Sunday, August 19, 2018

Great start

It's a lovely sunny start to the day as the Gorse Fox enjoys a coffee on our balcony and looks out over the harbour at the new cruise ship that has appeared over night.

It was 45 years ago today that the Silver Vixen was crazy enough to marry the Gorse Fox. These 45 years have been wonderful and he could not have wished or hoped for anyone better to spend his life with. She is an inspiration, a friend, a partner, a mum, a grandmum, and a saint. The Gorse Fox loves her to bits... and hopes we can manage the next 45 years with just as much success.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Eventide

We dressed up a bit and headed down to The Curry Room. This is an intimate little restaurant within the hotel, There are only five tables so it is quiet and refined. It is decorated in heavy red damask and has paintings and displays from the time of the English rule in India.

The menu was different. The usual litany of dishes you expect in an Indian restaurant was nowhere to be seen. There was a single choice of starters (the choice being whether or not to have a starter). This was poppadoms and samosas with various chutneys. It was a very good start. The samosas were delicately spiced and wrapped in the thinnest and crispiest of pastries that the Gorse Fox has ever tried.

For the main dish we both had the Natal Lamb Curry. This was based on a South African recipe from the Indian ex-pats living in and around Durban. It was delicious. Even the Silver Vixen waxed lyrical about how good it was and that if curries were like this back home she would really enjoy them. Not to put to fine a point on it, it was quite possibly the best curry the Gorse Fox has ever tried.

We finished the meal with coconut ice cream. What can you say - it was creamy and had lashings of coconut. Heavenly. Over all a brilliant meal.

After dinner we returned to the room to grab some jackets and then headed out for a walk down into the town and along the harbour front. A meal like that needs to be settled by a stroll. We were out for about and hour then returned to the room where the Silver Vixen went through some brochures we had collected at the Tourist Information Office, and the Gorse Fox watched Match of the Day.

Out and about

The Gorse Fox was awake at his normal time and snuck out of bed to read. It was too early to disturb the Silver Vixen. When she did waken, the Gorse Fox fired up the kettle for her tea and then headed off for a shower. Breakfast was a very nice affair down in the Brasserie.  There was a wide selection of "Continental" delicacies or a menu of proper breakfasts. We both started with some yoghurt, but then splashed out and had Eggs Royale or Benedict. The Gorse Fox added a couple of sausages to his Eggs Benedict to cut through the richness and was glad he did.

After breakfast we headed down into town.Though early it was already heaving. A cruise ship had anchored overnight and was disgorging thousands of passengers into the town. They have virtually convinced the Gorse Fox that cruising is not for him. They were loud, they were oblivious to the people round them, and they completely blocked the roads as they stood and gawped, and they dawdled. Now the Gorse Fox has discussed the bus company Perry Mortem tours in the past. It is clear that P&O have adopted the cruising side of the company and become Perry Mortem Cruises. (This is a subject to which the Gorse Fox may return).

We explored a little. The Silver Vixen had worn a hole in her shoe and needed an urgent replacement. This was finally accommodated in Next. (Shoe shops seem very hard to find in St Peter Port). As we walked out of the shop she pointed out that she had saved several pounds on the price because of the local tax regime. This got the Gorse Fox thinking. He checked the receipt for the Silver Vixen's watch and headed for the Apple shop. Sure enough a similar watch would be nearly 60GBP cheaper here. He checked they had the one in which he was interested and resolved to return later. Further down the street we managed to pick up an adapter to allow the Gorse Fox to backup his camera to the tablet. All was now well with the world.

We stopped for a coffee and decided that we would take the bus to The Little Chapel. A 7 day bus pass gives us unlimited travel for the week, so armed with that we climbed aboard and headed into the interior. It's 45 years since we were last there. It was strange how little yet how much it had changed.

The Gorse Fox was hoping to recreate a photo taken all those years ago, but the actual spot is no longer there as they have been doing a lot of renovation. Clearly this was a victim of progress (much like the Gorse Fox himself... and in his defence he would point out that long hair was all the rage in the 70s - but his would only grow out, not long).

We took the bus back to St Peter Port (all buses start and stop there so you can get on any bus with the certainty it will return you to SPP). We had a thirst. Coffee would not do. This required a beer and therefore a stop in a pub. It's a hard job, but someone has to do it.

