Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Scents And Sustainability - the Panto Part I

And here we go again.... it's back to Berryfields where all is not well with Alys


Clic for the flic

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Saturday, 20 December 2008

The mirror, the postcard and the wardrobe

R. Pete Free recently blogged about some old furniture she was re-using and the little bits of history contained in the objects and aromas left behind in some old drawers. It reminded me of an absolutely charming find in my Victorian wardrobe bought from an antique shop some years ago. The wardrobe is an enormous satin walnut piece with various drawers and two separate cupboards each with a mirrored door. It was clearly made for a much grander and larger house than my victorian terraced one.

The first time I cleaned it I noticed a little bit of cardboard sticking out from behind the mirror. Easing it out I found the delightful little card pictured above which had obviously been hidden there by a previous owner. The card was a Book Post Card addressed to a house in my area and posted in 1905 - the house is still in existence and would previously have been regarded as a manor house and belong to someone reasonably wealthy. The card, which is slightly larger than a cigarette card, has a halfpenny stamp on it and for this amount of money only the senders name and address could be written on it - in this case just the date 27/10/05 and initials H.J.B. (or could they be a secret love code?)

The card has three cavalier spaniels(?) on the front and was sent to a Miss. H.M. Taylor and postmarked Burgess Hill. It is my belief that it was from a fiancé or boyfriend and then hidden as a keepsake behind the mirror by Miss Taylor - perhaps her family didn't approve!

I have replaced the card back behind the mirror where it will stay but I have also added my own little keepsake - a photograph of myself and the Bedsock signed with love. I hope when this wardrobe has passed on to the next owner that they may come across it and uphold the tradition by adding their own token.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Germinating Gerbils!

The Sock has just returned from a grand day out at Wisley in the company of fellow sock Fat Rascal who has been busy taking advantage of her incredibly valuable euros to stock up on goodies to take back to the remote regions of France! Wisley shop has done well out of this as the Sock felt obliged not to let the side down and delved deep into her credit card in order to buy herself even more Chrimbo prezzies! Did the Sock tell you how much she loved this time of year?

What has this got to do with gerbils you are all asking?

Well one of the Sock's favourite bits of Wizzers is the alpine houses where we saw the delightful massonia pustulata (pictured below) which had a little sign nearby saying it was pollinated by gerbils!! How fantastic is that.


It wasn't clear where the gerbils were though - we checked out the little holes in the tufa rockery in case they were living in there but it didn't appear so. Do they have a little 'gerbil hotel' like the stag beetles have? A shame Matthew Wilson wasn't on hand to answer this question (and many others).

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Life!


BORED!


BORED!


BORED!


TIRED!


HUNGRY!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Cherry Red


I'm not a great lover of Christmas and all its surrounding gimmickry. The falling number of Christmas cards delivered each year is a sad reminder of how this bah humbug attitude has manifested itself over the years as I've neglected to keep up with people via the obligatory exchange of cards. However on my return from Australia I was delighted to find not just a Christmas card but an invite to an old friend's wedding. We lived down the road from each other as teenagers in our original home town of Swansea and despite both having moved to different parts of Sussex have failed to see each other over the last twenty years with every Christmas card promising a meeting that has never materialised.

The wedding invite contained the message "I'd like you to be there as my oldest friend. I've never forgotten that party we gatecrashed and spent the night dancing to the Groundhogs 'Cherry Red'!"

That night must have been something of a teenage epiphany as I also have it photographed in my mind as if it was yesterday - despite the fact that my vision would have been blurred with over-consumption of babycham and brandies, Cherry Bs, Ponys and the obligatory pints of cider. I can even remember exactly what I was wearing.

I have no idea of what to buy for a wedding present so in the interim I thought it would be nice to dig out my old slide photos of us from 1971, scan them, clean them up and present her with an envelope of embarassing teenage pictures she no doubt hoped to forget.

Whilst digging through the archives I found a picture of the dress I wore to the "Cherry Red" party (above). I made it from some lovely floaty Indian silk sari material that had been given to me by a colleague of my fathers. The posy preraphaelite photo was taken at Clyne Castle gardens which remains one of my favourite places ever. I can safely post this picture knowing that no-one would recognise me from it now!!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Health and Safety at Christmas

Yes folks - those loveable Health and Safety dogs are back with a Christmas message for you..

Over to you Mutt and Jeff..

clic for the flic

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Another startling resemblance...


Did anyone else think that the woman who won the somewhat tedious Gardener of the Decade (as in the programme was tedious not the gardeners) looked a bit like Janice Battersby?

Rachella de Thames opened the programme with the line "This is the gardening competition to end all gardening competitions.." so we can only hope this is true.

And when did Sir Toby Tumnus get promoted to "The Nation's Head Gardener?" as introduced by Rachella. Did some election get held in the Sock's absence?

The Sock thought that tall bloke's border was the best of the final three and totally disagreed with the judge who said that aeoniums can look awful when they are a bit wet. The Sock has some thriving aeoniums left outside all year around which look marvellous whatever the weather!

