitors. Have you seen how much they’re charging us for conveyance fees? Eighteen hundred and fifty three pounds! And for what? About ten hours work in about two months. It’s a licence to print money. Damn crooks, they should all hang!”

I was sold on it immediately. Effortlessly pushing to one side the previously considered professions of double agent and international adventurer I never seriously considered anything else. Being a solicitor sounded ideal, an occupation made for me. I already suspected I hadn’t got a lot of work in me - whenever my parents forced me into doing anything around the house I hated it with a passion, and still do on the odd occasions they try. (I must have set the world record for the speed I left the boy scouts when shortly after I joined them the annual Bob-a-Job Week came round and I discovered that I was expected to work for hours on end mowing someone’s two acres of lawn for about fifty pence.) An occupation in which I would get paid the princely sum of eighteen hundred and fifty three pounds for about ten hours work and the luxury of taking two months to do it seemed made for me. (In fact I have since found out that my father’s estimate of the time a solicitor spends doing the conveyance work for the average house erred on the generous side: it is about four hours, tops.)

And so it came to be. Fortunately I was quite bright at school. Having a near-photographic memory helped. And whilst my lazy nature dictated that I never gave it much to photograph it managed to photograph enough for me to obtain the GCSE ‘A’s’ necessary to see me safely into the University of Derby. There I read just enough law for four years to gain a 2.1 a degree, which allowed me to append the letters LLB to the name of Jonathan Sawyer.

After very briefly considering taking a gap year, very briefly because the state of my finances informed me that the only way the word ‘gap’ would be significant in my life for the next twelve months would be if I were to take a job at GAP despatching their clobber, I obtained a training contract with the firm of Nesbitt, Nesbitt & Anderson, Solicitors, in my home town of Thornvale on the Derbyshire/Cheshire border. A year later, two years ago in fact, I was taken on as a junior.

More than a few people expressed surprise that once qualified I didn’t head for the bright lights and fleshpots of the big city, but the thought never entered my head. I wouldn’t have been averse to it actually, but, perhaps because I am an only child my parents are a bit clingy and I am aware how hard they would take it if I upped sticks and moved to London or somewhere. Time enough to flee the nest in the years to come. Sadly that time will come soon enough - my parents had me late in life, Father is sixty three next year, Mother only a year younger - and nobody lives forever.

Everything you read in this book will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as we lawyers are fond of saying. Only the names are changed, to protect the innocent - and also to protect me from being sued by anyone I mention who may take exception to having their linen, dirty or otherwise, washed in public. So the name of the law firm I work for, Nesbitt, Nesbitt & Anderson, is really another name. And the names of my colleagues are fictitious.

All the events I have recorded are exactly as I remember them - which means, with my very good memory, that they will be as near gospel as makes no difference - as will all conversations I have with my clients. In fact I record all interviews as an aide memoire as a matter of course.

Ninety five per cent of a solicitor’s work, as I have already intimated, is deadly dull; however the remaining five per cent, along with my private life, should be sufficient to make for an entertaining read. So here goes.


Monday 23 September, 2013.

“If I get a divorce do I, like, get half the house? Because my sister got half her house when she got a divorce.”

“That’s the usual arrangement.”

“Well I want a divorce then.”

“And you would like Nesbitt, Nesbitt & Anderson to act for you?”


“You would like us to represent you? To obtain a divorce?”


“You have grounds for divorce?”


It’s like pulling teeth with some of them. The one I am dealing with at the moment can’t be more than seventeen and already she has a little boy, who screams ‘I want a wee’ throughout our appointment. She is also toting a babe in arms, which she proceeds to breastfeed halfway through the interview - not in the conventional manner by pulling up her jumper and exposing her breast but by pushing the baby up her jumper and letting it find her tit by itself. When it stops struggling I can’t be sure if it’s because it’s succeeded or because it has suffocated. My bet is that it probably finds it because I remember doing the same thing in the back of my car with an ex-convent schoolgirl who was willing, but a bit self-conscious about her body, and I didn’t experience too much trouble.

I try again. “Is there a reason why you want a divorce?”

“Oh yes.”

