Saturday, December 31, 2005

Gorse Fox has bought a new gadget. He likes gadgets. The intention of this gadget is to enable him to capture old VHS and Hi-8 videos onto the computer. Will let you know how it goes...

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Friday, December 30, 2005

The forecast of heavy snows seems to have come to nothing. The south coast is being battered by gusty winds and heavy rain. Our concern regarding a proposed trip to Buckingham has receded, and we plan to set off soon to see the Silver Vixen's family.

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Saving time

Gorse Fox's sister and family visted for the day. It was nice to see them, and to see how well the operation on brother-in-law's hip has evidently gone.

This was a day for saving time. GF received a birthday gift from early in the year, just as GF's sister received a her birthday gift for last summer. Christmas gifts were also duly exchanged, and to save time GF's sister gave him a pad of 365 insults to cover us for the next year !

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James May brings us an interesting piece on Road Rage in the Telegraph (registration required), called "Mine's a pint: pistols at dawn". He advocates the only sensible way to gain satisfaction from an incident with a white van is a duel. He explains:
Duelling is now highly illegal, but as you will have dispatched a van driver, no jury is likely to convict.
He continues:
At the discretion of the wronged party, and for the full mother-he-has-killed-me-dies effect, the duel can be fought to the death. But it is acceptable to fight to "first blood", in which case once you have brought forth the crimson fluid from the van driver he is deemed to be the loser.
As GF is about to take Cousteau-cub back to Brighton, he will ensure that he places his rapier in the back of the car.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A quiet day in the GF's household. He did spend some time at Tesco trying to:
  • Avoid foul-mannered children using the aisles as running tracks, but failing to slip on the wet surface and thus provide light relief to the multitude.
  • Avoid people who had over-dosed on stupid pills during the festivities and were leaving their trolleys perpendicular to the displays
  • Avoid the people who, fed up with fighting at home, had come to have a row in public
  • Avoid the usual corpses who were shuffling round, blinking in the bright lights, unsure why they were there at all.
  • Pick up a few groceries


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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Stroll in the Afternoon

Once Urban-cub and Sir Lancinglot had left and things settled down Gorse Fox resolved to have a stretch. The afternoon was crisp and clear. The morning's snow flurries had come to nothing. A cold North-east wind was blowing, but once wrapped up and walking it wouldn't be noticed.

GF should point out, this was not one of his "walks", this was just an afternoon stroll to stretch the muscles and get some air. Strolling first along the beach he made his way to Ferring and then headed inland to the centre of the village. Very few people were out and about, and though walking through the village streets it was as deserted as the Downs. Looping back Gorse Fox crossed Ferring Rife (where this photo was taken, looking North towards Highdown). A puff of smoke could be seen near the top left, and this quickly grew into thick dense smoke, accompanied by crackling and several small explosions. GF is not sure what was going on, but it seemed to be in the yard behind one of the nurseries... and soon the "nee-naw, nee-naw" of the fire brigrade could be heard heading for the conflagration. GF assumes everything was soon under control as the clouds of dense black smoke quickly dispersed, though the smell of burning rubber lingered in the air. Posted by Picasa
The Gorse Fox was up and about long before it made any sense to be moving about. Several hours later the rest of the inamtes began to stir. After feeding all and sundry, Urban-cub and Sir Lancinglot packed up their bits (which included their vivarium and lizard!) and headed home.
A modicum of peace descends upon the house... along with a flurry of snow.

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Monday, December 26, 2005

It is very quiet in the GF household this moning. Cousteau-cub was up organising photos on her laptop, GF was up reading the paper, but the rest of the household remained firmly cuddled in the arms of Morpheus. The Silver Vixen muttered that she had remembered where she had hidden the mince pies... so guess that they will turn up in one of the feasts she has scheduled for today.

What puzzles the Gorse Fox is Why did she hide the mince pies? It's not as if we are addicted to them,
GF doesn't believe they are generally a target for burglary,
nor are they usually considered an investment opportunity ("I'm just laying down some mince pies to sell when I retire in order to boost my pension")
and they were not a surprise gift for the cubs.
So why hide them?

