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Please could someone offer some advice on this impossible problems?

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1) Bags of odd socks. Nothing I do resolves this. Married, wife and two kids - teenagers (boy girls). We do, oddly, all have the same shoes size though.

2) Cat poo in the garden. I've had seven years of this and a new family into the street have a cat that is now fighting over its rights to shit in our garden .... pepper? cat off? the electronic thing? Our dog goes mental into the morning quite outraged at what has taken place over night. Me? I kneel in it. Stand in it. Try to bag it, wash it off ... 

3) Knotweed. I incline to a rampant garden but could do with less of this. Is there a ground cover or shrub that will finish it off. As a teenager we had a flamethrower - parafin fired. And we got to use it in our early teens too. Can destroy much more.



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Nik Domican

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1) take pride in wearing odd socks, all of you.  Otherwise throw all the current socks out, buy 100 pairs of identical ones and then there'll be no odd ones.

2) let the dog live in the garden / electrify the fence?

3) dig it up & burn it 

Design Museum

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Thanks for these. The other one was how to put suncream on a bald patch ... a small hairy one!!

I have tried buy identical socks - all black, but very quickly each one looks different. I have tried buying socks with the name of the week on them - truly hopeless. We have instead a large contained full of very odd socks sad 

Glove puppets?

Steve Dodd

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A potential solution, of the integrated variety:

Collect the cat poo in socks. Use the poo-socks as sandbags to cover the garden. This will deter the cat, who can no longer scrabble at the ground before pooing. It will also stop all weeds, as they need light to grow. Once the poo is bagged, and all your socks are used up, you can safely walk barefoot around both your house and garden, so you won't need socks.

Frankly I'm surprised you haven't done this already... thoughtful

Rachel Austin

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No help on the odd socks I'm afraid I think there is a sock fairy who's job it is to hide odd socks and force us to read philosophy or literature to expand our human consciousness.

Cat poo - one trick is to put large plastic bottles of water on their side, apparantly it makes the cat feel sick? Couldn't tell you if it works, never tried. The other trick is to get a cat of your own who will chase rivals of it's territory then you only have one cat's poo to deal with. Your cat will have a preferred spot which you can then skirt round.

Suncream on hairy bald spot - aerosol types (spray on).

Rachel Austin

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PS Knotweed. I did volunteer work with BTCV's and it's a perennial problem. You have to remove everything including the roots - foreign species with no natural predators in this country. Nothing you plant will contain it, it chokes the life out of any native plant. Best to catch it before it flowers too so it doesn't spread. Sorry but you have a war on there.


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I had a massive sock cull a few months back and purchased new ones too.  Now I have about 20 different odd new socks lurking in the washing basket - some have simple been washed more often and lost their colour.  Put them in the clothes recycling bin to be shredded/powdered and turned into loft insulation or give them to your local bat hospital to be used for babies.  You could try pairing them before they go into the wash basket.

Cat poo - damn.  My tortoise petrifies cats and they have now more or less decamped from the garden however I still get some pooing in the garden which is a pain.  It stinks, I tread in it or the tortoise eats it and gets worms.  My neighbour used the buds, it didn't work for me. I bought my mum a plant that smell vaguely tom catty but she says they walk past it.  A church member said he had a cat coming into his house peeing everywhere so he collected a jar of 'night water' and dumped it all over the cat and that sorted the problem.

knotweed isn't that usually sorted using some restricted, licensed nasty poison?  Nuking with a home made device is not allowed and scorched earth policy is so unattractive.  If you dig it out there are major issues about soil disposal.

Design Museum

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I appreciate all the ideas! I got through another canister of 'Cat Pepper' that worked last night. On the sock front, I suppose it wouldn't matter if I had only one foot - not that I should wish injury on me or family members. Perhaps a bag of single socks might be useful, sadly, in some part of the world? At least I don't have to bother wearing socks now that it is warm(er).

I couldn't have a cat as I have chronic asthma and they'd make me ill sad Maybe a leopard in the garden? Very, very high fence (not practical in a semi).

The bottles of water seems a very odd one but I'll give it a go as an experiment. 

Spay on suncream - of course! We may have some left over from one the kids were younger (the only way to apply it to a child we found as they would resist the application of cream as it too up too much play time or made them feel daft in front of their friends or some such).

I was just hit on the head by blackbird shit; I guess if I'd worn a hat then both sun on the bald patch and flying shit would have been avoided.

I do rather think if I could just solve the sock problem then everything else would slip into place: mortgage paid, engaging full-time, well-paid work ... 

There is an expensive answer: microchipped socks with an iPhone App to keep track of them! Blacksocks.

Sam Chisnall

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Something that worked for me with regard to cats – is mint.  Any ordinary mint plants.  They love the smell and cats don’t poo where they want to sleep.  I have a few pots spread around my little garden.  I don’t have any more poo problems – but do usually have 4 of the neighbourhood cats asleep in my garden.  So don’t use my idea if you want cats completely gone from your garden!

And whatever you do, if you use this idea, keep the mint in pots.  Or it will spread worse than your knot weed.

Sue Booth

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Cat poo - if you are near a zoo see if they have 'zoo poo' for sale.usually made by the BIG cats, it scares the willeys out of the small domestic moggies.  Apparently.

I like the glove puppet idea - local nursery or preschool?

Knotweed - there are companies but same advice as others

baldy spot - wear a hat.

Design Museum

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The cat off pepper appears to have done the job for now smile