Friday, May 22, 2015

Plan B

Well, that was an interesting day. (Ok, that may be an exaggeration).

Firstly, GF removed the TV and bracket from the wall. Then filled the holes left and painted the wall. All was well. The bracket ws repositioned and marked...  and the Gorse Fox headed out to B&Q, Travis Perkins, Toolworks, Covers and Screwfix. Eventually he had some replaced coach screws and suitable wall plugs to remount the bracket.

Having done it once, GF found it easy to re-fix it to the wall in the new position. In fact it was quicker to refit than it was to find the various fixings from local hardware stores. In no time the TV was fixed, switched on and working.

GF then started to set up the Pi to play the DVDs, but first he thought he'd try connecting the USB hard drive to see if it would be powered by the TV. It was. Then, on the off chance, he tried the standard features of the TV and realised it would happily play the DVDs directly from the USB drive. The Raspberry Pi was actually needed. Ten minutes later it was all fixed (with Velcro) to the back of the TV... and GF was playing the Cream reunion at the Royal Albert Hall DVD - perfect.

During the afternoon he set up the other smart features (iPlayer, 4OD, 5OD, Amazon Prime, etc.) and also noticed that the TV had located his NAS devices (without being told) and GF assumes he could view his photos directly from that, if wanted.

Chuffed... and still have a Pi that I can re-commission for some other project.

Noon Image: 22 May 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Curate's Egg

GF got up early to read some reviews on TVs. We wanted something appropriate for the Orangery, but didn't want to spend a fortune.  After our man from Ocado delivered the shopping, we headed for Chi.

The Silver Vixen wanted some foam and some fabric to make some cushions - so that was our first stop. Then we headed on to Curry's. We wandered through their TV section looking at what was available and making a few notes. Then we wandered next door to John Lewis. Again we looked at what was on display and compared the prices with those from Curry's. Pricing was similar, but more than GF wanted to spend. Then the old eyes locked onto so display models that were being sold. A few minutes later Gf had a superb 42", internet enabled, LG Smart TV. We took it down from the wall, wrapped it in bubble wrap, parted with a couple of hundred of Her Majesty's fine pounds and headed home along with a wall mounting kit.

So far, so good.

GF started working on the wall mounting bracket. The particular model chosen was selected as it would fit in the gap between the aerial socket and the double plug. GF started to measure up, but was convinced it was too high, and lowered the marks for the drill. Holes were drilled, the bracket mounted and fixed, and the TV slotted onto the bracket. All had gone well.

Well, maybe not.

GF noticed three things at this point. The bracket was too close to the aerial (1) and plug sockets (2)... and the only way they could be used was to pull the bracket open. This left the TV some 9 inches proud of the wall. This was NOT appropriate. GF will have to take it all down and remount it... but that can wait for tomorrow (when he has bought some new wall plugs).

The third thing was that the TV had now power cable. A bit of an over-site. GF called John Lewis, then headed back to Chi. 45 minutes later he was home clutching two spare power cables and a voucher for a free coffee for the trouble he had been caused.

Anyway, the TV works fine, and it can stay put until tomorrow when GF will sort it out.

While all this was going on Urban-cub had been visiting us. She has finished her old job and is now waiting for the new job to start. This is giving her some well-deserved downtime, and it was lovely to see her.

Noon Image: 21 May 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Blinds

The foot was feeling a lot better this morning. Certainly it was worth the trip across to Worthing for the football.

GF started very carefully, with the foot strapped up. As the game progressed the foot eased and GF started to move about more quickly and assertively. This was good. Well, good unless you are called Terry and playing against GF. GF went in to intercept a pass, Terry, unable to stop, crashed into the Gorse Fox. Terry went down like a sack of spuds, clutching his ribs. He was down for several minutes so we declared half-time to give him a chance to recover... which he slowly did. The game continued without further incident - but GF's team did win very conclusively.

Back home, Trevor (from Apollo) had arrived to fit the blinds. All did not go smoothly.

One set had been manufactured incorrectly and will have to be re-ordered, two others were perfect fits - other than the fact the skirting boards had encroached on the original measurements.

The skirting boards had to be removed near the windows in question and then trimmed and refitted. The final result was excellent but GF has a little touching up to do with a paint brush.

With the blue blinds and blue LEDs it's a bit like being in an aquarium... or diving in the Andaman Sea.

While all this was going on, IKEA delivered the chairs we had ordered for the family room. These didn't take long to assemble. In fact it took longer cut the cardboard containers down to size for disposal than it did to assemble the chairs.

