Friday, September 30, 2005

NASA wasted millions on air travel, report says - Space News -

NASA wasted millions on air travel, report says
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Inventor of Valium dies at 97 reports: Inventor of Valium dies at 97
Gorse Fox trusts he died in tranquility.
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Dell, HP slam Intel, MS' 'erroneous' HD DVD claims

What! How dare they imply obfuscation, and untruths from the hallowed halls (bows to the west) of Intel and Microsoft. Dell, HP slam Intel, MS' 'erroneous' HD DVD claims | Channel Register
"Microsoft and Intel's announcement erroneously indicates that HD-DVD has an advantage in a number of areas," they claimed, pointing to the chip and software giants' statement that HD DVD offers a greater storage capacity than BD.

As The Register noted at the time, Intel and MS' claim that HD DVD's 30GB capacity is better than BD's 25GB is nonsense: the two companies conveniently ignored the fact they were talking about dual-layer HD DVD discs and single-layer BDs.
It's almost like HMG being accused of sexing up documents or misleading the public over WMD. Unthinkable!
BD also provides scope for hybrid discs, backward compatibility with DVD, the ability to operate in slimline drives for notebook PCs and a high degree of interactivity, all features MS and Intel claimed were only available with HD DVD, the PC vendors said.

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WHO backs away from 150 million flu deaths

Reuters AlertNet - WHO backs away from 150 million flu deaths. Gorse Fox thought these numbers to be excessive and sensationalistic. However,
GENEVA, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday 2-7.4 million deaths was a reasonable working forecast for a global influenza pandemic -- distancing itself from a top U.N. official's figure of up to 150 million.
Then came the slap on the wrist:
"There is obvious confusion, and I think that has to be straightened out. I don't think you will hear Dr. Nabarro say the same sort of thing again," WHO influenza spokesman Dick Thompson told a news briefing.
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GF would like to welcome Bournemouth-Bex to his musings. Silver Vixen's lovely neice has started University at Bournemouth... and suspect she may have a sly peek at goings on along the coast occasionally. So hi!

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Cutting out the middle man

Gorse Fox observes an article in the Telegraph | News | "Woman, 53, gives birth to grandchild". He hasn't read the article (!) but thinks this is an extreme case of cutting out the middle man... going straight to grandchildren without the hassle and expense of children** sounds like quite a concept. (Also at: Daily Mail)

**(C-c, U-c... GF didn't really mean it !)

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A Fortune?

Looks like the Gorse Fox has been approached by the modern day equivalent of the Reader's Digest Prize Draw:
Dear Sir,
I have a very proposal that involves a substantial amount of money for your consideration but as a matter of confidentiality owing to my father's death (Dr. John Garang) on 31st July 2005 more details will only be given to you upon confirmation of your interest to assist me conlude this transaction. Meanwhile i am offering you 10% of the whole sum after the conclusion of this transaction.In anticipation of your affirmative response,
Remain blessed.
Yves Garang.

Methinks he will resist this kind invitation!!!

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Tony's Third Reich

Well the annual Nuremburg Rally Party Conference is over. Tony's Third Reich has surpassed itself by making the whole event memorable. Memorable for its:
  • Thuggishness
  • Suppression of Free Speech
  • Grovelling apologies (because the suppression of free speech was witnessed by the media)
  • Annointing of the Fuhrer-in-waiting

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Sub-$100 laptop design unveiled

BBC NEWS | Technology | Sub-$100 laptop design unveiled. Interesting article:
  • No Microsoft**
  • Linux
  • About 60 quid
  • Wind-up charge when no power available
  • WiFi connection

Sign the Gorse Fox up for 4!
Nicholas Negroponte wrote a great book several years ago on digital media called Being Digital. GF commends it to you. One of the best quotes from the book that has always stuck in the memory was:
"Move digits not atoms".

Update:See this Q&A from Negroponte and these images of the laptop.

**One wonders what Microsoft will do to try and rubbish this and stifle its uptake.
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Both the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox enjoy watching (good) football. Reading the write-ups on matches that they have watched often produces confusion as the pundits evidently have watched an entirely different game. For wahtever reason GF+SV missed the Real Madrid last night. Reading the write-up here, however, it seems we missed a fairly unique game:
t was a European night and Raúl was prepared for one more achievement, if that was possible, in the history of football. In the ninth minute, he headed a banana from Beckham, the number ‘7’, a great captain, left behind Alfredo Di Stéfano on the list of highest goalscorers in Europe and with Real Madrid.
Now, GF has watched a lot of football over the years (and played a great deal of it)... but a banana?

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Abbot was up and we had a meeting with the Esteemed Client at start of day... lots of juggling has been going on, and though some of the prime projects have been delayed, plenty of new ones are bubbling to the service.

Suspect that this may mean lots of set-up work for the Gorse Fox... but hopefully he can avoid the trolls. You see GF has a new colleague who works in troll-central, and should fend off their worst excesses.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Top 10 acts of political madness

Gorse Fox was amused to see this analysis of political correctness the Top 10 acts of political madness.

