Monday, January 31, 2005

The Chilli taster

A salutory lesson recorded for posterity by Cynical Cyn. Dare you not to smile.

Footbal Violence ?

The Gorse Fox has been concerned about violence surrounding and during football matches. With tomorrow's showdown between Man Utd & the Forces of Darkness, he is worried that things may be getting out of hand.

GF picked up the following, from the report on yesterday's Real Madrid game with Numancia:
Owen, at the 49th minute, sent a straight shot that hit the crossbar, and Figo, two minutes later, had the ball bouncing badly when he was ready to shoot Núñez.

I think this is taking it too far.

(Real Madrid reports are shown here. I expect this is only the latest result however, and have not found an archive of match reports).

I could become obsessed...

With tits.

The Gorse Fox implemented a foolproof solution to the knockers problem. He dangled a shiny bauble from a sisal necklace in front of the plunging windowline being attacked.

This morning the tit had returned... and moved along to the next window. Tap, tap, tap..... Tap, tap, tap. There was the tit, sitting on the windown ledge knocking on the window. Now the Gorse Fox could dangle another shining bauble (i.e. CD hanging from string), but if said tit then moves on again... where does it stop? We have 23 windows for the tit to molest!

I'm told that smearing lion dung on the garden keeps most animals away. However, it also stinks, and it is not freely available in Sussex. Maybe the Gorse Fox can train a hawk to yell at or attack flapping tits. (Maybe not. That would cause too many problems with neighbours sunbathing in their gardens in the summer).

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Dog Patrol

Driving back from the local recycling point earlier the Gorse Fox noticed a blue flashing light up ahead. This triggers several emotions:
  1. It's up ahead, it can't be me!

  2. I hope it is not an accident

  3. I hope it doesn't delay me

  4. I wonder what it is.

So curiosity takes over and as we approach it is clear that a Police Dog Unit has stopped a car carrying a young lad and his girlfriend.

I must say, she was no oil painting, but I think being stopped by a Dog Unit is a bit harsh.

Recycling

It is time to recycle some old music cassettes. The Silver Vixen has spoken. As a result we are donating 70+ cassetes to the charity shop.

This is the selection that's going... and if anything it shows a) our age; and b) the wide spectrum of music that we have liked over the years.


Greatest Hits : Andy Williams
Wet : Barbara Streisand
Superman : Barbara Streisand
My Name is Barbara Barbara Streisand
Barbara Joan Streisand : Barbara Streisand
Summer dreams : Beach Boys
Yesterday and Today : Bert Kaempfert
Greatest Hits : Blood Sweat and Tears
The Snow Goose : Camel
All You Ever Wanted to Know About Sax : Candi Dulfer
Chicago 17 : Chicago
Chicago : Chicago
Air Cut : Curved Air
Citizen of Time : David Arkenstone
Diamon Dogs : David Bowie
Aladdin Sane : David Bowie
Whirlwinds : Deodato
Prelude : Deodato
4 Seasons of Love : Donna Summer
Captain & Me : Doobie Brothers
They Only Come Out at Night : Edgar Winter Group
Screen Gems : Elkie Brooks
Sentimental Journey : Ella Fitzgerald
Caribou : Elton John
Empty Sky : Elton John
Works Vol.1 : "Emerson, Lake & Palmer"
Eric Clapton at His Best : Eric Clapton
461 Ocean Boulevard : Eric Clapton
Requiem : Faure
Fleetwood Mac : Fleetwood Mac
Albatross : Fleetwood Mac & Christine Perfect
Frampton Comes Alive : Frampton
In Your Eyes : George Benson
In Search of Time : Hawkwind
Doremi Faso Latido : Hawkwind
Greatest Hits : Herb Alpert
Rise : Herb Alpert
Unrecorded : Jasper Carrot
Oxygene : Jean Michel Jarre
The Best of John Denver : John Denver
The Height Below : John Williams
A Spanish Guitar : John Williams
Taste Me : Lynsey de Paul
Five Bridges : Nice
Without You : Nilsson
Richard Clayderman : Richard Clayderman
Myths & Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table : Rick Wakeman
Altlantic Crossing : Rod Stewart
Coast to Coast : Rod Stewart / Faces
Get Yer Ya-Ya's out : Rolling Stones
Stranded : Roxy Music
Bridge Over Troubled Waters : Simon & Garfunkel
Sky 2 : Sky
Masterpieces : Sky
2001: A Space Odyssey. : Soundtrack
Dr Zhivago : Soundtrack
Clear Spirit : Spirit
12 Dreams of Dr Sardonicus : Spirit
City Kids : Spiro Gira
From the Mountain : Stylistics**
Atem : Tangerine Dream
Stratosfear : Tangerine Dream
Ricochet : Tangerine Dream
Albedo 0:39 : Vangelis
Superbad : Various
Visions : Various
Switched on Bach : Walter Carlos
London Town : Wings
Yesterdays : Yes
The Yes Album : Yes
Time and a Word : Yes


**The Gorse Fox would like to publicly distance himself from The Stylistics.

Tits

That's not the sort of headline you might expect from the Gorse Fox. This is not gratuitous smut. The Silver Vixen & GF have developed a problem with tits, however.

It started yesterday when Silver Vixen was in the bathroom. GF heard knocking... assumed it was the SV. This continued so GF checked nobody was at the door, and SV asked what he was doing.

"It's not me;" said the GF, "I thought it was you.".

The SV responded in similar fashion.

So where did this knocking come from. It was still happening at random intervals. Was it the central heating? Was it the ghost of Christmas past? That was when the Gorse Fox was able to pin-point the directon of the sound and arrived in the room to see the perpetrator...

A tit. Obviously attracted by its own reflection in the window was disporting itself and pecking at the glass. As the Gorse Fox approached, it stoppped and flew away.