Pffft! To the whole thing.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Up a Gum tree


Another Aussie picture... the Sock hasn't had time (or inclination) to plough through the last five weeks recordings of GW in order to get inspiration for Scents and Sustainability yet.

You may have to enlarge the picture (click on it) to see the various gum wrappers - the Sock favours the pink one.

On the subject of gum... did you know that there are at least 595 different types of gum tree?
Actually the Sock has made that figure up because she can't remember exactly what she was told but it was definitely a lot. One of the reasons the Sock hasn't watched GW is because she is working her way through 595 pictures of gum trees she took on her hols. Surely at least one of them has turned out well!

And on the subject of turning out well - the Sock watched little gardening poppet Chris Beardshaw last night on his Wildlife in the Garden programme. He's a gorgeous little mischievous pixie isn't he?

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The Bradjenerlina Triangle

The Sock feels remarkably lucky that she flew back from Australia before she was entirely sucked in to the Bradjenerlina Triangle never to be seen again.

It all started in Bangkok. In general the Sock doesn't watch TV on holiday other than, as Paul Simon sang, to "get all the news I need on the weather report." Unfortunately, whilst tuning in for the forecast the Sock accidentally caught one of those 'Celeb watch' spots which invariably feature the same few celebs, Madonna, Beckhams, Britney and of course the Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston triangle. After that the Sock was lost and desperately needed to know the exact moment Jolie fell in love with Pitt and why she felt the need to inform the world of this now - other than the fact that they must all be promoting their new films. The Sock might have escaped this addiction whilst it was in its infancy if it hadn't been for the fact that the Bangkok hotel room had a TV in the bath!!


How could anyone resist the opportunity to watch TV in a bath?

So arriving in Sydney jetlagged and unable to sleep what else was the Sock to do but lie in bed watching some overly camp 'Hollywood correspondent' gasp out the exciting details of Jen's displeasure at Jolie's remarks about a marriage she was 'over' years ago. The Socks even watched a movie starring Jolie to see if they could identify the attraction of this weird looking woman. (The movie was called 'Wanted' and featured a loom of doom that weaved out textiles coded with names of people needing to be assassinated. Ha ha!)

However, Bradjenerlina did provide the Sock with some useful conversation openers. The Socks occasionally stayed in "hosted accommodation" (an upmarket B&B concept where all your needs are catered for but you have to dine with other guests). One night our fellow guest was an American academic specialising in foreign policy (or something) who was enjoying a few days holiday before doing a series of invited lectures around Oz. How the Socks laughed at his amusing little anecdote about how he met Fidel Castro. Unable to compete on this level and emboldened by the bottle of wine she had drunk the Sock put the question to the assembled guests "What did they think of the Bradjenerlina Triangle?" Far from a horrified silence the Sock's conversational gambit went down a storm with the hostess becoming increasingly animated in her assessment of the Triangle and Oprah Winfrey's involvement in it. This was fun but in the Sock's view doesn't bode well for the hostesses' ambition to attract high-end American tourists to the B&B - although perhaps celebrity gossip is now the universal language.



The Christmas Kangaroo


The Sock apologises for pulling a post yesterday - she felt the post might offend snooker player Steve Davis. Old Granny Grimblesock was a keen snooker viewer whiling away many an afternoon admiring her hero Steve Davis on TV whilst drinking pernod and black bought from her bingo winnings. The Sock has never understood the attraction of any of that other than being partial to the odd pernod and black during her teenage years.

To make up for the lost blog the Sock was just about to post you a nice picture she took of a kangaroo when by an astonishing coincidence she received the following "Welcome home" link from Jro..

The Christmas Kangaroo

This speaks to the Sock of a collective "blogging consciousness" because she also intended to ask SOIG readers who it was that voted Jackman as 'sexiest man on earth' as mentioned multiple times every morning on Aussie TV.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Sex and Death


A quick browse through blogworld has alerted the Sock to two major issues that have surfaced in her absence.

The first being "What does the RHS do for us?".

The Sock believes she gets reasonable value for money for her membership, enjoys reading the adverts at the back of the Garden magazine and likes the pictures, quite often visits Wisley and it means that the Demented Munchkin can proudly tell all the neighbours "My daughter is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society!" Now you can see why she has the nickname.

There is no doubt however that the RHS does convey a very stuck in the mud image. The Sock just received an email from them entitled "Winter Wonder at the RHS Gardens". How totally unimaginative!!!! Contrast this with the "Sex and Death" offering of the pyramid glasshouse at the fabulous Sydney Botanic Gardens. How could you not want to visit that even when you find out it is all to do with orchids? Fellow bloggers will surely be able to come up with a better offering than "Winter Wonder.."

The second issue is Matthew Wilson's gold lamé hotpants - or did the Sock imagine this? The Sock can't actually remember where she read about these but it is not the stuff of dreams.
Sea of Immeasurable Gravy regulars may well remember the SClub 7 tattoo which now appears to have been covered by said pants.


