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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

Friday, September 14, 2007

Freaky Friday

I should have stayed in bed this morning. Not just in bed, actually, but asleep.

You can just tell that the day isn't going to go well when the twin of the spider you bravely evicted the night before scampers across your carpet first thing in the morning. (And you start wondering whether the evictee has circumnavigated the house, climbed up the exterior wall to the first floor, and abseiled in through the open window just to stick two metaphorical fingers up at you.)

So I set off for work. I caught the first bus no problem. The first bus is easy peasy. There's one every five minutes. Then I waited at the bus stop for the second bus. (It's a lovely stop. It's on a busy dual carriageway just opposite a graveyard. The smell of exhaust fumes in the morning is so invigorating, don't you find?) And I waited some more. And I got hemmed in by a gaggle of little old ladies with butch haircuts who were assuring one another that the Portugese police are incompetent. A conclusion based, no doubt, on little more than a brief skim of the front page of the Daily Slur. Well, you know, that and a deep-seated conviction that Johnny Foreigner can't be trusted. I held my tongue. And waited some more.

Fifteen minutes after the bus was timetabled to have arrived, I gave up and set off for home. Presumably a bus would have arrived eventually, but there's a limit to how long my back will tolerate standing at a bus stop whilst burdened with a fairly heavy briefcase. And some of the meds I take in the morning are diuretics, so things can get just a tad desperate if my journey is excessively delayed.

Never mind, I thought. Now that I have finally got a brand new, state of the art, secure broadband connection to my work computer at home, it'll be just as easy to work from there.


It took me half an hour to get access to my email account. There was swearing. Some of it quite colourful. I'd just got an email off to my colleagues explaining my non-appearance in the office when the screen went blank. And the lights went out. And the background hum from the fridge went strangely silent.

"That'll be a power cut, then", I thought to myself. (It's all the crime novels I read, you know. They've improved my powers of deductive reasoning no end.)

It wasn't long before I realised that my landline phones were dead as well.

I phoned the office on my mobile to explain that it might be a mistake to email me anything requiring an immediate response.

I put my shoes back on, grabbed the nearest walking stick, and limped back downstairs and down the front path to quiz the variety of workmen in fluorescent jerkins* who had foregathered in and around the hole dug by the water board two weeks ago.

"Bit of an emergency, luv", said one of them. "Be about an hour".

So I came back in, read my book for a bit, and pondered on just how many of my daily activities depend on having access to a power source. After a while, I got rather bored. I knew I needed to nip across to the shops at some point today, so I thought I might as well do it while I couldn't usefully be doing anything else. And, anyway, I was quite peckish by this time, so I thought I might drop in to the chippy on my way back.

So, back on with the shoes and the glasses and the walking stick, and back down the stairs on protesting legs. Got what I needed from Tesco, and was then very disappointed to see that the chippy doesn't open at lunch time. (Which I think is downright selfish. I mean, ok, so I only go in there about once a year. But is that any excuse for them being shut when I need them to sell me something hot??)

Anyway, having been out gave me a legitimate excuse to check up on the workmen in an apparently casual manner. Cue dark mutterings of the "bit more complicated than we thought" variety.

Back upstairs again I lay down with my book and was woken up at 3.15 by someone knocking softly on my front door. "Is it on again?", he asked. And it was. Hurrah! Yes, after a mere four and half hours of gloom, light was restored to Bracknell Towers.

"So what caused that, then?", I asked the now-quite-genial workman.

"Well, you know the boys from the water board have been working outside? They hit the power cable. Made a hole in it."

Ah. As if I needed any more reasons to loathe and detest "the boys from the water board"....

So that's not been a barrel of laughs, really, all things considered. But, as my dear friend Chris S said, "Just look at Bertie chilling out and model your response on his". She's got a point. Although I do rather draw the line at stalking flies in the back garden.

The Editor

*Pop says said workmen should hereinafter be referred to as, "fluorescent jerks". But that's easy for him to say when he's hundreds of miles away. Some of them were quite big and strong. And they had weapons. (Well, tools. But still...)


Blogger Damon said...

Ahhh gotta love the McCann tittle-tattle.

My mate reckons the parents are guilty purely based on the guttural way he says "Maaadeleine" when talking about her. But, ya know, you can't hold his Scottish heritage against him, can you? I'm an eigth Scotch, so what does that mean? I'm telling you here and now you'll have to go through my lawyer if you want me to draw further comment on this.

The whole McCann story is utterly fascinating me. I simply cannot believe that they killed their daughter. If they did then we have been witnessing theee most audacious cover-up in world media history. No?

Gerry shuttled across Europe to give press conferences. He visited Washington and Morocco. He has setup a website and blog. There is a video on YouTube. David Beckham, J K Rowling, Gordon Brown, numerous top notch celebs and noteworthies have commented or made appeals. But also ... Gerry McCann gave a speech at the Edinburgh Television Festival! The McCanns both appeared on the BBC TV religious and ethics show Heaven and Earth and ... biggest of all ... with their catholicism ever-present in the media coverage, they had an audience with the pope! They went all the way to papa in Rome and he received them.

If they did kill Madeleine, deliberately or accidentally (the latter being far more likely if they are at all to blame), then this is just incredible. Was it they who started the media snowball? Or were they railroaded into it and couldn't really say: "actually maybe we should play this down a bit".

Hmm, written so much here I might swipe it and put it on my blog too.

Cheers Lady B

6:58 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

It is all certainly most peculiar.

There was never any real rhyme or reason behind the fact that this particular child abduction/disappearance led to a sustained media frenzy when so many others are largely ignored.

With regard to the know-it-all little old ladies, my own thoughts turned immediately to the police officers. Because, despite the fact that they are (shock, horror!) foreigners, they're still real people. Real people who are doing a very difficult job under an overwhelming and surely very unwelcome degree of media scrutiny.

Now, they may or may not be incompetent, but that's pretty difficult to judge without having a lot more information than we've got on exactly how they've been running the investigation. I'm willing to bet they've done their very best - who wouldn't with several hundred journos watching their every move?

Certainly the fact that they've reached an unappealing conclusion shouldn't lead to an automatic inference of incompetence.

It's just one of those things which makes me want to say, "And how would you like it if Portugese people you'd never met were slagging you off at a bus stop??"


8:54 am  

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