Monday, March 19, 2018


It was cold again overnight and there were still snow flurries this morning. It really hasn't come to much and the forecast is that a thaw will start this afternoon and the temperatures will rise throughout the week.

Fairly quiet day here - a few domestic chores followed by a lot of family tree work. The Gorse Fox chose a different branch today and had a much more successful day. The one problem area he came across was the disappearance of the website. This used to provide a great deal of background regrading the sinking of RMS Lancastria during the evacuation of St Nazaire during WWII. The Gorse Fox's uncle was a Roman Catholic Chaplain and one of the survivors of the attack. He was mentioned in many of the subsequent articles. Now the site has gone. The Gorse Fox has, however, got newspaper clippings and links to newspaper archives  which pick up most of the story.

He also spent some time looking at research for Pistol Pete's family. Records and sources are quite good, but again many of the other trees that feature parts of his family are just dreadful. No valid sources for the information and clear anomalies in the assumptions made. It's frustrating because one tree seemed to push his ancestors back several further generations but there was no corroborative information so the names could just as easily have been picked out of thin air.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Snow, Snow, slip, slip snow

We had snow over night. Not a huge amount, but it had settled and it was very cold out. Fortunately we had no reason to go out. We had a lazy start which was topped with a full English breakfast. Then once we had finished our morning reading, the Gorse Fox retired to the study and the Silver Vixen started to potter.

By late morning the snow was disappearing - it was still cold, but the snow was melting. There wasn't a great deal to report from the study. It was another frustrating morning of family tree research. (As the Gorse Fox pointed out yesterday - we had no football today). The Gorse Fox did manage to book an hotel for the weekend of the Silver Vixen's sister's wedding - it was a little pricey, but it seemed like a good excuse to push the boat out a bit.

Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete popped in to drop off some stuff we would need for Ellie later in the week and take the opportunity to use our broadband (theirs is still not installed). They didn't stay long and once they had left the Silver Vixen returned to her pottering around and the Gorse Fox watched the football on TV.

Pretty lazy day really.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


The forecast for the day wasn't good and by mid-morning it was snowing. At times it was quite heavy, but it didn't settle at all. The temperature has certainly dropped after the last few days. It's due to get worse overnight tonight. We don't have to go anywhere so that isn't really too much of an issue. (The Gorse Fox has no football in the morning).

The Sonning Crew got together for coffee at Old Bill and Lad Penelope's. It was the first time we had seen them since their return from St Lucia. They had clearly enjoyed a good time and we got all the latest news about Sandals and what you can do there. We also caught up on the local news - how they all get so much local gossip is quite beyond the Gorse Fox. It appears that our neighbour, opposite, is moving. She has wanted an older barn conversion as long as we have known her and it appears that she has found one. Another neighbour is apparently trading in his current partner for a newer model (the Gorse Fox isn't clear on what the part exchange rates are). We never met this particular couple so really have no comment of any value to make... other than it always seems a shame when relationships break down.

The Gorse Fox has spent the afternoon working on the family tree. The whole time has been spent delving into the records for any clues regrading the Silver Vixen's 2nd great grandparents (paternal). This has been very frustrating as he has found absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch. All he knows is their names but can find no record in the Census returns from 1841-1891, and no definitive records of any other type. They will have to return to the back burner and then the Gorse Fox will have another crack at them in a few months.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Suits You Sir

Another lovely day, despite the forecast. The weekend, however, looks a bit dodgy.

After some domestic chores the Gorse Fox retired to the study. There was a small pile of paperwork to be scanned, filed, backed-up, and shredded. This was the first task on the list of admin. It didn't take too long and the automatic document feeder on the new printer is a godsend for this. Once that was done the Gorse Fox got on with the weekly accounts.

With the boring admin out of the way the Gorse Fox started checking a few things and realised that his documentation for the backup regime was a bit out of date. It wasn't too far off, but could certainly do with a refresh. It took a while to get it up to scratch but the Gorse Fox is now content.

In the background, the Silver Vixen has been looking at some clothes we had stored away. Partly this was to dig out clothing that Cousteau-Cub may need when she is back with us, but partly it was to see if there was anything that may be appropriate for our upcoming holiday. We both had a pleasant surprise.

Clothes that had been put away for years emerged from their storage and both the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox found that the fitted. Indeed they fitted well. Given that one of these items was the Gorse Fox's dress suit - last worn in 1994 - he was pleased it was such a good fit. (Indeed he dug out a photo from a business event that we attended in Bermuda when he last wore the suit). Similarly the Silver Vixen found a number of lovely dresses from years gone by - many of which were now too big, but some fit beautifully.