The RHS seem to be missing a valuable marketing asset here and issue one could surely be solved by issue two.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Hello, hello

Hello, Hello.
It's good to be back,
It's good to be back.
Hello, Hello, Hello...

Did you miss me? (Yeah!)
While I was away,
Did you hang my picture
On your wall

Did you miss me? (Yeah!)
Every single day,
I bet you didn't miss me at all! (Yeah!)
I bet you didn't miss me at all.

As (the now disgraced) Gary Glitter used to sing "It's good to be back!" although the Sock has been awake since 3.00pm as her body clock is well up the creek. Not helped by a 13 hour flight from hot and very humid Singapore which arrived at a freezing and frosty Heathrow at 5.30 a.m. yesterday. The pilot informed that it might be a bit bumpy going over Afghanistan and he wasn't wrong there - the bumps started somewhere near India where apparently there was a cyclone or something going on and didn't actually finish until the plane flew over Germany. The good news being that even the Sock's fear of flying couldn't be sustained for that length of time and she just got used to it but couldn't sleep on the plane.

Although the Sock felt ready to come home and was missing her little fur babies dreadfully the fascination of being back has already worn off. The cats have been remarkably disloyal in the Socks' absence and gave all their love to Auntie Debbie who texted every week to say how happy they all were! Just a little bit of pining for the Socks would have been nice.

Now the impending doom of Christmas is upon us. We pretty much avoided the "Festive" build up with things being reasonably low key Chrimbo-wise in Australia (at least during November) but the last two days in Singapore made up for that. There were hideously overblown tat decorations everywhere in particular down the main shopping mecca of Orchard Road! (The woman in the pink shirt is not the Sock!!)


Worse was to follow! The Socks fulfilled one of their holiday ambitions to have Singapore Slings at the Raffles Hotel. Based on having watched Tenko the Sock had imagined sipping her cocktail in old colonial splendour... rattan chairs, ceiling fans, cool linen clothes and an oriental ambience. What she got was a weak cocktail, bored barman and a loud muzac version of "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" blaring through the bar!

Singapore is a strange place... massive tree planting schemes over the past four decades have created a "green city" overflowing with lush plantings squeezed into every nook and cranny. But it feels false and slightly threatening like an episode of the Prisoner. A feeling added to by the insistence of all the Singaporeans the Socks met talking at length about how wonderful Singapore is, how rich it is, how happy the people are and that this is because "we don't have too many civil rights", "we don't pay people not to work by giving them state handouts", "we work hard and pursue our education" all said implying (in the most charming way) that these are problems that Britain has. The Sock thinks that either they have all been brainwashed or they are genuinely happy because they don't suffer from Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) as they are on the equator and have a dawn to dusk that runs from 7.00am to 7.00pm every day of the year.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens are however a great place to visit with an outstanding orchid garden which made the stopover worth it.

Apologies for not responding to any of the comments made whilst the Sock was away. Access to the internet was limited to two slots of 20 minutes over the five weeks - at least one addiction the Sock was able to train herself off for the duration. Sadly this may have been replaced by an addiction to daytime TV and the Brangelina/Jen triangle!!!!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Postcard from Oz

Greetings Chaps and Chappesses!

The Socks are now staying at the charming little seaside town of Apollo Bay! Unfortunately the weather is somewhat worse than a wet weekend in Clitheroe so we are having to lie in our enormous bed with panoramic views encompassing the whole bay and hills and watch daytime TV! Doesn't look like the Sock will be wearing her swimming cozzie too much this holiday!

We have seen more kangaroos, kookaburras, parrots, giant lizards, fairy penguins and a snake etc. than you could shake a didgeridoo at. Spent 3 days at a wilderness retreat 30 miles into the bush with our own mob of kangaroos for company. The Sock should say this was a luxury wilderness retreat - we don't do camping! Ha ha!

We noticed a garden centre yesterday which was called "The Quasimodo Garden Centre" complete with large and hideous plastic hunchback swinging from the sign. The Australians are so imaginative!

Lots of love to everyone

Arabella

PS. Have not been able to find ANYWHERE that sells TUC biscuits.

Monday, 10 November 2008

The Australian Guide to Organic Gardening

The Socks were lying in their kingsize bed with views directly over the harbour to Sydney Opera House watching breakfast TV when on came someone called the Lazy Gardener to do a slot about organic gardening.

"So what is organic gardening?" questioned the manicured blonde presenter.

"Well organic gardening is when you cut down on the chemicals......... a bit"

answered the Lazy Gardener.

--------------

Lots of love to everyone

Arabella

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Ask Arabella

Dear Ms Sock

In the wake of the Wossell Bwand and Jonathan Wuss scandal the BBC appears to have tightened up their policy on smut.

This includes the deletion of a post on their Gardening Message Boards previously entitled

"Who's been pinching my fat balls?"

not everyone knew the answer to this was squizzles.

Can we hope that this same policy will make Bill Oddie disappear from our screens when he next mentions blue tits?

