Thursday, May 24, 2018


It was about 7:15 this morning when Ellie woke. She lay in her cot playing with her toys and chatting to herself. It was a lovely sound first think in the morning - like birdsong, it made the spirit soar. The Gorse Fox gave it about 30 minutes before going in to get her and kick-start the day.

The morning revolved round Ellie and the weekly Ocado delivery. One was all about getting things out and the other about putting things away. Either way it kept us busy.

Urban-Cub arrived early afternoon. She had been on duty since the early hours, but now has a few days rest. Ellie and her things were scooped up and the car was loaded. Suddenly there was silence! G-Force could stand down.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


The Gorse Fox started the morning on the running machine as there was no football scheduled for today. Once that was out of the way and he was showered he finished some editing of the holiday posts, and finished adding a few more photos then ran the program that copies them to his private blog. Then he ran a separate helper program which handles the labels on blog posts and transfers them to the private blog. Everything is up to date now.

The Silver Vixen collected Ellie on her way back from Pilates. As usual she kept its on our toes throughout the afternoon.

Lady Penelope popped in for a while to discuss care of Jasper when we take a brief trip soon. As she left, the Gorse Fox's little sister, Jane, and husband, Trevor, turned up. We had been expecting them as Trevor had some business just along the coast and we try to meet when he has an appointment in the area. Because Ellie was with us we couldn't go out for dinner so we had agreed to get fish and chips. This was a great success as it was quick, easy, filling, and the gluten-free batter was very popular.

We managed to have a chat with Cousteau-Cub during the afternoon, which was nice. Hopefully we will get a chance to chat some more in the next few days.

Blogging on the move

The Gorse Fox thought you might be interested in the device that he took for all his blog activity on our recent holiday.

This is it - just a small 8 inch Lenovo tablet (64GB) with a Bluetooth keyboard. Along with a small adapter for his camera he was able to do everything he wanted. He had deliberately stuck to WiFi only connections for the Internet (3G/4G seems overkill for the rare occasions when WiFi isn't available).

Blog entries were written offline in a notebook application. This meant they could be written whether or not there was a connection. Then when a connection was available, the Gorse Fox would cut and paste the entries into a new blog post and add any photos.

He used to use his iPad but found it was getting slower and slower and the WiFi connectivity didn't seem as stable.

(The headphones and TV remote are there to provide some concept of scale.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


A very domestic day today though it did start early. Jasper, clearly pleased to see us, decided we should be awake around 5 a.m.. This started with a bit of prowling, some snuggling down on the Silver Vixen's pillow, some meowing, and eventually morning calisthenics on the Gorse Fox. We ignored him until after 7, but then the Gorse Fox gave up and brought him down.

Once the door was open Jasper was happy and the Gorse Fox hopped up onto the running machine for some exercise of his own. Satisfied he had started the day well he showered while a tray full of sausages cooked in the oven - soon to be accompanied by some egg and bacon.

The bulk of the morning was taken up by a trip to Chichester. The Gorse Fox had his 6-monthly appointment at the Dentist. Fortunately, he was again given a clean bill of health - and a bill for the news. The Silver Vixen had skipped into town and we met up at Costa for a coffee before picking up some Turner's Pies as we returned to the car.

The afternoon has been spent working on the accounts. The Gorse Fox had a stack of receipts from the past few weeks that needed to be recorded - some of which needed hunting down. The he gets a few spare hours he will go through and cross-check them against the actual accounts. At least they are logged, for now.

Talking of accounts, and being paranoid, the Gorse Fox got a very impressive email from Nationwide today. It said he should update his mobile banking App - today. A genuine-looking link was provided in the email to assist with the upgrade. He's very cautious and not totally convinced this is genuine; particularly as the App Store has not got an updated version of the App. He will leave it a few days and see what transpires. His rule of self preservation is NOT to follow links in emails, however genuine they look.

Monday, May 21, 2018


The Gorse Fox was up early and on the running machine before he's even sniffed a coffee this morning. There's 10 days of excess to be undone.

