Thursday, 13 May 2010

Virtual Reality at Malvern

The Sock has been in something of a blogging malaise this year or perhaps just a general one.  There has been little inspiration for blogs and then when inspiration has come a lack of impetus to blog them.  Although blog viewing figures were quite high the Sock imagined that most of them were googlebots, random viewers or people coming to see the most googled image from the bloggywog which for some unknown reason is the one of James A-S bearing an astonishing resemblance to Jim Carrey in The Mask.

The garden blogosphere itself has seemed subdued with less comments and the feeling that the Sock was blogging into a void. Was the Sea of Immeasurable Gravy all washed up?

Then Malvern!

The Socks arrived on Thursday night to get an early(ish) start on the Friday show and stayed at Treherne House.  Not cheap but lovely room, excellent breakfast, friendly owners and not far from the show ground.  Slightly stuffed from our greedy devoural of "a full English" the Socks arrived at the show ground having time for a quick peek at the Plant Marquee before catching the first 3menwent2mow performance.  Whilst it is always a delight for the Socks to be together there is a slight problem with plant purchasing. The Bedsock is invariably drawn to those plants needing damp, shady, woodland conditions (and there were a lot of gorgeous ones of those at Malvern that the Sock loved too!).  There are only so many times he can say "Can we have one of these, Arabella?" to be told "No - they won't grow in our garden" before the Sock can't bear the look of disappointment on the Bedsock's face and gives in to a plant that has no hope of making it in our dry, sunny, chalk soil.

Despite telling the Bedsock to avoid any plants on a stand with damp ferns, logs and moss (a strong hint on the growing conditions front) we ended up with a beautiful pleione and a sarracenia carniverous plant which the Bedsock is convinced will eat all the flies in our greenhouse.  The Sock has no great hopes for either's survival.

Before we had even done two aisles of the Plant Marquee it was time to join the massing crowds in the Design Theatre.  As the Bedsock went off to get some hot coffee to warm us through the Sock noticed a little group of familiar faces and despite a previous intention to just lurk in the background the draw to introduce herself was irresistible and the Sock unmasked.  A good decision.

The Three Men show with Jekka was fun.  Why three men messing about like naughty schoolboys on stage is so entertaining is difficult to explain - Jekka talking about herbs is always going to be a winner.

We emerged from the physical and mental warmth of the theatre to the bitterly cold show ground.  The Socks managed to buy a garden bench which was on their 'planned purchase' list.  Nearly got mown down by Princess Anne's  protection squad in their black windowed cars. Caught a glimpse of a few show gardens.
The Sock saw the one below and thought of YOU (you know who you are!!!!!).

Felt gutted by the absence of Chris Beardshaw. Bought loads of seeds from Jekka's stand. Said hello to Jooles at Heucheraholics. Had a rather nasty cheese and ham crepe from one of the food stalls. Froze.

Watched the afternoon performance of 3mentwent2mow painting botanicals and narrowly avoided bidding in an auction for the 3Mens pictures (proceeds to NGS Charity which Joe Swift is now president of).  James' winning 'painting' finally went to the Man from Dobbies who actually coughed up over a 'ton' for the picture but we all knew he was really bidding for the hug!

Ha ha! The Sock got her hugs for free!!!!

The Socks had fully intended to nose from a distance at the blogger's meeting tent but again couldn't resist the temptation to say hello and turn virtual friends into reality.  We were rewarded with meeting yet more of the créme de la créme of the blogging world. It wasn't just the pleasure of meeting everyone - so many people wanted to meet the Sock and said they loved the bloggywog!!! The Sock's posts weren't going out into a void - there were real and lovely people out there who enjoyed them.  Most thrilling of all was meeting the two American ladies Gail from Limestone and Clay and Frances from Faire Garden - who, despite the fact that they don't receive our TV programmes and surely can't make out what is happening with all the 'in' humour, said they loved my blog!! This meant so much - it makes all the work the Sock puts into it worth while.  Whilst the main purpose of the blog is to provide the Sock herself with some interest and amusement there is also a huge reward in finding that other people share in that too.

