Sunday, 31 August 2008

Monty Don and the Naughty Words...

After reading the Grauniad interview with Monty Don the Sock has had to change his moniker to His Sustainably Sourced-Locally Jerkinnness as it seems dear Monty is falling off the organic bandwagon. Unfortunately the Bedsock has put the kybosh on further jokes about the article as he regards HSSLJ as a kindly uncle figure and won't hear a word said against him. This translates as him telling the Sock "Say anything nasty about that nice Monty Don and I won't cook you dinner!"

It did strike the Sock though that either the stroke had caused a mini Tourette's syndrome in the Don or that he hoped the bad language would make him more accessible!

Friday, 29 August 2008

You've been Framed

The Sock is not well - please send chocolates, cake, a bottle of Talisker and sympathy in that order to the Sea of Immeasurable Gravy. Imagine the poor Sock's shock, when she hauled herself off the couch (where she had finally started watching the entire recorded series of Damages) to find that it is possible she is being framed for the murder of Brother Toby Buckland in the continuing saga of Midsommer Berryfields!

Shome mishtake shurely! The bit of knicker elastic is clearly a plant.

The Sock has her theories about whodunnit and believes the Village Idiot clearly fits the profile!

clic for the pic

It is also possible that Colonel Don isn't dead! Is this His Organic Jerkinness braving the crazoids on the BBC boards (message 33)? Or is it just a sock?

The Sock's twin step-sister Hermione Snufflebum is coming to look after her.. where is the Black Fingernail when you need him?

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Hot Pants

This really will, probably, be the last blog about pants for a while.

Before setting off for his two week, no doubt rain-soaked, holiday the mysterious Black Fingernail emailed the Sock to say "I can't believe it's been three months and you haven't mentioned your pants on the blog". Well just for you BFN the Sock is mentioning them now as by coincidence she was sent a link to a relevant news story about ethical panties! The eco-friendly knickers in question are made from bamboo and soy and the Sock can only hope that they fare better than the paper knickers the BFN refers to.

Many years ago Ma and Pa Sock used to take the family travelling around Europe for a month or so every year. Pa Sock liked to drive and would think nothing of leaving our home in Wales and doing a circuit down through France and round Spain and Portugal with myself and Bro Sock fighting in the back of the car for five weeks. This particular incident must have been in the late 60s when paper knickers suddenly came into fashion. Ma Sock felt these would be a great boon in saving washing as they could just be used and thrown away.

The Sock was thereby wearing a pair of said knickers when the Sock family endured another long drive up through France on the return leg of our holiday. Unfortunately the combination of heat, sweat and vinyl car seats caused the Sock's knickers to disintegrate so by the time the afternoon rest stop had been reached all that was left was a bit of elastic with some small scraps of paper clinging to it. It being the 60s the Sock was also wearing a somewhat short dress which would only too easily have revealed the truth to an astonished French onlooker.

Pleas for Pa Sock to get some more pants out from the boot of the car were met with "The blasted suitcase is at the bottom of the bloody boot and I am not getting the whole bloody lot out to get her some blasted knickers." Consequently the Sock remained locked in the car whilst the rest of the family went to find a cafe - somehow as usual, the whole charade was her fault!

These days, of course, the Sock would probably have been able to report her parents for child cruelty but equally one hopes that these days ethical pants are a bit more practical.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Dazed and Confused

David Beckham has a lot to answer for - if it hadn't been for him the Sock would have watched the Olympics. Too many times the Sock has involved herself emotionally in watching sport only to have the euphoria of victory turned into the slough of despondency by the actions of 'sportsmen' like Beckham. So not wishing to take part in the pre-ordained misery of defeat in the Olympics the Sock didn't tune in - only to find too late it was a medal-fest for the Brits.

