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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

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Speaking of things...

... which really don't need to be disguised (this time in a "pretty pouch made of embroidered satin", rather than in a crocheted sombrero...)

And, in any case, if my daily complement of meds would actually fit in to one of those tiny little compartments, then that in itself would be the only Christmas present I'd need.

The Editor

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Can you tell what it is yet?

Ok, yes, so you can recognise a doily and napkins when you see them. Well done. But what's the little blue, crocheted, behatted thing, eh? Ever seen one of those before?

No? Well that's the whole point, according to the eBay seller who made it:-

"Makes a great gift because you KNOW they don't already have one!"

Which rather provokes the response, "Ah, but can you be sure that they would actually like to own one?"

Well, once you know what it is, you may conclude that it's the single item you've been waiting for to make your life complete.

I didn't, admittedly.

But you might.

Taste is, after all, an entirely subjective and personal thing.

And it comes in a variety of enchanting colourways, if the blue and lavender combo wouldn't match your decor.

Although, if this pair matches your decor, I may have to turn down your generous invitation to lunch. (Migraines, don'tcha know....)

The Editor

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Moomin marvellous!

If you had the sort of deprived childhood in which the Moomins didn't feature, or if your much-loved copies of those wonderful books have finally fallen apart from over-use, help is at hand.

The Book People are offering sets of six of the books for a mere £6.99.

(There are rather more than six in total, but this little lot would certainly fill that Groke-shaped hole in your life to be going on with.)

The Editor

Post script

I have just found a UK supplier which stocks the full range of Moomin mugs.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sits vac

I believe I may have found the perfect employment opportunity for m'learned colleague, Dame Honoria.

"Articulate"? Check. "Has a way with words"? Check. "Deep-seated taste for the finer things in life"? Check.

Oh yes. This could be a marriage made in heaven.

(Note that I am Not Bitter At All that the fact that I have diabetes puts me out of the running. It isn't that I never indulge, you understand, but that my own "articulate" response to anything containing less than 70% cocoa solids is likely to be, "Eeeeeeewwwwwwww: far too sweet!!")

I may have to treat myself to some of these with guajillo chilli, though. You know, just to tide myself over this period of Not Being Bitter At All...

The Editor

Sunday, September 23, 2007

In the beginning...

... there was Fizzy Leg.

Fizzy Leg has been around - on and off - for about ten years, give or take. Fizzy Leg is the result of the sciatic nerve having got itself semi-trapped in some joint or other in my right hip.

Fizzy Leg comes and goes. It doesn't hurt, but it's a damn nuisance all the same. It's a pins and needles kind of effect. Or, as I read once in a novel which I have otherwise completely forgotten, "a case of the sparklies". Although that makes it sound a lot cuter than it actually is.

Rubbing and slapping the affected area makes no appreciable difference whatsoever. But I still do it. Shouting and swearing at the leg makes even less difference. But I still do that, too.

Surprisingly, not only is it irritating enough to prevent me from getting off to sleep in the first place, it can also be irritating enough to wake me up if it doesn't really get going until one of those rare occasions when I have actually managed to fall asleep.

You know when dental anaesthesia is wearing off a bit and you can feel your jaw with your finger, but you can't feel your finger with your jaw? My right thigh is often like that. Half fizzy, half numb. It's mostly a cold sensation, but occasionally - and quite disturbingly - it's fizzy and warm. At which point I tend to be quite conscious of the fact that it's a good job it's on the side of my leg which faces out...


Anyway, no longer content with simply being fizzy, my beloved sciatic nerve has recently decided to try out some new and more ambitious sensations.

We started with Prickly Leg. Quite similar to Fizzy Leg, but with that bracing, additional "just fallen in a patch of nettles" edge to it. Nice.

Top favourite of late, though, is Stabby Leg.

Now, I've no doubt nerves are wonderful, miraculous things, and we'd be lost without them. And, really, I have to take my metaphorical hat off to any nerve which can create such a variety of interesting sensations. But Stabby Leg really bloody hurts.

