Sunday, November 23, 2014

Offside

The Gorse Fox is back from Sunday morning's walking football. The Silver Vixen, as is now becoming the norm, came along to watch all of the creaking wrecks bumping into each other and falling over at the arena.

The Gorse Fox was goalkeeper for the first half - and was pleased with his performance. In the second half he went out to play midfield. Whilst happy with some of the "play-making", passing, and dribbling, he didn't score himself this week. Also it is clear that he needs to improve his fitness. Plan at the moment is to do an extra session on Tuesday and see if it is worth keeping on the calendar.

Noon Image: 23 Nov 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Family

It was a nice day - (well, excepting the weather, which was a bit naff). The Silver Vixen's sister and partner came down to visit for the first time. Soon after they arrived and we settled down with a coffee, Urban-cub also turned up.

The Gorse Fox prepared (bought and put in the oven) a three-bird roast with roast vegetables, potatoes, and mushrooms. This was accompanied by the odd glass of fermented grape juice, and finished off with an apple and berry crumble.

The Silver Vixen and her sister started to wade through bags of jewellery left by their mum. They sorted  through deciding which bits each would have, which were not worth hanging on to, and which bits would be available for the girls. Meanwhile, the chaps watched the football from the Spanish League, on TV.

After the guests had left, the Silver Vixen had the residual items of jewellery and hug box of old photos. These proved intriguing as she waded through them and the other items from the box. The Gorse Fox clearly has a lot of scanning and filing on the horizon.

Noon Image: 22 Nov 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Birthday in Brighton

 It is the Silver Vixen's birthday.

We had planned a day in Brighton where, among other things, there was a craft fair at The Dome featuring (among others) one of the SV's friends. That was a good start to the day and we spent a little money on some nice articles that will be put aside for Christmas.

After the craft fair we headed out into the Laines.
 Brighton's Laines are always worth a trip. They are full of the most eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and visitors.

We started at the North Laines and covered most of the ground without, on this occasion, getting sucked into any of the stores.

Heading back across North Street we stopped to take a picture of the block where Cousteau-Cub used to live. Evidently, they are doing some work on the roof... but those dormer windows used to be in C-C's flat.

We carried on down towards the sea and stopped at what used to be a cinema and is now an Asian buffet restaurant. We paid our money and then went about eating Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, Indian and Vietnamese cuisine. Being a buffet you could return as often as you wished. We were both very restrained and left feeling very content (neither of us had returned to the buffet more than 10 times).
We headed to the South Laines. It is strange how much they differ from the North Laines - much more of a concentration of jewellery and twee little shops.

It is funny how people define luck. As we wandered past a Thai restaurant that we had not noticed before, a passing gull decided that the Silver Vixen was a prime target. As it was her birthday, it could not resist the opportunity to deposit a gift on her head. Passers-by seemed to believe this was a sign of good luck. The Gorse Fox was less sure as he had to claw the deposit from her hair. It was no good. He did his best - but it was clear that would not suffice. We headed for Boots and purchased wet-wipes, hand-gel and a comb. Then outside the shop we had another go at the deposit - which by now had turned to the consistency of concrete. We did what we could... it was less noticeable. That's about as good as it would get.

Some final shopping in the Churchill Centre rounded off the day and we headed for the car. The journey home seemed interminable - taking nearly 2 hours, which seems ridiculous for a 25 mile trip, but that's Friday traffic for you.

Now if you will excuse - the Gorse Fox needs a beer and the Silver Vixen needs more tea.

Noon Image: 21 Nov 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Serendipity

The Gorse Fox took the opportunity to cut the grass. It seems very late in the year to use the mower, but it was nice to tidy things up before the weather closes in.

Gorse Fox spent the afternoon doing admin and looking for some alternative astroturf pitches to use for the walking football. He was delighted to find a £40M community sports centre about a mile from home. He didn't hestitate - he went straight up there to take a look and get details of the facilities and the prices. Looks great - though the pitches are "all weather" - i.e. they are outdoors. The Gorse Fox is not too worried about the fact it is not indoors - but suspects for some of the older players they may prefer the warmth of an indoor facility.