Having denied herself the rest of the Olympic spectacle the Sock finally felt that at least she should watch the closing handover ceremony. What a joyous representation of Britain that made - X-factor Lewis, an ageing rocker, some performance artists and a pretty little girl chosen by 'Blue Peter' viewers. Let's hope it wasn't another 'Socks the cat situation' then or we will be accused of what good old hands-in-suit-pockets Boris called a 'switcheroo' when referring to the Chinese substituting a prettier girl for the minger in the opening ceremony. Not withstanding all that the Sock was still moved enough to squeeze a few tears out - and there is no doubt the rest of the world seems overjoyed to see Beckham even if the Sock is not!

One thing confused the Sock greatly though. The choreography of the handover ceremony bore an astonishing resemblance to a promotional video for Chris Beardshaw that the Sock had designed for his application for the ill-fated Britain's Next Top Gardener job.

Speakers on everybody....

Monday, 25 August 2008

Bonjour tristesse

Fat Rascal guest blogs from France

It's that time of year, not quite the end of summer but the duvet is back on the bed and the apéro is better taken indoors.

We've just had a warmer summer than most and I am truly grateful. No drought, no heatwave, no endless rain and blight and just one (welcome) guest.

Peter Mayle wrote about it better than I could in "One Year in Provence" but when we first moved here we did seem to spend most of our summers driving backwards and forwards to Rodez airport while the washing machine went into overdrive coping with sheets and towels.

People who were happy to forget us for 10/12ths of the year would ring up at the start of the school holidays and ask what we were doing in July or August.

You don't NEED visitors in the summer, you need them in January and February when cabin fever sets in and you realise a week has passed an you've only spoken to each other or the checkout girl in the supermarket.

Visitors bring their children too. They don't want to go and see the piggywigs or go raspberry picking in the forest. They take over your computer to check their e-mail and facebook, they take over your telly to watch cartoons or plug in their games console. There is even an in-law who takes over my car and ejects all my Robbie Williams CDs. Unforgivable.

You find yourself getting hot and dusty at the go-cart track or driving the service vehicle along the river while they are canoeing - children must never be allowed to be bored in the country! If they're French they don't like anything you cook and if they're English they don't like anything they're served in a restaurant.

So this year has been wonderful. I've been able to take a full hour to water all my pots in the evening without the pressure of catering or laundry. I could wander out in the garden with my coffee in the morning, still in my dressing gown and wear my very disreputable but oh so comfy holey shorts!

Just another couple of weeks now and visitors will be welcome again! Even more so if they come bearing jars of Marmite and boxes of tea bags, a pile of books and the impression that they've come to see you and that's all they need!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Fiddle diddle dee diddle dee, said the fiddlers

The Socks went to see Seth Lakeman in concert at Arundel Castle on Friday night. For those who haven't heard of him Seth is a very fine folk fiddler embodied in a rather gorgeous young man. The Bedsock would say rather more about his music but that is enough for the Sock!

Sitting out in the field below the castle and gazing up at the ramparts above the Sock was reminded of other visits to Arundel. Some years ago the Sock's took a visiting Bulgarian academic professor for a "cultural visit" to the castle. Christo was amazed and horrified by the gorier details of mediaeval punishments gasping "the English are barbarians" when the Sock explained what being hung drawn and quartered meant. The Sock thought this was something of a cheek as she had never thought Bulgarians of yore were that big on human rights.

Christo was the most totally adorable man. Despite some dark periods in his life including serving in the army and even (at that time) the hardships of life for his family in Bulgaria, he was completely in touch with his inner child which made him a soul mate for the Sock. Christo had improved his English by attending a language school in Oxford where he had been taught various quite inappropriate phrases by fellow students a practice built on by his colleagues at Sussex.

One morning Christo turned up at my office saying "Hah Arabella, I am going for a slash!" (Christo invariably preceded his statements with "Hah".) "I don't think that is quite correct Christo, if you are going to the toilet it is polite to say 'I am going for a Jimmy' which is rhyming slang for Jimmy Riddle/Piddle". "Oh no, Christo" a passing research fellow joined in "you should say 'I am going to shake my snake'". Christo happily repeated all these phrases to himself picking up more from people as the day went on. His finest moment came when he suddenly stood up at an important meeting of 'high-level' people and with his brown eyes and gold tooth flashing announced "Hah! I am going to point Percy at the porcelain!"

