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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bracknell Towers is temporarily re-illuminated

The chauffeur, Dude, having replaced the defunct lightbulbs yesterday with minimal fuss, Bracknell Towers was, for a brief while, so brightly illuminated as to be almost dazzling. Unfortunately, this splendour was short-lived.

Lady Bracknell has therefore devised a Second Rule of Lightbulb Behaviour:

In a light fitting requiring more than one bulb, a second bulb will blow within twenty four hours of its neighbour being replaced. The speed with which the second bulb will blow is in inverse proportion to the length of time the owner of the light fitting will have to wait between visits from her part-time (but tall) chauffeur.

Lady Bracknell's Third Rule of Lightbulb Behaviour may produce less irritation overall, but is, nevertheless, true. It runs as follows:

The inadequate 40 watt candle bulb purchased in desperation by the maid when no 60 watt candle bulbs were to be had - not even for ready money - will glow dimly on interminably, out-lasting its gaudy and illuminating 60 watt brethren by a ratio of at least 1 to 4.


Blogger The Goldfish said...

Remarkably enough, I have been affected by both Lady Bracknell's First and Second Rules of Lightbulb Behaviour this evening - within less than a second. The standard lamp (from Argos at £11.99) contains two bulbs. One popped and then the other popped and then darkness.

As I have already explained to her Ladyship, it is lightbulb season. These represent the third and fourth defunct lightbulbs within the last couple of weeks as the nights are drawing in.

Further to this, when one lightbulb pops, it sends a small charge into its wire. Usually this is harmless, but when an already tired bulb becomes subject to such a charge, this can make it even more weary.

In your case, it took a week for it to finally give up the ghost. In my case it too half a second.

Although Lady Bracknell has a leaning towards anthropomorphision, I fear that at this time of year, with such factors at play, she may begin to believe she is being percecuted by lightbulbs and other appliances which are coming back into use after the winter.

9:01 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Having been subjected to a vicious and unprovoked attack from a cat litter tray not three weeks since, and not yet having fully recovered from the damage to her person thereby inflicted, Lady Bracknell has yet to be persuaded that she would be entirely wise to discard her theories about the malevolent intent displayed by supposedly innocent and placid household objects.

Seasonal Lightbulb Behaviour, however, is a minor concern compared to that of its once again being Spider In The House season.

Although blessedly relatively free from arachnid lodgers for the rest of the year, Bracknell Towers annually exerts an irresistible pull over the monsters in early autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness? Pah! Season of twitches and yellow cowardice more like.

Pray do not advise Lady Bracknell that the spider is more scared of her than she is of it. Lady Bracknell recognised the flaw in that argument many years ago. Even a large spider has a tiny brain, and commensurately small adrenal glands. Lady Bracknell, however, is a human being of bulky proportions and is possessed not only of a large brain, but also of an over-active imagination.

Fortunately, she is also possessed of a grabby stick (suitable for grasping the larger arachnid round the body and flinging the beast unceremoniously out of the window) and a tubular, battery-powered suction device which, when aimed at an arachnid of more moderate proportions, causes the beast to fold its legs involuntarily as it is sucked unwillingly into the tube. The tube can then be capped, and the invader disposed of in a relatively calm manner.

9:18 pm  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

Lady Bracknell shall hopefully be impressed when I tell her that at the Goldfish Residence, it is salmon season. Spending, as I do, most of my daylight hours looking out the window at the river, I have been watching the salmon leaping upstream. Since moving to these particular appartments, I have been entirely disillusioned as to the nature of salmon. I imagined that they leapt, dolphin like, with grace and dignity. In fact they hurl themselves out of the water and belly-flop back in.

During the winter months, I watch the seals (which I sing to) and the swans. Oh, plus seventy-three varieties of gull and the occassional shag. If I'm lucky.

9:36 pm  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

I'm glad to see the good Lady makes use of the grabby stick still. Although big and strong, (many a picture can tell a lie) I too find myself weak kneed by the site of the comnmon spider.

I am not in possession of a grabby stick nor a sucky thing and so have to rely entirely on the spider being good natured enough to quitely 'fuck orf aht ov it' as I think some costermongers put it.

Marmiteboy is not brave when it comes to spiders.

10:05 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell yearns to visit the Goldfish's country estate. She would very much like to see the seals. Ah, if only her enfeebled body would carry her such distances!

She herself must make do with the honking voices of the swans and geese which fly overhead on their peregrinations to and from the lake in Sefton Park. And with watching the very occasional heron in flight and the equally occasional grey squirrel dicing with death as it crosses the road which circumnavigates the park.

10:22 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell would strongly recommend that Mr Marmite treat himself to the purchase of a spider sucky uppy device. Money well spent, in her opinion.

(On an unrelated subject, she last met Mr Marmite in April, when he was neither big nor strong. Has he been working out?)

10:25 pm  
Blogger melbamae said...

My fine Lady Bracknell, might you explain to me this un-natural and unfounded fear of creatures with more legs than your polite self? Since there is not a single arachnid in all of the UK (aside from the delightful insect houses at the country's assorted zoos) which contain even the most minute amount of venemous substances, why this fear seems to run in the veins of Britan herself?