We popped back into the Apple shop and the Gorse Fox bought the Apple Watch then eventually we headed back to the hotel and spent a lovely hour or so sitting in the sun on the terrace. A wedding was in full swing in another part of the hotel, children were playing by the pool, and people were enjoying their "Afternoon Tea" (with lashings of scones, cakes, sandwiches and heaven's knows what). We managed a tea and glass of wine between us.

Tonight we are booked in to The Curry Room. This is an Indian Restaurant which occupies the Governor's Rooms of the hotel. Looks very good so we are looking forward to it.

Play misty for me

This morning is a little grey and it's slightly misty. A big cruise ship has parked just outside the harbour and the tenders are shuttling back and forth with passengers for their excursions.

No specific plans for the day at this point but we'll probably decide over breakfast. The Gorse Fox does want to try and get an adapter so that he can download his photos from the camera (but won't lose to much sleep if he doesn't).

Friday, August 17, 2018

Dinner

The hotel knocked on the door. In walked a girl with a bottle of bubbly in an ice bucket with a single red carnation. They really are making this a very good start to the week.

We decided to leave the bubbly and go out for a stroll. It was still clear and not too chilly. We wandered through the back streets to the commercial arcade. There was a restaurant there called Dix Neuf. We examined the menu and saw that the place was clearly popular. It had a real buzz about it, so we took our seat and ordered. The waiting staff were scuttling around from table to table trying to keep on top of things but despite how busy they were the were cheerful and chatty and we didn't have to wait long for our food. The SIlver Vixen went for a chocolate brownie and the Gorse Fox had a chicken caesar salad. Both were excellent and good value for money.

We carried on with our stroll. Down to the harbour and along past the bus terminus towards Castle Cornet. Then we headed out along the breakwater toward the Castle and then on to the small lighthouse at the end, marking one of the entrances to the harbour. There was a slight nip in the air as we turned to head back. The sun had gone down and the lights of St Peter Port beckoned. It really was quite magical.

When we got back to the room the staff had decorated the bed with some towel sculpture, petals and so forth. It really was very kind of them and very romantic.

Travelling

It was an early (but not too early) start. We loaded the car and set off for the airport. Having allowed extra time because of expected traffic we were surprised by how clear and quick the run to Southampton was. In fact we stopped at Hedge End to kill some time so that we didn't incur additional charges at the airport car park. (As it happens we wouldn't have incurred the extra charges as the SatNav on the phone took us to the wrong place and by the time we found the right location we had burned the extra minutes we tried to lose).

As usual, the airport was very quiet and a pleasure to use. We were bussed out to the plane and took. off at 1100, on time. Thirty five minutes later we were pulling up at the stand at Guernsey Airport. The bags arrived a minute or so after we got to the baggage hall and we strolled through to the meet and greet area. Our driver was there and quickly decorated us to a nice Mercedes and whisked us away to the hotel. We chatted on the way and explained this was where we had had our honeymoon and he showed us the hotel in which we had stayed. (It's closed now and he thinks that it has been bought by developers who are trying to get permission to build on the site).

We were soon at the Old Government House hotel and quickly checked in. Our room wasn't quite ready so we were escorted to the terrace and offered a glass of bubbly while we waited. It was clearly a lovely spot, sitting in and elevated position in St Peter Port and looking across the town to the harbour and the other Channel Islands in the distance. We didn't have to wait long and were escorted to. our room. This too has a wonderful view across the rooftops to the port and beyond.

Anniversary cards were waiting in our room (thanks J&T) and a big bunch of flowers which had been arranged by the Gorse Fox in advance. We made ourselves comfortable and then headed back downstairs. The concierge gave us a tour of the hotel, it's restaurants, the pool area, the gym, and the spa. It really is very nice indeed and the Gorse Fox thinks that he has chosen well.

It was time to take a look around. We wandered down into the town and strolled through the streets to the harbour front. We looked in several restaurants before choosing to have lunch in the Crow's Nest Brasserie. Again, we chose well. It had panoramic views over the harbour and the staff were charming. We both had a steak, mushroom, and onion downstairs. This was a bit more than a snack, but was certainly delicious. The restaurant itself is worth a revisit before we return home.
We stopped off to look round the M&S as we strolled back and the Gorse Fox remembered that he had bought a Seiko watch at a jeweller nearby when we were here 45 years ago. (The watch is long gone - not sure about the jeweller).

Back at the room he's having troubles linking to this blog, possibly because he's on an open WiFi. Not too sure when this will actually get posted. The Gorse Fox has also forgotten the little adapter that allows him to download photos from his camera. Pah! This may be a matter of relying on photos from the phone until we get home.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

On your marks

Ellie had a restless night, though it didn't really result in any loss of sleep. She started to stir around six, but didn't actually require attention until nearly half past seven. She had woken with a degree of mischief in her and required a lot of watching through the morning.

