Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Don't Miss..

The Sock's having a blogging holiday for a few days but in the meantime, if you haven't already seen it, don't miss the Christmas Sock movie posted on December 24th. Just scroll down a couple of posts or catch it here

click for the flick

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Mentalists - Brighton Christmas Day Swim

The Sock was going to take a blogging holiday but couldn't resist this post.  For American blogwatchers a mentalist is, in this case, an affectionate term for someone who is doing something crazy - rather than that bloke who gets inside people's heads on the eponymously named (and somehow ridiculous but rather watchable program) 'The Mentalist'.

Brighton is full of mentalists and nowhere more obviously so than at the traditional (recorded in 1885) Christmas day Santa Swim.

The Sock's rushed to get to the event held next to the Brighton pier, dashing along the seafront just in time to see a load of  people, dressed in nothing but their speedos and Santa hats, chuck themselves into the freezing cold sea and splash around screaming with delight (or cold as the case may be)!

Young people don't feel the cold though... do they....?

Swimmers share a kiss as surfing Santa looks on

There was a jolly, convivial atmosphere on the pebbly beach as watchers sloughed off their hangovers to breath in a bit of cold sea air and enjoy the sadistic pleasure of watching swimmers freeze their bollocks off (as the saying goes).

Another mentalist...

The only sour note was that the "World reknowned Brighton Pier" was closed to the public on Christmas Day!

Miserable gets!

This is an unbelievable and absolute disgrace, there is no reason that the pier can't be opened for people to walk on without having to open all the booths and arcades - it has been in the past!  Bah Humbug to the pier owners, their tacky amusement arcades and chavvy funfair rides!!

Hurrah for the Brighton bathers!

Happy Christmas - Sock's off for her Jamie Oliver recipe mulled wine!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas Everybody!

We come to the end of Advent Calendar and the last little peachybum falls to the shore.  The Sock is beginning to think they are probably not recyclable.

To celebrate the festivities, SOIG Productions are ecstatic to bring you their latest video starring a hot new talent.  Speakers on everybody and TURN THEM UP LOUD!!!!!!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 23rd

And then there was one.....

Today's post is a thank you to all those people who have contributed to the bloggywog over the last year.  Some of you have generously contributed blog posts in the Sock's time of need others have contributed their, often very witty, comments. The Blackfingernail has commented too.

Some of you just lurk and you are also very welcome  - it adds to the numbers and makes the Sock feel that her posts aren't just disappearing into the ether.

The Sock would also like to give special thanks to all those people who gave advice and information for the Socks planned trip to South Africa next year in particular Athol/Rodney and Plant Mad Nige.  January is the month the Sock gets down to fully planning the years holidays and they have provided lots of interesting literature and links to work from.

And last the Sock would like to thank her friends and fellow bloggers  who help create a fun and inspiring 'gardening' environment.

The Sock will be taking a break over Christmas but tune in to the blog tomorrow for the Sock's special Christmas Greetings to you....

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 22nd

Only two babybeardibums to go.. sniff... parting is such sweet sorrow..

Today there are more of the Advent Chocolates hiding behind the pert little bottom.  These are very good chocolates indeed - in fact you can't go Wong with them! (groan...Ed.)  The ingredients are all home grown by young James Wong.

These chocolates have an interesting grassy taste and as they melt in your mouth, you also melt into a momentary dream picturing yourself on a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies....  A chocolate to make you feel relaxed and happy and... everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers that grow so incredibly high....

The only problem with these chocolates is you eat one box full and then half an hour later you want to eat another!

Don't forget that Confucious said..

Man who eat crackers in bed wake up feeling crummy

Monday, 21 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 21st

We are down to our last three pinkbellied Beardshawettes.

You will be pleased to know that a suspect has been arrested and imprisoned pending appeal but the evidence against seems overwhelming.  If you want to have Spook released in time for Xmas please send 'donations' for the fighting fund to the Sea of Immeasurable Gravy.

