Sunday, 28 August 2011



A relaxing day out cruising on a canal barge from Hilperton Marina, to Seend for a "lite bite" sounded like a fantastic idea for this hardworking department not only to spend some "time out together" but to also use it as a kind of team building exercise, is exactly what the ABD Matrimonial Department did, and I felt very privileged to go with them...

The ABD Litigation Department had done this very same trip only a few weeks ago for their team building day out which proved to be a great success.

The weather started rather grey and cloudy (the day before had been hot and sunny, oh well,) as we boarded our canal barge for the day which was aptly named "Cheers".

After a complicated and lengthy but very informative "health and safety" talk on boat problems/use of lock key/getting through the locks/making a cup of tea/man over board etc etc from one of the smiley faced barge instructors, we nervously questioned amongst us for a split second whether we were capable and able enough to actually make it in one piece to our destination the "Brewery Inn", a popular inn producing excellent fare and drink based in Seend, Wiltshire.

"Come on team, we can do this!" So off we chugged with ABD Partner Andrew Douglas in the driving seat steering us away.

Carol Saunders and Andrew Douglas.

The journey itself to Seend took no more than approx 4 hours and was hugely relaxing even when it rained and at one stage felt slightly cold out. Most had a go and enjoyed steering the barge. Not an easy thing to do, the barge is a slow mover when steering, and you need to think ahead of the game especially if there is another barge insight heading towards you! The locks are relatively straight forward and require an amount of team strength to open/close the locks whilst you then wait for a few minutes or so for the water to rise. Its also a great way to meet/have idle chit chat to other barge users doing the same especially if they are going in the same direction because 2 barges can wait for the water to rise (or fall) at the same time. Patience, strength and avoiding other objects are key factors all round with this sport!

Alex David oversees and Janice Leyland

keeping a tight hold of the barge.

Approaching the locks.


It was really good to meet the Matrimonial Department in the flesh so to speak. Chatting, listening and finding out what they were about - This is clearly a solid, and special close nit team of slick mediators who can calmly deal with any given matrimonial situation and achieve the required results. This is a team that deals with people who are going through a very difficult stage in their lives that involve the words separation, divorce, children, family, structure, home, belongings and loss.

Dave Turley and Leanne Matthews.
"Come on Dave, get your back into it".

KJ and Carol Saunders


Finally, we arrived at our destination, the Brewery Inn where we enjoyed very tasty lunches and drink. We were intrigued to note that they provided our food not only on plates but also baking trays and slabs of wood and slate! Very rustico!

Leanne Matthews, Janice Leyland,KJ, Alex David, Carol Saunders David Turley and Andrew Douglas. (Left to right).

The return journey was a deja vu of the locks (in reverse - we had to wait for the water to fall), herons happily perched close by, houses, gardens, wonderfully named, beautifully painted and a few unkempt barges moored up on the canal side. Some had solar panels. One even had a lengthy vegetable plot on its roof-amazing. Its good to see life from a different perspective.

The barge was aptly named "Cheers" which is what we said as we sipped our beers, wine and beverages. As if lunch wasn't enough, we piggishly tucked into further "party" fare as we passed the time of day. The sun even came out briefly!

Janice Leyland, Leanne Matthews and Dave Turley

The journey seemed go slowly yet fly by because it had been such an enjoyable day which had come to end before we knew it. In fact, Janice Leyland, Matrimonial Solicitor based a Devizes Office who had joined the firm the day before was especially impressed with her second day in the office sorry I mean on the barge! As we moored up at the Hilperton Marina and collected our belongings, the unanimous vote that this would become an annual event was an absolute definite thumbs up! Thank you so much for inviting me too. It was great.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011



Recently, at the AGM of the Gloucester and Wiltshire Law Society, ABD Partner Roger Chadwick was elected to become the new President. The term of office commences January 2012 and runs for 18 months. Roger is based at the ABD offices in Devizes, Wiltshire and is already working hard and on the case.

Roger Chadwick "as pleased as punch" to be elected.

Roger who has been on the committee for 2 years already is really excited about his new role of becoming President in 2012.

