Wednesday, November 22, 2017

On duty

The Gorse Fox had football today. It was interesting as we had a new potential player who came to watch. If he joins, he will be the third ex-professional playing with us. No names, but he used to play for QPR.

The game itself was heavily skewed in favour of the orange bibs. Unfortunately, the Gorse Fox was playing for the yellow bibs. We lost about 7-2 but it could have been worse. One of the strikers on the orange team commented that it made no difference where he went and what they did - the Gorse Fox was always there to intercept. He made a rude gesture and suggested that the Gorse Fox went and sat on the sidelines.

When he got home he was pleased to see the new cot had been delivered. After a bite to eat he set about assembling it. This was just in time as we are looking after Ellie overnight tonight and she was getting a bit too mobile for the travel cot we had been using. This new cot is much more robust and solid.

Another day, another release of the CoastWatch app... we seem to be about there now. Any further changes will be cosmetic.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


It is the Silver Vixen's birthday. We have various plans through the week, but today she was meeting up with her coven for their regularly scheduled get-together.

The Gorse Fox was left at home - we were awaiting a delivery from Amazon and weren't sure when it would arrive. The Gorse Fox stayed home and as he wasn't playing football spent an hour of the running machine to get his exercise.

A lot of the rest of the day was spent in the study working on adaptations for the Coastwatch App. He should know by now that if something isn't working he should not assume he is at fault. He spent hours trying to track down a bug in some code only to find that it is a problem endemic in Excel on the MAC. He was not amused.

Cousteau-cub managed to make contact with the Silver Vixen and they had a long chat. She is off to Penang with the Coventry Hobbit at the end of the week to get their visas renewed. It's good that the Silver Vixen has mastered Viber at last.

As the Gorse Fox writes this, he is still waiting for the Amazon delivery. There have been two deliveries already, but the last (and most important) bit still hasn't arrived.

Monday, November 20, 2017


Wet and miserable start to the day - but at least we were no disturbed by Jasper and were allowed to emerge at a sensible hour. It may have been a good start for us, but Urban-cub wasn't so lucky. Due at work first thing she couldn't get her car started. Oops. Peugot, no doubt, had a proverbial flea in their collective ear.

The day was spent doing bits and pieces but most of it was spent creating and refining the Excel version of the Coastwatch app. First version released and tested, feedback received, and corrections and adaptations made. Second version distributed for further testing.

The Silver Vixen popped out for a few hours so while she was out, the Gorse Fox made use of the running machine to get some exercise.

Not much else to report today.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


There was no football this morning. We could only gather 7 players and that isn't enough. As it happens, this wasn't a problem. Pistol Pete, Urban-cub and Ellie were due to come to lunch so this gave the Gorse Fox a chance to get things under way.

We had a 7kg joint of beef. Guidance on the packaging suggested it would cook in 2 hours. The Gorse Fox felt this was a bit quick. He decided to check on the internet. The advice there suggested 20 minutes for every 500g then an additional 20 minutes. This made more sense and this was what he did. The results were excellent. (One online site asked you to enter the weight, the cut of meat, and whether you like it rare, medium, or well done. The Gorse Fox entered the details and it came back with the suggested cooking time of 6 hours 28 minutes. Probably ok if trying to create lumps of carbon).

With Ellie crawling properly now, we had to remain on our toes as she scuttled around the house. We have put silicon bumpers on the corners of the glass tables to protect her but she stayed clear of the living room. Jasper was not happy that she could now chase him. He stayed well clear or snuck round under the tables.

We tried to call Cousteau-cub as we had planned, but we couldn't get through. It's a shame as we wanted to see how she was and also include her (at least as a telepresence) in the family gathering.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sucked up

It's a miserable day... grey, damp, and drizzly. It's a good day to stay in at home.

So we did.

The chap from DPD arrived early with the new Dyson. It didn't take long to assemble it and fortunately, though it needs a new charger rack, the holes were in the same place as the old one. It's now had plenty of time to charge and the Silver Vixen has tried it out. First impressions are very good - the charge lasts a lot longer and the suction is noticeable better.

The Gorse Fox considered the improvements he had worked on yesterday. He refined them and implemented them in a new copy of the app. Having done that he returned to his idea of creating a dynamic URL which would open a map showing the target and a direct line from the point of observation. Google Maps proved to be inadequate for this so the Gorse Fox resorted to Bing Maps. This has a very useful set of URL parameters which allow the Gorse Fox to carve out a map just as he  had envisaged.

