Saturday, 30 May 2009

Best Bedsock Ever

Last night the Bedsock came home from work with a little pressie for me. "Close your eyes and put out your hands" said the Bedsock. The Sock did so, not without a certain amount of trepidation being the sort of person herself who would then be overwhelmingly tempted to dump something cold, wet and slimey (like one of the frogs the cats bring in) into the opened palms. The Bedsock is a totally trustable person though so the Sock did as she was told and he gave her something cold, hard and oddly shaped... and it was

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Friday, 29 May 2009

Jesus - love him or hate him

It would appear that the BBC are convinced enough of the latest Jesus spotting to make it a news item (although admittedly this was probably BBC Wales). The Sock thinks it looks rather more like Peter Sutcliffe than Jesus. Mrs. Allen, the proud owner of the marmite Jesus, says "People think I'm nuts.."

Loyal Sockwatchers may remember that last year Gorgeous gardening god Chris Beardshaw gave the Sock a sign that he is watching over her when this popped out of the toaster...

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Chris Beardshaw does stand up.. No 2.

Let's hear it for the Boy Beardshaw...

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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Pssst... about that tattooo..

The Sock has it on the authority of the Award Winning Dutch Blogger (who knows about these things) that the tall and manly Heathcliffe of the Hedgerows has had his butt tattoo enhanced!!

As regular blogwatchers will know James A-S first blew the gaff on Matthew Wilson's SCLUB 7 tattoo. Now the Sock has been sent photographs purporting to be of an operation to support Rachel Stevens from sagging! This picture is not for the squeamish...

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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Make a little duck house in your soul

People have been wondering what happened to fellow animal lover Peter Vigger's floating £1500 Duck House. The Sock got it for a fiver on ebay and is hoping that the cats will turn out to be rather less fussy about it than the ducks were.

Nothing is too good for the puss-babies but the Sock knows she has broken their hearts by destroying the shed that they loved to sit on top of hidden by the mass of overgrown wisteria and jasmine. The shed is being replaced by the new greenhouse arriving in June and the Sock is thinking about putting a nice cushioned rocking chair in there for them. In the meantime the Bedsock has built them a cat platform at the apex of the trellis. They were both told that under no circumstances were they allowed to go on it which meant there was a fight for which cat would sleep on it first.

Cats are contrary creatures - the Socks' previous cat Binky used to sleep hidden in the middle of the raised scented bed. Planting up the bed for the following year the Sock left a cat-sized space in the middle for him. He immediately transferred to the herb bed moulding his own Binky shaped space in the crushed herbs.

The Socks were also busy on the DIY front over the weekend making their own willow obelisk. After seeing the ease with which Toby made one on the GW 35 minute task slot she had assumed that any idiot could construct one and bought a kit from the Malvern show. The instructions said "soak the weaving rods in water (pond, stream, bath etc.). This proved difficult as the Sock doesn't have a pond, stream or bath and didn't fancy sharing a shower with them for a week.

The Sock had a mental image of working in happy harmony with the Bedsock weaving the willow wands together but had forgotten that the Bedsock has a totally different approach to problem-solving to her. This is to immediately think of 100 ways it can't be done and then work out the best way to actually do it - whereas the Sock just gets on and does it. So the Sock's brain exploded with frustration as the Bedsock stood around thinking things through whilst she was itching to get weaving. The Sock was then forced to undo the bits she had "done wrong".

The result is extremely rustic although the mange-tout will no doubt be happy enough to climb up it.

The Socks intend to construct the new Gabriel Ash greenhouse themselves. The man on their stand at Chelsea assured us that it was idiot proof! Watch this space!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Final thoughts on Chelsea

So Chelsea is over for another year and just under a week ago the Sock was vowing she wouldn't go again. Too crowded, too frustrating, too tiring, just too Chelsea really. But already the annoyances are fading and some mental magic is already making memories of the day appear with a warm, soft glow about them. The Sock had the same claustrophic reaction to the Hampton Court show last year but suddenly the idea of a visit this year has begun to seem appealing again.

Notes to self on surviving Chelsea (see also VP's guide)

1) Either stay at a hotel on the preceding night or get and early train up from Brighton and save three hours of frustration in traffic jams.

2) See the show gardens before the crowds invade.

