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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, October 12, 2005

The editor's secret is revealed.

I suppose it's not entirely beyond the bounds of possibility that there may be a reader out there somewhere who has been wondering what my secret was, on account of Lady Bracknell having made a veiled allusion to it in a recent blog entry.

So, despite my (very) mixed feelings about the event in question, I feel duty bound to spill the beans.

It all started terribly well two weeks ago when I found out that I'd won Disabled Person of the Year in the Positive Action North West Awards 2005. It's fair to say that I was quite excited. In fact, I was temporarily rendered speechless, and that's something which doesn't happen very often. I even ordered a new stick to match my green silk suit. (Bespoke suit fashioned from the finest silk taffeta puchased at ridiculously low price from ebay a couple of years ago. Bespoke for someone considerably broader across the beam than me, as it turned out. A good friend of mine approached it with a needle and thread and removed quite a lot of the excess fabric in the hips. But I digress.)

Anyway, it turned out I'd been nominated for this award by Messrs Marmite and Dude, and my very dear friend and ex-line manager, Aunty J. (She's not really my aunty, you understand. And I can't remember when or why we gave her that nickname.) All three of them, bless them, believed that I deserved recognition for the work that I've done over the last seven years with the staff disability network. As far as I'm concerned, I've just been doing my job. I mean, ok, I've been very dedicated to it, and I've spent a lot of my own time on it and everything, but this is disability equality we're talking about. It matters. You can't approach it in a, "Well, I'd like to help you, obviously. But I'm afraid I've just clocked off for the day", kind of way. Maybe someone else could. I can't. But I'm not knocking the recognition, particularly given that it's come from an external organisation. And the three conspirators have my undying gratitude for nominating me.

Boogaloo Dude had said all along that he didn't want to come to the ceremony. Which was just as well, given that I was only permitted to take two guests. Marmite and Aunty J were both happy to travel vast distances from the mysterious South. Marmite bagsied my futon first, so Aunty J was forced to slum it in a posh hotel at our employer's expense.

All was going tolerably well until Tuesday morning, when I suddenly realised that I didn't want to go. At all. This was a badly-timed realisation, as Marmite and Aunty J had already set off. Sent panicky email to the Goldfish and B W-F, and phoned the Dude for reassurances. An hour and a half later, panic had receded to manageable levels. Much helped by receipt of heartening replies to my email. Thanks, guys.

Marmite arrived later than planned as there had been an accident on the M1. We got suited up, and headed into town to pick up Aunty J from the hotel steps. This was an excellent opportunity for Aunty J to exercise her passion for the sort of supremely elegant shoes which make my own toes flinch at the mere thought of being trapped in them. Attempted to hide own extra-extra-wide-fitting clodhoppers under hem of skirt.

The first thing that happened when we arrived at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington was that I walked straight into a television crew who had sneakily set themselves up between the front door and the lift. I muttered something wholly inarticulate and we made good our esape. When we reached the second floor, our names were taken, and we were ushered through an horrendously over-full and enormous room to Table 4. Which was circular. Just like all the others. (I had, in good time, sent a detailed email explaining that it is impossible for me to eat if I have to sit at a circular table. An email to which I had not had a response.) In total, about five of the organisers explained to me that they knew I couldn't cope at a circular table, but that there were no straight-edged tables in the venue. Would I be alright? Well, it seemed exceptionally churlish to kick off at that point, given that these people were presenting me with an award and everything, so I agreed to try. Aunty J was beginning to get that steely look in her eyes which bodes no good to anyone who dares to fail to make reasonable adjustment for one of her staff. Even an ex member of her staff.

Once my soup had arrived, and had been exchanged for a vegetarian one, I gave it my best shot. I took one spoonful of soup and spilled half of it down my snowy linen napkin. Two minutes later, I was standing in the rain, smoking a cigarette in an enraged fashion. Aunty J soon turned up in support. We went back up to the second floor and were met by the organiser who asked whether everything was alright. We explained. He responded that he has organised countless disability conferences across the country, and that he has never come across my particular problem before. Aunty J stood firm. Strong men quailed before her. We were given a straight-edged table. This left poor old Marmite making small talk with some posh people from Knutsford who, it would appear, were very keen to tell him about their big houses. Poor lamb.

