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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, May 31, 2006

Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Having regretfully declined to partake of the hideously injured gingerbread person offered to her by a generous colleague earlier this evening, Lady Bracknell bent her steps somewhat wearily towards the omnibus stop.

Imagine her surprise when the driver of the vehicle which eventually arrived

  • noticed her ladyship's handsome walking stick and, reasoning that her mobility must be impaired, offered to bring the omnibus closer to the kerb; and
  • waited until she was seated before driving away.

Lady Bracknell has been a regular omnibus passenger in Liverpool (which was once - and may yet be again - a fair city but which is currently a landscape of mingled rubble and cranes) for well over a decade, and this is the first and only occasion on which an omnibus driver has displayed the slightest consideration for her enfeebled state. Lady Bracknell made sure to thank the driver warmly when she alighted.

This is indeed a cause for celebration, and the editor has been instructed to pop open a bottle of virtual Moet & Chandon the moment her duties as an amanuensis are completed for the night.

In other news...

  1. Lady Bracknell feels that she should offer some level of sympathy to those persons who were directed to her blog via searches for, "dominatrix in Bracknell" and, "lady canes couple". She suspects her humble blog will have come as a crushing disappointment to them.
  2. Lady Bracknell is not in the habit of linking directly to the posts the editor has written under her employer's name for the BBC Ouch weblog, but will make an exception in this case. She has also arranged for a link to the Free Wheelchair Mission to be permanently installed on the sidebar of this blog. Readers wishing to donate funds sufficient to supply a wheelchair for an impoverished disabled person in a third world country may do so easily via this link.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Bizzies Part II

Had Lady Bracknell not had her wits about her and refused to answer the door yesterday evening, she would have found herself being "doorstepped" by a journalist from the local newspaper with regards to the police activity outside Bracknell Towers the previous day.

Her more intemperate neighbour was only too pleased to be asked for her impressions of what had happened, with the result that the write-up in the local paper shows signs of being based more on speculation and assumption than the comparatively sober report provided by the BBC.

It is, Lady Bracknell must admit, rather sobering to discover that the wherewithal to create explosive devices has been stored in such close proximity to one's abode.

With the windows of Bracknell Towers open, her ladyship cannot help but overhear parts of a conversation between the same intemperate neighbour and another local journalist. A male one, this time. He has sought Lady Bracknell's neighbour out in an attempt to "find out more about" the miscreant. Heaven forfend that he should direct his enquiries towards the proper authorities.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

And the beat goes on

Lady Bracknell betook herself to visit her favourite practice nurse this morning for what are known in medical circles as "fasting bloods". Although she is glad to receive such excellent care for her diabetes, her ladyship finds such days wearying as her blood sugar levels never really recover from their early battering. There is only so much relief which can be gained from a banana in the handbag.

The appointment, though, was a mirthful one given that Lady Bracknell was fortunate enough to be attended by two nurses of great good humour.

A decision was made to take the opportunity to check Lady Bracknell's feet for signs of diabetic deterioration. (As Lady Bracknell's feet are more than ordinarily ticklish, this can be an operation fraught with risk for all concerned.)

A device with which Lady Bracknell was unfamiliar was brought into the room. It was not dissimilar in appearance to the photograph which Lady Bracknell's editor has skilfully inserted on the left. Minimal research on the interwebnet would indicate that it is a portable ultrasound device.

The conclusion to which Lady Bracknell was inexorably drawn following her appointment is that persons who have never heard the amplified sound of the blood pulsing through their feet have never lived. Any individual possessed of a) such a device and b) the anatomical knowledge required to find the pulse in the feet of other persons would find him or herself to be an enormous success at parties.

(Readers may infer from the above that Lady Bracknell is easily pleased. They would very probably be correct in that inference.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Lady Bracknell, who took a sudden fancy for broccoli with her evening meal and therefore made a detour to Tesco on her return to Bracknell Towers, has arrived home to find the police out in force.

There are:

  • two police vans full of men in white paper suits (Lady Bracknell's weakness for detective fiction leads her to believe that they are probably members of a SOC team);
  • one police car, crammed to the gunnels with uniformed officers; and
  • one unmarked car containing two plain clothes detectives.

One of the vans is parked on the pavement outside Bracknell Towers. So close to the retaining wall is it situated that Lady Bracknell experienced some trouble in reaching her own front gate. So much so, that her bag of groceries bumped the side of the van. Whereupon the heads of several officers turned in her direction in a somewhat sinister manner.