Noon Image: 20 May 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mixed

Well by 0530, GF was wide awake and starting to fidget. He got up. He had stern words with himself. He has retired, after all! There was no need to be awake, let alone up at 0530.

GF made the most of the time by moving some DVD images around and digitising several other DVDs. These are now nestling on the new Raspberry Pi's external drive and play beautifully through the main TVs. The only outstanding problems that GF has are related to use of the TV remote - or at least the fact that it doesn't work. At this point, that means using a keyboard.

Football was the main event for the morning. Four 6-aside games followed by 3 5-aside games. The games went well, and GF was pleased to score three very good goals. GF did manage to twist his ankle during the second game, so is feeling a bit sore this evening. He isn't sure whether he will be able to play tomorrow, but he will give it a try.

Noon Image: 19 May 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chuffed

Wall mounted washing line installed.

Media Server working in test mode - though had to change TVs to one that supported the right mode. Now GF would guess he has to work out the best long term target TV and best way to mount the media server.

The Law of Sod

The Gorse Fox was expecting 2 deliveries - a new Raspberry Pi and a Wall-fixed washing line. The Law of Sod intervened. As it was pouring with rain, the washing line was delivered first. GF is now waiting for either the rain to stop, or the Raspberry Pi to arrive.

Oh well, in the meantime he can rip some of the DVDs that he plans to deliver via the Media Server he has planned for the Pi.

Noon Image: 18 May 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Masterchef

Well, that was daft.

The Gorse Fox retrieved a lovely shoulder of lamb from the fridge. He left it to come up to room temperature, then as we had no rosemary, he just rubbed a little salt and oil into the joint before putting it in the oven.

Along with the lamb we had some roasted vegetables - butternut squash, sweet potato, onion, yellow pepper and cloves of garlic; we also had some runner beans and asparagus. Seemed like a good menu.

Well, it did until GF opened the oven about 15 minutes from the end of the roasting time. It was at this point he realised it wasn't lamb at all - it was pork. Albeit dark pork, but definitely pork.

Dementia beckons. What's worse he had an opportunity to make some nice crackling - and missed it.

Doh!

Media Server

The Gorse Fox has just ordered another Raspberry Pi (model 2). This one will be used as a media server so that we can dispense with DVD players and so forth. GF just has to consume all the existing DVD's onto a disk somewhere, and then use the server to play them. Plan is to start with a dedicated server for a single TV, but once established, to network them to multiple TV's. Heaven's knows if it will work, but it is worth a try and will certainly make the DVD's more accessible.

Noon Image: 17 May 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Installed

The various items purchased from Abba yesterday are now constructed or installed as the case may be. GF is only marginally satisfied with the floating shelves. They float, by whilst perfectly horizontal from side to side, they do droop just slightly from front to back. This seems to be an endemic problem with these shelves - GF has never seen one that didn't droop. He may, however, have just thought of a cure for this, but as it means some minor modification to the shelves, he will ponder it for a while.

We are still trying to decide on what trees to plant in the garden... and what covering we will use to mask the fence. Current favourites are cryptomeria, and acer for the the trees, and cotoneaster for the fence.

We currently have the pleasure of listening to a neighbour cutting stone slabs and playing his Rod Stewart album at a volume that would be more appropriate to the Isle of Wight Festival.

Noon Image: 16 May 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

Abba design

A slow start after yesterday's late night. We headed across to Southampton, to IKEA, for some Abba thinking. We wanted some shelves that were not available online. A quick check showed they had a few left in stock. We were hopeful.

Hopes were dashed, however, when we got to the checkouts. The last shelves of the correct colour had gone. We had a Plan B though, and resorted to that. We also picked up some odds and ends for the Orangery and a couple of small side tables for the family room. In the end, it turned out to be a pretty good trip... and an excuse to eat some more meatballs (and salmon, in the case of the Silver Vixen).

Noon Image: 15 May 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

70

Eric Clapton was 70 this year. His 70th Birthday Tour kicked off in the UK tonight. It seemed appropriate that we should go along and wish him well. So it was that we headed off into the rain and drove up towards the Royal Albert Hall.

We seem to have mastered the technique for this journey. GF should explain. Events at the RAH finish too late for us to travel by train. Using the car, however, means parking and the RAH provides parking in the grounds of Imperial College, but that does not open until six o'clock. Travelling to the RAH to arrive in the time window between the car opening and the concert becomes a challenge as it means hitting the metropolis during the afternoon rush. So, we leave home early afternoon and drive to Fulham Broadway where we park in the car park and wander into the shopping mall. By this time it's between 4 and 5 and we find a restaurant to sit down and enjoy a leisurely meal. Finally, we grab the car and drive the last 2 miles to the car park. No stress.

