Monday, 31 March 2014

Lies, damned lies and statistics

Words which describe the persuasive power of numbers all
too well and which would, come to think of it,
have made a great title for a book on numerology.

Get it while stocks last!  Makes an excellent coffee
table book particularly if one of the legs is wonkey.

Perhaps later, but in the meantime this other excellent tome
is still widely available from all good bookstores, specialist
apiculture suppliers and, indeed, on line.

The boy Dizzie  it was rumoured that he used to tell
very racey jokes indeed, but never in the presence of Victoria!

Opinion is divided as to who coined said phrase originally,
the two main contenders being Mark Twain and Benjamin Disraeli.
Who cares anyway, you chose or enter a candidate of your own
because that's not the reason for today's epistle.

Too late to look this up Agnes - the doctors warned
you this would happen if you continued!
The second most dangerous thing to do on the internet,
after checking out medical symptoms and assuming that none of
you are into pornography, on-line dating or recreational drugs,
is to enter the twilight world of ..... blog statistics!

The latest "long drone" currently searching for antipodeans.
Big Long Dog is watching you!
Were you aware that from my overview platform I can see exactly
how many page views there have been each day,
where you came from, what you looked at and even .....
where you live!  Scarey isn't it?

Welcome aboard the blog ladies, I spot new arrivals almost immediately.
There are Americans by the thousand, Brits in their hundreds,
French, Germans, Dutch and Swedes by the score,
Canadians when their broadband isn't frozen and a
surprising amount of Russians and Chinese too.
I wonder what they make of it all?

Don't make a sound.  Keep very still.  These kiwis are rare and
we don't want to spook her.
But the burning question is - where are the antipodeans?
All those dear Kiwis busy making butter on their sheep farms,
and are the Ozzies too busy Waltzing Matilda and losing at cricket
to pay poor Long Dog any heed?
I know size isn't everything but I want to be big "down under"
not just "on top"!  It would stop me keep falling forward.
Louise dear, take off that ridiculous hat for a moment,
step away from the barbie, check the dunnie for redbacks,
and then give me a wave that will make my stat counter wobble please.

That was some SAL ladies.  Same time next week?
Can you see me - I'm there on the left,
just in front of Camilla.
 There, that should do it.  So now let's round of this post with a
quick verse of the Long Dog Anthem.
I'll count you in ....... two, three.
"Come follow me follow,
Down to the hollow,
And there let us crosstitch
In Gloriana "mud"*
*One of the new spring colours in their Grunge Collection

Friday, 28 March 2014

Let's get this show on the road!

It's almost time for me to up sticks and move on again.
Rather like a royal progress in days or yore
when the monarch would put himself/herself about a bit
and partake of the hospitality of subjects the length and breadth of the realm.

They had a lot of style in those days.
My plan is remarkably similar but on a rather less grandiose scale.
No need for flunkies, ostlers or between stairs maids,
my trusty kinswoman is all that's needed to launch me on my merry round.
Nice to see a few locals have turned out to see me off.
So this coming Sunday, which is also coincidentally
Mother's Day in the UK, I will be bundled into the
trusty Land Rover along with my various goods and chattels
and transported to the east bosom of my clan.

I hope they don't put me in the dungeons again this time.

To the notorious Castle Long Dog which is situated not far from the Queen's
country estate at Sandringham (we'll be practically neighbours)
and buried deep in the mosquito ridden fens and marshes of Norfolk.
Note to self: Pack insect repellent.

I must warn him that the French like to eat pigeons.
Must dash as there's packing to be done,
last will and testaments to be written should things not turn out as planned
and pigeons to be dispatched to the Chateau with fresh instructions
for the serfs of what needs doing in my continued absence.

Rodney - I don't quite know how to break this to you .....
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye ......
happy landings and all that stuff. 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Lady in waiting

A provocative little title today chosen to get
you all wondering whether by some miracle of modern
science I might be with child or perhaps been offered a
key position in the royal household in charge of the
ceremonial handbags.

Those dogs just aren't bag trained.
None of the above I'm pleased to say it's just that recently
I've been spending rather a lot of time
in waiting rooms of one sort or another and the title
sort of came to me on the breeze.

Nobody liked to tell him that the vet's is next door.
Today was no exception.
My trusty kinswoman and I found ourselves, once again.
kicking our heels at the local health centre
after a rather alarming series of visual disturbances
which I had managed to produce the night before.
None of which were fuelled with the aid of
either alcohol or drugs I hasten to add.

He was putty in my hands.
What is it about waiting rooms?
Within seconds of our arrival I had managed to trigger
a Mexican yawn of surnami proportions which rapidly spread
amongst the other poor afflicted souls all of whom
looked as if they might be incubating some deadly
virus deep within the coils of their Swindon Wanderers scarves. 