After a quiet start we headed out to the Cattery where Jasper has been enjoying himself while we were away. It's a lovely spot in the middle of nowhere with and absolutely charming proprietor who really bonds with the cats and even sends you emails to tell you how they are getting on. Jasper was very chilled out when we arrived, but we coaxed him into the carrier and brought him home. He had a quick sniff around and marched round to check everything was how he'd left it and then dropped straight back in to his normal behaviour.

We grabbed some lunch then the Gorse Fox had to wander round to Sainsbury's as we had to stock up  with some of the basics - vegetables, eggs, spices, milk, cake, chocolate, ice cream and so forth. We can now survive until Ocado deliver on Thursday.

When the Gorse Fox got home he saw he's missed a message from Cousteau-Cub. She was obviously very upset. Her big bear of dog - Bruno, who had been suffering from diabetes and had gone blind, had to be put down at the weekend. We are so sorry for her as she was so fond of him and his lovely temperament.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Home for a bit

It was another gorgeous morning. We hadn't been too late last night and we allowed ourselves to wake when we woke naturally. We wandered across the little courtyard (obviously once the stable yard for the Inn) and settled down for breakfast.

Once packed and loaded we checked-out and headed to Denise & Dom's. We had been invited for coffee followed by a BBQ. We decided to accept the coffee but get on the road rather than stay for the BBQ. As it was we were there chatting for several hours. Clearly everyone had enjoyed yesterday's celebrations - and better yet, everyone had survived without any hangovers. (Though some had still been at it at midnight).

We said our goodbyes and hit the road. It was a great time to travel and we swept along at a steady speed all the way to Chichester. Two hours was a lot better than the journey up.

With nothing in the fridge yet, having just got back from holiday, we diverted to Fontwell and stopped at the Old Stables for a late lunch. We were tired and hungry so tucked in to the roast pork loin. It was not good. The gravy was burnt, and the pork dry. Possibly the worst meal we have ever had there, (The Old Stables is usually very reliable and is one of our "go to" restaurants). Very disappointing. Maybe the chef (or microwave) was having an off day.

Anyway, we are home now and can put our feet up.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Wedding of the Year

You may have noticed that there has been wall-to-wall TV coverage of the Wedding. The Gorse Fox thinks that the couple were deeply flattered by the interest, but glad that decoy event in Windsor kept the hordes away from Buckingham.

We started the day with a good breakfast at the hotel and then had a quiet stroll around the town and the Saturday market before heading back to get changed for the big event. This was well timed as we could watch the build-up on TV while quietly primping and preening out of the public gaze. We stayed put until the decoy couple's service started and then took a leisurely stroll the couple of hundred yards to the Church where the real event was taking place.

Because so many of the rich and famous had been diverted to Windsor our small gathering was able to fit within the choir stalls of the Church. The Groom was looking smart and the Bride shimmered into the Church and up the aisle. It was a lovely little service - absolutely fitting for the occasion.

We milled about outside while photos were being arranged and then headed back for the reception at the Bride & Groom's Palace. So that no unauthorised photos were taken, the staff had been given the day off and the guests were able to all muck in.

There was a wonderful spread  (worthy of one of the Summer Garden Parties at that other Buckingham Palace ). Wines flowed, tea was poured, and everyone sat and chatted. So it continued through the afternoon and well into the evening. It really was a lovely event.

We called for a carriage as it got dark and were whisked away back to our hotel. It certainly will be a day that we will long remember.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ah ha

Well the WiFi had to be reset, but at last it has exploded into life. Well much like a very weary sloth pretending to be lazy.

While the WiFi was busy trying to outstrip geological change we walked in to the town and settled down in the Chinese Restaurant. We ate at Cheng Du back in 2010 and remembered how good it was then. It seemed like an opportunity to see if it was still as good. The Gorse Fox is delighted to report that it is. We had a lovely meal and a drop of wine.

Reality Check

Reality has returned (albeit after a good night's sleep). We had to spin into Chichester first thing. The Silver Vixen had an hair appointment and the Gorse Fox needed to see the travel agent. Next year's return trip is booked and appears to be sorted out.

Back home we finished packing (or should we say re-packing) and cleared a few domestic chores before heading off for the wedding of the Silver Vixen's sister, in Buckingham.

Traffic round Chichester was got us off to a bad start but then things cleared and we made fairly steady progress until we approached Oxford. There we got stuck in a 6 mile tailback caused by a broken down lorry. It took us an hour to get through to clear roads again. Reality, eh!