Yours
K Humble

Arabella says: I am sorry there is no-one here to answer your question at the moment, the Sock is out of the country.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The Sock goes Down Under


Yes the Sock is following in the footsteps of intrepid explorers such as, Matthew Flinders, Captain James Cook and Monty Don. The Sock is going where the Sock hasn't boldly gone before and is off to Australia for five weeks from Saturday. This is the Socks' holiday of a lifetime (so far) and they are doing it whilst they still have enough life left in them to enjoy it. The time for doing 1,000 things gets ever shorter and there is a lot to fit in.

The Socks will be flying to Sydney with a few nights stop-off at Bangkok on the way. After five days in Sydney the Socks will be touring the Blue Mountains and then down the coast to Melbourne and back up to Adelaide before flying home with a quick stop over in Singapore giving just enough time to have a few Singapore Slings at Raffles before the last leg home.

Here is the map of our route the Sock made for the Bedsock..


it was a tad unfortunate that the little joke of putting the shark icons on misfired and now the Bedsock says he won't go in the sea. Nevermind - the Sock loves swimming so he can sit on the beach with the binoculars and check the Sock isn't about to be eaten.

Will you miss the Sock? Don't worry she will be home in time for Chrimbo and the organisation of the Scents and Sustainability Christmas Ball where everything will be resolved - or not as the case may be. There will also be a load of new merchandise featuring your favourite horticultural heroes making ideal prezzies for your nearest and dearest. And obviously more photos of kangaroos than you can shake a stick at.....

The Sock will endeavour to send you all a postcard...

PS. For those of you worried about the Health and Safety dogs, Mutt is now completely recovered from the little spat and Jeff is as contrite as Russell Brand.

PPS. For those of you worried about precious puss-babies Hebe and Luka their Auntie Debbie will be house/cat-sitting them.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Scents and Sustainability Act VI

Over at Berryfields Manor it would seem that Sir Toby Tumnus can't give up on the tickling, giving new meaning to the song "Who let the Dodds out!"

All is not bad news however, Joe has been educating himself and now knows how to pronounce comfrey.........

Other than that it's all gone a bit Schrodinger's cat...

clic for the flic

Friday, 24 October 2008

The Sock's First Garden


Somebody in blogland was talking about their first garden and with yet another pang of nostalgia the Sock suddenly remembered hers. It was a toy called Floral Miniature Garden - the post war plastic range not the pre-war metal one, the Sock isn't THAT old. Many happy hours could be spent plugging tiny tulips and daffodils or even little standard roses into the holes in the plastic borders. How fashions change - would an updated kit contain an insect hotel, grasses and sustainable planting schemes, a barbeque?

The Sock had the shed, walls, various lawns and borders, some trellis bits, various bushes and flowers but best of all the pond with surrounding rockery! Don't remember any of the figures though. Hmmm... come to think of it the Sock didn't have the greenhouse and sadly still doesn't have a greenhouse!

Looks like these are now collectors items - if only the Demented Munchkin hadn't cleared her attic and thrown out all the Socks nicely kept toys!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Viva las Vegas!

A little bird has told the Sock that the divine Darcy of the gardening world has gone and got married! Yes our Heathcliff of the Hedgerows is available no more he has wed in Las Vegas in the
Elvis Chapel...

The Sock is sure that all his gardening friends would like to congratulate him and some of them have performed a little tribute for him....

THe rest of us will just have to check in to Heartbreak Hotel.... Speakers on everybody!!
PS. These videos can be temperamental so if it don't work now try again later.




video

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

You're Everywhere and nowhere Baby - that's where you're at


The Socks visited High Beeches gardens on Sunday to get a dose of Autumn leaves. It was not as spectacular as some other Sussex gardens like Sheffield Park but made up for this by the lack of crowds enabling us to wander around in peace.

On entering the grounds the lady on the reception desk told the Sock "You look very lovely in your hat my dear!". This was enormously gratifying as recently the Socks had bought some new hats from a Brighton shop appropriately called Mad Hatters. On returning home with them Old Ma Sock (aka The DM which stands for Demented Munchkin rather than Dear Mamma) who was staying at the time, quipped "Ha ha - were they giving them away at Tescos?" Possibly not quite as demented as she would have you believe most of the time.


The Sock loves hats but suffers from a slight unease when wearing them. This is quite possibly due to having been bought up in Wales where (at the time) the least a hat wearer might endure would be people singing "Who's the twat in the silly hat?" at you. Or, alternatively, you might just get beaten up.

Luckily things have changed over the years, even in Wales. Now more people than ever are 'out of the closet' hatwise due, in no small part, to trendsetters like James Alexander-Sinclair with his famed collection of hats and Joe Swift with his Indiana Jones hat.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Mutt and Jeff's awfully big new venture...

Mutt and Jeff were excited this week to be given the chance to produce a new video.
Perhaps a little too excited..

clic for the flic

Friday, 17 October 2008

Sweets for my sweet


The Blackfingernail has found a sweetie shop full of nostalgia and those edible necklaces (above). The Sock is dedicating an entire post to this so we can all go down memory lane.

