Monday, May 30, 2016

Do not disturb

It has been a quiet day. The weather was nice enough (if a little breezy), but we decided to spend time sorting out bits and pieces.

The Gorse Fox spent time pouring through websites looking for holidays. It took most of the morning  and the afternoon. It was so engrossing that the Silver Vixen also got involved and both laptops were glowing warm with the effort. More on this in future days.

The Gorse Fox also spent time with one of the Raspberry Pis, but whilst he converted it to the new network map, and updated the basic software, he didn't really get much more done. He has, however, had a bright idea that he will roll out over the next few "Pi sessions" (whenever they should be).

Sunday, May 29, 2016


Another gorgeous day - the Gorse Fox could get used to this global warming lark, though anyone with even a short term memory will acknowledge that this weather is quite common in May.

The morning was occupied with football at the Arun Sports Arena. A good game was had by all, and the Gorse Fox was pleased to end up on the winning side. It was hard work as is was quite warm inside but that just added to the efficacy of the work-out.

After lunch we had volunteered to run Chris and Maureen to Gatwick. The traffic was light and conditions were perfect so we had a quick run through. They are staying at the airport overnight before jetting off to the Caribbean for the 40th wedding anniversary. Sounds like a great resort and may be worth try ourselves at some point.

Looks like supper will be taken on the deck, as it has most evenings this week. The Gorse Fox thinks we have spent more time outside (pro rata) than in any previous garden. It just seems so tranquil and warm that it would be silly not to eat out there.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


The Gorse Fox has been enjoying rationalising his lil, network, and backup systems. This is now complete and working as required. Next, the Gorse Fox will start on the Raspberry Pis and reconfigure them to fit the new scheme (not that any of them are actually in use at present).

The afternoon has brightened up nicely so the Gorse Fox will stop this keyboard activity and go outside to enjoy the sun.

On another topic. The England football over the last few days (against Turkey and then Australia) has been very average. As usual we are getting media hype about have a "real chance", but the Gorse Fox would observe that is not the case unless the team learns: a) to pass the ball; b) to stop the long speculative passes; c) to retain possession of the ball; d) to recover possession when its lost; e) to defend. Other than that, they'll do just fine.

Friday, May 27, 2016


The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox are doing a little jig. Nothing too strenuous, but there are times when joy overtakes the spirit.

It may be a bit prosaic, but the phone has just rung and we have received confirmation that we have finally rid ourselves of the albatross that was known as "our Timeshare". Don't get us wrong. For years it was a welcome bolt-hole and we loved the location (in Tenerife)... but as the annual maintenance fees soared and our travel plans looked farther afield to visit Cousteau-cub or Beloved Aunt, the relevance of the timeshare waned. It was time to get rid of it. We started the process in January and it has cost us some money, but it is finally gone. The money will be recouped in about 3 years of not paying maintenance (even at the current rates).

Resumes jig.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Lovely start to the day, if a little chilly. By the time the Gorse Fox had completed his ablutions, started to copy his photo folder, and done the weekly accounts, Ocado were at the door. This certainly is the most convenient way to shop!

We had commented, in the last few days, that what was missing from the garden was something to emphasise the pergola. Hanging baskets were the obvious choice, but the Silver Vixen wanted baskets filled with fuchsias. A trip round to Manor Nurseries was needed. This is a pretty unassuming Nursery, tucked off the main road from Chichester to Pagham, but once discovered is a bit of a treasure trove.

We took a look at the baskets they had for sale. None really caught the eye. The simple solution was to create our own. The Gorse Fox went searching for brackets whilst the Silver Vixen went searching for her fuchsias. Twenty minutes later we were paying the bill and heading home. A very successful trip, made more so by the discount the chap gave us as went to pay.

The baskets are now planted up and hanging on the pergola. It won't take long for it all to fill out and provide a riot of colour.

Now for a quiet afternoon before we go out to dinner with the Sonning Crew.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fish and Disks

It was a bit cloudy today, and several degrees cooler than earlier in the week.

The Gorse Fox joined up with the lads for football. Because we take more care mixing the teams than is taken on Tuesdays, we had a very close game with only one goal difference at the end of an hour's play. The Gorse Fox was pleased to be on the winning side (for a change).

Back home, the Silver Vixen had a visit from a couple of members of her coven and they went out for lunch. This meant that Jasper was in charge when the Gorse Fox got home. After a shower and a quick bite to eat, the Gorse Fox tried to do a complete factory reset of the disk that had been giving him trouble. Even the factory reset failed, showing just how flakey it was. He'll try again tomorrow.

