Friday, 30 January 2015

NEW: Mini-series "The Seven Deadly Sins!

I think it's high time that we had a Long Dog mini-series!
A "blog-set" as opposed to a "boxed-set".
One little post after another of nonesense and
useless information that will quickly build
into a whole collection of nonesense and
irrelevance.  Who's up for it?

I thought for starters that the Seven Deadly Sins
might have some rich pickings.  It was a classification system
for vices used by the early Christian church - they
thought of everything in those days didn't they.
Certainly most of my thoughts are very classified indeed.

Each sin was believed to be a form of "idolatry-of-self"
with some of the lesser indiscretions classed as venial,
guilt for which was a relatively minor affair, and then
there were my favourites - the deadly or mortal variety
which carried the penalty of eternal damnation.

For Latin speakers some sad person with nothing better to do
even invented a mneumonic acronym based on the first letters
in Latin, or course.  Superbia, averitia, luxuria,
invidia, gula, ira, acedia = SALIGIA.
Sounds more like something you might catch from sharing
needles (us stitchers do it all the time).
Put me down for a spot of gula (gluttony) followed by
an acedia (sloth) chaser please.

Would you believe that in Galatians 5:19-21 there was an
even longer list of no no's but somehow the Eighteen Deadly Doings
didn't have quite the same ring to it and never caught on.

Hieronymous Bosch strikes again.
His sin was probably drunkenness as this is very blurry.
In those days they could touch you for - adultery, fornication,
uncleanliness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred,
variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, "and such like"
- which would put paid to most of our politicians in one fell swoop.

Diary note to self:  I've never had a go at "and such like"
perhaps next weekend would be a good time to give it a whirl!

Please don't drop that branch - I'm sure flashing is a sin.

And now, please tell me you didn't see this one coming,
the biggest sin of all would be to miss an opportunity to
treat yourself to The Love of Two Hearts.
Click the link below and quote the promotional code:

Coming soon - PRIDE - we've sold out of Prejudice!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

This will make you laugh

I have finally gone beyond the "pail" with today's offering, leaving behind all the rules and
institutions of English society, which we English modestly consider
synonymous with civilisation itself  The only way to put a stop to behaviour of
this sort is to send me photo's of your work so that I have something else to talk about.
"Bucket" lists, I have decided, are for girlies and have taken the concept one
step further.  Oh yes!  I have now chosen where I actually want to die!

This moment of utter clarity came upon me quite unbidden whilst looking at the
photo's on some old Action for Greyhounds calendars.
Quick digression.  AFG do tremendous work on behalf of unfortunate greys and are
always in need of funds so nip over to their site:
have a quick butcher's and, if you can't manage to adopt then do the next best thing,
buy everything on offer from their on line boutique.  Tell them I sent you.

Where was I?  Ah, yes.  Not about to die but simply considering venues for when the
time comes.  Lots of the stately homes and ancient monuments are quite prepared to fleece
young couples when they offer their premises as wedding venues but, think about it,
it's the baby boomers who have all the money and they will be the next lot to go.

The Guildhall, Norwich
So, commercially this makes great sense and there is a real gap in the market begging to be
filled - the death bed of your dreams.  Simply gather all your loved ones from far and wide
then quietly snuff it or rage against the dying of the light (entirely your choice),
leaving them with the bill.  Sounds like a runner to me, anyone got Alan Sugar's number?
I don't recall there being an age limit for The Apprentice contestants.

After much deliberation I have chosen the Guildhall in Norwich for one very
important reason - they have a greyhound bed!  One last gin and tonic, or three, for
the road for old Granny Long Dog then it's belts off, trousers down, wasn't life a scream?
Next stop St Faith's crem on the back of an old bike  (wouldn't be seen
dead in a hearse - that was a joke Alice) to the accompaniment of Wheels on Fire. 

I had something more like a Harley in mind, this bloke doesn't look
as if he would make it over Ringland Hills.