Stabby Leg is a bit like being jabbed viciously and repeatedly in the thigh with a sharpened pencil. Or being bitten by an insect with inordinately powerful jaws. This is Not Fun. And no amount of swiping at it and yelling, "Ow, ow, you bastard!!" (an exclamation which can tend to lead to a certain degree of consternation in the office environment) will Make It Stop. Plus, of course, it laughs in the face of pain meds.

(Yes, I know you know what a sharpened pencil looks like: I just think blog entries without illustrations can be disappointing. And, quite frankly, this particular blog entry is so dull that it needs all the help it can get...)

And why am I boring you with this relatively-minor symptom resulting from the car crash which is my lower back? Because I've been trying to get to sleep and the poxy thing has forced me back out of bed, is why. I'd phone Pop and whimper pitifully in his direction, but he'll have been fast asleep these two hours. So I've blogged instead. But feel free to ignore. This is, after all, just something I'm doing to take my mind off my leg. And also - if I'm lucky - the change in position from lying down to sitting up at the computer - will reposition the nerve just enough for the stabbing to stop.

Ho hum.

The Editor

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mea culpa

"If there's one thing you can say for that Lady Bracknell's Editor, it's that she always shares the details of what she's discovered for sale on the interwebnet with her readers, right?"


Well, yes. Usually.

But I've been keeping one particular artisan from you. Because, for once, I wanted to have first dibs on her amazing creations. I would have been gutted if the pieces I had really wanted had been snatched from under my nose by someone else.

Remember this pendant? That was when my love affair with jewellery made from the wings of (ethically-farmed) Blue Morpho butterflies began.

A sensible person would have stopped with just that one, glorious wing. I am not a sensible person. A sensible person wouldn't have coughety-cough pairs of spectacles, now, would she? Er, no.

So I searched Etsy with increased vigour. And I found the Bela Brazilian Designs shop. And I was in Morpho heaven. And I got talking with Nicole, who runs the shop and who creates all the jewellery.

Nicole is from Brazil, but currently living in Germany with her husband and adored small daughter. Nicole taught me that there's more than one species of Blue Morpho butterfly. That the ones whose wings are most often preserved in jewellery are the Morpho Menelaus, but that there are many others, including the Morpho Achilles, the Morpho Catanarius, and the Morpho Sulkowskii.

Nicole visits Brazil to choose the wings herself*. She then subjects them to a laminating process to preserve them. Of course, plastic is much lighter than glass, so that makes it possible to wear earrings made from entire single wings, and huge necklaces made from pairs of wings.

(I have to say at this point that my love for the wing encased in glass and accented with silver hasn't diminished one whit. Glass does have better transparency than plastic film, and that wing glows like nobody's business. But there's just no way my ears would be able to take that sort of weight. And there is more than enough room in my heart for both processes.)

Anyway, back to the lovely Nicole. She doesn't just do butterflies, you know. And she doesn't just sell through Etsy, either. Nope, she's on eBay as well. Here. She applies a similar laminating process to Cattleya Orchids, and strings them on to necklaces made of chunky, polished chains of semi-precious stones.

My very own orchid arrived this morning. It's a bit similar to the one pictured. It rocks. These are seriously dramatic pieces of jewellery. My orchid is huge, and the stones it's been paired with are big and chunky as well, so as to keep to scale. Heavy, though: if you're an ouchy crip whose ouches are in your upper spine, you might not want to be slinging lumps of rock round your neck in a cavalier fashion. And if you're 5 foot tall and slender as a reed, you might find the overall size of the piece a bit overpowering. Absolutely ideal on someone of my size on whom dainty, girly pieces of jewellery lose all their impact but, if you're really petite, this will either be one hell of a statement piece, or you'll look as though you're standing behind it.

