Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A pleasant evening started off with a quiet beer with the Gorse Fox's only ally in the fight against trolls. He will be leaving Starfleet next week, and it was time to wish him well.

Following that, Boston, the Mighty Atom, Graham Norton, and the Snow Queen joined the Gorse Fox over dinner at a favoured Chinese restaurant. A couple of hours of witty repartee, philosophical debate, and humerous anecdotes should have followed... Ok, ok, ok, to be fair it did.


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A day in Worcester, though usually very busy, and often enjoyable is rarely a productive day in terms of personal output from the Gorse Fox. From the moment he walks in he begins a pinball-like motion between the various meeting rooms, teams, clients and colleagues.
Today was no exception.

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Early start as the Gorse Fox headed across country. Temperatures varied wildly as the miles dropped off, and traffic reports warned of heavy snow in the north and east. Fortunately, GF was moving from the south to the west and so avoided the chaos.

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Monday, February 27, 2006

The Trutth, the partial truth, and politicians

The Times reveals that Sir Alistair Graham, head of the powerful sleaze watchdog*, wants politicians to tell the truth: You Cannot tell a Lie
For the first time MPs, ministers and civil servants will have to agree to a code of conduct which binds them to the truth as part of a package of measures proposed to combat the low level of public trust in Government.

It goes on to explain:
He will start by proposing overhauling the code’s definition of “honesty” — at present a technical definition focusing on conflicts of interest — after focus groups said this missed the central point.

The final wording of the new definition has yet to be agreed, but Sir Alistair said that it must revolve around the notion of truth.

Ahhh! That's where it'll fall down then!

* This is a bit like a rottweiler with lots of bling and leather

Pernicious Multiculturalism

The Scotsman reports on Sir Trevor Phillips' comments Muslims must abide by UK code, says CRE chief
Gorse Fox never expected to to agree with TP, buy lo' and behold the man talks sense:
Sir Trevor Phillips said that the right to offend was an "absolutely precious" part of British identity, which could not be bargained away. And he suggested that any Muslims who want to live under a system of Shariah law should leave the country.

Gorse Fox concurs. However, this should not in any way be construed as anti-Muslim.... but rather a statement that Multiculturalism is a pernicious growth on our integrated society.

As far as the GF is concerned all are welcome to share our land, as long as they integrate and become part of the one society. Multiculturalism espouses continued separation, not integration and through that route lies conflict.

As Sir Trev says:
"We have one set of laws. They are decided on by one group of people, members of parliament, and that's the end of the story. Anybody who lives here has to accept that's the way we do it. If you want to have laws decided in another way, you have to live somewhere else."

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Looking west, the sands were equally deserted for as far as the eye could see.

Gorse Fox has come to love the tranquility of this part of Sussex. Somehow the stresses of daily life just fade into insignificance afetr a few moments of such peace and solitude. Posted by Picasa
Looking eastwards from the pier Shoreham, Hove, and Brighton could be seen clearly lit by by the low winter sun.

A lone walker broke the solitude of the sands as he walked his dog. Posted by Picasa
The excellent meal was rounded off with a bracing walk along Worthing sea front, and out onto the pier.

Like yesterday, there was bitter north-easterly wind which quite took the breath away Posted by Picasa
Betty and Barney Rubble visited for the day. We went out for a meal to a new place run by the proprietors of the Worthing Fish Factory.

As you can see this new place has an imaginative name!

Out of interest, does anyone know of any other kind? Posted by Picasa
Tony Blair (opprobrium be upon him) has stepped up his civil service efficiency drive by appointing a new Whitehall chief - on £85,000 per year.
His new cost cutting supremo, Fiona Clark, has the Orwellian title of "Director of Productive Time". (This news comes to us, courtesy of the Mail on Sunday)

Can you think of a more part-time job?

Gorse Fox suggests she looks at:
  1. Budget management
  2. Contract management
  3. Programme boards
  4. Policy departments
  5. Absenteeism
  6. Over manning
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The Mail on Sunday has a pop at Helen Ghosh, the Permanent Secretary at Defra. far be it from the Gorse Fox to defend such a mandarin... but for goodness sake, if you intend to take a pop at her, use some arguments that make sense.
...it is only a matter of time befor bird flu comes to Britain, it might be best if it didn't arrive on Friday afternoon.
This is because Helen doesn't work on Friday afternoon.

Give me a break! What happens if it arrives on Saturday or Sunday? She doesn't work then either!!!

