Lady Bracknell's familiar behaves oddly
However, she also walked past the shattered remains of what must have been dozens of egg shells. And this she finds wholly reprehensible. Lady Bracknell doubts that the poor hens who have been packed into batteries, and who have never been permitted so much as a glimpse of the sky or the feel of a blade of grass under their feet, would be overjoyed to discover that their eggs have been thrown at cars, or walls, or front doors. Show Lady Bracknell a ruffian who says that he bought free range eggs for his midnight revels, and she will show you a liar. Of course, such loutish and ill-bred behaviour also demonstrates a deplorable want of respect for other people's property, and is thus in every conceivable way unnacceptable.
Owing to its unusual situation, Bracknell Towers remains blessedly free from gangs of marauding urchins seeking their next tartrazine fix. Nevertheless, it is Hallowe'en, and Lady Bracknell feels duty bound to pay some lip service to the fact.
Where there are witches, there are also witches' familiars. Many of which take the form of black cats. Lady Bracknell claims neither to be a witch nor to have a familiar, but her feline companion (who, happily for this most tenuous of links, happens to be black) is behaving rather oddly.
Regular readers will recall that Bracknell Towers, and its contents, have a tendency to crumble. The current list of items which need some attention include
- the knob which fell off the washing machine last week;
- the hob on which only two of the rings are willing to heat up; and
- the dishwasher, which will only deign to work if the 'on' switch is held down with blu-tack.
Rather more serious than any of the above is the fact that rain is coming through the withdrawing room ceiling. As a temporary measure, Lady Bracknell has seen to it that a basin be stationed under the drip.
She thought little of this until she witnessed her feline companion exiting the withdrawing room in a manner which could only be described as furtive. At which point, it occurred to Lady Bracknell - whose mind is, let us not forget, like a steel trap - to wonder whether Fishbone was drinking from the basin.
A theory which subsequent observation has proved to be correct. Lady Bracknell is well aware that cats prefer rainwater to tap water. But, to paraphrase the current Marks and Spencer food adverts, this is not just rainwater. This is rainwater which has been subjected to filtration through roof tiles, ceiling joists, plaster and possibly several other less-than-delicious substances. When more than a little has been collected, a gritty black tide mark soon appears. But that Fishbone loves it cannot be denied. This very morning, she insisted on being allowed into the withdrawing room, and complained in a most peremptory manner when she discovered that the basin had not been magically re-filled overnight. She is entirely unmoved by Lady Bracknell's explanations as to why more cannot be provided merely to suit her feline whim.
Rain is forecast overnight. Lady Bracknell cannot be entirely sure, but she suspects that Fishbone has been doing a little rain dance when no-one was looking....