Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Raiding party - Long Dog style!

The Border Reivers were infamous gangs of raiders
who terrorised the Anglo-Scottish border from the late 13th century
up until the beginning of the 17th century.

Reivers at Gilnochy Tower, they were after beef for the McDonalds!
They helped themselves to anything they fancied
from jewellery to hostages, cattle to cutlery
and a few other liberties as well - eh ladies?
Perhaps they were the orignal "bit of rough".
Today you have left me no choice but to follow their wild,
lawless example and go raiding on the internet
for anything Long Doggy I could find.
You're always so reluctant to send me photos of WIP,
despite numerous requests, so if the mountain won't
come to me (so to speak) then I shall go to the mountain.
Bagatelle (stitched by an unknown needle, it wasn't Louise 'cos her
frame's not blue) is the first collection
of "borders" to be stuffed hurriedly into my swag bag.
After that I crept up behind little Tommye when she wasn't
looking and made off with a photo of her Jardin de Plaisir.
And despite having Tyler's lion on guard not even
little Tamra's handiwork was safe from the Long Dog reiver.
I even ended up with a piece of old French lace which took my
fancy.  So now I'm off to look for hostages and I have
quite a list - Sean Bean, Cillian Murphy,
Michael Caine, Danny Dyer, James Cassidy (you should see him
in his kilt) and old Uncle Tom Cobley and all!
I'm coming boys, brace yourselves!

Monday, 28 July 2014

It seems I might have finally struck a chord!

My recent post, catchily entitled "Glad Tidings of Great Joy",
would appear to have connected with the deeper, more sensitive
side of your psyche dear readers and your response,
if not actually viral, has been touching and really rather special.
One kindred spirit, Sharon from far away in south Virginia
blessed me with a gently rainy, green morning.
There was no hint of what perfume this greeting carried
but you can't win them all - perhaps it was of purple
lilacs borne on a warm breeze.

Humvee birds!
Deborah, the Julie Andrews of the high and verdant peaks,
sent me a pretty day filled with happy little hummers,
an abundance of parsley, yellow crooknecks, chocolate mint and
loads of cherry tomatoes lit by sparkling sunshine. 

At this point I have a confession
to make as I misread the word hummers as "humvees"
which instantly conjured up a vision of giant roadsters hovering in the
air.  I wonder what variety of mint caused that!

There's always a dog in there somewhere.
 Never one to disappoint, sweet Cathering of the White Horse
came up with soft mumblings of affection coupled with
the smell of rain on hot grass and earth
together with kisses like small droplets of moisture
running down the window panes.
Bravo, three cheers and well done ladies, I was rather
touched by it all although there are some who would say
that I'm generally a bit touched so no change there!
Into each life some rain must fall, scented or otherwise,
which brings me to the French entry!

Rose Window, Chartres Cathedral, France.
The RSI (Regime Social des Independents) based
at Chartres did not send me rainbows of coloured
light streaming from a thousand panes of sacred stained
glass in their beautiful cathedral but a terse demand for
my second trimestre trading figures with a very
tight deadline of 31 July, or else, which is why I must
end here and immerse myself in my ledgers for
fear of facing a hefty fine or possibly
incarceration in a modern day version of
the dreaded Bastille.

Wonder where she's hidden her calculator?
 Now where did I put that old envelop I jotted
those figures down on?

Friday, 25 July 2014

The small fire of Drayton

This morning on yet another routine visit to the
Drayton Health Centre I came across something rather
unusual to report .....

..... two very serious cases of spontaneous combustion
in the car park ......
..... and another in the waiting area.
So much for high heeled sneakers and goodness
knows what happened to his wig hat!
I just hope it's not catching.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

What's so special about 24th July?

Why this of course - happy birthday to me,
happy birthday to me, etc ......
Sixty seven not out, although there have been times along
the way when I wondered whether I would make it.
I shall be celebrating quietly as usual with
just my nearest and dearest, a few thousand carefully hand picked
guests, the band of the Scot's Dragoons, some four legged
friends in party gear topped off with a lazer display
and fireworks around midnight.
And if it's not visible from space then I shall ask for my money back! 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

F * * K !!!!

I think, by now, that most of you are aware that I don't
always have the best of luck and today is no exception.
I have just received an email from a friend in France
to inform me that my brand new van with only about
3,000 kilometers on the clock which has been standing
on the local garage forecourt awaiting a buyer
has become the victim of a freak hailstorm.
The windscreen has been totally smashed,
all the hailstones the size of tennis balls have
entered into the van only to melt on the pristine
upholstery and the bodywork is completely wrecked.
An artist's impression.
In fact, it's a write off.
And to make matters even more peachy there is some
doubt that the insurance (which incidentally I have just
renewed) will cover it as it was not stationed
at Chateau Long Dog which is deemed to be my abode.
Let me just repeat that - F * * K -
it might make me feel better but somehow I doubt it.

