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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

Monday, May 05, 2008

In which the Editor's dirty little secret is revealed

I went to visit the hairdresser for more hours than I would have believed possible on Saturday. (Previous clients had exhibited outrageous behaviour like asking for extra things they hadn't been booked in for, so everything was running very late).

Between parts of a number of lengthy and arcane hair-transforming processes, I was left to my own devices with a cup of tea and a pile of glossy magazines.

I have developed a great aversion to glossy magazines over the last few years, so I only get to flick through one every seven or eight weeks. This is probably A Good Thing as I don't think my blood pressure would benefit from more frequent exposure.

(Mind you, if you think glossy magazines are tripe, you should see Lancashire Life. Somebody - somebody possibly quite evil - donates back copies to the doctors' surgery which I visit to see my osteopath. Picking one of those up to pass the time was a mistake I only made the once, I can assure you!)

So. I'm leafing in a desultory manner through some vapid publication called, "You Look Gorgeous", or, "Let's Pretend We Hate Men Whilst Doing Everything In Our Power To Ensnare One", or something of that nature, when a huge headline leaps out at me:

"Are you worried about the impact your wedding will have on the environment?"

it screams at me.

I'm not, as it happens, but I'm sufficiently intrigued by the juxtaposition of these two glossy-magazine-fodder standards to read on.

Now, personally, I have long considered big, white, frothy weddings to be something akin to drawing several years' worth of savings out of the bank, putting the money in a metal waste-paper bin, and casually tossing a lit match in so as to enjoy the pretty colours as it burns. Last of the great, pie-eyed romantics, I am not. Even as a small child, I never had fantasies of what I would look like in a gigantic meringue-frock on my wedding day. Possibly because I was aware from a very young age that a gigantic meringue-frock would not be a good look on me.

So, even were I contemplating matrimony, I'm never going to be a key player in the sort of wedding about which, were I that way inclined, I might spend sleepless nights worrying about the amount of carbon said celebration might consume. But, then, I find it difficult to imagine that anyone who was a real, genuine, dyed-in-the-wool environment zealot would choose to throw a big wedding party at all.

However, the glossy magazine researchers have tracked down one such couple, and interviewed them in a sidebar to the article. Mrs Conspicuously Green is beyond smug. She is the sort of woman who makes me want to run the dishwasher for one slightly dirty pastry fork. Twice. Whilst simultaneously tumble-drying a small hanky. I relate what I can remember of her smugness to Pop that evening.

Mrs C-G (smugly): "Instead of cut flowers, we decorated the tables with violets in pots".

Pop: "Oh great. That's just what you need at the end of an evening's drinking when you're trying to pour yourself into a taxi, is a pot of effing violets".

Mrs C-G: "We didn't want to kill the poor ickle treesies, so I wrote all the invitations and the place settings for the tables by hand on recycled paper". (Oh, ok. I'm paraphrasing. She didn't actually mention the poor ickle treesies. Not in so many words.)

Pop: "I see. How lovely. Well, let's hope she has very nice handwriting".

Mrs C-G: "I'm afraid I just couldn't bear to have a second-hand wedding dress, so I ordered one from (insert name of fabby designer here) and had it flown over from America. Awful, I know!"

Me (to Pop, sarcastically): "Yes, that's right. Because the wedding dress will have travelled in the hold of an otherwise entirely empty plane, so she is personally responsible for one hundred percent of the carbon emissions resulting from that flight."

And then Pop explained something to me. Pop is an intelligent man who, by his own admission, is constitutionally incapable of telling an untruth. So I have no option but to believe him, even though what he said strikes me as being really rather unfair.

Apparently, every time I order even one tiny pair of earrings from somebody in the States, the carbon emissions of the aeroplane on which that weeny little jiffy bag is carried are all immediately transferred onto my carbon footprint, and mine alone. And all the hundreds of passengers who are also travelling on that aeroplane get to do so with completely clean consciences because they know that I have been tagged as the carbon scapegoat for that particular flight.

Overnight, therefore, I have gone from being someone whose carbon footprint was so tiny as to not even register as a measurable percentage on those, "Take our test and find out just how much of a carbon miscreant you are" websites to someone who is single-handedly responsible for the carbon emissions of at least one transatlantic jumbo jet flight a week!

Which is shocking.

And the very worst thing about all of this is that I no longer have a metaphorical leg to stand on if I want to sneer contemptuously at Mrs Conspicuously Green and her evangelical cohorts. No wonder they have to hand-deliver wedding invitations written in crayon on the back of cornflake packets when there are people like me around!!

The Editor


Blogger Dame Honoria Glossop said...

What if another person also has an Etsy order on the same plane? Do they share the carbon with you? Or (horrors) is your eco-sin compounded by the fact that you have encouraged others to buy from Etsy?

I'm doing my bit for the environment by not living too long and then becoming bluebell food when I die :)

9:54 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Hmm. If I put that question to Pop, I'm pretty sure what his answer will be...

Maybe I'll just not mention it.

And hope he doesn't read this.

Or I'll be in big trouble for not having mentioned it.

Oh dear.

9:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But what about all the C02 emitted when the Secruricor armoured vehicles deliver this bling to you?

Cartier Tiffany

10:38 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

So in ordering things from Etsy, you are in fact carrying the eco-sin of the plane that will fly anyway so that others may live guilt-free?

That's a public service. In fact, no, it's beyond public service, it is a truly selfless act of altruism. If you make it your life's work, beatification can only be a few thousand earrings away.

8:55 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Ha! Brilliant!

Just wait 'til I tell Pop... ;-)

9:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In that case, you might as well order lots and lots of things at once from each vendor. That way you won't be wasting the whole plane each time.

Right? Right?

1:57 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Get thee behind me... ;-)

5:29 am  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

I read a similar article a while back in a glossy that fell out of a weekend broadsheet. In this case the couple, rather that wearing ordinary smart clothes, hiring their clothes or even buying second hand with a view to selling on, decided to have their tradition suit and meringue made out of silk so that it would be dyed a different colour afterwards. Just what colour, they didn't specify (green perhaps?)

As for the Etsy issue, clearly you are doing the planet a tremendous favour by ordering this stuff in the mail; any other person (well perhaps someone) would travel to America and back in person for every pair of earrings, taking considerably more space than a small package. Anything ordered in the post is pretty green. Things that come by personal courier on private jet; another matter.

May I take the opportunity to confess the consumption of a lettuce today from the United States of America. Not very green at all - though it was green, it wasn't green. I thought lettuce was in season and would come from very nearby indeed. I was wrong. One might even say, I was a little green.

2:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am astounded that a lady of your undoubted wisdom was not aware of this. It is law in the US of A that flights can only now take off for the UK when carrying a parcel for Bracknell Towers. I understand, from my insider at the State Department that they have worked out that this allows all airlines to continue with their previous schedules unaltered. I also understand that, due to the volume of parcels, they are now thinking of introducing a similar law relating to France, as some of your parcels can safely be routed via Paris for a similar carbon effect.

9:48 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

You are Pop Larkin and I claim my £5.

10:13 pm  
Blogger Tom & Cher said...

I think I love you.


5:46 am  

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