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Reflections

The Gorse Fox has had a wonderful day with the family, a constant flow of chat, and humour. GF nevery forgets how lucky he is.

The cubs hav bought him a stockman's coat. GF isn't the ideal shape for such a coat - being stocky rather that tall - but will make good use of it whilst walking on the Downs in inclement weather.

Possibly the most interesting gift, however, was a DVD made by The Bishop. He had made a documentary from his collection of photos, film, and video which related the life of GF's father, GF's and his sister's early life, and even footage from the GF & SV's wedding. All of this must have taken hours to put together and will be treasured.

I hope you all have had a Christmas as pleasant and peaceful as we have. Posted by Picasa
GF bought the cubs laptops for Christmas. Never has a Christmas afternoon been so peaceful!

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Gorse Fox is up and about... the Turkey and the Ham are in the oven, there is a gradual stirring amongst the other inmates. GF reflects that it is a good job that Sir Lancinglot has his van with him, as it will be needed just for the removal of the 120 square miles of wrapping paper that currently decorates 8.4 metric tonnes of assorted gifts littering the living room. Soon the chaos will begin.

The Gorse Fox sincerely wishes all of you an immensely Happy Christmas and a prosperous and peaceful New Year.
God Bless you all.

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Sunset


IMG_3650
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Final moments of daylight on Christmas Eve, the sun about to drop behind the cloud which hugged the horizon.

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Beached Boat


IMG_3648
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
As the sun edged back towards the horizon this boat caught the eye. It has seen better times, and is need of some care and attention; but it create a nice silhouette!

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Winter Stroll


IMG_3647
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Gorse Fox escaped for an hour for a stroll along the beach in the winter sunshine. He was not the only one. Dozens of dogwalkers were out and about in the watery sunshine, but there was still an air of tranquility as he marched eastwards towards Worthing.

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Theory of Gender and Christmas Shopping

Cousteau-cub has now joined us for the Christmas festivities... final shopping trips completed, all is calm.

Silver Vixen was convinced today would be busy... Gorse Fox has a different view. Gorse Fox's theory of Christmas shopping is:
In general women are well organised and will have completed all of their shopping and will be at home avoiding the last minute rush. Men will have deliberately left it until today knowing that
  • most women/children will be at home;

  • he can hurtle round the shops at his own speed;

  • he doesn't have to stop to look at things and say "ooh isn't that nice" or "Arrr, that would go well with her blouse";

  • he does not have to sniff scented candles - since the introduction of a reliable electricity supply candles hold a dubious position in the household;

  • the shops will only be occupied by men;

  • if a friend bumps into them they can say "Must rush, still presents to get" and charge onwards without causing offence.

  • empty coloured boxes - what's the point?

  • the faster the shopping experience, the longer he can spend in the gadget / hi-fi / computer shop


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Friday, December 23, 2005

Prescott gives EU stars the same status as Union flag

Now this has got the Gorse Fox really mad: Prescott gives EU stars the same status as Union flag. Enough already!
Labour was accused of its second surrender to Brussels in a week yesterday after it emerged that the European Union's flag is effectively to be redesignated as a national symbol.

John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, will unveil plans in the new year to drop restrictions on flying the flag.

To paraphrase an English King, Henry II (remember when we had country called England?) "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest meddling political thug?"
At what point does the ODPM's destruction actually become treason?

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Gay Freedom

Gorse Fox was born in the 1950's.

When GF was young "gay" meant happy, jolly and content. What we now consider as "gay" was illegal.

By the 1960's & 1970's "gay" behaviour was talked about in the context of famous politicians. It was still illegal, but tolerated.

In the 1980's and 1990's "gay" behaviour was legalised and openly flaunted.

In this decade "gay" relationships can be enshrined in law and any negative discussion of "gay" lifestyle is ruthlessly stamped out. As an example we have seen the latest example of the couple from Fleetwood in Lancashire being "visited" by the Stazi police for daring to suggest a display of religious pamphlets be co-located with pamphlets promoting "gay" issues.

