Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Call me Fred

The Gorse Fox has a pile of paper several inches thick. All of it is confidential. All needs to be shredded. Given that the shredder only handles 10 sheets at a time, and only operates for 60 second bursts - this could take several days.

As usual, however, such a clear-out has revealed some interesting stuff (including all the school reports for Urban-cub and Cousteau-cub)... and a bank account that GF forgot he had (unfortunately there was no fortune squirrelled away for a rainy day).

Monday, July 28, 2014

More stuff

The Silver Vixen had set aside a car load of clothes, material, and knick-knacks for the local charity shop. This was first stop on today's itinerary. Then we continued across to Bognor Regis again. A bed we had seen last week would fit nicely in the spare room... And there were only a few days left in the sale.

That sorted, we stopped off for some sealer and some paint for the garage floor (Gorse Fox doesn't want to leave it to the last minute and find they don't have any).

Back at home we contacted Stonepillow (a charity for homeless people) and offered them the other items we won't need. They were very eager and will come along next week to see what is on offer. We also contacted the removal company and invited them round to give a quote. Gorse Fox isn't sure if they are having a quiet time, but was delighted when they could come this afternoon.

It is clear we are changing gear. (Let's hope the builder is, too)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Numb bum

The Gorse Fox has spent all day at the computer. He has modelled bedside tables, multi-drawer cabinets, a coffee table, and a fireplace.
These are all based on the actual designs of the articles we have selected, and it enables us to ponder where they should be placed.

The coffee table was a bit of a devil as it had four flutes on each face of the legs. Final version, however, is a very passable facsimile of the item in the brochure.
The fireplace was also quite a challenge as there were some details that were quite awkward to get right.

Again the finished item is very close to the brochure-picture and when placed in the house-model is obviously a good choice.

All-in-all, a very satisfying day made even better by the certain knowledge that the Gorse Fox is not back at work in the morning.

(Just for interest the furniture modelled today is from New England Lifestyle Company and the fireplace is from W&H Supplies Ltd.)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Disposal and decisions

We concluded that there is still a good deal of stuff that needs to be disposed of. A small fridge went onto Freecycle, but the rest we are looking to give away to a charity. We found one in Adur, but they don't come across as far as Fontwell. They recommended a Chichester organisation - but they were not open. We will try them on Monday.

We still had to decide what to do about the existing lounge suite and various chairs we have scattered about the house. These all got modelled and were added to the 3D model to help us choose. Again it took several hours to determine the various options and try them out. Eventually we concluded that most of the seats are to be retained initially.

That brought us on to the bedrooms and again some simple comparisons and options were examined. We now have a fairly clear view of our way forward. Lots of fine grain modelling to do to finish off. That can wait for another day.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Yesterday's trip to the New England furniture store has resulted in a day of modelling so that we can visualise the placement of the dresser in the house.
It has taken a bit of fiddling about, and some guesswork regarding the exact measurements of the various panels and draws, but this is a reasonable facsimile. Importantly the external measurements are accurate.

The beauty is that it now exists as a 3d entity in virtual space and we can move it, rotate it, and place it anywhere in the model of the house with absolute certainty that it will fit in real life.

The Gorse Fox thinks Sketchup is the bees' knees.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eyes Wide Shut

We have had several ideas regarding the new house. Let's face it, we have had long enough to think about things, and some of these ideas may actually come to fruition.

Today, it was the turn of shutters. We have been rather taken with the idea of having shutters rather than curtains to dress the windows on the front of the house. GF had researched a number of options and we slid into the car and headed out. The first two suppliers we visited were primarily offices rather than show rooms, but we persevered. The last supplier was quite impressive. The actually manufactured the shutters themselves, on-site - rather than ordering them and shipping them in from China. The twice-retired gent who showed us round explained the pros and cons of all of the various options. Once we have access to the house we will contact them and get a proper survey and quote.

John Lewis provided a stop-off point for a coffee and some cake before we went across to the local supplier of furniture in the New England style. Outside it was 31C, so their showroom provided a little respite from the heat. GF took lots of photos of various items of bedroom furniture which we will have to consider, and we put down a deposit on a dresser. A very successful trip.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Well, that turned out to be an interesting exercise. The Gorse Fox had saved nearly 81,000 emails since 1996, and the archive was over 11,000,000 lines long.
Next part of the exercise will be to construct a suitable SQL table to allow easy access to the data.


There is an acronym in programming "JAFLOC" - this means Just a Few Lines of Code... and is the traditional answer to any problem posed.

The Gorse Fox has 24 archives of emails stretching back to to 1996 that need to be extracted so that he can mine them for useful historical information. This is a classic JAFLOC... but like most JAFLOCs it is a little more complex than it first seemed. Firstly it is a matter of detecting the transition from one email to the next - which GF finally worked out as the "0C"x code. Then each email seems to have a number of keywords - but the keyword list does not appear to be consistent. Before GF can decide on a final storage mechanism, he needs to isolate the keywords to decide how to handle them.

His code is currently mining its way through several million lines of text searching for the definitive list of keywords that will have to be handled. GF has processed over 40,000 historical emails so far... but the code is hammering onwards.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mobile Apps

One of the features of Mobile Apps is the difficulty in determining what might be wrong when they do not behave as expected. The Silver Vixen usually complete the weekly Ocado order by wandering about with her iPad and creating/amending the order as necessary. Of late this has become problematic, interminably slow, and sometimes will not work at all.