Code is back with Barney Rubble for review.

Had a long chat with Cousteau-cub. She's clearly unwell again. Will have to talk to her again tomorrow to see if there's any improvement.

Friday, November 17, 2017


Another leisurely start. The Gorse Fox wonders if we can now get Jasper to prepare our breakfast and coffee. It's the least he could do after all the early starts we have had with him.

There were some domestic tasks to complete first thing but whilst ironing the Gorse Fox had an idea for an improvement to the Coastwatch app. He headed for the study and an hour later it was done. Now the problem is that he's not sure it really is an improvement. In general it would make the operation easier - but he doesn't think it would be as robust at the current code. The reason for this is that inbuilt field validation becomes impossible. This needs further thought before he sends it Barney.

Talking of domestic bliss - our Dyson packed up today. Luckily it's Black Friday so we were able to order a new one at a vastly discounted price.

The afternoon was spent with the Silver Vixen looking through the offers that the chappie from Virgin Holidays had sent through. In the end we think we know which of the options we prefer - but that doesn't mean that we have made up our minds.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Today was predominantly spent in Chichester. We had an appointment mid-morning and that was followed up with lunch with Old Bill and Lady Penelope in Prezzo. We had been chatting to the rep at Virgin Holidays while trying to decide about about a break in the sun some time in the New Year. No decisions have been made but the Gorse Fox has challenged the rep to find something suitable - having provided him with our parameters.

Once home the Gorse Fox returned to the Coastwatch App. Barney Rubble had come up with some additional thoughts which were moderately easy (if lengthy) to develop. Code has been turned round and is back with Barney.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


A bit of a grey start but it wasn't cold.

The Gorse Fox headed across to Worthing for football. The game itself was a strange. In the first half Krakatoa Jack played in goal and just didn't seem interested at all. Four goals were conceded in quick succession. Out on the pitch Runaldo and the Gorse Fox were trying to stem the tide and attack occasionally as our other two players were pretty static.

In the second half KJ came out onto the pitch and one of the statues went in goal. This made a lot of difference. No further goals were conceded... and bit by bit we started to claw our way back. The Gorse Fox scored two goals and Runaldo scored another. We were trying to get to 4-4 when the Gorse Fox chased a long ball (walking was not part of this equation). He was running and just got to the ball before the charging goalkeeper and the fullback. The Gorse Fox now knows what it must feel like to be stuck between tectonic plates. He was meat in sandwich and totally crushed between the two. He lay on the ground for a while just trying to work out if he was damaged. Though shaken, he decided he was ok. The game ticked through to the final whistle. We couldn't even the score. It had been a good run out... if somewhat painful.

The Gorse Fox spent the afternoon responding to the second set of test results from the Coastwatch application. All the items raised were cleared and the new version sent back for the next round of testing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Tuesday morning followed a familiar pattern. The Gorse Fox headed across to Worthing and played his two hours of football. In the first hour he played for the 'blue-bibs' and after loosing the first game we went on to win the rest and came first in the end of match rankings. In the second hour he played for the 'red-bibs' - again three games - two draws and loss. The Gorse Fox was pleased, however, that he got one of the red goals.

Back home the Gorse Fox received a note from Barney Rubble. Barney had spent some time testing the app and now had a page full of feedback. This meant that the Gorse Fox could spend the afternoon refine the code. Most of the points raised were about formatting and validation. None of the points identified any errors in the mathematics, which was good news. (Barney did think there was an endemic error of one degree, but it turned out to be a problem with the parallax on his equipment). Updates are complete and back with him. He will be presenting the code to the organisation once we have a final stable version.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Top and Tail

It was very cold out overnight. There was a hard frost and clear skies when the Gorse Fox ventured downstairs. (Again, Jasper sorted out his own breakfast so the Gorse Fox woke naturally).

The first task today was to convert the spreadsheet that he developed (the Gorse Fox, not Jasper) into a Google Sheet. This proved moderately simple but some of the formatting and data validation options are not as comprehensive as those in Calc. This gives Barney the opportunity to try out the application in two different formats and decide which is preferable.

Next the Gorse Fox headed in to Chichester. He had an appointment at the dentist. This went well. He was in and out in about 10 minutes with a clean bill of dental health. Next, he had an appointment at the podiatrist. The Gorse Fox goes to the chiropodist every couple of months - all of the historical mashing of his toes and removal and regrowth of toenails has taken its toll. It's far easier to get an expert to  maintain the appendages than mess it up himself. Agin, the appointment was over fairly quickly with a further clean bill of health. Topped and tailed, the Gorse Fox marched on into Chichester with a spring in his step.