GF believes everyone is worthy of respect, whatever their colour, their creed, their sexual orientation, dammit even the football team they support. But GF is desperatley worried about two things:
  • Whether a "gay" lifestyle may complete the recent changes and become complusory!
  • And whether we will ever regain the right to free speech in this country

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Five lions found on motorway

This is one that Sally Traffic hasn't reported (yet): Five lions found on motorway. Gorse Fox has always been wary of straying over the white lions on the road, but it appears worse in Brazil.
Five lions have been found in an abandoned circus truck in the middle of a Brazilian motorway.

A police spokesman told Folha de São Paulo: "We could not believe our eyes and ears when we saw all those lions together in this abandoned truck in the middle of the road - and boy they did look hungry!

Microsoft may face daily EU fine

Gorse Fox has no truck nor sympathy with Microsoft, but this article Microsoft may face daily EU fine raises GF's hackles.

IF GF was Bill Gates he'd tell the EU to get stuffed. Starfleet has had similar problems in the past and had to reveal its systems, and the underlying intellectual capital and research that it had spent years investing in. Then of course anyone can hop on the bandwagon without any investment or hard work all in the name of competition.

Why, wonders the Gorse Fox, are pharmaceutical companies protected but not IT companies? Seems like a precedent worth arguing in court... then if the argument is lost it would force drugs companies to reduce their prices and publish their science the way Microsoft & Starfleet would have to.


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Mentally GF is winding down for the Christmas break. Unfortunately his list of "things to do" doesn't seem to realise this and is expanding faster than he can clear items.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Gorse Fox is back after a long day. Very interesting and stimulating day... but only for geeks, so GF will keep it to himself (much to your relief).

An observation, however, Gorse Fox has decided it should be legal to carry small doses of sleep inducing chemicals so that parents who are stupid enough to bring small children on packed commuter trains (fo a day out!!) can administer said dose to the children before they start to scream and wake up those commuters who did not need narcotics to achieve a state of suspended animation.

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This day sees the Gorse Fox heading for the great capitol of our Empire. A frisson of excitement runs through him at the thought he will be at the seat of government, the heart of our democracy.

Ooops, sorry. Not quite sure what came over the GF just then. Must have been something he ate.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Gorse Fox loved the quote from Max Hastings in this mornings Dail Mail on the subject of John Prescott (the Odoius Deputy Prime Monster) and the education reforms:
"As far as Prescott is concerned if one child can't have it, no children can have it."

The lumbering dinosaur seems to espouse an intellectual scorched earth policy. Taking it to its logical conclusion we should:
  • Dispose of our cars - not everyone has one (in fact not everyone has two jags)
  • Dispose of our phones and gadgets - not everyone has one
  • Dispose of our houses (oh, no he's doing that!)
  • Dispose of our grasp of the English langauge - he doesn't have one
  • The list goes ever on as the ODPM tries to drive us back to the stone age where people of his apparent intellect might feel adequate


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Gorse Fox has a theory. This has been reinforced by a trip to the client's canteen where they were singing carols accompanied by the chef on an electric keyboard. Several observations should be made first:
  • Playing a keyboard instrument is a bit like shooting a gun - if you miss the target (a key in this case) you have missed. There is no such thing as close enough on a keyboard.
  • In order to make time for this recital, lunch was evidently cooked last March and has been kept warm ever since.
  • The concept of cutting gravy will not catch one.
  • Brussel sprouts should not be used as biological weapons.
This brings the Gorse Fox to his theory (beware, broad generalisation ahead):
Women, when young, are usually musical and in general can hold a note. Then, when women reach a certain age they turn into screetch owls. This is characterized by the fact that they a) cannot hit a note; b) cannot hear a note; c) become too confident of their own musical adequacy; and d) start to sing louder. When they reach this point, singing in public should be punishable with imprisonment or at very least an ASBO


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Expensive Tastes

For the girl who has everything, Ananova brings us the story of Gold-plated chocolate.
The luxury treats, each coated in 24-carat gold leaf thin enough to be edible, will hit Britain just in time for Christmas.