Inm a time when people tend to put on weight as they age, it's good to see we can both get back into clothes from 25 years ago.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Ellie slept right through until 07:15 and then cam into our bed for half an hour. Once up she was soon fed and starting to explore the world on two feet. She was clearly finding it tiring as she soon needed a morning nap and slept for a couple of hours. Then up again, she wandered about, had lunch, walked around a lot more, then again flagged and went to bed for another hour. Urban-Cub came to collect her after work, but she had been an absolute joy the whole time she was here. Even Jasper is beginning to trust here and allows her to approach, if not actually stroke him.

The Gorse Fox follows a number of feeds on Twitter. Among the usual tripe, vitriol, fake news, and a few gems of actual interest he saw the attached image.
It was published by "MarcherLord" with the comment that his midwife had developed this and believes it to be 95% accurate.

The Gorse Fox used a few samples and found that for all of the people he had tried, it was 100% accurate. This was immensely interesting and he assumes that the midwife had developed this from records stretching back over many years. He would love to know the actual provenance and methodology.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


It was another bright day - though there was a strong wind blowing from the south east. The Silver Vixen had no Pilates today - which was just as well as Old Bill and Lady Penelope were returning from holiday and we had the key for their house.

The Gorse Fox had football. It was a good turn out and the we played 5-vs-6. The Gorse Fox was on the smaller orange team. It was hard work playing against the extra player and at half time the store was still stuck on 0-0. A quick discussion at half-time and the Gorse Fox said he roam forward from the the back to fill in gaps at the  centre or on the wing. This turned out to be the breakthrough. The Gorse Fox scored two goals as we started to dominate. In the end the score was 7-1 and could have been more.

Leaving the sports centre, the Gorse Fox headed to Rustington to collect Ellie and bring her home. She's with us overnight and through the day tomorrow. It's great to see her trying to master this walking thing. She is getting there but still drops onto all fours to move quickly.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Rules seem to be the subject of the day.

A Facebook post from a neighbour was questioning various aspects of the Covenant to which we are all meant to adhere. It would appear that her direct neighbour is just making up new rules to suit himself and threatening court action because other people don't adhere to his fantasy rules. It's a shame, but there always seems to be one on every development. Clearly most of the neighbours have rallied round to give moral support.

Football was also subject to rule changes. At least these are documented and provide some standardisation across the land. The main differences to us are in the realms of ball height. Because we play outside on a large pitch we have never enforced the rule that the ball has remain below head height. From today we are. This cause a degree of confusion to start with, but we soon got into the swing of it. Well that might be an exaggeration - the Gorse Fox was only on the winning side for 1 out of 6 games today... and certainly didn't contribute any goals (though did stop a few).

Weatherwise it has been a gorgeous day but the forecast for the end of the week is looking pretty grim (at least in the east of the country).

Monday, March 12, 2018


It's been a mixed day, weather-wise. There's been rain, bright sun, and heavy rain. Certainly not a day to venture out without an umbrella (Rihanna will be pleased).

Talking of being pleased, the Gorse Fox keeps a fairly close eye on the family accounts. As part of this, he sets budgets and manages the regular bills. When setting the annual budget he looks at last year's expenditure and applies an uplift to account for inflation. He's very pleased that this year, so far, all of the uplifts he applied have proved to be too large. Today we received the biggest bill of the year - the Council Tax. He hasn't saved a fortune, but it has turned out to be £70 less than he had estimated. Indeed the increase over last year has turned out to be slightly less than the uplift in the Gorse Fox's State Pension - so that's a win!

On a separate note we received a short video from Urban-Cub this morning. It featured Ellie taking her first steps. It's very sweet and the sign of things to come. Next we will have to get trainers, ballet shows, wellies.... and goodness knows what else.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Wet and dry

The day started wet, in fact it was too wet for Jasper to venture out. It did, however, begin to dry up and by lunchtime was bright and sunny and warm enough to spend the afternoon sitting out in the Orangery. Now as he writes this, it is overcast once more and looks like more rain is on the way.

The Gorse Fox cooked a 'full English' for himself and the Silver Vixen this morning. Football was a little bit later so it should settle before he started to run around. The Sunday morning Haskins breakfasts have set a bit of a precedent. By mid-morning he was heading across to Ford for the football. We had a lop-sided turnout of 11 players so played 5-v-6 then 6-v-5 in the two halves. The Gorse Fox was playing for the Orange bibs, but despite our best efforts we lost 6-5 overall.

Back home he is still trying to find an example or clear explanation of how to use OAuth2 without resorting to Python code or Javascript. He finds it hard to believe he is the only person ever to have wanted to do this, but so far has failed to find any definitive guidance and is finding it very frustrating.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

People who lunch

After a quiet morning we headed across to The Oystercatcher. We had arranged to meet Urban-Cub and Ellie for lunch. It's Urban-Cub's last day before returning to work after the move = consequently she is not around for Mother's Day tomorrow.

We had chosen wisely in deciding to arrive early. We were able to pick a quiet spot in the corner and stay well away for the general hubbub that built up as the restaurant filled up over the following hour. Ellie sat in a high chair and enjoyed various snacks and a bottle whilst keeping herself and us entertained. We chose for the general menu and had a much better meal than we had managed last night - and at half the price.