Noon Image: 20 Nov 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Exercise

The Gorse Fox had his usual football session this morning. His team won, and the Gorse Fox scored a couple of the goals. The best part, however, was the news that once these 6 sessions are complete, Brighton & Hove Albion hope to continue with more formal sessions at a permanent location with proper astro-turf. Thiis should save the Gorse Fox from needing to buy some proper football boots (with studs).

We also heard that there is likely to be a session at the B&H training centre with TV cameras there to record it. So there you go... the Gorse Fox may get onto Match of the Day, yet.

Noon Image: 19 Nov 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Patience

The Gorse Fox is favouring impatience over playfulness today. 

The phone ran. The Gorse Fox answered. Therr was a pause, and then in a strong Indian sub-contintent accent "Hello, this is Jack from Windows technical support".

The Gorse Fox paused for a nano-second. Does he play the poor sap along? or does he end the call. 

Old age curmudgeoness overcame the playful urge. "I am well aware of this scam. I don't use a Windows computer. Goodbye." and at that, the Gorse Fox hung up. 

Feeling at-peace with the world the Gorse Fox prepared some invitation cards. A carol concert is scheduled for early December, and we thought we would invite the neighbours in for some mulled wine following the singing. After supper the Gorse Fox wandered around the Crescent and posted the invites through the letter boxes. (A trip to Lidl for some Gluhwein and nibbles is cleary on the agenda).

Noon Image: 18 Nov 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Deskbound

The Silver Vixen had a visit from Handy Mandy so the Gorse Fox made himself scarce and spent much of the day in the study. This gave him a chance to do some scanning of a batch of old photos, some recent mail, and some insurance certificates. The Gorse Fox has, as explained before, adopted a paperless approach to admin. Everything is scanned, filed, backed up, then the original is shredded. There is no longer any paper filing. This is proving very successful and does make it very easy to find documents.

Noon Image: 17 Nov 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

In memory

It is just over a year since we said good bye to the Silver Vixen's mum. Today, we had the opportunity to get together as a family and plant a tree in the churchyard of Buckingham Parish Church in memory of her. It was cearly an emotional moment for some, but for others it was a time to remember with fun and fondness.

Affter the tree planting we all met up for a meal at a local restaurant, to chat, to plann, and to look forward.

A nice day.

It was also the first opportunity to take the Silver Vixen's new car for a run. It was very comfortable, and cruised effortlessly. for such a big vehicle the Gorse Fox was pleased to see a return of nearly 57mpg.

Noon Image: 16 Nov 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mulling it over

It has been a quiet day. Most of the morning was spent going through and updating the financial spreadsheets - the Money Dashboard software has been upgraded to allow a download of the historical transactions (which it always used to do, but this feature was lost in a recent update).

The Silver Vixen needed a birthday card for a friend so we headed to Chi. John Lewis was heaving, but we persevered. (John Lewis was obviouslyunder stress as the lights failed a couple of times while we were there). Silver Vixen found a suitable card and then we wandered through the store. The Gorse Fox was wondering what could be used to serve mulled wine at the forthcoming carol service. In the end we discounted stock pots, punch bowls, slow cookers and heavens knows what else. We plumped fo a bucket-like jam pot. We still have to find some suitable glasses, but at leas we have a receptacle in which to prepare and heat the wine, and from which we can serve it.

Noon Image: 15 Nov 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

Just Stuff

Nothing too earth-shattering today. The Gorse Fox started with a Skype session with a couple of ex-colleagues discussing a work opportunity. GF was glad to see the broadband was up to the challenge and the Skype session was very stable. He's not tempted to do any customer-facing work, but he might help them out with some back-room stuff and some designs.

After that, much of the day was spent dealing with a slight back-log of admin, scanning, filing, and shredding. GF also managed to work out and test the "send to car" feature of the SV's new car. This allowed him to send locations to the car's satnav from the PC. Neat feature.

Talking of locations, GF has also managed to get the street where he lives onto Google Maps... and get them to correct the error in the mapping of the access road. Very impressed by the speed at which they responded.