The manufacturer tells us:
He said: "When I first had the idea I just knew it would work - both substances are just so wonderfully sinful I knew they would fit together."
Gorse Fox would add "what about curry and beer?", equally decadent and equally matched.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Education & John Prescott

Gorse Fox sees from last night's news that the Odious Deputy Prime Minister is opposed to St Tony's proposed education reforms. GF would observe that such opposition confirms that the reforms are correct and sensible. After all, it seems the right thing to do is always the opposite of what John Prescott is promoting.

He points out that the reforms MAY disadvantage some children... GF would argue that the current system dictates against the brightest, most talented children... and continues to do so right through to University where government quotas not aptitude determine who is to get places in higher education

John Prescott espouses everything that is wrong about Labour... it is all about envy and who you can reduce everyone to the lowest level of equality... rather than how you can empower people to be the best they can be and raise everyone's standards.

Monday morning rant over.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Worcester Cathedral


IMG_3644
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Worcester Cathedral dominates the town with its glorious tower. This is what medieval architecture is all about.

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Worcester Cathedral Choir


IMG_3641
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
As explained, they were prepapring for carol service. The choir glowed in expectation.
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Worcester Cathdral High Altar


IMG_3635
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
They were preparing for a carol service later this evening. The lights and candles twinkled and high altar glowed.

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Buttresses of Worcester Cathedral

Gorse Fox, carrying his precious cargo (the Silver Vixen) had an uneventful drive up to Worcester and checked into the hotel.

Then it was time to look around. The Royal Worcester Pocelain factory was the first stop... and was surprise for the sheer variety of goods that were on sale in their varios outlets. Being late afternoon it was too late to consider the museum or factory tour. They can wait for another trip.

From the factory shops we went to the Cathedral. GF loves Cathedral architecture, particularly the soaring gothic arches, buttresses and flying buttresses. Inside, despite the near zero temperatures of the winter evening, it was warm and bright, and a wonderful place to spend a few quiet minutes.

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The very gorgeous Silver Vixen has decided to join the Gorse Fox on his weekly trip to Worcester. We are therefore heading up scross country today... It will be nice to have a leisurely drive up, with company... and not have to go straight into work on arrival

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Silver Vixen has a Gold Medal in faffing, and can indeed run masterclasses in the art. Today is Christmas Decorations day, when all her training and preparation come into their own. The tree, the lights, the balls, the cards, the ribbon, the tinsel, it all needs to be presented "just so". She always does a superb job... Gorse Fox looks on in wonder (and does as he's told).

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Gorse Fox never expected to say this but "The Christmas food shopping went smoothly, and was quite good fun". He should, perhaps explain. The Silver Vixen had prepared a list, and checked it twice. She had decided what was naughty and what was nice. So heading for Tesco we arrived at about 20:00... and the place was deserted. The great unwashed were nowhere to be seen. The stupid-pill addicts were obviously locked up. Tesco was bright and airey and the Gorse Fox sung carols as he wandered the aisles (thus keeping them clear of stragglers).

We were soon home and trying to work out how 37 cubic metres of assorted food was going to fit in to a pair of 6 cubic metre fridge/freezers. We await the food fairy to turn up overnight to finish the storage of the remaining comestibles.

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Well, Cousteau-cub had her 15 seconds of fame, appearing several times amongst the interviewees and marking the judges. Gorse Fox is justly proud of this, but deeply embarrassed to think that she would admit to watching "Strictly Come Dancing" on national TV. GF is off with the SV to do the Christmas food shopping (several large vehicles have been hired to carry back the goods) this evening and wonders if he should answer questions from the inevitable paparazzi, or put a paper bag over his head so as not to be recognised.

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Typepad goes titsup

Gorse Fox thought the blogosphere was quiet today... maybe this is why: Typepad goes titsup | The Register. Maybe blogger is cheap (well, ok, free), but most of the outages GF has experienced have been very transient.
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A Star is Bored

Apparently Cousteau-cub was interviewed for the TV yestarday. It was a Vox-pop in the streets of Brighton and may go out on the Richard & Judy Show today.