Aunty J and I went back to Table 4 once we had eaten. Rarely has Marmite looked so pleased to see either of us. The awards ceremony started. I won't go into detail. It'll no doubt be written up here before long. It was all a bit of a blur to me anyway as I spent the time either being nervous about going on stage to collect my own award, or being relieved that I'd done it. There were nineteen awards in total, and I remember very few of them. I know that the Oldham Colisseum theatre, Norton Priory and Merseytravel were among the winners, so many congratulations to them. (And to the others, whose details I can't recall. I should have taken a pen and written them all down.)

After the ceremony, those who had won awards had to go down to the first floor and be interviewed to camera. This is my worst nightmare, and I'm quietly confident that I said nothing worth hearing. I have no idea when or on what station the results were to be broadcast, and am sedulously avoiding local TV news until such time as the immediate danger of seeing myself is over. I did overhear something to the effect that an article about the awards will appear in the Guardian some time next week.

And that's about it, really. I'm completely exhausted from the whole thing, and haven't even taken my award out of its box yet, let alone cleared a space for it on the mantlepiece. I've hung the framed certificate in the loo which, if the Sunday supplements are anything to go by, is the traditional resting place for such things.

It only remains for me to thank once again Marmite, Aunty J, Dude, the Goldfish, B W-F, Mr C, Melbamae and everyone else who had a hand in keeping me relatively sane throughout the rather gruelling process. I am clearly not cut out to be a celebrity, even of the most minor status. Without such good friends, I wouldn't have survived even this tiny brush with fame unscathed. (Note green stick, by the way. Funky, or what?)


Blogger marmiteboy said...

Well done indeed. Richly deserved. I've been bursting to tell people all about your award and now the secret is out of the proverbial back I can. Hurrah.

Said awards ceremony was a tad weird, was it not. I still not clear about it's purpose and no pop pickers I didnae have a drop to drink so it wasn't the wine wot rendered me confused.

It was an evening to be remembered if only to see Lady B's secretary companion quiet for once ;-)

11:26 am  
Blogger w1ld child said...

Congrats on the award. I just love that green stick, very nice.

2:10 pm  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

Yay! Congratulations to her Ladyship's editor. Sorry that the ceremony left so much to be desired, but very well done anyway.

I want one of those sticks even though I don't think a stick would work for me. At this rate you're going to make a crip stick into a fashion accessory.

2:16 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Ladies who are enamoured of the green stick should wait until they see the blue one. Which is even more funky than its green twin. I'll try to take a halfway decent photograph of it and post it on the blog.

Keep an eye on the Ouch! weblog, as I'm told my entry on sticks as high fashion will be published later today.

Thanks for the congratulations. I still feel a bit of a fraud about it all, in that I don't think I've done anything extraordinary, but that doesn't mean I'm not proud to have received the award.

Can anyone explain to me why I have one chin and a discernible neck when I look in the mirror, but multiple chins and no discernible neck in photographs?

2:28 pm  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

I was recently examining a photograph of myself and asked my beloved, "Do I look that fat in real life?"

"Not really," he said, "but you were doing your chubby-cheeked expression."

"What?" I asked, "You mean, my smile?"


2:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the award, m'lady - I'm sure it's well deserved and you shouldn't play yourself down so much.

The "chin" thing is one of many of life's unfortunate evils and ranks alongside "blinking at the exact moment a picture is taken", "never being able to find a policeman when you need one" and "the toast always lands butter-side down" - very common but entirely unexplainable.

2:34 pm  
Blogger Agent Fang said...

Well done Madam! And with such style that is so befitting to one of your character. I do hope the Lady treasures the supreme skills in which she herself is so familiar.


I'm chuffed for ya.

3:03 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Many congratulations, it couldn't have gone to a more worthy person.

3:06 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

In the words of Young Mr Grace, "You've all been very kind...." Thank you.

I've been sent a copy of the official photo this afternoon, and am relieved to report that I only have the one chin in that.

It's currently with that amazing graphics genius, Mental-as-a-fork. I'll publish it on the blog once he's waved his magic wand over it.

5:04 pm  
Blogger Carnival said...

Hello, Just wandering the blogosphere and happened on your blog. I like the way how you have put it all together. I'll be coming back again.



3:34 pm  

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