Another new series, another postbag full of queries arrives at the SOIG... and this time it's 'Landscape Man' that has set off the scribblers
Dear Ms. Sock
After watching Landscape Man we were inspired to rush out and hire diggers to create a canyon in our back yard. Nobody warned us that this was going to cost far more than our allocated makeover budget of a 'Groundforce' £500 OR that the canyons were likely to collapse entombing our next-door neighbour and his cat in a sea of mud and shingle.
Who can we sue?
Dear Mr. Phuquit
I think under these particular circumstances you need to take some responsibility for your own actions. After all it's not like your backyard disappeared under a cloud of volcanic ash.
Shore up the canyons with some chicken wire, plant a few cacti, call it a 'desert garden' and charge people an entrance fee of £50 to view it. You should soon recoup some of your losses.
My dearest Arabella
It would seem my new series has gone down well with only a few voices of dissent from the usual suspects. However, I was slightly stung by criticism that I was talking to the 'unseen person to the right of the cameraman' rather than direct to audience. After watching America's Next Top Model I have been keen to get my 'angles' right in order to display my manly, rugged features and firm chin to their best advantage. I am convinced this profile to camera is my best one but I also want to connect with my audience. What can I do?
My deepest affection to you The Accessible Antonio Badgerass
Dear Matthew (for it is he)
As a viewer I was pleased to see that your face could take a close-in camera shot without being too frightening. I wouldn't worry too much about camera angles as a lot can be done with make-up or a close shave.
I do think that the 'angst' of the situation was a little heavily played on. Remember that Tyra Banks always tells the models to "smize" (smile with your eyes) and a bit more smizing from you wouldn't have gone amiss - after all it wasn't like anyone had fallen off their digger or had a canyon collapse on them.
Dear Madam Sock
Keith Wiley's garden may have been full of flowers but it isn't art and therefore he can't charge £50 for people to look at it.
My garden is a work of art which I created and maintain despite being penniless and having to live on lava bread and bara brith. Yet I am still never given credit for my artistic genius. What do I have to do to gain recognition in my own lifetime?
Yours Doris Bonkers
Er... you could try cutting your ear off?
Best regards Arabella
Dear Illustrious Sock
I watched Landscape Man at Keith Wiley's garden with interest but couldn't help feeling that I would have done a better job at solving Keith's problems. I would have taken a much more patriarchal attitude towards the Wiley's and I would have advised them to get some pigs. There is not much in life that I can't solve with the aid of a herd of pigs about the place. Did I tell you about the bloke with the bi-polar disorder that I helped by bringing on the pigs? Well I suggested to him that.... (cont. pg 94).
Faithfully yours His Organic Jerkinness Lord Monty of Don
Pictures of the recently sighted Scottish Wildcat bear an astonishing resemblance to Spook. Quite how he ended up in Scotland is anybody's guess but he needn't think when he gets home that he will be having fresh grouse for his supper every day!
Normally April is the Socks favourite time in the garden - that moment when the weeping cherry comes into bloom, the alpine bed displays its colourful little jewels like an open treasure chest, the beautiful blues of muscari, the excitement of finding out which tulips I have planted where and the heucheras, so beloved by Nigel Colborn, just beginning to bush back into their full beauty! Just when it was warm enough to venture out and welcome the new season into the garden 'THE WALL' situation happened and today the initial dismantling stages are taking place by Mad Andy and his mate. A very nice gentleman was kind enough to provide the Socks with a recommendation of a Landscape company who will (hopefully) be tidying up and erecting fences at a later stage. Yesterday the Socks armed themselves with pruning saws and secateurs and started cutting down some of their old garden favourites. The clematis'elizabeth' montana has been cut back to a 3ft framework, we planted it twenty years ago when we first moved in and it sprawled all over the neighbours fence doing a good job of hiding that and our crumbling wall. Unfortunately it was the only thing holding the neighbours fence together. Sad that we will miss that one week of splendour when it is a pillowy mass of pale pink blooms. The wall-covering cotoneaster I am less sad to see sawn up for the skip - it was never a favourite The winter flowering clematis 'freckles' will have to be cut down - I am in two minds whether to leave the trunk to see if it sprouts again - the glossy evergreen leaves and flowers look lovely in winter but in summer it is a bit of a mess. Some plants we have dug up and potted to be replanted when the trauma is over, others are left to fend for themselves taking their chances under builders boots, some I have taken the opportunity to dump like a slightly annoying Hebe (the plant not the cat).
