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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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Winter warmers

I have been aware for a while that it is past time I gave a few more Etsy artisans such scant extra publicity as can be gained by virtue of being mentioned on this blog.

The weather outside being currently what can only be described - even by lovers of low temperatures - as frightful, now would seem like an excellent time to recommend some cosy accessories to people who are feeling the chill.

Firstly, therefore, a big shout-out to Kim of Kimonos for her fantastic fingerless gloves. If you sit at a computer keyboard at home during the day - as I do - and leave putting the heating on as late as possible, then these are an absolute godsend. I reckon I can delay putting the heating on by a good couple of hours if I'm wearing these. (In my own case, I just dislike being constantly in a centrally-heated atmosphere. As does my eczema. I'm not just being mean and/or impoverished. But I'm sure these gloves will work equally well for persons who are mean and/or impoverished.)

The gloves come down low on the wrist, covering the all-important pulse-points. They're wonderfully snuggly, and they don't impede keyboard-use at all. They're also ridiculously cheap. So you can buy several pairs in different colours, if you are that way inclined. (I know not everyone is as colour-fixated as I am.)

Being prone to serious (and virtually instantaneous) over-heating, I possess very few garments with collars. I use scarves where other people might use high necklines. I can remove a scarf in seconds, which is more than can be said for the poloneck of a sweater. (Unless I were to use scissors. But that might not do a great deal for the longevity of the garment as a whole...) Plus, you know, that whole double-chin-in-high-necked-sweater look is really not flattering.

Absolute favourite scarf fabric bar none is silk velvet, which is why I was so thrilled to discover Mimi's Madlight13 shop. Mimi makes long, lustrous, luxuriant, silk velvet scarves out of fabric she has dyed herself and - oh, my dears - such colours!! Mimi's skill with colour-combining is unparallelled. Dying the velvet herself, she is able to combine the most unlikely colours because they have either complimentary or contrasting degrees of warmth. Indeed, you can tell simply from the way she writes about colours in her listings that she has an innate feel for their constituents and tones. You are never going to find a scarf in black plum and pumpkin anywhere which sells mass-produced items. But, in Mimi's reliable hands, that improbable combination absolutely sings.

Madlight13 is not, admittedly, going to appeal to determined wearers of solely beige, stone, navy and bottle green. But, then, it's beyond me why anyone would want to clothe themselves in the colours of walls and pavements. If, on the other hand, you're a basic-black sort of girl, any of Mimi's scarves will set your outfits off an absolute treat.

I have said in feedback that I would buy every scarf Mimi has listed if I had the money, and I stand by that statement. They are just gorgeous. Go and look. If they are meant to be yours, they will call to you.

Despite my love affair with silk velvet, I do recognise that some winters are so cold that something thicker and more snuggly is required around the naked neck - particularly at bus stops after dark. If you look as risible as I do in a warm, woolly, winter hat, might I interest you in Ella's stoles, collars, shawls and scarflettes? I had the great good fortune to snap up one of these Winter Sky Collars on a day when its price was temporarily lowered quite significantly, and I went to collect it from the mail depot this morning.

Dramatic, much?

The great thing about this particular style is that it protects not only the neck, but also the back of the head, from chill winds. In my own case, that would obviate the need for a hat in even the lowest temperatures and strongest winds Liverpool can throw at me.

If you, on the other hand, look charming in a beanie, but feel the cold round your shoulders, Ella has lovely capelets which would resolve that particular problem. Scrummy combinations of yarns, crocheted using what I can only assume is a gargantuan size of hook, result in seriously-cosy - but very far from stiff - fabrics. I dithered for ages about buying one, and I now wish I'd taken the plunge at least two months earlier!

Needless to say, all three of these ladies are courteous, charming and humorous: no matter how good their products, I never recommend to anybody sellers who are brusque, off-hand, uncommunicative, or in any way unprofessional.

The Editor

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

IQ Test

Picture the scene...

You are a member of the disability advisory committee which I chair.

As an adjustment under the DDA for me, you come to Liverpool for our meetings. (Which I do appreciate, by the way.)

You know that the venue for today's meeting is the Glaxo Neurological Centre on Norton Street.

You have been provided with a map. It shows you which side of Norton Street the Glaxo Neurological Centre is on.

You use the map to find Norton Street.

There are two buildings on the side of the road on which you know the meeting venue is located.

One of them is a coach station.

How long does it take you to deduce that the building which isn't the coach station - and which has "Neuro-centre" on its external signage (although, admittedly, not "Glaxo") - must be the meeting venue?

If anyone wants me, I'll be banging my head repeatedly against the nearest brick wall.

The Editor

Friday, January 23, 2009

Special Offer! This weekend only!

I've been asked to do something I've never done before...

It's surprisingly exciting...

Shall I just get on with it?

Yup, thought so.