  1. Skirting the issue: A headmistress ruled in June that girls at her Dorset school must wear trousers at all times.

  2. Bible ban: Hospital bosses in Leicester concerned about offending non-Christians...

  3. Punch is knocked out A council in Cornwall banned a Punch and Judy show after women's rights activists mounted a protest

  4. Happy 'special person' day. For generations schoolchildren have loved making Mother's and Father's Day cards to take home. But the country's biggest counselling service now encourages pupils to make 'special person' cards

  5. Bonkers over conkers: A band of headmasters defied the national upsurge in school conker bans - and even cancelled lessons to hold conker championships

  6. Rememberance poppies a 'fire hazard': After decades of appropriate commemorations to our war dead, a shower of paper poppies at a Remembrance Day service was banned - because they were a fire hazard

  7. Grandad banned from bingo: A grandfather was lost for words after he was banned from his local bingo hall because he shouted too loudly when his numbers come up.

  8. Red ink crossed off: Teachers at one West Midlands primary banned the practise of marking in red ink because it was too upsetting for the children

  9. Peril of the petunias: For the last seven years Ian Collins adorned the front of the Ring of Bells pub with a stunning display of hanging baskets and window boxes. But the 47-year-old was forced to cancel his pub's prize-winning flower display after his local council ruled his blooms were a danger to public safety.

  10. It's snow joke: Three teenagers were suspended from school - for throwing snowballs at one another.

And of course today we hear of a hospital where they have been overdosing on stupid-pills:
A hospital has banned visitors from cooing at newborns. The reason? It could infringe on the babies' human rights

Utter, utter, utter, utter, utter stupid.

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Well hello. GF is here. What's going on? Has he missed anything?

After the first storm of the autumn GF struggled out of bed wondering if there were any more things in the house that could bang, creak, or squeak in high winds. GF should explain. You see he sleeps better away from home than he does at home. Why? Well every squeak and creak in a hotel is someone else's problem. Every sound at home is a potential threat to the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen so GF is immediately alert and awake listening until he can expalin the sound that disturbed him. It may not be loud, it could be the silent fart of a passing fly... but GF is awake and like a coiled spring.

GF crossed the country again to visit Worcester and the Esteemed Client. Turned out to be a busy, though frustrating day. You don't want to hear about that, so GF will shut up for now and have a wander round the blogosphere.

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Trolls in Perspective

GF received the following. He knows not the original author - but acknowledges his erudition and perspicacity:
Wonderful definitions of designations at the office.

  1. Project Manager is a Person who thinks Nine women can deliver a baby in One month.

  2. Developer is a Person who thinks it will take 18 months to deliver a baby.

  3. Onsite Coordinator is one who thinks single woman can deliver nine babies in one month.

  4. Client is the one who doesn't know why he wants a baby.

  5. Marketing Manager is a person who thinks he can deliver a baby even if no man and woman are available.

  6. Resource Optimization Team thinks they don't need a man or woman; they'll produce a child with zero resources.

  7. Documentation Team thinks they don't care whether the child is delivered, they'll just document 9 months.

  8. Quality Auditor is the person who is never happy with the PROCESS to produce a baby.

  9. Project Exec is the person who thinks that shouting is the process to produce a baby.**

**Added by the Gorse Fox based on experience with Neddy and the Squaddie.
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Gorse Fox may moan about the trolls occasionally (ok - often), but they are a mere tick on the side of humanity. They do not represent life in Starfleet. GF has been with Starfleet for 21 years now, and is immensely proud to be part of the organisation. This morning we received a missive from the Admiral Commander:
Already, 2005 has been a year of challenges and opportunities we could not have imagined nine months ago. It has also witnessed tragedy of historic dimensions. In each case, Starfleet employees have made decisions and executed based on our values.

Just as our colleagues were there providing aid after the tsunami in Southeast Asia and the bombings in Madrid and London, so they were this month across the Gulf Coast region of the U.S., which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina -- and which is now being threatened once more by Hurricane Rita. So far, Starfleet has donated more than $3 million in services and technology. And, as they always do in such events, the Starfleet Crisis Response Team has been on the ground in Louisiana to deliver technical and operational assistance where it's most needed, to work with officials and agencies directing the relief effort, and to advise us on what additional effort may be needed.

In addition, scores of individual Starfleet employees have extended themselves in extraordinary ways. Some of their stories are remarkable, and I encourage you to read about them on our Intranet, where we have been providing regular updates on our response to the continuing crises in the Gulf Coast. Even as Hurricane Rita approaches landfall, Starfleet employees already are asking how to help. Be assured that we will continue to provide the latest information we have on our Intranet -- and let you know how to respond as needs arise.

I am struck by how fully the difficult situations of late have shown the practicality and relevance of our values. Each one - dedication to every client's success, innovation that matters to our company and to the world, and trust and personal responsibility in all relationships played a role in our response. They've helped guide our decisions, and they've reminded us that our communities often have just as great a need for the leadership and talent of Starfleet employees as our clients.

While Starfleet employees always rise to the occasion in moments of crisis, the purpose of our values is to make that kind of innovation, teamwork and responsiveness instinctive -- an everyday reality in Starfleet.


As we enter the final days of the quarter, I want to thank you again for the hard work all of you are doing for our clients, our company and our communities. The challenges we are overcoming internally and externally are critical -- and best of all, we're doing it with Starfleet Values as our integrating principle.

Old-fashioned, perhaps, but it makes GF proud.