Sadly our meetings were all too brief no time to chat enough, no time to see all the show gardens, no time at all for the crafts marquee..  Next year we may plan our Malvern Show visit over two days and we will pray that the weather is somewhat warmer for us southern softies.

But the best bit of the day for the Sock came when the Bedsock told her "I am really, really, proud of you and what you have achieved with your blog!"  Sometimes blogging seems so very, very, worthwhile..


patientgardener said...

It was fab to meet you and Bedsock, lots of people said how nice it was that you made yourself known. If I, madly, have a party again next year you must come. Garden bloggers are a very friendly bunch though apparently dull and illiterate!

Ms B said...

That has made me feel warm all through.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

I was so happy to meet you -( I think you may have gathered that) and of course The bedsock too.

No, you are not sending your bloggywog out into a void I enjoy every post - although my comments never seem to be as fun or as witty as your posts.

I do think we should get the health and safety dogs and Mrs Grumpy together - they could have a ball!

Lots of virtual hugs

Carrie said...

I've been reading! My hubby was also heard to say he was very proud of me and my blog - maybe not the best and the most well known but I do try x
I was at the show on Friday too - loved the 3 men went to mow!

Ryan said...

Was fab. to meet you and I wish I had more time to chat. I'm sure there will be a next time though. Which bench did you buy? I really liked the plain oak benches for sale behind Debs garden.

I was tempted by the Pleione stand but I somehow managed to resist.


fairegarden said...

Oooh, what a thrill it was to see the secretive Ms. Sock in person. And yes, even though some, most, all? of the inside jokes on the bloggywog sail right past us, the writing is superb. I always read but am too intimidated to comment, but do understand the Bedsock's desire to own and grow those lovely woodland plants. May they live and prosper in Sockland.

Victoria said...

If the Bedsock knew how many times you had made me snort with laughter on a stressful day, he would be even prouder of you. If I don't comment, it's because I'm convulsed with a fit of giggles xx

NewShoot said...

It cheers up my day when I see there's a new post to read on your site. Even if I don't always comment, I read - and laugh at/with - every one.

Claire, Plantpassion said...

Your bloggywog isn't going into a void as I have been reading and lurking and laughing for a while, sorry I didn't get to meet you at Malvern, I also think I need 2 days next year

Simon said...

I rather regret having remained semi-anonymous; we would have dearly loved to have met you and Mr. B Sock. But in a way the mystery makes your blogs that much more intriguing

Chelsea or Hampton Crt ?

HappyMouffetard said...

Oh Arabella, a new post from Madame La Sock will brighten any day. I count it as one of the highlights of the show to (briefly) meet you and the Bedsock. And I'm sure Cleve will treasure your review of him, oops, I mean his painting. It certainly made my day!

Arabella Sock said...

Awwww... all the nice comments have made me cry - what a sentimental Old Sock I am!

It really was fun meeting you all -

Karen, I think we could do a great collaboration although the person I met at the show seemed a long, long way from Mrs. Grumpy to me!!

Carrie, I think 3men set the tone for a load of laughter and mischief and help make the gardening world the fun and sexy place it should be.

Ryan we bought a 'love-seat' to replace our old one which disintegrated. Sort of thing that you need to see in reality as some that we had thought looked OK on the web were rather naff in reality.

Frances - thank you. It was great to meet you and Gail too. I think a lot of my posts are quite difficult to comment on unless it is one of the more chatty ones about my cats or garden. I read a lot of blogs too and don't comment on most of them it would just take forever - although perhaps I should try harder as it really is always such a pleasure to get comments.

Simon - I would have loved to meet you too. The fact that the Sock is 'anonymous' did make it a difficult decision to 'unmask'. Also the worry that Arabella is far more interesting than I am! LOL

Everyone else - thank you. I hope to see those of you I met at Malvern again and hopefully put some more faces to names in future.