Monday, July 25, 2016

Coding again

The Gorse Fox has spent some of the day coding, again.

He used to use Flickr quite a lot, but hasn't made any use of it for several years. His photos are now shared through Google Photos. This leaves an account with lost of photos - many of which are referenced in the blog. The Gorse Fox wanted to know the extent of the problem so wrote some code. There are 574 posts that reference Flickr. Now he needs to determine if he is going to do anything about it!

Oh yes. HMRC wrote to the Gorse Fox. It appears that the tax rebate that so thrilled him last year should not have been paid. Without going into details - it was partly Starlet's fault, partly the fault of HMRC and partly the fault of the Gorse Fox. It looks like the Gorse Fox has an unexpected tax bill.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A pint

A little grey today - but still lovely and warm. Unfortunately the Gorse Fox has been awake since the first streaks of dawn broke the blackness of night. It wasn't Jasper's fault. The Gorse Fox's brain had alerted him to a coding error perpetrated yesterday afternoon. That was it. The rest of the time was spent mentally recoding a chunk of the RPI Configurator.

Todays football was a hard. The other team had an extra player. By half time, the Gorse Fox was on  the side losing 8-2. We swapped ends. We started to claw back the deficit. As the final whistle approached we had evened things up to 9-9... but then conceded a goal with the last kick of the game. Pah! At least the Gorse Fox scored several of the goals that got us back into it.

After football the Gorse Fox was minding his own business in the shower when the phone chirruped. It was Old Bill suggesting that the Sonning Crew should convene for a pint. It would have been rude to ignore such an offer and so it was that the Gorse Fox retrieved the Silver Vixen from next door (where she was having tea with tinker bell and Two Hats) - and ensured that said neighbours were also set to join. We all strolled down to the Pink Pub, drink was taken and fine conversation was exchanged.

Now the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen are waiting for Peri Peri Spatchcocked Chicken to finish cooking - along with some new potatoes and salad, that should prove a perfect dinner after an excellent day.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


That went well. The new Raspberry Pi "falcon" is installed and online. AT the moment it only has a basic configuration as the Gorse Fox hasn't decided on its ultimate role in the great scheme of things. Having said that, it sits there and happily runs Apache and when linked to the NAS will serve the family photos. The Gorse Fox is so pleased he wrote the configurator - it makes life so easy... and he has now refined it further so that he can define variables for on-the-fly substitutions. All very satisfying as it self-documents.

The weather is wonderful again today and the Gorse Fox popped round to Sainsbury's to get some scones and clotted cream for later. We may have some neighbours stopping by prior to their upcoming trip, so we need to be ready!

Friday, July 22, 2016


A strange day, really.  Lots of bits got done.

Admin was completed for the trip to Cornwall later in the year. Then the Gorse Fox got round to booking an hotel in Canterbury for next month. Though we are fairly widely travelled, neath the Gorse Fox nor the Silver Vixen have ever been to Canterbury. It seems like an omission that needed addressing. The Gorse Fox has taken the opportunity to contact the Kent contingent of his legion of cousins to see if there is an opportunity to meet up.

Nissan had a special sales event and the Gorse Fox was invited along. The deals were very good. Several thousand pounds of direct savings, plus 3 year servicing, plus 10 years of free MOT tests, plus 2 full valets per year... and so on. The Gorse Fox had a wander round with the salesman. He had already decided that he wasn't going to buy - but did want to look over the all-electric Leaf and the new Pulsar. Both were very impressive, though the range on the Leaf (and its price) made it a complete no-no.

Diary transcription continues. Photos for 1987 were embedded in the relevant entries covering our trip to Corfu with the girls. Then the Gorse Fox dug out the 1992 Diary and loaded that. That seemed like quite a year with trips to Poughkeepsie, Somers, Johannesburg, and Cape Town to name but a few.

The Gorse Fox's friend, Mr Amazon, turned up late afternoon with a new Raspberry Pi Model 3B. There are several possible uses pencilled in for this device, but the Gorse Fox has yet to finalise the plan. Initially he'll probably try several different options before finalising a specific objective for "falcon".

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Catching up

Thursday so it must be admin. The Gorse Fox started with the accounts, then moved on to checking backups and checking the network. All seems to be in order. No intervention required.

Late morning saw the arrival of Urban-Cub. She has had some some annual leave and been away to Weymouth, camping. It was nice to hear about the trip and how much she had enjoyed it. Camping can probably be quite miserable if the weather is bad - but they had a good week. It was frustrating, however, to learn that the sale of her flat had fallen through at the last minute. Fortunately a new buyer has stepped in immediately - so lets see what happens this time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Grey to blue

It was an early start - Jasper had woken early and decided that the Gorse Fox should join him. It was just after 5 a.m. and the Gorse Fox disagreed. Jasper was insistent and the Gorse Fox was stubborn. This meant that Jasper spent a couple of hours using the Gorse Fox as a trampoline, until he finally gave in and got up.