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It's like sitting outside the headmaster's office. Gorse Fox is considering stuffing a magazine down the back of his trousers as he sits in Starfleet Command waiting for his annual appraisal. Ceffeine is beginning to take hold and a degree of hysteria laps on the shoreline of his consciousness.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

999 Trunk call

It would appear that there has been an escape from a transport containerand an elephant is roaming the streets of St Petersburg.
There have been a number of sightings around the city but no one has tried to catch the elephant yet.

Local media say it's unclear which arm of the St Petersburg emergency services is responsible for escaped elephants.
It reminds the Gorse Fox of the old chestnut... An elephant was seen doing a ton on the M1, police advise motorists to treat it as a roundabout!
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Honesty in Government

Gorse Fox keeps having it drummed into him how important it is to respond to Minister's questions (PMQs) accurately and on-time. This raises several questions:
  • For most PMQs, who gives a damn about the timeliness - nothing in government happens in "real time", so why bother? who cares - the MPs and the media, so what?
  • As for accuracy - One of the greatest "crimes" an MP can be accused of is that of "misleading the House".

Gorse Fox was just wondering why MPs can'y mislead each other... but have turned the art of misleading the public into a national sport? Surely it should be a greater crime to exercise dishonesty in the face of your employer?

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The Silver Vixen has gone off to have a Christmas lunch with other members of her coven. GF can just imagine some poor local pub with its car park full of broomsticks, 4WD broomsticks, and zimmer-sticks whilst inside there is the ribald laughter of the coven overdosed on strong tea and shaking out their blue-rinses as they chase the waiters round the room. Doesn't really bare thinking about !

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Barney Rubble, though ostensibly retired, has been asked to project manage the building of a new school in Hampshire. GF feels that he should sound a word of warning, based on this news article. Apparently:
Romanian builders are in trouble after geese ate the walls of the school they were supposed to be renovating.
It goes on to explain:
After all a goose is just a goose. This project was financed by the public budget and I don't blame the birds for the damages. It's the builders' fault because they didn't take care of their work.
Now assuming that Avian Influenza doesn't wipe out Hampshire's geese, GF suggests that Barney keeps his eyes open.

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Back is Sussex after a trouble free journey home. Not a lot to report - fairly typical day with the Client until early afternoon. Then we had another programme board meeting for the sneezing chickens... thank goodness for teleconferencing systems with a mute button. It allows the Gorse Fox to get on with some additonal work whilst the board progresses slowly. GF can't reveal much of the proceedings - not because of the official secrets act, not because of client confidentiality, but mainly because it was two hour exercise in how not to have meetings. GF did wish he could have taped it and used it as a cure for insomnia.

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The Silver Vixen confirmed that the Cubs' Christmas presents had turned up... Still have to sort out a gift for the Silver Vixen herself.

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The WiFi sems to have survived the night and GF has a working link again this morning.

Had a pleasant evening in Malvern with Boston and The Mighty Atom. The trio went along to a local Indian Restaurant for and evening of fine conversation and good food.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fairly quiet day in Worcester brightened by the intermittent availability of WiFi access. Colleagues have been configuring the access points, but there is a problem in the link back to the comms room that keeps knocking us over. However, each time GF visits, there is further progress!

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Gorse Fox has to make his weekly trek to Worcester. Despite the forecast, it looks frost-free here on the coast.

Th cubs Christmas presents should turn up today, all being well... only the Silver Vixen to sort out now!

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Monday, December 12, 2005

GF has a handheld GPS which he uses on his walks. It has features that allow him to find hotels, restaurants, museums and other landmarks. Waht it doesn't show is a list of Public Conveniences... but then GF guesses it wouldn't be a GPS but a SatLav.

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Every cloud has a silver lining

Gorse Fox has been thinking about the "Oily 'orror of 'emel 'empstead, 'erts"... and mused on the destruction it has caused, and the fact that there have been so few injuries.