Sunday, 25 January 2015


Komonders, "What the hell are they?" I asked myself.
I tend to talk to myself in this way when I've made a
new discovery.
Aaaaaah!  This is how they start off.
"What can they be?"  Perhaps they're a group of like minded
people who go around wearing no nether garments for the hell of it
- commando with a capital K.  Or is it the way Her Majesty
refers to her loyal subjects when she's got a cold?
And this is what happens if you feed them!
When I eventually got around to looking it up I made a wonderful
discovery.  They are a breed of dogs which I have never heard of
and which, once they have had a haircut and are out of their
work fur, I could grow to love.  Although Long Dogs
(lurchers, greyhounds, deeries) always have and always will
occupy the best couch in my heart.
Please don't let him sit on me.
They are a Hungarian national treasure although they originated
in Asia and were brought to Europe by the Cumans
through the back door of Turkey way back in the 16th century.
Have you seen the mop anywhere?
A Komonders sole aim in life is to guard.  Livestock, property,
people - it's all one to them.  They are calm, steady and
unflappable and by dint of their sheer size they simply
knock down intruders and then sit on them till someone
turns up to take charge.
You can come out now - he's changed direction.
Like the good old Ford motor they come in any colour so long
as it's white.  They're big buggers - 30 inches to the shoulder
and are covered from tip to toe and all the bits in between
with the coolest dredlocks I've ever seen this side of South London.
And this is what he looks like underneath all that lot.
What more can I tell you?  I'd just like to cry "I'm going in!"
and bury my face in one for an hour or two while the rest
of world spins on without me.
How nice would that be?

Friday, 23 January 2015

The Love of Two Hearts

As promised in my predictions for 2015, the first new
design of the year.  Only four more to go and it will
be Christmas again before you know it!

This delightful little taradiddle is not quite "in your face"
but full of sufficient colour to brighten up even the
gloomiest of winter days.
Can you see where this is going?

Those of you with keen eyesight will already have noticed that
the design is dated 2017. That's because I know how long it takes some
of you to get around to starting charts in your stash.
However, as always, an alphabet and numerals are included
with the design for you to put your own stamp on things.

It answers to the name of The Love of Two Hearts -
how very sweet.  When it is fully grown it will
measure 153 x 197 stitches, so not excessively large
by Long Dog standards, and it will cost you
the measley sum of £12.60 (back in Britain - back in sterling).

So off you all trot, rummage in your handbags, delve deep
in your pockets, raid the holiday fund, peer under
the fridge (perhaps not, unless you're really desperate)
and while you're at it stick your arm down the back of the
sofa, you never know what you might find.

Then, when you've amassed your small fortune, I don't take
shirt buttons or ring pulls by the way, contact me immediately,
any time day or night, and demand your copy of this
hitherto unknown stitching "must have".

Happiness is only a mouse click away!

I will know no rest until I have heard from you.

Other arrangements

With neither dog nor man to keep me warm at nights,
and when the "week ahead" weather forecast warns of icy
conditions sweeping in from the Atlantic on
Friday evening, a girl needs to take serious stock
of her situation and make other arrangements if she wants
to avoid hypothermia at all costs.
I know which one I'd prefer
"At all costs" are the three keywords here.
I don't care if I look ridiculous, besides it's much too
cold for paparazzi right now so no fear of embarassing
photographs emerging that could do untold damage to
my public image.

I don't mind if I feel a little overdressed and cumbersome for
a few nights if the alternative is waking up around 3am
with chattering teeth and a spooky blue tinge
around my lips.
And I'm certainly not afraid of becoming Acle's pop-up
answer to the dearth of fashionista's in Norfolk
in my attempts to keep warm.  Anyway, according to
my favourite reference source for all things "street",
the Urban Dictionary says that REAL fashionistas
don't believe in trends - they set them!
Trust me - this look will be big this summer!
So, last night, I went back to an old trick I picked up in
France at the Chateau.  No, not that one Camilla, I'm still
receiving treatment from the last time I tried it.

I have two, but the other one clashed with my
dressing gown.

I put on my thermal t-shirt (the one with a lurcher on the
front), a pair of red tartan jim-jam trousers followed
by my new fleece dressing gown with hood, which I pulled
up over my Inca dog walking hat and clambered
clumsily into bed.  The two pairs of thick socks were
an afterthought which I deemed to be prudent.
Then Morpheus claimed me!

