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


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..?


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?

Saturday, 20 September 2008

I say, I say, I say.....

What's the difference between hay and straw?

Haven't a clue? Neither has the Sock. And neither has Joe apparently as he put the wrong one under his pumpkin! "Hay will not protect the pumpkin from wet as it has different properties". The Sock quotes you directly from the BBC messageboards so it must be true!

Yet again the Sock is at odds with the general feeling that GW was a little boring this week! It was rich with comedy material and the Sock and Bedsock laughed all the way through. Although this might have been possibly because they started a little early with the apéros (Fat Rascal advises that apéros shouldn't be taken before 6.00pm but perhaps this changes to a bit earlier when the evenings start to draw in.) It was noticeable that Toby tried to ingratiate himself with the ladies of blogworld by planting heucheras although he may find that the 'caramel' can look very washed out and ropey but then so often pansies do too.

It was a shame on Thursday that Channel 5 felt obliged to put some ghastly sport stuff on in place of Doris Bonkers, Laurence LB, the bloke whose name one forgets who seems pleasant and Laetitia MyleeneKlass-alike. The Sock was looking forward to seeing two nice gardens trashed by Doris B. whilst jumping up and down and hissing "too many plants". Apparently Doris has a sign up outside her Veddw Garden saying

excuse the weeds, there are only two of us here.

This information was again taken from the Beeb boards and the poster went on to say "if the weeds were removed there would be very little to look at".

And in a week with a dearth of gardening programmes the final insult was to be sunk into the sofa all tucked up with the cats ready to watch Corrie only to catch the end of the magazine-style programme the One Show with the awful Christine Walkden droning away on it! The Sock does hope she is not going to become a permanent Celebrity Gardening fixture on this programme otherwise we will have to ensure that the TV is not turned on until all danger of her appearing is passed.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Scents and Sustainability Part I

The Sea of Immeasurable Gravy is pleased to bring you their new production....

clic for the flic

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

I say, I say, I say - my wife's gone to the botanical gardens..

The Sock seems to have had a lot of visitors who have googled "Sock Toby Buckland". Whilst some of the more discerning gardeners might agree with that sentiment it does seem that most people seem to think that he is very nearly Geoff Hamilton.

Clearly people were desperate to know the Sock's verdict on Tumnus but having finally watched the GW from last Friday the Sock must disappoint her audience by having nothing to say at all. Although it was only half an hour the Sock fell asleep several times and had to keep rewinding.

Let's face it - the guy is never going to do well in stand-up if he can't even tell a joke! Not that the show was without comedy moments (more on those later in the week) but they didn't really include Toby. He definitely needs a better scriptwriter.

Here is a joke he could end the show with next week

What is yellow and smells a bit of bananas?

Monkey sick.

These Boots are made for Walking.....

The Socks weekend away continued after the RHS show with a nice lunch at Paul in Covent Garden. Paul is a french bakery with loads of outlets in France and now some in London as well. If there was one in Brighton the Sock would go there every day for daily bread - then wouldn't be able to resist the lovely patisseries so perhaps it's just as well there isn't one.

Then the Socks went to see 'Spamalot'. Although the Sock had heard good reviews of this musical based on 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' she wasn't sure whether the Python humour would be overly dated or just too silly. In the event it was more than too silly, it was absolutely ridiculous and the Socks laughed all the way through. The Sock believes that a morning of sunshine and afternoon of laughter have done more than the acupuncture in shaking off the damp induced virusy feeling that has pervaded the whole of August.

A few cocktails and a meal at Amaya Indian restaurant and the day was done leaving the Sock to feel that all that was needed was a bit of horticultural retail therapy to complete the weekend.