Jasper had clearly been looking at Google Calendar and hid beneath the bed as the time approached for us to take him to the cattery. Needless to say it was a bit of fight to dig him out and get him in his carrier. We loaded him into the car then got Ellie into her seat and headed for the cattery. The rain was very heavy the whole way and when we got to the cattery the sound of the rain on the roof was quite loud and probably unsettling for the cats. Jasper quickly calmed down as Mark the cat whisperer took charge and helped him acclimatise. The Gorse Fox is sure he'll enjoy his week's holiday with Mark looking after him.

Back home it was time for a quick lunch and then Ellie went down for a sleep.  Urban Cub was here after her early shift but not feeling brilliant so had gone up for a nap herself. The Silver Vixen had to pop into Chichester, so the Gorse Fox was briefly in charge. He watched Match of Day which had been recorded at the weekend and soon he could hear Ellie stirring. Urban Cub came down soon after and then Silver Vixen got home. The natural order had been restored.

Urban Cub and Ellie headed home and the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox went upstairs to pack. All set and ready for the morning. We have time to get excited now.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Off the bench

As the Gorse Fox mentioned yesterday, his plan included football today. With a certain spring in his step he headed for Worthing. The lads turned up and we quickly picked sides and got under way. The Gorse Fox thought the teams were fairly evenly balance but it soon became clear that it was duck shoot. The Gorse Fox, playing for the yellows were 5-0 up in the first 15 minutes so we had a quick switch of personnel. By half time it 7-0 and there was a further switch of personnel. The Gorse Fox open the scoring in the second half (keeping his one a week goal in tact) and the team then went on to score another 7 or 8 goals with no reply.

Once home we had a quick lunch before Urban Cub turned up with Ellie. We played around for a while then the Gorse Fox took her for a walk to see the ducks on the lake. He had taken a bag of bird seed, which was just as well. When we arrived there were no ducks to be seen, but one cast of a handful of seed brought them quickly out from hiding. Ellie seemed captivated though wasn't really contributing to the feeding as she was only throwing the odd seed or two, and they often landed on the path rather than the lake.

New battery charger turned up this afternoon. Both the lithium batteries for the Gorse Fox's Ryobi tools are now fully charged and ready for action again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Unhinged

The Gorse Fox decided that there was still too much to do to spare time for football this morning. He does plan to play tomorrow, though.

After sleeping on it, the Gorse Fox decided he would replace and refit the doors for the window seat. He decided on solid plywood doors which will be "dressed" with some mouldings. New hinges were purchased (they needed to be stronger for the solid doors) and while he was at the DIY store the Gorse Fox picked up two piano hinges for the lid.

Fitting the new doors was a bit fiddly and the hinges were vicious little beasts - they have a very strong spring and it took great care to open them up for fitting without catching a finger in the mechanism. Now the doors are hung, the spring isn't so much of a problem. After that it was matter of sorting out the piano hinges and fitting the lid. Again it was a little fiddly but after a couple of false starts, it's all done now.

The Gorse Fox still has to trim the lid to size, but that will have to wait. The battery charger for his Ryobi saw(s) has packed up. The nice man at Amazon is rushing round his warehouse at the moment looking for a replacement that he can send for tomorrow. Once the lid is trimmed it will just be a matter of fitting some mouldings, sanding, and preparing for paint... the box itself is complete.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Making progress again

Well the battery is back up to full charge and the various cuts have been made. The back panel is fitted and the lid and its surround are positioned (if not fixed). The Gorse Fox still needs to select the right hinge(s) for the lid and also find some suitable soft-close struts to take the weight of the lid when open.

The Gorse Fox isn't really very satisfied with the doors that he has made. The wood was evidently slightly twisted and though he has mounted the doors, he thinks he will replace them. He's currently in two (or three) minds over the doors... fielded panels again with wider plywood stiles and rails; a solid plywood door with mouldings; or and MDF door with mouldings. Something to sleep on he thinks and there are considerations for each.

Discharge

It is so frustrating when you are in the middle of cutting some sheets of plywood and the battery runs out on the circular saw. Never mind, the Gorse Fox has a spare. Click, spare is installed. Saw starts and the Gorse Fox just another two inches. Spare battery runs out.