Hold on boys, I'm just getting my night clothes off!
The next thing I knew it was 8am, the frost on the roofs
opposite was all fairytale and twinkly in the bright morning
sunshine, the temperature under my duvet had gone off the
scale and someone was banging impatiently on my front door.
Hey, ho - no peace for the wicked or the toasty oversleepers.
I had obviously made it unfrozen through another night.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

On-line begging

Kitty, you should be ashamed of yourself demanding an
intimate peep into the dark recesses of the old oak chest.
I thought you'd never ask!
It's by no means full just yet but, believe me,
I'm working on it.
There's still oodles of room for my bead collection,
Granny Hendriks' old button tin which still proudly boasts
a few little Edwardian gems in amongst all the old
boot and shirt buttons and perhaps some lace-making
bobbins which I have my eye on coming up for sale in
an auction in the village very soon!
So much empty space just begging to be filled
- what fun, where's my purse I feel a sudden
recklessness coming on.

Monday, 19 January 2015


I bet today's title had you all a bit worried and wondering what
was coming next, but you have no need to fear.
Given my current state of immaculate celibacy there
is no danger of pthirus pubis attacking my nether regions
either now or in the forseeable future.  Although I'm still
in the market for the odd stray dog so I can't rule ticks entirely
out of the equation.

Crabber on Cromer Beach with his catch.  Yum, yum!

Today, although a Leo by birth, I shall be nipping over the cusp and
likening myself to the good old crab.  In fact Cromer crabs are a
particularly delicious delicacy of this region I now call home.

I feel a certain affinity with this creature because it can shed it's shell
at will and immediately produce another, slightly larger, version
to accomodate it's growing needs.  Now here's where the comparison
kicks in.  I do exactly the same with sewing boxes!

Soon outgrown.

As a child I started out, like most of us do, with an old biscuit
tin, some scissors, a couple of needles and some old threads of
hideous hues which had been passed on because no one else liked
the colours so they were good enough for a wain to play with.

Artist's impression - original long gone.  Hats off, minutes silence please.

It soon became apparent that I was in need of something a little
more capacious and was fortunate enough to find an old folding box
at a jumble sale which I bought with my pocket money.
I later found out why it was going so cheap when my mother
discovered it was full of wood worm and immediately demanded that
it be put on the bonfire before "that beastly child" (me) infests the
entire household.  There seems to be a theme developing here!

Now where shall I put this lot?

I progressed on over the years through all the fashions and fads
- orange plastic (sixties), oak finished Jacobean'ish (eighties),
an entire chest of drawers (1987-2014) until yesterday.

Yesterday I moved in to a detached wooden coffer with no en suite
or cooking facilities. as yet, but I will probably need to apply for
planning permission to extend later in the spring as it's pretty full already!

The Rolls Royce of sewing boxes

Ladies, gentlemen and people who are into wood, may I proudly present
"the old oak chest".  An old silver coffer which started life in the
1800's in the vaults of my father's bank in Knightsbridge, London
and which I have now declared the "must have" sewing accessory
of 2015 for the serious needleworker and her stash.


Friday, 16 January 2015


Are you sitting comfortably?
Good, I feel the need to expound.
Fraktur you'll be glad to hear is not a newly emerged bit of
street slang about to take it's place in the urban dictionary.
Although I think it's rather a shame as it could mean
something like "I've had casual sex with her" or,
if shouted loudly enough by a group of testosterone fuelled
youths "Let's stick it to someone!"
But - as usual - I digress.

Fraktur is, in fact, rather more than a popular European type face
created on behalf of the German Emperor Maximilian.
It is also a wonderful, elaborate, exuberant style of folk art
created by Pennsylvanian German and Dutch immigrants
which saw it's heyday between 1740 and 1860.
That's what I want to bring to your attention.  It grabbed me
so perhaps it will grab you too so let's frak* on!
(*sanitised swear word from Battlestar Galactica -
Google it for yourself if you don't believe me.)
Frakturs, for the most part, were executed in ink,
watercolour or a combination of the two.
As with most art forms a number of different varieties
evolved over the years the main types being entirely written
ones called Vorschriften, and birth/baptism certificates
called Taufscheine.
There were also marriage and house blessings, book plates
and floral/figurative scenes.  Popular motifs were birds, hearts,
tulips, stars and angels.  Sound familiar?
Early examples were invariably hand drawn but towards
the latter part of their popularity printed text became
increasingly popular.
These folksy little artefacts are now much sought after with some
of the rarer examples changing hands on the open market
in excess of $100,000.  One well-known collection was sold
at Pook & Pook Auctioneers, Bownington, Pennsylvania in
2004 for $913,448!!

