Monday, 28 September 2009

Unbelievably Pants!!!!!

The Socks just got back from a weekend shopping trip to London. This was remarkably successful - all items on the list were purchased plus some extras. The Sock has a new suitcase (more on this later), ankle boots, duvet set, towel and found a whole street dedicated to fabric shops. The Bedsock bought a cashmere scarf and..

some pants!

The Sock is very lucky in that the Bedsock enjoys shopping - anything from fashion to food although possibly he finds the latter more engrossing being an excellent cook. (The Sock is 'bigging him up' here because the Bedsock got a teensy little bit huffetty about being made to look such a wuss in the last blog about spiders. The Bedsock wishes to point out that whilst the Sock isn't quite so bad about garden spiders he is the one who has to battle against the horrifyingly huge, black indoor ones that scuttle around in a narsty threatening manner.)

Anyway.. the pants. Whilst we were doing a quick Sunday morning shop in Selfridges, prior to our excellent dim sum lunch at the Royal China Club, the Bedsock went for a quick browse in the men's department in order to buy some Sloggis a brand both the Socks favour for their underwear. The Sock joined him there and added a towel to his purchase of a couple of pairs of Sloggis and some new pants he had decided to try - a pair of Calvin Kleins and a pair of Dolce and Gabbanas.

On returning home last night the Sock was looking at these new purchases and noticed that the Dolce and Gabbanas were made from black silk, rather more glamorous than the Bedsocks normal pants of choice. "I wonder how much those were.." thought the Sock and looked at the label...

£68 freakin quid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

screamed the Sock. "Did you know how much they were?". The Bedsock looked a bit crestfallen as he hadn't really looked at the price because "how much can pants be?" £68 freakin' quid as it turns out!!! Even the Sock never pays that much for her little Hanro silk vests. It's not like he's David Beckham - thank the Lord. The Bedsock hadn't registered the price when he paid at the till because the Sock had added her purchases to his and he assumed the cost was for those.

The Sock suggested that she return the pants to Selfridges as the box had not been opened but unfortunately by then the Bedsock was getting to rather like the idea of some silk underwear... We can only hope that at that price he doesn't get a taste for them...

Friday, 25 September 2009

Incey Wincey...

It's that spider time of year again and this year there is a bumper crop of them! This is particularly noticeable in the Sock's garden where their webs are strung across every pathway ready to snare an innocent passerby. The Socks don't like spiders - the Bedsock is particularly phobic and given a free rein would run around the garden spraying the web-crawlers with Doom, Doom, Doom a chemical spray hastening the death of both the spider and planet.

Any activity in the garden will be accompanied by screams of "Spidercheck! Spidercheck!" the Sock's cue to rush out and inspect the flapping Bedsock for crawly critters. Once whilst performing the spidercheck the Sock noticed a large garden spider swinging on a silken thread attached to the Bedsock's hair. The arc of the spider swing was getting wider and wider and just about to enter the periphery of the Bedsock's vision when the Sock bravely snatched it out of the air and hurled it away. "What was that!!" squealed the Bedsock in alarm "Just a bit of leaf, darling.." the Sock was in a good mood or she might have cruelly hinted at the close encounter.

The Doom, Doom, Doom had its place on the Socks 'packing for cottage rental holidays' list. Staying in a slightly run down cottage in the Gorge Du Tarn the Bedsock had been very nearly attacked by a large French spider lurking in the toilet. The small, dark, room had then been copiously sprayed by a fear-crazed Bedsock but the spider had merely dashed off behind the toilet waiting for it's next victim. Everytime the Sock used the toilet after that she had to balance her feet on two strategically placed toilet rolls in case the spider rushed out at them.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Product Placement

Now that the commercial channels are allowing product placement in their programmes the Sock believes that this could be the way forward for Gardeners' World. Surely it is only a matter of time before this happens... Warning this movie contains subliminal advertising..

clic for the flic

Grassed Up

The Times have reported on the strange case of the disappearing garden that magically appeared next door!

