Sock-o-lat

Hell hath no fury as a sock, scorned...!  Eurgh.  What a dreadful night’s sleep…or should I grumpily intone, lack of it? 

After a night of snoring cats; cats-stealing-duvet; cats-yacking-up-furballs; cats-needing-letting-out-for-a-pee; goats coughing; goats squabbling; goats having a scratch against the sonorous, cavernous echoing expanse of the feed trough; & goats flamenco dancing at 3am (well it sounds like it when they shake their heads: just like several sets of castanets clickety-clacking throughout the barn via the Baby Monitor’s most excellent microphone); as ever, I wasn’t in for an exactly restful night.

In the end, between twice-hourly checks of sheep & goats I resigned myself to wrapping this cold-&-exhausted bod in a snug fleece on the sofa; with the ‘consolation prize’ of enthusiastically reading the contents of one of my cherished Wedding Anniversary gifts from Tony: Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s most excellent Chocolate Factory Cookbook; whilst literally digesting – with due care & careful consideration of course – a single chocolate of increasingly intense percentage of cocoa solids from some of the world’s leading cacao-producing regions.

Thus:

 – Papua New Guinea (milk, 35% – caramel, herbs & cinnamon with an undernote of Tahitian vanilla); 

- Equador (milk, 40% – fresh, fruity flavour & floral fragrance; also dark, 75% – aromatic & intense);

- Venezuela (dark, 55% – mild, fine & fruity);

- Madagascar (dark, 65% – exotic, balanced & refined; bittersweet with a hint of finest Royal Bourbon vanilla, our favourite vanilla for gelato, incidentally);

- Mexico (dark, 66% – delicious dark bitterness with a tantalisingly herbal hint of liquorice);

- São Tomé (dark, 70% – strong & distinctive with fruity, bittersweet flavour & a subtle floral aroma); &

 – Tanzania (dark, 75% – Intense, bitter chocolate with the slightest hint of vanilla & subtle fruit flavours). 

Wow. 

And I really, really want to try Willie’s magnificent 100% Criollo cacao, from his own Hacienda in Venezuela….undoubtedly, delicious.

As chocolate is sanguinely billed as a “relaxing bedtime drink” (which it can be in certain iterations) I of course foolishly opted for the opposite end of the scale: for as Willie points out – & which I’ve already personally learned many times whilst on our own magnificent voyage of cacao discovery (all in the name of Art – for Lovespoon – of course!) chocolate can also prove a powerful pick-me-up: a stimulant of near-narcotic quality…& my ‘midnight feast’ of a tasting session was just like dropping little bombs (bombes?!) into my already over-active choc-infested cranium. 

So I urgently needed something else; which transpired to be a mug of malty Horlicks infused with Dr Bach’s insomnia remedy.

I finally hit the pillow as the first grey light of dawn stirred the sky like a wan wooden spurtle in a gruel of grey clouds….

….And slumbered.  Sort-of.

When I finally emerged from a bizarre, bleary-eyed dream in which for some unearthly reason I was a scriptwriter of Australian soap operas (don’t even attempt the psychology of THAT one) my first fumbling thoughts were for (obviously) clean apparrel; as at this time of year you receive an almost-daily dose of amniotic fluid & first, colostrum-rich milk: which inevitably means stinky, crinkly clothing….& especially, boot-sucking, overworked, disgustingly reasty socks. 

I’ve recently been on a bit of a socking – no; sorry, shopping spree: for as any farmer/smallholder/gardener knows, the Right Socks are absolutely crucial for a perfect marriage to your Daily Wellies. 

There are frankly few more dismaying things in life, than to find yourself halfway up the garden path (or even worse, high on a hill as a Lonely Goatherd – oooerr, I feel a Yodel & a Snapping of ze Braces coming on) than discovering that faithful said socks have mysteriously migrated from your feet & down into the depths of your wellies – not only depriving you of much-needed winter warmth but also cruelly stubbing your toes into the bargain. 

So; sock selection is vitally important: yea verily, almost as crucial as choosing that perfect cacao for your gelato.  After all we farmers/smallholders/gardeners spend much of the time employed in said nether-region knitwear; thus it is crucial that we Get It Right.

Hence recently I have been on a crusade to find the Perfect Sock. 

And it hasn’t been easy.

The worst – eurgh; predominantly, predatory, polyester – have whizzed off my podiatory pinkies with more speed than an Olympic Skeleton Bob Gold Medallist (congratulations, incidentally to that most amazing sportswoman, Amy Williams: we salute you).