The Gorse Fox is now passing the time until the battery is recharged.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Do Not Disturb

Sunday has been a very quiet day. It was grey and there were periods of rain so we essentially stayed put.

The Gorse Fox needed to get the right contour pattern for Urban-Cub's skirting boards to scribe the wedges of the window seat to fit. He had meant to do it yesterday, but though he remembered, he couldn't find his contour gauge. Today, in desperation, he went out and bought a new one. Clearly, some people don't 'play the game' (which reminds him, there was no football today again). He went to Toolstation which operates like Argos or Screwfix inasmuch as you enter, look up your item in the catalogue then go to the counter with the product number. Oh no, not this morning. The two neanderthals in front of the Gorse Fox were too lazy and went up to the counter and asked for their items which the assistant then had to find in the catalogue based on the vague descriptions she was being given.... and then they debated whether their chosen item would really fit. What should have been a two minute visit for the Gorse Fox ended up as about fifteen.

During the afternoon we popped across to see Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete so that the Gorse Fox could get the contour profile of their skirting board and transfer it to a cardboard template. We weren't there for long but did enjoy a further slice of her birthday cake before heading home.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Much Ado about something

It's time to celebrate. With Urban Cub reaching a milestone birthday, she had arranged a bit of a "do". We headed over to LA so that we would be there early and could help out as necessary. There wasn't much to do as most things were well under control or time dependant... and the time hadn't come.

Around midday the first guests arrived with Beck's train getting in to the local station. She was  soon followed by Jane (the Gorse Fox's tiny sister) and Trevor. Slowly but surely the others arrived... friends of Pistol Pete, the Silver Vixen's brother, sister, and brother-in-law, the Gorse Fox's cousin and aunt. The house was filling nicely.

Meanwhile, out in the garden Pistol Pete was managing the BBQ. Yesterday's torrential rain had passed and the weather was dry. Sunny spells were welcomed as they passed, but it was mostly cloudy and there was a cool breeze. The meat was brought through in batches and we all tucked in. Urban Cub had asked her local butcher for sufficient meat for a BBQ for "x" people and he had done a good job preparing two boxes full of ribs, chicken, kebabs, burgers, and sausages. It was delicious.

The day was spent just chatting with everyone and catching up on their news. What was particularly nice was that Cousteau Cub managed to get through for a video call and was on the phone with us for quite some time. Her video presence quite completed the gathering.

We cut the cake late in the afternoon and people started to drift away early evening. There was a flurry of tidying up and then the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed home. It has been a lovely day.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Milestone

Today is a milestone birthday for Urban-Cub. It was forty years ago that the Silver Vixen, Gorse Fox, and Cousteau-Cub were blessed with her arrival to complete our family quartet. The Gorse Fox hopes she has a wonderful birthday weekend.

As part of the celebrations, we looked after Ellie over night, but Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete collected her at lunchtime today after staying at a Spa in Brockenhurst last night. They have a busy afternoon scheduled as they prepare for a bit of a "do" tomorrow and their first guests arrive.

The weather today has been a mixture of short sunny periods separated by rain. As the Gorse Fox writes, the rain is hammering down and is quite deafening against the Orangery roof. Gusty winds are blowing it in all directions so he has had to close the roof vents for the first time in a couple of months.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Unhinged

A lot of heavy rain overnight and it was still raining throughout the morning. It's dried up now and the sun is back where it belongs.

It was a quiet morning. The Gorse Fox had some admin to complete and then had to try and find the right hinges for the window seat. He knew what he wanted but trying to find a source was an unexpectedly long process. He eventually found a supplier but then realised they were "trade only" and would only deal through their distributors. He searched the web for a local distributor but though some were found, none carried this hinge. Eventually he found a company in Milford Haven and ordered the hinges. They will cost more to post than the items themselves are worth!

At lunchtime Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete arrived with Ellie. They are going away for the night and we are in charge! Well, actually, as the Silver Vixen had to go to the dentist this afternoon, the Gorse Fox was in charge. She was no trouble and we sat and read her books and watched a bit of CBeebies while she tried to create chaos in the lounge. When the Silver Vixen arrived home she continued to play for a bit, then went down for a nap (Ellie, that is).

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Sawdust

As mentioned yesterday, the Gorse Fox had decided not to play football this week. As yesterday was dedicated to shopping, today was dedicated to creating piles of sawdust in the garage. The windows eat project has got to the stage where the Gorse Fox needs to build the front frame which will contain the doors so that the void can be accessed for storage.

