Hard on the heels of my significant birthday party came Martin's (Steve's brother) birthday celebration in Frome last weekend. We danced the night away to another good band and the birthday boy seemed to enjoy himself too!
A leisurely breakfast on Sunday morning was followed by a leisurely drive back to Oxford via the wonderful rolling downland of Salisbury Plain and the standing stones at Avebury, stopping from time to time to try our hand at some landscape photography.
I think that all this partying (not to mention the late nights) has finally taken its toll. We've both felt a bit whacked this week and I am still trying to finish writing all my notes to say thank you for the presents and making my party a very special occasion which neither of us will forget!
In spite of taking great care transporting presents back home, the labels/cards became detached from two bottles of wine and two bunches of flowers. If these were from you, then I'm sorry not to be able to write to you personally to say thank you, but it's heart felt, none the less! Amazingly, many of the flowers are still looking good and the remaining balloons are still decorating the ceiling in the front room!
I had hoped to tell you all about Steve's flying experience in today's blog - he was due to loop-the-loop in a Chipmunk airplane this afternoon. However, the cloud cover is too low today, so the experience has been postponed again, but hopefully not for long this time....check back soon!
The wheels of the legal system are grinding along slowly. At the end of June, papers were served on the County Council (education authority) and Oxford Brookes University (now an independent body) in relation to Steve's exposure to asbestos when he demolished partitions to create a big open-plan studio for the School of Architecture at the Polytechnic, when he was a student back in 1971. Defences from both parties have been received, both seeking to shift responsibility on to the other for the liabilities of the old polytechnic.
We are now waiting for a date from the court for a hearing at which directions will be given for the further progress of the case. In the meantime, our solicitor has set up a case conference with the barrister in Birmingham next month to go through the defences in detail and Steve has answered questions raised by Brookes solicitors arising from his statement.
The defendant's firm, Berrymans Lace Mawer, specializes in serving the insurance industry. Their approach to occupational disease claims, including asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, notes that such claims often arise from a workplace where many employees were exposed to the same regime and there is always the potential for "tail" claims to follow from the first claim. Their website goes on to state "for this reason, it is often advisable to consider an 'economic settlement' in isolation, without taking into account the workplace and the potential for similar claims." That seems to suggest a preference for out-of-court-settlements where there is more than one potential claimant, as in Steve's case. With the benefit of that knowledge, it will be interesting to see how this case progresses.
Our solicitor has a rather different view of damages in relation to mesothelioma. In an article written in June 2010, he says: