Friday, February 22, 2019

Celebration day

Well the Gorse Fox seems to have survived another year. He's making the most of this by opening cards and responding to countless online wishes. He's clearly a very lucky chap.

We popped in to Chichester this morning. As discussed yesterday, the Gorse Fox needs some new comfy walking shoes and the Silver Vixen said that she would buy them for his Birthday. We headed for Clarks (despite yesterday's phone calls). Over the year the Gorse Fox has learned that Clarks are consistently the most comfortable shoes for his feet, so he rarely looks anywhere else. He handed the assistant the list of shoes he had created yesterday and she scuttled off to get them. As it happens none of the suited, but another pair he saw in the shop looked ideal and once tried the Gorse Fox decided on them.

We then headed to M&S as he had received some money as a gift. Just as Clarks is his "go to" place for shoes, M&S is is "go to" place for virtually everything else in the menswear category. (Thinking about it, between Clarks, M&S, and Amazon he is just about set for all his shopping needs). Anyway, to cut a short story even shorter, we left clutching a nice crew neck sweater.

We stopped for a lunchtime snack at Crispin's then grabbed the bus home. The Gorse Fox has had a nice chat with Cousteau-Cub this afternoon and she says the temperature in Phi Phi at present is 39C and expected to get hotter in the next 10 days. Sounds lovely!

We're meeting up with Jane and Trevor for dinner tonight, so that should be fun as we always have a good chinwag.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Relaxed day

We had a fairly relaxed day. There was no real hurry to get going and though Ocado turned up a bit earlier than usual, we were ready for them.

The Silver Vixen ordered and received an insert for her sewing cabinet that fills the void around her sewing machine when it is in the operating position. Unfortunately this didn't fit so the supplier said they would recut the insert using our old one as a template. We had to get this all packed up safely and dropped off at a collection point. The Gorse Fox used this as an excuse to have a nice walk and combined this with a stop at Bognor Station to pick up his tickets for next Monday and a further stop at Sainsbury's. All in all it was about 5 miles all the way round, but it was good exercise.

The walk made the Gorse Fox realise that his walking shoes needed replacing. The soles are so thin now that he can feel every crack in the pavement and every bit of grit he steps on. When he got home he spent an hour or two looking at the Clarks Shoes site to find a suitable replacement pair. He narrowed it down to a shortlist of four styles. He phoned the local shop to ask if they had them in stock - no, no, no, and no came the answer. The suggestion was to try Chichester. He phoned. Of the four, only one was in stock in the colour required, two others had different colours available, and the one favoured most wasn't stocked. Well that was a success! We'll probably go into Chichester in the morning and take a look at what they have and at least try the on to see if the style is comfortable.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Pinball

After last night's late night it took a while to get theses and the joints working this morning. It's been another gorgeous sunny day though at the time of writing the sun has dropped behind the neighbouring houses.

The Gorse Fox had football this morning. It was busy. In fact we had 9-vs-8 which made it very crowded on the pitch. The trouble with busy matches likes that is that they have a habit of turning into pinball as the ball bounces around from one person to the next. The game ended up as a 3-1 win for the orange-bibs. Unfortunately, the Gorse Fox was playing for the yellow-bibs. No goals for him today.

Back home, we had a lovely long video call with Cousteau-Cub. She was in Phuket meeting up with a friend and getting some admin sorted prior to her return home in April. IT was lovely to chat with her and see her looking so well.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Ganges

Ellie woke at six so we fetched her and brought her into bed with us. She fidgeted a bit, but remained quiet for an hour before hauling us out of bed and getting us going. Despite being unwell she was her normal chirpy self and seemed to improve throughout the day... though didn't eat a great deal.

The Gorse Fox skipped football as Ellie was with us. After lunch a nice young plumber turned up (as arranged - it wasn't some random event!). We have had trouble with the cistern in the family bathroom. As it refills it doesn't quite know when to stop and just keeps pumping water until it feels like stopping. The plumber took the inspection panel off and removed the various components. They were affected by limescale and once cleaned off they seemed to run properly. It  was very fiddly job - and not one that the Gorse Fox would have been happy attempting. Anyway, 30 minutes later it was done and the Gorse Fox was charged a grand total of £25. Seems like a good deal.

We dropped Ellie back with Urban-Cub and then headed across to Brighton. We had arranged to have dinner with the Silver Vixen's cousins. We arrived a bit later than planned but managed to sit down for a cup of tea and a chat before going back out to the restaurant. We drove across to Hove and parked near the town hall then strolled along to The Ganges Brasserie. Being a Tuesday night it wasn't very busy and we were shown to a nice table and presented with their extensive menu. As Trevor, the the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox selected our meals, Sue seemed to make the names of dishes that she wanted and swore she had had there before. Despite discussions with the waiter, he had never heard of them and couldn't even guess what they were. She resorted to something that was on the menu.

The Gorse Fox had a lamb biriani which was very good. For him, biriani range from nice up to excellent. This didn't reach an excellent rating, but was certainly a very good one.

After the meal we returned to Sue and Trevor's for a coffee and chat and to catch up on the life in general. It was 10:45 before we left - a late night for us - but traffic and roadworks were kind to us on the way back and we were climbing the stairs to bed by 11:30.

Monday, February 18, 2019

On duty

It was a quiet start to the day - it was a bit grey and dull outside, but mild. It wasn't the sort of day that invited you to come and enjoy it.

The morning was spent on domestic activities and the Gorse Fox was thankful that he invested in the Karcher Hard Floor Cleaner last year. It does make the task of cleaning the floors so much easier and does a really good job. The Silver Vixen pottered around and got various loads of washing on the go, in the dryer, and on the airer.

At lunchtime we got a call from Urban-Cub. As we suspected, Ellie had not been well enough to go to the child minder today - but Pistol Pete was home to take care of her. Tomorrow, however, both Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete are on duty so the obvious thing to do was for Ellie to stay with us overnight and we'll take care of her during the day.

Urban-Cub turned up with Ellie late afternoon. Ellie was clearly under the weather, but somehow managed to keep her sunny disposition - she was just a bit lethargic. We'll take good care of her and ply her with suitable potions and remedies and then drop her back to Urban-Cub tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

6-5 Special

That's a headline for the oldies!

It was a nice start to day with lots of bright sunshine. By mid-afternoon some high cloud had eradicated the blue, but the temperature stayed quite mild.

The Gorse Fox had football this morning. The sides were a 6-vs-5, with the Gorse Fox playing on the yellow team, with the 5 players. This always makes things a bit harder, but also more challenging and fun. We worked hard throughout both halves and ended up winning fairly easily. The Gorse Fox thinks the final score was 9-4, but can't be sure. He did manage to get on the score sheet, and also provided assists for 3 or 4 of the other goals. All round it was a good game.

Back home it's been quite relaxed. The Silver Vixen is doing some sewing in the reorganised sewing room, Urban-Cub has turned up to catch up on work emails (in the peace and quiet), and the Gorse Fox is just bottling about doing this and that.

A chicken has been cooking in the Instant Pot. This was started a lot earlier than necessary because it was quite big and the Gorse Fox wasn't sure it was going to fit. In case it didn't he had to allow time to roast it normally. As it happens, it did fit so it's done. This should provide for tonight's supper and several further meals during the week.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Finishing off

It was a grey and damp day. We had originally planned to be visiting Betty and Barney Rubble today, but we heard during the week that Barney isn't well, so this was cancelled. There was no Plan B - we had a clear day.

After a very lazy breakfast we decided it was time to finish the last of the changes to bedroom 3. The Gorse Fox grabbed his tools and disassembled the cot and moved it into the bedroom 3. Then, once reassembled, the cot was positioned and the Silver Vixen finished moving things to their new home. Room is done and next time Ellie is here she will stay in her new room.