This morning, however, it's back. The Gorse Fox will give consideration to the situation and take some dissuassive action.

However, what is now clear is the link between tits and knockers.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Clippings

The nice chappie turned up today with a load of logs, so the Gorse Fox spent a busy hour shifting them to the back yard and stacking them in the log caddy. I asked what his source was, and he explained that he had truck load delivered from the Forestry Commission.

The afternoon saw the Gorse Fox's gloden locks trimmed and strewn across the barber's shop floor. "Did you see the game?" was the first question. Of course, the local Southampton-Portsmouth cup game. The GF had seen the last few moments... "They was robbed" he was told.

"What did you think of the penalty?"

The GF said it was a stone-wall penalty. No doubt.

Sharp intake of breath across the shop. The scissors start to flash quicker, the cut-throat razor comes out. GF starts to get worried... Will the GF still be able to wear his glasses? Will he still have ears to hang them from?

It turns out that it wasn't Angus, the barber, who was a Pompey fan... it was his assistant. The GF lived to see another day.

Dreams

Everyone, they say, has dreams. The random firing of electrical pulses across the synapses of the sleeping brain being interpreted into pictures and stories. The Gorse Fox's grandfather was a feature of lastnight's kaleidoscope of neural activity.

Said grandfather was a cheerful, devout man, steeped in tradition and fixed in his ways (right down to the items he would eat each day of the week). In last night's fantasy the Gorse Fox was at said grandfather's funeral (which was held at the wrong church). We left the church to receive the condolences of the congregation. (Being British, they were of course standing in an orderly queue).

At the end of this line of mourners was a small horse and small pony (both light brown in hue) with Post-it notes on their flanks identifying them as "horse" and "pony". I was at first alarmed (you would be wouldn't you). I was not aware of any great affinity between grandpa and the animals.

Following these equine mourners was an animal with the face and fleece of a sheep, but no apparent legs. Again, a "post-it" note shed light on its species. It was (of course) a woolly seal.

And so the line of animals continued with three of four more specimens which I have forgotten. (I apologize if any of you are reading this blog).

Finally, the tail-end (well they are animals) brought a traditional seal, with no "post-it" note.

Several thoughts occur:

  • It's nice to think that grandpa was so well thought of in the animal kingdom

  • It was nice of them to wear identifying post-it notes

  • Why were we at the wrong chuch? (Incidentally, it was the church where the Gorse Fox married the Silver Vixen).

  • Would a woolly-seal give waterproof jumpers?

  • Did we have enough cars for them to come to the cemetary, or did they make their own way?

  • What did the GF eat last night? Is it available on prescription?

Friday, January 28, 2005

At last

So Beyoncee finally reviewed the contract and at 19:21 this evening the GF received the benefit of her counsel. A frustrating week, but finally the Gorse Fox has the ammunition to complete the process.

PC Rage

The Gorse Fox worked from home. Now armed with new lapdog there are features to find, and things to install.

Wireless... got that cracked.

Lotus Notes... well almost ok, but ended up with 45 minute call to help desk. Now ok. (I must say that since we moved the help desk to India it has been orders of magnitude better than before).

Firefox... done

Printer sharing... done.

w.bloggar... done (well you're reading this aren't you?)

Peer-to-peer file sharing with my desktop --- brick wall. Should be easy, like falling off a log. But no. Gf has found a rather clunky route, but nothing elegant and simple.

Oh yes, and Lenny Henry (who will from now on be known as Beyoncee) has not got back to the GF with the contract. So the GF is getting narked, and chased. However, he did manage to find a replecement for Miss Ellie (at last). More on this at a later date.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A capitol time

RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRiiiiiinnnnnnnnnngggggggggg

An there was the Gorse Fox, fingers locked into the ceiling wondering what the hell that was. It was the alarm clock.
The GF has not been woken by the alarm clock for months... but there he was clinging to the ceiling with his heart pounding, cursing the alarm clock, and its inventor.

So there is the GF standing on the local station waiting for the train to the Capitol. It arrives on time - but is still the old rolling stock... so he braced himself for discomfort, drafts and intolerable over-crowding.

It was a good day meeting the old lags, and even seeing Vlad the Impaler again had its moments!

And there was the the journey home... old trains, overcrowding and Croy-magnon man**. This individual decided to force himself into the space opposite the Gorse Fox, between to other commuters. To be fair, they worked for the Inland Revenue, so it is only right that they were discomforted.
Then Croy-magnon began.. Cough, Cough, splutter, cough... and so it continued for the rest of the journey to Hove.

I have decided that when I rule the world:
  1. People who cough and splutter (continuously) in crowded trains can be legally hurled from the moving train

  2. Croy-magnons can have their mobile phones (and laptops) inserted in the rectums under intense pressure by all passengers in the same carriage (though not those from other carriages)



**Croy-magnon: commuter to or from Croydon. Can be recognised by the following characteristics:

  • cannot function without a mobile phone attached to the side of their head

  • cannot function without a laptop (may or may not be used while commuting)

  • mobile phone calls have to be conducted at maximum volume to inconvenience as many people as possible

  • subjects to be discussed on mobile phones should be limited to deals to be closed; clubs to be visited; how much drink was consumed; and what conquests have been achieved.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Road rage

The Gorse Fox does not condone road rage.
GF has not been the victim or perpetrator of road rage.

But The Gorse Fox lives in West Sussex, is a driver, and based on the previous statements is a saint.

Let me give this morning's journey as an example.
  • We are in a 30 limit, therefore the pin-brain in the Volvo estate in front is doing 25.

  • we approach a bend with a recommended max speed of 25, so pin brain drops to 15.

  • we return to roads with 50 as the limit, and roads where the national limit is in force. Pin-brain in the Volvo accelerates wildly up to 40.