It all started well enough but the Gorse Fox had decided on using a simplistic approach and exploiting the pocket hole jig to screw thing together. Actually it proved to screw things up. The Gorse Fox had forgotten that there is a minimum thickness to accommodate the pocket holes... and the wood he had set aside was too thin. Off he trudged to B&Q. New wood was loaded into the car and he started again. This worked a lot better - well it actually worked!

It took the rest of the day to get the frame diminished and the doors built. The still need to be trimmed to fit properly and the right hinges need to be fitted. That's a step for another day.

The Gorse Fox ordered a new watch strap for the Silver Vixen's new watch. This turned up at lunchtime. The sea has tiny wrists so the Gorse Fox spent half an hour with the supplied extraction tool, removing unnecessary links and fitting it to her petit frame. Must say that it's very nice and definitely elevates the watch from technology to jewellery.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Saints alive

The Gorse Fox has things to achieve this week. This meant that he had decided against football today. As there had been a tournament yesterday, it was likely to be poorly attended anyway, so the Gorse Fox wouldn't be missed. Tuesday was, instead,  set aside for shopping with the Silver Vixen. The question was where should we go? Chichester is too easy and holds no surprises as we visit so often. Gunwharf was a possibility, but again we know what to expect. What we haven't done recently is visit West Quays in Southampton.

We had been warned, by the nice man at Google, how bad the traffic would be round the Chichester bypass. Heeding his warning we cut straight through the middle of the town and out the west side. We were quickly en route and were parked in the multi storey car park at West Quays well within the hour.

John Lewis was the first stop (somewhat predictably) - but we didn't find anything that we wanted at this stage. We made a note to return at the end of the "spree" to pick up some new bedding before returning to the car. We pottered this way and that and visited several stores. Some new clothes were acquired and various watch straps examined for the Silver Vixen's new watch. (All of the watch straps were rejected).

At lunchtime we dropped in for "a cheeky Nando's". The Gorse Fox likes Nando's and sees it as predictable fast food outlet with a good choice of fair quality grilled chicken dishes prepared and served well. Oh no... not the one in West Quays. This was the worst Nando's the Gorse Fox has ever had. The service was very, very slow (the Gorse Fox acknowledges they were busy , but he has been in much busier branches before) and the chicken had all the flavour and texture of boot leather. We both had char-grilled vegetables as a side dish and they were fine. The sweet potato wedges, however, were an indistinct tasteless mush. Dreadful.

We finished our shopping mid-afternoon and headed home. We clearly timed it well as we shot through in about 45 minutes.

Rain. Yes, rain is forecast for this evening.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Watch out

The Silver Vixen has a watch that monitors her activity and heartbeat etc. It is the second such watch she has had. Neither was expensive, both proved to be very unreliable. We decided it was time to upgrade. A weekend of research and a long chat with Tinkerbell helped us settle on the Apple Watch. So it was that we found ourselves heading to John Lewis in Chichester so that we could examine the goods and make a final decision. It may not be the most elegant of watches and could hardly be considered "dress-jewellery" but it was nice enough and fits into the Silver Vixen's Apple eco-system. We left Chichester clutching the new watch.

We were meeting up with Betty and Barney Rubble for lunch. We had chosen The Thomas Lord at West Meon as a good half-way point. The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen had been there before when meeting up with friends and the food had been excellent. We arrived early and sat out in the garden until the Rubbles arrived. It was idyllic. A beautiful little pub with a charming garden tucked down a small road in a picturesque village.

Once we were all gathered we went in to eat; the few wasps that were about would have been irritating if we had stayed outside. The menu wasn't extensive but was adequate. Unfortunately there had been no fish deliveries so the menu went from "not extensive" to "limited". We eventually found dishes that we all wanted and, to be fair, the food was very good. We had a lovely time chatting over lunch and catching up with their recent holiday in Switzerland and all the family news.

We finished the meal with teas and coffees. The Silver Vixen asked for Earl Grey, Barney Rubble wanted English Breakfast tea... ten minutes later a single pot arrived. "That's your tea - Earl Grey and English breakfast," said the youth. Looks were shared. Jaws dropped. "No, no, no" we cried and then explained how tea worked and how it should be served. Several minutes later the tea arrived properly.

Lovely day, but not a great advert for The Thomas Lord.

Back home the Gorse Fox spent a few minutes setting up the Silver Vixen's new watch. Very impressed with the way it all links to phone and "just works". Obviously there's lots to learn but as far as getting things started it's working brilliantly.