We tried some of the cod loin that we had purchased from Tom the Fishman a couple of weeks ago.

The fish was marinated in orange, garlic, de-seeded chilli, salt and pepper - then baked in the oven. This was served on a layer of stir-fried vegetables and rice noodles on a bed of lettuce.

It was delicious. The Gorse Fox will make this again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Plant and paint

If its Tuesday it must be football. Well, one has to have a routine.

The Gorse Fox headed across to Worthing for today's two-hour session. Six games were played and the Gorse Fox, though playing well, only won one game. The problem that we have with these sessions is the pure randomness of the team makeup. This is the second or third week running that the Gorse Fox has been selected for a team with no strikers and no goalie. This makes things a little difficult. Oh well, the Gorse Fox did manage to score a goal make two further goals in the single match that we won.

Back home the Silver Vixen had started planting the tubs in the front of the house. They are looking good, though she does want to add some further plants that will give a bit more height. The Gorse Fox retrieved the paint pot and put a second coat on the "door" panel that he built for the little hanging planter. That should dry off nicely and just add a nice pastel shade of blue to the corner by the garage.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Garden Centre

Another lovely day with, initially, wall to wall blue skies. Fluffy clouds bubbled up later, but they only served to punctuate the deep blue.

Checking the overnight backups, everything still seems to be on track. The Gorse Fox triggered a backup of the music libraries to run during the morning whilst he was reviewing other files and folders and updating the PC. (It was the first time the PC had been switched on for months, so there was a huge Windows update to apply).

We went across to Haskins (at Roundstone) to look for the plants that the Silver Vixen had in mind for the tubs out the front. We had a wander about and somehow managed to find several other items that were needed. We now have an new Acer, some paint, some shears in addition to the cordylines for which we had been shopping.
Urban-Cub met up with us at the garden centre and once everything was paid for and stowed in the car we headed off to The Worlds End at Patcham.

We had a lovely lunch and chat, sitting outside to make the most of the weather.

Back home we spent a peaceful afternoon in the garden, listening to the water as it runs down into the rill.

The Gorse Fox concludes that he could really get used to this retirement lark.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Quiet day

Sunday has been quiet. It was a nice bright warm day and the Gorse Fox had his usual Sunday morning football. It was a bit busy with 13 of us in a small 5-a-sie cage. It was good fun as usual and, playing inside, was a good warm work-out.

Back home much of the rest of the day was spent continuing the configuration and seeding of the new backups. This has benefitted from a rethink and a change in some naming conventions. It makes things much easier to understand and the timing of the backup jobs makes a bit more sense. It will take until the end of the week before the whole cycle completes, but the Gorse Fox is optimistic that there will be no further problems. When everything is complete, the flakey disk will be given a complete factory reset and rebuild to see if it returns to useful active life.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


Yes, yes, you have heard it all before. The Gorse Fox makes no apology. The flakey drive was just one part of his backup strategy. The new, replacement drive arrived early and triggered the Gorse Fox to review his network map and decide how best to introduce the new drive into the home network. A little bit of thought and some minor reconfiguring and renaming and the Gorse Fox had a nice new sensible map with a more coherent naming convention.

The old drives (including one that had given trouble about a year back) were moved into the loft and connected to the network switch up there. Then the new disk was installed and configured. The Mac was modified to pick up the new disks on startup and then the Gorse Fox started on the backup system.

Bit by bit new target folders were created and backups reconfigured. One by one they were run and got things back on an even keel. There are still many folders to copy, but these will have to run overnight for the next few nights. The only major outstanding task is to update the documentation for the backup strategy.

The Silver Vixen spent most of the day going through vacuum bags of clothes that had been stored away. She was delighted to find that she now fits into clothes that she thought would not see the light of day again.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Meeting up and Backing up

Lovely day again.

During the morning we met up with Urban-Cub to look at some new-build houses. She is interested in a couple of the designs and needed to decided whether one was more practical than the other. The first house was a very nice design and clearly a practical model for her and her family. The second, though impressive and larger, was clearly far less practical. Once we had, collectively, discussed all this she was convinced and the decision was made. Now she just has to wait for the builder to release this phase of the build so that she can put down her reservation. She is on the early-bird list.

The Gorse Fox's little sister and Trevor arrived mid-afternoon. We had a lovely couple of hours drinking tea and chatting through the family news before all (Urban-Cub was still with us)  heading out to the The Gribble Inn for dinner. As usual, the food was excellent and the Gorse Fox found their fish platter too much to finish. Lovely evening all round.