It was warm. Very warm, but it was grey and overcast. The Silver Vixen was off to her Pilates, and the Gorse Fox had his usual football. It was much cooler playing today. The sun was trying to bur off the cloud cover, but didn't manage until the game was over. The game was close run thing - but the Gorse Fox's team finished with another win - 3-2 (or maybe 4-2).

Back home the sun had come out and the temperature was beginning to soar in the Orangery. The Gorse Fox has opened all the windows and doors to keep the air flowing.

We have been having problems with one set of the solar lights. The Gorse Fox has been trying to debug the issue.

  1. Reseat the battery and the lead from the solar panel - wait until overnight and observe - nothing
  2. Insert new battery and allow to charge - wait until overnight and observe - nothing
  3. Charge the rechargeable batteries externally, swap into panel - wait until overnight and observe - nothing
  4. Replace rechargeable battery and move the ON/OFF switch to a different position (it has three settings) - wait until overnight and observe - Success.
Just as the Gorse Fox was giving up hope it seemed to work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Another gorgeous day

Like yesterday, there isn't a cloud in the sky and the temperatures are cranking right up. Even in the house it's 28c. There is, however a slight breeze to relieve any discomfort. The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox like the heat so we are not complaining.

The Gorse Fox took a lot of water with him to football today. Two hours of exercise in the hot sun could be problematic without some water to sip. To be fair, we only had a couple of people fade out and have to leave the pitch. The Gorse Fox played quite well - good solid defence - and ended up with 4 draws, 1 loss, and 1 win. No goals today.

Work has continued on the private blog. The Gorse Fox has now managed to post-by-email set up and working. This means that he can send emails to the blog and they will be automatically posted. As the blog is only accessible in our home network, this gives the Gorse Fox the opportunity to submit posts even when he's out or even away on vacation.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Some like it hot.

Fortunately the Gorse Fox and tsv both like it hot. It's 30c and there's only the faintest of breezes. The sky is azure and there is not a cloud in sight. It is beautiful.

It has been a quiet day with only a few jobs to get done. The Gorse Fox has been trying to get one bank of solar lights working - but fears that they are kaput! He has tried changing and recharging the batteries - but will have to wait until later to see if they come on. The bird feeder has been topped up - our little avian friends seem to be getting through a heck of a lot of bird seed at present. Talk about living life on the edge.

The Gorse Fox has also spent some more time on the old diaries. Back in 1987 we took the girls to Devon with us. We had a lovely week in a cottage just outside Tavistock. The Gorse Fox has been going through the old entries and adding the photos taken at the time. Who said that nostalgia wasn't what it used to be? It has been great fun looking back and remembering those times. (The Gorse Fox suppose it would be more logical to process year by year - and he's still transcribing 1974 - but sometimes you see an old photo and thing "That should be in the blog").

The Silver Vixen has been at physio this afternoon - so she's now having a quiet time in the Orangery to recover.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thai Festival

Continuing the theme of events and neighbours, the Sonning Crew headed for Chichester. In the park, by the Festival Theatre, was a Thai Festival. Sounded promising!

We paid the exorbitant £3 entry fee and made our way into the arena that had been set aside. It was surrounded by stalls and food concessions.

At one end was a stage, at the opposite end was a funfair for the children. We had all been fairly enthusiastic as we approached, but on entry, a degree of reality kicked-in. The four hour car-parking ticket might have been overkill.

We started our circuit, looking at the stalls. Thai groceries, hats, dream catchers (? not sure what that has to do with Thailand), shorts, kimonos, Singha beer, and even stir fried ice cream.
This last item was intriguing. We had to try this. So it was that the Silver Vixen had a stir fried creme brûlée.

Actually it's not fried. It is smeared, like a thick layer of paint, on an intensely cold pan. When it goes hard it is scraped off the surface and the shards are served in a paper tub. The Silver Vixen seemed to enjoy it, but a taster proved too sweet for the Gorse Fox.

The stage saw the arrival of a compere or host. He proved to be sartorially offensive, un-funny, and intellectually challenged. He did, however, introduce some Thai dancers and some singers. We moved on.

The food concessions were beckoning. As we walked along the row we discussed the pros and cons of the various dishes. Eventually we all (well all of us that were going to eat) selected different dishes from different stalls. Absolutely delicious - but then, the Gorse Fox knew that it would be.

Once fed, we had a last look around and, though it was filling up nicely, decided it was time to head home.

Would You Like Cream on That?

Yesterday evening, along with neighbours Chris and Maureen, the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox headed off to The  Stag's Head at Westbourne (near Emsworth). For the consideration of £12 per head (all tickets in advance) we were treated to an evening of fine entertainment.

It started well. Westbourne is a small village and the Gorse Fox had expected to find parking difficult. Not so. He found a spot within 50 yards of the pub. It got better. He expected the pub to be hot and heaving. Not so. We found a comfortable table in the corner, by an open window and settled down.

Around eight the band got under way. They played a mixture of Hendrix and Cream numbers. In its own right that was enough to please the Gorse Fox. As it happened, they turned out to be very good indeed.

The audience were predominantly older folk - probably in their 40s and upwards. As a result, it was civilised and enthusiastic, without getting rowdy.