Readers of this - and no other - blog can get a $2 discount on any single listing in my friend Nicole's Bela Brazilian Designs Etsy shop.

As many of the pieces are already reduced by 50%, that means you can get one of these fabulous red rose rings for only $14.50. (Also available in purple.) (And yellow, apparently. Gosh: that's new!)

Having had one of these self-same rings of my very own for a while, I can confirm that they are really dramatic, and ever so three-dimensional.

(If your sale is the 700th, you can claim one of these rings - in your choice of colour - for free.)

Or, if - unlike me - you have hair of a texture which doesn't immediately reject all grips, pins and clips with huffy disdain (I suspect my hair of being Teflon-coated), you could get this extremely groovy, bright, lime-green, orchid hair pin for a mere $17.50.

Nicole's hair-accessories are the first things I've seen in a very long time which make me regret the fact that anything pinned into my hair just slides out and drops, with no discernible charm, onto my shoulder. (Actually, come to think of it, at my advanced age, there is a dreadful risk that it might drop into my cleavage instead: how classy and sophisticated would that be?)

To get your $2 discount, you can either ask for a revised invoice in the "Notes to Seller" box on your purchase screen, or Nicole will make an immediate refund to your Paypal account. Crucially, don't forget to mention - again in "Notes to Seller" - that you're claiming your Lady Bracknell Discount. Offer ends midnight Sunday, Germany time, which is 11pm UK time.

As will be immediately apparent should you be trawling Nicole's feedback in an idle moment, I am a big fan of her preserved-nature jewellery. I have many orchids; several roses; and even some dinky little, bright pink, hydrangea blossoms. Preserved flowers - and butterflies, come to that - are very light to wear and come in the most fabulous colours. As with all of Nicole's work, you will get a well-made, good quality piece of jewellery with sturdy findings. No tat, I promise. Friendship or no friendship, I wouldn't keep going back for more if I didn't absolutely love what she creates.

Hmm: am now wondering whether I will be eligible for a Lady Bracknell Discount...

The Editor

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oh, crap #2

Really, really, not the shot I was going for...

The Editor

Monday, January 19, 2009

First cut is the deepest

Paper cut.

On my eyeball.

Not recommended.

The Editor

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I didn't get where I am today...

It has been brought to Lady Bracknell's attention that the British Broadcasting Corporation, for reasons best known to itself, intends to "revive" - by which it actually means "remake" - that seminal sitcom, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.

Lady Bracknell, whose conversation is still regularly peppered with quotations from, and references to, the original, is appalled.

BBC 1 Controller, Jay Hunt, is reported as exclaiming, "It feels as fresh and sharp now as it did all those years ago."

That being the case, it is a mystery to Lady Bracknell why the BBC does not simply re-run the original programmes. As a licence-fee payer, Lady Bracknell is firmly of the opinion that doing so would represent the best use of her money.

Whilst Martin Clunes has always appeared to Lady Bracknell to be a pleasant and inoffensive young man, Leonard Rossiter he most certainly is not. And pray do not speak to her ladyship of the ghastly Wendy Craig.

That being said, the issue of casting is of only minor relevance in comparison to the overriding principle that one cannot, and would be well-advised not to attempt to, improve upon perfection.

What next? The ubiquitous Ant and Dec in a remake of the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special from 1975?

God forbid.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fame at last

That's my moorhen, that is!

The Editor

Friday, January 02, 2009

Oh, crap!

Picture, if you will, my horror upon realising, when I was uploading today's crop of photographs, that I had captured the tamest of all the park's grey squirrels being quite exceptionally cute right in front a revolting pile of dog poo.

This - which will not be going on Flickr - is the least offensive of the three culprits. And I have left it un-cropped for your partial protection. Even so, I don't recommend scrutinising it too carefully...

The Editor

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Although Lady Bracknell has spent some time of late doubting the evidence of her own ears, she is now absolutely convinced that some person residing locally has invested in a cockerel.

Whilst this might not be a purchase which would expose the buyer to comment were it to have taken place in the depths of the countryside, Bracknell Towers - as regular readers will be aware - is situated, as is only fitting for an aristocrat of Lady Bracknell's social standing, in the city. It is, admittedly, adjacent to a large park, but Lady Bracknell has seen no signs of any tillage of the earth, or other reliable indicators of agricultural activity, during her stately perambulations through its pleasant acres.

Whilst the crowing of a cockerel has considerable charm at something after eight of the clock on a winter's morning, Lady Bracknell suspects the creature's popularity is likely to wane somewhat should it continue to greet the dawn with such audible enthusiasm in the early months of the coming summer.

It being the first of January, Lady Bracknell will avail herself of the opportunity to wish health and happiness - as long as neither is gained at the expense of other persons - to those loyal readers who continue to peruse these humble pages on a regular basis.