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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

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Lady Bracknell needs a tall man

Two hours ago, Lady Bracknell embarked on the gargantuan task of changing the sheets on her bed. There have been several breaks for recuperation purposes, and extra pain relief medication has been taken. The job is now complete, but for the stuffing of the used bedlinens into the washing machine (for which, Lady Bracknell is relieved to report, the new tumble dryer control knob arrived earlier this week), but that particular task can wait until the knots in her ladyship's spine have had a chance to unravel .

It would be somewhat impolitic of Lady Bracknell to reveal just how infrequently this task is performed: she does not, after all, wish to put her readers off their dinner. Suffice it to say that any gentleman who had a burning desire to share Lady Bracknell's bed chamber might be well advised to have a fondness for changing sheets. (The toast crumbs on the duvet being, perhaps, the biggest problem.)

In a moment of inexplicable madness, Lady Bracknell decided that the moment was opportune to turn the mattress. A decision the foolhardiness of which she imagines she will be regularly reminded of over the next several days, at least until she has visited the osteopathic gentleman next Tuesday afternoon.

It was not merely her own physical frailty which her ladyship had underestimated. She had also signally failed to take into consideration the fact that a mattress rampant (to borrow a much under-used term from heraldry) achieves a very considerably greater height than does a mattress dormant.

The original 1920s light fitting to the left hangs over Lady Bracknell's bed. (The photograph is a poor one: the item is much more attractive when lit.) As can be observed, the mirrored glass part hangs from three chains. There are three liitle hooks on the top of this part which are pushed through individual links in the chains.

Clearly, for the whole apparatus to hang straight, all three hooks must be attached to chains of the same length. Which they were, until the mattress turning fiasco. Very fortunately, only two of the hooks were knocked free, thus saving the light fitting in total from a fatal plummet onto the bed. Less fortunately, Lady Bracknell does not have sufficient reach to re-attach the two hooks to the correct links on the chains. So she has re-attached them considerably lower. Which means that the entire apparatus is now hanging at a very drunken angle. Its continued physical integrity is not in peril, but it looks, frankly, ridiculous.

With luck, Dude the chauffeur will be sufficiently recovered from his current malaise to agree to drive Lady Bracknell to the osteopathic gentleman's surgery Tuesday next. Although not the most agile of manservants, he can generally be persuaded to apply his superior height and length of arm to those projects which are beyond her ladyship's reach.

Should Dude have risen from his sick bed to read this entry, Lady Bracknell wishes him a full and speedy recovery. For entirely unselfish reasons.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Dearest Lady Bracknell. Shame that we are not neighbours, but unless you are an elderly gentleman with a strange sponge faced dog, and a most frightful habit for shouting obscenities at passers by (he drinks), than one can safely assume we are not. Alas, I am six foot in my stockinged feet and perhaps I would be of valuable assistance in straightening your hanging ornament. After a considerable number of years being six feet tall, I am reasonably adept at straightening disshevelled objects out of reach of my smaller fellow human beings.

Oh, and by the way Chris Mac is more than aware that you will no longer have the time to contribute to your good friend Lady Troubridge's trials and tribulations. I will not neglect her, and will do my upmost to continue on your behalf.

12:11 am  
Blogger stella said...

Oh Lady B, I'm quite excited to hear that I'm not the only crip in the village who has issues with sheets! Being 88.5cms tall, folding my double bed sheets is indisputably one of my trickiest household tasks. I have a cleaning lady (much like your faithful servants I presume) who changes them for me, but alas leaves me to wash, dry and fold them. The process is a lengthy one, and the folding component alone takes about half an hour. It involves spreading them out on my bed and running back and forth around it from corner to corner, dragging then around and trying to make bits meet. It's a slightly dodgy method but one that gets me there in the end. God forbid I should ever feel an urge to turn my mattress!

I suppose on the upside, if I ever encounter an undesirable gentleman caller I won't have to use the old "I have to wash my hair" trick.... it can simply be sheet-folding night! How convenient!

4:20 am  
Blogger Katie said...

I regularly have troubles where I cannot do simple tasks that are needing a person of the male gender for Lady B, so I wholehearteningly agree with you on this tricky problem there!

I don't know why but I am beginning to admire and adore the lovely comments and writings of Master Mac who writes here and think that he would be a perfect choice for both of us who suffer with shortness. Do you agree your ladyship?

Send him around to Fraser towers and I will tip him handsomely for his efforts!

5:00 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Mr Mac's generous offer of standing about being tall in the general vicinity of Bracknell Towers on the off-chance that a lightbulb might suddenly need replacing is much appreciated.

Of course, if there were sufficient mobility in Lady Bracknell's hips for her to be able to climb on to a chair safely, she would be able to manage such jobs perfectly well herself.

There is no doubt that there is much to be said for being tall except, of course, if one loses one's ability to bend in the middle.

Lady Bracknell's esteemed younger brother is also blessed with considerable height, but reports that it is not without its drawbacks. For example, he must wear socks in bed to counteract the fact that the standard length of duvet is insufficient to cover both his shoulders and his feet.

8:13 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Stella's comments have taken Lady Bracknell back to her earliest youth, when her much-esteemed paternal grandmother (since passed away at the venerable age of 98) was still only in her early seventies, and strong as an ox.

The young Lady Bracknell was often persuaded to join in with a special pulling, stretching and folding technique which permitted cotton sheets to be put away without irnoning. This was a two person job, and Lady Bracknell is unsure whether - given a suitable sheet and a second person - she would still be able to recall the moves.

(Lady Bracknell's esteemed paternal grandmother was so strong that she broke the handle off the mangle in her mid-eighties.)

Not that this technique would be of any use to Stella - for whom sheet-folding would appear to be an admirable substitute for an expensive work out at the gym - it was merely that Lady Bracknell hadn't thought about it for many years, and is very pleased to have been reminded.

11:42 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...


Firstly, Lady Bracknell does not "suffer with shortness". She is 5'6", which is - for her generation - above medium height for an adult woman. She just can't reach the ceiling.

Secondly, Miss Katie is always welcome to comment on Lady Bracknell's blog entries if she wishes to do so.

But Lady Bracknell considers it to be poor blog etiquette to use the comments facility on someone else's blog purely for the purposes of praising another of that blog's readers. She would therefore be grateful if Miss Katie would desist from using this blog as a platform for her paragraphs of compliments for a certain Mr Mac.

12:29 pm  
Blogger Katie said...

I apologise profusely your ladyship for using your blog to make comments to your readers!

1:56 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Thank you, Miss Katie. We'll say no more about it.

3:15 pm  

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