Monday, 21 July 2014


How long did it take you to spot it?
It all started off innocently enough, as most things do, during the course of
a conversation with my youngest granddaughter regarding the merits
of having a couple of extra toes when faced with the task of
learning to swim.
We came to the conclusion that a couple of extra digits certainly wouldn't
 go amiss and might even make her progress through the water a little easier
and potentially swifter than her little classmates.
At this point things suddenly went awry and I now find myself
engaged in a bizarre competition to discover whether it is possible
to grow a couple of extra toes using the power of our
minds as our only tool.  So far I have nothing positive to report.

Can you see it?  I've blown the picture up a bit for you.
Now not many people know this but it's not actually that uncommon
a phenomena.  Liam Gallagher of Oasis fame has an extra toe,
Anne Boleyn, old Henry VIII's wife was said to have an extra
appendage or two and even characters in works of fiction
like Hannibal Lecter were digitally enhanced.

This experiment is open to all comers including animals and Alice too.

Talk to the paw or leave a message, your time starts now!
Good luck ........

Saturday, 19 July 2014

"Glad tidings of great joy"

Please try not to over react to today's catchy title.
I haven't won the lottery neither have I sold the chateaux
- damn and blast all round I hope you cry.
It's simply that I like the phrase.
For me it conjours up angels with trumpets,
messengers arriving on horseback or something
auspicious in need of immediate celebration.

Not quite the sort of messenger I had in mind.
 I'm also getting a little bored with "regards", "best wishes",
"cheers" and even the tried and tested "you take care now"
at the bottom of the majority of emails and letters which
I receive.  I'm such an old grump.

That's more like it, very peaceful.
So, not wanting to join them I have opted for an
altogether entirely different form of ending.
First off  I decided to designate the love
I was sending with a different shade each day
- big pink love, love the colour of a summer meadow,
love divine all loves excelling - sorry that's the
first line of No 47 Hymns Ancient & Modern for Schools.
I soon began to expand upon my theme,
much like with my designs, and the love had to be
more than just a colour it had to be an interesting
statement full of adjectives, metaphors and similies.
Today I received back "white root love" from
the divine Deborah of the deer and rocky places
which can only prove it must be starting to rub off
on others.  You guessed it - I'm after viral again!

Sorry labradors - lurchers win every time!
But let's not stop there, why not include taste and smell too!
Wouldn't you just love to receive thoughts evocative
of wet labradors sleeping by the fire on a winter's afternoon?
the perfume of apricots ripening in the sun or, a particular
favourite of mine, the heady aroma of fresh coffee
wafting from the kitchen?

Could this be the Moonstone Fairy,
I do so miss her?
Or even "I send you fairy dust gathered in my dreams
to make your day a little more special."
I wrote to the bank today - I wonder what they will
make of my "from your favourite customer I send you thoughts as
red as the figures on an overdraft and greetings as
round as the noughts on my balance!
Now how shall I sign myself on my note to the
rather fit young man who's currently doing the garden I wonder?

Friday, 18 July 2014

An ickle poem

The grass is green
The sky is blue

The birds go tweet
The cows go moo
The stars are bright
The night is dark

The owls go hoot
The dogs go bark
The clouds are white
The day is fair

The world's amazing
And I live there!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Scratch and sniff time

Todays post requires a modicum of audience participation
and a great deal of imagination because I am going to
attempt to bring to you, by the miracle of the internet,
- aroma!
 So flare those nostrils, limber up your olfactory senses and
prepare to be underwhelmed - it could all go horribly wrong!

Students at Canberra Catering College practicing their didgeridoo techniques
My daughter in law's family hail originally from the Lebanon
and tonight we will be dining on Djaj a Riz served with an
Australian accent and dished up with a didgeridoo
followed by Koala a la Grec (no, sorry, I lied about that bit
but it just tripped from my tongue before I could stop it).

These dudes have no sense of homour.
 I feel sure that if you concentrate hard enough you'll be able to pick it up.
You should be getting chicken breast simmering with
cinnamon, cloves, cardomon, allspice, pine nuts
and, of course, coarsely ground black pepper.

Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble 
It's been bubbling away for hours and reports are being received of
smellings as far away as Seattle and downtown Burbank.
Do keep those emails coming in, there's a prize for the wackiest whiff.
Later this afternoon my little marsupial will strain it all through
her pouch whilst singing Advance Australia Fair to the tune of Bat out of Hell,
taking care not to scald the resident Joey,
before lightly boiling some fragrant rice in the remaining stock.
I think I shall go for a walk around the block before my
gastric juices go into meltdown!