3) Don't tell Simon that you actually rather liked the bog-roll garden!

4) Read up on the description and background to the gardens in advance so you know what the designer hoped to achieve. They make so much more sense that way and will increase the pleasure and interest of viewing them.

5) Give up on the gardens by lunch time and spend the rest of the day idly wandering and gossiping with friends with no pressure to do or see anything.

6) Don't waste so much time trying to get paparazzi photos of celebs with particularly foolish expressions on their faces.

Check the background of the photos you have taken in case it accidentally contains a celebrity.

7) Steer clear of the sausages!!!

Below Sock's favourite small garden by the Chris Beardshaw mentorship team

Bedsock's favourite 'The Ace of Spades'

Sunday, 24 May 2009

The Rascals do Chelsea

A guest blog from the really rather slender Fat Rascal

It would have been a good idea to have considered choosing my blog name more carefully but who could have foreseen that one day I would be at the world's most famous flower show in the Great Pavilion announcing "I am Fat Rascal"!

That type of thing happens to you when you associate with Socks. The day was both mustard and red - one colour splattered on clothing, the other on cheeks.

I had also shown a lack of foresight in choosing a seagull as my ringtone so when Arabella rang my mobile to say I HAD to go to the Heucheraholics stand immediately I had already made a spectacle of myself. Then I made it worse by going to the wrong heuchera stand and asking if the name Arabella Sock meant anything to them. Plantagogo lady looked blank so I said "you're not Heucheraholics, are you?" She agreed that I had got that right at least and very graciously pointed me in the right direction.

Once at that Solva stand everything became gloriously surreal - there was mutual making of days, I was greeted like a star, told I was NOT fat, there was an envelope put aside with my name on it containing my pen and fridge magnet and I felt all the reflected glory of actually knowing the Award Winning Blogger! Really lovely people, lovely plants and a very happy moment in a wonderful day.

Another highspot was the birthday cake Ms. B. made me. We met up before the Socks had unsnarled themselves from London traffic and over coffee she gave me the cake in a little cake shaped pot with a big purple rosette on it. There was a minute of present giving embarrassment. I was truly thrilled but made the horrible gaffe of not opening the pot and looking. Happily when we did see Arabella I had to show off and gloat so the cake was revealed in the beauty of its garden green icing and Ms. B. had piped my name on it and added a flower. Arabella was extremely jealous. Ms B. was rewarded by scooping the first sighting and photographing of the Pocket Gardening God thus scoring maximum points.

I feel slightly responsible for the mustard incident. The Socks walked past us while we were having fish and chips and I wanted to call to them to join us. There was a slight hesitation in deciding what name to use but I went for the Sock's real one and she ignored it! If I'd shouted "ARABELLA SOCK!" maybe she would never have had the fateful sausage.

Even Fatter Rascal isn't really a garden man but like me he suffers from the shortage of retail therapy in our French home town. He became extremely embarrassed when I actually bought something though. We've just had our well put back "online" (I believe that's the correct builderspeak) and I had thought that a green plastic watering can really didn't set it off. So a stand selling old galvanised cans was opportune and I dived in, barged and elbowed and secured the biggest one I could see. It had to be bought then and there and Even Fatter Rascal had to carry it. Anyone would think it was a manbag the way he reacted but he couldn't see that carrying a watering can round a gardening show isn't that strange. He refused to get on the tube with it and was relieved to find that it could be checked in with our coats at the restaurant where we met up with the Socks for dinner.

The label on the can describes it as "vintage French" so the "arrosoir" has come home and it certainly look very much as if it belongs here.

* Congratulations to Jools and Sean at Heucheraholics for their well deserved Chelsea Silver Gilt.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Fishy business

Things were going swimmingly at Chelsea for the piranha fish (Domoney's Underwater Plant Exhibit) and Alan Titchmarsh. Has anyone else noticed the uncanny resemblance?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Size Matters

One of these designers is considerably better stacked than the other!

Chelsea Catastrophe!

The Sock 'did' Chelsea on Tuesday and as this is a posh event she took the opportunity to wear her new skirt and top in soft blues, greys and lilac so she could waft around in a cloud of prettiness. This made it tripley traumatic when calamity struck as the Socks were having lunch.