All the butterflies in Nicole's Etsy store are currently 15% off. So, if you fancy them at all, now would be a good time to snap them up. There are earrings (a pair of which are shown to the left) and pendants (one of which is shown to the right.) Don't make the mistake of assuming these items are small just because I've used weeny photos. They're not. They're enormous.

At the time of writing - but probably not for very much longer - the lustrous, metallic Morpho Sulkowskii pendant shown below is available in Nicole's eBay store. It would cost you just a smidge over £30, including p&p. Run a chain, or a cord, through the loop and this beastie will sit on your chest and glow. I can't emphasise enough that photographs simply don't do these wings justice: you have to see the light play on them to really appreciate them.

So, that's it. I've come clean at last. If you want butterflies, orchids, semi-precious stones, or just a really sweet and delightful person to correspond with, Nicole's your woman. She'll do you proud.

The Editor

*That sentence originally ended with "to choose her own wings". I changed it in the edit. Nicole is undoubtedly very talented, but I doubt she can actually fly.

Friday, September 21, 2007

You know you've had a long day...

... and your blood sugars are perilously low, when you are utterly convinced that the recorded lady's voice on the SMART bus on your way home said,

"Next stop: Ding-A-Ling".

The Editor

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oh, dear God!!!!

Sitemeter has just informed me that someone visited my blog at 12.41 this afternoon having been directed to it by using the following search terms in Google:

"Lorne Spicer naked".

Now there is a mental image with which I really did not ever want to be afflicted!!

I'm off now to scrub my brain with a Brillo pad.

Sitemeter: mostly a blessing, sometimes a curse.

The Editor

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

We interrupt this blog for a short commercial break...

My very good friend Janelle, who is the design genius behind the Love Your Peaches range of clothing, has had her hair cut short since the last time she was photographed modelling the clothes. Those short curls really suit her.

Ok, so perhaps that's only really newsworthy to people who already know Janelle/her website.

But what it does allow me to do is to draw your attention to the new sweater knits; the new designs in polar fleece; and the fab new colours in the jersey streetwear. (I speak in particular of orchid. Magenta - which was not dissimilar - sold out very quickly last year. I don't see orchid lasting a lot longer, to be honest.)

I live in Janelle's clothes. Particularly in the jersey streetwear which combines cotton jersey with lycra, which washes and irons like a dream, and which goes on looking good for ever.

Don't be put off placing an order if you're in the UK. Janelle is more than happy to ship parcels over here; sterling is very strong against the dollar at the moment; the postage costs are not prohibitive; and somebody in the packing section is extremely talented. (I wouldn't have the first idea how to pack garments in such a way that they could be flown thousands of miles and emerge wrinkle-free at their destination. But the ladies at Love Your Peaches achieve this magical feat even with clothes made from 100% linen. I would fall at their feet in gratitude were it not for the fact that it would require an industrial winch to haul me upright again from that sort of recumbent posture. When ironing really hurts, the last thing you need to be doing is ironing garments which you haven't even worn yet!)

If you are - or you know - a large lady who is sick and tired of trying to find flattering clothes in good quality fabrics in the UK, you won't regret placing an order with Janelle. In fact, you'll never look back. I promise.

The Editor

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Booky meme

I have been tagged by Aw Diddums. I usually avoid memes like the plague, but this one appealed to me.

Total number of books owned

I don't know. Certainly far, far more than my flat was ever intended to house. There are piles of books on my window ledges; piles of books on the floor; and a huge stack of cookery books teetering on a chair in the hall. (And that's in addition to the three shelves of cookery books in the kitchen and the fact that my kitchen table disappeared under cookery books some years ago.)

Am I fit enough to cook these days? Er, no. But I still like to read recipe books.

Generally speaking, my philosophy has long been that I don't hang on to anything I'm unlikely to read twice, or to use for reference. Unfortunately, having been too decrepit even to limp as far as the library in 2004, I started to buy novels from Amazon. Having paid good money for them, I'm reluctant in most cases to send them straight to the charity shop.