A smile crept across his face.
Should GF snigger at such destruction?
Probably not but think of the Robber Baron Gordon Brown's apoplexy at the lost tax revenue from 15M gallons of fuel - doesn't that make you feel warm inside?

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Annual appraisal time has come around again. Gorse Fox spends considerable time and effort in reponding to the various requests for formal feedback towards colleagues appraisals. However, he then hits the sticky subject of his own appraisal.

Gorse Fox has to see his commander on Friday, so must complete his self-assessment today. Starfleet expects its troopers to write their own appraisal, based on the feedback received. GF finds this a little stressful. It seems so un-English to promote one's own efforts and successes - rather they should be down-played and shrugged off. This is not an easy task each year.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

GF & the Silver Vixen are off to spend the day with Betty & Barney Rubble in Old Basing. Light blogging forecast.

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Christmas Shopping

GF has discovered a new aspect to Christmas Shopping online. Gorse Fox should explain. Online shopping for Christmas Presents:
  • Means never queuing to get in a car park
  • Means not being ignored by sales staff
  • Means not have to lug presents up and down the High Street
  • Means not getting cold or wet when shopping
  • Means not polluting the environment with the noxious gasses caused by his car
  • Means not worrying about closing time
  • Means stress free shopping
Well actually, no. This new aspect of online shopping GF refers to as "Price stress". Have used all the shopping comparison services and looked at slightly different specification of each product... GF has realised that you can get stressed over whether you really have got the best product/deal/service.
  • Is x from Store A really the same as x1 from Store B?
  • Is that the best price for delivery?
  • Does the price include VAT?
  • Is it better to go for slower cheaper delivery, or faster premium priced delivery?
  • Will GF be in the day they deliver?
Gorse Fox thinks the days of an orange in the bottom of a sock filled with chocolates were underrated!

A NOTE To The POLITICALLY CORRECT: This is Christmas or Hannakah... it is not Winterval, or any of these new trendy names. This has been known as Christmas for the best part of a couple of thousand years and GF is NOT going to stop calling it as such as sop to the pathetic liberal multi-cultural apologists who are destroying free speech and the heritage of our country.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Drop dead - No don't !

Ananova, always and interesting read, tells us that a Brazilian Mayor wants to ban death. Apparently
The mayor of a Brazilian town is trying to bring in a law making it illegal for residents to die.
Why? oh that's simple:
the town's only cemetery is full
Maybe that's the secret of eternal life... just ban death. Simple really.

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The BBC News online article Poultry listed in bird flu move gives a little publicity to the work that has been absorbing so much of the GF's time recently.
Interesting list of birds to be included:
Chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, pheasants, quail, guinea fowl, partridges, pigeons reared for meat only, emus, ostriches, cassowaries, rheas and kiwis.
GF would like to openly acknowledge the work done by his delivery team who converted ideas into reality. (No names, to protect the innocent).

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Mellors is at the bottom of the garden trimming the west hedge. The sun is shining, Ten Years After are playing on the sound system. All is looking good with this corner of the world.

Tinkerbell phoned for a 30 minute bleat... then Teddy Bear phoned for some status setting.

The Gorse Fox's work for the sneezing chickens has come to fruition this morning with the launch of a new system for poultry keepers to register their flocks... currently just call-centre based, but several enhancements still planned over the next few weeks including self-registration, but at least things are under way.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Boris is on the prowl...
I suppose as a politician you must get used to humbug, hypocrisy and sickening opportunism, but when Gordon Brown stood up and announced to the Labour Party conference that the chief defect of David Cameron, as Tory leader, was that he was "an old Etonian", I am afraid I almost blew a gasket.

It's not just that I, too, had the joy of attending the Fettes of England. It is not the sheer chippiness I resent. It is not his pathetic attempt to curry favour with his rank-and-file followers by making snide remarks about an opponent's background, when he is himself the son of the manse and the beneficiary of one of the finest educations this country can provide, at one of its very poshest universities.

