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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

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Gloom descends on Bracknell Towers

Lady Bracknell is nothing if not observant, and has long commented on the irritating tendency displayed by the common electric light bulb to function perfectly throughout the long summer evenings, but to shuffle off this mortal coil as soon as the nights begin to draw in. This is called, "Lady Bracknell's First Rule of Lightbulb Behaviour".

This year is proving no exception to the rule. When Lady Bracknell's editor types her employer's words of wisdom on to the computing device in the evenings, she currently does so illuminated only by the pale rays of one 60 watt lightbulb. The room grows so very dim, in fact, that the moths which fly in through Lady Bracknell's ever-open windows abjure the light fitting in favour of the somewhat brighter computer screen.

Lady Bracknell prides herself on her modern approach to life, and is pleased to stand up (albeit that an upright posture can only be achieved with some difficulty and by virtue of her leaning hard for support on her handsome walking stick) and be counted as an Equal Opportunities employer. Her butler is generally faultless in his undertaking of his professional duties. However, his restricted stature, combined with his lumbago and with Lady Bracknell's objection to any member of her household climbing on her priceless antique furniture, foils all his best efforts to change a bulb in a ceiling light fitting.

All is not lost, however. Lady Bracknell's part-time chauffeur will be bringing the motor car round to the front entrance next Tuesday afternoon for the purpose of conveying her to her osteopath. Although far from sprightly himself, the chauffeur does possess the excellent virtue of being tall. Lady Bracknell is confident that, in return for only a minor increase in his financial emolument, he will be easily persuaded to apply himself to the task of restoring light to the currently decidedly dark Bracknell Towers.


Blogger The Goldfish said...

May I suggest that "Lady Bracknell's First Rule of Lightbulb Behaviour" is rationally explained by the fact that when any electric item, particularly something as fragile as a filament, goes from having very light to much heavier use, it is likely to suffer as a result? Thus we are indeed entering the season of replacing lightbulbs.

May I also make two suggestions that might reduce the good Lady's difficulty in this area?

First of all, always ask your maid to fetch only Energy-Saving Lightbulbs. These last much longer and are better for the environment. Although it is good to avoid having a light on unnecessarily, it is better to avoid constantly turning lights on and off. So for example, if you make many trips into the kitchen during an evening, you'd preserve more energy and the lightbulb by leaving the light on.

Secondly, in this household the living room is adequately lit by two standard lamps. These could mean that these bulbs are a height at which Lady Bracknell's butler is able to perform the task himself.

5:32 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell has heard her correspondent's explanation about lightbulb frailty before, but prefers to imagine that said bulbs are making a positive choice to behave in as contrary a manner as possible.

(Lady Bracknell's tendency to imbue inanimate objects with malicious intent towards her person is a long-held one. At her age, she fears she is unlikely to change.)

The maid has yet to return to Bracknell Towers with Energy-Saving lightbulbs which will fit within the confines of the light fittings in question. Those which have been purchased to date are currently residing in table lamps.

As a general rule, Lady Bracknell is not fond of the quality of light cast from ceiling fixtures, and shares the Goldfish's preference for the pools of light shed by lamps. There are, however, some rooms in which this is not an option.

5:46 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

I must admit to a momentary surprise that the elegant gaff known as Bracknell Towers even has electric light. I had always envisioned your ladyship bathed in the mellow glow of candlelight, or possibly oil lamps, which light, as we know, is paricularly flattering to those of a certain age, enhancing the maquillage and concealing the odd wrinkle, plus one's companions can't quite see how much one is drinking.

I wonder how disadvantaged your ladyship is vis a vis steps? I don't mean the vulgar sort as employed by housemaids, but the nifty mahogany or teak jobs known to the cultured as "library steps", consisting of they do of a few shallow treads with a sturdy bannister to one side, the whole mounted on little wheels for easy manoeuvring by the gentry or its butlers.

8:32 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Mr Dawson is wrong to envisage her ladyship as a figure frozen in time, as it might be Miss Havisham.