Last book bought

Assuming this includes novels bought because they were 2 for £1 from the Barnado's shop whilst killing time waiting for Thursday's acupuncture appointment - pardon me while I go and rustle in a carrier bag - "The Christmas Train", by David Baldacci; and "Half Broken Things", by Morag Joss.

Last book read

This is hard work - having rustled in a carrier bag, I now have to furtle in the furthest reaches of my duvet to track down the latest.

Ok. Jeffery Deaver's "Garden of Beasts". Another charity shop buy. Oxfam, this time, I think. Something very unpleasant happens at the end of this novel. Something which stays with you. Worth reading, though, as Deaver always is.

Currently on the go, we have Robert Harris's "Imperium", with which I am really struggling. I may not even finish it, in fact, which is odd because I've enjoyed all his previous novels.

And Boris Starling's "Vodka", which I am finding strangely unconvincing. Not so much for its plot, as for the the emotional responses of its protagonists. I am, however, sorely tempted to buy myself a bottle of vodka. Which is a considerable testament to Starling's skill in describing its taste and effects, as I've always been a gin girl myself.

Five books which mean a lot to you

Precious Bane by Mary Webb

Way, way out at the top of my list this last thirty years, and unlikely to be toppled from that position any time soon, if ever. Also greatly beloved by my mother and her sisters, although possibly not with quite the same degree of fervour.

Forget your Mr D'Arcy and your Heathcliff: Kester Woodseaves is far, far more compelling as a romantic hero than either of them. And Pru Sarn is (or was when I was fifteen, and I have no power to change that perception now) a wholly-believable young woman. Shunned by society for the physical flaw of her hare lip - in a time and place in which such an impairment is believed to mark those who bear it as being in league with the devil - she falls in what she believes to be hopeless love with the weaver. He, of course, being made of sterner stuff than the majority of those with whom she comes into contact, looks past the hare lip and sees the woman behind it.

Now, see, I've managed to make it sound like overblown, melodramatic, sub-Mills & Boon tosh. I promise you it isn't. It's been hugely influential on me, as I have long identified with Pru given that - for reasons I needn't rehearse here - I believed myself for many years to be at least as physically undesirable as her. I've read Precious Bane at least once a year for thirty years, and I never tire of it.

"Kester Woodseaves is your friend 'til time stops." Where is your Mr D'Arcy now, huh?

Skallagrigg by William Horwood

A more recent discovery, and one that I devoured whole on first reading. It still makes me cry. A very difficult book to discuss without revealing the central mystery of who or what the Skallagrigg is.

Hugely important for its horrifying descriptions of the brutal and inhumane way in which disabled people were treated in institutions within living memory, it also contains one of the most joyful scenes ever portrayed in fiction.

All of Alan Garner's novels, but particularly The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

I've read The Weirdstone so many times I can quote great chunks of it from memory. It's responsible for my long-term ambition to visit Alderley Edge. (Although that would be rather pointless now because I wouldn't be able to climb it.)

Given the age-range for which this is written, it's really quite frightening. Which I think is no bad thing: it's entirely possible to be overly-protective of children's delicate sensibilities. The world is scary.

Garner has a tremendous skill with language. Like Kate, he can do the thing which I cannot and which I therefore envy beyond all else: he can be brief. None of his words is superfluous. Whether he naturally writes that sparely, or whether he edits his work viciously, I know not. But he can say more - and more memorably - in one sentence than many lesser writers can say in an entire chapter.

Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A A Milne.

Well, if the meme asks for books which mean a lot to people, then it's hardly surprising that children's books are going to figure high on most people's lists, is it? We can't remember a time when we weren't familiar with them, and they were a source of great comfort during childhood.

And Milne is just so damn quotable.

Who amongst us finds it easy to resist, when bid good morning by a colleague, replying, " 'If it is a good morning,' said Eeyore. 'Which I doubt', said Eeyore"?

(No? Just me?)

Absolutely and unforgivably ruined by Disney, but the books themselves are beautifully written and endlessly charming.