Soon after the set began, the landlord came round with our "chicken in the basket" meal (all included in the price). As an accompaniment to the food we were able to easily avail ourselves of the bar and ensure that we stayed properly hydrated on such a warm night.

The Silver Vixen drove us all home at the end of the evening and the general consensus was that it had been a brilliant evening.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Ramp up

The weather is fantastic today - mid 20s and a dusting of cotton wool clouds. Perfect day.

The blog on "peregrine" has been completely reinstated without too much head-scratching. What head-scratching there was was caused by a misunderstanding by the Gorse Fox over the way the backup directory structure was formed. Soon rectified and everything working as designed.

Mid-morning demanded a trip to stock up on cat-litter, some compost, and some chemicals to prevent the development of blanket weed in the rill. Having done the calculations, it looks like the Gorse Fox may have purchased enough for the next ten years! Oh well.

We are ramping up for our attendance at a concert by Voodoo Room. Hopefully it will be a good event and, talking of events, there is a Thai Festival in Chichester that may require closer examination this weekend.

Friday, July 15, 2016


The Gorse Fox had a successful morning. He set out to determine how best to install a USB drive on the test Raspberry Pi "tawnyowl". It took a bit of rooting around but he found one set of instructions for setting up and formatting the drive, then another set for moving the "/var" filesystem across.
Cautiously he went through the steps and carefully documented them as he went. It worked first time - not a hitch.

Amazon delivered a new 64GB USB drive at lunchtime. The Gorse Fox duly unpacked it and inserted it into the production system "peregrine". He followed the instructions, so carefully written down, to the letter. He rebooted. Nothing. Nada. He cannot access "peregrine".

Oh well - what a good job he has so many backups. He can feel a rebuild coming on.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Beaches and castles

What a lovely day. Temperatures in the mid-20's, a slight breeze to keep it comfortable and a day out.

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen met up with Simon and Alison and their son Stephen. Simon works at Starfleet, and the Gorse Fox used to be his manager. We had threatened to get together and finally managed to get it into the schedule.

We met up at the East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton and had a cup of coffee, then grabbing Stephen's bike from the car, we set off to wander along the promenade. It was an opportunity for Stephen to use his bike on the flat and for the rest of us to have a chat and catch up with all of the latest news and views.

Clearly life in Starfleet is just as stressed as it was when the Gorse Fox was still working, and all of the stories that Simon related just went to reinforce the sheer delight of retirement. It was important, however, to prevent any smugness from setting in - and just to provide sympathy and encouragement.

After couple of hours we all made our way to Arundel.

Above a shop, called Spark's Yard (opposite the old Eagle Brewery Offices), is a restaurant called The Loft. It is family friendly and the quality of the food is excellent. We enjoyed a lovely lunch and chat, then, parting ways, the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen did some shopping before heading back home.

Once home, we had just sat down in the Orangery when Chris made contact. The wine that we had asked him to pick up at his discount shop was ready. We carried the cases over and stood chatting until Trudy and Ian arrived and so the discussions expanded. A lovely afternoon - and an opportunity to "come clean" regarding the giraffe.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Well, today we get a new Prime Minister. The Gorse Fox always finds change to be stimulating and hopes that the PM has a good term in office and is seen by history to have been a good leader for the country. The Gorse Fox has kept his phone to hand, just in case she phones to offer any of the great positions of Office or want him in the Cabinet. All has been quiet so far.

The usual Wednesday morning was fun this morning. Though the teams seemed fairly equal, the end score was a win for the side that featured the Gorse Fox. A resounding 5-0 with a very nice goal from the Gorse Fox to round things off.

Talking of things of great import, it seems that the FA are talking to Sam Allardyce regarding the vacancy for England Manager. The Gorse Fox likes "Big Sam" but isn't sure that he's the right man for that job. The Gorse Fox's favourite would be Juergen Klinsman, the current manager of the USA, and ex-manager of the German World Cup winning team (and, importantly, ex-Spurs player).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dodging showers

It was alright start but showers were forecast for later. As the Gorse Fox drove across to Worthing for the football, he was in bright sunshine, but off to the left the clouds looked black and threatening. Would it stay dry for the football?

The teams were chosen and the first hour of three games kicked-off. It was hard work, and the Gorse Fox was on the team that kept coming second. Not very satisfactory, but given the players that we had - it was the best we could hope for. The rain stayed clear of us and it was warm and sunny.

The second hour was a different make up - two 7-a-side teams. This was much more even and the Gorse Fox was on the winning side for 2 of the 3 games. It was only during the last of these that the showers started to drift over - but didn't really come to much.

The Gorse Fox headed home where the Silver Vixen was having tea with her friend Mandy. As he walked in, the heavens opened and set the theme for much of the rest of the day. The Gorse Fox had his shower and some lunch and settled down to add some more photos to the private blog. Then, as Chris was offering to pick up some wine from his discount provider, the Gorse Fox popped over to give him some money and our selection.

As he writes, the rain is pouring down outside and a chicken rendang is bubbling away on the range - slowly reducing to its final state. The smell is wonderful. This is becoming one of our favourite meals.