Here are some pressies the Sock found..

For Chris Beardshaw Oh no - they are out of stock already so perhaps one of these no, no definitely one of these I can remember eating them! Ugh!

For Pork Chop

I think this for James

And these for Matthew Wilson

For Fat Rascal to remind her of the homeland

For bubbly Emma

For VP you have done so well with the Open Garden you get these

And last one for Joe

I did think of a good one from the list for Wesley Kerr too but enough sweeties already.

That's no lady, thats..........

As most of you know it is possible to tell how someone has turned up at your blog by checking the words they have googled for. Recently blog viewers have also turned up from having googled images - which is why the Sock took the X-rated pants offline because we don't want to attract the more sundry members of 'all and very sundry'. Sorry to all of you who wanted repeat viewings of the pants. Interestingly the Sock's most googled image is Matthew Wilson's "diehard" impersonation, closely followed by Brian Harvey's"ecstasy garden" for Chelsea 2008. The Sock isn't sure what this says about googling society but it probably isn't good.

On a more cheering note the bloggywog gets plenty of google hits for "i love chris beardshaw" or similar. The use of lowercase throughout would seem to denote a 'young person' or perhaps someone mentally challenged. The Sock automatically puts appropriate capitals in when typing even though it isn't necessary - call her old fashioned.

The nicest recent google has been for

PHOTOS OF SARAH RAVEN THE GARDENERS WORLD PROGRAMME WOMAN LADY PERSON ON BBC2 THERE PLEASE

Ah bless.....................

Every picture tells a story.....

Thursday, 16 October 2008

And now from the people who gave you painted heathers......



PAINTED CORN!

Except in the case of the corn, unlike the hated heathers, it isn't actually painted it just grows in those fabulous colours! The Sock had never heard of it until browsing Allan Jenkins post on the Observer Organic Allotment Blog. Not sure that eating it appeals quite as much though - it reminds the Sock of those little hard chalky pastel coloured sweeties that came on a thread and could be used as edible bracelets.

Pimientos padron


The Socks visited London Borough Market at the weekend. This was a mistake as it was incredibly crowded and impossible to just gently meander around the stalls admiring the produce without being carried quickly away by the flow of crushing bodies around. We gave up and went to the lively Brindisa for a tapas lunch instead.

One of the Socks' favourite tapas is pimientos padron. These are small green chili peppers originally from Padron in Galicia although the Socks first sampled them in a tapas bar in Barcelona some years ago along with the inevitable patatas bravas, well flavoured chorizo and octopus that had been beaten to a pulp by some guy with a club at the far end of the bar. (No doubt that is why the Spanish name for octopus is pulpo.) Happy quantities of alcoholic beverages were no doubt also consumed as we worked our way through the various ciders, sherries and wines on display.

Back to Brindisa and they did indeed have the pimientos on the menu. Fried in olive oil, drained and sprinkled with a good amount of salt and eaten whole the peppers have a mild flavour except for about one in ten being headblowingly hot! This adds a Russian Roulette aspect to the dish where one both hopes and fears that the next pepper will be the ONE. Luckily the Socks got a hot one each so there was no argument.

A few years ago it was pretty much impossible to buy these peppers in the UK except occasionally through suppliers like Brindisa and it seemed that few places outside Galicia could successfully grow them. The Socks did find some at the excellent South Devon Chilli Farm and also bought seeds to grow their own. The Sock's first crop grown outdoors two years ago did well with thriving plants and plenty of fruits continuing into autumn. Whilst the flavour of these may have been a little lacking compared to those grown in Galicia they were not at all bad and even produced a few of the hot ones. By contrast, the last two summers of rain have produced extremely poor results with not enough peppers at any one time to produce a serving.

Perhaps, after all, it is one of these dishes best enjoyed on holiday where the excitement and ambiance adds something special to the experience which doesn't totally translate to having them for supper on a soggy British summer evening. After all, can there be a living person who actually enjoys limoncello outside of their Italian holiday?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Scents and Sustainability Act V

Here we go again.. a poor thing and not even really mine own...


clic for the flic

Sunday, 12 October 2008

LAPCPADPOUB Day


Hurrah! It's LAPCPADPOUB day at last and the Sock knows you have all been desperate to see pictures of her precious pussicatkins. They are both two and a half years old.

So first up my gorgeous, handsome, babe of a boy Luka!



He was named after the singer Luka Bloom who is one of the Bedsock's favourites. He is a big soft, soppy, loving bundle (and so is Luka! ha ha). Luka knows he deserves all the love in the world because he is worth it even though he is a bit daft.

Luka likes catching frogs, Luka loves his food and treats from the fridge, Luka likes to lurk



best of all Luka likes cuddles!


Then there his sister Hebe.


Hebe was named after the "Chris Beardshaw incident" and as it also turned out the goddess of mischief. Hebe is wriggly and jumpy and beebles about a lot. She likes to sleep in the washing basket when it has clean washing in it.