The Gorse Fox ordered a book yesterday... and not from Amazon! The particular recipe book was discounted from £17 to £4.80 at The Works - so he placed the order for a "Click & Collect". Notification overnight confirmed it was ready so the Gorse Fox grabbed the bus into Chichester and strolled along to collect. There is some overlap with an existing recipe book, but some interesting new techniques and recipes.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Day out

It was another glorious day, considering it is mid-February. The sun was streaming down and the skies were crystal clear. We were expecting Trevor at midday - he would be fitting the new blackout blind in the back bedroom. The Silver Vixen had arranged to meet up with Urban-cub and Ellie and go out to a park in Chichester.

Plans started and Urban-cub arrived with Ellie, but pointed out that she wasn't herself this morning. She did, however, perk up once she was in and could chase Nana and Jasper. They got themselves ready and headed off to Chichester.

The Gorse Fox remained behind for Trevor, who turned up just after the girls had left. We stood and chatted over coffee for about an hour before he got started on the job in hand. The Gorse Fox hovered around so that he could lend a hand when necessary - but Trevor is so meticulous that it's best to stay well in the background and avoid distracting him.

It was about this time that the Gorse Fox got a message through from the Silver Vixen. They were on their way to A&E with Ellie who had spiked a temperature and was not looking at all well. Their day out was over and the rest of the afternoon was spent at St Richard's. In the end, it appears that all is well and that she had succumbed to a virus of some kind. All the tests they ran proved negative, and they managed the temperature with paracetamol and ibuprofen. By they time they got back here in the late afternoon, Ellie was still a bit quiet but had obviously perked up.

Enough excitement for the day, Urban-cub and Ellie headed home and the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox had quiet evening.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Day out

The weather was lovely. In fact it was the warmest St Valentine's Day for about 20 years. Not a cloud sullied the sky and the winter sun tried its hardest to pretend it was summer. It was too nice to stay in so we made the most of the day and headed for a National Trust property called Hinton Ampner, near Winchester. We had visited this estate before, but that was back in 1994 - and it was worth a return visit.

Unsurprisingly, given the weather, there was quite a throng of visitors but the only time that we really noticed was when we went for lunch.

We started with a stroll around the some of the gardens. These are neat and tidy and dominated by intricately shaped hedges and specimen conifers.

Tucked away to one side is the little Parish Church.  The Gorse Fox noticed that the list of Parish priests started in 1216... now that's continuity.

After a very pleasant spot of lunch we wandered into the main house. At the entrance we were greeted with laminated guides and a set of blue shoe covers. Slipping on the shoe covers we started to work our way through the house. Whilst the basic fabric of the building is very old, there was a devastating fire  and the last owner spent years having it restored and filled with suitable furniture, paintings, and books.

It was an intimate house... not huge and rambling, but a size that you could almost imagine living in yourself. As we wandered on the Gorse Fox had clear memories of our visit from 1994 - though no recollection at all of the upper floor. It turns out that there used to be a tenant, and the upper floors weren't open to the public in the past. That was relief as the Gorse Fox thought that senility was setting in.

Leaving the house we strolled around the south terrace which looked out over the Downs. It really was a wonderful view and beckoned us to walk on along by the ha ha and down the lane, looping back up to the church.

We finished off with a mid afternoon cup of tea and then headed home. Over all, a really nice day out.

Nom Nom

Well the butter chicken that the Gorse Fox prepared was absolutely sensational. Now, that's not to say it couldn't be improved, but it really was very, very good. It was perhaps just a little warm for the Silver Vixen and perhaps had a little more salt than we usually have. Notes have been scribbled in the margins of the recipe and it will be on the menu again soon.

The other success was the rice. For the first time ever, the Gorse Fox was able to cook rice that had a similar texture and the flavour of that which we are served at Indian restaurants. Part of the trick was to add a little ghee to rice while it was being cooked.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Spots before the eyes

It was a nice sunny and warm day. It was a pleasure to go out and play football - even though it was a bit crowded at 8-a-side. The Gorse Fox has said before that with that many it can become a bit like pinball. As it was the teams seemed a bit lopsided to begin with and by half time, the yellows (for whom the Gorse Fox was playing) were 2-0 down.

The Gorse Fox isn't quite certain what we did differently in the second half, but slowly we hauled things back and eventually managed a 4-3 win (with 2 goals from the Gorse Fox). Most satisfactory.

