Frog Rock's Bessie falls
for Lurgashall's Chudleigh
SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia
Chudleigh (third from left) and some friends
Bewitched by the magic of the Internet, Bessie, a happy-go-lucky blue heeler
Australian cattle dog living at Frog Rock, in the Central West of New South
Wales, has fallen hopelessly in love with Chudleigh, an aristocratic black dog
who's the mascot of talented English artist Jacquie Lawson's
multi-million-dollar e-card enterprise.
"That pommy dog Chudleigh is my knight in shining armour," she confided to
her closest human friend, my son Ian. "I suppose he'll write me off as a silly
Aussie bitch." That observation is probably correct. The two are poles apart,
you might say.
Chudleigh is featured in many of Jacquie Lawson's delightful e-cards. I've
sent hundreds of them to friends around the world for several years. One of
their best features is that, unlike most "free" e-cards, they carry no
"Jacquie Lawson is a prim English woman of a certain age residing in a
country cottage in the village of Lurgashall in West Sussex," we read on a UK
website (we suspect Jacquie must have written those words herself. Who else
would be so ungallant as to describe her in those terms?)
"Jacquie has become famous for building and selling classic-looking flash
greeting cards. Her cards stand in sharp contrast to the garden variety put out
by Blue Mountain, eGreetings, et al. Jacquie charges $8 per year for membership
and does not have an ad model.
"Jacquie is a regular at the Noah's Ark pub in Lurgashall."
Seeking further details, we found this rave review signed by M.A.L.:
Virtually everyone who has ever received a card
created by Jacquie Lawson has kept a warm and fuzzy spot in their hearts
long after the card was first received and read.
Learning about what motivated the author to produce
the first Christmas card and the wonderful people who assist Jacquie Lawson
in this effort is a delightful teaching and learning experience, which
started for me with a visit to Chudleigh's page. [Chudleigh] is a chocolate
Labrador and found in many of Jacquie's delightful cards.
Malcolm Caird, Chudleigh's human friend, is one of
the wonderful people who keep things tidy at the company located in
Lurgashall village, along with Beverley Pask-Hughes, Mike Hughes-Chamberlain
and Sally Lisney. Taking the time to read about these good folk, will make
receiving a Jacquie Lawson card in the future an experience which will be
even more meaningful.
Hmm. We have a sneaky feeling that Reviewer M. A. L. might be Malcolm
Jacquie's website says:
Back in the year 2000, when Jacquie drew her first
animated Christmas e-card, she did so as an artistic and technical challenge
- and for a bit of fun. She sent the e-card to several friends who in turn
sent it to several friends ... and she soon became inundated with requests
for more from around the world.
To cover the enormous running costs of a site which
has to support hundreds of thousands of downloads a day, we ask for a very
small annual membership fee, which permits you to send as many e-cards as
you like to as many people as you like.
We don't aim to compete with the big e-card sites
which have dozens of artists and hundreds of e-cards. This site is always
going to be limited to what one artist can achieve, especially in view of
the complexity of these holiday e-cards, each of which can take several
weeks to create.
We started the site in February 2002, and so far we
have 85 e-cards in the collection, including a variety of Christmas and
You can see some great photos of Jacquie and friends by clicking on the third
link listed below. She's definitely NOT "a prim English woman of a certain age."
OK, so this is where we have to come clean!
Chudleigh is not in fact a chocolate Labrador as implied in all the
cards. He is in fact a Chocolate Labrador x Springer Spaniel. Deepest
apologies to all those Labrador fans out there ... your favourite Christmas
pin-up is not what he seems!
But apart from his little white chest, he has
most of the attributes of a Labrador, including the ability to chew his way
through a farm gate in about ten minutes flat.
Chudleigh was born in
Lurgashall eight years ago. His father is a Chocolate Labrador, and his
mother is an English Springer Spaniel. Fortunately, he has inherited the
best traits of each breed. He is highly intelligent, exceedingly sociable
and very easy to train, having learned how to 'track' from puppyhood.
"Chudleigh"? Well, there's a town in Labrador, Canada, called Chudleigh, and
another one in Devon, England of the same name. And it seemed like a good
doggy sort of name, really!
-- From Chudleigh's
DISCLAIMER. I have never spoken to Jacquie, nor was I paid to write this
story. I just love her artistry and bubbly personality, in the same way that
Bessie loves Chudleigh.