  • each time an opportunity presents itself, there is oncoming traffic to prevent an overtaking manouevre.

  • a long queue is beginning to form behind us

  • pin-brain's dog starts to walk around in the back of the car, because the dog thinks he's stopped

  • the Gorse Fox follows pin-brain past Arundel, up over the hill towards the Amberley road, negotiates the roundabout, thinking that pin-brain may turn off at the beauty spot where people go walking, but no.
  • we begin to climb the hill to cross the South Downs... enough is enough. GF hits accelerator, leaps past Volvo estate with pin-brain at the wheel.

  • less that 10 miles from home, decent roads, not rush hours and it has taken 35 minutes or so.

  • looks in mirror - Volvo driver flashing angrily (why? road was clear, no markings to indicate danger, clear view, functioning indicators... GF's conscience is clear) - and rest of queue of traffic sitting behind pin-brain trying to find a way past.

I rest my case. A saint. However, when I rule the world there will be some new laws:

  1. Dog owners cannot transport their dogs in cars (dogs are for walking - if they were meant to travel in cars they'd have been given driving gloves, not paws).
  2. Drivers must drive within 10% of the speed limit, except where hazardous.
  3. If a driver determines a road hazard to be his or her ability to a) see, b) reach the pedals, or c) maintain cognitive function, then they should hand in their license and use taxis
  4. if a driver has a queue of more than 3 cars behind them (and it is not heavy traffic/rush hour) they must pull over and make way; or receive 6 penalty points and a knee-capping (I think that's firm, but fair)
  5. BMW drivers will be limited to driving in Germany

Welcome to the WorldWideWeird

Welcome to the WorldWideWeird Another cracking entry from Captain Slog. he is becoming a "must read".

Chat-show

Decided to muscle in on some interviews in NEHants. Moderately good run up there, once I was away from the brain-dead drivers around Arundel.

Saw 3 candidates or mixed ability. Unfortunately I'm not convinced any of them were right for my project. So all in all, drove 100 miles for no real benefit. Having said that, the Sussex country side was stunning in the winter sun, and made up for the inconvenience and lack of end product.

The Silver Vixen was out stretching in the gym, when I got home. As he back has been a little uncomfortable this week, I'm sure it will do her some good.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Daze end

Seemed like a long day. Introduced new chap, Clint, to office and got him talking to the right peeps. Think he's looking good, and should turn out ok.

Ping-pong continues with contract. Lenny Henry wants to review it again and comment. No doubt I will receive the full force of her advice and counsel in the morning.

I need a bright spot in the day...
I know, I'll go and have a beer and imagine Arsenal being relegated in three successive years.


I feel more positive already.

Travel Tribulations

Why is it that when you think you'll try a different route, using better roads... you are wrong. Stick with your gut sense. Go the way you first devised.
I tried an alternate route... should be faster, should be quicker. Better roads, no single track sections.

Wrong.

Nearly 10 miles and at at least 20 minutes longer.

Welcome to the WorldWideWeird

Welcome to the WorldWideWeird - Captain Slog has brightened up my morning (again) with this item. Consider it product placement for a flu pandemic.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Wintery end

Very wintery end to the day. A few sleet showers clattered across the Gorse late afternoon. The temperature dropped 6C in the space of 20 minutes. The Silver Vixen scraped ice of the car this evening as she left to stretch herself out on the floor of the gym studio.
It promises to be a cold night.

Ping-pong

Contract ping-pong continues. HMV and Partner want one thing, QA want another... and latest iteration of the document cannot be released until this is resolved. Meanwhile I sit here reading each email as it bounce back and forth wondering if we will ever extract our corporate digit.

Headline Acts

Great headlines from 2004...

Chopped Liver

Evidently the last 4 years of the Gorse Fox's life have been a figment of his imagination. An article in the company house magazine extols the great work performed on his last major project, and thoughtfully lists the key personnel - the partner who came in for occasional meetings, the project exec who did more to sour relations with the client and the team than anyone, the project manager (deserved), and the apps manager (deserved).

Now examination of the Gorse Fox's time recording shows that in 2004 he managed to spend 39 days just commuting to said project, where he (apparently) spent 142 days twiddling his thumbs... he won't bother checking 2003, 2002, or 2001**. It would be too depressing... remembering those 100+ hours a week, and those interminable commutes.

Ooooh yes... and the GF also received an email over the weekend asking if he'd go back in to help them with some design changes. Now I wonder what his reply will be?

**[Ok, then. He did check. 830 days of effort, and the equivalent 114 full days of travelling.
Note, the travel time was only counted for the last 18 months... and 2 hours a day were ignored as being reasonable commute times].

Welcome to the WorldWideWeird - Words

Welcome to the WorldWideWeird - a great entry from Captain Slog. Words of today, with more than a passing resemblance to one of the rounds in "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue".

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Have you packed your own bag?

The Gorse Fox spent the thick end of the morning ploughing through web sites looking for good flight prices.
The GF and Silver Vixen will be heading for the Canary islands for a couple weeks in the Spring, and it is always a challenge to find the right prices, and match them with flight times that we consider convenient.

After trawling through countless sites we ended up back with the carrier used last year. Good flight times, pretty good time-keeping, competitive price (without being cheapest).

Done.

Another thing... the GF has been granted a new laptop. This fills the GF with a mixture of excitement and foreboding. Excitement because I will have a nice new, faster, lapdog. Foreboding at the thought of how long it will take to turn it back into something useful. It's all academic at this point... still have to phone up and schedule the replacement.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

the Gorse Fox must be mad. GF has spent the last couple hourse aiding and abetting a bunch of crooks (known in the media as "politicians") in the theft of huge amounts of his own money.

Spit.

At least GF has some left. Now what can he do with it?