And finally, as I've mentioned before, anything by Tove Jansson. Yes, I'm with Aw Diddums on this one. Moomin Valley (Midwinter, or otherwise) was the place I wanted to be whenever the place I actually was seemed unbearable. Which was quite a lot of the time.

Now, do I really need to tag anyone? Won't this meme sell itself? Oh, well: without any obligation, and purely for appearances' sake...

I tag the Boy Marmite, Dame Honoria, Agent Fang and Marcelle P.

The Editor

Friday, September 14, 2007

Freaky Friday

I should have stayed in bed this morning. Not just in bed, actually, but asleep.

You can just tell that the day isn't going to go well when the twin of the spider you bravely evicted the night before scampers across your carpet first thing in the morning. (And you start wondering whether the evictee has circumnavigated the house, climbed up the exterior wall to the first floor, and abseiled in through the open window just to stick two metaphorical fingers up at you.)

So I set off for work. I caught the first bus no problem. The first bus is easy peasy. There's one every five minutes. Then I waited at the bus stop for the second bus. (It's a lovely stop. It's on a busy dual carriageway just opposite a graveyard. The smell of exhaust fumes in the morning is so invigorating, don't you find?) And I waited some more. And I got hemmed in by a gaggle of little old ladies with butch haircuts who were assuring one another that the Portugese police are incompetent. A conclusion based, no doubt, on little more than a brief skim of the front page of the Daily Slur. Well, you know, that and a deep-seated conviction that Johnny Foreigner can't be trusted. I held my tongue. And waited some more.

Fifteen minutes after the bus was timetabled to have arrived, I gave up and set off for home. Presumably a bus would have arrived eventually, but there's a limit to how long my back will tolerate standing at a bus stop whilst burdened with a fairly heavy briefcase. And some of the meds I take in the morning are diuretics, so things can get just a tad desperate if my journey is excessively delayed.

Never mind, I thought. Now that I have finally got a brand new, state of the art, secure broadband connection to my work computer at home, it'll be just as easy to work from there.


It took me half an hour to get access to my email account. There was swearing. Some of it quite colourful. I'd just got an email off to my colleagues explaining my non-appearance in the office when the screen went blank. And the lights went out. And the background hum from the fridge went strangely silent.

"That'll be a power cut, then", I thought to myself. (It's all the crime novels I read, you know. They've improved my powers of deductive reasoning no end.)

It wasn't long before I realised that my landline phones were dead as well.

I phoned the office on my mobile to explain that it might be a mistake to email me anything requiring an immediate response.

I put my shoes back on, grabbed the nearest walking stick, and limped back downstairs and down the front path to quiz the variety of workmen in fluorescent jerkins* who had foregathered in and around the hole dug by the water board two weeks ago.

"Bit of an emergency, luv", said one of them. "Be about an hour".

So I came back in, read my book for a bit, and pondered on just how many of my daily activities depend on having access to a power source. After a while, I got rather bored. I knew I needed to nip across to the shops at some point today, so I thought I might as well do it while I couldn't usefully be doing anything else. And, anyway, I was quite peckish by this time, so I thought I might drop in to the chippy on my way back.

So, back on with the shoes and the glasses and the walking stick, and back down the stairs on protesting legs. Got what I needed from Tesco, and was then very disappointed to see that the chippy doesn't open at lunch time. (Which I think is downright selfish. I mean, ok, so I only go in there about once a year. But is that any excuse for them being shut when I need them to sell me something hot??)

Anyway, having been out gave me a legitimate excuse to check up on the workmen in an apparently casual manner. Cue dark mutterings of the "bit more complicated than we thought" variety.

Back upstairs again I lay down with my book and was woken up at 3.15 by someone knocking softly on my front door. "Is it on again?", he asked. And it was. Hurrah! Yes, after a mere four and half hours of gloom, light was restored to Bracknell Towers.

"So what caused that, then?", I asked the now-quite-genial workman.

"Well, you know the boys from the water board have been working outside? They hit the power cable. Made a hole in it."

