Friday, 26 July 2013

Some stitching for a change after a weather update

Last night the daddy of all storms swept through the Loire Valley leaving a trail of devastation in it's wake and ..... yes Alice dear, even you have guessed what's coming next.  Let's just say that I know exactly what tiles sound like as they toboggan merrily down the roof before smashing on the terrace below and I have a horrible feeling that the local roofers packed up yesterday for their three week annual hols .....aaaargh!!!!

Now to business of the day.  First of all I want to share with you Kathy's finished and framed Paradigm Lost.  Bravo Kathy, it's one of the big ones and not something you can knock off in a couple of hours.  It's usually round about page eight of a large design that I start to flag a bit and want it finished so that I can get on to something else.  Keep them coming .....

I've been busy too but for reasons of security can't show more than a snippet of current WIPs or I would have to kill you all afterwards to ensure secrecy.  What I can show you, however, are the following little bits and pieces to whet your appetites.
Have I gone into fabric design?  Will it be all one colour or part of a technicolour extravaganza?  Is it the right way up?  How big will it be?   Aah hah!
And what's this all about.  Is it anything to do with the other picture above or something completely different?  Aah hah!
The start of even more things to come - nice colours eh?  I've been rattling along on this one all week and think it would be safe to show you .....
.... the back, without giving too much away.  When will it be finished, when will it be released, when can you have a proper look?  Aah hah!  That's for me to know and you to wonder.
The garden is particularly lovelly right now (up until last night) and the roses this year, despite such an awful spring and a late start, are putting on a magnificent display - except for the ones which Geordie can reach, he's developed a taste for rose buds!  Can you smell them?
Talk of the devil and he will surely appear.  Here he is, the under gardener helping me with the watering!  Bless.  I'm away to do a spot of logging as there are great lumps of branch everywhere and even some garden furniture which I don't recognise - not so much "gone" as "come" with the wind I suppose.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Why should the Queen have all the fun?

A very good question to which I don't have anything to say by way of a serious answer although Camilla might know.  Remind me to ask her later.  And have you noticed how her maj's dog always seems to win?

However, it did set me thinking and I decided to become "queen for the day" and to create my own list of birthday honours full of "thank you's", "bravo's" and "honourable mentions".  So let's press on and hand out the gongs!  One of these will do, he seems to have plenty.

Here they are then, from one to ten and in no particular order of merit or size of bribe!
1.  A huge bravo and even bigger thank you to Jacqueline and her daily Needleprint blog.  It's no mean feat writing a daily post and the world of needlework is all the richer for it.  If there is anyone, which I doubt, who hasn't already had the pleasure then follow this link immediately.  Wherever can you have been to have missed this crown jewel.

2.  Follow this link as I do each morning whilst savouring my first Earl Grey cup of tea of the day and you will arrive at the blog of John Grey entitled Going Gently but readers of a nervous disposition should watch out for the occasional spot of bad language and a view of life which is uniquely his own.  Here he is with his Welsh terrier Meg - sssh! don't wake them.  Cheers John my life is the richer for your words.

3.  In third spot is the lady, name unknown, at the checkout in Leclerc, Loches who always has a smile and a dress sense all of her own.  Don't ever let anyone tell her that fuscia pink and orange don't quite go with reddish hair!
4.  My neighbour Francoise who is my mother hen.  I think she is probably the only person who would notice if I didn't return home one day, with the exception of Mouche and Geordie of course but they don't know how to telephone for assistance!
5.  Another wondeful French woman, this time the lady at the tax office!  She has the patience of a dozen saints, an unerring eye for detail and a desire to help which goes above and beyond the call of duty.  Merci beaucoup madame!
6.  Not all greyhounds are as lucky as this little princess and huge thanks, bravo's and awards should go to all those unpaid helpers at greyhound charities and rescue centres who give up their time to help these beautiful creatures in distress.  We award you all the Golden Galgo medal with cluster!
7.  Thanks go also to the inventor of the humble fly swat which has rendered me stalwart service these past few fly-ridden days.  Take that!
8.  Thanks and awards should also be heaped upon the beautiful young biker boy who recently blew me a kiss.  A subject upon which I decline to comment further except to say that he made an ageing lady feel alive again, albeit briefly.  A poem might follow at a later date when you're all feeling calm and unshockable!  Good to see my "innuendo" is still in working order.
9.  No, I haven't forgotten her!  Thank you Louise for your energy and enthusiasm, and for taking the time to start up the Open Group on Facebook.  It's called Long Dog Samplers - Designed by Julia Line.  I'm sure she'd be pleased to welcome new visitors and if my ears start burning I'll know that you've signed up and joined in.
10. Last, but by no means least - Catherine, for her leonine courage in the face of possible rejection,  I'm very proud of you!
And thank you all for your birthday wishes - yes, I am having a GOOD one thank you.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Quick update