  • go for a ride in the car ...
    well yes, but about 80% of the cost of the fuel burnt is tax.
  • go shopping...
    well yes, but 17.5% of the price of goods is a tax
  • and things are expensive in the UK? ...
    well yes, the manufacturers have paid tax on their profits and National Insurance on their employees wages, the hauliers have paid tax on the vehicles used to move the products, and tax on the fuel, and all of this has to be factored into the price of the goods.... so he's paying more tax (through a third party).
  • ok the GF will sit and watch TV ....
    ooops, don't forget the license fee, a tax that pays for an over-bloated, biased, self-opinionated, brodacsting company to foist execrable programmes on the general public.
  • what then?
    No sense in comtemplating termination... don't forget death duties!


The Gorse Fox ponders a while. Wonders what percentage of annual income actually ends up in the hands of theiving politicians... wonders what portion of the National Debt he seems to be solely responsible for servicing... and decides to go and bang his head against a wall on the assumption is it less painful and less depressing.

Grand Theft - Supporting the Bone Idle

Spit.

Today is the day I will sit at my computer and assist the Inland Revenue in the annual theft of huge chunks of my assets.

Apparently, as an honest middle class worker, it is my duty to support myself and my family, and also:

  • the bone idle who can't be bothered to work
  • the families who have decided "benefits" are more lucrative than honest work, and sit around all day smoking themselves to death and watching low-IQ TV.
  • a Civil Service that growse exponentially.
  • Saint Tony Blair's travel, and entertainment
  • the most venal, corrupt, self-serving government of the past 50 years
  • the broken NHS
  • lame duck "politically correct" teachers
  • the educationalists that have so systematically destroyed the future of our country by creating the two generations of students who are less well educated than their parents.

Now, whilst I'm on "lists", what I don't mind paying for is:

  • Pensioners who have been let down by the state (i.e. most of them)
  • Pensioners who have had their pension funds plundered by Gordon Brown
  • People who are (genuinely) unable to work through sickness or disability
  • People who (genuinely) arrive in our country seeking protection from persecution in their own lands
  • Good nurses and doctors
  • Good, inspirational teachers


Now all I have to do is go and slam my fingers in the door, stub my toe, and poke myself in the eye with a compass... and I'll be in the right frame of mind to do my tax.

Friday, January 21, 2005

HMV in Worcs

Busy, busy day.

At first the office was a-buzz, putting up decorations, blowing up balloons, popping ballons, and papering the walls with photos. A dear member of staff was retiring.

I had meetings... and won't bore you with the detail. Suffice it to say they went well and the Esteemed Client was gracious enough to tell HMV what a good job I was doing.

Good drive home. For once traffic reports allowed me to take avoiding action of tailbacks on M3 and A27... I took the country road, and was home in about 3 hours (feeling rather smug). It was lovely to see the Silver Vixen again. (We may have been married 31 years, but I still hate spending a night away from her).

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Ha!

Ha! I say.

Another battle won. Pin-headed resource troll was turned to stone by the penetrating rays of sunlight of my logic (and threat of escalation of hostilities). New person starts on Tuesday.

Still have to find a replacement for Miss Ellie, but managed to complete response to Esteemed Client's comments today.

To kick the virtual Cat

I feel the need to kick the virtual cat. Not a gentle nudge you understand, but a full-blown Beckhamesque free-kick. The sort that make the virtual cat swerve in mid air and dip under the crossbar**.

The Pin-brained resource troll has pulled my selected project manager because we work in different parts of the company. So now I have to fight start the selection process again.

Decision to make: Does the Gorse Fox a) head up to Worcester today and stay overnight; or b) get up at 04:30 tomorrow and drive up to be there for start of business?
"Errr... is it b), Fox" ?
Slap! "Stupid boy!" Slap!

**No real animal were harmed in the making of this blog entry (I don't have any real animals). Some virtual (CGI) cats were, however, subjected to extreme nastiness. No apologies are offered.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Good train journey up. Train was full by Hove. An posh old dear sat in front of the gorse Fox (who was pretending to sleep). "Jan, dear" she said in a posh, stage whisper, "you can't possibly stand, sit on my lap". A sly look from the GF ascertained that Jan was a perfectly healthy, robust woman of middle years... and perfectly capable of standing along with everyone else. Evidently, everyone else had made the same assessment, and Jan was left standing.

Gosh. Found my way to Westminster and checked in through the security portal. This is a cylindical perpex pipe with sliding sides. You approach the portal and the security guard hits the button.

Shhhhhffffffft, the wall of the cylinder rotates to allow you to enter.
Shhhhhfff-clunk the wall rotates closed and catches on your laptop backpack.
You can't move.
The guard is busy tallking to someone else.
Cough, cough, excuse me.... helloooo!!!
Guard tuts. Releases door, you remove backpack and shuffle back into the portal.
A queue has now developed. People wishing to enter and to exit the hallowed halls.
Shhhhffffffffft the door slides closed. You sigh with relief... and wait. You are now entombed in this perspex sarcophagus. It crosses the mind that this would not be a good moment for a panic attack, or to release your control on any intestinal gasses that may have built up in the excitement.
The devil in you starts to question the latter assertion.
Before you can react, shhhhhfffftt the panel in front of the portal slides open and you step out into the holy of holies.

Good meeting with the Shadow. Lots of new projects under consideration, and lots of opportunities. I won't bore you with the details.

Trials and Tribulations

The Silver Vixen is going to see Urban-cub today and support her through one of life's trials and tribulations. Let's hope that all goes well for her, and she is soon fit and well and buzzing about like her usual self.
(Sir Lancinglot will be narked. Liverpool lost their Cup tie through an own goal last night - you'll hear no sniggering from me. I'll snigger quietly, behind my hand).