Back home, the Gorse Fox has been experimenting with some code and whilst he can see the basics of what he needs to do - he is somewhat flummoxed by the OAuth2 authentication mechanism when trying to initiate his run. He's convinced that once that is cracked, the rest will be plain sailing. It seems that Google is not his friend in this particular instance. It seems to drop lots of hints, but provides no clear examples of the initial set up. Frustrating!


Well we drove through some pretty foul weather as we headed up to Chiddingfold, in Bandit Country.  The rain was torrential and we drove through thick mist (or low cloud) as we crossed the Downs. We took it steady and got there safely.

J&T were delayed by the traffic but arrived a little while after us. We had a lovely evening catching up o the family news and just chatting in general. We were, however, rather disappointed by food this time. The Mulberry had always been so reliable in the past, but last night there were errors in the order (which they sorted out) and the standard of the food was not what we had come to expect. The Gorse Fox is not sure if it was just a new chef, or new ownership, but it certainly wasn't the same.

We'll give it a miss next time.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Being sociable

Friday has been a day for being sociable - not one of the Gorse Fox's greatest strengths!

It was a bit grey and damp but we had arranged to meet with some old friends near the pier at Bognor. It was a fair bit cooler than the Gorse Fox had expected and he was regretting his choice of lightweight jacket as we strolled along the prom. Fortunately we decided to stop at the Regis Centre and have a coffee and that was where we stayed. The coffees were infinitely refillable so we just stayed put and chatted for several hours. It was lovely to catch up with them as we see them so rarely.

After a quiet afternoon - much of which was spent sorting out an order for some new specs for the Silver Vixen, we got ready to go back out. We are meeting up with The Gorse Fox's little sister and brother-in-law in the middle of bandit country this evening. Again, a lovely opportunity to catch up on all the latest news.

Following on from the Gorse Fox's issues with the Python code yesterday, he has received a number of emails from fellow Rexx connoisseurs. He has been offered several interesting suggestions as to how he might approach the problem in a different way. This will have to wait until he can devote a few hours to some experimentation and testing.... but he is hopeful that this may actually provide a decent alternative.

Thursday, March 08, 2018


There is something deeply unsettling about a fragment of code that has run every day for 402 days without failure - but on day 403 it fails and claims the problem is with syntax. The Gorse Fox was troubled. For a start it is a fragment of code written in Python. He is not fluent in Python... he can get by but finds the whole language construct to be obtuse. He started to dig. The problem appeared to be a variable that had not been set. Well, it hadn't been set for the last 402 days either and the code was happy then. Clearly some update has been applied to the underlying language libraries and this has triggered the error. The Gorse Fox made a couple of minor changes and the code burst back into life. Fortunately it's very design is such that it tracks back to find anything that may have been missed from previous days, so within a few seconds the whole kit and caboodle was working and bang up to date.

Maybe it's time the Gorse Fox played around some more with Python so he doesn't get caught out again. (Note he would have written the whole thing in Rexx if he had the opportunity but there is no Google API for Rexx).

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Another one

Obviously it had been quite wet over night, but was drying up in the early morning sun when the Gorse Fox came down for breakfast. The Silver Vixen was heading across to speak to her Pilates friends then looping back to see Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete with a view to watching Ellie while they got on with some of the shifting and shunting required in the house. The Gorse Fox would be joining them later.

The Gorse Fox headed over to Worthing for the Wednesday football. We had a new chap jon us this week and he turned out to be quite good. The game was close, if somewhat spoilt by over-zealous refereeing. The Gorse Fox was playing for the orange-bibs and by half time we had built a 4-2 lead. In the second half it was closer but we managed to hold on to the 2-goal cushion and won 6-4. The Gorse Fox managed to score agin - that's 7 for the week! Clearly that won't last so he can expect a dry spell.

Leaving the sports centre, the Gorse Fox went back to Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete's. He arrived just in time to help with one of their garden storage boxes - which was made easier by a couple of the workmen on the development helping lift it over the wall. After some lunch we then set about the shed. We had disassembled it with care in the hope that it would go back together easily. Amazingly, it did. It took about thirty minutes from beginning to end. Once the garden items were complete we set about Jake's bedroom. His old bed had to be taken apart and removed to the garage so a new one could be assembled. Again, a bit of good teamwork got the whole thing done in no time.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

What a difference

What a difference a week makes. It was over 10c when the Gorse Fox headed out for football. Last week he didn't even venture out.

When he got over to Worthing the sun had broken through and it was really quite pleasant as we started the game. The Gorse Fox wasn't fully with it today but despite that managed to score 4 goals as we 9the red bibs) won the first game an lost the next two. Changing into green-bibs for the second hour we then won all three games. The new shin-pads are obviously working some magic - no bruises an 4 goals.

The afternoon was warm enough to settle down in the Orangery an enjoy the sun.