Christo remained incredibly trusting that everything he was told was correct - despite massive evidence to the contrary. He once came to me asking "Hah, Arabella my little sweetie-pudding - I must take some food for a buffet what should it be?". "How about you make some snot sandwiches and some earwax pie?" I replied "Ask Doreen for the recipes." Sometime later Christo returned from having asked straitlaced Doreen. Waving his finger at me in admonishment and flashing his gold tooth and laughing eyes he said "Hah, very naughty Arabella, very naughty!"

Friday, 22 August 2008

Let me entertain you...

No the Sock isn't going to entertain you today. She is just going to direct you to the BBC Gardening site which is quite amusing this week.

One of their suggestions for the Bank Holiday weekend is to build a rustic bench!!! What is it with the Beeb and rustic benches? Two pieces of tree stump and a plank - well two planks actually, one for the bench and Monty Don as you will find out when you play the instruction video. Presumably Toby 'Tumnus's effort at rustic bench building wasn't up to scratch!!

If that doesn't appeal to you then spend the weekend making a hoggin path or weaving an obelisk.

So that's your jobs dealt with. Then we turn to the next slot the...wait for it... ethical gardening slot.... the Sock doesn't know about you but she can't wait to spend the weekend getting ethical in the garden.

Then tonight we are getting a Gardener's World special starring Rachella. And guess what Rachella is going to show us? How climate change is likely to affect roses!!

Bored already...

Another way to entertain yourself is to type into google searches for Chris Beardshaw fan and Chris Beardshaw pants and see how high in the search listing the Sea of Immeasurable Gravy is. Ha ha ha!

UPDATE: This is awful. Whilst the Sock is winning on the googling Chris Beardshaw pants front, and is 25th listing with Matthew Wilson pants the Garden Monkey has beaten her in the googling stakes with

Cleve West pants
Joe Swift pants
Monty Don pants
and just pipped the Sock to the top of the league for James Alexander-Sinclair pants

can this post address this problem and put the Sock back in the running for Gold?

Oh no... further googling reveals that the Sock is top of the league for Toby Buckland pants but
the Garden Monkey has scored an own goal with top billing for Christine Walkden pants!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Whose pants are these anyway?

To gear us up for the forthcoming bank holiday wet weekend here is a little game for everyone to play.

The clue is in the title. Each one of these pants relates to a "celebrity" gardener. Please put a name to the pants and give your reasons for your answer. You are also welcome to post links to your own pants question.

Pants 1.
Pants 2.
Pants 3

With two cats in the yard...

It must be time for more pictures of the Sock's cats. Above is Luka. As you can see he is a real badass cat! The Sock believed that he was the floppiest, cuddliest, silliest cat in the world and has been worrying as despite our urban terraced environment there is a family of foxes live locally and at least one follows the cats route up along the back of the gardens. Sometimes the fox stops in front of the shed to admire the garden before going on his way. The Sock has been fearful that the fox will see this great big ball of fluff and have a go at him!

Yesterday Luka dropped down from his afternoon kip on the shed and started ambling sleepily down the garden in the hope of a nice treat from the fridge when suddenly he ran back up the garden behind the shed and a fox bolted out from the other side with Luka in hot pursuit! Having seen the fox off his garden Luka then continued to strut back down the garden as if nothing had happened!

Luka was named after the Bedsock's favourite singer Luka Bloom.

And this is his sister Hebe helping with the ironing. Hebe was named after an incident with Chris Beardshaw.

Hebe is curiously obsessed with snails and can often be seen with her head stuffed into one of the urns scattered around the garden checking for them. Once sighted she hooks the snail with her claw and then hurls it across the garden with all the skill of a discus thrower!