The Gorse Fox makes his way to Westminster this day. Will meet up with Shadow to discuss several new projects.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Pin-brained Resource Trolls

Spent an inordinate amount of time resourcing a project where the resource was willing but his resource manager was weak. Now, there is a (scurrilous) rumour that we are a single company aiming to deliver excellence to our customers. But some pin-brained trolls are so focussed on their little empires that they forget this. They try to protect resources and keep them idle rather than use them on paid work. I was just warming to the task of blowing the guy away when he relented. I can just imagine what Dracula would have said if I'd phoned him to ask for some persuasion!

All of this distracts me from what I'm trying to achieve, i.e. response to some contractual queries. There are three queries. The first is out of my hands and therefore of no consequence (for now). The second is vague and needs thought - is value measured by what you physically deliver or the amount of work that went into the deliverable? The final one looks like a possible tripwire surrounding review processes. I can't seem to hold a coherent thought train concerning either.

Eighteenth

A clear and crisp start to the day. Angry clouds still hid the eastern horizon colouring the sea with starnge hues and shadows. The sun soon heaved itself over the cloud, however, and everything was bright.

First task was a briefing note for HMV, who will be visiting Esteemed Client on Friday. Had a long chat with Shadow. Need to meet up with him tomorrow in Westminster. Looks like another fairly big project coming our way.

Urban-cub phoned. She is still off work, and her symptoms seem to be becoming more acute. She is now presenting with sciatica running right down to the outside of her foot. Currently none of her medication is touching it, and she isn't getting much sleep.

Monday, January 17, 2005

A bonus. I was able to park on site... as opposed to finding some side street.

I should explain. The "site" in Surrey is a large campus with a significant number of staff. It is a significant distance from the railway station, and has but a limited bus service. The consequence of this is that the vast majority of people have to drive. This results in there being significantly more cars than there are car parking places. As a result, if you don't get a place you are cast-out upon the streets.

This is all part of HMG's integrated transport and revenue plan. By not providing transport links, it forces you to use the car, increase taxation revenue through fuel consumption, speed camera, and parking fines.

Awayday

Today, the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen are off travelling.

The Silver Vixen is heading for Jimi's Place in Bkhm. There is a review scheduled for Auntie P now that she has been there for a month. Grumpy and the Barrel will also be there. The SV is aiming for the return journey in the day.

The Gorse Fox is also heading inland. Away from the coast and into the Surrey Hills.
It would seem that the person in charge of Project Prevention has been replaced. This could be a positive thing, assuming the new bod actually recognises that their trolls are there to facilitate the flow of work, not delay it.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Gravitational Pull

A disturbed night. For some reason the Gorse Fox always seems to have a wakeful night after curry. No discomfort. Just wide awake. It's almost as if curry works like caffeine.

Today we return to the subject of the floating shelf. (The walk up Cissbury Ring is on hold, until this DIY adventure is complete).

The trouble with gravity is the tendency of things to fall down. The trouble with my design for this floating shelf is its mass. (The Gorse Fox does have a somewhat Victorian approach to engineering). Unfortunately my recollection of physics is that mass encourages gravity. In my experience, however, gravity needs little encouragement.

What to do? Ahhhh, the Gorse Fox realised that the influence of gravity on his design can be counteracted by using someone else's design... in fact it can be counteracted even better by using someone else's design and construction. Googling found him a special offer, and within the hour we had the aforementioned floating shelf back home ready to fit. (In fact, as they were on a 3 for 2 offer, we had 3 shelves).

A few hours further on and the shelf is mounted, the under-shelf light fitted, and we have have 2 spare shelves to fit somewhere, at some time.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Shuffle Plan

Miserable wet start to the day, with fine rain billowing across from all directions. The Gorse Fox was hoping to go for a walk up Cissbury Ring today, but seems a bit pointless as the clouds are so low and the mist such that there would be nothing to see. So will have to shuffle the plans and perhaps go tomorrow.

Plans changed again... or should I say evolved. The Silver Vixen wants additional light in the room where she stitches up a storm. We determined the light should provide task lighting, and be secreted beneath a floating shelf. Ah! This would mean a trip to the DIY stores...

We couldn't find a floating shelf. We couldn't decide on the type of light. The Gorse Fox then decided he could construct a floating shelf, and set about denuding the shelves of timber, ply and mdf. We also decided on a light. Progress.

Well, progress of a sort. The Gorse Fox still had to make the floating shelf. Several hours later we have several piles of sawdust, and the rudiments of floating shelf... and a niggling concern regarding the influence of gravity on the design. Need to sleep on this one.

Spurs failed to overcome Chelsea, which annoyed me... but then I heard that forces of darkness (Arsenal) had been beaten. This was enough to make me dance a jig. I didn't actually dance the jig... but, well you know!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Thames bank

Today sees the Gorse Fox on the banks of the Thames.

Met with Teddy Bear up in the office and followed up on yesterday's cage rattling. We seem to have "closure" on one problem... i.e. have permission to start work despite the Project Prevention department's "process". Second problem is a resourcing issue - eventually we came up with a credible plan. I call it Plan C. Haven't yet checked with Esteemed Client, but suspect it will be acceptable.

Good meeting with EC's technobod, lots of sense talked, but got no real feel that hearts and minds had been won. Blue Rog was there, and on good form. Hopefully he will be less pleased after the Spurs-Chelsea game tomorrow. (That goes for Cousteau-cub, also... hate to see her upset... but football is football !!!)

The Silver Vixen was out with one of her covens during the afternoon. Had an interesting guest speaker on patchworking & quilting for broomsticks (or something). Out again in the evening with the coven stitching up various projects.

I sit here staring at this blog
lacking inspiration
the words won't flow, my mind is blank
I've verbal constipation

Thursday, January 13, 2005

What next?