Sunday found the Socks at Petersham Nurseries near Richmond, a charming place with huge glasshouses full of an eclectic mix of distressed furniture (there must be a bad joke for the Black fingernail there) and artefacts and an extremely good cafe and restaurant as well as plants. The Sock had drooled over various heucheras at Solva's sweetie stand at the RHS show. Someone has been very clever in the naming of heucheras. Tastebud tickling names like chocolate ruffles, key lime pie, plum pudding and from Solva's show selection the eminently drinkable Southern Comfort ensure that they are objects of desire. Unable to purchase plants at the Show the Sock made up for it by buying a heucherella burnished bronze at Petersham.

But the best bit was the Sock found the treasure trove that contains Sarah Raven boots!
Look at that! More boots than you can shake a stick at and then more boots after that!

The Sock went into a happy panic vacillating between the joyful red, the alarming turquoise, the rather smart khaki, the discreet blue... until the Bedsock turned up and burst the bubble of pre-purchase euphoria by saying "And when do you think you are going to wear them?" Men!

Denied her boots on the grounds that she couldn't think of a good enough answer fast enough the Sock's continued their journey homewards via Wisley, or via Wisley shop to be more specific.

And this is where we return to the question asked by R. Pete Free regarding the Matthew Wilson caryopteris.

Those of you not suffering from short-term memory loss may remember that Matthew had left a label on one of his balcony plants (the said caryopteris) and that it appeared to have cost a mere £2.50. Notwithstanding the discount no-doubt offered to those big in the RHS this did seem remarkably cheap and the Sock remembered the badly photographed label as saying £9.50. At the Wisley shop something deep and subliminal drew the Sock to a display of caryopteris cland 'first choice' although this probably wasn't the same subliminal something that drew an astonishing number of bees to it. The upshot was that the Sock paid £9.50. for one which actually seems somewhat expensive and this is Matthew Wilson's fault too.

The Sock still hasn't watched the new Gardener's world 'hero' Toby Tumnus - how long can the awful moment be delayed?

Monday, 15 September 2008

Parmesan Custard with Anchovy Toast

The Sock has spent a delightful weekend in London and the title refers to Rowley Leigh's famed dish at the Café Anglais where the Socks dined out on Friday night (instead of doing her duty and reporting on GW). The Socks fortified themselves for the busy weekend ahead with champagne cocktails, said custard, grouse (which was well gamey!) and suckling pig washed down with more than a few glasses of wine. Marvellous.

Saturday morning and a few coffees and the excitement of the Royal Horticultural Society's Flower Show at the Inner Temple to look forward to and the hangover and digestive trauma soon wore off.

The Sock was very much looking forward to the Balcony displays designed by various celebrity gardeners and that fellow who used to do the Blue Peter garden. Unfortunately they were pretty rubbish really with one notable exception and one complete tragedy.

The former was loveable grandad Peter Seaburk who presented a luscious balcony with vertical planting no doubt soaked in plant enhancing chemical products which had clearly worked a treat.

But then tragedy!!!! Someone had stolen all the plants from Matthew Wilson's balcony leaving only two lonely sparsely filled pots!

Worse was to follow when the Bedsock spotted that whoever had nicked all the plants had left a price label on the caryopteris!

Still the good news was that the lack of plants made the balcony design even more sustainable!

More cheering news was found in the show tent - a lovely display of pink cactus dahlias bought to mind gardening poppet Chris Beardshaw. If you look closely at the picture or click on it to enlarge you will find they have named a pink dahlia in his honour!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Money makes the world go around...

The Sock visited Lewes today which despite its proximity to Brighton is an entirely different universe. Lewes is an attractive, historic county town populated by academics of the wealthier kind, alternative therapists, folk singers and old people amongst others. Some of the old people are quite vicious but not as bad as those that live in Hove. Unlike in-your-face Brighton which wears its crassness proudly on its sleeve, Lewes hides it it under a thin veneer of ever-so-slightly-smug civilization. It is known for being home to Thomas Paine and having a somewhat weird obsession with the Pope and bonfires. The inhabitants lend themselves to the description 'the good burghers of Lewes'.

It is against this background that a new currency has emerged - the Lewes Pound! This is apparently an attempt to boost the local spending on the local economy and is in the Sock's opinion a marvellous idea.