Noon Image: 14 Nov 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More Little Victories

The Gorse Fox got call from BT. It was his exec helper. We discussed the service provision and all of the bits that had now been put right. GF was satisfied for the call to be closed off. The exec contact said that she had calculated the disruption to service from the day we moved in right up to yesterday and GF was due a rebate. GF told her to leave it as a credit on his account.

Another smug little chuckle as another victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat... and effectively he has several months of free BT service as the credit gets consumed.

Stitch up - foiled

The Gorse Fox, obviously, had to sort out insurance for the Silver Vixen's new car. As his own insurance was about to renew it made sense to try and look at both vehicles together. He phoned his insurance company and got a quote for the SV's broomstick. He was not impressed and told them he thought the quote to be high and shouldn't they try and do better. They were not interested... and were going to charge him for amending the policy.

He phoned the insurance division of his bank (a perk of his account, and a department within the same insurance company he had just be speaking with). He asked for a quote. They offered to pay any exit fees from the existing policy and managed to come up with a quotation that was less for both cars than the original quote for just one. Deal done.

GF phoned the original insurer back and told them to cancel both existing policies. The agent asked why and when GF told him of the the price difference he offered to try and beat it. Too late, explained the GF - you should have done that to start with, and not tried to stitch up a loyal, long term customer. He said he understood but said that a cancellation fee was due. GF told him that was fine because the other department of his company was going to pay it.

GF allowed himself a smug little chuckle as he put the phone down.

Noon Image: 13 Nov 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Shiny

The weather had not been clement. Though dry, the ground was slipy and mushy. Too slippy and mushy to safely play football (without studs). As a result we just played some simple drills and then proactised shooting - or in the Gorse Fox's case saving. The Gorse Fox volunteered to go in goal and let all of the other take shots. Out of the 35 shots taken he only conceded 2 goals... though many were off target (so they weren't all saves).

After a quick shower we had to head back out. The Silver Vixen's new car was ready to be picked up. As usual this process took longer than expected - but she was confident enough to drive away immediately. Heading straight to Chi, we had a wander round Lidl (a first for us) - and managed to pick up some lobster. Then, stopping at John Lewis, we picked up the new TV and then headed home.

Noon Image: 12 Nov 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Playing

The Gorse Fox has been playing with the TV we installed in the family room last month (or was it the month before). It has a number of "smart" features which required exploration (an should be available on the new TV we collect tomorrow).

This morning GF has managed to find out how to link the TV with our network storage and thus was able to play music from our library, watch our old family videos, and display photos. What became clear immediately, was the excellent quality and clarity of video that we had taken on the little FlipCam in the past few years. Now, GF knows he has the FlipCam somewhere... but cannot remember where he has hidden it. He must keep an eye open for it.

Talking of video - we are also able to screen-cast from the iPhones. This lead to the embarrassing realisation that the video footage that the Silver Vixen had taken on her iPhone showing her brother and the Gorse Fox playing walking football could be seen on the screen. It is clear there is no hiding.

Noon Image: 11 Nov 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bugs

Well there has obviously been a spate of failed TVs. When the Gorse Fox arrived at John Lewis's at 9:30 this morning there was already a cluster of people seeking to purchase new TVs. Indeed when GF asked if there were any in stock or when they could be delivered the chappie said there were none in stock and there were over 1000 of this model waiting to be delivered to customers... GF would have to wait 2 weeks. The Gorse Fox then asked about their click and collect service. Using that he can collect it on Wednesday. The deal was done.

After lunch the BT Openreach engineer arrived. A little bit of testing and re-wiring later and the broadband speed had increased by another 3-400Kbps. The problem he had was that his tests were indicating another fault on the line. With the faceplate on the master socket there was a fault, with the faceplate off, the fault disappeared. Different faceplates were tried and the results were consistent. In the end we decided the fault was probably with the automated test equipment because all of the local equipment showed up as clean.

Needless to say, the line-speed seems to have dropped slightly since he left. But we'll see how things progress.

Noon Image: 10 Nov 2014