Is this a case of Ground Force vs. Police Force? Alan Titchmarsh has a lot to answer for

Friday, 18 September 2009

Sock got meme'd

Some weeks ago The Constant Gardener tagged me in a meme. The Sock doesn't normally do these but having read other people's answers with interest I had already been thinking what my own might be. Apart from that it fills the space between (hopefully) more interesting posts..

Which words do you use too much in your writing?

diminutive gardening god

Which words do you consider overused in stuff you read?

serial killer

What’s your favourite piece of writing by you?

None of it. I don't feel I write, I blog which is a much more informal and chattier way of putting things across but in my case doesn't really qualify as 'writing'.

What blog post do you wish you’d written?

None of them. Sometimes I wish I had someone else's life but failing that I try and make the best of my own. The same is true of blogging - I find many other blogs interesting, informative, funny, etc. everyone has something different to offer. The joy of them is not just the postings of flowers and gardens but the glimpse into someone else's life, character and quirks. Wanting to write like them is like wanting to be them.

Regrets, do you have a few? Is there anything you wish you hadn’t written?

Having regrets is like wishing for another life - there is no point. I try and learn from what I regret but invariably don't. I almost always wish that I hadn't written whatever it is I have just written.

The one real regret that always comes to mind is that as an 8 year old travelling in Austria, my mother and I picked a load of wildflowers from a beautiful alpine meadow and pressed them in our hard-backed Austrian guidebook. About 15 years later I decided to make a collage and took these exquisitely aged and delicate memories of our holiday, glued them to a canvas and painted over them. Tragic! I just can't believe I did this.

How has your writing made a difference?

Blogging gives me a purpose, a focus and and an outlet for my imagination. The reason why I started blogging was because I love using photoshop and creating gifs and mini-movies which need an audience, no matter how small, because creating them into a void is pointless.

My blog is my escape and Arabella Sock is often more me than I am.

Name three favourite words

Huffety. Fat Rascal uses this one to describe people who have flounced off muttering to themselves, as in "they have gone all huffety". On googling to see if the word actually existed I found that Ian Dury and the Blockheads had a song called 'Huffety Puff'.

Utter. Such a great adjective it completely changes the description. An 'utter bastard' is so much more of a bastard than just a bastard.

Scrumptious. I thought I might as well stick with the 'uhh' sound but scrumptious is a lovely warm, friendly word.

…And three words you’re not so keen on

Staycation This must be the worst word ever and one that the media seemed determined to thrust on us this summer. This BBC reports states "the British seaside holiday, now known as the staycation". What normal person in the whole of Britain would actually use this word? Surely it should be a 'stoliday'.

Christmas. I just don't like the whole Christmas thing.

Whatever. Rudeness should always be more creative than one word handed out to the masses and now rolling off the lips of the unimaginative everywhere. 'Get-a-life' is another one.

Do you have a writing mentor, role model or inspiration?

I take inspiration from everything. People are endlessly fascinating although not always in a good way. Music inspires me and I always have a very clear image of the scenes the music is portraying for me. When I am working on a soundtracked mini-movie the audioline will dictate the next scene. In a different life I would have liked to work on music videos.

What’s your writing ambition?

I would like to be able to write well enough to actually say something serious occasionally.

Plug alert! List any work you would like to tell your readers about:

Dan Brown's got his new book out!! What more could anyone want?

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

By Popular Demand...

The Sea of Immeasurable Gravy has been inundated with requests for Celebrity Dancing Bottoms and an astonishing number of videos from celebs trying to get in on the act!! It has been the Sock's duty to look through these and for the most part has decided to spare you from the same ordeal.

However there was one person who just had to muscle in on the act! Yes how could anyone have forgotten the man with the well padded bottom. It's the one... it's the only... well you all know who it is don't you...