She doesn’t look like she is about to enlarge on this. I prompt her. “What is it?”

“Well to get half the house. Like what I said.”

I bite my lip. Sometimes a solicitor needs the patience of Job.

“I’m afraid that isn’t good enough reason.” I offer her a helping hand in an effort to move things on. “Perhaps your husband has been cruel to you?”

“Dwayne?” She chews on this for a moment. “Well he’s, like, hit me.”

I give an affirming nod. “He’s been cruel to you then.”

“Well not especially. Not any crueller than other husbands on the estate…. for fuck’s sake stop minging, Keanu!” The little boy has been whimpering and playing with his penis for the last minute or so.

“There’s a toilet down the corridor if you’d like to take him.”

“He doesn’t want a fucking wee, he’s just had a fucking wee; he does it all the time just to annoy me, the little twat.”

The little twat quietens down a bit and I get the conversation back on track. “Maybe your husband has committed adultery?”

“Does that mean he’s, like, shagging somebody else?”


“Yes he’s shagging somebody else.”

“And you can you prove this?”

“Well he’s not shagging me no more, stands to reason he’s shagging somebody else.”

“I’m afraid we would have to prove he is shag…would have to prove adultery.”

“No. Dwayne’ll say he is if it’s to get a divorce. I mean he’ll get, like, half the house as well, right?”

“Well not necessarily, but quite probably.”

“Well he’ll say it then - he wants half the house as much as I do, he’s as, like, keen as what I am.”

“Right then. Well I’ll need a few more details and we’ll set the ball rolling.”

“It won’t stop me getting another house, will it? Me getting, like, half the house?”

This throws me. “Pardon?”

“I mean I’ll be able to get another house will I? From the council, like. Because I’ll be, like, homeless then, won’t I.”

Alarm bells begin to ring. “Another council house?”


About four fire engines and a couple of ambulances arrive. “You already live in a council house?”

“Well of course.”

Well of course. Where else would she live? The silly cow only thinks if she gets a divorce she’ll be able to sell her council house and share the proceeds with her ex-husband.

This is the sort of thing a solicitor has to put up with. It is in no way abnormal, and every time something like it happens it makes me wish I hadn’t been around when my father received that letter that made me want to become a solicitor, in which case I would have gone on to become a double agent or international adventurer - which might have involved a bit more work but at least I wouldn’t have sit here at my desk and listen to shite on a regular basis.

But as it is an even easier way of making a living than I suspected I just grit my teeth, think of the good times and get on with it.

Sawyer the Put Upon.

Tuesday 24 September, 2013.

Nothing to set the pulse racing happens at the office today - no change there then - so here’s a bit of info about Nesbitt, Nesbitt & Anderson that you might find useful, and something about my work colleagues. I’ll start with the youngest employee and work my way up to the most stupid, the difference in the age and stupidity of the staff being roughly the same. Me first then. Jonathan Sawyer, aged 26, tallish, slim, reasonably good-looking, healthy, healthy sex life.

Next there’s Ifield, a year older than me, single like me, healthy like me, but, unlike me, an unhealthy sex life. (He’d shag a kangaroo if he could stop it hopping.) Generally OK but can be a bit of a prick sometimes. Ifield makes no secret of his intention to leave the law just as soon as he can set himself up as a financial adviser - although as a man who has been up to his arse in debt ever since I’ve known him, and who only yesterday tried to borrow a fiver off me so he wouldn’t have to go without lunch, what financial advice he can give to anyone must be regarded as extremely suspect.

About a year ago Ifield suggested that we passed on our old girlfriends to each other and we have done this on several occasions. However I may put a stop to it as it seems to me that whereas the girlfriends I pass on to Ifield are always pretty the ones he passes on to me are invariably ugly. It is probably because he can only attract ugly girls but that is hardly the point. When I hinted at my suspicions he said that you don’t look at the mantelpiece when you’re poking the fire. This may be true but you shouldn’t have to keep your eyes shut when you’re poking it either.

Next up is Mr Anderson, one of the Partners. He’s aged about fifty and not bad at all for someone of that age, if a bit old-fashioned. But generally he’s pretty much OK.