Not to mention that if you’re exerting yourself said sock-apologies literally fuse onto your tootsies; much the same as happened to one poor lad during my childhood.  OK, confession time; here goes….

A group of us were fishing for frogspawn to hatch for a school project, in a local farmer’s pond (these days, furious parents would castigate the teachers for profound irresponsibility in suggesting the children find frogspawn; yet in those ‘good old’ days we were taught resourcefulness, responsibility & independence). 

Anyway.

One little lad slipped into the fringes of said weed-fronded pond; & soaked his socks.  Because he was wailing piteously I impatiently scooped him up & led him back to our family home; slipping off the offending articles of footwear & carefully draping them over the bars of our small gas fire, to dry.  Experience had taught me that wool would’ve coped admirably; not so, this novel fabric – polyester. 

On attempting to remove them from their warming rack to my horror, I discovered that they’d stuck firmly to the bars – for which mess, I suspected I was already in trouble – so I scraped off what I could & attempted to open up said sad socks to receive the now thankfully dry+ pondweed-free, clammy little feet; which I’d carefully restored with soap, water & warm dry towels. 

But parts of those sorry socks were stuck firmly together; & the bits that weren’t, you could literally poke an entire gawp-of-an-eyeball, through.  

Roughly shoving the sobbing wee chap’s feet back into his sodden plimsolls I angrily admonished him for being so daft as to stray into the water, in the first place; & soundly packed him off home minus socks but at least, confident in his oath that he wouldn’t tell a living soul (sole?!) about this unfortunate mishap. 

Nothing was subsequently, ever said; & I often wonder what happened to the anonymous little lad thereafter.  For my part; after scrubbing vigorously at the bars of our old gas fire nobody was ever the wiser (other than my big sister – who demanded a substantial stipend of my pocket money to buy her silence – even though she’d been complicit throughout!); & my teacher, who was unwittingly delighted with the sturdy tub of frogspawn with which she was proudly presented by the group – albeit it transpired she had an amphibious phobia once the spawn hatched; then turned into tadpoles &  unleashed a veritable plague of frogs, throughout the Science Block at school.

But to this day, every time I clumsily thrust a load into the bowels of the washing machine which includes a consignment of socks, I positively dread it…as I know the eternal albatross around my neck –  my now-karmic punishment –  will be waiting for me to reap the harvest of a host of single socks, all hideously unmatchable, from that Hellish drum: & any containing (woe betide) even a trace of polyester, will be sporting a sticky, gaping hole.

So: go for simple, sturdy, non-patterned, uniformly-coloured woollen socks which reach a fair way above your ankles & which sport some seriously robust elastic…then hopefully, your own socks won’t make a covert laughing stock (or is that, sock?!) out of you, as well.

About LittleFfarm Dairy

The LittleFfarm Dairy Team: Jo - Goat farmer & Gelatiere Artigianale, plus General Dogsbody; Tony - Airline Pilot & part-time Herd Manager, Product Taster, Accounts Secretary, Handyman etc!
This entry was posted in Animals, Anything Goes, Buddhism, Diary, Farming, Humour, Life, March 2010, Nature, Smallholding. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sock-o-lat

  1. Linda says:

    Hahaha… that was good!

  2. casalba says:

    This is a fantastic post. Also spooky beacuse my sister just came over and in her bag of goodies (marmite, tea bags, etc.) there was a selection of chocolates just as you described. My favourite, so far, is the lavender chocolate from Provence. Hope you get a better night’s sleep tonight.

    • LittleFfarm Dairy says:

      “Oooh, Marmite – I love it! And believe it or not, so do some of the goats as well; it seems to be has much a love/hate thing with them, as it is with us. (I am intending to write a post about it incidentally – it is very comical). There’s even a special limited edition vintage version out at the moment, although I haven’t tried it; at £3.99 a jar it’s just too pricey.

      Unfortunately getting very little sleep at the moment; we’re right in the middle of kidding so I am out every few hour to check my caprine charges. Plus there is a little premature kid currently sharing the bedroom, who has to be fed every hour or so as her tiny tum can’t handle too much food at a time. But she’s worth every eye-rubbing exhausting moment; such a wonderful little character, and so satisfying to know I literally snatched her from the jaws of death.

      Hope all is well in sunny Italy and apologies I haven’t managed to post in a while – but as you can imagine it’s pretty busy here! Next time your sister visits don’t forget to remind her that NAAFI Tea is on sale in the shops – lovely stuff; and 50p from every packet sold is donated to the ‘Help for Heroes’ charity. And of course, if she brings you socks….make sure she fills them with chocolates! The lavender one sounds lovely BTW…”

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