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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, June 15, 2007

A hazardous activity

Yesterday evening, in a saintly and environmentally-conscious sort of way, and to pass the time usefully while my pasta was simmering (mmm, pasta...), I decided to break down a couple of boxes which had held pouches of cat food.

Unimpressed at being treated in this cavalier fashion, one of the boxes attacked me with its pointiest (er, that may not be a proper word) corner. It took a gouge out of my finger: one of those ones which produces a neat little roll of displaced skin which you then have to pull off and discard. "Ow, flip!", I may have said, in my characteristically restrained and profanity-avoiding way. "That smarts a bit."

Anyway, I got on with making my dinner*. I was brave. And quite possibly inspirational. I even managed to forget about my Hideous Injury. Until 5.30 this morning. When it woke me up.

They don't warn you about how high-risk recycling is, do they?

The Editor

*The North-South Divide. This reminds me of a residential training event I had the unalloyed joy of attending many years ago. The purpose of which, if memory serves, was to improve the working relationship between Liverpool staff and their Southend colleagues by bringing them together and compelling them to take part in not-at-all risible team-building exercises.

Someone in Liverpool made the arrangements. Arrangements which, apparently, included the instruction to arrive in time for dinner.

(You can see where I'm going with this, can't you? There's a horrible inevitability about the whole thing...)

So the Liverpool contingent arrived in time for dinner. That is, we arrived in time for the meal which most Northerners refer to as "dinner". The one in the middle of the day. The one which yer average poncy Southerner (or, indeed, poncy middle-class Northerner, such as yours truly) would refer to as, "lunch".

And the people from Southend? Oh, they arrived in time for dinner.

Still, it gave us the opportunity to familiarise ourselves fully with the entertainment possibilities inherent in a characterless motel in the middle of nowhere. Entertainment possibilities which, if memory serves, began and ended with the machine in the foyer which would reluctantly disgorge a handful of mediocre chocolates if you fed a wholly-disproportionate quantity of coins into its gaping maw.

Ah, memories...


Blogger Chairwoman of the bored said...

Now, now Lady B, we all know it's not about locality but upbringing, don't we?

My Liverpudlian inlaws (from Crosby) have lunch at midday, and dinner in the evening. My southern parents had supper in the evenings unless there were guests or they were eating out, but an acquaintance of mine, born and brought up south of Hadley Highstone, calls her evening meal 'Tea'.

9:09 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Oh, true: but I still think locality plays a part.

Does anyone Dahn Sarf refer to their midday meal as "dinner"?

(Er, that's a serious question rather than a snarky aside. Language fascinates me.)

10:01 am  
Blogger Chairwoman of the bored said...

We still have 'school dinners', but I don't think so apart from that.

I too like language, my husband's niece (Scouse), uses some great expressions. One of my favourites is 'She had a face like a slapped arse'. I'm also partial to 'He likes a bit of strange'.

But there are good ones here too. A friend of mine referred to somebody who 'Shut up like a Bank Holiday'. This is almost poignant, as in 20 years most people won't remember when everything did close on Bank Holidays.

Tell me, can one still buy a Scouse Pie from the 'hole in the wall' at the Pier Head at three in the morning?

1:31 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Oh, yes. I love that. Although the only version I've heard is, "face like a smacked arse".

I suspect it loses something in the translation without the appropriate accent.

I'm also particularly fond of, "gob on a stick" ( a self-important person who likes the sound of his/her own voice rather too much) and "crackin' the flags" (heard on very hot, sunny days.)

You will perhaps be disappointed to learn that I have never visited the Pier Head at 3 in the morning, so can't answer your question. Wouldn't be at all surprised, though.

2:43 pm  
Blogger Chairwoman of the bored said...

I haven't heard 'Cracking the flags' since the Late Chairman shuffled off this mortal coil.

It's one of my favourite sayings because it is so evocative. Brilliant sunshine, metallic blue skies, smell of tar, quintessentially English summer.

4:10 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

I'm afraid - presumably because it's a phrase I hear most often when I'm in the office - that I tend to associate it with the sunlight bouncing off serried ranks of parked cars in a particularly migraine-inducing fashion.

But I still like it.

5:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no longer a hole in the wall at the pier head.

But I have it on good authority that, if one chooses one's location with care, it is still possible to get a wet nelly up the jigger!

1:02 pm  

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