Oh! and by the way, exactly what part of the UK's response to bird flu do you think Helen Ghosh plays? There is a Chief Veterinary Officer who will have far more to do with it than Helen, and there's a whole Agency with its own Chief Exec that will be responsible for containment, management, and eradication of the disease.
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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Makeover at Mohonk - New York Times

The Gorse Fox came across this article: Makeover at Mohonk in the NY Times. He only remarks on it for a couple of reasons:
  1. The Gorse Fox used to go walking in this area, particularly the Shawungunk Ridge (and Mabel's Getrude's Nose, if he remembers correctly).
  2. There is a link to a panoramic image which allows you to wander through 360 degrees with your cursor.

It has been a long time since the Gorse Fox has visited this part of the US, and he misses it a great deal.
Sea Lane, looking towards the (border) exit from Kingston Gorse. Posted by Picasa
Walking along the greensward at Kingston Gorse towards the low winter sun is bright enough, but the glare off the sea makes it almost blinding. Posted by Picasa
Looking eastwards along the beach, at low tide, toward Worthing and Brighton.

The Bluebird Cafe nestles behind the protective shingle. Posted by Picasa
Middle Way Posted by Picasa
A tranquil and bright winter's afternoon on Kingston Gorse.

The Gorse Fox had been contacted by an ex-resident who had asked for some photos... so (never needing much of an excuse) he headed out with his camera. Posted by Picasa

Worthing Pier and Lido

The Worthing seafront is punctuated by the exclamation mark that is the pier. just to the west is the entrance to the Lido.

The bright winter sunshine belies the bitterly cold north-easterly wind. Posted by Picasa

Worthing

The bright winter sunshine seemed to make the glass of this shelter on the Worthing promenade glow. Posted by Picasa

We Have let Down the Poor

According to the Telegraph:
Tony Blair conceded yesterday that Labour had let down many of the poorest in society

Tony, Gorse Fox has news for you... you've let down all of us.
He also admitted that the Government had become too bureaucratic to deliver effective help.
Coming from the Private Sector to work with the Public Sector has been a rude awakening for the Gorse Fox. This makes him ever more bitter about the amount of tax he pays for Whitehall waste. Particular fury is reserved for the annual fiasco in the late autumn where people desperately look for ways to spend money on anything that crosses their path to ensure their budget is not reduced for next year. This is "taking the p*ss" out of the tax payer.
Government officials said Mr Blair did not intend to create a new department to tackle "social exclusion" nor a specific post in the Cabinet.
That's a relief. It'll be another QUANGO then.
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Kinnock

Amanda Platell writes in today's Daily Mail:
Neil Kinnock says we should ditch the British mile and replace it with kilometres to bring us in line with the rest of Europe. This, in a week when Britain came top of a poll of countries for being polite, honest, trustworthy, and intelligent. Perhaps that explains why Kinnock is so ill at ease with all things British.

Polite? Kinnock is one of the rudest men in politics. Honest? He presided over one of the greatest periods of EU corruption. Trustworthy? For years his entire family has gorged on the EU gravy train. Intelligent? This is the hypocrite who villified the House of Lords only to wrap himself in ermine.


Nice one, Amanda! You have identified another clear candidate for the 8th Circle (though to be fair he was already included under the heading "self-serving politicians").

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Friday, February 24, 2006

The Silver Vixen has returned. Urban-Cub has selected a wedding dress, a deposit has been paid, and now we have to await the arrival of said garment for fitting. Apparently the bridesmaids' dresses have also been selected but not, as yet, ordered.

The Gorse Fox has been given the task of researching suitable sources for the wedding cake and flowers so that the next mission is closely targetted, and successful. Gorse Fox is happy to research on the web... but flowers? With his hay-fever?

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The Trouser Quandary Resolution: Blasphemy

In his continuing discussion and exposition of the Utterbollox, David today discusses Blasphemy

Gorse Fox, again recommends you go, you read, and you learn.
Mellors is in the grounds trying to construct a compost bin out of old pallets. The trouble is that the pallets are all different sizes, and this (evidently) has thwarted his initial design, so he appears to be spending a great deal of time scatching his head.

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Magpies or seagulls should not wear boots!