The Sock has created her own bank note for the Sea of Immeasurable Gravy but it occurs to her that the scheme could be more widely spread by creating our own currency within the gardening world. Matthew Wilson on a fiver would bring even more joy to spending money on the garden. Chris Beardshaw on the small change.. the possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Health and Safety II

The Sock was fascinated to read that the lovely Alys Fowler has written a book!! Yes she has! It is called The Thrifty Gardener and is a real book for grown-ups. In it Alys describes how we can save money by raiding other people's skips. (Not in Brighton actually - the trick here is to wait until dark and then put all your rubbish in someone else's skip so they pay to get it taken away! Ha ha!)

The Health and Safety Dogs have something to say on the subject..

clic for the flic

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Monty Don and the little pricks

Monty Don has written about his week for the Sunday Times! It bears an uncanny similarity to the Sock's - we both went to see an acupuncturist and had cranial massages - although in the Sock's case the latter is better known as a head massage. The Sock has her head massage at the hairdressers where it induces a state of euphoric drooling which makes the Sock feel better about the world for a short period of time thereby increasing her feeling of health and well-being. This did not happen with the acupuncturist.

Don says "have been having regular acupuncture and cranial massage... for the past six months. I don’t care how it works. It just does." The Sock has been having acupuncture on and off for years and is not as convinced. It seems to work for localised pain and inflammation like back-ache or a specific ailment. As far as treating more amorphous virus type afflictions it is difficult to tell. However the acupuncturist is always good for a laugh because he is a Grade 'A' conspiracy theorist!

The acupuncturist left his role as an NHS doctor some years ago due to his general antipathy towards the system and the belief that he actually wanted to help people get better. This means that with a bit of clever manipulation the Sock can get two diagnoses out of him for the price of one. First the Sock will lure him into a discussion about what a "chemical" cure for all this might be and then agree that clearly one should never pollute one's body with pills and that we just need to "get the damp out" which is usually something to do with the liver. The Sock takes the same view on acupuncture that she does on organic gardening - it is all fine until you need to blast the vine-weevil with provado; acupuncture is good but sometimes a convenient little pill is 'gooder'.

The Sock has passed many a happy acupuncture hour waiting for the little needles to channel the energy appropriately whilst joining the acupuncturist in a rant against the world. Unfortunately, this week the topic was a little alarming. As the Sock sunk down in the comfy chair prepared to give the litany of health complaints the acupuncturist suddenly jumped up and with some dire urgency said

"There is something that I have to tell you!"

This was somewhat alarming and the Sock assumed that there was a death sentence involved for at least one of us.

"The microwaves emitted from mobile phones are scrambling our brains and bodies"!

(The Sock already knew that and like Monty Don would be happy not to have to make another phone call ever again. The Sock never uses her mobile phone because she doesn't know how to and only carries it in case the car breaks down at which point the battery has always run out anyway.)

"Ohmigod!" I gasped, not wanting to let him down in his moment of glory.

"Yes, it isn't just mobiles it's cordless phones - you must get rid of them and you don't have wifi do you?".

Eek! The wifi question came up when the Bedsock installed it and he reassured me that there are less radioactive waves coming off it than from an... er... radio.

"These things are destroying our brains and the government knows but isn't telling us."

The Sock was by this time convinced.

At the end of the session the acupuncturist had sorted out a load of papers printed from slightly dubious web sites all informing of the impending doom of mankind due to microwaves or whatever. These were passed to the Bedsock who binned them but the Sock still has a slight worry that it is all true.

Monty Don closed his article by saying

"The best food and ingredients, preferably organic, should not be the exception or for an elite but be readily available to everyone, every day. "

This at least is true and the Sock had to buy herself a bottle of Baileys and some nice organic chocolate cake in order to maintain her equilibrium.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Now is the winter of my discontent....

But dear reader there is no need to be sad!! You too can look forward to winter with a brand new hot water bottle from the Sea of Immeasurable Gravy's new product range.