And this is two cats in the garden - it is sunny so it must have been taken last year!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Health and Safety I

Team Sock make Health and Safety accessible...

clic for the flic

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The Ethical Song

Much as it pains the Sock to think about it we will have to give Toby 'Tumnus' a theme tune.

Researching - or more accurately skimming round the various blogs and articles about his appointment - has obviously bought up the word ethical more than once. In fact if you can force your way through a blog by Adam Pasco you will find that Toby is currently making a Gardener's World special on the 'Peat Issue'. Groan. Doesn't your heart just drop.. Is anyone still so far gone enough to be using peat - apart from Peter Seaburk?

Toby says

"I'm a very practical person, and a practical gardener".... I've gardened professionally as well as in my own back garden, so I have a wide range of views, opinions and experiences to share".

So what have we got now, Ethical, Practical. But wait for it.... all media buzz words go in threes so what other little linguistic gem will we have thrown at us.

Toby 'Tumnus' is in fact accessible!!! The Sock had always thought this was a word reserved for disabled toilets and wheelchair ramps. But no... the new Gardener's World lead presenter is also accessible. The Sock takes this to mean that GW will now be so dumbed down that even the most slow-witted of couch potatoes can follow it. It will form part of one of those much loved government initiatives to make us an ethical recycling veg-eating nation guided by the likes of Jamie Oliver!

Pasco's blog goes on to say
Having spoken to our colleagues at BBC Birmingham I know that a lot of audience research was undertaken prior to reaching the final decision.
And then totally ignored. Or was the research undertaken with daytime TV watchers of the smaller cable channels?

It would have been so good if Toby's theme tune could have been 'Girls just want to have fun'.

Monday, 18 August 2008

It's all too beautiful....

Yesterday the Socks visited the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Gardens. On a previous visit several years ago we had been totally enchanted but this time was even more glorious. Hidden away in a little Surrey valley the Gardens are so discreetly advertised that it would be only too easy to drive past the entrance almost hidden in the cool depths of the roadside trees and bushes. In fact, the Socks only found out about their existence at a Design Exhibition in London and they don't seem to have entered the consciousness of the 'general' garden visitor at all. Perhaps this is because everyone wants to keep this little secret to themselves so the gardens remain peaceful and quiet. Or maybe people think it is just about expensive but absolutely fantastic sculptures. For the Socks the entrance fee is more than worth it just to wander through the valley of adjoining ponds and streams, lush green gardens. multi-textured vegetation and masses upon masses of giant rhubarb leaves forming their own organic sculpture. The kind of place you dream of exploring as a child, the gardens have a wistful resonance with the Sock as she grew up with similar woods to play in - now sadly covered with an endless vista of houses.

One of the most inspiring things about the gardens is the way that the artwork and nature flow into each other so effortlessly. Every corner rounded, every glade entered, every long vista encountered holds some new and exquisite piece that made the Sock feel breathless with excitement. Some subtly woven into the tree and poolscape others complimenting it but each so carefully and precisely placed as to make the most of both sculpture and surrounds.

The Sock has posted photos of some of her favourite pieces below but nothing can capture the feeling of seeing them in situ. You really DO need to be there. Clic on the pictures to enlarge. The trunk with glass fungus sculpture (below)was one the Sock would have liked to take home - assuming she had circa £5000 to buy it. A rare ray of sunlight pierced the tree canopy and lit up the glasswork for a heart stopping moment..

Ghostly wisps of glass rise from the undergrowth so different from the sometimes garish Chihuly glass the Sock saw at the Kew exhibition a few years back.

The Bedsock's absolute favourites were the ethereal beings of a very fine metal mesh shaped into the form of winged women. They swung gently from the branches of the tree and could be espied from a distance through the woodland where just catching a movement and form you could not be sure of the reality. Again clic on the picture to get a better idea..

An enormous metal sculpted head lies sleeping under the trees.

To our delight - but less so to the garden's owner we also saw a mink swim up stream and clamber out onto some rocks. The owner pointed out that he couldn't kill them but that they were a nuisance and killed the water voles and other small creatures. We were told that kingfishers frequented the gardens flashing up and down the stream and owls lived there too.