T-Shirts emblazoned 'Free the Brighton 1' or 'Spook is Innocent' are available from Cash-in-on-it-Enterprises for a mere £24.50.  Please make cheques  payable to S. Raven.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 20th

Oops - something went wrong with the Cheerybums around December 16th and one of them failed to drop out of the sky!!!  Tricksy little beggars these Cheerybums but the Sock has swatted two off today to make up for it.

Today children, behind the 'bum we find a Mystery Crime for you to solve..

The Crime

The Suspects 


Saturday, 19 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 19th

The Sock has collected all the fallen baby Beardshaws and is keeping them in a gilded cage.  On Chrimbo Day the twenty-four little celestial cherrybums will be released to brighten the sullen skies as they fly in formation back up to Heaven.  Ahhhh.....

Other than that Seasonal Goodwill is short in the Sock household.  Very short.  Very short indeed.  There are several reasons for this but we only have time for

Bah Humbug Number 1.

You may remember the Sock blogging earlier this year about a garden built by guerilla gardeners and used by many in the community of Brighton's Lewes Road area.  There had just been the good news that negotiations with the owner of the derelict site meant that it could be used as a garden until the area was NEEDED for redevelopment.

Now the local freebie newspaper reports that the founders of the garden are preparing to make way for a new Tesco Express!

Unbelievable but only too believably crap! There is already an established sizeable Co-op food shop next door, a Spar more or less opposite, a large Sainsbury's a few 100 metres away, a Marks and Spencers express at the nearby petrol station, not to mention all the smaller local food shops in that vicinity.

The newspaper says that Tesco and Sainsbury's are fighting a turf war.  A  local councillor stated "Any time empty premises become available they are seizing on them and they are getting them.  They are the only ones with the finances."    Whilst other councillors are in opposition they are apparently powerless to stop them. Why?

Sainsbury's are bad enough but the Sock particularly hates Tesco and will never shop there.  Along with the destruction of a beautiful old shop front on the Western Rd. in order to emblazon their blaring Tesco logo all over it, Tesco's has also managed to muscle in on what should have been, one of the prime locations in Brighton.  The new(ish) Design-awarded Jubilee Library  (nice building (if you like that sort of thing) but shame they initially forgot to put any books in) fronts on to what could have been a rather attractive square in the then newly-developed site.

Located between the exotic fantasy of Brighton Pavilion and the eclectic, slightly Bohemian feel of the North Laines with its interesting individual shops, there is a strange and not altogether pleasant juxtaposition on entering the Library area.  Rather like moving from the Medieval Zone to a cheap looking Futuristic/Industrial Zone on the Crystal Maze.  This lack of imagination in the architecture is reflected in the retail premises,  restaurant chains like Carluccio, Yo Sushi and Starbucks.  In a prime situation with its enormous blue logo permanently reflected in the glass walls of the library we have the glory of Pizza Express!  Tesco Express is planted almost opposite.

(Another rant for today was the nasty little 'Christmas Market' pictured above...  'Christmas Market' my arse!  A smell of greasy, cheap, funfair burgers wafted from the vicinity of the sad tat filled chalets!)

Whilst the Sock is tirading away... another thing... Brighton is extremely housing intensive with it's many terraced streets squashed in together, so every little scrap of open space is incredibly valuable for our urban wildlife.  In it's wisdom the Planning Inspectorate, despite years of  campaigning against it, are allowing a development to go ahead on a wildlife site near London Road station which was formerly allotments.

Bah Humbug!  And here is what the Sock thinks should happen to both Tesco's and the Planning Inspectorate!

clic for the flic

Friday, 18 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 18th

And another one bites the dust....

The Kitten Diaries Part II - where Spook helps unpack the shopping

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 17th

Busy day today so just a quickie...