This is absolutely and positively the last mention of bottoms on this blog for ages.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Three Men and their incredible dancing bottoms!

The Sea of Immeasurable Gravy is inordinately proud to present it's fantastic new video..
speakers on everybody..

PS for those who haven't got a clue what is going on the original of our three lovely lads is here

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

What to buy a man who has everything...

Yes it's that time of year again... the time of year when the letterbox is clogged with magazines advertising their autumn wares. The Sock's favourite out of these is the Essentials brochure full of 'must haves' you never knew you needed. Something for everyone - even those people who have everything already!

For instance, you may think that James Alexander-Sinclair could want for nothing but you would be wrong! JAS has a bit of a sock fetish and what more could he want than some

hot socks - heat them for a few minutes in the microwave and release the essential oils before donning them (also waterproof socks, energisox, moisturising gel socks, Weekday Socks with days of the week printed on to ensure you don't forget to change them, and Soft Tops which stay up without elastic). That's James' 'C' word pressies sorted already!

For Joe Swift - Hair Grow Plus or Scalp Bloc sun protection. Sometimes the obvious choices still go down well.

For Cleve West - poor Cleve was stuck for hours in a traffic jam on the M23 and was no-doubt kicking himself that he didn't have an Unisex Happy-Pee Frog in his glovebox. After the failure of the Shewee* the Sock has ordered an Uriwell for herself as the Bedsock got fractious on finding his measuring jug in her car for emergency use. Interestingly, Essentials have had a recent run on Uriwells and are awaiting new stock.

For Rachella de Ville - Wobbly Whisky tumblers are sure to amuse her dinner guests for hours... laughing already.

After his success in perfecting pizzas at RHS Hampton Court show this year Matthew Wilson is surely in need of a PizzaDome to give his pizzas an authentic flavour. Don't forget pizza is this years baklava.

How has Alan Titchmarsh survived without a Lav Nav Nightlight - the light on the toilet lid turns on as you approach giving 'sufficient light to enable a perfect aim!' A red light shines when the seat is up and green when it is down.

Sshh... don't tell Ms B but her next pressie will be a 'Musical Cake Slice'. With this amusing little objét Ms B and her guests will be able to sing along to such as 'Happy Birthday', 'Jingle Bells' or 'For He's a Jolly Good Fellow'!

Can anyone think of who might want a 'fridge monkey'?

* It was rather a shame that the Sock couldn't get the hang of the Shewee (now available in pink) as for £1.99 you can now buy an extension pipe for it which apparently makes 'aiming easier'. Aiming at what?!!!! Are there women all around the country aiming their Shewees at innocent passersby? The Sock had imagined that the extension pipe was for lobbing out the car window so when one was stuck in a traffic jam one could wee in situ.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Return of the Baggywag

Hurrah! His Organic Jerkinness Lord Monty Don will be returning to our screens next year in a new Channel 4 series called 'My Dream Farm' about people trying to set up their own rural smallholding. The show is about people who give up high-powered jobs to live the rural dream in "an exciting project that encapsulates the nation’s interest in issues such as self sufficiency, the origins of our food and the achievability of a lifestyle choice that nurtures the soul as well as the bank balance." This promises to be nearly as good as the Sissinghurst Saga.

Unfortunately it won't be screened until Spring next year when we will also have the 'Matthew Wilson Diaries' aka Landscape Man to view. This is a long time for the Sock to have to wait for inspiration for her bloggywog. What is to be done in the meantime now they have rendered Gardeners' World so unwatchable that nobody even squabbles about it on the Beeb messageboards? The only solution is to get rid of the entire presentation and production team of GW and start again with Chris Beardshaw in charge! The Sock was right all along - if only they had listened!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Wilder side

After visiting the Wildside garden the Socks indulged their own wild side by going on Britain's longest fastest Zip wire at the well named Adrenalin Quarry! The Sock had always regretted not going on the one that zips over the Eden Project when we visited some years ago. The photo is not of the Socks as obviously it was impossible to take a picture of ourselves going down it. The most scary bit was when we got jelly legs just prior to 'take off' (or possibly when we had to be weighed before they harnessed us up for the ride).