Pigs never make for light reading, bless 'em,
In the absence of magazines, which are no longer
allowed in waiting areas in the interests of health and safety,
(has anyone actually died from inhaling Homes & Gardens
or suffered serious groin strain whilst lifting the Christmas
issue of Pig Breeding for Amateurs?)
I cast around for alternative forms of amusement
and decided that eavesdropping seemed to fit the bill.

You can't be serious doctor.  Surely that would hurt?
It would appear that almost every nubile young woman in the
parish has the hots for the senior partner Dr O'Goodness ME.
He's full of blarney, Celtic charm and, apparently,
to experience just once his bedside manner has made the bucket list
of even some of the most stalwart pillars of the Women's Institute.

Just as names were about to be named and scandalous deeds
discussed in barely audible whispers a door opened and it was my
name which rang out like some enchanted evening across the crowded room.
My turn had come!

As you can see, I still have both my marbles.

The results had come back from my recent MRI scan and what do
you think they revealed ? 
Yes, Alice dear, there was evidence of a brain or sorts but buried away in
  one of the darkest corners, almost entirely masked by a lobe, something else lay hidden .......

Rodney, don't be silly now - give me the mouse!

........ dozens and dozens of new Long Dog designs all waiting
to escape.  So I can't stay here mardling away with you all day,
there's work to be done. 
Fire up the computer Rodney, tonight we burn the midnight oil.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Well that's the giddy bloody limit and no mistake!!

I have it on paper,
irrefutable evidence,
the cruel words writ large for all to see.
I am cast down into the very depths of dispair,
tossed asside like an old, worn shoe.
"Whatever ails thee lass?" said Jennifer,
in a kindly tone of voice often used when addressing the elderly.

"I'll tell thee what ails me"
- I have just discovered that I now come under the auspices of
It says so on their letter head.
I'm entering the twilight zone,
losing height and muscle tone as we speak.
The shadows lengthen, the days grow cold ....
sorry, broke into song there for a moment.

Nice one Camilla.  Doesn't seem to stop her pulling!
 But wait.  Hang on a mo.  Not so hasty Julia.
There could be an upside to all this.
A turbo-charged mobility scooter,
concessions for the old,
carte blanche to fart in public places with impunity.
After all, it would be expected of me and
I don't want to let the side down.
I might even get away with touching young
men's bottoms and claiming it was accidental.

Looks kind of cool in a rumpled sort of a way.
Bring it on, a time of lewdness shall come upon the land.

It might not be that bad after all.  Wonder how fast they go?

I will most certainly not go gentle but in a raging,
disorderly and unconventional way as I have lived
the rest of my life.

These may be the twilight years but that's when stars sparkle
isn't it? and no one can see what you're up to either.
As the French, and Grampa Hendricks used to say,
I shall be "entre chien et loup".
Cloaked in a mantle of dusk, the time of night when you
can't quite tell if it's a dog or a wolf up ahead.
Someone's in for a shock and no mistake.

I had to get close to read what it said - honest!
"Ertcha cow son" as we Cockneys are wont to say.
Carpe diem - and if there are no carp about,
well then grab anything on offer like a nice firm bum.
I dare you - feinites not allowed. 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Bit of a "thing/thong"

No, not a lisped invitation for a bit of karaoke
but a rummage through the darkest recesses of the storage
facilities for my nether garments.  Mes pantalons!
I invite you at your peril to enter the strange and eerie world of
Unless you are of a nervous disposition in which case
clear off and find something else to do with your time.

Come out Rodney, you'll suffocate in there.
It all started off as a normal sort of day - a quick cup of tea,
the first check of emails, a freshen up with a damp flannel
and then off into the bedroom to chose what to wear starting
with clean undies of which there appeared to be none
so I started to dig deep in the hope that something would turn up.

Arsenal - 7 always was my lucky number.
 It was then that I saw it, half hidden under a pair of Arsenal football
socks (don't ask) at the back of the drawer.
An aptly named team if you add the words "hanging out" after the name.
However, at that self same moment, I found myself being used as a channel
for the disembodied voice of my mother, just like in a seance,
She boomed out, "What is this thong (thing) doing in your
Drawer of Drawers?"  Disapproval and horror in every syllable.

Julia - this time you have gone too far!
She didn't mean it, I'm sure, in the sense of "Holy of Holies"
but there again maybe she did as some of my favourite pairs
have indeed seen plenty of action in their day and
are sadly a little moth eaten in places.