GF resorted to class problem determination:

  1. Any obvious setting wrong? - No 
  2. Any problems with WiFi - No
  3. Any known problems reported on internet? - No
  4. Close it down and retry - any better? - No
  5. Upgrade IOS to latest version - any better? - No
  6. Is it working from the iMAC? - Yes, but that's a different interface.
  7. Does it work from the other iPad? - Yes !!!

Ok, so the problem was isolated to SV's iPad, the question is how to solve the problem. GF erased the app entirely from the iPad and re-installed it from scratch.

Everything now seems to work. Harmony is restored.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Decision made

Our landlord has decided to sell the house we are renting, once we move out. This triggered some calls and a visit from the agent. This morning she turned up to take photos, so we had made sure everything was ship-shape and Bristol fashioned.

Well Saturday's planning of the new living room layout resulted (finally) in a decision and today the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed back into Bognor Regis to order the furniture.

For the uninitiated, Bognor Regis has all the faded charm of Pompeii, albeit without the pyroclastic debris and body casts. If ever a town needed some investment - this is it. It makes Worthing seem classy! (Though isn't quite as bad as Lancing). However, it does have a traditional old furniture shop with a stunning display of stock and salesmen who actually know about their products and provide sensible advice and guidance.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Well that wasn't expected.

The Gorse Fox went out to the back garden to clean up some garden chairs. Over to one side of the lawn he found this little chap.

Jasper, the cat, seemed very interested in the little bundle, but was still keeping his distance.

He seemed uninjured, but obviously was too young to fly. Looking round carefully we ascertained that there were no nests nearby, so concluded he must have been dropped by some predator.

Not sure quite what to do we guessed it was some kind of duck, from its shape, so GF put it in a box and took it along to the village pond. He eased it down into the water - and it promptly sunk. Lifting it back up GF let it collect its thoughts, and tried again - again it sunk. Again the Gorse Fox retrieved it. Obviously it wasn't yet ready for water, so GF took it round to a shaded area where there were some reeds. As he was about to release it a nearby fisherman asked to have a look. GF explained what was going on.

"And he sunk" stated the angler. GF answered in the affirmative. "Probably because it's a pigeon." he said, dismissing GF.

Now GF feels dreadful have tried to drown the poor thing, thinking it to be a water bird. He doesn't suppose it will survive, but at least it has a better chance being out of the water and out of the range of Jasper.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


The Gorse Fox cannot believe how much time it has taken to come up with, what should be, a simple decision. Do we have a chair, a 2-seater, and 3-seater sofa; a chair and two 2-seaters; two chairs and 2-seaters; and any combination or permutation thereof. The trouble is how best to lay out such a selection in a room which logically has the focal point of a fireplace, a second focal point of a TV, and a bay window. A room that you wish to be a sociable space, not one dedicated to the altar of televisual images.

Sketchup provided a canvas for trying the various options, but it seemed that whatever we chose was a compromise in some way. (We also resorted to paper and pencil - as a cross-check that GF hadn't got the measurements wrong in Sketchup). Eventually, with a little bit of "out-of-the-goggle-box" thinking we came to a conclusion... though in the fullness of time this will mean some further design work to accommodate the TV the way we envisage.

Another by-product of the decision is that we will plan to provide all video from a media centre - thus ditching the need for DVD storage or CD storage. Music is already stored on our network storage - the trick will be to transfer all the DVDs as well. This may take some time. Gorse Fox has already tried some this afternoon, but though the transcoding works well, the metadata regarding the films is lost. Will have to did deeper before embarking on a mass transcoding session.

Friday, July 18, 2014


A few weeks ago we started looking for a suitable suite for the new house. It seemed a fruitless exercise even though we were looking a specialist shop.

A few years ago we bought a recliner from a furniture store in Bognor Regis. We decided to give them a try so pottered down to the coast. The store is laid out over 4 floors and there was a vast selection from which to choose. Several hours later we had several firm candidates in mind and needed to go back to the plans to decided what configuration would suit the room best. The other store may have been a specialist warehouse, but you can't beat a good old-fashioned store when you are looking for something special, and just that little bit different.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bit by bit

Aha! News from the dealer. The Silver Vixen's car delivery has moved forward to November. This is progress. The last estimate we got was early 2015. Now we just need to synchronise with her Birthday and get it wrapped up with a big ribbon. 

Despite two calls to the Ford dealer, Gorse Fox still has no outlook on his car. He supposes this is what  you expect with Ford. Gorse Fox has been spoiled by his loyalty to VW over the past decade or so.
The Gorse Fox is enjoying a quiet afternoon in the garden. He seems to be getting a real flair for being retired.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Middle Earth

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen had arranged to head into Middle Earth and tidy up the garden at Mother-in-Law's old house. It was a 240 mile round trip, but it had to be done. It was a lovely day and the traffic was kind to us.

There was one moment when we realised we had left without the key to the afore-mentioned property, but a brief call to Becks reminded us that the Estate Agents would have a key. Panic over.

Once there it only took about an hour to get everything done, and then we set up our picnic chairs for an impromptu lunch, before packing everything away and heading fro Bicester Village.

Now, much is said about Bicester Village, and certainly it is impressive in terms of size and the range of outlets they attract. The problem, for the Gorse Fox, is that it also attracts legions of shoppers. Legions arriving by car, by coach, and even train. It is a tourist destination and was completely overrun. Today there seemed to be two-thirds of the population of Beijing shopping there, and as you entered any of the outlets they just seemed to swarm like ants all over you and the shop.  GF found such crowds to be an unpleasant experience, even though he is sure the Village was probably quite nice.