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Gorse Fox (always easily amused) was perusing the onlne papers:
British place names aren’t romantic like those in America. You couldn’t imagine Tony Bennett singing “I left my heart in Nether Wallop”, but can there be anywhere in the world whose names are so endearing?
The article Show me the way to Scratchy Bottom from The Times Online raised a schoolboy chuckle.
The article points out that men are notorious for their reluctance to ask directions:
Here’s a challenge to any woman who has recently moaned about male reluctance to ask for directions. Get into your car, drive into the countryside until you’re well and truly lost, then ask the first stranger you see to tell you the way to Three Cocks. Or Titty Ho. Or Twatt.
The rich tapestry dictionary that is English placenames rarely fails to amuse.
There are so many that you could fill a book with them, which is precisely what has happened. Rude Britain is a compilation of the country’s 100 rudest place names.

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The 04:10 start to Sunday seemed a little harsh in the cold dark of an early autumn morning. Gorse Fox left the Silver Vixen in the comfort bed, and drove up to Heathrow. Cousteau-cub was due in at 05:20, and what with immigration and baggage claim, GF was in no huge rush.

By 05:40 he was leaning on the barrier watching the hoi polloi arrive from their exotic destinations, looking confused, and searching for their meeters and greeters. Baggage in Hall announced the monitors. "Shouldn't have long to wait", thought the GF. At that, C-c tapped him on the shoulder. Her plane had landed early and she was already out and waiting for him.

We headed home.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

No walk today. Gorse Fox has been doing domestic things like shopping. He was contacted by a person who had been working on some genealogical research for a branch of the Silver Vixen's tree. This somewhat diverted him, and he ended up spending a lot of time climbing the family tree. Not such good exercise as a walk, but just as much fun )for a geek).

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“Personal Rockin’ Computer” reveals the sort of computer that would attract the Gorse Fox. This is the article that caught his eye: “Personal Rockin’ Computer” by Roland Masson - Engadget - As it says:
...we are always interested in furniture that lets us get our ‘Net on in the most supine position possible.
Rock on!
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Cousteau Travels

Cousteau-cub should be on her way back from Koh Phi Phi. From what we gather it is a fairly long trek... 2+ hours on a boat to Phuket, the trek up to the airport, a flight to Bangkok, then the 12 hour flight from Bangkok to England. It'll be nice to have her home (tomorrow).

Update:10:30, have just spoken to C-c as she was getting off the boat at Phuket. In a moment of madness GF has agreed to meet her at the airport at 05:20 tomorrow

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Gorse Fox is intrigued. As he writes his blog and reads the excellent writing of many other bloggers, he notices a weekly cycle. Bloggers are quite busy throughout the working week, yet fade away at the weekend. Now, GF can understand that the reading of blogs may be heavier during the week when people have the odd moment to fill at work, but it seems to be true for people writing blogs also. So he wonders:
  • Do people predominantly write their blogs at work?
  • Is there less news to comment on at weekend?
  • Do people not read the papers at weekends?
  • Is it that they are too busy at weekends?
  • Should he get a life and stop wondering about such irrelevancies?
GF suspects the last point is the most relevant. Have a nice weekend!

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Economics, Growth & Theft

GF knows little of economics. A blog is always a great way of publicising ones ignorance. He notes this story in the Times Online: Brown to blame oil prices for growth downgrade.
GORDON BROWN has set the stage for an embarrassing retreat over his economic predictions for Britain, signalling that he will cut his growth forecasts sharply while seeking to blame high oil prices.
Methinks this is rather convenient... and believes it has had only a contributory affect, rather than being the cause.

Now whilst allocating blame, GF "Blames Brown for stealing funds from pensions and being a major contributor to the pension crisis". Somehow the Labour spin machine keeps squashing the debate on this and when the crisi is discussed Gordon Brown's theft never gets mentioned.
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South Downs demand at conference

GF notes the following story from the BBC: South Downs demand at conference.
Campaigners are going to the Labour Party conference in Brighton to highlight a 58-year wait for the South Downs to be given National Park status.
About time, says the Gorse Fox. As my regular reader you will know of the beauty and majesty of this unique landscape. And of the affection that GF has for this area.
The Downs, in Sussex and Hampshire, were recommended for protection alongside 11 other areas in 1947.
Amazing how they can rush through a ban on fox hunting, but cannot make a decision in 58 years over the status of this countryside... but I suppose there are no votes in it from the Islington set, nor them 'oop north!

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Friday, September 23, 2005


Gorse Fox just walked in from the study to see the BBC advertise a book celebrating the last 20 years of Eastenders. Gorse says "If only it was the last 20 years."

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So much for Aid

GF sees that FDA to incinerate foreign aid meant for victims of Hurricane Katrina. This article explains
The American Food and Drug Administration has recalled operational rations (MREs) donated by Britain to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
Oh! Why is that then?
An FDA spokesman said the rations had not been inspected but were automatically deemed "unfit for human consumption" due to Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or colloquially "mad cow disease") fears.

Interesting when the article acknowledges
BSE is much more of a problem in the U.S. than in Britain.

The move has infuriated aid workers who hasten to point out that "Under NATO, American soldiers are also entitled to eat such rations, yet the starving of the American South will see them go up in smoke because of FDA red tape madness."
Nice to know we helped, eh?

Update:See also

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Having a little wiki

Gorse Fox is hooked. In his research into wiki. He has seen and already started to exploit the benefits of collaboration using the tools. However, the use of such a content management system is useful also as a personal note-keeping tool. He first tried TiddlyWiki and then GTD TiddlyWiki. This runs on your machine (without any server side dependencies), and supports the creation of content, tagging of the data, searching, and so forth. Nice interface, nice facilities. This is going to be a well-used tool!