Even more uncomfortable the wrong way round.
I can honestly say that, hand on heart, I know not from whence came said
article (must have been some party) but I knew exactly where it was going.
With a phenomenal turn of speed unusual for a woman of my age the item in
question was hoisted into place quicker than you can say knife.
Knife was, however, exactly the word I used several seconds
later when I discovered that this particular style of garment
did little to endear itself in terms of either comfort or warmth.

That's more like it - you can tie up the
legs when trouble starts!
So it's back to the tried and trusted, it's the black widow's wee-ds for me or
as I sometimes think of them - garments for women who cry at both ends,

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Vernal Equinox

Hello all you little witchlets and budding Wiccans.
Time to drag out those black cats from under the duvet,
check that you're still covered for third party damage
on your turbo-powered broomstick and double-check that your
incantations are all still within sell by date.
Easily forgotten in all the excitement.

Don't look into her eyes or you're a gonner!
The fields and hedgerows are awakening from
their long winter sleep - and about bloody time I hear you cry.
The new born lambs are going "boing, boing" - can
become quite irritating after a while -
and you might even be able to turn the heating down
a notch or two if you're very lucky.

I wonder how they manage to do that without the yolk all running out?
So get into those kaftan's, stick some flowers in your
barnet, light the joss sticks and go with the flow.
Spring has sprung!  It's official, Zitella told me.

The Magic Hare

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


For today's offering of old toffee we cross the mighty ocean
bound for America and the frozen wastes - shows how old
my atlas is, Canada was still waiting to be discovered! 
We leave "feignites" far behind as we go in search
of it's trans-Atlantic counterpart - "uncle".

Told you it was old.
If I cast my mind back to those dark days of my youth in
the rat infested gutters of saarf-London "uncle's" came with
three balls unlike in modern street parlance where an
uncle is thought to be the most likely member of your
family to wish to show you his dangly bits at dead of night.
(No suitable images available.)  But I digress .......
Wonder if they've still got my guitar?

A trip to uncle's could mean only one thing - money was
tight again and the family silver was going back into store.
Uncle was your friendly local pawnbroker, moneylender, usurer
who's been making something of a comeback recently I hear.
And why the balls?  They were always gold and said to be
"symballic" of the Medici's, a powerful Florentine family
in the Middle Ages, although Grandad always said they
meant "two to one you won't get your stuff back".
He was a miserable old git sometimes.

The second greatest parrot joke!

Tell us the origins I hear you cry, we can't take much more of
this sickening nostalgia, so I'll cut to the chase.  At the end of the 19th
century, long before Monty Python, there was in England a parrot
joke doing the rounds.  It subsequently crossed the Pond and went as follows:

Rodney do stop messing about with that bird.
A gentleman was boasting that his parrot would repeat anything he told him.
For example, he told him several times, before some friends, to say “Uncle,”
but the parrot would not repeat it.

I don't think it will work if you say "aunty".

In anger he seized the bird, and half-twisting his neck, said:
 “Say ‘uncle,’ you beggar!” and threw him into the fowl pen,
in which he had ten prize fowls. Shortly afterward, thinking he had
killed the parrot, he went to the pen. To his surprise he found nine of the fowls
dead on the floor with their necks wrung, and the parrot standing
on the tenth twisting his neck and screaming:
 “Say ‘uncle,’ you beggar! say uncle.’

Known affectionately as the 49 cent "Uncle", air mail only of course.

Much ado about nothing really but it passed an amusing couple of
minutes.  Now where did I put that pawn ticket it's time to
get the tiara out of hock again?

Today's caption competition (no prizes offered!)

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Egg Lady

A while back, whilst out walking on Wick Hill (which rises
directly behind the farm) with members of
Clan Long Dog, we passed the monument erected to the
memory of Maud Heath - the Egg Lady.

Memorial on Wick Hill
 Maud was a philanthropic woman almost unknown outside her native county of
Wiltshire where, during the middle ages. she amassed a fortune
selling eggs at Chippenham Market.

Close up complete with egg basket.

So, if you're all sitting comfortably, I'll let Maud tell you
her tale in her own words.  I think it might amuse

"I am Maud Heath. My husband, John Heath, having gone to meet his maker, I have placed in the hands of lawyers the writing of a charter in which I intend to gift my lands and tenements to the Parish of Chippenham. The benefits of these lands and tenements are to be used for the construction of a causeway from Wick Hill to Chippenham Clift. Here I tell of my life as it is.

It is the year of Our Lord 1474, King Edward IV has been on the throne now for 14 years. Life for us all is spent in keeping the lands and tenements in good order, that I and the villagers may live comfortably and serve Our Lord well on the Sabbath.