And last the Socks saw this sculpture which bears an uncanny resemblance to Toby 'Tumnus'!!

If it hadn't been for the fact that J A-S had informed us all that Toby had a small but intimate piercing not evident on inspecting the statue - we would have said it was a ringer!

If you are interested in seeing more photos of the Sculpture Gardens clic here

Sunday, 17 August 2008


Some pictures of my current favourite Heuchera for VP. With my usual lack of organisation I have lost the name of it although a quick google leads me to believe it is 'Mocha'.

Now VP - does this convince you that it is not a nasty gingery-dog-sicky heuchera?

The other heuchera is lime rickey. Some of the leaves get a bit bleached out in summer but over winter the brightness of the lime lights up a dull corner of the garden.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Walking on the Beaches picking up the peaches

Even through the haze of her Saturday morning hangover the Sock still managed a wry smile at the following article in the Grauniad

A walker stumbled across the remains of what is believed to be a 3,500 year old tribal chieftain whose burial casket was protruding from a beach in north Cornwall. (The walker).. said "I found a front tooth and another piece of bone and I looked to see where it had come from" and found a stone casket.
The article goes on to say "Archaeologists carried out an emergency excavation of the site".

Yes! That was probably because they were worried that seaside scavenger Toby "Tumnus" Buckland would turn up and haul the lot of to Berryfields to decorate the borders! How ethical would that be a 3,500 stone casket used as an alpine trough! (Hmm.. probably rather attractive though).

The cause of this mornings hangover was an evening of jolliness where the Sock and Bedsock laughed for ages over an hilarious new wheeze for the bloggywog. Sadly neither of us can remember now what it was..

Dullas - the Soil Wars Saga

Dullas 1 -   Soil barons ball

Dullas 2 - It doesn't get much more dull than this

Dullas 3 - The Fight for Ewing Soil

Dullas 4 - Balls, Bling, and Boils

Dullas 5 - Hedging Bets

Friday, 15 August 2008

We are Sooooooooooooooo over it!

The Sock has got her hat on
Hip, hip, hip hooray
The Sock has got her hat on
And she's going out to play

Yes people! Today is Party Day and the sun is shining! We start with Veg Plotting's Open Garden and continue to Emma T's Emsworth Show.

Veg Plotting's virtual Open Garden will be open until 21st September but if you are nosey like the Sock you will want to be one of the first in.

Emma's show will run until the overly competitive entrants get out of hand and start throwing rotting vegetables at each other - or when all the cake runs out.

It's all in aid of WaterAid so make sure you wipe the dust off your credit card and make a donation!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Bye Bye love

As you might imagine the Sock has been desperate to find some small consolation in yesterday's horrible news.

There is none. We have a man with no theme tune who looks like everybody - Monty, Jean-Luc Picard, Art Garfunkel and Tony Parsons. And believe me none of it is in a good way!

The Sock believes that even the gardening world is not attempting to put a brave face on it (except for the Sun who boasts that Peter Seaburk tipped everyone the wink a couple of weeks ago!).

Check out this article from the Telegraph was there ever anyone so damned as to be described as "he has all the attributes and experience, albeit having gained it on some of the smaller channels." or my favourite Carol Klein who said she could offer "no opinion" on Buckland's appointment. The Sock knows exactly what Carol meant.

But the person who comes out of this worse is the Sock herself! How is she supposed to work with the image of a man who looks like these people? She had hoped for the pleasure of working with a divine gardening god not a smirking satyr!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


Sock Enterprises would like to bring you a brand new modern take on a commemorative Toby Jug in celebration of the winner of Britain's Next Top Gardener. Retailing in the shops at £59.99, Sea of Immeasurable Gravy viewers will be able to order it at the special price of £3.50 or bogof offer of
£7.00. + P&P

Please note as these Toby Jugs will hopefully be a very limited edition you should buy now whilst stocks last.