Totally against her better judgement the Sock had been persuaded to have not just one but TWO sausages with tomato chutney in a bread roll she was to share with the accompanying Bedsock. In a fit of nostalgia for years gone by when people could eat rubbish food without guilt or fear of E numbers, the Sock squeezed a wiggly line of mustard across the sausages! As soon as it came out of the plastic bottle the Sock could see that this was not exactly her favourite Amora Dijon moutarde but some lurid day-glo yellow ooze!

The Sock got first bite at the concoction but as she tried to get her mouth around the roll, the sausage shot out, into the air and showered her and the Bedsock with obnoxiously bright yellow globules filled with the kind of colouring which will never ever come out no matter how many times you wash it!!! The sausage eventually came to rest at the feet of some woman who took the opportunity to say "Ha ha ha, did you know you were covered in mustard!"

The Sock won't tell you what she replied to this person as this is an award winning bloggywog and we need to observe standards of decency.

The Bedsock spent the rest of the day complaining about the smears of mustard he kept finding about his person but he did polish off the rest of the sausage bap. The Sock had somehow lost her appetite.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Simply the Best!!!!

Unsurprisingly The Sea of Immeasurable Gravy has been voted the Best Bloggywog Ever in the Fork n' Monkey Awards.

[Er.. this isn't quite true is it Arabella? The fact is you were voted best Post on a blog not the Best Blog. Ed.]

Eh? What do you mean? Same difference surely. The Sock is the best ever blogger.

[No Arabella it was just a couple of your posts that people liked - the rest was rubbish.. Ed.]

The Sock can't believe you are telling her this she had had a dress specially made from the cats for the awards ceremony..

So who has taken the title of Best British Blog then?

[I think you will find that was James the Hat, Arabella. Ed..]

Well that is a fix then isn't it - he was one of the organisers!!!!! So the Sock must have been best commenter on a blog then.

[Er.. sorry Arabella that was Emma. Ed.]

No-one understood the voting system anyway.


Monday, 18 May 2009

A Murder of Crows

Those of you who didn't fall asleep during last Friday's Gardeners' World (assuming there is anyone left watching it ) will remember - sorry MAY remember the Sock realises some of you are very old - that the team were having trouble with crows on the veg plot.

The Sock apologises in advance for the gratuitous offensiveness of the video below - Toby mentioned the birds so he MADE her do it.. The only person who may enjoy the video is Yolanda-Elizabet the rest of you HAVE BEEN WARNED!!

You HAVE to have speakers on with the video as it just DOESN'T WORK without the music!!!

Friday, 15 May 2009

The People's Pants!

Hurrah! Hurrah! It's pants time again.. Long term Sockwatchers may remember last year when Chris Beardshaw informed that he was looking for adventurous briefs and SOIG viewers contributed some marvellous ideas . Well if the Garden Monkey is to be believed the RHS are asking people to contribute their pants for flower displays!!! Who cares whether this is true or not it is such a totally fantastic idea!

So the Sock has taken the most popular pants from last years pantathon which are also for some odd reason the most googled image on her bloggywog. Yes! It's the return of the Vizeau 'white pants' the ones that someone said would make a good place to park her bike.

The Sock has planted them up with a tasteful Sarah Raven cut-flower arrangement.

An absolute winner.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Chris Beardshaw does stand up.. No.1

Critics feel that the The Boy Beardshaw needs to lighten up a bit so on the advice of the SOCK he is starting a new career in stand-up...

clic for the flic

This might fail on many levels.. feel free to list them..

The Drowning Pool

After the excitement of Malvern and prior to the celebration of Chelsea we need to get back to our roots and our favourite TV Gardening show. Viewers have been deeply concerned about the safety of Toby's pond - the H and S dogs are looking in to it but in the meantime here is the first in an occasional series of pond life

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Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Look what the Sock got!!!!

It is a pen from the eponymous 'Heucheraholics' (previously Solva Plants) and it says on it 'Heucheraholics for the hopelessly addicted!' Bet you are all really jealous now!

The Sock couldn't resist visiting the gorgeous 'Heucheraholics' stand at Malvern but had instructed herself not to buy any more heucheras for her already burgeoning collection.

