I ask if I may sketch her while she is drawing. She politely refuses.
I'm used to rough drawing gigs where comfort goes out of the window (see my Occupy posts here passim) so I'm faintly puzzled by her response, until the hearing starts.
She has to draw feverishly, against the clock, with no distraction, such as being stared at by me. It's as if a pistol is held to her head. She must isolate each person clearly from the rest and preserve the scene in client-friendly aspic (her client today being the Press Association), all by high noon.
|Hazelmary Bull flanked by lawyers|
Today, I think, she has the rare luxury of not having to draw from memory. I glance sideways. She's drawing from memory, using the models before her as an aide mémoire. She fixes the scene and the poses with brown chalk, then skims hectically from model to model, estimating how they would look if they'd stayed at the same angle. Clever.
She agrees that I can sketch her in the afternoon - but the tempo is brisk and the hearing ends before lunch.
Oh, the case. Bull and another v Hall and another. Does the Bulls' refusal on religious grounds to let a double room in their hotel to a gay couple in a civil partnership constitute discrimination under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007?
There's an attentive party of schoolgirls here. It's like a L'Oréal commercial. Oceans of lustrous hair.
Before kick-off, Robin Allen QC (in what he describes after the hearing as 'my poncey pinstripe suit which I hardly ever wear') turns to ask the girls if they know what the case is about. They assure him that they do.
When it's time for them to leave they move osmotically, silently. Benenden. Worth the money I'd say. A single anorak-clad tourist can make more of a racket than this group of 30 plus.
The mood is genial as counsel air cool abstractions, oblivious to the former hoteliers' presence.
Robin Allen QC points out that impoverished students hitch-hiking will share a bed to save money.
|Robin Allen QC|
'Sharing a bed or hitch-hiking?' enquires Lord Neuberger.
I'd like to show you the official drawing but I'm advised that the Press Association would visit a plague of locusts on me if I did. Tiens. A PA photographer snaps it on the pavement in Parliament Square while autumn leaves scurry around.