Then we come to Mr Shithouse. That isn’t his real name of course, his real name is Mr Bracewell, but as he is the shithouse to end all shithouses everyone in the practice apart from the Nesbitts refer to him as ‘that shithouse Mr Bracewell’. In the interests of economy of speech this is shortened Mr Shithouse. There isn’t a Mrs Shithouse, probably because Mr Shithouse is such a shithouse.

The second of the partners, Old Mr Nesbitt, is also a shithouse, although he is never referred to as that in case people think we’re talking about Mr Shithouse.

Last of the partners, and maybe also Last of the Mohicans, he’s certainly old enough, is Old Mr Nesbitt’s father, Ancient Mr Nesbitt, who must be aged a hundred if he’s a day. (In fact when I first started with Nesbitt, Nesbitt & Anderson Ancient Mr Nesbitt was known as Old Mr Nesbitt and Old Mr Nesbitt was known as Young Mr Nesbitt. However Ifield and I decided that as Young Mr Nesbitt was aged well over sixty, and looks every minute of it, that it sounded a bit stupid calling him Young Mr Nesbitt, so we started calling him Old Mr Nesbitt and elevated the original Old Mr Nesbitt to Ancient Mr Nesbitt. Phew!)

We also have two secretaries. One of them is Mrs Hargreaves, who apart from any secretarial duties is Old Mr Nesbitt’s ‘bit on the side’. Or rather ‘lot on the side’ as she must weigh at least twenty stones. A pretty face though, if a woman of a somewhat grumpy disposition. Especially if anyone even hints at her affair with Old Mr Nesbitt, which I do often as I know it annoys her.

I used to wonder what Old Mr Nesbitt saw in her - if I was in his place a grumpy woman weighing over twice as much as two normal ones would not be jostling with Rihanna at the top of my list of possibilities for possible mistresses - until one day I saw him with his wife, and the appeal of Mrs Hargreaves immediately became obvious; Old Mr Nesbitt’s wife is just about the most visually unattractive woman it has ever been my misfortune to see, and I am speaking as a man who once went to Leeds.

The other secretary is Miss Barton, aged about thirty, who is a lesbian. Miss Barton is in a ‘relationship’. In lesbian partnerships there is usually a ‘male’ and a ‘female’. If Miss Barton isn’t the male I wouldn’t like to meet who is. I generally steer as well clear of her as my job allows as I prefer my women to have more hair on their head and less hair under their armpits than I have. If I had to hazard a guess I would say she is even fatter than Mrs Hargreaves, which along with her sexual preferences makes her just about the most repellent female I have ever met. It is Ifield’s ambition to have sex with her. He stands more chance of becoming a financial adviser.

Nesbitt, Nesbitt & Anderson conduct their business in a large open first floor office. Privacy is provided by strategically placed screens. Only Old Mr Nesbitt and Ancient Mr Nesbitt have offices of their own; Old Mr Nesbitt because he is the senior partner, Ancient Mr Nesbitt probably because the other partners feel it necessary to keep him hidden from view. I don’t blame them.

The firm of Nesbitt, Nesbitt & Anderson operates in the smallish town of Thornvale - there is only one other law firm locally - and as such we cater for a wide range of legal needs; house and property conveyance, divorces, wills and probate, rent disputes, accidents and compensation claims, land disputes and murder. That last one isn’t true, but you can hope. (This might be an opportune moment to admit that I can sometimes be a bit economical with the truth, having learned at an early age that people who habitually tell lies, such as politicians and the like, are by and large much better off financially than those who stick to telling the truth, such as, say, vicars. Well, some vicars. (And definitely not those vicars you read about in the newspapers who shag the choirboys.) Therefore when faced with the choice of telling the truth or telling a lie I am likely to make with the porkies whenever it is to my advantage to do so.

Sawyer the Scene Setter.

Saturday 28 September, 2013.

“And what do you do for a living?” the girl asks me.

“I’m a policeman. Plain clothes. Drug Squad.”

She is immediately impressed. “Really? How interesting.”