Obviously she bought another one, the irresistible 'Sugar Frosting' because let's face it you can't have too many. The Sock mentioned to the nice lady on the stand that she had to buy one to blog about. "Oh, what blog is that" asked the lady. The Sock realising her identity might be discovered quickly blurted "I can't tell you it's a bit scurrilous". "Not the Gravy one?" Too late - the Sock's cover was blown.

It turned that the lovely 'Heucheraholics' people were Sea of Immeasurable Gravy fans, finding the bloggywog after the Sock mentioned their stand at the RHS Inner Temple flower show last year. How funny is that! You must all buy lots of lovely plants from them. They will be at Chelsea next week and giving away fridge magnets - go and demand one and tell them the Sock sent you.

And to finish my eulogy to heucheras here is a 'pome' the Sock wrote a few years ago on getting home from a fruitless heuchera search, proving that the addiction has been going some time.

The Heucheras

(with apologies to William Wordsworth's 'The Daffodils')

I wandered lonely as a cloud
In search of heuchera 'Pewter Veil'
Or 'Can Can', 'Geisha' - names that wowed
Please let my favourites be for sale
A 'Strawberry Candy, 'Vanilla Spice'
Or 'Purple Petticoats' sounds quite nice

I dream of heucheras in line
Of 'Silver Shadows' 'Starry Night'
A 'Frosted Violet' would be fine
A 'Peach Flambé' would be all right
There's nothing from my list of faves
Just one sad pot of 'Amber Waves'!

And oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood
I think of heucheras and sigh
Those lovely plants with names of food
And then my heart with pleasure fills
(I want the one with Chocolate frills!)

We don't get nearly enough bad poetry on the gardening blogosphere these days and the Sock blames J-AS for proclaiming his dislike of it. But what does he know? Hmmm.. that is possibly like asking what the Romans did for us.........

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


Join in everyone to the tune of Bob the Builder...

Toby Tumnus - Can we dig it?

Toby Tumnus - No we can't!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Impala Impersonations

Previously, on the bloggywog, the Sock has mentioned the Malvern fashion show hosted by James and the gorgeous Sabrina Duncan International. No doubt bored and fidgetty after spending the morning trying to interject some life into the worthy but long-winded presentations by darling poppet Chris Beardshaw, James came into his own with the garden inspired fashion show. Just one problem... the models and their outfits were stealing the show! (clic the pics for the bigger picture)

Not to be outdone and perhaps a little jealous of the attention given to the young dancer James suddenly leapt into the air and grand jeté'd across the stage landing and twisting around to take a bow with the grace of an impassioned impala!

Unfortunately the Sock was so gob-smacked by these astonishing acrobatics that she missed the prized mid-air photo but managed to capture the bow. No-one was doubting who the star performer was now and James certainly looked pleased with himself!!

Sunday, 10 May 2009


The BBC would have us believe that Toby Buckland is surrounded by 'adoring fans' at Malvern.... but is all what it seems?

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Saturday, 9 May 2009

Oh but you in that dress, destination burlesque..

Below, a story unfolds before our very eyes.... but what is being enacted and what are our players saying?

Over to you.. best answer/captions wins a genuine Chris Beardshaw clone.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Here come the girls!

Normally when the Sock visits a Garden Show there will inevitably be some gardens that she dislikes - not so at Malvern. Whilst it is quite possible that the Sock didn't actually see all of them she was pretty impressed with those she did, in particular those competing for the Chris Beardshaw mentoring scholarship. This year it was themed around 'Dance' and the gardens also inspired students from the Worcester School of Art and Design to produce some beautiful garments and body art modelled both in the gardens and on a fashion parade hosted by James Alexander-Sinclair. This was heaven for the Sock combining aspects of her favourite TV programmes Project Runway (fashion design), America's Next Top Model (fashion and photography with a little too much girlie screeching) with garden design. More on that in a later blog but for now we have Chris Beardshaw with assorted models (clic on the pic for the bigger picture)

and two lovely gardens from 'Ladies who blog', first Claire Potter's 'Dancing with Trees' entered for the Chris Beardshaw scholarship

It was quite impossible to capture in a photograph the movement and serenity of this garden or the fantastic way, the model wearing the garment inspired by this garden, both integrated into it and enhanced it.

Then Deborah Bird's 'Hort Couture' one of the 'Borders without Gardens' a beautiful, delicate flowing gown of flowers (I've blurred the background to show the dress off to better effect).