The Sock went out yesterday to experiment with her new macro lens.  It might have been an idea to read the instructions first as the photos were slightly unfocussed.  A shame really because the one below is quite fantastic in it's colouring, like a core of molten lava.  Can you guess what it is boys and girls?

The second of our advent chocolates today and this is also a fiery little number.  The taste of hot lava java coffee with just a hint of chilli in the chocolate gives the Wareham a real punch.  Bite into it and it just might bite back!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 16th

Today as the next little Angel of Love falls from the sky into the tumultuous seas of Immeasurable Gravy we find another comedian lurking behind it! Why does everyone think they can do stand-up?

Let's hand you over to our host the one and only fabulous Sabrina Duncan International!


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 15th

The Sock is cheating today and giving you a link to someone else's work.
It really is too good to miss, combining everything you could wish for at Christmas... hats, snoggable people and Joseph.

My vote goes to Joe's.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 14th

The weekend at the college didn't turn out like you planned
The things that pass for knowledge I can't understand..

As yet another year is Reel'd in the 14th Beardibim disappears from the calendar.  Don't worry they are not going to waste - the Sock is weaving them into her festive wreath.

The Sock should have spent the weekend doing a course at West Dean College but after looking forward to it for months it got cancelled.  The Sock's dream of a weekend spent learning in such a lovely place surrounded by seasonal ambience, apĂ©ros by the log fires in the lounge... was wrecked.  The Bedsock had been looking forward to having the house and cats to himself for a change.  But it wasn't to be..

Instead the Socks drove to London to see the V&A (above) Decode - Digital Design Sensations exhibition.  This consisted of "innovative, sometimes interactive, displays using generative software, animation and other responsive technologies to instill a 'live' element into contemporary artworks".  Whatever.. it was actually great fun with lots of colourful and interesting installations.

One of the screens displayed a pattern that changed depending on auditory input, asking the viewer to talk into a microphone to see what happened.  The Sock's words were "Spook" and "Chutney Mary" (as that was where we were going for lunch).  A couple of minutes later the Bedsock turned up and there was a Derren Brown moment when his first words were  also "Spook" and "Chutney Mary".  This was quite spooky but the reality is, of course, that these were fairly predictable words we might both have used and the predictability of his audience is what Derren Brown depends on.

The best displays for the Socks were those you could interact with - in particular those that displayed your own image back at you in various ways. One's own image, good or bad, is a constant source of fascination and so is watching people watching their own images.  The Sock's favourite was Venetian Mirror which only allowed your image to appear  if you kept very still, then the reflection slowly appeared, like a photograph being developed.

The Sock is a fidgetty person but managed to sit quietly on a stool gazing into the mirror until her reflection became clear. She was unaware that the Bedsock had been moving around in the background leaving several blurred images of himself pulling faces and doing 'bunny ears' behind her head. This explained why so many people had been grinning strangely at her.

Another the Sock's couldn't resist was the videogrid.

In the pool of the lovely V&A courtyard (pictured at the top) was yet another installation reflecting your image back at you on panels rising from the water.

The exhibition was quite small but well worth seeing.  Allow an hour at least.

Late lunch at Chutney Mary, one of the Socks favourite Indian restaurants, was also well up to scratch and the strawberry and cardamon cocktail was delicious.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 13th

Oops there goes another little pink-bottomed Beardshaw... sob!

Oh goody!  That's better, behind the bum today is the first of the Advent chocolates.

It's the Colborn filled with the finest cognac, rich, mellow, mature but still fresh.  Bite into it and find a soft centre, no hint of sugary sweetness just a melting moment of mischief. Mmmmmmmm...............

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 12th

It breaks the Sock's heart to lose yet another of her Beardshawettes - but go they must..

And here we have another comedian doing stand-up.

clic for the flic

(NB. Impossible to get the timing right for everybody  on these things as it depends on internet speed blah blah blah... bear with it.)

Friday, 11 December 2009

Advent Countdown - December 11th

Oh dear, another little flying Beardibum disappears as time also quickly flits away.