Thinking better of her initial impulse to knock on the window of the van and declare, "It's a fair cop, guv: I'll come quietly", Lady Bracknell hastened indoors to dictate this blog entry to her editor.

The vehicles have not moved. There is no immediate evidence of wrongdoing of a nature sufficient to warrant such a large police presence on the street outside. (Unless the local constabulary have decided to take littering a great deal more seriously than they have been previously wont to do.)

Should Lady Bracknell ever get to the bottom of this mystery, she will enlighten her readers as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

Two hours later

All but two of the vehicles have just driven away at speed. So many drove away, in fact, that Lady Bracknell is forced to conclude that more must have arrived whilst she was cooking and eating her broccoli. Two cars remain: one marked, and one unmarked.

Fond though Lady Bracknell undeniably is of trees, she could wish for just a moment that the enormous oak in the front garden had shed its leaves overnight as its luxurious foliage has obscured her view of developments. Prior to the swift departure, various officers carried blue plastic crates - contents not visible to her ladyship - out of the house opposite and deposited them in the back of a second unmarked car. Doubtless these contained evidence of some kind.

But what.....?

Monday, May 22, 2006

For the benefit of Mr Kite

Lady Bracknell makes no pretence to be young. She has no time either for women who coyly refuse to reveal their true age or for the modern obsession with youth and beauty. Nevertheless, she is occasionally brought short by the realisation of just how much younger than her some of her friends and acquaintances are.

For example, it came as something of a shock to her at a committee meeting last week to realise that there are persons in their thirties for whom Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is such ancient history that it is entirely outwith their frame of cultural reference.

Had it not been for the presence of several committee members in their forties and above, Lady Bracknell's witticism on the lyric which forms the title of this blog entry would have fallen very flat indeed.

The delightful young gentleman for whose benefit the witticism was coined claimed that his musical education started with Abba.

If Lady Bracknell is to continue to chair meetings in her accustomed style of sparkling bon mots, she fears she may be forced to familiarise herself with the hip beat combos du jour. A prospect which, if she is honest, does not fill her heart with unalloyed joy.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Lady Bracknell has numerous calls on her time between Monday and Friday. She is no longer young and, being prey to a variety of ailments, her stamina is not equal to the demands of a busy weekend on top of whatever else she has been engaged in during the week.

In the ordinary course of events, therefore, she very rarely strays far from Bracknell Towers on either a Saturday or a Sunday, preferring to attempt to recuperate with the assistance of an undemanding novel or two. (Lady Bracknell is a fast reader. Ask Marmite Boy if you do not believe her.)

Bearing the above in mind, Lady Bracknell’s readers may be able to imagine for themselves the degree of her displeasure at noon today when lumberjacks (or possibly tree surgeons) armed with powered saws arrived in the next door property’s back garden to remove a large and beautiful sycamore tree.

Although having its trunk in the neighbouring plot - and therefore being the property of the mysterious gentleman who owns that house but who seems to have managed to evade recognition by the relevant utilities company – the majority of the tree’s branches overhung Bracknell Towers and provided a screen between Lady Bracknell and the occupants of those houses which back on to the Towers.

Lady Bracknell’s kitchen faces East and, in summer months particularly, can therefore be somewhat warm in the mornings. Without its leafy protection from the sun’s rays, it will very probably be intolerably hot. Lady Bracknell suspects she may have to consider investing in some sort of blind. Which will be a very great deal less attractive than the sycamore branches were, and significantly less likely to be of interest to the resident grey squirrel.

But these are selfish concerns. What grieves Lady Bracknell most is the unwarranted destruction of a large and sublimely beautiful living being whose only crime was to make marking out six separate parking bays rather challenging. A huge and majestic tree, it had almost certainly been a sapling when Bracknell Towers was built in the early 1930s. How many nests of songbird chicks has it sheltered during its long life? How much carbon dioxide has it photosynthesised into oxygen?

Now, Lady Bracknell is not a “tree hugger”. Such behaviour would be undignified in one of her years and social standing, and, frankly, cheesecloth is not a becoming fabric on her stout and matronly form. Nevertheless, she is not persuaded that a motivation of profit (from being able to rent out flats with their own off-road parking spaces) is anywhere near an adequate excuse to destroy something so fine.