I live in Tytherton Kellaways, 3 miles to the north-east of Chippenham. The land around is close to the plain of the River Avon. In winter much of the land is flooded, but this brings fertile soil for planting in the spring, and early grass for our cattle and sheep, the swine forage in the forests surrounding. Most we need for is provided in the farmstead.

Since the death of John, I go to the market in Chippenham most Wednesdays with goods from the farm. Many of the villagers like to go to the St John Lateran market in May, the St Barnabas market in June, and the market fayres in October and December. In fair weather I walk, which takes an hour of the day in each direction. In foul I ride a horse, or take the cart, which is less tiring. There are times it would be foolhardy to attempt the journey as the land around is marsh-like and treacherous.

It is my wish that income from my land and tenements will be used to construct a causeway from Wick Hill to Chippenham Clift. My villagers will then be able to reach the Chippenham markets with all their goods to sell, and dry feet.

I will be your travelling companion, showing the route of my causeway and the fair market town of Chippenham."

See it wet .......

A wonderful woman and, if you'll excuse the pun,
- a thoroughly good egg!

... see it dry!

If you want to know more about old Maud, her Causeway and
the route to Chippenham Market there's plenty to be found
on the web and this link in particular is worth a click

As it says at the bottom of Mauds's monument:
"Injure me Not"
or there will be no more Long Dog walks on the
wildside in the weeks to come.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Good in parts

This weekend just gone has certainly been that alright -
a real mixed bag and no mistake.
Can you spot Rodney/
On a positive note, healthwise I've probably had the best couple of days
for many a long week.  I've eaten well, slept better
and am beginning to feel the benefits of both at long last.
Weatherwise it's been glorious, sunshine in abundance and all
the little chick-a-birdies are tweeting about in fine form
including the old cock pheasant who seems to have taken up
permanent residence under my bedroom window.  Noisy blighter.
And then I received the first piece of news.  The Lone Ranger - little Jessie -
the last of the six cats belonging to my dear friends
Jim and Linda had just taken her final trip to the vets.
It had been on the cards for a while but still very sad when the
moment actually arrived.  That's the only thing about animals, isn't it?
That's her bottom right - the end of an era!
The second piece of news was a real bombshell
I don't feel that this is the place to go into details as I'm really only
a very shocked onlooker on to another family's very personal tragedy.
 No parent ever expects to outlive their own child and when it
happens where do you finds the words to express what you want to say?
Ian, Debbie and family my thoughts are with you and
may you find the courage to cope with what will be a very
testing time ahead.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Postcard from New York ...

..... which is not strictly speaking true but it made a better title
than "another photograph received by email today which
came from the Big Apple."

If you stare at the word "York" long enough it begins
to seem very strange indeed.
 Now let me see, what can I say about Margaret
that will send her blushing to the very roots of her hair
or giggling with girlish glee as I reveal little
tantalising snippets about her university days
when everyone agreed that she was the one who
put the "Tiger" into Princetown!  Atta girl.

She was wild and game for anything back in those days.
 The motto of her old alma mater was:
"Under the protection of God she flourishes"
but these days times have changed and it's more a case of:
"Following a chart from Long Dog she stitches."

Lost no more - it finally turned up in a bathroom in Alphabet City, NY..
Anyway she stitched Paradigm Lost a while back now but it still
looks as fresh as the day it returned from the framers
and a very fine job they both made of it - bravo all round.
Keep away from quilts Maggie you know it makes sense!
Keep 'em coming.


This morning after I had fired up my trusty twim-cam,
six cylinder, diesel-powered lap top
there in my email box was a "Maryland cookie"
"Hello" said the little cookie.
I don't usually receive biscuits in this fashion but
what the hell, it's Sunday and anything goes.
Turned out it was a girl cookie called Cindy.
Apparently boy cookies have bigger chunks.
Little Cindy is a keen cross stitcher and has sent me a
photo of the sampler wall in her office.
Maryland style Mouline Rouge
Just focus on the big one in the middle as it's the
only Long Dog on the block while at the same time crying
out a lusty three cheers for Bert, the kindly building maintenance
engineer and his trusty hammer, who was responsible
not only for the hanging but also the all important grouping
of this wall of delights.
Wonder if she ever gets any work done?
And please keep those photo's coming, I do so love to see what
you've been up to in a stitchey, arty crafty sort of a way.
The other pleasures of your private life are best played close to
your chest - so no more shots Camilla of you and Charlie
otherwise engaged, I am, after all, still in deep convalescence 
and not seeking stimulation such as your happy snaps
seek to provide!  Later maybe ......

PS  Here's something for you to ponder on
- anyone know who designed the small piece to the left of MR
with the wording "Welcome Friends"?
Give it a thought, one of you probably knows the answer.
It would help put someone out of my misery if you know what I mean.