Well that's the theory. It all went pretty smoothly until we returned to the car at Fulham Broadway. There was a big gap where we had left the car. Our hearts sank. GF started to work on the options. The first was to retrace our steps - had he got it wrong? Well, yes. He had. That turned out to be the case. They had got off the lift at the wrong level (well, that is only because GF had remembered the level incorrectly).

With a sigh of relief we headed off for the last bit of the journey.

Our seats at the RAH were up in the circle. This was a high as we had been, without actually flying, for many years. The view was not brilliant, but the objective is the music not just the view. GF's little sister and Trev turned up and the concert was ready to start.

Andy Fairweather Low was the opening act, with his band Low Riders. It was a cheerful mixed set with many of his well-known songs and tributes to a number of the greats.

Next came the main event. Eric Clapton came on and played, in his usual effortless style, for a couple of hours.

There were three distinct phases - some electric blues, some (un-plugged) acoustics, and some rock. Tracks he played included: Somebody's Knocking, Pretending, You Are So Beautiful, Hoochie Coochie Man, Let It Rain, Tears in Heaven, Layla, Crossroad Blues, Wonderful Tonight, and Cocaine.
(There were several other numbers, but GF's memory can't did them up as he writes this).

It was brilliant. In fact the Silver Vixen thought it was even better than our last Clapton concert (17th May 2013). Well worth the ticket price, well worth the journey... though the SatNav was not a great help getting home - but GF will have a rant about that, on another day.

Noon Image: 14 May 2015

Wet, wet, wet

Well, the dull start morphed into heavy rain. It's now pouring heavily and it looks as if it has set in for the day. As a retired person, living on the edge, this has given the Gorse Fox to descale the coffee machine, and make up a fresh batch of muesli.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pah!

Blast, looks like the schedule for the landscaper has slipped. It may now be September before they can come and fulfil the contract.

Organising things

The Gorse Fox has had a good day. The football was hard work as we were only playing 4-a-side - and frankly, GF's team were not very mobile or committed. As a result GF seemed to be playing by himself, and was knackered at the end of it.

Once home he got round to organising the local heat of the national walking football tournament. Venue was agreed for Worthing and date set for June. So we now have to wait for Eastbourne and Portslade to confirm attendance.

With rain forecast for tomorrow, GF made the most of the sunny afternoon and got the lawns sorted out.

Noon Image: 13 May 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sunny

A lovely sunny day emerged from the early morning cloud. Football was an absolute pleasure in the warm spring sunshine. GF played six games, scoring in one of them. He's watching Barcelona at the moment and thinks that Messi and Neymar might make our first team, when they are old enough.

Meanwhile, GF has finally got round to organising his retirement lunch. It will be a couple of weeks short of the first anniversary of the great day and an opportunity to catch up with old friends.

Noon Image: 12 May 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

Quiet

It's been a quiet day. The Gorse Fox had some admin that needed attention. Scanning, filing, (backing up), and shredding. This was accompanied by confirming the commission for the landscaper. We went for a walk to post the quote acceptance, then stopped off at the sales suite to have a chat and catch up with the girls who handled our purchase. The good news was that the price of ou house model has increased significantly. So though we have one of the best sites on the development, lesser sites are selling for significantly more than we paid. Nice to know it was a sound investment - and has, no doubt, been further improved by the Orangery (which the girls tell us has caused some very positive comments from neighbours).

Noon Image: 11 May 2015

Green LEDs

Blue LEDs

Magenta LEDs

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Home stretch

Gorse Fox spent the morning finish the strip that will hide the LED lights. This should now just provide a wash of light on the walls of the lantern.

Once that was done, it was on with the knee pads and a couple of hours painting the skirting boards They are looking pretty good now, but the Gorse Fox will check, when it is less bright, whether another coat is required. (It is so bright in here at present that it is difficult to see any minor blemishes or variations in the paint).

Outstanding tasks are for the electrician to connect the underfloor heating and thermostat; and for our man from Apollo Blinds to fit the blinds in a couple of weeks time.

Now the Gorse Fox must commission the landscaper having examined all of their responses. He won't be able to start work until July, bt we are very confident in his portfolio and record.

Nightlight

The LED's provide a nice glow from the outside. The colours can be alterred with a small remote control, but we liked this blue glow.

Noon Image: 10 May 2015