Well I was never going to tell her I’m a solicitor, was I? Once bitten. Well quite a few times bitten actually, before the penny finally dropped. Because meet a girl at party and admit you’re a solicitor and whatever interest she’s shown in you up until then evaporates quicker than lizard piss in the Sahara, her eyes glaze over and she starts looking over your shoulder for someone more interesting to talk to, say a dead accountant. The really ignorant ones shrug their shoulders in a ‘you win some, you lose some’ manner and simply walk off. The reason for this, if you hadn’t already figured it out, is because solicitors are perceived as dull. And, let’s face it, with a certain amount of justification.

The only time I ever admitted to being a solicitor and the girl’s eyes didn’t glaze over was when it turned out she was solicitor too. Then my eyes glazed over and it was me who walked off. I suspect I only just beat her to it.

I am not dull of course, being the exception that proves the rule. And Ifield, whose party I was at, isn’t dull either, far from it, as I am sure this blog will reveal in the fullness of time.

It is because I am a solicitor, and thus pre-judged as dull, that I don’t get invited to too many parties. It certainly isn’t because of my appearance as I have been told on two separate occasions that I look not unlike a taller Tom Cruise. (I could understand a party host’s reticence if it was because I looked like a shorter Tom Cruise because, as Ifield rather cruelly commented, the only party a shorter Tom Cruise would be likely to get an invite to is one thrown by Snow White.) And I always dress presentably, shower regularly (twice a day sometimes) and use a good deodorant (Lynx, if it’s on special offer). So it can’t be because I’ve been found wanting in any of those departments either.

A much more likely reason is because people who throw parties tend to invite people who invited them to their parties. And I don’t have parties. I’d like to have parties, but I live with my parents, which is obviously not an ideal situation partywise. That, in addition to parties being expensive and money usually being a bit tight, more or less rules them out. I did try one about a year ago when I managed to pick up some only just out-of-date party snacks cheaply at Marks and Spencers but it was a disaster. My parents were supposed to be going out for the evening, a brass band concert or something, but it was cancelled at the last minute. I’ve no idea why, but in view of what happened I hope it was because it was marching up the street banging its drum and blowing its trumpets and was run over by a steamroller, with no survivors.

My father showed some consideration by going to the pub to be out of the way. My mother showed no such thoughtfulness and spent the entire evening tidying up and giving people dirty looks if they dropped their cigarette ash on the carpet. At one time she’d have had the vacuum-cleaner out if I hadn’t spotted her just in time and pushed her back into the broom cupboard. Then my father got back from the pub after only an hour, it was karaoke night and he wasn’t sitting there listening to that rubbish, but don’t mind him, we wouldn’t know he was even here, he’d go up to his bedroom and watch the telly and you wouldn’t hear so much as a peep out of him. I heard a peep out of him two minutes later when he came down to ask if I could turn the music down a bit, he couldn’t hear A Touch of Frost properly. Two minutes later I heard another peep out of him, he still couldn’t hear A Touch of Frost, could I turn down the music just a bit more? The music was now so low that we could hear A Touch of Frost but couldn’t hear the music. Which is all right if you like A Touch of Frost but not if you want to boogie the night away, which apparently all my guests did because five minutes later they’d cleared the place faster than a curry fart in a phone box. David Jason has a lot to answer for and it isn’t just shite like A Touch of Frost.

The girl at the party is called Maria. She is a doll. Very pretty but dirty-looking, a bit like Fay Ripley, my favourite type of woman.

Telling her I am a plain clothes policeman works, because I pull. We arrange a date for a week next Tuesday.

Sawyer the Puller.

Monday 30 September, 2013.

Ifield taps me up for £20 to help towards ‘affraying’ his party expenses. I think he means ‘defraying’. I jib at this of course and point out that I wouldn’t have gone to the party if I knew it was going to cost me twenty quid. He says that everyone else has paid up, even those who, unlike me, didn’t end up with a corker (he means Maria), who I never would have met if he hadn’t invited me to his party, and to be sure to pass her on to him when I’d done with her. I grudgingly pay up and hope Maria is worth it.

Tuesday 1 October, 2013.