Did you know that there are approximately 2000 solicitors in the Gloucester and Wiltshire area?


Roger plans to make some significant changes to the way the Gloucester and Wilts operates....

He has already started to actively recruit sponsors which has created really good interest and is working very well.

He is also looking for new members, in particular social members who can attend social networking development functions to not only develop their own businesses, but to also promote the Law Society in becoming a more accessible body.


Roger has invited the Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales Adam Sampson to attend Bowood Golf and Country Club, Calne, Near Chippenham in September 2011 to talk to solicitors about the role of the legal ombudsman and the changing complaints structure.

Adam Sampson was previously Chief Executive of "Shelter" the country's leading housing and homeless charity before he became chief Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales.

The legal ombudsman was established by the Office for Legal Complaints. It is an independant consumer focused ombudsman scheme set up to resolve complaints to members of the public, businesses, charities and trusts about lawyers in England and Wales in a fair and independant way without taking sides.

Keep posted and up to date with a follow on from this blog for the results of the this important exciting meeting and how Roger gets on.

Thursday, 11 August 2011



A day to be remembered between sunshine and rain showers- we had an extremely enjoyable day!

ABD Partner Andrew Douglas and his wife Keshani were invited by Andrew Marshall who is Regional Sales Director of Hamptons International to the Festival of British Eventing presented by Gatcombe Park on Sunday 7 August 2011.

The morning started off by meeting other invitees in the Event Hospitality Marquee for coffee, danish pastries and a "catch up" followed by a visit to the trade stand area...



From equestrian kit to cashmere clothing. Accessories for dogs to classy picnic hampers and Jacuzzis - it was all there. The Flying Fox provided country & sporting gift collections. The Sock Company Country supplied hosiery for town and country. Of course there was Dubarry of Ireland and Landrover UK. Henry Hunt sold luxury county clothing with height of fashion twist! Whilst Chatham Marine Ltd - one of of the UK's leading marine footwear and clothing brands were "on hand" too. These were just to name but a few trade stands there. The area was packed full of happy shoppers with their dogs in toe! It was a serious shoppers area.

A delicious lunch was served at 12.00 noon which
Andrew and Keshani enjoyed followed by welcome and presentation on cross-country course by Captain Mark Phillips.

Princess Anne and her husband also attended lunch and Princess Anne's Son Peter Phillips who came to say hello along with Harry Mead (Richard Meads son).

After lunch the show jumping had just finished and it was time for Zara Phillips to say goodbye to her all time favourite horse "Toytown". Her husband Mike Tindall was there as well as her mother Princess Anne and brother Peter Phillips to watch Toytown in the ring for the last time before he retires - what a beautiful horse he is.

Mike Tindall with Princess Anne watching
Zara Phillips and Toytown.

Zara Phillips and Toytown.

Shetland Pony Grand National was a fun event. The ponies are only 40" high and the jockeys no older than 13 years of age.


Dressage to music has become hugely popular since its inception as part of the Olympic Dressage programme at the Atlantic Olympics in 1996 and is known as the musical kur. The rider chooses music that fits the paces and personality of themselves and their horse, and they put together a kur that includes all the movements of the Grand Prix. They can ride the movements in any sequence and the more difficult the sequence, the higher the mark - the test is marked 50% for technical merit and 50% for artistic merit.

Such an impressive sight to see. The horse looks so elegant and graceful as it moves in time to the music.

Afternoon tea was served at 4.00pm with delicious cakes and sandwiches.


A tour of Gatcombe Park was a definite on the agenda - especially in a top of the range Range Rover!

Gatcombe Park


The falconry display was an impressive event. The children as well as adults were enthralled with watching these huge birds of prey with their enormous wing spans flying around.

-Winner of British Eventing Open Championship was Andrew Nicolson who rode on Nereo. Score 29.9.

-Winner of Smith & Williamson British Intermediate Championship was Angus Smales on Clover hero. Score 32.5.

Next year this festival will be moved forward a month so as not to clash with the 2012 Olympic Games.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day out and thank you so much to Andrew Marshall and the Hamptons team for inviting us.