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Rooney gets dolled up

Well it had to happen. Some cretin is making dolls of the foul-mouthed, arch-thug: Rooney gets dolled up. For a mere 20 of your hard earned English pounds you too can own a doll with a kicking function1,2.

1Gorse Fox thought that that was why people had cats!

2Come to think of it even those bought by others are probably using your hard earned cash.

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Feeling Peckish?

The Daily Mail pus a new slant on diet today. GF notices a report on a man who has managed to lose 15st.
The former garage owner has trimmed down from 65st...

Pardon? Yes, 65 stones. That's more than a quarter of a ton. He
...was devouring 29,000 calories a day - more than 11 times the recommended intake

So how do you take in so many calories? Let the Gorse Fox explain:
  • 1lb bacon
  • sausages
  • tomatoes
  • 12 eggs
  • black pudding
  • fried bread
  • chocolate
  • 20 packs of crisps
  • nearly 3 gallons of coke
Other Meals:
  • Fish and chips
  • 9 curries
  • 40 pints of lager
The story goes on to explain that he was having trouble getting through the turnstiles at the supermarket (you'd have though they'd have put in a special one for him, the amount he was buying), and had to book three seats on planes (let's hope they were all together!)

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

More Wiki

Gorse Fox has taken this wiki nonsense a stage further. He has now linked it to one of his websites to allow collaborative input. Heaven's know how well it will work, and whether his users will make use of the feature; but it's worth trying.

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Whither Wiki?

Lots more experimenting during the day with wiki on WikiSpaces. GF is quite impressed with the basic idea and technology but, at this moment, he finds the formatting options to be limiting. Now, to be realistic, this is probably the neophyte ignorance of the Gorse Fox rather than a problem with technology... so he will continue his experiments.
{Updated to correct typos!}

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Happy Birthday C-c. We know you're miles away, and probably won't get a chance to read this, but GF + SV are thinking of you.

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Gorse Fox has been playing around with Wiki. MMmmm. Interesting technology. Could prove very useful both for real work, and for his genealogical stuff.

Got to head off to Starfleet Commnad for a few hours today. Will make a change.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Trolls are on the march. They have put artificial limits on spending, and built hurdles for people to leap over. What's the effect:
  • Projects are delayed
  • Revenue is lost
  • Overheads accumulate
  • Resources are re-allocated
  • Projects are re-cut into smaller chunks
  • Each smaller chunk costs more.
Summary - trolls are stupid. Their intervention is delaying urgent projects, and it is costing them more. GF is a tax payer... and this is pissing him off!

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A pleasant evening at a favoured Chinese restaurant in Worcester with a new colleague. He had the disadvantage of staying at a rather noisy hotel. GF made his way back to his and opted for an early night.
Today we have several meetings including one where we will present and demonstrate the modelling tools. Must say, the GF is quite optimistic about that.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

GF has struck lucky. The hotel was booked by the client and thought a place he has stayed before, GF has ended up with a suite. Very comfortable. Very nice.

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Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Leaving for Worcester, the Gorse Fox's spirit was lifted by the gorgeous sunrise. It's a shame that the days are drawing in, but the advantage is that dawn and sunset are more accessible hours!
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Il Papa

After a strange night, where the Gorse Fox believed he was on the shortlist to become Pope, and paced up and down in his dream awaiting the outcome of the voting, he can with some relief report that he is not the Pope, and is heading up to Worcester for a a day or two.

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Monday, September 19, 2005

BBC reply

Well, that was a fairly speedy reply to the GF's complaint.
Thanks for your e-mail.

I have noted your concerns and had another look at our story and the source of the material.

The Independent newspaper sourced the reference to "rogue elements" to unnamed Iraqi government officials.

Our story should have clarified this, and we have amended the story to do so.

However, in my opinion the overall context of the story required us to note this aspect. Had we not mentioned these statements by Iraqi officials we would have been accused of suppressing an important aspect of the story.


Not sure the GF is satisfied. He should have picked an example that wasn't re-hashed reporting from another source. Anyway, evidently they have done some editing to tone it down and attribute the quote to its unamed source.

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Drivers alerted as diesel stolen

The BBC reports Drivers alerted as diesel stolen. Within the report we find the comment:
"For an unknown reason we have seen an increase in the number of these kinds of incidents over the last month," said Det Insp Monk.

Unknown reason! Hellooo! What's been happening to the price of fuel? Could these conceivably be linked? Apparently not in the mind of Det Insp Monk. GF suggests he must live a cloistered life.
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Blame it on the USA

Gorse Fox just complained. He is a timid soul ;¬) , and complaining doesn't come easy to him. However, the BBC have wound him up again...
In your article: "Corrupt Iraqi staff steal $1bn'' you reveal the story, but then as it closes you quote the Independent 'The newspaper alleges that the theft was so skilful it suggests corrupt Iraqi officials were aided by 'rogue elements' within the US military or intelligence services.'

Is there any activity anywhere in the world that does not somehow attract an anti-American comment from the BBC (even if quoting someone else). Does the BBC never feel embarrassed by such blatant prejudice?

I should like to point out that I am not American, but I am getting really fed up with the continual sniping at them.

GF has asked for a reply... and looks forward with interest to the repsonse.

If the USA paid off the debts of every country in the world, the BBC would find a way of saying they should have done earlier, and the debt was their fault anyway.