She enjoys catching butterflies, bees and twigs. Hebe is happy to annoy the little dog next door by gloating over the fence at him until the dog goes into a frenzy of madness as she is just out of reach.

Hebe always wants to test the water.


Best of all Hebe loves to sleep curled up with the Sock like spoons.

And now for the bad pome! The Sock hasn't had time to write a new one so here is one from last year when the bad poetry muse struck....

With sincere apologies to Lewis Caroll

The sun was shining on the day
Shining with all his might
He did his very best to make
The garden green and bright
The muddy brown and sodden grass
Was not a pretty sight

The lawn was wet as wet could be
The borders far from dry
You could not see the sun
Because no sun was in the sky
The seagulls screaming overhead
The only birds to fly

Arabella and her Bedsock love
Were gardening in the flood
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of mud
If this were only cleared away
They said, 'it would be good'

If seven men with seven mops
Swept it for half a year
Do you suppose, the Bedsock said
That they could get it clear?
"I doubt it" Arabella sighed
And shed a bitter tear

'Oh puss cats come and play with us'
Arabella did beseech
A little stroke, a little brush..
The cats played out of reach
We cannot do with more than two
To give a hug to each

The two young kittens hurried up
All eager for the treat
The coats were brushed their ears all washed
Their whiskers clean and neat
The only thing that spoilt the look was horrid muddy feet

Arabella and the Bedsock
Worked on an hour or so
And then they rested on a bench
Conveniently low
And both the little puss cats stood
And waited in a row

'The time has come' Arabella said
To talk of many things
Of slugs and snails and vine weevils
Of screeching gulls with wings
And why chasing bees will end in tears
With nasty horrid stings

"Dear cats" said Arabella
You've had a pleasant run!
It's time you left those birds alone!
But birdsong came there none
And this was scarcely odd, because
The cats had eaten every one

Friday, 10 October 2008

Sock's gone to Iceland

Two lines of thought converged for this post.. the first was relating to astonishing sculptures and the second to the current bad financial news from Iceland. Luckily the Socks spent all their money enjoying themselves so don't have to worry about savings as they have none.

A few years ago the Socks went to Iceland for a holiday. It is the most beautiful and awe inspiring place full of nothingness. Miles and miles of no people, no pollution, no plants. The plants that there are, are for the most part a fabulous minutiae of mosses, alpines and lichens. There are very few trees and those that exist don't grow more than a few feet. There is a great Icelandic joke which goes

"What do you do if you are lost in a forest?"

"Stand up."

Or in Beardshaw's case send up a flare.

One of the most fantastic places we visited (and there were loads) was some boiling mud-pots near Myvatn. (Myvatn is an enormous Lake in the north of the country which boasts, amongst other things some Harlequin Ducks which the Socks saw the week before Bill Oddie and film crew arrived and frightened them off!)



Which brings us at last to the point - the Sock took a photograph of some bubbling mud and it seems to contain a natural sculpture. It hasn't been tampered with at all. Can you see it? Clic on the picture to enlarge if you can't.

The Great Cat Weekend Begins....

As a lead-up to LAPCATADOUBY day (or whatever it is called see Happy Mouffetard it is her fault) the Sock thought she would bring this wonderful site to your attention. The sites lead in is

Does your cat look like Adolf Hitler? Do you wake up in a cold sweat every night wondering if he's going to up and invade Poland? Does he keep putting his right paw in the air while making a noise that sounds suspiciously like "Sig Miaow"? If so, this is the website for you...

Cats that Look Like Hitler

OK OK. So everyone has seen it before - the Sock still thinks it is funny! Hah!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

An Astonishing Resemblance!


The Sock knows you won't believe it but she went to buy a kohl rabi to carve into the likeness of Matthew Biggs as requested and found one that already looked like him!!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Scents and Sustainability Part IV

Our players are moving into position....

clic for the flic

Monday, 6 October 2008

The Bad News and the Bad News

The Sock cannot believe how cruel life can be! The Unofficial Chris Beardshaw Fan Club were ecstatic that their untall gardening hero is to be presenting a new Wildlife programme this Autumn. The programme will no doubt be full of hedgehogs and we don't want any jokes about little pricks not when we have a big one on the horizon...

The incredibly bad news.....

Nasty Nick Knowles is presenting it!!! The sight of this man, who always has a slightly unpleasant unwashed look about him, makes the Sock feel ill. Really. To the point where she won't be able to watch it! And the man is ubiquitous these days. Why? Yeuch!!! Totally charmless and unappealing. Why couldn't they get Joe to do it if they wanted another mockney geezer?

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Ask Arabella

Dear Ms. A. Sock

I have been shocked to notice on your sitemeter how many people from the BBC are viewing your blog.

I am incandescent that the British public are funding the BBC to peruse a load of pants! Is this what we pay the licence fee for?

Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells

PS. Where can I get the blue ones?


Arabella says: I haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about.


My Darling Arabella

I am so deeply sorry that you had to see the news on my website that I had kissed 186 people at Britain in Bloom. I didn't enjoy any of it and thought only of you.