This morning I spend my time drawing up a contract between a retailer and a wholesaler of fish and fish products and planning my date with Maria. No prize for guessing which I pay most attention to getting absolutely right. Fish that goes off can be replaced; girls that go off can’t be substituted so readily. Two things have to be decided: one, where to take Maria; two, how to have sex with her as soon as is humanly possible. Or, perhaps more accurately, where to have sex with her as soon as is humanly possible. This of course assumes that she’ll want to have sex with me, but as she’s a nurse there’s a better than average chance if past experience is anything to go by. (I have a theory, which I’m rather proud of, that because nurses are in close proximity to death for much of the time they tend to try to get the most out of life before they join the ranks of the ones doing the dying.)

Whenever I go on a first date I always arrange to meet the girl at a pub and we take it from there, and when I suggested this to Maria she was agreeable. What happens then is that we either stay in the pub and get to know each other better or we just have the one drink and go on to the cinema or somewhere. It depends on what she’s drinking and how quickly she drinks it. If it’s something cheap and she takes her time over it I’ll suggest we stay put in the hope of getting into her knickers sooner rather than later, but if it’s expensive and she goes at it like an alcoholic who has been handed the keys to a gin distillers it’s the cinema and bloody quick about it.

The second thing I have to decide - where to have sex with her - is trickier. If I had a place of my own there wouldn’t be a problem, it would be ‘How about a nightcap at mine?’ but there is no way my parents would hear of this (and if my father did hear of it he’d probably ask me to turn it down.) Really I should have my own place by now - many young men my age have and it’s something I could just about afford without too much hardship - but against that I live at home rent free, I get all my washing and ironing done and I eat like a king (my mother is the most wonderful cook and spends many hours in the kitchen proving this). It’s rather like living in a five star hotel but without the chance of sex; which, incidentally, would be unlike any five star hotel I’ve ever heard off. However the free lodging, food and washing, etcetera more than make up for me having to find somewhere other than my bedroom when it comes to getting my end away.

Ifield shares a flat with a mate and I get the use of that sometimes, but not tonight, he is staying in to watch football (and probably counting all the £20s he has conned out of the people he invited to his party). So it looks like it will have to be the back seat of the car again. Which means it will be awkward, as I drive a Mini Cooper, a car that can be a bit cramped in the back when it comes to having sexual intercourse in it, especially for a six-footer like me. It is by no means impossible to have sex in a Mini Cooper, as I have proved on numerous occasions, but it is by no means the ideal shagging wagon. (The easiest method is from behind, with the girl sat on your knee, but due to the limited amount of headroom it is far from perfect; on two occasions I have accidentally entered the young lady by the wrong orifice. However neither of them seemed to mind, and one said she preferred it, but it’s something I try to avoid as it makes me feel like a homosexual.)

Unfortunately a Mini Cooper is the only car to drive if you’re a young solicitor about town and can’t run to a Merc or Beemer sports job or, dare I even imagine it, a Porsche. It is one of life’s great ironies that the best cars in the world for pulling are the worst for having sex in once you’ve pulled. I mentioned this to Ifield and he said it’s the reason why sports cars have flat bonnets that are low to the ground - low to the ground so you can easily climb onto them to do the business and flat so you won’t fall off while you’re doing it. He quoted Maserati and Ferrari as examples. He could well be right, Italians being as sex-mad as they are. Of course the flat, low bonnet business is all fine and dandy if you live in Italy and like having sex al fresco all the time, but for much of the year it is a bit impractical if you live in Cheshire. (It is difficult to imagine even the most gagging-for-it of girls spread-eagling herself on a bonnet covered with six inches of snow.)

I could always pretend the Mini Cooper has something wrong with it and borrow my parents Toyota, which has a big enough back seat for a threesome and room for spectators if you’re that way inclined, but then I’d have to get rid of the smells afterwards and live in constant fear of my mother finding a pair of knickers stuffed down the back seat or in the glove compartment, with all the hassle it would inevitably bring. On balance it just isn’t worth it.