Didn't I have a lovely day, the day I went to Malvern...

Thank you for all you birthday wishes Sockwatchers it was indeed on Wednesday! The Sock organised herself a jolly little jaunt to Malvern staying at a nice country hotel on Wednesday and Thursday night and sipping champagne on her ownsome. Thursday was first time at Malvern and the Sock had the bestest time ever!!!

So the Sockerazzi was out in the hope of snapping celebs and she bagged a big one! Yes.. a proper famous person..

Other than that it was just the usual suspects I'm afraid. Hundreds of photos of Toby, Alys, Joe, James A-S and of course La Belle Beardshaw. Chris was there with his minder but the Sock still managed to get close enough to steal one of his hairs as she brushed past and now plans to clone lots of little Beardshaws from it. The Sock does hope they come true to the original although perhaps a bit taller.

Loads more exciting stuff to share with you, plants, people, impala impersonations... the Sockerazzi got it all on camera!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Navigation, Navigation, Navigation..

The certificate above states that Arabella Sock has successfully completed the 'Beginner's Guide to Natural Navigation Course' and is now one of the few people in the world to have undergone training in this rare art!!!

By now you will have gathered that the Sock's 'Day out with a Difference' was a course at the lovely West Dean College (pictured below) run by Tristan Gooley.

The Bedsock had decided this was the course for us after hearing Tristan on Radio 4 enthusing about finding your way by reference to natural clues.

The Sock has always loved maps, particularly Ordnance Survey ones with all their exciting little lines and symbols conveying things like the location of the church spire we can see above the trees in the distance and more importantly where the pub is at the end of our walk. But maps are no good if you don't know which direction you are heading in. The Sock always carries a compass and likes to know her orientation, not just in the countryside but in cities or even in an aeroplane.

So enter Natural Navigation where you can put aside your hi-tech GPS, your maps and compass and use all your senses to find the natural clues you are given. We learned how it is possible to tell time and direction by movements of the sun, moon and stars; how looking at the growth of trees, bushes, lichens even the placement of erosion on a track can guide you to the right path; how the touch of the wind on your face, the smell in the air and even the way a house and garden are facing can provide us with clue to navigating our surroundings.

Tristan is an excellent and enthusiastic communicator engaging the Socks so that the day passed too quickly and left us wanting more.

The only slightly bum note in the day was that we were given one 'competitive' question where we were shown a landscape photograph of Chichester harbour and asked to write down the time of day, the season and the direction the camera was pointed in. The Sock got it right straight away but unfortunately cheated by reading the Bedsock's answer and changed hers to the same. To her chagrin it turned out she had been right in the first place and that by the time Tristan checked the answers the Bedsock had changed his to the right one without telling her!!!!

The Sock is still recovering from the biggest revelation of the day! The sun does not rise in the East and set in the West!!!!!!!

It varies but in England at this time of year it is north-west and in six months time it will be south-west. This explains why, when the Sock believed she has a due west facing garden, the evening sun has been hitting it at an odd angle for years! The Sock hasn't been so shocked since Toby Buckland was announced as GWs next head gardener! Why was she never taught this at school instead of a load of useless rubbish like the Van de Graaff generator - now only ever remembered as a rock band? Even Blue Peter never mentioned that the sun didn't sink in the west.

A great and imaginative birthday present from the Bedsock.. although for his birthday the Sock is planning a day out at a Chocolate Orgy..

NB: Tristan Gooley will be on BBC1 Country Ways this evening (Sunday May 3rd at 7.30)

Friday, 1 May 2009

Day out with a difference

It's the Sock's birthday next week and because the Bedsock is invariably away on the day he has organised something for tomorrow. The calendar has had "busy" written on May 2nd for some months but the Sock has only just found out what she is going to be "busy" doing!!!

When the Sock first started trying to guess what "busy" might mean she was informed that it wasn't what she expected - therefore not a meal out somewhere posh and not a day at a health farm. Now the Sock knows she can definitely say that she would never in a million years have guessed what it is!

It isn't whale watching - the Sock just thought it was a good opportunity to post a piccie from our whale watching trip in Oz where a young calf spend a good half hour breaching and tail slapping very near to our boat.

Sadly it isn't a day out with Chris Beardshaw either.

Can you guess what it is yet?