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Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19

Avast there! GF would like you to be aware that this is: Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19.
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Thai Rack

GF+SV heard from Cousteau-cub. She's enjoying her break in Koh Phi Phi (Thailand) and getting in plenty of diving, and helping with reconstruction where she can. I suspect she may even be consuming the odd sherbert-lemon. C-c commented that the locals no longer mentioned the Tsunami, it was only discussed by tourists. The island is beginning to green-up again.

They've had several days of storms so communications has been difficult, and as there were 2m swells she didn't dive on those days. She explained:

"I'm a Tourist this time. I don't HAVE to go out in those swells any more, and more to the point I don't have to clean up after those that do go."
Good to know she's well and enjoying it... and so far is in one piece!!!

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In a continuing effort of self-analysis, Gorse Fox decided to take a detailed, meaningful psychological test. The results are shown below in the spirit of openness:
I am nerdier than 27% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

The reality of this score is:
What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:

Not nerdy, but definitely not hip.

What worries the Gorse Fox, is that as he "matures" he expected the hips to last a bit longer!!!
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Sunday, September 18, 2005


Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen have just been out to select and order a new bed. The process involved a lot of wandering about and a lot of lying down1. Eventually a selection was made. A nice Superking-sized oak-framed unit. Now GF is wondering if he should fit the Silver Vixen with some form of tracking device or transponder so that she can be located in the dark in such wide open spaces.
1 More shopping trips should incorporate periods of lying down.

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Health and Personal Care

Old Father Time has passed on an e-mail he received. GF does not know the orignal author, but acknowledes his erudition and wisdom. As GF matures, he becomes more conscious of the current health advice, so was interested in this Q&A from Dr Tony:

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Your heart is good for only so many beats and that's it - don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine; that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have body fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain, Good! :O)

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!!. Foods are fried in vegetable oil these days. In fact, they absorb it. So, how could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO - Cocoa beans ... vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets. And remember:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - strawberries in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming - WOO HOO! What a Ride!"

This blog entry is published in the spirit of a public service announcement.
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NewsWatch | Notes | BBC takes a battering over Bush

NewsWatch | Notes | BBC takes a battering over Bush: "BBC takes a battering over Bush". And about time too!

GF was amazed to see this admission by the BBC that they have beed criticised for the vitriolic outpouring on Katrina. From where GF sits, they have got off lighly. GF thinks thay havebeen a national disgrace. But I guess with their arrogance they will have just:

staunchly defended the BBC's handling of an "astonishingly difficult" story in "extremely difficult" conditions.

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Damning praise

The Gorse Fox had a wander through his blog stats, and saw a link from a site with which he was not familiar. Checking the link, he was surprised to find:
I found this blog, its of an old man that travels and takes pictures.
they[']re some really good pictures in there
GF thinks to himself..."Glad they like the pictures. Not so sure about 'its of an old man'!" GF would rather thing that he is maturing disgracefully.

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Saturday, September 17, 2005


Gorse Fox has lost his Picasa database - again. All his photos are intact, but the Picase database has failed on him for the second time. He's not amused.

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That was another walk over. Stimulating conversation, stimulating company, 8.5 miles covered and 985 feet climbed. At the end, we decided a foaming glass of a cold liquid was called for before we returned to the car and headed home.

Gorse Fox would like to thank his walking companion for another stimulating day.

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 Posted by Picasa

St Botolph's

St Botolph's
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Finally, back at ground level, we crossed the main road, went over the footbridge, and diverted to the little settlement of St Botolph's.

The paths were lined with brambles, and the the blacberries were ripe. As we walked we helped ourselves to the berries. The richness of nature feeding us as we approached the end of the walk.

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South Downs

South Downs
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
After the stiff climb, the route back along the top of the Downs over Truleigh Hill was actually fairly easy. The view southwards was blessed by the sun glistening off the sea stretching from east to west, from Hove to Bognor and beyond. The scale of such a view was beyond GF's little camera.

Looking towards the north west, the clouds cast interesting shadows across the dips and rises in the Downs towards Chanctonbury

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Edburton Hill Summit

Edburton Hill Summit
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Reaching the summit the twosome collapsed. Slowly their heart rates dropped below 300, they hit the water bottles, and a took on some sugar.

James slowly rose to his feet (the exuberance of youth) and tried to take in the whole view. Again he declared his love of Sussex. Gorse Fox sat there, and couldn't help but agree.
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Edburton Hill path

Edburton Hill path
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Metaphorically girding their loins the heroes continued this last stretch of the climb along the ridge. Looks easy, doesn't it?
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Looking along the Downs

Looking along the Downs
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Looking across the north face of the Downs as we face towards the east. The rolls of the Downs are almost sensual. You can't help but want to snuggle up to them and offer them a massage to the sound of Samba Pa Ti.
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Looking Down on Edburton

Looking Down on Edburton
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Arriving at Edburton the intrepid twosome had to face up to reality. The route was upwards. The slope looked "challenging". In fact it was so challenging that it started with set of steps that were more like a ladder. James and the Gorse Fox strode on upwards. GF was worried that the pounding of his heart was disturbing the peace of the Downs, so the pair stopped for a breather.

They climbed on up. Again they had to stop and catch their breath. It was from this second rest stop that GF took this photo, peering down over the edge to Edburton.