Now we are checked-in to our hotel. No offer of taking our bags to the room. Though WiFi is advertised it clearly doesn't work. You can sit on a beach in Jamaica and conduct video calls over WiFi, but in the middle of Buckingham, in an expensive hotel, you can't even log in to it. Reality, eh!

Thursday, May 17, 2018


It was a good flight and it landed a few minutes early. We had both managed to rest during the journey which was good. We were told to wait until the plane had offloaded so that the buggy would be available to take the Silver Vixen through to Baggage Reclaim. This delayed us as the offload took forever and then there were insufficient wheelchairs, porters, and buggies for the people requiring them. It was clear that the Silver Vixen would be taken care of and that the Gorse Fox would have to find his own way so the Gorse Fox headed off while the Silver Vixen waited for a buggy.

Passport Control was very slick and then it onwards to Baggage Reclaim. This, as always at Gatwick, took forever but there was no hurry - the Silver Vixen still hadn't arrived. Eventually the bags arrived and eventually the Silver Vixen arrived. As we walked through Customs and into the arrivals hall we kept an eye out for our driver. As it turns out Urban-Cub had cancelled the driver (hence the peculiar email the other morning)... and was standing there with Ellie, waiting for us to come through.

We were soon on the roads and despite a diversion due to an accident were soon home. Urban-Cub and Ellie stayed for a while but the rest of the day has revolved around unpacking and get the laundry under way. Meanwhile we did have a quick diversion while booking a return trip this time next year... and a quick chat with Old Bill and Lady Penelope.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Going Home

As we finished packing we got a video-call from Urban-cub and Ellie. As we were all done, it was nice to sit and chat - even though Ellie was clearly under the weather.

We checked-out of the Resort but stayed on site to await our VIP transfer. We met the guy who we believe is the new General Manager and chatted with him for a while before going for lunch. After lunch we changed ready for the journey and said our goodbyes to the staff. It has been a lovely week and you somehow feel that many of the staff have become good friends in the short time we have known them.

Our driver turned up a couple of minutes late. The car was loaded and we headed  out into the traffic. The driver was a much older man than the chap who brought us from the airport last week. Older, but clearly not as good. The journey was luxurious but a little jumpy as he kept changing speed and making slight adjustment in the steering. Though it was a new BMW the rear seat was quite hard and by the end of the journey it was nice to get out for a stretch.

Once at the airport we quickly checked-in and were met by the special assistance chap who escorted to the priority security check and then on to the VIP lounge. The airport was a bit of a surprise as Arrivals (last week) had seemed quite small. Departures turned out to be quite impressive with plenty of  shops and things to do. We skimmed past and went straight to the lounge.

As the Gorse Fox writes we are whizzing along at 600 mph, are some 222 miles from Montego Bay and we are cruising at 34000 feet.


Dinner last night was very good. We both selected the same items from the menu as last week. This time we were sitting on the elevated terrace looking down over the evening's entertainment. Romeo was our "one and only" (his words) waiter and attended to us closely. Wine glasses never emptied and the food was exactly what we have come to expect.

The band were playing some lounge music up until nine, then a singer came on to liven things up. Keisha certainly had some go about her and managed to fill the floor with what can only be described as reggae line-dancers. Readers may not be surprised to learn that the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen were not among the troupe.

Today is check-out and travel. This did not stop the Gorse Fox from hitting the gym. Depressingly the only coverage on the TV in there was about the upcoming Royal wedding - the Gorse Fox was glad he had his headphones tuned in to a podcast to relieve the schmaltz.

We don't need to vacate our room until midday, and our transport is scheduled for 14:30. One suspects there will a lot of time to kill at the airport. For now, however, we need to complete the packing and hope the laundry-fairy is on the flight and does all our washing for us before we get home.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


The Silver Vixen has spent the last couple of hours in the Spa. It's hard to improve on perfection but, just in case, the Gorse Fox went to meet her at the end of the session - just make sure he recognised her.

The rest of the afternoon has been sent with the Kindle and in the Loyalty Office. The Gorse Fox thought it may be worth getting a quote for a return visit next year. The initial quote seemed good and appears to undercut our UK Agent fairly significantly. Now he has set our UK agent the challenge to narrow the difference to something more palatable.