“Daydreaming again young Blenkinsop?” says Ancient Mr Nesbitt, mistaking me for someone who once worked here but moved on about ten years ago, possibly because Ancient Mr Nesbitt kept calling him young Featherstone. He says this all of a sudden, having crept up on me like he does. (Creeping up on his subordinates isn’t a ploy to catch them slacking, as employers in Charles Dickens’ time seemed to have a habit of doing if you are to believe his books, but because Ancient Mr Nesbitt is so old that the only self-powered locomotion available to him is a creep, and he can only just about manage that.)

“Daydreaming, Mr Nesbitt?” I say, suitably shocked. “Not at all. Just concentrating my mind very hard on doing an excellent job on the Swindells/Jennison fish contract.”

“Good to hear that, Jenkinson, carry on,” says Ancient Mr Nesbitt, and goes on his fool way.

Sawyer the Schemer.

Thursday 3 October, 2013.

“I’m brain damaged. I got brain damaged in an accident at work about two years ago,” says Mr Davis, in reply to my asking him how Nesbitt, Nesbitt & Anderson can be of service to him. “I was going to get compensation, the firm I worked for admitted it was due to their negligence, there wasn’t a problem, it was cut and dried, no way was there a problem, but they’ve been taken over since then and the new owners have written to me telling me my accident has got nothing to do with them.”

In my short career I have done a couple of injuries in the workplace compensation claims and I am able to set my client’s mind at rest. “Not so, Mr Davis, not a bit of it,” I assure him confidently. “The firm taking over also takes over the previous firm’s liabilities in matters of this sort. They’re trying to con you. I’ll soon sort them out, just leave it with me.”

He thanks me profusely. As he seems quite sensible I am interested to know the extent of his brain damage and how it manifests itself. I ask him.

“I keep doing things twice,” he replies.

“Doing things twice?”

“Like I’ll mow the lawn and forget I’ve done it and an hour later I’ll mow it again. I mean I know I must already have mowed it because it doesn’t need mowing and there’s grass clippings on the path and on the mower.”

“I see. Any other instances?”

“Yes. I’ll make myself a spot of breakfast. Because I’m always ravenous when I get up. Egg, bacon and tomato usually, sometimes the full monty. Then an hour later I’ll make another one.”

“How do you know you’ve already had one?”

“Well wouldn’t you? I mean I’m not ravenous any more, am I, so I leave most of it. And that’s not like me, not like me at all, I mean I’ve got a very good appetite. Then there’s the dirty plate and knife and fork from the first breakfast, if I haven’t put them in the dishwasher, that gives it away as well.”

“Yes, I can see why that may be the case.”

“And then there’s the lovemaking.”


“Right. Like I tap up the wife for a bit of the old how’s-your-father and an hour later I’m tapping her up again.”

I am tempted to tell him that tapping up one’s partner for sex when they’ve already had it an hour previously would be construed as normal behaviour for most men - it certainly is for me - but I can see that the whole business is upsetting to him and I don’t want to disturb him even more, so I don’t mention it.

I take a few further details off him, explain our terms and fees and send him on his way, happy as a sandboy. An hour later he’s back. He’s forgotten he’s been. Our complete conversation has been wiped from his memory. I go through it all again, his firm being taken over, their refusal to compensate him, the lawn mowings, the breakfasts, the lovemaking, the rest. I put his mind at rest again, send him on his way again, happy as another sandboy. Old Mr Nesbitt, Mr Shithouse and Ifield are in the office at the time and when Mr Davis has gone we all have a good laugh about it. Mr Shithouse, predictably, says we should charge him twice. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if we do.

Sawyer the Comforter.

Friday 4 October, 2013.

Tonight I have an evening in with my parents. I do this at least one evening a week. It is my way of paying them back, thanking them. After all I wouldn’t be here without them; they are responsible for bringing me into the world, it is the very least I can do. Mother says there is no need, she and my father are perfectly happy on their own, Father with his modelling, she with her crocheting and knitting, half-watching the TV. On more than a few occasions in the past she has made a clumsy attempt to prove this by getting up to make a drink and coming back from the kitchen with just cups of tea for herself and my father. When I’ve pointed out that she’s forgotten me she’s tried to pretend she and Father are so happy on their own that she’s even forgotten I’m having an evening in with them. I know differently. I have often caught her looking at me, in an unguarded moment, with a sort of sad longing, often with a resigned shake of her head, no doubt worrying about how it will be for Father and her if I decide to leave home. There’s no need to Mother, that just isn’t going to happen.