It is the rank dishonesty of the Chancellor I dislike. He is attempting to re-open a class divide that long ago disappeared, and he and his party are refusing to admit the existence of the real divide in our society.

and it continues with further insightful discourse. GF recommends it.

GF is surprised that The Robber Baron Gordon Brown didn't actually say "that the chief defect of David Cameron, as Tory leader, was that he was English"

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A nice man has come to the home of the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen to perform further maintenance on a squeaking window frame. Hopefully it will fix the last of the irritating squeaks this time.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Long drive back tonight from Worcester. Passing four separate road traffic accidents on the way home added about 45 minutes to the normal run.

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A Small Miracle

Gorse Fox has just received an email authorising the use of WiFi after all. Trolls defeated once more. Sense prevails.

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A fine meal at the "Bear and Ragged Staff"... it's rare that GF sees marlin on the menu, so it seemed like a good choice and did not disappoint.

Quiet evening back in the hotel - must say that prefer not to stay there. Room was cold, no WiFi or even ethernet access, and lousy traffic round the ring road. Note to Best Western "It's the 21st Century guys! Adequate heating and Internet access should be standard".

New project manager joined the team this morning. Seems like a good chap.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

From the clear crisp skies of Sussex, GF watched the temperature vary from a heady 3C to -3C as he crossed Hampshire, and rise dizzily to 1C as he entered Berkshire. Wiltshire flew by, but then Gloucestershire presented with overcast skies and low clouds that dumped mists and drizzle on the route. The journey went without incident and the Gorse Fox finds himself in worcester once more.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Ananova - World's first musical sandwich

Gorse Fox thinks this is something he can do without: World's first musical sandwich.
The sandwich plays a medley of Christmas tunes when the packaging is opened.
Oh really! What will they think of next?
"One idea already under consideration is working with record companies to launch songs by new artists on the market by way of the musical sandwich."
Do you think Apple may retalliate? An iPod that dispenses ham and cheese?
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The new week sees the Gorse Fox working in Sussex today. The adminisphere is at the forefront of GFs mind as he ploughs on through the day.

GF notices a headline on BBC News online Parents back knives ban. It is not remarkable in itself. It is more a case of wondering whether it's news.
What's the alternative? and GF's mind started to wander:
  • Parents encourage the carrying of knives
  • National curriculum extended to cover knife combat
  • Child receives throwing stars with marked homework
  • The GCSE Biology practical includes stitchwork
  • Marks & Spencer introduce thermal knife vests for the under fives
  • ITV introduces new reality show "Knife Swap"
  • A friendly shop near Datchet opens a website TheMerryKnivesofWindsor.co.uk
  • Scar music becomes popular
  • A old band rebrands itself, led by Mick Dagger
  • Stilletto heels become a tradeable commodity (beyond Essex)
  • A boy scout is arrested for wounding within tent


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Sunday, December 04, 2005

GF must apologize for a quiet day on the blog. Various domestic duties have kept him busy most of the daylight hours.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Blowing cobwebs

The Silver Vixen headed off to Worthing with little hope of finding a space to park amongst the broomsticks of her coven.

The Gorse Fox headed home and went through some admin before deciding that it was time to get some air. His aim was a walk along the beach, but he had not catered for the cold wind blowing in from the channel, and had not dressed adequately... so bottled out pretty quickly.

Never mind. There is something cathartic about walking along the tide line with a cold wind blowing the salt spray across the shore. The storms of the last few days had obviously been stronger than GF had realised as he find several small fish (about 6 inches long) which had been cast right up beyond the normal high tide mark. Posted by Picasa
The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox have just been out to test drive a Toyota Corolla. Verdict: a nice car; good and solid; good visibility; easy to drive; but the 1.6 Automatioc seemed a little underpowered.
This got the GF thinking. Toyota sem to have an excellent reputation, but also seem to have several manufacturing blindspots:
  • there is no 1.8 Auto for the Corolla. You have to go to the Avensis for that? Why? The Silver Vixen doesn't want a car the size of an Avensis.
  • Where are the diesel automatics?
  • Why ais there talk of dropping the multimode gearbox on the Corolla Verso?
Most manufacturers charge extra for Automatic transmission, but at least you can get it with suitably powered engines. Many manfacturers now do sophisticated automatic transmission for diesels - recognising the importance of fuel economy. Why are Toyota so backward?