This evening we have a reservation at Papillon (the French Restaurant)

King of the Beach

We had met up with Paul and Lori from Toronto. They are frequent visitors to Sandals. Paul is clearly King of the Beach. His cabana is reserved for him every morning while he goes off to play golf. He the returns and takes up residence on his throne. He's a lovely man and so friendly. It was he who invited us out on the boat the other night and today there was a tour of the beach villa and we were again invited to join in. (The Silver Vixen went along for a nosey around).

The beach butler turned up and King of the Beach summoned him. A few minutes later another butler arrived clutching a bottle of Glenlivet and some glasses. Again the Gorse Fox was invited to join them but 11:00 in the morning seems a little early for him. The Gorse Fox thanked them and stuck with water.

The banter continued throughout the morning but, with timing to perfection, the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed up for lunch as the skies clouded over and the rain started.

Dawn's Early Light

Another couple we met up with have bee Dave and Dawn. Like the Gorse Fox, Dawn used to work for Starfleet. Initially she was a Systems Engineer and then moved into Information Development. Our time with Starfleet had clearly overlapped, though we had never met. Now she was working with Dave managing his contracts but had also been teaching technical writing.

Dave runs a large server farm, or at least he used to. Now he has moved all his clients up into the cloud. Their objective is to travel and spend one month at a time in different locations. They can manage the cloud based servers and the client base as long as they have internet access. Sensibly he even runs his own VPN.

Now that seems like a good work-life balance.


It was a lovely warm, if a little humid, evening. We opted for dinner on the Terrace. By now we are so full of fine food that we skip starters and go straight for the main course. The Silver Vixen chose the ribe-eye steak and the Gorse Fox went for Mahi Mahi again. As we waited the Gorse Fox had a chance to people-watch.

Enter Botox Betty. She sits nearby with her partner. Her head is too big for her shoulders. Speech seems slurred and her mouth reminds one of The Joker (with a little less makeup).

Then there's One Show Christine - She turned up with Tattoo-man. She sat down wearing a pair of grandma's curtains up-cycled into a dress.Very elegant.

Next to us set preppy girl with the classic up and down tune to her voice but with all of the up inflections on the wrong syllables. The whiney squeak to her voice was most pronounced when trying to get her mouth round the simple "thank you". This morphed into an elongated "thin kyowww".

Right - character assassination finished for now.

We went and sat out under the stars and listened to the house band while sipping on some re-hydrating fluids. The band, who we had seen last week, were much better this week. The Gorse Fox is unclear whether they were just 'in the groove' or whether it was a different set. Whatever it was, they were excellent.

As the band played, lightning danced across the skies to the north of us. It was really quite spectacular - though we heard no thunder.

The morning started at about 6:30. There was a shock to start with  when the Gorse Fox received an email saying our airport pick-up had been cancelled. A quick exchange of emails cleared things up - an IT problem had screwed up the system back home. Everything was still in place!

The Gorse Fox headed for the gym. He had the place to himself and enjoyed the solitude as he pounded along on the treadmill. Then it was back for a shower a good breakfast and back to the beach. Just perfect.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Silicone Valley

We have spent another day on the beach. There was a little high cloud at first but that burnt off and if it hadn't been for the pleasant breeze it would have been very hot indeed. Kindles were broken out and books devoured. The beach butlers wandered back and forth ensuring that we were well hydrated.

One of the new guests bounced  onto the beach with her beau in tow. She, unusually for an American girl, had tattoos. She also appeared to be an advert for silicone. Indeed one suspects the sand on the beach was muttering to itself "that's where the rest of the beach went". One suspects that she needs neither a lifejacket on water or an airbag in a car.

Audell, our butler came and joined us for a chat and we heard all about his family and what it is like working at Sandals. It's clear they are a good employer and that is clearly evident from the cheerful and helpful staff - you can't fake the genuine friendship and joy they demonstrate on a daily basis. Audell reminded us that we had a $250 credit at the Spa so we had a look through their menu of treatments and then the Silver Vixen went along to book herself in for tomorrow. The girl from the Spa took one look at the Gorse Fox and realised he was beyond help so the Silver Vixen will use the whole session herself.

