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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, August 30, 2007

In which the entrance to Bracknell Towers is obstructed

Lady Bracknell's readers will, she imagines, be unsurprised to learn that the water supply to Bracknell Towers has been turned off today, and will be again tomorrow.

How fortunate it is for her ladyship, then, that she is of sufficient agility and general vim not only to leap into the shower first thing in the morning, but also thereafter to skip nimbly and safely away from oncoming traffic when use of the pavement is denied to her.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Not even for ready money!

It being the last Saturday of the month, Lady Bracknell betook herself early this morning to the farmers' market in search of specialty breads and local cheeses. (Which operation would be rather more straightforward were it not for her ladyship's need to continually avert her gaze from the multiplicity of stalls proferring comestibles fashioned from the innards of various breeds of domestic animal.)

Having made such purchases as she desired, and having run rather short of milk, Lady Bracknell then bent her weary steps towards her local branch of Tesco where her eye was caught by a special offer on some rather fine, plump aubergines, one of which, in an uncharacteristically impulsive moment, she added to her basket.

After an inordinately long time spent queuing for the till in temperatures and humidity levels somewhat akin to those prevailing in the average tropical rain forest, Lady Bracknell presented her intended purchases to be scanned by the mysterious bleeping device.

All was going well until the mysterious bleeping device flatly refused to calculate a price for the aubergine. Lady Bracknell understood little of the discussion which ensued between two of the shop assistants, but it seems to her that they key issue may have been a lack of "code" for aubergines.

"We're very sorry", they said, "but we can't sell you the aubergine".

By this stage, Lady Bracknell was in too advanced a state of heat exhaustion to protest. But it has since occurred to her that, aubergines being quite perishable objects, and the fault lying with the shop rather than its customers, it might be preferable to give the aubergines away to those who were entirely willing to pay for them, rather than to have to discard them when they become bruised and soft.

In short, Lady Bracknell is now rather of the opinion that she is owed an aubergine: particularly given that the courgettes she chose to cook with it presented the mysterious bleeping device with no problems whatsoever.

Whilst not wishing to give the appearance of being an out and out technophobe, Lady Bracknell cannot help but point out that, when tills were mechanical, she cannot recall any shopkeeper ever being entirely incapable of calculating a price for any of the items he was holding out for sale.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Even more reasons to love Etsy

Having become rather tired of standing on mass-produced catnip mice in bare feet (those little bells on the end of their tails really hurt), I turned to Etsy in an idle moment for hand-made alternatives.

Which is how Bertie came to be playing with this rather wonderful catnip-stuffed great white shark.

For more equally silly, but equally endearing, cat toys, visit this Etsy seller's shop.

The Editor

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A flying visit

This sweet litle white moth just flew in through the window and posed in an aesthetically-pleasing way on the light fitting.

Fortunately for this particular moth, Bertie is out playing...

The Editor

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Keep watching the skies...

Post script:

Having been woken up at 6 am by the pain in my back, I discovered that Bertie's vigilance of yesterday evening had taken its toll on him...

Nor any drop to drink...

Yesterday didn't exactly go as planned. I should have been sweltering gently in the office all day. And I would have been, had it not been for a very early phone call from my diagonally-downstairs neighbour asking whether my water was off. And, lo! It was. She had already been on to the water board, who had assured her that she must have had a card through the door the previous afternoon. She hadn't. Neither had I. Without any prior warning, we hadn't even had the chance to fill our kettles, let alone any jugs, bowls or buckets we might have considered keeping to hand for the necessities of life.

It's a good job she phoned. I shudder to think of what the consequences would have been of me stepping into the shower when I had a full hot water tank, but no cold water at all in the pipes. (I'd like to think I'd have noticed the steam coming off the water, but I'm really not at my most alert early in the morning.)

Not, therefore, having even been able to brush my teeth, I took the colleague-friendly, executive decision to work from home. Which is why I was in to answer the door to the postie at 11.15. The postie delivered the pair of Koali* spectacles I had won in an eBay auction last Sunday for the princely sum of 99p.

They were, as I had anticipated, er, "pre-owned". But, given that Koali have only been on the market in the UK for a couple of months, I reasoned that the previous owner wouldn't really have had time to do them any serious damage. And, at 99p, it was definitely worth a punt.

The frames being in excellent condition, I rushed as fast as my cripple's feet would carry me towards the bathroom mirror to check whether the frames suited me. And, er, that's where things started to go a bit wrong. Whoever owned these glasses before must have terrible eyesight. You know when you try on someone else's glasses for a laugh and everything is a bit blurred? This was worse. Everything was one big blur. I couldn't even make out where my face was in the mirror, let alone where the glasses were or whether they suited me.