Today I have to go to Starship Command where I am meeting a chap to provide some mentoring.

Pleasant drive across to Starship Command in the bright sunshine. Serious shunt slowed traffic around Chichester but was soon at my destination. Met up with candidate. Seemed like a nice chap who had dug himself a comfortable hole, and then kept digging and can't now find a way back out or a way to challenge himself. Aftre due consideration a discussion we came up with several positive actions that should help.

Spent whole afternoon chasing up Project Prevention group to find out why they are intent on p***ing-off my Esteemed Client. Cages duly rattled. Progress expected: none.




In the evening the Gorse Fox attended the Parish Council Meeting. A further member of the public also turned up... and business commenced. The othe MoP had some issues to raise and promptly began a catalogue of issues (which became a tirade, and almost hysteria) over the state of a footpath. SE Asia is devastated by a tsunami, Scotland is pounded by hurricane strength storms, and we get worked up about a footpath. I wish some people would get a sense of proportion.
Later, the Gorse Fox was co-opted onto the aforementioned council... so now has to behave.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Whizzing to Worcs

Early start today. Need to visit Esteemed Client in Worcs. The Silver Vixen is coming along to spend the day in the noble City. Hopefully the dreadful weather of yesterday has abated, though I don't believe it was forecast for areas as far south as the Midlands.

The journey was pretty ineventful, though slow through West Sussex. Still managed to drop the Silver Vixen in W by 10 and was in the office of Esteemed Client by about 10:15.

Very successful meetings, I think. Very positive and eager to get started, though sorry to hear of Miss Ellie. Meetings extended well into pm... in the end was rescued by a plaintiff "Where are you?" call from the Silver Vixen.

Agin, a good trip back then quiet evening watching football on the TV.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Searching for Resource

Dull grey start to the day, but the forecast is for strong gales. Working from home, so at least should not be affected by any travel disruption.

Main work aim today is find a candidate to replace Miss Ellie (not that anyone could replace her). Spoke to Esteemed Client yesterday, she was sorry to hear the news, and fairly sure we should get the go ahead for the project very quickly. As the Gorse Fox is planning to go to Worcester tomorrow, it would be nice to take a candidate along.

Apparently




Your Dominant Intelligence is Spatial Intelligence



You've got a good sense of space and how the world around you looks.
You can close your eyes and "see" images. You have innate artistic talent.
An eye for color and shapes, you're also a natural designer.
Since you think in pictures, visual aids and demonstartions help you learn best.

You would make a good navigator, sculptor, visual artist, inventor, architect, interior designer, or engineer.

Shame I'm the Gorse Fox then!!! But I'm obviously very spatial... or is it just spaced out.



Latest on resource: nice lady phoned to find out more about the position. Seemed very personable on the phone. I am convinced that personalities are the key to the success of this project, indeed more so than technical ability. The team has to be able to work together, and work effectively with Esteemed Client. Don't get me wrong, the team has to be competent... but I'd sacrifice a deep techie, for a good people-person with slightly less ability.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Drunk and Dangerous (BBC)

Watched this:

Mon 10 Jan, 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm 60mins

Outnumbered

In the summer of 2004 over 5,000 people were arrested as part of a Government campaign to clamp down on binge drinking and alcohol fuelled violence in Britain. During the August bank holiday, the last of the summer, BBC cameras followed the police in Southend-on-Sea and Dover and Folkestone as they tried to deal with drinkers who were determined to cause trouble and injury.

Contains some strong language


It was an eye-opener. It showed a youth underclass wallowing in a slime of depravity that the Police have to clean up week-in and week-out. Several random thoughts arise from this:

  • Why do people deliberately go out to get drunk? (As opposed to going out to have a good time and socialise).

  • Why do people boast of how drunk they got? Isn't this an admission of stupidity?

  • Why do people resort to violence when they are under the influence of alcohol?

  • Is this a UK-only phenomenon? If so why? I have never seen behaviour in the US, Canada, Spain, France... etc.(Or have I just missed it)

  • You have to admire the patience and tenacity of the Police in the face of such continued aggression.

  • Sentences and fines are not severe enough, as there seems to be no deterrent to this behaviour?

Makes you think. Also there is an interesting post on this underclass on UK Commentators.

Supportive siblings

Early start today. Need to be on the banks of the Thames for a mid-morning meeting.

The Silver Vixen is taking Cousteau-cub across to stay with Urban-cub. The latter is still off-work becuase of her back. She's feeling bored, but can't do much at present.

Interesting meeting throughout the morning... and bumbed into the Mighty Atom while I was there. Didn't chat for long, but was nice to see him. Urgent "secret squirrel" meeting set up for late afternoon so headed home to conference in.

The Silver Vixen wasn't feeling too good when I got in and has cancelled her pilates class tonight. She couldn't put her finger on what was wrong... just "not quite right". She phoned Betty and Barney Rubble during the afternoon... Betty's op seemed to have gone well, but Barney's cold seems to have knocked him for six.

Miss Ellie made contact. She had been off sick on Friday. She's still poorly, and is unlikely to be back to work for a fair few weeks. Poor chick. She will need a less stressful role on her return so I'll need to find a replacement for her. Important thing, though, is that she gets better.

Interview/chat with Parish Council tonight. Had to drive to the meeting as I wasn't sure where the house was... turns out it was at our end of Coastal Road, and i could've walked there in a third of the time it took me to drive. Councillors seemed very nice, and the "discussion" pretty informal. There' a public meeting of the council on Thursday, that I am welcome to attend, and the successful candidate will be announced a few days later.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Slow Sunday

Considering the fury of the weather up north (where it belongs) we have a quiet, overcast, mild morning here on the south coast. Certainly the news from the NW has been bad. Heavy flooding, hurricane force gales, and several fatalies. We have been very lucky down here.