Ah. As if I needed any more reasons to loathe and detest "the boys from the water board"....

So that's not been a barrel of laughs, really, all things considered. But, as my dear friend Chris S said, "Just look at Bertie chilling out and model your response on his". She's got a point. Although I do rather draw the line at stalking flies in the back garden.

The Editor

*Pop says said workmen should hereinafter be referred to as, "fluorescent jerks". But that's easy for him to say when he's hundreds of miles away. Some of them were quite big and strong. And they had weapons. (Well, tools. But still...)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Soon found out, had a heart of glass

In my continuing one-woman mission* to bring the work of artisans and craftspersons to as wide an audience as it is within my ambit to influence, I wanted to share with you the details of a glass-blower and lamp-worker from Ohio whose gorgeous creations I very recently stumbled upon on eBay.

Now, if I were more IT-competent than I actually am, I might have been able to publish that photograph whilst retaining its clickable link to the store. But I am pants at stuff like that, so the link is here.

Whilst I, er, may have added one or two of this seller's items to my own eBay watching list, I can't (yet!) tell you from personal experience whether this work is as fab as it looks. But I note that the seller's feedback is 100% positive, and that in itself is no mean feat.

*If you're a regular reader, you'll already know what my philosophy behind this is. But just in case you've managed to successfully put it out of your mind since the last time I stood (somewhat precariously) on my soapbox about it and ranted, here it is again:

There are many very talented craftspeople in the world. Most of them create things just as a hobby. However, some take the huge, courageous step of setting up in business and trying to make a living from their skills. Given the nature of my own employment, I have learned immense respect for anyone who is willing to give up a secure, salaried post to follow his or her dream of making a living from what he or she loves best. Such enterprises are fraught with peril.

Professional craftspeople walk a very fine line being charging enough for their creations to keep the wolf from the door, and pricing themselves completely out of the market in comparison to the mass-produced tat which is shipped over here by the container-load from Taiwan.

If no-one buys their work, these people will have to go back to doing something mundane.

If that happens, some of these crafts will eventually disappear. Which would be a great loss.

I earn a decent living, and I am keen to spend what spare money I have with people I consider to be worthy of my financial support.

Plus, of course, I like beautiful things. And I don't have any desire to follow the herd and have the same things as everyone else has.

Despite all my sermonising on this issue, I really don't expect everyone to share my point of view. Neither do I expect people who live on very restricted incomes to be able to make the same choices about their expenditure that I can. Not everyone has a budget for fripperies. It's just that, now that I have reached an age where I have a degree of disposable income, I personally prefer to dispose of it with a good conscience.

The Editor

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Testing times

When you've become accustomed to fine, slender, acupuncture needles which don't leave a mark, being faced with one of the much chunkier needles which are used to draw blood can come as a bit of a shock.

Particularly when the phlebotomist has to wiggle it a bit to get it deep enough.


The Editor

Friday, September 07, 2007

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

Ok, ok, so we're barely into September. And I shouldn't be mentioning the 'C' word for at least another three months.

But, y'know, if you're going to actually be making all the presents for your nearest and dearest rather than hurtling, credit card in hand, like a thing possessed through Marks & Spencer at 5.25 pm on Christmas Eve, then you'll need to start planning early. And you'll need to seek out appropriate patterns.

Knitting patterns, possibly.

For, oo, I dunno ... hats, maybe?

I mean, who wouldn't want a knitted hat in their Christmas stocking? Hats which have been lovingly hand-crafted out of wool have the dual blessing of being both warm and attractive.



They can do.

Some of them do.


And then there's this:-

And that's not all there is. No, you also get the pattern for an equally-ravishing festive boa. And all emailed to you direct for the bargain price of just $6. That's just over £3, people!!

If your family chooses to dress rather more formally than this at Christmas, all is not lost. How about this Sexy Turkey Hat for Thanksgiving? (The back view is particularly special, I'm sure you'll agree.)