All bottles are made from naturalish and ethicallyish sourced products mostly located within 15 or so miles of YOU!

Top of the range bottles made in best quality faux fur are

The Silver Sublime is the Roll's Royce of our hot water bottles. Classy, witty, smart and totally delectable you will all want to take this one to bed with you!!

The best things come in little packages and our Chocolate dream is no exception! Charming, soft and emminently strokeable you will want to cuddle this tiny bottle close to your heart.

Unfortunately the Big Huggy hot water bottle is no longer available.

The Budget Range

Redhead in Bed is our new arty hot-water bottle - absolutely geeooooooooooooorgeous!!!

It's a wrap! For those of you with slightly fishy tastes and plastic fetishes.

The Novelty Range

First up we have Pink Piggy - not to everyone's tastes - press this one on the nose and it squeals "Choo Choo" or "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee"

Duckella - this is no duck to float in your bath. Take it to bed and it gently emits a smell of roses all night! Quack! Quack!

Oh dear! How did that get in it's disgraceful. Somebody at the SOIM will be sacked for this!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Ain't no sunshine....

The Sock has been quiet in a week that should have offered some inspiration from both C5's offering of "I own Britain's top... Garden" and Rachella digs a border. There appears to be a common consensus that the former was OK but suffered from the usual tacky judging format and the latter was just a bewildering waste of time. The Sock only watched Rachella in the hope that the border would turn out to be as ghastly as she expected from a peculiar combination of roses and grasses. Ultimately, the pleasure of scoffing at it was denied when only a fleeting glimpse of the developed border was shown. There wasn't a laugh out loud moment in either show so either comedy standards are slipping or the Sock's seasonal affective disorder has started earlier than usual and it is already time to get the SAD light out.

More cheeringly was this article the Sock found today from a male mad cat lady! The Bedsock has already ordered the book.

And whilst browsing the online papers this article on The World's 50 Most Beautiful Gardens caught the Sock's eye. As mentioned previously the Bedsock's great passion is all things food oriented and he was pleased to find that we had visited a fair percentage of The World's 50 top Restaurants as listed in the Restaurant magazine. In view of this the Sock was somewhat aggrieved to find that she had visited surprisingly few of the top 25 European gardens shown and is determined that this imbalance must soon be addressed. Charles Jencks Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Ninfa outside Rome and Villandry in France are top of the list to visit.

The Sock will leave you with one of her favourite jokes..

How do you turn a duck into a soul singer?

You cook it in the microwave until it's bill withers.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Don't stop moving to the boogie-woogie beat...

The Sock has just found an envelope pushed through her door postmarked Harlow Carr. In it there was nothing but this photograph.. anyone got any ideas what's going on?

Paint the meadows with delight...

Those of you with boot fetishes could do a lot worse than spend an hour watching Sarah Raven's River of Flowers GW special on the BBC Iplayer. A good 20% of the shots are of boots walking through wildflowers. You may however be distracted from your enjoyment of this by the much discussed, somewhat extraordinary style in which Sarah is dressed! Are the distressed coats and multi-layered skirts country-chic or village bag lady? Or is this yet another ploy by GW to create a TVcentric image for yet another gardener? The Sock has acquired a picture of Raven taken before filming... you may now reach your own conclusions.

The Sock also couldn't help noticing the astonishing resemblance... speakers on..

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

It's not like cooking!

The title of the post refers to how Joe Swift described gardening on his book-promoting slot on Radio 4 Loose Ends last weekend. For those of you who missed it catch it on the I-player at 16.29 minutes.
Amongst the other great gems of wit and wisdom extolled by Joe was the fact - and the Sock knows you will all find this difficult to believe - that sometimes filming on Gardener's World has to be reshot more than once so "sometimes the same plant will be replanted 10 times on camera"!!!

clic for the flic

By the way Joe's book is called "Urban Garden Handbook" probably available from all good Poundlands.