Saturday had seen Spook have his second afternoon of freedom in the garden. It would have been cruel to leave him in the kitchen with his nose pressed up against the patio door seething with envy of Hebe and the Socks being outdoors. In any case he has been increasingly wicked during his indoor kitten incarceration and we hoped that he might burn off some of that extreme excess of energy outdoors. Spook's recent evil deeds have included peeing on our bed after he thought my new kitty alarm clock (which miaows loudly when you touch its head or have the alarm on) was an intruder in his kitty kingdom. Spook also got his snout into my shopping bag, hauling out and unwrapping the scrumptious cookie I had bought for the Bedsock, then scoffing it. To add insult to injury the next morning when I sleepily staggered downstairs to make my wake-up coffee, I trod barefoot in some cold, cookie, kittysick! And the endless games of throw and fetch whatever object he has foraged for and has a fancy to bring to me - these include but are not limited to, ear plugs, shower caps, bottle tops, place mats, and his particular favourite which is those small plastic bags containing extra buttons and some matching wool that you get with new jumpers.
Spook's Saturday outing went well and fears of him straying too far outside the garden seemed, for the time being at least, to be unfounded. Luka's death on the road last year has left us extremely anxious and overprotective and for the present Spook is only allowed out when we are there to keep an eye on him. Sunday we didn't fare so well - one minute he was dancing and leaping around the garden after any passing fly, bee, or gust of wind, next he had vanished! For ages there was not a sign or sound of him and the Socks rushed around in a frightened frenzy screeching and searching for him. Whilst standing on the back wall trying to spot him it crumbled under my feet and I slipped jambing my leg in between the wall and trellis, gashing it and covering myself in scratches and splinters as I crawled out. More time passed as we tried to reassure ourselves that he was probably stealing cookies from someone else's kitchen and that he would eventually return. Then a frenzied miaowing started to emanate from behind the shed of a neighbour two doors down. The neighbour (who was out) had put netting between his shed and the back wall to stop cats going exactly where Spook now was. He had somehow fallen down behind the shed was now imprisoned and more than a little spooked! Eventually, of course, he did manage to clamber out but not before I had received more cuts, scratches and splinters fighting my way through the near neighbours 'wild' garden to get near enough to coax him out.
Spook was well pleased with himself after his adventure - the Socks were, shall we say, less so. Both cats are now under house arrest until the wall dismantling is finished. Spook will have to have his full freedom soon but not until our nerves have recovered from this episode.
When the Sock started her bloggywog back in May 2008 her first incisive observations were directed at Joe Swift's Gardeners' World allotment. Even the oldest amongst you couldn't fail to remember the outrage engendered in Messageboardworld by the saga of the 'Couch Grass' Joe rotavated into his allotment and the Sock's prediction for the state of the allotment by 2009!
Followed by Chris Beardshaw's visit to Joe's Allotment in 2009
Now Messageboardworld is again awash with horror at the 'scandalous' news that Joe Swift has quit his allotment!!! Yes, apparently Joe has cleared off, taking his shed and triangular beds with him and this is all that remains. Fellow allotmenteers have noted that Joe refused to take any of the plants with him as the roots would all be rife with marestail. Posters are hurt and confused that all the 'introduce your family to allotment life', 'grow your own veg' and 'make friends with fellow allotmenteers' turned out to be fake. Surely they should have realised it wasn't real as this isn't the first time Joe has been accused of neglect.
Yet again poor Joe is much misunderstood. The Sock has told you all before and she will tell you all again.. these people aren't real they merely exist for the purpose of presenting a TV programme and when they have done that they go back to their normal everyday lives. You don't think the Pope sits around of an afternoon with his big hat and gold robes on when he is watching 'Through the Keyhole' do you? So why would you expect Joe to spend the rest of his spare time digging out marestail on his lottie and eating fresh veg when all he really fancies is some turkey twizzlers and a bag of chips?
The reality is that when the camera stops rolling Joe returns to his day job as er... well the Sock isn't exactly sure.. but he is President of the NGS. This doesn't bode well for him staying on at Gardeners' World where it would seem that retiring presenters get to be made 'Presidents' of various things* in the same way retiring MPs get made Lords.
* Lord Monty of Don got made President of the Soil Association