.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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.

My Photo
Location: Bracknell Towers

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rescue Cat of the Year Awards

It being well-known to Lady Bracknell that many of the more regular readers of her humble blog have a great fondness for their feline companions, she is in behopes that her provision of a link to the Cats Protection League's web page in which nominations are sought for the Rescue Cat of the Year Awards 2008 will be of interest or use.

Having familiarised herself with the categories of award, Lady Bracknell must now hasten away and encourage Caspar in her studies towards becoming an effective acupuncturist.

(Although benefiting greatly from having in-built needles at her constant disposal, the degree of commitment Caspar has shown thus far to memorising the precise location of the effective chi points on Lady Bracknell's person has left something to be desired.)

More, more, morpho

My camera and my computer have fallen out. Big time. They are no longer on speaking terms with each other. In an attempt to broker a rapprochement, I uninstalled the Kodak Easyshare software and downloaded a fesh copy from the Kodak website. Which took ages. I showed the software icon to the camera and re-connected it to the computer. The camera continued to sulk. I re-charged the batteries in the camera so that it would have plenty of energy with which to face its difficult conversation with the computer. It has since given me to understand that it would take more than just fully-charged batteries for it to be willing to enter into negotiations with the computer.

Until such time, therefore, as B. Dude Esq can tear himself away from his burdensome professional duties for long enough to adopt an advocacy role between the two huffy marvels of modern technology, I am reduced to using my mobile phone to take photographs. The camera on my current phone is of a very considerably higher calibre than the ones I have been used to on previous models, so the photographs it produces are really not bad: they're just not on a par with what my camera can produce if it's in a good mood.

All of which somewhat tedious preamble is simply to emphasise that the photographs in this blog entry don't even begin to do justice to the amazing necklace the lovely Neile made for me earlier this month. Neile has recently succumbed to the universal blogging-imperative, so do drop by if you're interested in getting some insight into the process by which the wings are turned into such stunning pieces of jewellery.

Should you be even a fraction as fascinated by morpho butterflies as I have become since I first saw Neile's Etsy listings, you may wish to avail yourself of one or more of the lovely icons here.

The Editor

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring is sprung

Yesterday was, as any fule kno, the first day of spring.

Although it certainly didn't feel like it when I was standing at the bus stop.

Glorious, scrummy velvet scarf created to my personal specifications (i.e. to match my blue walking stick) by the very charming and talented Helen Chatterton.

The Editor

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Zotter Schokoladen

The latest Rare Birds Find email - in combination with this recent post of unbridled lust by the always reliably chocolate-smitten Dame Honoria - has led me to a list on the Cybercandy website of Zotter's chocolate bars in, erm, unusual flavour combinations.

Celery, truffle and port wine; banana curry; coffee plum with caramelised bacon; date and shiitake; tomato and liquid olives....

Ok, they're not all quite that odd. Lemon curd-filled chocolate sounds like a good plan, as does blood orange flavour.

According to the good people at Cybercandy, this is what's written on each wrapper:

"Tips for Indulgence

In order to discover the secret of the taste of chocolate, it is recommended to first let the chocolate "breathe" at room temperature and then to nibble it in small cutted pieces. For even a small piece of Zotter chocolate has enough powere and intensity to convince."

So, now that our curiosity is well and truly whetted, and given that there's a real-life, bricks and mortar Cybercandy shop in Brighton, all we need to do is find a Brightonian chocolate addict to do a taste-test for us. I wonder where we could find somebody fitting that description...?

The Editor

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Insufferably smug

The TUC published guidance for unions this Tuesday about approaches to disability.

It's called Trade Unions, Disability and the Social Model.

Guess who wrote the first draft of the motion for TUC Disability Conference 2007 which resulted in that guidance being written?

The Editor

Sunday, March 09, 2008

All for charidee

There is only one bus an hour from home to the acupuncture clinic and vice versa. There used to be two. I remember when there were two. But the route of one of them was attenuated some years ago, and that one would now only take me part of the way to the acupuncture clinic. Which is no use at all.

If I've missed the bus home by only ten minutes, or if I'm very tired, or my blood sugars are getting low, or the weather is shocking, I'll hail a cab.

But I rather resent paying £7 to get home for what would be less than a ten minute journey on the bus. And the acupuncture clinic is right next door to a very large Oxfam shop. From which, with considerably less than the £7 one might otherwise have spent on a taxi, one can emerge with something tangible.

This isn't your everyday sort of Oxfam shop in which you have to fight your way past rails of clothes to get to the books. (Not that there is anything wrong with buying clothes from charity shops: I used to do it a lot when I was young and impoverished.) No, this one doesn't have any clothes for sale at all. It sells household objects, furniture (one of my nice, curvy 1930s wardrobes was bought from there years ago for about £15) and books.

Not just a few shelves of books, either, mind you: a whole room full of books. And there are few places in which I would rather fritter away forty minutes of free time than a room full of books. And, because the shop is so well-known locally, you can often find very old books which, I would imagine, have been donated as a job lot after their original owner has passed away. Which means that, for 50p, I get to amuse myself reading cookery books from the 1930s.

One such - which must have been well-used, because the owner has strengthened the cover by gluing on a piece of rather nasty green fabric - has several blank pages at the end for the recording of further recipes. Recipes hand-written in pencil are, of course, the vintage cookery book afficianado's gold. Miss - or Mrs - Bainbridge, who owned the book in 1937, must have been something of a parkin-fancier because she has written down three different recipes for it. Here's the first one:-

Parkin I

5 oz white flour
5 oz oatmeal
1/2 lb brown sugar
1 oz ground rice
2 oz each butter and lard
1/2 lb treacle
1 egg
1/4 tsp bicarb of soda, dissolved in a little milk
2 tsp ground ginger

Mix dry ingredients, and fat, add egg, warmed treacle and lastly soda in milk. Mix to stiff dough. Bake 1 hr in Reg 4.

Anyway, I didn't start writing about the Oxfam shop just to provide you with an old recipe for parkin. No, I started writing about the Oxfam shop because a strange thing happened the last time I was in there.

It was a Monday afternoon. I was engrossed in the cookery book section, checking to see whether any more vintage books had come in since my last visit. I wasn't consciously listening to the conversation in the next room, so I don't know whether The Incident blew up out of nowhere or whether it was the result of a simmering feud over positions in the queue for the photocopier.

I'd be lying if I claimed I could remember more detail about the opening, inflammatory remark than,

"Mumble, mumble, mumble, old fella, mumble".

The riposte, on the other hand, is burned indelibly into my cerebral cortex.

"Who are you calling an old fella, you c***?"

Which does seem to be something of an over-reaction but, as I say, I didn't witness what had gone before. Faces may have been pulled. Offensive gestures made. Toes trodden on. Who knows?

Be that as it may, the manager of the shop swung into action and, after a short scuffle, propelled the fella who clearly didn't consider himself to be old out of the door with the classic line,

"Get out! You're barred!"

Which minor drama led me to ponder exactly where on the street cred scale having been permanently barred from an Oxfam shop would put you...

The Editor

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Gift idea

Stuck for an idea for a birthday present for your tragically-crippled friend/family member?

You know, the one you admire for being able to stay so cheerful despite the unspeakable sufferings imposed on her by her unfortunate and disfiguring handicap?

How about these?

The Editor

With huge apologies to the seller, whose creations I really like, and who is not responsible for either the tragedy model of disability or the concept of the super crip. But I'm afraid - given my own involvement in disability politics - I laughed out loud when I saw them.