Wish you were here?   Bon appetit!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Have you seen the muffin man?

Do not approach this man, his muffins are past their eat by date!

Why?  Because I could do with a good muffin, that's why.
 Go at once to the naughty step, bad girl Julia, will you never be serious?

Anyone can join in.

New participants in this game of skill should definitely be intoxicated,
 although slightly deranged will do at a push,
and able to stand on one leg with a pint of beer balanced on their heads. 
That's only for starters.  Now here comes the difficult part -
you have to do a series of squats without spilling a drop.
The least soggy person wins and gets to drink what's left.
Bravo Jacqueline, you have such strong knees for an author.

Three - two - one - you're back in the room and the mad woman has gone.

Looks like Paradigm Unfinished to me but I've no idea
who the cat is.
How are you stitcher's all?
After a sweltering day yesterday it's business as usual again here 
- coming down stair rods, overcast and with a stiff breeze. 
Oh to be in England now that the end of the world is nigh. 
How goes the war by the way?
Still fighting you way resolutely through Bagatelle or even
Kell's Kritters and wishing you'd never started the darn thing
in the first place?  I know the feeling - you should see
some of the treats I have in store for you - they're huge!

I definitely need to be recumbent to watch this!
You find me ever so slightly bored today and casting round
for something diverting and amusing to do. 
So far I have found nothing so I may have to go onto the Amazon site
and do a little impulse buying to bring good cheer into my life. 
 DVD's seem to be the thing at the moment as I've got a little portable player
which I can quietly view in my room and it works admirably. 

Wouldn't you know it, the weather's even
worse in Narnia!
Lay flat on back (or at a slight angle should you prefer). 
Balance said player on chest/stomach, insert disc, push START
and away we go for a couple of hours. 
It's better than visiting Narnia as it doesn't involve bending double
and clambering about in the back of dusty old wardrobes looking
for the exit sign.
Looks like someone made an "apology" that
they'll need to apologise for.

I seem to have said a lot in terms of word count but very little
(better make that nothing actually) when it comes to hot cross stitch
gossip or even some of the lukewarm, second-hand variety.
But I make no apology as I lent the pattern to a friend and
they never returned it.  That's friends for you.

No one should look this cheerful in the morning.

To-day's top tip:  Always use a low fat spread on your muffin because I
think you'll find it's cheaper and doesn't sting as much as butter!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Family outing

Oh joy!  Three generations of us have had to go trooping
off to the doctor's with a nasty dose of .....
....... the Felthorpe blight!

This particular affliction is insidious by nature and creeps
up on its victims almost imperceptibly.
A little tickle, a discrete clearing of the
throat, a slight shortness of breath, a sexy rather
husky voice and then, a few days later - BAM!
Before you know it there's an invisible elephant sitting on
your chest and a cough develops that sounds like a gattling
gun on active manoeuvres.

Time to block book the family pew at the local GP's
for a catering sized portion of anti-biotics,
some "There, there, never mind" and a lurid pink lolly
for the youngest member by way of consolation.

Windsor soup.
Finding a suitable illustration was not an easy task today but
when I eventually Googled "three generations"
this was the result.  There's always one is every family, eh ma'am.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The long dog's egg

Most people are familiar with the expression "the curate's egg"
meaning something bad in parts but with redeeming features
and when attempting to describe my morning it was the first thing
that sprang to mind by way of a description.
But then, when I thought about it, nothing really bad
happened nor, for that matter, anything truly astonishing
either - it was just a bit surreal. 
So what could be more bizarre than a long dog's egg?

The urge to "do something" saw me up and out of the house
before sparrow fart in the company of my Ozzie daughter-in-law who
had a session for some serious waltzing of her Matilda booked in
at the local gym, so I tagged along for the ride
never having been to such an establishment before and
always up for a new experience or three.
I do now!
Being neither a born again virgin nor particularly active (sexually or
otherwise) which seemed to be the criteria for entry according to the  
large panel in the foyer I thought I might somehow be
in the wrong place so while my little marsupial kinswoman
did her thing on the various instruments of torture I shimmied
off to see what the boys were doing downstairs and I
certainly wasn't disappointed.  Quick stand me under a cold shower,
I'm not used to quite so much excitement in the space of half an hour.
Your eyes do not deceive you - these are bricks and the brick shop
was just another fun packed venue along the way on today's
magical mystery tour.
I had never before realised quite how many varieties there are on offer
and having finally decided upon two thousand of the
finest Norfolk red's to be delivered next weekend we went
on our merry way once more - there and back
just to see how far it is - and all on an empty stomach!
Can't wait to see what's on the agenda for this afternoon.
I wonder what I should wear, I think my jodphurs are still in the wash.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

For the record .....