Chortling quietly to myself at the ludicrous situation I found myself in (and attempting to shake off a sudden and inexplicable headache), I decided to share my misfortune with Katie, who just happened to be available on IM at that precise moment. "Take a photo of yourself wearing them", she suggested. The woman's a genius! Why didn't I think of that?

With some difficulty, I managed to take a picture on my mobile phone. (Which I'm not going to publish here. Not even if you beg me to. The water was off, remember?) Other than the fact that the immensely-strong lenses did a bang-up job of magnifying the bags under my eyes to terrifying proportions, the photo didn't help enormously. I went back to work in a somewhat disgruntled manner.

Some time later, the water came back on. Having - as a matter of some priority - first flushed the toilet, I then got myself clean and fragrant. And treated myself to a very large mug of tea.

As the afternoon wore on, it occured to me that I could, if I put my mind to it, venture into town and visit the lovely Mr Blankstone with my nearly-new frames. And then it rained for an hour or so, and I went off the idea. But the rain stopped at the point where there was still just time for me to get to his shop before he shut for the night. So off I went. And I took with me a pair of Vanni frames which I had bought from eBay ages ago, but which had turned out to be too narrow for my face. I thought Mark might as well have them, if he wanted them: they were certainly no use to me.

Once Mark had pushed out the old lenses (in what he assured me is a professional technique, finely honed through years of experience, and one which Should Not Be Tried At Home) and done something clever with the arms (which had been bent to fit the previous owner), the specs looked rather good on, so I asked him to glaze them for me to my prescription.

At which point, he said he'd glaze them for me for nothing because he'd be able to recoup the cost of glazing them by selling the Vanni pair. I was astonished. And also fairly horrified that he might have thought that that was my intention in taking the Vanni's in to him. I just wanted to get rid of them: I hadn't for a moment anticipated any financial benefit from doing so.

So the upshot of all these shenanigans is that I will soon have a pair of Koali spectacles which will have cost me only 99p. Which, considering that brand new ones retail at about £240 a pair with lenses, strikes me as being something of a bargain.

*More about Koali frames:-

Very new on the market, and very different from anything else out there. If you like jewel colours and sleek design, you're going to love them. The designs are all inspired by forms found in nature: trumpet creepers; sphinx moths; spider plants; manta rays; damselflies; fiddler crabs; comet moths and nautilus shells. There is depressinly little coverage of them on the Interwebnet as yet: even the official site only has pictures of three pairs. But I've done a quick trawl through Google images, and I've scattered the results around this blog entry to give you some idea. (I'm afraid that's as big as those photos go - unless you are considerably more skilled than I am in enlarging photos which are intended to be little.)

If you really, really like the look of them, you'll need to either sweet-talk your local independent optician into stocking them, or get in touch with the lovely Mark Blankstone. (The link to his site is in the sidebar.)

The Editor

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fathers and sons

Lady Bracknell, as those who have been perusing her Perorations for some time will long have known, grieves bitterly over the violence which is now done on a daily basis to the language she loves so dearly.
The Editor recoils in horror from the atrocity* to the left every time she has cause to visit the Chinese lady with the large and varied collection of sharp implements.

Lady Bracknell has herself been aware of the existence of the sign in question for some time, but the Editor was strangely unwilling to photograph it until she was passing at a time when the shop in the window of which it is so proudly displayed was closed for the night.

Lady Bracknell feels it may be incumbent on her to clarify the nature of the retail premises in question at this juncture. It is not a slave market: it is merely a barber shop. (One which is very probably not possessed of a quartet.)

Those familiar with the modern, local patois will conclude from reading the sign that Mr and Master Brown, if visiting the establishment on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, may both be subjected to the barber's shears for a mere £9. This, one is given to understand, is something of a bargain price. (It is certainly a very great deal less costly than Lady Bracknell's own visits to the hairdresser: whether that renders the service offered a genuine bargain, however, will rather depend on the quality of the results. The Editor has yet to glimpse any pudding bowls on the premises, but this is not incontrovertible proof that none are there. They may be kept in a cupboard out of sight.)

Has the individual who commissioned the sign laboured under the delusion that the fact that "dad" and "lad" rhyme will render the message more memorable and attractive? If there is an imperative to keep to monosyllables, what is so objectionable about the word, "son"? Must Mr Brown attend with Master Brown or, if the poor man has no male progeny of his own, may he borrow a "lad" from an unsuspecting neighbour? One assumes that, for the purposes of child protection, if nothing else, the intention is that the adult and child be related. Perhaps the legend, "Father and son", was rejected on the suspicion that a 97 year-old Mr Brown senior might otherwise arrive with a £10 note and his 63 year-old son? But then, how old is a "lad"? And might that upper age limit differ according to one's place of birth?

*In order to experience the full horror of the sign, readers familiar with the charming local accent may wish to read it out loud in their best approximation of a Liverpudlian pronunciation.