It has been so hard keeping my feelings for you deep inside when I would like to shout it to the world. That is why I have been looking a bit depressed recently.

CB, Worcs.


Arabella says: Typical of a man eh? The Sock is the one who is hurt but he's the one looking for sympathy!!


Dear Sockywocky

I accidentally upset all the cat and bad poetry lovers and now no-one loves me any more. How can I make amends with the dear mad cat ladies of the blogosphere?

J

Arabella says: Don't you worry J all the Socks loves ya! In any case we don't want you devoting your time to some pampered pussy when you can come and play with us!


Dear Sock

For years my wife has been telling me I can't have a black bamboo as they are unsuitable for our garden. Now I have read her blog comments and understand that I have been lied to all this time as they will grow in a pot!!! How can I ever trust her again?

The Bedsock

Arabella says: Oops!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Health and Safety III

Yes folks! It's those loveable Health and Safety Dogs again telling YOU how to keep safe in the garden

clic for the flic

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Out in the sun, havin fun and your feelin free


Last weekend the Socks went to Architectural Plants (above) near Horsham to try and find a replacement for the ghastly yucca in the front garden. It isn't really a garden being only about 8ft by 12ft and given over to gravel, grasses, succulents and stones. The Sock feels this design is a bit passé and overdone now but it was relatively innovative at the time of construction. In any event it is astonishingly sustainable being virtually no maintenance and zero irrigation and unlike Matthew Wilson's balcony does have quite a few plants in it.

Unfortunately the Sock took loads of pictures for her blog but was gutted to realised when she got home that she had forgotten to put the memory stick back in the camera so returned there today just to take pictures for you. It's a nice drive and an opportunity to listen to the Sock's favourite Betty Blue (music from the film) CD whilst driving. This always makes the Sock cry and true to form she missed the turn-off due to eyes misted with tears.

Architectural Plants is the best kind of a place and the best kind of people. The reception area is furnished with nice chairs and tables and coffee and drinks that you can help yourself to whilst planning your purchases. Or just to contemplate what you might buy when you win the lottery.


Either way there is no hassle. The Architectural Plants Helpometer spells it out. The Sock thought it was a speak your weight machine so was giving it a wide berth until curiousity got the better of her. You turn the dial and it lights up the various options of what Architectural Plants can do for you, from "a full design service" to "leave you alone to peruse in peace".


We went for the peruse in peace option and wandered into the first large greenhouses full of more tree ferns than you could shake a stick at.


The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful and even the plant labels tell it like it is.


That having been said the Sock is sure that Chris Beardshaw could manage to advise how to kill it!

As we were wandering the Sock heard a little whine from the Bedsock - it is the same predictable little whine as we always get when visiting there "I've always wanted a black bamboo and I'm not allowed to have one". This is true - the Bedsock has been told every time that there isn't an appropriate place for one in our garden but somehow this is the Sock's fault!

In the end the Socks bought some sort of date palm (already lost the label) to replace the yucky yucca, a stripey agave which will replace a boring green one which manages to overwinter outside in the gravel garden and a colocasia 'black magic 'because the Sock saw them at Hampton Court Show and has wanted one ever since.

On the drive back the Sock listened to Gnarls Barkley and later changed the title of this post to one of his lyrics that made more sense!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

People love Pants

Well it has, of course, been a landslide in favour of showing the smutty pants so the Sock isn't going to keep you in suspense any longer! Also we need to get the pants out of the way so we can concentrate on the more intellectual aspects of this blog. Some of the readers out there are quite educated and they must also be provided for.

So first off the NOT Matthew Wilson pants - they are hardly going to show off the S club tattoo!


Then the Sock isn't sure whose pants these are - and isn't sure she wants to know either!


These are the X-rated pants - you have been warned! Also they will open in a new window which you may want to ensure you close afterwards!

clic for the xflic

Monday, 29 September 2008

Save all your kisses for me..........


Bit of a Monday morning catch-up for the Sock. First here is another teaser on the pants front - these are some of the more tasteful ones. The Sock is thinking a pink dahlia design would perfect them. (The designers are Vizeau for anyone wanting to buy some.)

Then the Sock has to say she feels rather let down by two of her favourite bloggers this morning.
First the divine James Alexander-Sinclair has written an article in the Garden magazine. Nothing wrong with that and a nice picture of him too sans hat. But he totally ruins it by saying that some people have too many cats on their blogs! THis is just WRONG! You can never have too many cat pictures.


The Sock then popped over to Veg Plotting to read that a fab new programme is starting up on Channel 4 which might have miniature love God Chris Beardshaw as presenter. The Sock rushed over to Chris's site to check this out but it appears to be untrue. Oh the disappointment!

It did however give the Sock another chance to have a good snout around the site again. The Sock sometimes wonders if Chris is promoting himself as well as he might. Don't you think the photo on the front makes him look a bit odd? The one in About Chris is much more gorgeous. Then he writes in the News Section (September 25th) that he must have kissed at least 186 people at Britain in Bloom 2008! The Sock really doesn't think he should be putting himself about so much.