Yesterday the Sock met up with her friend the Mysterious Ms. B.  for a wonderful day out at Wisley or Wizzers as we are pleased to call it.  By some astonishing chance we had picked the first day of warmth and sunshine for what seems like forever and the exposure to the light and good company hauled the Sock out of her winter sloth for a while.

No sooner had the Sock alighted from the Sockmobile than she was accosted by Ms B in her new hattiewat!  It is a very nice hat indeed (if you want to see it you will have to go over to Ms. B's blog and beg her to post a picture of it).  After spending some time doubled up with laughter over the new hat (not because the hat is funny but rather the fact that Ms B. is slightly out of her comfort zone being only recently introduced to the joys of hat wearing) we set off for a quick wander around the garden before going for the full Wizzers shopping experience.

To celebrate the festive season Wisley has a Christmas tree walk with  loads of trees decorated by schoolkids along the side of the pathway.

These really were very jolly and in some cases extremely innovative in their 're-cycled' Xmas decorations.  This one was decorated with CDs and plastic bottles.

Wisley has a Celebration of Light  running and the walkways are lit up at dusk which should be well worth a visit. (Late night shopping at Wisley closes tomorrow!!!!!!!)

So on to the real purpose of the visit - the shops! As with last years Wizzers visit in the company of Fat Rascal, the Sock bought herself plenty of pre-Chrimbo prezzies.  The garden centre was decked out with all sorts of lovely, lovely, decorations to buy and not a sign of a Santa's grotto - thank the Lord - and no piped jingling musac either.  

The Sock bought herself a couple of nice Whichford pots (note to Whichford we didn't like the ones with your name emblazoned all over them - the Sock doesn't like ostentatious designer labels), a charming little Hellebore, some attractive autumnal looking decorations and last but not least another heuchera because you can't have too many!!

Next on to the large Rural Crafts marquee presently at Wisley.  This contained a fair amount of tat, a curry sauce stall (good but not exactly what the Sock thinks of as a 'rural craft'), several rather nice rural pie stands, a stall selling 'rural' baklava (which had clearly been set up with the sole intention of attracting Matthew Wilson back to the RHS) and several hat stalls.

The Sock would have published a photo of a rather entertaining and colourful hat stall at this point but the rather savage lady running it gave her a right telling-off for taking a photo and demanded that the Sock erase the picture from her camera!!!  Instead the Sock bought a new hattiewat from a stall selling rural alpaca products and was then persuaded by the ganging up of the stallholder and Ms B., to buy a matching scarf.

With energy and credit card limit rapidly dwindling we finally made it to the fabulous RHS bookshop, a true Aladdin's cave bursting with a cornucopia of gorgeous gardening books.  This is how it should be - not, as the Sock blogged last weekend, the miserable two bays given over to them by Waterstones.  There was display after display of all our favourite horticultural heroes books, 'Grow your own veg' by Carol Klein, 'Grow your own fruit' by Carol Klein, 'Cook your Own Veg' by Carol Klein - can you guess what will be next in the series boys and girls?  There were books on the South African fynbos that the Sock has deferred the pleasure of buying until nearer her holiday, books dedicated to the love of Heucheras (which is only right) and lo and behold! there in the middle was the book we have all been waiting for!!!!!!!!! 'Making a Garden' by Landscape Man, Matthew Wilson himself!  (OOOOOH! There is a little video by Matthew on the Amazon site!!!!!!!). Obviously one of these immediately made it's way into the Sock's basket but she does question the title 'Landscape Man - as seen on Channel 4'!!!!!  Not yet it isn't.   Landscape Man is beautiful - and that is just the cover picture of Matthew, the Sock will be deferring the pleasure of reading it until Christmas.

All in all, a lovely, lovely day.  The Sock hopes that next year Fat Rascal will come down off her French mountain again and join in the fun!