Saturday, July 04, 2015

Set

We are all set. Plates are prepared, cutlery wrapped in napkins, glasses collected and washed, beer on ice, white wine on ice, red wine at the ready, and we are just awaiting the arrival of the neighbours. Should be a pleasant evening.

Anniversary of Independence

Well today is the Gorse Fox's first anniversary of his retirement. This year has gone so quickly, but has been an utter joy. We have moved into our new house, we have had the Orangery built, we have designed and commissioned the back garden, we have been to the theatre, been to concerts, eaten out, visited exhibits and attractions, and GF has played lots of football. How on earth did he ever find time to work?

The one thing we haven't yet done is go on holiday. You could argue that this is one long holiday; and GF wouldn't disagree, but it is nice to travel. To that end we have a trip to Thailand on the horizon, with a nice long opportunity to catch up with Cousteau-cub, the Coventry Hobbit and their wolf-pack.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Slow lane

The Silver Vixen's iPad seems to have slipped into the slow lane. Despite having very fast internet (finally), her iPad seems excruciatingly slow. GF sat down, applied all the outstanding updates and upgrades and got rid of a lot of apps that are no longer used. Time will tell if it makes a difference, but the indications are not good. GF's iPad, which is the same age, seems fine. He suspects it is related to the amount of memory available, as that is the only difference between the machines.

A nice man from Tesco turned up at the door with several cases of wine. This was not a random act of kindness (though that would have been appreciated). It was the order placed in preparation for tomorrow's neighbourhood soiree. Once that was all tucked away GF headed off to Sainsburys for several cases of beer. Tomorrow morning he must collect the glasses and some bags of ice.

It has been gloriously hot today, so we will, no doubt, hear a) complaints regrading the heat, and b) hear that this is because of global warming. In fact it is just the position of the Azores high and a low pressure area over the Atlantic drawing hot air up from Africa (and dumping Saharan sand on the cars in the process). Oh yes, and when you hear that the temperature at Heathrow reached a record - remember that Hetahrow is several square miles of concrete that absorbs then gives off the heat. Also, all the air conditioned buildings exhaust hot air into the area. (Go and stand by the exhaust side of any air conditioner if you need to test this).

Noon Image: 3 Jul 2015

Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Show

After enjoying last years's show, we had again booked tickets for this year's Hampton Court Flower Show. We made our way up, avoiding the rush hour traffic, and remembering to head for the Black Car Park. This worked out well as the car park is much closer to the entrance.

After wandering past Pooh Corner (note the teddy bear on the bridge to the left) we found a stall that provided tea and coffee for small consideration. It was spitting with rain; enough to have the brollies up, but not enough to seek cover.

Sustained, we headed out into the throng. It seemed much busier than last year and you had to keep you wits about you to prevent yourself from ploughing into  people who would just stop, or completely change direction without any apparent consciousness of the people around them. GF was feeling chilled. They were safe for now.

We roamed over the site peering at stalls, displays, and gardens. It was all so very English. Despite this, GF felt that it wasn't quite as good as last year. The stalls and displays were fine, but he thought the gardens were a bit disappointing. What he did find inspiring, however, were two of the exhibitors stands in the main marquee - both featuring some excellent displays of acers; one of which was our local Big Plants nursery.

We checked out mid-afternoon and headed home. Again we missed the traffic, and were back in the south in no time. A brief stop for a bite to eat - then home. Perfect.

Noon Image: 2 Jul 2015

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Another bit done.

Football was a pleasure today. there were 16 of us so we were able to spilt 8-a-side and use one of the big pitches. As usual we split up fairly randomly - and in this case fairly evenly. At the end of a sweaty hour it was 6-5 to us. It had been hard fought, but very good fun.

Back home the Gorse Fox laid the next brick in the holiday wall - he booked the rental car (having knocked a further £20 off the price). He has managed, overall to drive some good deals with the agents and saved over £300 over the "best" prices that were promised on the various web sites and even better than direct booking.