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
They'd convert rather nicely into samplers with a little effort.
Please excuse me, there's something I just want to try
so I'm going to frak off a bit sharpish.
Ostler, saddle my horse immediately.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Shawn Lovell - smith

Take a degree in graphic design from Arizona State University
and one in sculpture from the College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland,
California; heat them in a smithy and what rises phoenix-like
from the flames is the raw and rather wonderful talent of Shawn Lovell.
Caution - woman at work!
Shawn established her metalworking studio in 1997 in Alameda, California
and hasn't looked back since, using her centuries old craft to
create beautiful, contemporary pieces which would grace any home.
Stunning, and very naturalistic, garden arch
Her work is a ferrous smorgasbord encompassing everything from
railings to curtain finials, lighting to hat trees with a lot of other
goodies in between for good measure.
Gwyneth Paltrow's bed in her Manhattan apartment
But it's her amazing beds that do it for me every time.
They're really magical and I'm sure that if only I could get under
the covers I would come across a second secret entrance to Narnia
besides the one in the wardrobe that everyone knows about.
Perpetual mistletoe?
You'll light up all year round when you kiss
under this.
Forge ahead my woman, does Wayland know about you?

Monday, 12 January 2015

Nothing really changes

I've been making a final effort to sort through
the last few bits and pieces, otherwise known as my miserable
possessions, that made it across the
Channel to my new roost here in Norfolk.
However I haven't got very far as I'm easily sidetracked.
In my old portfolio from art school days I came
across a whole collection of yellowed and crumbling
"magazines" for French embroidresses dating back to the
late 1800's and early 1900's which I picked up for a song
at a Parisian marche des puces (flea market) yonks ago.
It wasn't so much the content that grabbed my attention
as the small ad's on the back pages that fascinated me.
Although if anyone needs a pattern, now well out of
copywright, for a cutwork violin cover they need
look no further as I have one!

It would appear that nothing much has changed and that
women back then were also concerned about their wobbly bits.
It would also appear that, without danger and with medical approval,
it would be possible to develop a round, firm, well-developed
bust in two months simply by popping a few
"oriental pills".  Seems that some of them were just as gullible
then as we are now where our bosoms are concerned
- heaving or otherwise!  Although after a couple of those pills
you probably would be.
I suppose it would be rather difficult to make many modifications
to the good old sewing frame except perhaps to cast it
in light weight titanium but inflation seems to have played
havoc with the price over the last century.  I wish now that
I'd stockpiled a few when I had the chance.  You will see below
that they're still banging on about their breasts (rather than
beating them) and have even moved on to beard removal for
good measure.  Thank goodness I cut of the bit about retards.
If you ever wanted to rubber stamp your pantaloons and them embroider
them then this little "necessaire" contained everything necessary
to do so.  To hell with my pantaloons I say,
let's stamp our breasts and get them tattooed, it's
all the rage this century!
I have, in a previous post, already mentioned the rather seedy sounding
method of transferring a design on to material called "prick and
pounce" much favoured in the seventeenth century.  Well now
here it is again transformed into a machine and yours for
a magnificent 130 old francs + 10 old france p&p.
I shall order one immediately if they've still got one in stock.
This is the one that really slayed me. 
Look no hands!
It's a nifty, light-weight mirror which, due to it's
ingenious disposition, can be used instead of eyes
in the back of your head to examine not only the
state of your chignon but also - wait for it -
the aplomb of your vestments.
I simply can't follow that so I shall bid you all a good
day and continue with my tidying up.
I wonder what they'd have made of Botox?