Sv had taken down the Christmas decorations during the week. We spent time sorting them, boxing up those worth keeping and discarding some of the older less used ones.

A thought: now that we have microwave ovens, automatically self-cleaning ovens, dishwashers, and don't use coal - is there any point to northerners? Wales, fair enough... the country need landfill and designated smoking areas... but the north; I think not.
(In case you take offense at this: a) it's a joke; b) you must be from up north; c) what are you doing using your master's computer?)

Saturday, January 08, 2005


A free-kick... which came to nothing. Posted by Hello

The teams run onto the pitch Posted by Hello

Cousteau-cub and the Silver Vixen discussing tactics before the match started Posted by Hello

Stamford Bridge begins to fill up before the game Posted by Hello

Stamford Saturday

I though yesterday was stormy. Last night blew it into a cocked-hat. Apparently gusts of up to 70mph have blasted the south. (It's been up to 90-mph in the North, trees are uprooted, and rivers have burst their banks). However, other than two ladders shifting in the back garden, we are fortunate to be unaffected.
When I went out to get the train tickets, there was a tree down, blocking most of the width of Kingston Lane. By the time I returned, the tree was being cleared.

Today's plan is a trip with the Silver Vixen and Cousteau-cub to Stamford Bridge. Now, as a Spurs fan, you'll realise that this is under duress, and I obviously won't actually open my eyes at all during the game!

We had a good trip up to town, and stopped for a pleasant lunch in Cafe Rouge before continuing on to Stamford Bridge. We had good seat with an excellent view of the action. The game itself was not as good as I would have expected. Scunthorpe played a 4-5-1 formation that was well disciplined and worked hard. This broke up Chelsea's plays. Only Joe Cole shined for the home team, the rest didn't sem to be on the pace, with poor passing, and a poor work rate. Scunthorpe took and early (deserved) lead, but Chelsea hauled it back to evens by half-time. In the second half they started brightly, but again ran out of inspiration. They managed a couple of further goals and could possibly have had more... but that would belie the parity of the two teams. Really, a draw would havve been a fair result.

Took the scenic route to the tube station, on leaving Chelsea, but still got to Victoria in time for our train. This was packed, but we managed to get a seat, and were home munching on a kebab by 8pm.

Photos to follow:

Friday, January 07, 2005

BBC NEWS | Health | Nose 'more complex than jet wing'

BBC NEWS | Health | Nose 'more complex than jet wing'

Sniff. Now there's a fact you don't often hear. What are the boffins at IC thinking about?

These are the sort of nose fact we really want:

(With the exception of a few well-known singing personalities) how many noses can seat 400 passengers? are powered by 4 jet engines? or can take you across the world, leaving your luggage where you started?

That's real science!

Stormy Friday

Storms and gales pounded on the house throughout the night. It is, somehow, exhilirating to lie there, cocooned in the warmth and comfort of bed listening to the storm outside.

Was quicker off the mark this morning. As today's meeting has been cancelled I worked at home again. Managed to IM Cousteau-cub first thing. She's had a good night-duty, and was looking forward to some sleep. However, she's coming across to sleep here, ready for our trip to Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
C-c turned up soon after 9:30, and was in a very chatty mood. Lot's of mother-daughter discussions wafting in from the kitchen. By late morning she was chatted out and went to bed to catch up on sleep.

Quiet morning, work-wise. Spent the time working on seeding the common work space that I have set up for all projects related to Esteemed Client's organisation. A new chap has made contact regarding mentoring; must try and find him some time. Will meet up with him next Thursday in Navy-town.
Managed to finish writing up last year's appraisal during the afternoon. I'm impressed, I'm almost catching up with myself.

Sent an email to "Chair" of Parish Council, offering myself as a candidate for said august body - will see what they think next week! (Thinks... can you have an august body in January?)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Wakeup call

Found it hard to get going this morning. Not like me at all. WAKE UP !!!

Working from home again today. Yesterday's success with the contact was followed up my notification that it was released to esteemed client. It just keeps getting better! Spent a fair bit of time working on setting up the shared workspace for the people who will work on the project. Fortunately, Miss Ellie had spent some time thinking through a structure for the space, so the GF made use of that.

The Silver Vixen announced that she noticed yesterday that Tesco already have their Creme Eggs on display. I guess it's a case of... "On the twelfth day of Christmas my grocer said to me 'buy early for Easter!'"

The SV went off to a meeting of her coven during afternoon. I'm sure vast quantities of tea were consumed and sufficient gossip to launch a hot air balloon.

Urban-cub has been signed-off from work because of her back trouble. She's obviously bored stiff (though actually she should probably be on a stiff board). She wanted a simple PS2 game to play... The Gorse Fox is the last person to ask for that. He hates computer games and wouldn't know what is easy and what is difficult. In fact he wouldn't even know how to switch on a games console. Had a look on Amazon, but most of the games she mentioned are on a 1-2 week delivery... which will be too late. Suggested that she ask Sir Lancinglot to drop into Gamezone and select something off-the-shelf.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Back to Work

Today sees the Gorse Fox's triumphant return to work. Though, the triumph will not be witnessed by anyone as he is working at home because the meeting scheduled for NE Hants has been cancelled (good job he logged on last night to check!)

Cousteau-cub had an IM-conversation first thing. She's still in contact with people in Thailand, and is obviously still worried about them. Sleep patterns are still disrupted. The family of her friend in the Thai hospital, still have not managed to get out to see him. Utterly useless. Fortunately C-c has arranged visits from various other people out there.

Started tracking down the progress of contracts. Needless to say, the project prevention trolls have just sat on the material, and not released it to esteemed client. Must say that the last changes they made increase our risk and make it much more difficult to deliver. Absolutely pointless process with no added value.
The saga continued. Eventually I spoke to a troll who understood... the last changes were revoked, sanity prevailed, and if all goes well the contract should be released today.