There was a brief but heavy shower while we were in the Spa but it had all blown over by the time we headed back to the beach. The afternoon followed the now familiar pattern - reading, and swimming.

This evening will just be a simple dinner on the terrace and some live entertainment (hopefully not involving the Silver Vixen and fire).

Quiet evening - stick to Plan A

We decided that you can only have so many rich meals before you need a rest. Last night we decided on the pub. We sat a listened to jazz while drinking in the atmosphere and eating a light meal. It was lovely - the rain had cleared and the evening was warm.

We stayed until the entertainment finished; some then headed in for some karaoke but we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and snuck back to the room.

It was 7 before the Gorse Fox started on the teas and coffees.He wasn't really in the mood for the gym, but did force himself. He had the place to himself and the TV screens were tuned to a channel that was showing football highlights. This made the exercise a lot more tolerable.

After breakfast we signed up for the Sandals loyalty programme. It's not quite clear exactly what we will get out of it, but it seemed silly not to join (as it was free of charge).

As the Gorse Fox writes this we are sitting on the beach with our new friends Rachel and Tommy from Dallas and await the arrival of a further round of champagne cocktails from Daniello the beach butler.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Timing is Everything

We have spent the day on the beach sharing jokes, anecdotes, and music with the couple from Dallas and a couple from Toronto. It has been great fun and included something akin to Petanque called Bocce Ball. The Gorse Fox thought to himself that Barney Rubble should have been there as he would have been far more accomplished than the Gorse Fox.

We stopped for lunch and had a nice snack and a chat with the couple from Hartley Wintney before returning to the sand. By now a small American football had appeared and was being tossed around in the sea. The Gorse Fox joined in to demonstrate that he was quite incompetent in more than one sport.

Our new friends had booked a boat to take them out for a late afternoon cruise. We were invited to join them but we declined.

As the title says, timing is everything. The boat disappeared across the bay and we packed up to return to our room. As we got to the top of the stairs the heavens opened and it just poured down. Now some 30 minutes later it is still falling in huge sheets. Declining the boat trip was a wise decision.

Fire Dance

Yesterday evening saw us head for the Royal Grill. This was a restaurant overlooking the beach and specialising in seafood. We  settled down and watched as other guests drifted in. Down on the small pier a just-married couple had a romantic dinner for two in the little pavillion. The off lantern drifted up into the sky. It was quite magical.

The dinner was excellent. The Silver Vixen had a Surf 'n' turf which featured shrimp and beef tenderloin. The Gorse Fox had the special - snapper, salmon, and mahi mahi. This was washed down with suitable wines and a coconut rum. This latter drink had a punch like a sledgehammer, but was very nice.

We went up to the terrace where the entertainment was about to start. A steel band had been playing but had just packed up to make room for the Fire Dance. First up was a chap who balanced things on his nose or his head. That may not sound special, but the things included a big cast iron table and separately a young girl sitting on a chair. It was quite impressive.

When he had finished a limbo dancer came on and slithered his way lower and lower as he worked his way under the ever-lower pole. This culminated with him setting fire to the pole and sliding through underneath. (The Gorse Fox would point out at this juncture that he won a limbo competition in his youth but suspects those days are over).

The first performer returned. He did some fire eating and set some spinning wheels on fire. That's when it really got interesting as he started to involve some of the audience. He headed for the Silver Vixen - there was nowhere to hide. Next thing we knew she was up and dancing with a flaming wheel on her head. There may have been video, but the Gorse Fox is not brave enough to post it here. (Note to self - keep her away from the rum). What a night.

This morning started early but the Gorse Fox did not leave for the gym until just after 7. He had the place to himself for the first 40 minutes or so, but then there seemed to be a rush. He had clearly timed it well.

After breakfast we headed for the beach. It seems to us that if a plan works, why change it. The Gorse Fox notes that the lady to his right (from Dallas) is the absolute image of his Aunt Gillia when she was a little younger. Uncanny. Even the Silver Vixen spotted it immediately.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


Another exhausting day on the beach. The beach butlers, Cleon and Daniello, have traipsed back and forth delivering various cocktails to keep us hydrated whilst flipping the pages of our KIndles.