A final walk on the wildside took us around a Nature Reserve where we watched a distant osprey for a while and then got rather muddy having lost the path. We did see these rather lovely orchid like flowers growing wild - anyone know what they are?

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Take a Walk on the Wildside

The Sock has let you all down badly and missed the opportunity to dig for some interesting bits of gossip about Matthew Wilson. Boohoo!

It all started after the Sock blogged about Keith Wiley's wonderful planting at The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum a few weeks ago. Martyn Cox commented that Keith Wiley's own garden 'Wildside' was even better and was also the subject of a new TV programme. As 'Wildside' is only open to the public on Thursdays the Sock bit the bullet and emailed Mr. Wiley asking if would be possible to see the garden at the weekend as she wanted to write about it for 'The Sea of Immeasurable Gravy' voted Best Bloggywog Ever. This was very brave as the 'hand behind the Sock' is usually rather unassuming. It paid off as Keith Wiley replied to say that his wife (the artist Ros Wiley) was taking part in an Open Studio event for ten days and the adjoining garden would also be open.

The studio entrance to the garden was crammed with Ros Wiley's vivid artwork much of which had been inspired by landscapes which in turn had inspired the garden. Five years ago Wildside was a flat field but working together with his wife, Keith Wiley has transformed it into a sculptured garden with curves, corners, mounds, slopes and valleys, a stream bed snaking around one side waiting to be filled with water. The planting is extraordinarily rich in texture creating a flowing tapestry of colour and form.

Geysers of grasses gush out from the landscape amongst acers, agapanthus and sedums.

Turning a corner the mood changed.. a flat lawn with apple trees surrounded by dreamier softer colours of purples and blues where Keith Wiley was weeding amongst a profusion of pink colchicum. An opportunity to get the low-down! But instead of saying "Hi - I'm Arabella Sock" and gleaning an in-depth interview the Sock lost her bottle and just smiled and said predictably "Hi, I love your garden".

Keith Wiley told us that Channel 4 had been filming the garden for part of the 'Landscape Man'* series. The Sock expressed her pleasure that at last we would have a programme where the garden was the star performer (eclipsing even the charms of Matthew 'Darcy' Wilson) when Wiley wryly said "Actually, the producers were keen to document the 'human element' behind the garden - how my wife and I battled adversity and stress to build it." "Oh what a shame" intoned the Sock "gardens are supposed to be relaxing". "It wasn't stressful until they turned up" laughed Wiley and the Sock didn't think he was entirely joking.

At this point, of course, the Sock should have got the lowdown on the whole thing, but having not mentioned she was a Sock already (a confession which, let's face it, most people would shy from) it seemed rude to grill Wiley for gossip she might use on her blog. Pfft! The Sock's roving reporter days are over before they began.

What the Sock did take from 'Wildside' (apart from a book**) was a complete revision in her ideas about planting schemes. The Sock has always preferred to plant like with like, grasses with succulents, shrubs in a shrubbery, carefully colour coded flowering plants together in a matching harmony. Keith Wiley's disregard for these notions of propriety created a garden full of movement and excitement where, as he said "No plant is allowed to be a prima-donna". Prized acers rubbed shoulders with prairie plantings to create a synergy where the whole gardenscape was greater than any individual plants. The Sock intends to liberate her unhappily-potted acers and merge them into the borders.

* The eagerly awaited 'Landscape Man - Grand Designs in the Garden' series appears to have been postponed until next year along with the publication of Matthew Wilson's book! That means no gardening programmes of any interest for ages and no inspiration for the Sock either!!

** The Sock bought Keith Wiley's book 'On the Wildside - Experiments in New Naturalism' from his time at the Garden House. It's worth it for the pictures alone.