Sawyer the Faithful.

Monday 7 October, 2013.

It is my lunch break and I am leafing through the newspaper. I usually do the Sudoku if I can’t be arsed with the Wordwheel but Ifield has got to it before me. Although I’m well aware that Ifield operates to Sudoku rules of his own invention I feel I must point out to him that in one square he has three threes and no nine. He says that three threes make nine. I reply that if he is using the three threes to make a nine then he doesn’t have two threes left to use in the parallel boxes and that he has in fact already used threes in these boxes. He tells me not to be so bloody pedantic. I say that pedantic or not, numerical errors such as those are unlikely to impress any person he might one day be offering financial advice to. He tells me not to be such a twat. Having reduced him to name-calling I claim a moral victory, even though I can’t now tackle the Sudoku and have to settle for the Wordwheel. I get eleven words, one short of Very Good.

In the newspaper I see, not for the first time, an article about house conveyance in which the writer of the piece is actively encouraging people who are in the process of buying a house to do their own conveyancing. Authors of such rubbish must be stark raving mad or really need the money. Over the past two years I must have done over a hundred house conveyances - in fact I’ve done so many I often think my life is one long conveyance and furthermore that it isn’t conveying me to anywhere worth going - but I can still slip up even now. Believe me when I say that house conveyance is about as fraught with danger as trying to negotiate a minefield wearing canal barges on your feet. In fact it is a minefield.

The article claims that you could comfortably pick up the basics in a week. A week? The average man or woman couldn’t even begin to understand most house conveyance documents in a month, let alone a week. This is because the paperwork, as is the case with all legal documents, has been subjected to the lawyer’s con, whereby the lawyer drawing up the document has transformed normal everyday language into an unintelligible language that only lawyers can understand, and for no other reason than that members of the public will have to employ lawyers to turn it back into normal everyday language again so they have an outside chance of understanding about half of it. My advice, therefore, to anyone reading this who is perhaps considering doing their own house conveyance, is to forget it. You have less chance of being successful than Osama bin Laden had of being found Not Guilty had they ever succeeded in dragging him into court. Even if you were to be successful it would end up costing you more than even a solicitor would charge you, if not in money then in doctor’s bills and time off work due to the depression it will undoubtedly bring on.

I offer this advice freely and it is the best advice from a solicitor you are ever likely to get.

As I write the word ‘solicitor’, above, it dawns on me that it is the nine-letter word in the Wordwheel. I am now Very Good. Good!

Sawyer the Adviser.

Tuesday 8 October, 2013.

I arrive at the pub ten minutes late for my date with Maria, as planned, in the hope she will already have bought her own drink. Unfortunately we arrive at exactly the same time. I shall have to be more careful in future. Perhaps fifteen minutes? Not more than that though or she might give up the ghost and leave before I get there.

We find a seat and I ask her what she would like to drink. Just a slimline tonic, please. Excellent. And not excellent. Excellent because a slimline tonic is a lot cheaper than a slimline tonic with a gin in it, not so excellent because it doesn’t have any inhibitions and knickers-dropping alcohol in it.

I get her one from the bar and a pint of Stella for myself. I ask her about her day. She tells me she is working in the men’s geriatric ward at the moment. The geriatrics are the worst she says, but she doesn’t tell me why they’re the worst. Trying to feel her up I suppose. I don’t blame them, she is a doll, as I’ve already said, and I’ll be doing the same thing myself later with a bit of luck, and without arthritic hands to hamper me. I should imagine that arthritic hands are wholly incompatible with unfastening bra straps and hauling down panties and God forbid I never get them, it’s difficult enough as it is..