Weed it and Reap

Could the BBC not afford Benny from Crossroads?

The Sock is declaring a period of mourning until she comes to terms with the news.

Gardener's Got Talent

It seems that today we are likely to receive some bad news and some irrelevant news and a whole load of gardening celebs will now be auditioning for Strictly Come Dancing.

In order to cheer us up and to demonstrate his talents we have a little video from Chris Beardshaw. You really MUST have your sound on for this...

Thank you Chris for coming to us in our hour of need.

NB: (There might be a problem with Blogger so if you can't play the video now try again a bit later.)

The Sock would like to thank members of the Sockerazzi and the Unofficial Chris Beardshaw Fan Club for contributing pictures. Absolute dedication to the cause.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Watch with Arabella

clic for the flic


Dear Arabella

I am really, really upset because I was like using a hedge strimmer on Gardener's World and now people are saying it was like really, really dangerous an accident really, really waiting to happen and a bad example. I mean they are sort of going to report me to the Health and Safety Executive because I was like wearing a loose, flimsy, blouse and I like didn't sort of tie my long and luscious hair back out of the way. Now I really, really don't know what to do.


Arabella says: Dear Alys, You really, really need to get a grip. You should like tell them they are all being really, really sexist because no-one complained about Matthew Wilson with his long hair when he used a chainsaw - although he was like wearing really, really tight trousers!

Dear Arabella

I'm not really interested in my garden and just use it as a storage facility for other peoples plants. However, for a small fee I agreed to do a slot for Gardener's World about it. Now people are saying it wasn't worth the effort and the garden was small and boring. Frankly I would rather have been on the allotment myself. That's not the point though is it - who are these people to criticise? What right have they got to be bored? It's not like they got a gold at Chelsea is it?


Arabella says: Dear Chelsea West. Sorry I fell asleep during that bit so can't comment.

Dear Arabella

After six years of training at RADA I finally got a job on Gardeners' World as Joe Swift's off screen friend at the allotment. People only ever get to hear my voice! I am worth so much more than that and could do a better job than the other presenters.

How can I get the BBC to appreciate my acting skills and give me an on screen part?

Arabella says: Dear Mark, it is Mark isn't it? There is only room for one idiot at the allotment and this role has been more than adequately filled. Pretending you don't know what an entymologist is isn't moronic enough. Can I suggest that with your acting skills you might be more suited to pantomime? Or is that what you think you are doing now?

Dearest Arabella

I was deeply hurt to read on a messageboard that Scotsman Ken Smartarse had called me an insufferable fop in a silly hat!

How can I get over this?

JAS xxxxx

Arabella says: Don't you worry James we've sent Jimmy the Sock round to give him a Glasgow kiss. We all loves ya and your hat!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Olympics - Bored already

The Sock has found a dearth of inspiration for gardening posts this week. Has the muse finally left her after the 10,000th viewer turned up at the Sea? Or is this just the usual August garden malaise - that vacuum between the summer hopes of July and the resignation of September when we know it has gone already. Thank goodness for the Emsworth Village Fete and Veg Plottings Open Garden to cheer us up but what we really need to know in August is who is the new 'Best in Show'.

In order to while away the hours of lethargy the Sock tuned into the Opening Ceremony for the Beijing Olympics. There was an absolutely awe inspiring performance of millions of Chinese drummers all dancing and drumming in perfect uniformity even their expressions were the same. Except when they zoomed in close to the line up on line of identical performers you could see that one, and only one in the thousands, was out of sync! It was a joy to see really as he even had a great big grin on his face and looked like he was right out there giving it welly! It did occur to the Sock that he was now probably for the chop in a somewhat literal sense.

Whether the Sock will watch any more of the Olympics is unclear. The diving is alright and the new pole-dancing event should be interesting but the Sock ain't holding her breath...

Thursday, 7 August 2008


The Sock has been busy checking her files for sockerazzi pictures suitable for entering into The Emsworth Village Show best pictures of a gardening celeb section. This runs in conjunction with Veg Plotting's Open Garden Day a lovely idea all in aid of Water Aid.