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Truleigh Manor Farm

Truleigh Manor Farm
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
As we walked, we passed Truleigh Manor Farm. This stately farmhouse looked as if it had a long history stretching back to medieval times. This view showed the small tower, which houses a dovecote. Sussex flint walls surround the property and the whole area looked like a film set for some historical drama.
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Sussex Idyll

Sussex Idyll
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
We stopped at this idyllic spot so that James could take a photo of the sheep for his daughter. Sheep and horses grazed the slopes as they must have done for hundreds of years.1 About halfway up the picture on the left are two sheep (or rams, maybe) that were eyeing each other than charging and butting heads. For some reason, the Gorse Fox couldn't help but think of Rooney and Feguson!

1Not these particular sheep and horses. They weren't that old.

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North Slopes

Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
We walked along at the base of the north slopes of the Down as they climbed away towards the east. The reality of this was beginning to dawn on us. At some point we were going to have to climb the slope, and as we progressed eastwards towards Edburton the slopes became steeper.

As we walked, we talked. And talked. And talked. Subjects ranged across family, friends, conservatism, moonbats, pathetic new-age luvvies, education, trolls, Sussex and who knows what else. It gave a spark and a buzz to the walk which made the time whizz by.
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From Windmill Hill

From Windmill Hill
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
We had started on the first climb, Windmill Hill near Beeding. The views started to open up, and from this point we could scan across the Sussex Weald. This view shows the North slope of Chnactonbury away to our west, but as we spun eastwards we could see, in the distance, planes taking off from Gatwick and the roofline of Christs Hospital.
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Beam Ends

Beam Ends
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
This "chocolate box" cottage nestles in the High Street of Upper Beeding. The walk was hardly under way, but the cameras were already clicking away.
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The Bridge at Upper Beeding

The Bridge at Upper Beeding
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Soon after leaving the car we crossed the River Adur. The tide was obviously in as the river was high.

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So, the Gorse Fox went along to Worthing to ask if James could come out to play. Today's route would start at the car park in Bramber towards the left hand corner of the map, then follow a clockwise route through Upper Beed, over Windmill Hill, along to Edburton and up the north slope of the Downs to the top, then along over Truliegh Hill, Beeding Hill and back down over the River Adur and back along to Bramber and the start point. Posted by Picasa

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Ethics of Iraq

Back to the Times Online. Interesting article on Iraq's future.
Al-Zarqawi’s vow should render the ethical and political debate about Iraq more straightforward. Those who insisted that the Iraqi “insurgency” was home-grown can hardly maintain that stance when it is being championed by a Jordanian national in the name of a group established by a Saudi-born fanatic. Those who contend that these extremists are best seen as nationalists aggrieved by the Western presence in Iraq cannot truly sustain that claim when they explicitly call for civil war. Those who cling to the notion that the zealots have somehow been alienated from the political process and have to be appeased cannot, surely, fail to observe their glorification of violence.

It goes on to say:
The Shia community has been extraordinarily resilient in the face of intense provocation.
A point that Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen were discussing only last night, and how Shia's seemed to embody the real essence of a Religion of Peace. So what should we do in the current situation:
The reality is that there is an easy answer — staying the course until democracy has been embedded in Iraq — but it involves difficult consequences.
Gorse Fox is not condoning, nor condemning the Iraq War. It is an historical fact and what the GF thinks will not change anything. However, what is clear is that there is a "right thing to do" now. That is not to run away with our democratic tail between our legs, but to help support this infant democracy in its successful implementation and eradicate terrorism from the region.

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A chap approached the Silver Vixen whilst helping her coven prepare for today's shindig.
"Are you married?" he asked.

"Yes", she replied.

"Children?", he queried.

"Yes, one is 29 next week, the other 27.", answered the Silver Vixen.

"What a waste", he said, turned, then wandered away muttering.

GF isn't sure what it is: beauty, brains, personality, talent or humour; or indeed all of these. Whatever it is, she still has it!

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According to "breaking news" in the Times Online, Gazza thinks we should give Rooney a break:
Gascoigne has faith in Sir Alex Ferguson to get the best out of the player, he believes Eriksson could do more. He told the Daily Mail: "People forget how old Wayne is. It is not fair relying on a 19-year-old kid to win games for England. That should not happen. He should be welcomed, cuddled and caressed - and looked after a bit more."
Maybe we should adopt this same approach to all of the young, violent, foul-mouthed thugs that invade our streets snarling, snapping, spitting and cursing at anyone who dares to co-exist with them.

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Cracking start to the day. Chilly, but clear blue skies. Silver Vixen has show and tell at he covens today. Both are getting together for an exhibition and she's agreed to help both, so she was up bright and early, leaving the Gorse Fox to his own devices. GF is meeting up with the fine, upstanding, young James from Whatsthatsmell for a trek through the Downs... but more on that later.

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Yesterday we learnt from the BBC Bush 'caught short' at UN summit today we hear Bush vows 'biggest relief effort'. Gorse Fox wonders if (judging from the headlines) we should be worrying about his health?
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Silver Vixen has a cold and was just dropping into a deep sleep. Gorse Fox was there waiting for her. The silence of the lair was complete.
Brrrring! Brrring!
The phone rang. The Gorse Fox's claws were holding him against the ceiling. The sounder of thunder turned out to be his heart.

With Cousteau-cub away in Thailand, could she be trying to contact us? Detaching himself from the ceiling he padded to the east wing to check the house phone. The number was unrecognised. Whoever called, obviously realised they had misdialled and hung up immediately. GF was wide awake now. That was it. Fifteen minutes past midnight. Awake. Adrenalin still coursing through the veins.

Fifteen minutes past one - still awake.

Fifteen minutes past two - still awake.