The Festival Theatre was the first stop. The Moscow City Ballet is doing a performance of The Sleeping Beauty in January and the Sonning Sirens have expressed an interest in going. The Gorse Fox queued at the box office an managed to get some good tickets. He marched back into the town centre - bought some additional football socks, and then headed along to Pizza Express. The Silver Vixen was out to lunch with her coven so the GF had agreed to eat at lunchtime and then all we would need in the evening was a snack. A Caesar salad and classic American pizza fitted the bill nicely... and the Gorse Fox managed to use his Gourmet Society card to knock 25% off the bill.

It was nice walk round the town and he left early enough that he didn't get snarled up in the traffic.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

G and T

The Gorse Fox had another lie in. The robot cat feeder came to Jasper's aid early enough that he didn't trouble us. It was eight o'clock before the Gorse Fox emerged. This is a habit to which he could become accustomed.

There was football to play this morning. The Gorse Fox needed up on the 'orange' team. First look seemed to show good balance between the teams, but in the end we ended up 7-2 (or was is it 8-2?) winners. It was a good work out and great fun.

Back home and showered we had been invited to meet up with the Sonning Crew. Having returned from Jamaica, Old Bill and Lady Penelope wanted to show their appreciation for us looking after the house in their absence. Several drinks were consumed along with a large number of sausage rolls and some mince pies. All the while we were regaled with tales of Sandals, The Gorse Fox must say that it sounds like an idyllic (if somewhat expensive) holiday. Maybe this is something to consider for the New Year.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


The day started later than usual. Jasper fed himself and the Gorse Fox stayed in bed until seven forty. That, by any measure, is a result. It was grey and wet when the shutters and blinds were opened. Not a day for wandering along the beach. This was just as well as the Gorse Fox had other things in mind.

Most of the day was spent working on the spreadsheet for Barney Rubble. The problematic algorithms of yesterday were quickly solved. The problem lay in the positive or negative settings of longitude... all confused by a single parenthesis in the wrong place in a formula. Once done the Gorse Fox got stuck in to some testing - all of which seems ok so far. This then provided the trigger for protecting the various fields to make sure no accidental damage could be applied. Once that was done, there was data validation and help text to apply. The Gorse Fox has just sent off the beta code to Barney Rubble for testing and comments. The whole application has been written in LibreOffice Calc - a free, open source spreadsheet engine similar to Excel. The key here is that it's both free and open source and thus ideal for the voluntary organisation to which Barney belongs.

Meanwhile, Old Bill and Lady Penelope have just got back from Jamaica. The cold, wet, damp of these November days must be a real pleasure after the warmth of of the Caribbean.

Friday, November 10, 2017


Well G-force were in control - Ellie stayed overnight. As things go it wasn't bad, though a three a.m. call from the "nursery" was not part of the plan. She took a bottle from the Silver Vixen and then the Gorse Fox took over and reprised his 40-year skills of walking up and down with a baby on his shoulder until she finally gave in and went back to sleep.

Jasper was excited by al this activity. Or at least he was until the Gorse Fox threw him off the bed as he turned over. Jasper sulked off and went downstairs. He started to prowl again at six, but releasing his breakfast meant that we had a lie-in until seven-thirty. That was a result.

The day has revolved around the needs of Ellie, but the Gorse Fox has had a chance to do some work on his spreadsheet for Coast Watch. There are several websites giving algorithms that should do what is required... but so far the Gorse Fox has been spectacularly unsuccessful in applying them. He has managed to replicate and online algorithm and got the same answer - but when applied to his data the answers were clearly incorrect. This is most frustrating and really needs a concerted chunk of time to sort out.

Thursday, November 09, 2017


The Gorse Fox has spent the day on the spreadsheets working on yesterday's challenge. Finding the official calculations was moderately easy, but getting them to work has been a nightmare. An ongoing nightmare. The Gorse Fox selected two point which were 6km apart... used the algorithm and it told him they were 15 nautical miles apart. Wrong! This is going to take further analysis. It's clear that the Gorse Fox's recollection of trigonometry and the use of radians in mapping distances on the surface of a sphere is a bit rusty.

Mid-afternoon, Urban-Cub arrived with Ellie. As Urban-Cub returns to work in the morning, we said we would take care of Ellie overnight and through tomorrow. Urban-Cub will come an collect her when she finishes.