Friday, 9 October 2009


John Cleese kicked off his “How to Finance Your Divorce Tour” in Norway last weekend. He’s reported as telling his audience that he’d fallen on hard times because he had been ordered to pay $20 million to a woman he believed to be “the special love child of Bernie Madoff and Heather Mills.” Ouch! Divorce can have a tendency to bring out the bitter side of people as well as their ingenuity when they look to raise the necessary finances.

It all reminded me of once upon a time when I acted for a client whom I shall kindly describe as totally eccentric.

“You can call me Mr Praline,” he said when we first met, after he’d stepped across my room in three long and exaggerated strides, bowler hat perched precariously on the top of his head. He was a strange client; not easy to take instructions from when every few seconds he’d change the subject and yell out: “And now for something completely different.”

He was very fond of pets, I recall, with a fish called Wanda (or was it Eric?) and a large snake he referred to as Monty.

When settlement terms were ordered by the court, he completely broke down, banging a dead parrot on the desk and claiming to have to go back and live in a cardboard box. However, he paid what was required with borrowed funds, and then decamped to work as a lumberjack to pay for it all!

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