Also, under the Talks and Events section it says nothing about him doing Stand Up Comedy!

Chris needs a new agent and Team Sock are ready and willing.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Scents and Sustainability Part III

The Sea of Immeasurable Gravy proudly presents

Act III

If you haven't already done so the Sock suggests that you view Act I and Act II first.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Even more adventurous briefs!

In response to Chris Beardshaw's request for "adventurous briefs" at Hampton Court Show this year, Team Sock have been constantly trawling the internet for fancy pants for him. The honourable sock for Belgium, Ms 'O', has sent the Sea of Immeasurable Gravy some of the most X-rated pants you could imagine. Just imagine a 'dong thong' and you are beginning to get the picture. They are from a legitimate underwear company who do actually label these as

Achtung! The following images are of our raciest items so discretion is advised. They are commonly known as "NSFW" (Not safe for work!)
So the question is do viewers want to see these shocking pants or not? You have until Monday evening to poll on the pants question (see right). Rest assured that the Sock cannot see who has said yes or no to the question and certainly wouldn't publish the information even if she could! (Which she can't honestly).

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Tree hugging with Cleve West... UPDATED

The Sock was looking forward to reading Cleve's article Urban Gardner: Feel the Force (sic) in the Independent but for some reason it seems to be about interior design and architecture.

Shurely shome mishtake..?


UPDATE

The article has now been updated (the above link still works) and is very interesting too.
Can the Sock suggest that you all go out and hug a tree today and let her know how it makes you feel and whether it was a Matthew Wilson sized tree (mighty oak?) or a Chris Beardshaw (little acorn) sized tree.

Monday, 22 September 2008

How long is a piece of twine?


The Socks decided to make the most of the autumn sun yesterday and took a trip out to Sarah Raven's NGS Open Day stopping via The Griffin at Fletching for lunch.

The Griffin is our favourite 'lunching' pub combining unfailingly good food and ambience but still retaining the feeling of an inn. In the winter you can sit and frazzle by the log fire in the front bar but for summer weekends a large and very good barbeque is set up in the back garden where you can eat whilst drinking in the lovely views over to the Sussex Downs.

After lunch, top-down on the Sock's VW Beetle (for probably only the second time this year!) we pootled round the Sussex lanes until we found Sarah's place at Perch Hill. Entrance is through the 'cutting garden' which was full of magnificent dahlias and zinnias. Earlier in the week the Sock had asked Fat Rascal if she could identify a flower photo. It turned out to be a zinnia and we agreed we had thought it an 'old fashioned flower you don't hear much about these days' until google images had produced pictures of some rather attractive specimens. The Sock felt much the same about Sarah's collection, some fabulous blowsy blooms, some attractively architecturally sculptured, mostly not things the Sock would like in her own garden but occasionally a very chic specimen that would brighten her border.

The garden 'rooms' led on to an excellent vegetable garden. Lovely rustic obelisks, rows of splendid lettuces, the Socks were feeling more than a little envious so were quite pleased to see that even Sarah Raven's tomatoes hadn't avoided the blight!


But now for the bit you have all been waiting for! The Shopping! Sarah Raven is famed for her somewhat 'overpriced' goodies in her catalogue so it was with more than a little curiousity that the Sock headed for the shop. In fact there was little to buy (sadly no boots at all!) although this didn't stop the Bedsock buying Sarah Raven's 'Garden Cookery' book for £25 to add to his never ending collection.

However look at this... more twine than you can shake a stick at!!


The Sock needs some garden twine after being told off for taking the Bedsock's cooking string out into the garden and leaving it there. This twine came in a convenient and attractive tin with a little hole in the top to pull it through and was only...... £7.50..... Hmmm... perhaps the Sock didn't need it that much and there was not even a cutting edge for the twine as it came out of the tin which would have been handy. Perhaps the Sock should just have the twine refill at ...£3.75..... perhaps not.* The Sock denied herself the twine on the basis she has a nice tin at home she can drill a hole in... but of course she never will.

The Sock had been hoping to give some more entertaining criticism of the gardens but in the event they were quite charming with everything to like. A confusingly crammed, jungly, exotic planting outside the Oast House was quite exuberant.

The gardens seemed much like Sarah Raven's GW persona - slightly eccentric, quirky and far from immaculate but this gave it the feel of a well-used, well-loved 'real' garden and not just a show piece. The Sock's favourite planting was the New Perennial Garden outside the cottage. It was labelled as a scheme for "lots of soft textures and movement in this very enclosed space" and this is certainly how it felt.


On the drive home the Socks gritted their teeth against the cool of the late afternoon and kept the hood down - it will almost certainly be their last chance this year!


* Later investigation on the net found the same twine tins for under £6.00.

It was also with a wry smile that the Sock noted on Sarah Raven's garden website that 'volunteers' are always welcome to come and work in the garden! Can they not afford to pay people?