This picture has already been in the public domain but it still makes the Sock laugh!

clic for the pic

Cricket update

After much tossing, turning and general worrying before finally drifting off to a thunderstorm filled sleep, the Sock finally came to a decision last night that the crickets would be taken to the local park today and released into the bushes thereby living happily ever after. This would mean that any further baby crickets found could be lobbed into the same park bush as their parents.

Because the Sock is all heart she got out of bed last night to go outside and ensure that the lid on the Loctite box was loose so that they wouldn't all suffocate overnight. Imagine her dismay this morning to find they've all scarpered!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Jiminy Crickets

The Sock is looking for a home for some speckled bush crickets. Five of them have so far been rounded up from her pots where they appear to have trashed the leaves of the new acer palmatum nigrum and had a jolly good nibble at the hamamelis 'diane'.

The Sock is less concerned about the damage done to the aeonium schwartkopf (above complete with cricket). Each year the aeoniums get invaded by those horrid little fast-moving incredibly wiggly caterpillars that are nestled in spun together leaves. The caterpillars make for the centre of the aeonium and eat that thus performing a pinching-out process that makes the aeonium spout multiple flowering heads on the stem below, creating a much bushier plant. As the Sock can't bring herself to damage the rosettes these caterpillars perform a useful service so possibly the crickets will too. They have definitely been eating something in the aeonium because there is now a little pile of cricket poo in the centre of the head.

What to do with the speckled bush crickets now they are throwing themselves around in the Loctite box like crazed Mexican jumping beans? They are a protected species so its not like the Sock can just stamp them out and anyway they would crunch. Do you think Matthew Wilson would like them to keep his stag beetles company? The stag beetles won't eat them will they?

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Ready, Steady, Die..................

The Sock sees that TV chef Anthony Bogroll Thompson has been trying to poison people again - and this time not with his food! Thompson (who has no redeeming feature and outranks all in the gardening celeb world on the annoyance factor scale) advised the use of henbane as a salad leaf thus exposing readers of Healthy & Organic Living magazine to the possibility of a Crippen-style death. Thompson had of course meant to recommend fat hen an edible weed. An easy mistake to make, a mere slip of the tongue and one could argue that anyone daft enough to follow Thompson's advice had it coming.

This brings the Sock to another concern however. It is by no means the first time that misinformation has been printed in a magazine or book. The Bedsock wasted a load of expensive food ingredients following one of Marco Pierre White's recipes only to discover that there was never any chance of it working as the quantities had been printed wrong - this was far from an isolated incident. We understand that with many of the 'coffee table cook books' the recipes printed aren't given the rigorous sort of testing you get from Good Housekeeping.

How many mistakes are printed in gardening books either through misprints or general misinformation? The Sock herself fell foul of an untallTattongoldmedalwinner when he gave the wrong pruning information on a TV programme thereby causing the early demise of one of her favourite shrubs. Bogroll-Thompson is not the only killer out there!

Monday, 4 August 2008

Out to lunch...

The Sock and Bedsock like to lunch out in Brighton so we were pleased to find that Aldo Zilli had opened a new gaff opposite the Brighton Library (a building which when opened won a Design Award but sadly lacked books!).

We invariably share our dishes - not because as the Sock once romantically suggested that if we got food-poisoning we would both die together (this theory didn’t work with the shared Plateau de fruits de mer when the Bedsock got the duff oyster and was incredibly ill). It is because by sharing nobody misses out if one dish turns out to be somewhat better than the other. It also gives us chance to be more adventurous and whilst in France one might have a safe option of Lapin à la moutarde the other can try out a Fromage de tête de veau knowing that if it is truly vile we will both still get half a decent meal. Luckily both of us know never to order andouillettes as there would be a distinct possibility that the plate swap would be off.