RIP sycanomore tree. Should Lady Bracknell chance upon one of the tiny baby trees which has grown from one of your spinners, she will endeavour to keep its existence secret from the gardening staff.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lady Bracknell is in high dudgeon

The following epistle to a company which supplies electricity (some details have been changed to protect the true location of Bracknell Towers from the hordes of sightseers who would doubtless otherwise descend upon it) will, Lady Bracknell is confident, explain her current displeasure:

"Dear Sir or Madam,

I have received a letter from you today which demonstrates that you are, for reasons which are unfathomable to me, labouring under the delusion that I am the owner of 2 X Ave, Liverpool, Lxx xxx.

The only property I own is Bracknell Towers. I appreciate that this shares a post code with 2 X Ave, but see no reason why this should have led you to assume that I am some kind of property magnate.

2 X Ave is currently unoccupied. It is a large Victorian property which has been split up into flats. The owner (to whose name and address details I am unfortunately not privy) has for some months been renovating the property with a view to renting the flats out again at a higher spec once the work has been completed.

I do not appreciate receiving utilities demands for neighbouring properties and would therefore appreciate it if you could confirm by return of post that you have removed my name from the records you hold for 2 X Ave.

Yours sincerely,

Lady Bracknell"

If Lady Bracknell were in the fortunate position of owning a number of properties and receiving a substantial rental income from that investment, then she would not jib at paying the electricity bills. But to be threatened with a large bill for a property which she does not own rather adds insult to injury, given that she has been subjected to the noise of builders and their radios from that quarter for the better part of twelve months.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Lady Bracknell's views on polyester

Returning from a much-needed visit to the osteopathic gentleman, Lady Bracknell found herself at one of Liverpool's minor rail termini just before six yesterday evening. The rush hour was all but over by this time, although there were still one or two office workers heading for home.

Lady Bracknell's esteemed mother has long been of the opinion not only that the arrival of warm, sunny weather in this country is automatically greeted by a universal decline in sartorial standards, but also that the average person of over twenty five looks a very great deal better covered up at all times other than those which she once memorably described as "sportif occasions". (Lady Bracknell's esteemed mother bows to no-one in her fondness for euphemisms.)

Averting her eyes from the acres of mottled flesh on display, Lady Bracknell's attention was caught by a commuter who, whilst admittedly being much more modestly attired than the majority of her fellow passengers, could not have been said to have dressed appropriately for the weather.

The lady in question (who is very probably a kind and decent individual and greatly loved by all with whom she comes into contact) was wearing a tartan fleece jacket over a particularly grim two-piece polyester suit, in an unpleasant shade approximating buttermilk, consisting of a permanently pleated skirt and a blouse with a self-tie neckline. To wear either of these items would lead to raised eyebrows: to combine the two is the act of an individual entirely devoid of any concept of what best becomes her.

Lady Bracknell is by no means an advocate of following the dictates of "fashion" slavishly.

However, despite its "easy care" properties, she is firmly of the belief that polyester is an abomination and that outer garments fashioned from its harsh, slippery fibres should be avoided at all costs.

In other news, the white-haired gentleman with the harp was on the same omnibus as Lady Bracknell again this afternoon. Regrettably, she was deep in conversation with a rather charming lady about local opportunities for adopting cats, and thus missed the opportunity she has so long looked for to ask him where he goes and what he does with the harp.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Ticket to ride?

According to news released today, one of the places in this year's Big Brother house will be allocated at random to one of the 100 individuals who are "lucky" enough to find the winning gold ticket in a Kitkat chocolate bar. The "special" bars will go on sale at 10.30 pm on May 18th.

In previous years, the Big Brother house has been roundly - and justifiably - criticised by disabled viewers for being inaccessible.

Lady Bracknell imagines that a last-minute imperative to improve accessibility would be both a major headache for the producers and a source of great amusement to disabled persons generally.

Lady Bracknell would personally rather stick needles in her eyes than spend so much as one second in the company of anyone who has successfully won through the Big Brother audition process. Despite this, she considers that it would be a very cunning wheeze indeed if the UK's wheelchair users; persons with sensory impairments; and anyone else who couldn't cope either with the stairs or the constant bright lights could form some kind of cartel to buy up all those Kitkat bars which might contain a winning ticket the moment they go on sale.*

The more complex the winner's support needs, the better. Picture the horror on the producers' faces if they had to not only instal access ramps, but bring in another bed for the winner's full-time PA. Or sign language interpreter. Or both. And somewhere to store the spare oxygen tank. Not to mention the need to drastically re-think the design of all the weekly tasks.

Hands up all those who suspect that either

a) it has never crossed the producers' minds that the winning ticket might be held by a crip; or

b) it has crossed their minds, but they have prepared a flimsy argument based on a subjective reading of the health and safety legislation with which to reject a disabled winner?