After Cousteau-cubs text-chat this morning, we had a long video chat with Urban-cub and Ellie. That was lovely as she started to use her first words (Ellie, that is, not Urban-cub). "Mama", and "Nana" are there so far but there is still no signs of the times-tables.

When it all became too much we packed our stuff and headed up for some lunch. Needless to say Coconut Shrimp featured heavily and the Gorse Fox also had some fish and chips based on a thick fillet of snapper. Delicious.

The afternoon followed the same pattern as the morning. Reading, drinking water occasionally, and swimming. There is a strong temptation not to go home at the end of this.

The Gorse Fox is now showered and preparing for this evening's events... but more on that later.

Fruit juice

Jamaica Night was fun. We met up with Colin and Angela from Cumbria and shared dinner. Wines lubricated the local delicacies. After a salad starter the Gorse Fox had goat curry, jerk chicken and fried plantains. The Silver Vixen had jerk pork which, whilst a little fatty, she enjoyed (Clarification - the pork was a little fatty, not the Silver Vixen).

After dinner we sat and enjoyed a singer. She had a good voice but it was essentially karaoke as the backing was just a pre-record (no live band). She was a particularly pneumatic shape and the Gorse Fox was intrigued by how she remained upright. She had spindly little legs, a derriere the size of a small county and comparatively slim waist and a bust that could probably kill. The whole ensemble defied the laws of physics.

The Gorse Fox was up a little Later this morning. It was probably 7:30 before he got to the gym. The exercise seemed like particularly hard work today. He persevered and did his full session and is pleased that he has still managed to keep it up every morning.

We had breakfast on the terrace and while there got a WhatsApp chat with Cousteau-cub. She's 12 hours ahead of us and was already in bed at the end of her day. It was nice to hear from her.

Now we are back down on the beach. There's some high cloud cover and it's quite humid but still lovely and warm. A fruit juice laced with champagne is providing the incentive to endure these horrendous conditions.

Friday, May 11, 2018


While we've been here we have met a number of other couples, some from closer to home than you might expect. There's a lovely couple from Cockermouth in Cumbria. We met initially in the gym but have sat and chatted several times. Then there was a couple from Hartley Wintney who used to run the New Inn on the Reading Road.

Today we spent the day on the beach with a lovely couple from Fareham and their friends from Indiana. Huge quantities of alcohol were poured down various necks and the conversation flowed just as freely. (The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen were mere peripherals when it came to the drink, making no attempt to keep up).

For lunch we wandered up to the bar and indulged in Coconut Shrimp and Spare Ribs - a perfect combination for a lunchtime snack. Then the couple from/Indiana went their own way (incidentally, she is the doppelganger of cousin Agent Mulder's wife). We headed back to the beach with our new friends. A lot of talking was interrupted by the odd swim and a number of deliveries from the beach butlers. (In this heat hydration is imperative, you understand).

Now as the Gorse Fox writes this he is supping a restorative glass of rum while waiting to go down to "Jamaica on the Terrace" for this evening's meal and entertainment. Sounds fun, as long as it's not "Death in Paradise".

Jammin (no G)

Yesterday evening we say Italian Night at the resort. This was a simple affair - a buffet for the antipasto, the entrees were A la Carte, and the sweet course was again buffet-style. The starters provided a wonderful range of salads, shellfish, cheeses and vegetables. The Silver Vixen followed this with lasagne, the Gorse Fox went for some fettuccine with snapper, mussels, prawns, clams, and so forth. The portions were huge but absolutely delicious. All of this was washed down with some lovely wines.

With dinner over we headed for the terrace where a reggae band was just beginning its set. We found a spot with a couple from Cumbria and chatted while we listened to the music and tried some more of the local rum. The Gorse Fox is getting a real taste for this.

As usual the Gorse Fox was awake around 1 a.m. but managed to turn over and go back off until about 6:00 - this  was a major result. After preparing tea and coffee he headed off to the gym. For the second day running he had the place to himself. As he finished his workout he got a message from Urban-cub to say that Ellie's hospital appointment had gone well and she had been given the all clear. This was great news with which to start the day.

We've ow had our breakfast and have settled down on the beach. Lazy? Perhaps. Do we care? Not a bit.