If he had considered, he would have realised that an electrical supply is necessary for the functioning of the computing device used by her ladyship's editor.

Lady Bracknell will take Mr Dawson's thoughtful suggestion of library steps under consideration.

9:27 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Mr Dawson thanks Blady Bracknell for condescending to enlighten (ooh! I made a pun!) him on the connexion between electricity and the computer, but remains puzzled, as is his wont.

Mr Dawson had naturally assumed that her Ladyship had employed this device purely for the convenience of the incompetent,vulgar haridadan whom her Ladyship (doubtless out of a sense of pity and nobless oblige) employs as editor. Surely, given her druthers, Lady Bracknell would prefer to utilise her own personal fleet of carrier pigeons, or possibly semaphore, to communicate with her interlocutors?

9:50 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Mr Dawson seems determined to envisage Lady Bracknell as being frozen in time.

Even in her youth she had no need of carrier pigeons or semaphor, relying instead on the dependable postal service which was in operation at the time. (Lady Bracknell will refrain from airing her views on the dependability of the current postal service at this juncture, but Mr Dawson can be sure that she has much to say on the matter.)

Lady Bracknell would ask Mr Dawson to refrain from insulting her editor in future. She chooses her staff with care, and will not stand for their being vilified in this way.

6:17 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

May one enquire, in what way Lady Bracknell *would* stand for her staff being vilified? Just for future reference.

6:58 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

If Mr Dawson had paid more attention to his schoolmasters, he might have comprehended more easily that the clause, "in this way", qualifies, "being vilified", and NOT, "will not stand".

7:03 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

If Mr Dawson wasn't a gentleman, he might be very tempted to post "get you, Madam." As it is, he wouldn't dream of doing such a thing.

Furthermore, Mr Dawson was about to ask Lady Bracknell, if it is within her means to employ a tradesman to rewire the troublesome fixtures into a more suitable location. One can, I believe, position a lamp almost anywhere if one has the skills. Coals of fire!

7:19 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Mr Dawson shows remarkable restraint.

The chauffeur, Dude, has agreed to change the defunct lightbulbs next Tuesday. In fact, he offered to do so today when he dropped off Lady Bracknell's groceries, but she was keen to return to her various duties and felt that she could happily wait until next week for the return of full illumination to Bracknell Towers.

7:24 pm  
Blogger Katie said...

Miss Katie would like to send her deepest sympathies to her honourable lady ship Lady B as she can sympathise with lightbulbs giving gloom to Bracknell toowers as Fraser towers seems to have suffered the same darkness as Miss Katie is cross about her living room being plunged into darkness and is being lit by the kitchen lights and a small bedroom bedside lamp!!!!!
ARRGH! Luckily Miss Katie's Dad will relieve the problem tomorrow. Thank goodness for Royal Highness the Father!

12:57 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell concurs with Miss Katie's implication that men truly come into their own with regards to tasks such as changing lightbulbs. She has also found them useful in the past for opening jars and taking out rubbish. Beyond that, she is of the opinion that their uses are somewhat limited, and that a household can carry on very well in their absence.

7:02 am  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Far be it from me to criticise a lady, but I do feel that Lady Bracknell is being a bit harsh on the weaker sex, here.

May I remind her that a lady of great presence, and impeccable Dis credentials, the splendid Patricia Neal, was heard to remark, in Hud (a kinematograph production of which your Ladyship may have heard) that her husband's great, indeed only, talent was for scratching her back where she couldn't reach it.

Moreover, since I'm on a roll, the no less remarkable (in his own way) Michael Buerk has recently wished to put it on record that the male sex, beleaguered though it is, still holds the monopoly on sperm donorship.

9:13 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

As is proper to persons of quality, Lord and Lady Bracknell enjoyed separate bedrooms. She therefore never deployed him as a back scratching implement.

Lady Bracknell is confident that she can struggle through what remains of her life without ever again feeling the desire to be at close quarters with sperm, or with the means of its conveyance.

10:23 am  

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