*It would, of course, be necessary to find someone to eat all the Kitkat bars. Lady Bracknell has always found Dude the chauffeur to be most assiduous when his duties have been extended to include eating.

These pies are champion!!

Following another night of broken sleep - not helped by the discovery of an extremely large and menacing arachnid in the smallest room at midnight - the editor has been wearily weeding her emails.

There are some links which ought not, however, to be consigned without a second thought to the recycle bin, and the editor has persuaded Lady Bracknell to include this one in her blog for the amusement of her readers.

Lady Bracknell has long had a great affection for cookery books of all vintages. Despite rarely being fit enough these days to cook anything complicated, she is still often to be found engrossed in a cookery book, marking with sticky labels those recipes which appeal to her. (And then, six months later, wondering exactly what it was about a particular recipe which appealed to her.)

However, even Lady Bracknell is forced to admit that the 1950s and 60s were not a good vintage for cookery books. Colour photography techniques were primitive and their results lurid.

Taking advantage of these weaknesses, a clever and witty soul has reproduced some of the more disturbing images online, and appended his own commentary. Readers are advised not to click on these links while eating, lest their uncontrollable mirth should lead to an unfortunate choking incident.

Particular favourites include:

Marmite Boy may have a particular interest in this section.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Curiouser and curiouser

As many of this blog's regular readers are aware, Lady Bracknell's editor - when she can be spared from her other duties - moonlights as a contributor to the Ouch weblog, borrowing her employer's name as a pseudonym in order to protect her true identity. To this end, the editor mounts regular full-scale attacks on Google, forcing its mighty engine to delve ever-deeper into its archives in order to disgorge items of potential interest.

Unable, for some reason, to sleep last night, the editor was up and about in the early hours of this morning, bending Google once more to her will. (A will which, it must be said, is almost as indomitable as that of her employer.)

Ouch being funded by the BBC, there are strict guidelines about what may be published within its pages. One of the editor's discoveries from this morning breaches those guidelines. Probably all of them, and probably in several different ways. Nevertheless, it is so entirely surreal that Lady Bracknell has decided to bring it to the attention of a wider audience than it has probably, to date, enjoyed.

Readers of a sensitive disposition should be aware that it contains foul language and images of disabled persons which may well be considered offensive. She offers no further comment on the content for the moment, preferring to allow her readers to detail their reactions via the useful comments facility.

Here is the link. Please remember that her ladyship has provided fair warning of its potential to shock and offend.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A heavy blow

Having granted her editor temporary leave to take over this humble blog for the duration of BADD, Lady Bracknell feels it is time she reasserted her authority over its pages. Frankly, if the editor wishes to compose excessively lengthy, complex and politically-charged entries at regular intervals, she must set up a blog of her own.

Regular readers will recall Lady Bracknell's despondency when she discovered that her local lending library was to shut for several months for refurbishments, and her delight in discovering, in February, that work appeared to be continuing apace. Her ladyship's generous allowance of library books was exhausted some time ago: a problem which can be attributed in the main to the three week period during which she was confined to bed by the Evil Virus. She has re-read old favourites (including the sublime, "Precious Bane"); she has scoured the shelves of local charity shops; and she has instructed the editor to order books from Amazon. Bracknell Towers, which was never exactly short of books, is now become well nigh impassable.

However, today being the promised grand re-opening date for the lending library, Lady Bracknell ventured forth with some optimism. (She did not burden herself with a heavy portmanteau filled to the brim with books, though: there is a difference between optimism and naiveté.) Would the doors to the library be standing open, offering an enticing glimpse of its gleaming and freshly-painted interior? Would the charming librarians be standing behind the counter, wreathed in smiles, and ready to relieve Lady Bracknell of the books she borrowed so many months ago?

Alas, no. The doors remained locked. Ditto the wrought iron gates. Workmen were conspicuous by their absence. (Perhaps their bank holidays are longer than those of ordinary mortals?) The only visible alteration was a small and evidently hastily-erected sign explaining that the work was taking longer than anticipated and that the library will now not re-open until June.

So Lady Bracknell must needs cast her eyes once more over the contents of her bookcases, and over the teetering piles of books on both floor and windowsill, and attempt to extract some volumes which she has either not read at all, or which she can fancy reading again.

Persons who do not themselves read voraciously may find it hard to empathise with Lady Bracknell's ongoing predicament. But then, perhaps they do not need to spend quite so many hours every day resting in bed as does her ladyship to protect their inflamed joints.