Noon Image: 1 Jul 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Getting Hot, hot, hot...

and needless to say everyone is moaning about the heat. The Gorse Fox does find it wearisome that people make so much fuss over a few hot days. There is nothing you can do about the weather - so just get on with it and go about your life without moaning about things over which you have no control.

The football today was a case in point - plenty of players complaining about the heat. GF played two full sessions (8 games). It was about 26C, but certainly not a major risk of heat stroke. (It does put the Qatar World Cup into focus, however, with 50C temperatures).

Not sure how many games we won today, but seemed to do all right. More to GF's satisfaction, he felt he played well and lasted right through to the end, even though some were visibly slowing.

Noon Image: 30 Jun 2015

Accelerating

The Gorse Fox is pleased to see that his Infinity service has just been turned on and internet bandwidth has increased into the the mid-30 Mbps, and should stabilise over the next few days. It's nice to start getting a more acceptable throughput.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Just stuff

The Silver Vixen was out with a friend so GF and Jasper were left to their own devices. Jasper prowled for a bit, then went up to sleep through the day. Gorse Fox cleaned up some garden chairs ready for the weekend's soiree, and distributed some menus to all of the invitees. He then settled down to do some research - why was his Gbps LAN only running at 100Mbps? which powerline adapter is best? why can't he talk to his printer from his Macbook? and so forth.

He finished the day with calls to his little sister and another to Barney Rubble.

Noon Image: 29 Jun 2015

Happy Birthday

The Gorse Fox wishes his little sister a very happy birthday. He hopes she has a wonderful day.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Who?

GF and the Silver Vixen are thoroughly enjoying The Who at Glastonbury from the comfort of the Orangery. GF has seen them live on several occasions, and the last time (at Wembley Pool, as it was called then) he took the Silver Vixen with him. It was the mid-70s and we were both deaf for several days afterwards.

Obviously Roger Daltrey's voice doesn't have the range or the power any more - but he does all right for a chap in his 70s. (Though he's missed most of the notes in Behind Blue Eyes)

Prep

Next weekend we have arranged a soiree for our neighbours. After today's brief air and distant air display, the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed for the supermarkets to top up on paper napkins, cutlery and dinner plates. It was also a chance to compare prices. This proved interesting - Sainsburys were best for beer, but Tesco for wine. As they are opposite each other, there is no hardship involved in using both.

Whilst dinner was cooking, GF went round to the Indian and Chinese restaurants to get their menus. We are not catering next weekend - we are relying on delivery of take-aways. GF will distribute the menus in advance and collect the selections together to order in advance.

Noon Image: 28 Jun 2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Display

This weekend sees Goodwood play host to the Festival of Speed. This is great for the area, bringing in lots of revenue and visitors. It does mean, however, that the main east-west route becomes a no-go area for several hours in the morning and in the evening. For the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen the main impact is the ability to stroll out to the front of the house and watch the air display from the Red Arrows whilst chatting to the other neighbours. The chat continued long after the Red Arrows had gone and we almost jumped from our skins when two Tornados flew very low and very fast over the house in close formation.

The Urban-cub came over to see us, brief us on her first week at Gatwick, and show her new car. She is obviously loving the job and has lots of studying to do in order to get through her various certifications. It certainly sounds very interesting and we suspect that she will be in her element once she is let loose on the public! Her car looks very nice also - though she is still struggling with many of the features.

Noon Image: 27 Jun 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hub bub

The new BT Hub arrived (as did the TV decoder). GF took his magnetic frame down from the media cupboard and unclipped the relevant cables and the old hub. Then, with the help of the jigsaw, made a few minor mods to the peg-board then started to put everything back. Cable ties were tightened and snipped, the new hub was in place and switched on.

GF then went round all the various devices in the house resetting their WiFi settings. Everything is up and running again and with luck the Infinity service will commence on Tuesday and we'll be moved into the fast lane.

Noon Image: 26 Jun 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Result

The travel agency got back to the Gorse Fox. Despite all of the internet claims of best prices - they have managed to book the same flights and the same hotel with all of the same parameters and offer it to us for a couple of hundred pounds less than the GF had expected. This is a good result as it has not only saved us money, but gives us cover if there are any unforeseen problems. Oh yes, and it looks like we will be flying in the A380 super Airbus. It seems a bit early to get excited, but let's just say that the Gorse Fox is animated.