You get my drift... and drift I eventually did.

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Thursday, September 15, 2005


Gorse Fox has been contemplating hypocrcrisy. It seems that the London bombers targeted our civilians because we were killing their brothers across the world. In the last 24 hours, in Baghdad 198 of their brothers have been killed and nearly 700 injured.
Who perpetrated these atrocities?
Their Brothers.
In fact their brothers have declared war on their other brothers and said this is just the start.

Gorse Fox is puzzled by the hyprocrisy of these follows of the Religion of Peace... which part of the word peace don't they understand? How can they have over-dosed with so many stupid-pills?

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Fuel - illustration

Gorse Fox refers you, dear reader, to these excellent graphics depicting the current state of affairs regarding fuel, fuel duty, tax and so forth.

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Google blogsearch

For those who drift in the blogosphere, Google have just launched a blog search site. According to the BBC
Currently the index only holds blog postings from June 2005 but Google said it was working on ways to add older posts.

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VW Saga

GF was meant to return the courtesy car with a full tank. However, due to the fact that many locals have overdosed on stupid pills, there was a huge queue at the pumps of people who probably drive 5 miles a week, and were trying to squeeze an egg-cup full of petrol into the top of their already brimming tanks.
"Sod it!" muttered the Gorse Fox.
The car was returned to the car doctor and GF's own car handed over. GF explained the courtesy was not full, and why.
"Typically they'll charge you by the mile" explained the lady dealing with the transfer.

I'd like to see them try. muttered the GF.

He drove home in his own car, with its new engine. Feels like it needs a good blast along a straight road, but this is West Sussex so the Gorse Fox sat behind a hat, driving a car at 25 mph, all the way home.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

VW Saga

Apparently, the Silver Vixen received a call from the car doctor. GF's car is ready! She had to steady herself, and sit down for a moment, but apparentlt it's true. GF will collect it tomorrow.

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Interesting day in Worcester. new team starting on new sub-project. Seemed to get off to a good start. Esteemed Client is off at a meeting for a few days, so little point in hanging around spending tax-payers' money on hotel bills, so headed back to Sussex.

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The golden sun planted a sensuous kiss on the pink fluffy clouds of morning as the Gorse Fox left his lair for the wilds of Worcester. Uncomfortable trip up in the courtesy car, but no real hold-ups.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

VW Saga

In the on-going saga that is the Gorse Fox's VW... the car doctor informs Gf that it is still not ready. They have been flushing it through, but each time (though clearing) the coolant is still contaminated.

Coincidentally, GF has just received from NOP a survey to complete on behalf of VW. Snigger, snigger.

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Bob the Builder - Update

Well GF is most impressed. Bob he Builder turned out to be Bob and a team of 4 builders. The ceiling has been boarded, insulated, taped and skimmed. They've also touched up the places where the spacemen's tape ripped paint from the walls. They should be back Friday to paint and finish off!

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Bob the Builder

Bob the Builder turned up first thing to re-install a ceiling in the bedroom. GF said "I suppose you'll board it today and plaster tomorrow?".
"Naaah." says Bob "Should get the whole lot done today"

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Lazy start to the day. First we had to create a backup of the 432 photos taken in Barcelona, then start whittling them down a bit. Then of course we had to remove the garden from all of the receptacles in which it had been installed prior to our absence.

GF had been careful to keep notes whilst away so he could indulge in some retro-blogging. This proved to be the most time-consuming aspect of the day.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Lobotomised Lemmings

Lobotomised Lemmings
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Cheap flights are all very fine, but they do actually extend the travelling populace to people that should not really be let out of their homes or secured accommodation.

As we waited for the flight asked everyone to sit down ans wait to be called by group. Within 30 seconds the passengers stood up and charged the gate. A pointless exercise, as they would only let them through by group.

Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox were packed before breakfast. Plans were made which consisted of no plans. We would just stroll in the sunshine stopping here and there, then head back to the hotel to collect the bags and head for the airport.

Rambling on Las RamblasLike a magnet, Las Ramblas called us back. The whole place was alive with tourists and locals taking in the atmosphere, the street artists, and general vitality of the area.
Orgasmic TapasReturning to the market we forced our way through the throng marvelling at the colours, the displays and the smells. We had tried tapas several times in the previous 72 hours - but obviously missed this Orgasmic Tapas! Mid-morning did not seem an appropriate moment to give it a try it. After all we don't want a "When Foxy met Silver" moment in the middle of the market
Fine MosaicLeaving the market, the buildings continued to amaze. This little corner shop was intricately decorated in subtly mosaics.
Betty & BarneyIt had been a few minutes since we last stoppoed for a break, so the intrepid foursome paused at a street cafe and sat to watch the world go by. GF thought it was time to reveal our travelling companions, Betty and Barney Rubble, so asked them to pose for this photo.
Barri GoticPlunging back into the side streets we zigged and zagged through the old quarter.
Placa ReialEvery now and again the passages and alleys would open up into pleasant squares. Some were alive with cafes and people milling about, others (such as Paca Reial) were quiet and tranquil.
Roman WallAgain we passed various sections of the old Roman wall before stopping for lunch.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel, stopping here and there to pick up souvenirs.

In no time the short break was over. (Which is why they call it a short break). It had been an absolute pleasure. Barcelona is a charming city, with wide open boulevards, and narrow intricate passageways. With plain tenements and extraordinary Gothic and Moorish architecture. It buzzes with life, but never intrudes. It may not have the natural beauty of Cape Town, or the majesty of volcanic Edinburgh, but it has an overall package that is compelling.