Perhaps you may remember a design, long ago discontinued, 
called Albion which was released under the Long Dog banner
It's always been a thorn in my side and I feel that the time is 
now right to put the record straight as to it's origins.
My late husband (not wishing to speak too ill of the dead)
was probably best described as a difficult and controlling man
and I'll leave you to fill in the obvious blanks.
The initials give the game away!
For the thirty odd years that we were together through
thin and thin he led me, quite frankly, a long dog's life. 
Not your problem and thankfully, these days, not mine either now.
So I'll swiftly cut to the chase.
Albion was his project from start to finish and the only input I had
was the stitching up which, curiously enough, he was unable to
accomplish himself.  He firmly believed that designing involved
no skill whatsoever and that anyone with the appropriate
computer programme could do it.
I feel so much better to have got that off my chest.
Thank you for listening.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

The wheels on the bus go round and round .....

..... and eventually I, and my not quite so happy band of
fellow pilgrims, arrived at the bus depot.
I noticed several of them made a bee line - or should
I have said an ant line - for the nearest chemist which just
happened to be over the road.
Calomine lotion is good for ant bites I'm told.
They couldn't get off fast enough
The library was my first port of call because my books weighed a ton
and I was in danger of one arm becoming longer than the other
if I lugged them round for too long.

Coming out of the library I bumped into a man walking a greyhound.
No Alice dear, it wasn't George Clooney he's much too
busy these days.  So I stopped for a little cuddle much to his
astonishment and then I gave his dog a quick stroke too.
The unexpected sunshine had brought out all the buskers in
force and I sat on one of these curious stone things whilst I had
a listen and got my breath back.  Once bitten, twice shy so
I did a quick ant check first.  A girl can't be too careful
where her frilly bits are concerned.
As luck would have it there was a free exhibition of local artist's
work on in the Assembly Rooms so I nipped in to black my nose
and certainly wasn't disappointed.  These cottages would look
good in a sampler.
I had only managed to take a couple of quick snaps with my
trusty Pentax when round the corner in the picture above came
a very officious geezer who asked me to leave.
When I asked why he said it was in case I was taking
images that I would later reproduce commercially.
My reply, much like the aforementioned images, was
certainly not to be repeated commercially or anywhere
else for that matter as it was a little rude.
Hey, ho.  Time to go home.
Fortunately the ants, much like Elvis, had already left the bus.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

My mo-jo would appear to be back in business again!

In the absence of my nearest and dearest who have all disappeared
off to The Smoke (London) for a few days I found myself
casting around for some amusing diversion to fill a little time
(of which I seem to have plenty these days)
when my eyes lit upon my brand, spanking new, senior bus pass
which was long overdue for it's maiden flight.

I couldn't show you mine - the heels are scuffed.
So clad in nothing much more than my best high-heel sneakers
and with my wig hat plonked firmly on my head I sallied forth
to the bus stop to catch the ten o'clock coach into Norwich.
Now for most people this would be a relatively simple
operation.  Leave the house, cross the road and wait patiently for
transport to rock up ready to whisk me away on an adventure.
All was going well until I decided that I might just take the weight
off my feet for a few minutes and sit in the bus shelter
as I didn't want to overtire myself unnecessarily on my first
unaccompanied trip into the outside world since last Christmas.
 But alas, said shelter had been vandalised and the bench was broken.
Ever resourceful and undaunted, and because it was a nice day,
I decided to park my bum on the steps in the sunshine instead.

I should have listened to Sean's warning
Not many minutes had passed before I sprang to my feet giving
little girlie yelps and clutching at my leggings in an unseemly fashion.
Unbeknownst to me I had sat on an ants nest and had become the victim
of a very nasty dose of "ants in the pants"!

It was at this exact same moment that the bus arrived and I
boogied on board still clutching at my knickers and making quite
a spectacle of myself much to the amusement of the small
crowd of onlookers who were regarding my plight and
sniggering to themselves.  A pox on them all.

Where were you when I needed you?
They weren't laughing quite so loudly a few stops down the
line when some of my little hitch-hikers had gone a-roving
and were climbing the legs and invading the nether garments
of other passengers stupid enough to have sat close to me.
Serves 'em right for laughing.

Stop by again tomorrow for the rest of Julia Rides Again 
as we haven't even reached the bus depot yet.