It was with plate swapping in mind that when lunching at Zilli’s we started with a shared Calamari Fritti Serviti con Salsa di Maionese e Basilico and then ordered a Spaghetti all’ Aragosta (lobster spaghetti pictured) and Filetto di Tonno con Caponata Siciliana, Capperi e Olive for mains. Zilli himself served us and admonished that the lobster was so good we would not want to share it!! For a moment we froze... and I knew that the Bedsock was remembering the “Lobster Incident”.

Many years ago we stopped for lunch at the Walnut Tree Inn near Abergavenny which was run by the Bedsock’s first food hero Franco Taruschio. After a fabulous starter of vincisgrassi (a pasta dough filled with porcini, parma ham and topped with shavings of truffles) our mains were a Brodetto and a Spaghetti con sugo di Arogosta . The Sock had the lobster first. It was divine, there was a more than generous portion of sweet and succulent welsh lobster topping the sauce coated spaghetti. The Sock devoured her half and then swapped plates with the Bedsock leaving him to finish the remaining ................... spaghetti. The Sock, in the belief that there was plenty more lobster hiding under the spaghetti, had inadvertently eaten the lot!

The crumpled face of disappointment on the Bedsock was heart-breaking to see. Nothing the Sock could say or do could make it up and it was clear the Bedsock believed she had done it on purpose. It became known as “The Lobster Incident” and the guilt of it has stayed with the Sock over the years. In future she would err on the side of generosity and always ensure she ate less than half of each swapped plate leaving the Bedsock the best bit!

Aldo Zilli’s lobster spag was also delicious as was the rest of the meal and it is good to find that at last there is a decent Italian restaurant in Brighton.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

It's Allotment time again....

The Sock is sure that viewers must have noticed that Joe was eating a strawberry mivvi at his allotment party on Friday's GW! We're convinced it was a little acknowledgement to The Sea of Immeasurable Gravy..

So in return, here at The Sea... we are going to acknowledge Joe's hidden talents....

clic for the flic

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Problems with the Bloggywog

There have been some problems with people accessing the blog using Internet Explorer - it was fine with Firefox. After deleting and reposting several of the latest posts (thereby losing all the comments - sorry!) it turns out to have been a problem with the sitemeter.

Other bloggers with sitemeters may be experiencing the same problems.

Abnormal service should hopefully have been resumed.

All on hold at the Beeb

by the Seas raving reporter the Black Fingernail

The Sea of Immeasurable Gravy has been entertaining salacious rumours that BBC plans to announce the new lead presenter of GW at the beginning of August have been shelved. Apparently the BBC can no longer afford Matthew Wilson, Chris Beardshaw or Carol Vorderman after being fined £400,000 for phone-in and competition scams. MW was offered a drop in salary to 10% of the original offer of £1 million a year, but declined to take it as he felt it wouldn't even be enough to cover feeding and housing his stag beetle collection.

The BBC are looking for a quality but budget price presenter to take on the role. It is once again believed to be looking outside of the gardening community given that the past two presenters have come from established media roles at Pebble Mill and the Holiday programme. Sources not very close to Roly Keating, BBC2 Controller, suggest that the current front runner is said to be the BBC Radio classified football results announcer James Alexander-Sinclair.

Of Cream teas and cloggies

Earlier in the week people begged to see photos of the afternoon tea the Sock had at the weekend. Unfortunately the Sock doesn't have any photos having realised from experience that one's mind needs to be focussed on the event - not the photography. In this case a moments diversion snapping away and the best cakes might have been grabbed. So the picture is of a similar sort of cream tea.

Most of you will have realised in life that something wonderful happening will always be balanced out by something bad in order to maintain equilibrium in the world. If you are lucky the something bad will happen to someone else. Unfortunately in this case we were well paid out for our gluttony by stumbling across that most English of weekend spoilers - Morris Dancers leaping about waving their handkerchiefs and sticks in the air!

But wait a minute can we see some familiar faces in this peculiar male-bonding ritual? I think we had better

clic for the pic

Oh dear!