The Silver Vixen loaded her car up to take some rubbish to the dump, before going to the shops. Problem is the local household rubbish disposal site has been closed until Easter. Looked online, but no information as to why. What could it be? The excitement mounts!

Added Haloscan to the blog for Comment/Trackback. Not sure if it has much value, but it's worth a try.

Spent a second quiet evening watching Shogun. The DVD has repackaged the old mini-series into 4 episodes of about 130 minutes. Considering how long ago the series was made, it stands up to the test of time. Excellent in every aspect, except the aweful theme music!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Dozier than thou

Not sure whether this is a new day, or just a continuation of Monday. Had very wakeful night, and really only started to doze after 04:30. Feel a little fuzzy now.

Much of the workforce will be streaming back to their respective grindstones today. It somehow feels good, knowing that I have one extra day! Having said that, it is clear that the world should be grateful that the Gorse Fox is not a brain surgeon. The GF is having a very clumsy start, having just pured a fresh cup of tea for the Silver Vixen and then immediately knocked it over in the kitchen. Then having retrieved the floor mop managed to nudge the biscuits across the peninsular unit with the handle, whilst rinsing the "business-end"!

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen went into Arundel to visit the excellent Peglar's. This collection of stores scattered around Arundel cater for every possible need for the trekker, and independent traveller. SV bought some waterproof trousers, GF bought a new rucksack.

Good soccer results during the evening. C-c's Chelsea won, Spurs drew at Old Trafford, and the Forces of Darkness were held to a draw at Highbury.

The quaint buildings surrounding the car park in Arundel Posted by Hello

A grey lunchtime in Arundel. Posted by Hello

Monday, January 03, 2005

Logging on

Monday dawned bright and cold. No earth-shattering plans for the day, but The Gorse Fox is expecting a delivery of logs for the fire. That will take and hour or two to shift and stack.

The logs turned up mid-morning; another good selection of oak, beech, ash and various conifers. It took a while to carry through to the back of the house and stack in the log caddy, but was good exercise. The Gorse Fox also cleaned out the grate for the first time since the fire was installed. Because we burn wood, the manufacturer of the fire recommends that you allow it to burn on a bed of ash. So we have two months of ash build-up to remove without making too much mess.

Spent some time early in the afternoon looking for deals on the internet for waterproof ponchos. I suddenly had this vision that we will be sitting there at a football match, and the heavens will open and rain will fall in biblical proportions. The Gorse Fox would end up a Gorse Drowned Rat... as would the Silver Vixen and Cousteau-cub. Haven't really found quite what I wanted, but have ordered some disposable ponchos for now.

SV has been frustrated by the layout of her sewing room, and the lack of storage space. She has come up with an alternate layout, and with a bit of lateral thinking we have identified a way of providing a decent, large work surface in there which can be dismantled if the room is needed as a bedroom at any time. Still a bit of design work to be done, but essentially we have outline now.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Just Visiting

Beautiful and bright start to the day. Sun pouring through the windows, and a pale blue sky covers the firmament.

Visting with Sis and family today. Should be a nice day.

Journey up to Wkhm was frustrating. The usual Sussex drivers going as slowly as they could without actually reversing... and then the total opposite as we reached Hants/Berks where the driver aggression was so overt as to be remarkable.

Had a very pleasant day. The Blade's girlfriend was there, and seemed very nice. They were busy transferring music to his iPod. The Mask spent much of the day reading or playing computer games. We had a 42-like roast for lunch, which was delicious.

Had a quiet afternoon with a brisk walk, plenty of tea, and plenty of chat. The highlight was probably when Sis explained how she had nonchalantly tossed her apple-core from the window of the speeding car, only to dislodge her glasses and send them out the window also. (What is it about women and the action of throwing?)

We left Wkhm early evening and had swift run back to the coast, and a quiet evening with P.D.James and Billy Connolly.

A decorative storage box, hand crafted by the Silver Vixen Posted by Hello

Inside of the storage box, made by the Silver Vixen, as a gift. Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Genesis of the Year

We watched the New Year arrive through the medium of TV. A stunning firework display lit up central London as Big Ben struck the hour. 2005 arrived, and in its beginning there was light! Real light, and metaphorical light. The enormity of the disaster last week has somehow brought people together. Two minutes silence was observed at the start of the festivities, and people showed their respect for the injured, displaced, bereaved, and the dead. Across the world people have been collecting and donating, ignoring religious, political, geographical or ethnic differences... somehow the world seems a better place.

As rain was forecast the Gorse Fox decided that if he was going for a walk, it should be during the morning. Leaving the Silver Vixen to her sewing The Gorse Fox headed for Highdown Hill.

The walk was great, with the final climb to the top making the legs work hard. The photos show that it was grey but still dry, with a watery sun trying to penetrate the clouds over the coast. As I rweturned to the car the rain was just starting. By mid afternoon, there were squally showers clattering in from the sea.

Audrey and Paul phoned from Ct. It was lovely to hear from them, and particularly good to hear that they were hoping to visit later in the year.

The route of my walk, starting at the car park near The Spotted Cow; following the bridleway through the mud then returning along the footpath on the ridge. Posted by Hello

Ecclesden Manor, where my New Year's walk started (and finished). I followed the bridleway from Ecclesden up to the top of Highdown Hill, and then having surveyed from Brighton in the east to Chichester in the west... and conscious that it looked like rain, I headed back to the start point via the footpaths. Both routes were very muddy, but made for a pleasant walk. Posted by Hello

Looking down from Highdown Hill over Ferring, Kingston Gorse and West Kingston Posted by Hello

Labourer's cottages near Ecclesden manor Posted by Hello