Mr. Melbamae showed no fear when being held at gunpoint by the KGB on a deserted airfield in the former Soviet Union. He laughed after having survived a rather nasty plane crash during his ROTC pilot training. He didn't twitch when working with a rather lethal amount of plutonium, but let him see a microscopic arachnid and he is screaming for the protection and immediate assistance of his dear wife!

I've lived happily in the company of black widows, tarantulas and an endless assortment of poisonous creatures with no ill effect. Was there an event in your childhood that triggered this fear?

11:02 pm  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

Lady Bracknell would be more than welcome to visit my um, Country Estates, if only she was able to take a train journey that involved three or four stops, including a brief yet unavoidable visit to a certain unmentionable town on the banks of the River Tees. Such sacrifices as people have been known to make for a moment in my company, I quite understand if Lady Bracknell's constitution prevents her setting foot in Middlesborough, even for a moment.

I shall have to wait until I get my book published and her Ladyship can attend my public book reading at her local branch of the booksellers Waterstones. Although she might want to bring along something to read.

11:05 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell is pleased to welcome her good friend, Mrs Melbamae, to her blog.

It has been suggested that the British abhorrence of all things multi-legged stems from the frequent repetition during childhood of the story of Miss Muffet who was frightened away from her tuffet by a spider. Certainly, it IS a peculiarly British idiosyncracy. When Lady Bracknell lived in the fair city of Athens, she was laughed to scorn for her fear of harmless creeping beasties. (By the same token, though, her warm affection for felines was considered to be eccentric almost beyond comprehension.)

What Mrs Melbamae struggles to comprehend is that the fear is not one of being damaged by the creature. But then, it is not a fear of the rational mind. it is a wholly irrational but completely overwhelming panic and revulsion at the prospect of coming into physical contact with the vile arachnid in question. Non-sufferers can never understand that it is the spider's scuttling gait which marks it out beyond all other creeping things as an object of fear and loathing.

11:43 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell looks forward very much to attending the Goldfish's book-signing event, and is confident that, given the exceptionally high calibre of her correspondent's written communication, such an event WILL come to pass.

When considering Liverpool book vendors, the Goldfish would be well-advised to eschew the poky and multi-storeyed Dillons and Waterstones in the city centre in favour of the Borders store at Speke Retail Park, some five miles to the South. This estimable establishment has a level entrance, wide aisles, and employs only charming and helpful staff. (It also carries a wider range of books than can be found in ANY city centre shop.)

12:54 pm  
Blogger Becca said...

Is Bracknell Towers in the North West, then? I was wondering...

Were the good Lady Bracknell ever to grace Manchester with a visit, I'd be much obliged if she would deign to meet me for a coffee or something.

2:42 pm  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

I appreciate Lady Bracknell's words of encouragement and advice about Liverpudlian bookshops. There is a branch of Borders in York and it is fantastic. The building is actually two buildings which they have joined together - only they started off about three feet apart and at slightly different heights. Despite this, it is completely and utterly accessible. Here I found a book called Neuro Linguistic Programming For Dummies, which I considered a very ambitious title for a book.

I love the Dummies series. I am looking out for "Ventriliquism for Dummies" but I believe it is yet to be published.

As for Miss Muffet, the nursery rhymne we learnt was

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on her tuffet
Her clothes all tattered and torn
It wasn't a spider
That sat down beside her
'Twas Little Boy Blue and his horn.

Personally I am not in the least bit frightened of spiders, but, if I get hold of one and it suddenly scuttles along the underside of my wrist and up my sleeve, I am liable to scream and jump about with little concern for the arachnid's wellbeing.

3:33 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell has been aware for some time that young Miss Becca is studying in Manchester.

Her ladyship will be in Manchester for a board meeting on October 6th but, as she will be conveyed thither and back in a colleague's motor car, will be unable to extend her stay to take in "coffee or something". In any event, she would venture to suggest that she is by no means at her best following one of these lengthy and difficult meetings.

Should she be fit enough to travel to Manchester by train for more pleasant purposes (her ladyship has a great fondness for the Paperchase store or, at least, its ground floor), she will certainly inform Miss Becca of her intentions and plan to meet up. She assumes that, in lieu of the customary carnation in the buttonhole, Miss Becca's identity will be immediately revealed by her wheelchair/viola combination?

Lady Bracknell will be the extremely stout middle-aged personage using a handsome blue walking stick.

5:52 pm  
Blogger Becca said...

The wheelchair, verily; the viola is unlikely to be along for the ride unless I have emerged from college immediately prior to meeting you.

I will be identified by (unless Mr NHS gets his skates on) a wheelchair older than I am, an also considerable level of stoutness, glasses and tied-back long brown hair.

There is a small possibility of my being in Liverpool in November or so this year - is the good Lady Bracknell acquainted with DADAfest?

12:07 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Good Lord!! Lady Bracknell has just visited the DADA fest site and noticed that, in the photographs of last year's event, her diagonally-downstairs neighbour, Alfie, appears in the middle of the picture of "The Crown Toppers". She is astonished that this gentleman's wife had never informed her of his starring role, and will make enquiries the next time she speaks to the lady in question.

Her ladyship would, of course, make every effort to meet up with Miss Becca should she and her viola be visiting Liverpool. Indeed, the chauffeur has conveyed a strong desire to "geg in" on any such meeting. (He said that just because he has no friends of his own is no reason why he can't benefit from her ladyship's friendships! Sometimes Lady Bracknell wonders why she retains him in her employ....)

7:56 am  

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