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Friday, September 09, 2005

4 Gats

4 Gats
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The evening saw the foursome head back to Barri Gotic to the famous 4 Gats. This restaurant had been frequented as a haunt of the modernistas (such as Picasso). The walls were lined with sketches and caricatures, and the whole place hummed with atmosphere.

Dinner was a leisurely affair involving the finest fresh tuna GF has ever eaten, and the rapturous sounds of SV and Barney Rubble demolishing the Creme Catalan.

The Adventure Continues

The clouds of yesterday had blown away. The sun was shining, the sky an almost impossible blue. The travellers sat around the breakfast table and made plans. Casa Mila was first target.

Passeig de Gracia, 1From the hotel we headed along Passeig de Garcia towards La Pedrera. As we strolled along the boulevard, we got a different perspective in some of the buildings we first saw when we arrived.
Casa BatlloIn sunlight the gothic frontage of Casa Batllo looked so different from Wednesday

La Pedrera

Casa MilaCrossing the Passeig de Garcia we approached Casa Mila against the background of the impossibly blue sky.
Casa Mila, insideThe entrance opened up into a light well with this covered stairway.

We climbed the stairs (again ignoring the elevators) to the apartment that was open for the public. From there (and Gorse Fox has spared you about 30 boring photos at this point).

Roof PassageFrom the apartment we headed to the vast attic space. This housed an impressive collection of Gaudi's work, his models, and his life. In the corner of the attic was a window looking out on a mirror that showed a path around the attic space.
Sagrat Cor from Casa MilaAgain skipping many tens of photos, we arrived at the famous roof terrace. Every direction you looked were incredible views and different levels and angles.

This view from the roof framed the impressive church of Sagrat Cor on the mount to the north west of the city.

Sagrada Familia from Casa MilaAnother framed view. This time its the view of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia from his bizarre rooftop
ChimneysThe roof sported ranges of chimneys, vents, and stairwells. This range of chimneys against the blue of the sky rather caught the eye.
Casa Mila's roofMore of the roofline.
Casa Mila RooflineSitting like a sphynx against the skyline, inscrutable and silent.
Casa Mila Roofline MaskAnother air shaft looks like a bizarre mask.

Las Ramblas, and the Port area

Angels in Las RamblasLeaving Casa Mila the intrepid adventurers headed back towards Las Ramblas. Along Las Ramblas were a number of mime artists who entertained at the drop of a coin. These "angels" caught the Gorse Fox.
Estacio FrancaFrom Las Ramblas we headed down to the Port and along the waterfront. We stopped in the impressive Estacio Franca to look at the classic railway architecture.
Parc de la Ciutadella The Parc de la Ciutadella was next on the agenda. It had some nice spots, but wasn't as colourful as we have become used to in English parks.

Gorse Fox was interested by this boating lake with trees growing out of the lake itself.

Parc de la Ciutadella, 2Some more interesting trees.
Arc de TriomfJust inland from the Parc was this triumphal arch.
Near the CathedralThe Foursome split up. Betty and Barney Rubble went to the Picasso Museum, and GF and the Silver Vixen carried on into the Barri Gotic, and returned to see the Cathedral in bright sunshine.
CloistersIn the Cathedral we saw the geese that protect the cloister. The place was so different in the sunshine.
Cloisters, 2The fountain in the central pool.

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Roman Wall in Barcelona

Roman Wall in Barcelona
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
In the evening the fanatastic foursome headed back to the Barri Gotic via the Metro. Plan A didn't work out, so we moved on passing the Roman Walls and searching for a suitable restaurant. "Taller de Tapas" seemed to meet the criteria and we had a superb meal with some nice wine. Then heading back to the hotel, there was a nightcap the size of a bucket, and a fine long day drew to a close.

Parc Guell

After an excellent (and inexpensive) lunch we headed back to the metro and north from Sagrada. We were heading for our second dose of Gaudi for the day. Leaving the metro we started to follow the signs for the park and realised we had a significant hill to climb. This was so steep that there were steps and escalators (the latter not working at the time). By the top they old calf muscles were getting pretty tight.
Barcelona from Parc GuellThe climb was worth it. From the Chapel of Three Crosses there was a spectacular view across the city, and out to the Mediterranean.
Clouds of BarcelonaLooking south, threatening clouds were building over the city. It was dry again at the time, and the foursome had their waterproofs just in case.
Parc Guell, 1Moving on into the Parc the sinuous curves, and engineering understanding of Gaudi again became apparent. This area was a platform for major gatherings, built on a hall of columns that gather and store precious water in underground cisterns.
Parc Guell, 2A further view of the area showing the columns.
Parc Guell, SinewsMoving through the Parc there were some incredible sights. This old bole and the tree roots caught the eye.
Parc Guell, 3Looking back from the top of over the whole Parc.
Parc Guell, 4The Silver Vixen caught the Gorse Fox as they went back down towards the entry
Parc Guell, EntranceBack at the entrance the tourists queued for photos. The first few drops of rain started to fall. We put on our waterproofs and the heavens opened.

The rains fell in bucket fulls. We tried to wait it out for a while, but it was no use it had set in for the duration. So we headed out and pounded through the rain back to metro, and back to the hotel to dry off.

As an aside, this is the Gorse Fox's 1000th blog entry. He trusts that you are keeping up!

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