Oh. By the way. Anyone suspected of covertly knitting any of these items for me would do well to remember that I have a variety of sturdy walking sticks at my disposal, and that I'm not afraid to use them.

The Editor

The Boss

Caspar is a flighty little soul, and will only very rarely submit to the indignity of being photographed.

Here she is, however, in a brief but restful lull between desperately needing to be outside and squawking at the top of her lungs to come back inside. (Which is a good game and can go on for hours. Much to the amusement of all concerned. And the neighbours three streets away. Although she is marginally more mellifluous than the average car alarm, admittedly.)

She is also - and I think this may be a first as far as photographs go - demonstrating the fact that she has black toe-pads on her white back feet. Bless.

The Editor


In my seemingly never-ending, insomnia-fuelled, random wanderings through cyberspace I have happened upon this.

The R Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Massachusets, will be exhibiting Leonard Nimoy's* Maximum Beauty photographs from October 25th to December 15th. The accompanying book will be published in November. If you pre-order, you can have a signed copy for no extra charge.

Nimoy's models for the photographs are members of a burlesque group, the Fat Bottom Revue.

I have neither the strength nor the mental clarity at this juncture to compose a seering critique of the Western world's insistence that only slender women deserve to be considered beautiful, although it is a subject about which I hold very strong opinions.

So, instead, I've borrowed one of the glorious photographs to encourage you to follow the link through to the rest of them.

*Yes, that Leonard Nimoy.

The Editor

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

One Koali, two Koali, three Koali, four...

A very exciting thing almost happened to me last Friday.

The Koali sales rep had an appointment with the lovely Mark Blankstone at 10 a.m. He was to be bringing the new range of designs with him. I had been granted permission to muscle in on the meeting. (This sounds exceedingly tolerant, I know. But Mark is quietly confident that Editor see Koali, Editor undergo brief struggle with conscience, Editor buy Koali.)

I set my alarm and got up early. I made a careful decision about which pair of Koali specs I would wear. I got to the shop just before 10. The rep wasn't there. He had had to cancel his visit to Mark in favour of an emergency dental appointment.

I was disproportionately disappointed.

Weary and footsore, I returned home. Following a slightly confusing conversation with a man from the electricity board who was adamant that someone had rung at midnight to complain that there was no power in the flat below mine - the flat which has been unoccupied this last five years - I applied myself to Google.

And I found what I had been looking for. Something which I truly don't think was there the last time I looked. You can now buy some of the Koali frames online. (Which, given the number of people who have visited this blog after doing a bit of Koali-Googling of their own, should please one or two of its less regular readers no end. Certainly Melbamae got quite excited when I passed on the good news. Particularly when she discovered that the frames come out at only about £70 apiece.)

Now, the drawback is that the illustrations aren't that good. Looks to me as though someone has scanned them in from the relevant pages of the hard-copy catalogue. You'll need to go to the maximum enlargement they offer to get any real idea of what the frames look like. And, even then, the colour reproduction is a tad dodgy.

So, to give you a better idea of what Koali frames look like when they've been lit and photographed well, I've illustrated this post with a few photos which I have dredged up from the depths of Google Images. Purely because I'm nice like that and not at all because I have what Mark calls "spectacle-sickness". Oh no. Perish the thought. Not me, guv. Etc.

The Editor

PS This last one is, I'm assuming, a promotional shot for the new designs. And, really, you've got to take your hat off to anyone who can come up with designs for spectacle frames based on a jellyfish...

A (relatively) new addition to the blog

Quite recently (yes, the memory's going: I can't remember exactly when...), I realised that, if you're an Etsy member, you can add something called a "Mini Etsy" to your blog (or other website).

So I did. It started off in the "Retail emporia patronised by Lady Bracknell" section, because that seemed to me to be its obvious natural home. Until, that is, I realised that I'm probably the only person who regularly scrolls that far down my own blog. So I've moved it up to the top with all the other rather lovely clickable icons.