Maria’s duties seem to be mostly fetching and carrying for the geriatrics and feeding them their pills. There is no mention of bedpans but I bet she sees plenty of them, as well as pee bottles, if I know old people. I once visited my Uncle John, my father’s older brother, now deceased, in a ward full of old men. It is not something I would care to repeat nor recommend. The visit took place shortly after the patients had eaten their evening meal, of which cabbage had quite obviously been one of the vegetables on offer, and this, mixed in with the aroma coming from the patient in the next bed to Uncle John, who was putting a bedpan to good use, made the place smell like an overripe compost heap. Two bluebottles constantly buzzed around him.

After Maria’s day has been exhausted, and at her request, I tell her about my day. I feed her some bullshit about heading a successful drugs bust. I’m rather good at bullshitting - it’s a necessity if you want to be a solicitor worth his salt, a tool of the trade; ninety per cent of the job is talking and writing bullshit - heretofore, wheretofore, notwithstanding, all the other legal document jargon I’ve already mentioned that the law hides behind in the interests of obfuscation. (I’ve actually made up the word ‘wheretofore’ and used it on several occasions without it being called into question.)

Maria takes forty minutes over her drink and with slimline tonics at £1.40 a throw it is no contest compared to the cinema at £16 for seats plus the smallest box of chocolates I can get away with and maybe a can, say twenty quid altogether, so I suggest we stay put. She agrees, I smile, then she immediately asks if she can possibly have a cocktail, she’s forgotten what they’re called but she knows the ingredients, the barman at the club in Ibiza gave her the recipe when she was on holiday there last July, she and her friend Claire were on them all week, twice they got absolutely rat-arsed on them. I stop smiling. This doesn’t sound good. She lists the ingredients. Before she has finished I think I am never going to smile again.

I get the cocktail from the bar. It costs me six pounds fifty. It lasts her ten minutes then she asks if she can possibly have another one, it was lovely, almost as nice as the ones in Ibiza. I only just stop myself asking her if the name of the cocktail could possibly be Prepare to Get Your Knickers Down if I’m Paying Six Pounds Fifty a Pop for These.

An hour later she is on her fourth. She has six altogether. Forty one pounds fifty including two bags of crisps. And that isn’t even the bad news. On the way to the car park she tells me she really fancies me but that she never shags on the first date. I smile and say that’s fine, I respect her for it, and anyway I never try anything on the first date. I award myself ten brownie points and seethe inwardly.

Now the bad news. On our next date - and there was always going to be a next date with a girl who has cost me forty one pounds fifty and told me she didn’t shag on the first date, a confession that more or less promised she shagged on the second date - she wants to accompany me in my police car when I’m out on a case. It would be so exciting, she says.

I don’t know about exciting, it will certainly be interesting.

Sawyer the Troubled.

Saturday 12 October, 2013.

You could have knocked me over with a feather! Really.

At the moment one of my cases is a claim for compensation against the local town council by a Mr Stokes, who tripped over an uneven paving stone on one of the town’s highways whilst walking along minding his own business (his expression). He sustained an injury to his leg from the resultant fall, which has left him with a permanent limp. This sort of claim is increasingly common in the compensation culture age in which we live, and one which I intend to take advantage of myself the first chance I get.

Mr Stokes is a large man, built like a heavyweight boxer, although not a particularly successful one as he has a badly broken nose and cauliflower ears. I last saw him a week ago when he called in the office to enquire as to how his claim was progressing. If anything his limp is even worse than I remembered it, and it was pretty bad then.

The limp has caused, and is still causing, Mr Stokes a loss of earnings. He had been employed as a night club bouncer and, as he put it, ‘Whoever heard of a nightclub bouncer with a limp like I’ve got? I’d get no respect’. His employers must have thought the same thing as after three months had passed and he hadn’t shown any sign of returning to work they dispensed with his services. Since then he has had to rely solely on sickness benefits. Therefore his claim for compensation will be considerable. (If I were the county council’s Chief Executive I would long since have got rid of fifty per cent of the hundreds of gardeners they employ in the planting of flowers in the shapes of clocks and things in their parks and gardens and employed them instead as uneven pavement straighteners, thus saving themselves and the ratepayers millions of pounds in compensation claims. But then what do I know, I’m just a junior solicitor). Anyway, to continue.

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