Meanwhile, in the background, the Gorse Fox has been having problems with one of his NAS drives. To be fair it is a drive that has been running non-stop for five or six years. Quick diagnostics were, again, run and showed up clear. Deep diagnostics will not run through to completion. Some files seem to be missing, others seem to be nothing more than stubs, and the drive seems to revert to read-only mode every so often. Fortunately, as you know, the Gorse Fox is paranoid about data. As a result he has a second and third backup and, checking these, it is clear that the files are still available and accessible. A new drive has been ordered and the Gorse Fox expects that he will spend chunks of the weekend installing this and getting all the data transferred.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


The day started quietly enough. Bright blue sky, pleasant breeze, and no sign off rain. Jasper was eager to get started and commenced his use of the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox for trampoline practice at about six. The Gorse Fox gave in at seven and headed down to make the first coffee of the day.

First event was the window-cleaner's arrival. He has missed a few weeks due to injury. Not and window cleaning injury, a mountain biking injury. (It's probably carry all those window cleaning ladders on the bike that caused him to fall off).

Next the delivery van arrived.

The driver looked at the Gorse Fox quizzically, as he unloaded the pipe.

"Dare I ask"? he said.

The Gorse Fox responded he was going to make a plant pot, and left the driver scratching his head (His own head, not that of the Gorse Fox).

The neighbours were equally confused... but all would become clear. Before he could get started, there was the Ocado shopping to put away, floors to wash, floors to vacuum, and various domestic chores to complete. on top of all this, the Gorse Fox was having an intermittent problem with one of his external hard drives and that too would need attention.

The saw horse was led out of its stable and the power saw pressed into action. Ten minutes later this 3m pipe was cut down into 3 pipes of 50cm and the remaining 1.5m was squirrelled away in to corner of the garage.

This afternoon the plant tub plot came to fruition. The existing pots were emptied. The 50cm pipes were inserted into the middle and the tubs were refilled.

This effectively game us two zones in each tub. A central zone in which the Silver Vixen could plant evergreens, and an outer zone where she can plant and replant annuals. The separation keeps the roots of the permanent central plants from weaving round the annuals and making them hard to change. It also means that, if required, we could have a different type of soil in the central zone, from that in the outer zone.

Now it is up to the Silver Vixen to select the plants that she wants.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


It was dry when the Gorse Fox got up. That didn't last. Within fifteen minutes the rain had started. The Gorse Fox knew he was destined to get wet.

Breakfast and coffee got the day off to decent start, and it actually started to dry up outside.

The Silver Vixen headed off for Pilates and the Gorse Fox soon followed. The drive across to Worthing took him through light showers. When he arrived, however, the heavens opened. The rain persisted throughout the game. We were all soaked through and as we moved across the pitch you could hear the sloshing of water in our boots. Despite the discomfort, the game was great fun and ended up all square at 2-2. The Gorse Fox was pleased he had thought to bring a change of clothes with him or it would have been a very cold an miserable drive home.

It dried up for a while and the sun came out. This made the Orangery a very cozy and comfortable spot for the afternoon. The rain has just started again now and the forecast is for a very wet evening.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Football occupied the morning and we were blessed with another lovely day.

Once home, showered and fed, the Gorse Fox started on the plan hatched yesterday to sort out the plant tubs. A trip to Travis Perkins was called for.

"Hello young man I wish to purchase a length of 225mm drainage pipe." opened the Gorse Fox.
"I'm sorry, sir, but we do not stock that size. We can offer you 100mm pipe" replied the man.
"Your catalogue clearly shows the pipe, in 3m lengths. Can it be ordered?"
"You will have to order it online, yourself" said the main, unhelpfully "and it only comes in 6m lengths.
The Gorse Fox bade his adieu and left.

He went to Jewson. They are reputed to "have the Jewson lot".
They didn't.
They did, however, phone round their other local branches to see if any of them could help.
They couldn't.

The Gorse Fox left and drove to Plumb Centre. They couldn't help, but could order it in, in 6m lengths.

This left the Gorse Fox with one option: the internet (which is probably where he should have started). After the first few searches he had found the product - though it was going to cost £87 plus delivery. This would require further searching. Eventually, a supplier was found who did 3m lengths and it would only cost £40 including delivery. Order was placed. The Gorse Fox awaits delivery over the next few days. The overall plan will be revealed when the next stage is complete!