The bedroom used by the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox is in the loft of their bungalow (a conversion performed by a previous owner). This has advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, it is immensely cozy, and very large. On the minus side, however, it is noisy when the storms rattle along the coast... and when magpies or seagulls wearing hobnailed boots decide to hold races back and forth along the ridge tiles. This morning, these avian olympians were evidently holding the qualifying heats for a the 10,000 metres... and decided that they wanted the Gorse Fox to spectate. (Now, where's that H5N1?)

Though bright, flurries of snow scud across the south coast. The Silver Vixen has gone to meet up with Urban Cub to spend a day on chores and preparations related to the wedding.

The Gorse Fox sits at his desk carving out new contractual masterpieces for the trolls to ruin. This morning's call with Esteemed Client presages a flurry of new challenges. No doubt this will clarify over the next week.
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Thursday, February 23, 2006

The trouble with taking a day off is a backlog of 81 emails this morning. Gorse Fox is frantically paddling to try and keep his head above the water (and below the parapet).

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Another picture from the Gorse Fox's back garden. (This being the eastern side of the grounds). Posted by Picasa
Gratuitous picture of implied "Thankyou" note to have an excuse to play with GF's camera. Posted by Picasa
Gorse Fox enjoys watching football (and in the third quarter of the last century, enjoyed playing it). He is irritated by the hype of the win last night by the Forces of Darkness over Real Madrid. Why? Let hime explain...

  1. Anyone who watches Real Madrid regularly would have expected this result. Indeed GF predicted it. The Real Madrid defense & midfield are not disciplined enough, and that plays to the strengths of the Forces of Darkness who are so adept at exploiting open space.
  2. The fuss and hype revolved around how this was the first English team to beat Real Madrid at home. EXCUSE ME! The only English players on the pitch were playing for Real Madrid. The Forces of Darkness are no more an English Team than Marseilles.
  3. It would be a pleasure to watch the free and open play of the Forces of Darkness IF they did not ALWAYS start their cheating, and diving. There were so many examples last night, clearly shown by the replays. (But maybe it's because they are not an English team that they feel this is all right)
  4. Interesting that Wenger will not put up "The Times" campaign poster, regarding the elimination of diving and cheating in football, in their dressing room. Interesting, but utterly predictable - but GF judges this to be better than the hypocrisy of putting it up and carrying on anyway.

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Gorse Fox has learnt today that the German Supreme Court has decided that, should an aircraft be hijacked and flown towards a stadium full of people, then the German Military cannot shoot it down as they would, by doing so, kill the innocent hostages on the plane.

Gorse Fox is perplexed for several reasons:
  • Won't the hostages will be killed anyway?
  • Would not a missile be a quicker way to go than the expectation of what will surely happen on impact?
  • Isn't this is afront to the human rights of the spectators at the stadium?
  • Is it not a greater guilt or evil that you could have done something to save the catastrophe, but didn't?
  • Isn't this an open invitation?


Update: Some links to thethis news...

ISN Security Watch

SwissInfo

Chicago Tribune




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Gorse Fox's nice friend Mr Amazon was knocking at the door first thing with a nice sparkly new camera from the Silver Vixen. Gorse Fox is a lucky chap. Now he just has to learn how to use it.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Long day spent discussing efficiency in Government and "reducing the administrative burden". This is deemed so important that The Department has decided it wants reports on it every 6 months... thus increasing the administrative burden. The irony of it was lost on most present (even when the Gorse Fox pointed it out).

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Gorse Fox is taking an early train to the seat of Parliament (no, Westminster not the Finsbury Mosque).
Quiet day expected on the blog.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

It has been a day of multi-tasking for the Gorse Fox. One advantage of being surrounded by computers is that he can do, read, and research many things at once - as they pop into his vacant skull. Today has seen the GF building resource plans, completing contract documents (for trolls to screw up later), completing project pricings (for trolls to screw up later), debating how best to help the Esteemed Client (for trolls to screw up later), catching up on blogs, and researching a new camera. With an impending birthday GF has asked his friend Mr Amazon to send him a fine new toy.

As an aside, GF is one of those people who is allergic to nuts. Not all nuts. He has no trouble with peanuts, slight trouble with cashews, and then real trouble with walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and fanatical funamentalists. Ananova caught his eye, however, with this story:
A Kent student found a steel bolt in a "healthy" supermarket ready meal.

"He thought it was bone, but we were all shocked when we saw it was a large silver bolt."


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Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Jaguar for every cabinet minister

This report in the Mail on Sunday A Jaguar for every cabinet minister reminds Gorse Fox that there is evidently some room at the trough, still. It also reminds him of his candidate list for the 8th Circle, discussed this morning.