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It's getting busy around the trough. As private sector workers are expected to work 3 or 4 years longer in order to geta pension, and private sector workers are told they can retire at 60, we now find the most cossetted bunch of all back at the trough. The Time Online informs us MPs demand 22% pay rise as Brown offers public sector 2%. The article has several snippets that raise the hackle:
The MPs, whose salary is £59,095, are also demanding, in addition to the inflation-busting pay increase, an improved petrol allowance. Last year it was cut from 57.7p for the first 20,000 miles to 40p, in line with Inland Revenue rates.
Is it any surpise then that they don't squeal when petrol prices go up and the robber baron Gordon Brown pockets more tax... they don't even notice it.
The MPs argue that their salaries have fallen by 12 per cent against their public sector counterparts and 15 per cent in the private sector since they lost the right to set their own pay in 1994.
B*ll**ks. In the private sector pay may rise, but as a rule it is justified on improved productivity or promotion. GF has seen no improved productivity from government (indeed the continued growth of the civil service indicates the opposite), and the only promotion for most MPs is self-promotion.
Vince Cable, the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman, said: “This will be embarrassing for MPs. I could have earned a great deal more outside Parliament, but that is not what you go into politics for.”


Quite right. GF thinks such brazen, self-serving insensitivity is one of the marks of modern politics.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Oo

Gorse Fox has been palying with the new release of Open Office (V2) this afternoon. Superb stuff. He thinks that if it were not for the Esteemed Client's organisation using MS Word, he could probably ditch the bloatware entirely.

A few useful facts:
  • A 10.1MB Word file converted to Open Office was 158KB
  • Open Office is free
  • The download for the whole suite id only 70MB
  • Open Office (already) uses open standards
  • The suite includes:
    • Text Document composer
    • Spreadsheet
    • Presentation
    • Drawing (which includes exporting of SVG files)
    • Database integration that allows use of existing databases, or the generation of databses in an imbedded HSQLDB engine.

Gorse Fox commends it, he is mightily impressed. Do visit OpenOffice.org

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After a foul drive back to Sussex last night, Gorse Fox was greeted by a newly laid carpet in the bedroom, Sir Lancinglot laying the flooring in the bathroom, UUrban-cub 7 Silver Vixen cooking dinner, and directions as to where the new bed had to be placed.

Pausing briefly to warp himself round a fine glass of wine, GF started to put the new bed together. This turned out to be a lengthy task and Sir Lancinglot came along to give a hand.

GF should point out that he and the Silver Vixen have a very large bedroom, and the previous bed was lost in its wide open spaces. (Herds of wildebeest had sometimes been seen migrating across the far side of the room). This new bed, however, is more fitting to the acreage. The beautifully crafted oak bed now sits majestically in the corner of the room. It is so large, that GF considered painting white lines on the quilt cover and renting it out at weekends as a football pitch, but decided that stud marks would be inappropriate.
(Any comments regarding the GF and studs are entirely within you own mind)

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

So there was the Gorse Fox sitting at the head of a traffic queue in Bramdean. The queue was caused by roadworks and traffic was being controlled by 4-way traffic lights (as the road works were on a blind cross-roads). The sequence seemed slow, but GF is patient. He looked in his mirror and saw the queue stretch back several hundred yards behind him. He went back to scratching his head, or picking his nose (as is mandated in traffic queues) when a flassh caught his eye... there coming up the wrong side of the road was a black Suburu Impreza (estate). he shot past the queue, through the red light, passed all the the roadworks and screamed off up the hill.

The cretin.

When he gets his come uppence (which he surely will, driving like that) one only hopes that the only other victim is a motorway bridge or something equally solid and inanimate.

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The Gorse Fox finds himself suited and booted again for another trup across country today. Light blogging foecast.

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