This afternoon the Gorse Fox has been attacking further spots on the carpet. We are delighted with the effectiveness of this machine. Certainly most of the spots treated yesterday have disappeared. He re-treated a couple of spots from yesterday and attacked some stains that he entirely forgot yesterday. These were caused originally by the Gorse Fox knocking over some pot plants that stained the carpet badly. Five mounts treatment this afternoon and the marks have gone - totally!

Quick raid on Sainsbury's this afternoon to pick up a few ingredients for the butter chicken he's planning for tonight's supper.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Out Damned Spot

The Silver Vixen is out for the day at one of her covens. The Gorse Fox had to set up her SatNav before she left, but he's received no phone calls so assume she arrived without incident.

The Gorse Fox had football this morning. Not the best of games, he must admit. Six games played, one game was a draw and he lost all the rest. Even in the second hour, when he usually gets a chance to really stretch his legs, he was unable to get out of 2nd gear. Frustrating, and even more so when he had three perfectly good shots saved by a goalkeeper who was absolutely impenetrable today.

Back home the Gorse Fox has spent the afternoon with our new carpet spot-cleaning machine.

Jasper has left stains on various odd bits of carpet where he has vomited over the years. We always try to get to them as soon as possible and clean things up as best we can, but they alway seem to leave a slight discolouration so we decided to buy a machine that would help.

For the last hour or so the Gorse Fox has been spraying the various spots with the cleaning solution, leaving it to soak in and do its job, and then using the machine to brush and vacuum up the excess fluid. First looks seem positive, but it may need a second application.

We'll have to check when it dries.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Restaurants

It's been a quiet day. Bright, cool, but quiet.

The Gorse Fox contacted the Abbot to see if the proposed dinner with the Headmistress and Mother Superior was still happening. He was delighted to hear hat it is confirmed, but then the other shoe dropped. Could the Gorse Fox find a suitable restaurant? Well, the Gorse Fox doesn't have a huge list of London restaurants filed away in his back pocket. So it was that he spent the whole morning going through TripAdvisor looking for a suitable shortlist in terms of location, quality, and price. This was not an easy task as there are so many from which to select. Eventually we had a list and it's been sent to the Abbot for his final selection. Once that is sorted the Gorse Fox can book his railway tickets and decide if he needs to find a hotel or not.

As the weather was so nice, the Gorse Fox managed to take a walk this afternoon. This is a habit that he has dropped recently, but really should re-establish on the days when he isn't playing football.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Old and New

The day has been very relaxed. The Silver Vixen has been buried in her sewing room and the Gorse Fox has been wandering back and forth between the study and the kitchen.

In the study he has been working on the family tree. He's managed to fill in some gaps, though hasn't pushed the tree back any further.

In the kitchen he has been reading recipes and has now homed in on his own adaptation of several recipes. A leg of pork is loaded into the multi-cooker and is now cooking under pressure. The skin has been removed and will be cooked with the roast potatoes to get some crackling. We'll have to see how it goes. If it's as good as the lamb the other night, it will be very tasty.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

That Worked

Well the Gorse Fox is very pleased that yesterday's experiment worked. He made some lamb steaks in the Instant Pot, deliberately using all of its relevant functions. The result was absolutely delicious, with the lamb falling apart as you cut into it. In practice, he would actually use a separate pan for browning the steaks in future, but it worked perfect well in the Pot.

Along with the lamb steaks he made some Cajun bulgur wheat with chickpeas. Again, this was very much an experiment - but again, and experiment that turned out wonderfully. The Gorse Fox realised that he didn't have any Cajun spice so he looked up a mix on Google and created his own... and must say it was excellent.

Today has been a quiet day indoors. The Silver Vixen has finished off the sewing project that had been occupying her yesterday and the Gorse Fox spent several hours on the computer bringing the photo library up to date with photos from the last couple of months - and all of the Flickr photos.

Just as an aside, today would have been the Gorse Fox's Dad's 93rd birthday, and it turns out to be Birthday of one of his American cousins; clearly a most auspicious day.