After an exceedingly wretched couple of weeks spent shivering in her bedchamber under the duvet accompanied only by five boxed sets of Babylon 5 DVDs, several gallons of soup, and an ever-dwindling supply of library books, Lady Bracknell has this week ventured forth into the great outdoors – in a somewhat trepidatious manner – to attend a variety of medical appointments. Her ladyship’s continuing frailty has precluded travel by omnibus, with the result that she has spent the better part of fifty pounds sterling on hansom cab fares.
She had her chest x-rayed on Monday: a somewhat bizarre experience necessitating stripping to the waist; donning a hospital gown of a quite execrable style and fit; compressing her capacious bosom against a plated device; and having a bright light flashed against her from behind. This process had to be repeated, as her capacious bosom had not been adequately compressed in the first instance.
Tuesday was the occasion of a much-overdue and sorely-needed visit to the osteopathic gentleman. Dude the chauffeur being himself confined to bed (one simply cannot
get the staff), the journey was somewhat rigorous, and Lady Bracknell was very much exhausted the following day.
The house adjacent to Bracknell Towers has been undergoing noisy renovation for many months now. It feels to Lady Bracknell as though this work has been going on since the Dawn of Time, but she is assured by the owner of the property that it started as recently as last September and that it is nearly finished.
Be that as it may, at about 10.30 on Thursday morning workmen started to knock down the garage. Lady Bracknell and her feline companion became aware of this at the moment when tons of tumbling bricks caused the foundations of Bracknell Towers to shake in a disconcerting fashion. (It would appear that no brick building can be razed to the ground in this day and age sans
the accompaniment of one of the less intellectually-rigorous local radio stations being played at a volume sufficient to be audible above the noise of destruction.)
Lady Bracknell, who bows to no man or woman in the matter of sensitivity to noise, decided to vacate Bracknell Towers rather earlier than was actually necessary in order to attend the eyesight examination which was scheduled for one o'clock. Her feline companion having no such opportunity to vacate the premises, Lady Bracknell imagines that she must have hidden under the bed with her paws in her ears until the last brick had fallen to the ground.
Arriving in the city centre somewhat earlier than planned, Lady Bracknell took the opportunity to visit her bank and deposit the sizeable cheque which her esteemed father had sent her by way of a birthday gift. That done, she pottered somewhat aimlessly around the streets in an attempt to kill time. (Any readers who have done this themselves will be aware that, while it takes ten minutes to admire the goods in a shop window if one is in a hurry, it takes only about five seconds to exhaust their attractions fully should one be early for an appointment.) But Lady Bracknell should not really grumble, given that her aimless loitering rewarded her with a glimpse of Ken Dodd in the flesh.
Eventually, sufficient time had passed for Lady Bracknell to bend her steps towards Blankstone's Magnificent Optical Emporium. (The website for this most welcoming of establishments is currently under construction, but Lady Bracknell has instructed her editor to provide a link to it once its pages contain anything of note.) Lady Bracknell was soon provided with a cup of coffee and invited by the charming Mr Blankstone to "show him her wares". (This invitation related, of course, to the spectacle frames which the editor had ordered on Lady Bracknell's instructions from the interwebnet: there is nothing improper in Mr Blankstone's dealings with his customers.)
It has long been Lady Bracknell's preference to patronise small businesses over large chains wherever practicable. Unfortunately, her physical frailties quite often override her principles on this point. After all, when one needs to have one's groceries delivered to one's door, one has no option but to call on the services of Mr Sainsbury or Mr Tesco. But in the matter of opticians, Lady Bracknell stands firm. When one wishes to co-ordinate one's spectacle frames with one's handsome walking sticks, one must pay great attention to the calibre of frames one purchases. A shop from a large chain of opticians will display a great many spectacle frames, but none will have the individuality which a perfectionist such as her ladyship seeks.
Also, when Lady Bracknell is preparing to spend several hundreds of pounds, she chooses to do so in an establishment in which she is recognised and greeted by name when she arrives. The fact of having worked in the service industry herself in her youth has rendered Lady Bracknell peculiarly sensitive to standards of customer care. She had used to frequent a more local optician, but has removed her custom from them in light of the unwelcoming attitude of their receptionist, a woman for whom customers were clearly an inconvenience which interfered in her lengthy telephone conversations with her family and friends.
Mr Blankstone and his staff offering an exceptionally high level of care and consideration for their customers, Lady Bracknell need look no further for an optical establishment to frequent. These beautiful spectacles
having been ordered, Lady Bracknell hopes to return within the week to collect them and, if necessary, have them adjusted to fit her aristocratic visage.
Lady Bracknell wishes to extend her grateful thanks to all those who asked after her, or who wished her well, during her extended absence from what she believes is called, "the blogosphere". Although not yet quite restored to full health, she is well on the road to recovery. Blog entries may remain sparse for the immediate future, but Lady Bracknell will write again when stamina permits.