Having decided that chemical attack was the way to go, I let fly at the ants with everything in my arsenal, including the aphid spray for roses just in case it happened to work on them too, and did my version of a Sioux wardance all over them for good measure.

I then opened all the windows and the French doors onto the garden, dragged the dog beds (after a good shake) and my own bedding into the lounge and settled down for a rather uncomfortable and very hot night well away from my little black visitors.

At first light this morning they appear to have all gone back to whence they came and "ant death" now features on my shopping list for tomorrow when I shall be popping into town.  As does one of these .....

Thanks for the vac idea, unfortunately mine isn't working but Geordie is - he's just bought a live hare into the kitchen.  Here we go again ....... will it never end?

Sunday, bloody Sunday ....

... it's almost unbearably hot and humid, all the shops are shut, all the neighbours appear to be away and not only are my feet, legs and hands very swollen from mosquito bites but I've just gone into my bedroom only to discover that the floor is black with ants and the air is thick with the flying variety.  They're in everywhere.

I am seriously pissed off!  What to do - write a poem of course while I wait for a plan to form.

The Joys of Country Living by a hard bitten and much tried old bat

Alas, alack, the moles are back,
They're digging up my grass.
I'd like to take the spade to them
And whack them on the arse.

Caloo, caley you'll hear me say
As I grab the swotter quick
There's ants all in the bedroom now
And they're massing really thick.

Well dearey me, look over there.
Look hard beneath my chair
The biggest spider you've ever seen
- don't want him in my hair.

Oh bloody hell! What to do now
A lizard's in the sink
I wonder how long he's been in there
And whether lizard's shrink.

Hark the herald angels sing
But me, I just shout run!
There's a hornet in my teacup now
And they sting you on the bum.

Oh lorks-a-lummee - it's cockney that
It's meaning quite unknown
But just the turn of phrase I need
For a toad beneath a stone.

Oh! snakes alive ...........

Readers suggestions and advice of a positive nature would be much appreciated, I fear that for once these little critters have got me beaten.  Apparently they can even withstand nuclear meltdown so what hope for me and has anyone got a spare bed for the night for me and the hairey ones please?

Friday, 19 July 2013

When I am old ......

When I am an old long dog woman
I shall wear tartan and agates
and an old hat with a feather that I
bought at a jumble sale

And I shall spend my meagre pension
on port wine and pig's ears
and sit in the shed where I keep the ferrets
just to watch their kits at play

And I will once more slip out in the middle
of a winter's night with my two old dogs
across a moon-struck meadow
to watch them course just one last hare

And when people call I will appear to listen
and mutter all the wrong noises at all the wrong times
I will serve rabbit pie to vegetarians
remove ticks in public
and continue to spit

I will drive my old van and wear dog's hairs
on my clothes as if they were jewels
and I will be an embarassement to all
who have not found the peace of being free
to call long dogs their truest friends

Friends who wait at the midnight hour
with tails a wag and eager eyes
for the kind of woman I will be when I am old.

Julia Line
July 2013 - written for my 66th birthday which is imminent

Saturday, 13 July 2013

You show me yours ......