If, when you come to look, the box contains nothing more exciting than a rather abstruse message about deleting cookies, treat said message with contempt and try again later.

Mini Etsy is clearly designed primarily as a tool for sellers rather than purchasers. I'm in two minds about whether it was really wise of me to have added it to the blog, particularly given that, if you click through, you can get to my entire list of favourites which took me many hours of browsing to compile.

I am torn between my desire to spread the word about these talented craftspeople as far as possible, and my fear that my readers will all - for mysterious reasons - have exactly the same taste as me, and will therefore swoop down on my favourites and snap them all up instantaneously. I'd be ever so grateful if you didn't do that. My intention is to show the sorts of gorgeous things you can track down if you put your mind to it, rather than to supply you with a ready-made list of imminent purchases.

Should your name be Pop Larkin, however, I would venture to suggest that any item I have saved as a favourite would be infinitely more welcome as a gift than the course of colonic irrigation treatments with which you are currently threatening me. Or the box of spiders. Or the bound set of the complete works of Catherine Cookson. Or the bright orange cagoule. I say this not in any real hope that it will save me from receiving the Nightmare Joke Christmas Present From Hell, but merely so that I will be able to refute the piteous "But how am I supposed to know what you would like?" wails with which you generally attempt to justify your own impish choices.

The Editor

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You know the chilli seed is firmly stuck when...

... you snap a toothpick in half in your attempts to dislodge the little beggar.

The Editor

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Treatment Room 4 revisited

Having found myself once again in Treatment Room 4 on Thursday afternoon, and having but lately been at the receiving end of some not-entirely-subtle complaints from a certain Mr Larkin that he hasn't been mentioned in the blog recently, and that readers might be inferring from that fact that he is no longer my Number One Pop Of Choice, I believe the time has come to expose his vilest torment to date to the wider world. (Well, to the three women and a cat who read this blog, at any rate.)

Also, Hazel left me for so long on Thursday, and the hip I was lying on was eventually so excruciatingly painful, that I attempted to distract myself by taking photographs of The Scary Machine and The Scary Poster. Please forgive lack of symmetry: I was lying on my side and holding the phone out at a decidedly tricky angle.

Anyhoo, regular readers may recall that Pop thinks nothing would be funnier than that he buy me a colonic irrigation treatment as a surprise. This is because he is a Very Bad Man.

One day recently, in Smug McSmug mode, I foolishly opined in his hearing that I was in no real danger of a surprise rectal invasion because he couldn't possibly know the address of the clinic.

Imagine, then, my horror when he revealed that he has the clinic's website saved as a favourite.

How can this be?

Pop is as tricksy as a very tricksy thing, is how. Should you have a burning desire to improve your own detective skills, there may be useful lessons for you in what follows:-

One Monday afternoon, in the not-too-distant past, I phoned Pop to pass the time while I was sitting in the bus shelter behind Sergeant Pepper's Bistro and waiting for my bus home. I have really only the vaguest recollection of having muttered in passing something to the effect that there's an 86 bus every couple of minutes, but that the 86 is of no use to me whatsoever. Careless talk costs lives, though....

That one, casual, off-hand remark was - I learned later - all it took to set Pop on course to detect the whereabouts of the clinic. His first stop was the Merseytravel website from which he was able to glean vital information about the route of the Number 86 bus. Next, he applied himself to the task of establishing which acupuncturists and practitioners of colonic irrigation ply their trade along said bus route. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, apparently.

More than a little flustered by the news that I had been successfully stalked by my own gentleman-friend, I visited the site myself. And, lo! Yes, they do have a facility for the online purchase of gift vouchers for any of the treatments offered at the clinic!

But I still had one remaining ace up my sleeve. (Or so I thought.)

"You can't buy me a set of colonic irrigation treatments", I said, "because there's a four-page form which has to be completed by the patient before treatment can begin". (I may also have said, "Ha!" at this point. Because I Never Learn.)

"The form? Oh, I'll forge that", he replied.

The Editor