Worrying

It is always a bit worrying when you have contacted BT to change or upgrade your service and on the day before the equipment is scheduled to arrive, three Openreach vans turn up outside. The Gorse Fox's curiosity got the better of him and he went out to ask what was going on. It turns out that they have a job on the development laying services to new builds, but the location isn't clear and they are just parking up whilst contacting their schedulers to get details.

GF sighs with relief.

Noon Image: 25 Jun 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Better and better

The football this morning was much better. It was quite warm and GF managed to work up quite a lather. He defended well and his passing was back on target again. After an hour it was honours-even at 5-5.
Gorse Fox was amused by a new player. He arrived early and introduced himself and went on to explain that he was going to "give it a try" but suspected it wouldn't suit him as he was "still quite fit". GF grinned and wondered what his assessment would be at the end.
By half time, he was gasping for breath and asking to go in goal for the second half. At the end he was bright red, sweating profusely, and wondering what had just happened. A lesson, perhaps, for anyone that thinks walking football is a gentle, pedestrian, pass time.

Back home, GF got back to plans for the Thailand trip.  Having done all the basic research he called the agents that he has used in the past. The same agent was there that he dealt with two years ago. GF gave him the parameters and asked if he could equal them - or at least come close. GF would prefer to use the agency as it gives some degree of cover should anything crop up. (Like a delay due to volcanic activity - which is what happened during our first trip in 2010). We await his response.

Noon Image: 24 Jun 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Plans

The football was fairly intense this morning; GF was not at his best. Though he defended well, his passing and shooting were off target for most of the games.

Back home, GF spent the whole afternoon buried in spreadsheet and analysing the various options available for a holiday in Thailand later in the year. Flights look pretty straightforward, car rental looks easy enough and quite reasonable. The real issue is getting the right accommodation. Do we choose an hotel, or a villa of some description?

We have looked at The Houben an the Rawi Warin - there's little difference in price - but one is closer to Cousteau-cub. GF is also looking into the villas that are available... and should we look at 2 weeks or 3. At this point three weeks looks the favourite.

Noon Image: 23 Jun 2015

Monday, June 22, 2015

More digging

The Silver Vixen was out for the day. The Gorse Fox spent most of the day with his genealogical research. Now he is delving into the Silver Vixen's maternal line. What was very clear, again, was how amateur much of the online research has been. As the GF digs through online records he finds one anomaly after another - and researcher claiming ancestors that clearly do not fit their family parameters. GF now has over 1600 people in the family tree - and includes nobody unless there is documentary proof of their relationship.

Urban-cub called to tell us all about her first day on the new job. It certainly sounds as if she is excited and her induction is clearly quite thorough. The only cloud on her horizon was the fact she couldn't pick up the new car today as the money hadn't come through - but that should be ok tomorrow.

Noon Image: 22 Jun 2015

Reality check

Well, that's it. The nights are drawing in.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

More digging

There was no football today - we didn't have sufficient numbers due to various other commitments. The Gorse Fox made the most of the time delving further into the family history. He has now re-directed his efforts at the Silver Vixen's maternal line.

After lots of digging and mining through the data, it became clear (once again) that you can't always rely on the information that you have been given - even by those who should remember. It was soon evident that the GF had information about Thomas, but the information matched that gleaned from the records for Richard. Indeed, there are no records for Thomas. This meant a lot of data had to be shifted around to ensure everything is now correct.

Mid afternoon GF was delighted to get a video-call from Cousteau-cub. She had been out diving; indeed she is getting a lot of diving at present as the only underwater photographer currently on the island. She has acquired a new puppy, so is a bit sleep-deprived at the moment. Then, to complete the set, Urban-cub popped in also. GF had spoken to her this morning, but not expected to see her until tomorrow. So that was a nice surprise.

Hay fever is a bit troublesome today.

Noon Image: 21 Jun 2015