.... I pleaded, and although I wouldn't say that your response to my plea knocked me bandy it certainly did produce some very nice results which I would like to share with you.

First up thanks must go to Julie for this "expurgated" version of Plight of Fancy.  Shortened certainly but none the worse for that.  Perhaps one day we'll get to see it all finished and hung in pride of place in a shiny, new frame.  Watch this space.
Personally I can't understand this obsession some of you have with trying to make the back of their work look every bit as good as the front, unless you intend to have glass back and front in your frame and hang it in a window or something slightly strange like that.
Any road up this is Ginger's version of Paradigm Lost - back and front (can you tell which is which, the give away is the alphabet Alice dear).  This, for those of you who always want to know the in's and out's of everything, was stitched with Caron's Waterlilies Charcoal on 36# Newcastle.  Bravo Ginge, keep that needle flying! 
Meanwhile way down in the south of France in the docklands of Marseilles our little Dolores has been stitching away surrounded by burly matelots and with the scent of soap in her nostrils because that's where they make loads of the stuff and very good it is too.  You have only to look at my soft skin to see the truth in this statement - but, I digress .....
Dolores decided not to go with the netting effect on her Bagatelle (I wonder why? probably thought life was too short to get involved with all that) and stuck rigidly to the chart for Jardin de Plaisir.  We'll be hearing more from her at a later date.  Merci beaucoup D.
Time for just one more today which I pinched from little Louise's new venture on Facebook so strictly speaking it wasn't so much "submitted" as "filched".  How very naughty of me, but such fun.  It's a splendiferous version of St Reatham by Kim with just a touch of the Bois le Duc's in the borders and a few other bits and pieces which she also threw in for very good measure.  Where she got them I know not and probably best not to go there on this occasion.
I've been sitting in the garden enjoying the sunshine and stitching away at new delights to fill your winter evenings huddled round the fire but no pictures yet I'm afraid.  In the meantime I shall leave you with a picture of my bathroom windowsill and a cunning use for a clapped out old chair - it makes a great water bowl stand as it's just the right height for my hairy ones.  Quick, run .... I can hear another hornet coming!

Friday, 5 July 2013

So, how was your week?

.... "varied" is the word that best sums up mine.

Apart from the launch of the new design last weekend (see above, and buy immediately if you haven't already) which is always a busy time there has been much else going on Chez Long Dog to tell you about. 
At the start of the week I had a visit from an old school chum who I haven't seen for over fifty years who, even with lots of imagination and viewed in a good light, I still wouldn't have recognised.  Perhaps he was really an impostor and not my mate from behind the bike sheds after all!  Still it passed an animated hour or three so do you hear me complaining?  That's him, the big one with the guitar.  Rock on Robert!
Last week also saw the first intrepid visitors from America here at the chateau,  Good old Carl and Martha from Upland, California together with their son and daughter-in-law finally managed to track me down to my lair with the aid of GPS and their plucky pioneering spirit.  That wagon played havoc with my new grass.  Bravo to them, nice to meet you, home made apple tart all round,  Who will be next I wonder to risk the Loire river rapids?
I've also been taking advantage of some better weather to fly around the estate with hair streaming loose in the evening breeze on Valkerie One, my bright red tractor.  How's this for multi-tasking although it's a little difficult, well OK - downright dangerous - to sew, steer and avoid Geordie all at once.  I reach wharp six and still managed to clingon (Trekkie joke).  Note to me: see if insurance covers this!
In idle moments I've just started on a new design due to be released in a few light years time.  What do you think of the colour - GAST Briar Rose, to match and rhyme with my nose.
And as for Glastonbury which seems to be on every TV channel at the moment and almost entirely taken over by wrinkly old rockers - been there, done that and already got the T-shirt yonks ago when it really hummed and the toilets fought back.  That's me and my big sis way back when in case you're wondering - I'm the one on the right.  Must go, I can hear them playing my song - "Wheels on fire, mowing down the road ....."  La-di-dah-di-da, la-di-dah-di-dee!