WiFi Hotspot

According to this article on the Times Online:
These days, you don’t need to have your credit-card details stolen to be completely ripped off online. The sky-high prices at most of Britain’s wireless internet (WiFi) hot-spots is nothing short of scandalous. Frankly, it’s a stick-up.

Having a scan around with jiwire or ZDNet there do not seem to be many free hotspots about here in the UK.
For their part, BT and T-Mobile each insists that its services are fairly priced for business customers. Nonsense, says the respected international analyst Gartner, which found that only a quarter of UK/US businessmen use public hot-spots, because the cost is prohibitive. If executives with generous expense accounts can’t afford their rates, who exactly is their target market? Roman Abramovich?
Interesting.... Starfleet is a vast global company. They will not pay or re-imburse these fees as they are so ridiculous. So which businesses are targets?
What will it take for Ofcom to pull its finger out? “If there was enough evidence that consumers were unhappy, we would look at it,” said the spokesman. He claimed that it hadn’t had any complaints so far. It has now: mine. If you, too, want to stop this wireless robbery, I suggest you do likewise at www.ofcom.org.uk.


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The 8th Circle

Gorse Fox has been pondering the nature of things. He, by his nature, is an optimistic soul and wishes well to all who are worthy of respect. However, he concludes that the inner circles of hell are reserved for certain classes of people.

The 9th circle, should be reclassified and widen its membership to all those who deliberately (or recklessly) injure, abuse, or murder other human beings.

It is the 8th circle that is the subject of this post. Again this needs to be reclassified. The 8th circle should be reserved for a) self-serving, dishonest, politicians; and b) member of the legal profession who conspire to pervert the course of justice. These members could be police, the CPS, solicitors, Barristers, QCs, Magistrates or Judges, and again politicians who interfere.

So what does Gorse Fox mean by this tirade?

The perversion of justice, in his mind, can occur in a number of ways:

  • The attempt by a policeman or his superiors to reclassify and ignore crimes that do not fit their targets.
  • The ineptitude of the CPS to do basic tasks and have paperwork ready for the Courts.
  • The decision of the CPS not to proceed against some cases because of "pressure" from outside sources.
  • Solicitors who, knowing the guilt of their client, plead Not Guilty.
  • Barristers and QCs who despite the guilt of their client, abuse the spirit of justice by looking for loopholes to "get them off". There was recently a case of a celebrity who was caught speeding or drink driving - they have hired a specialist barrister who finds loopholes in the legislation to get people off. There is no question of guilt here. That has been established. The only question is whether the system can be abused to get an acquittal.
  • Magistrates who are unable to serve justice because of political interference - and keep quiet about it.
  • Judges whose ignorance of the "real world" renders them useless and unworthy of their office
  • Judges who cave in to pressure from politicians or the media.


Gorse Fox thinks that of all of these, the Solicitors/Barristers/QCs who try to gain acquittal of known guilty parties are by far the worst - and they are forever to be despised.


Defense of a guilty party, and the presentation of mitigating facts is valid. Twisting and abusing the systems to free a guilty party is immoral. The perversion of justice is an affront and infringement of the basic human rights of all of us. Justice must be impartial. Justice must be transparent. Justice must be fair.

The perversion of this demands the 8th Circle of Hell

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Domestic activities keep the Gorse Fox amused this weekend.

Whilst the the weather is meant to be nice in much of the country, a pall of low cloud blankets the south coast, and a fine rain gently soaks all who venture out. That being said, the GF did, indeed, venture out and removed an old wooden floor from a long demolished shed. The surface was becoming lethal when wet, and it had to go.

Once thoroughly wet, it made sense to stay outside and clean the Cotswold mud and dirt from the GF's car. Somehow it always seems bizarre, cleaning the car in the rain. Having said that, it also seems so much quicker.
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Friday, February 17, 2006

Frantic day shuttling back and forth between Esteemed Client, project plans, contracts and the adminisphere.

GF will have to escalate hios war against the Trolls. They are beginning to cause real pain for the Esteemed Client... and that has to be stopped.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Conversations over dinner turned to blogging. Despite the size of the group, Gorse Fox was the only blogger in the party, and few read blogs on a regular basis. The intrigue increased when it was clear GF did blog about work as well as everything else... though (of course) he remains circumspect at all time - except when dealing with TROLLS !!!

On colleague became temporarily obsessed with discovering her nickname... GF had to reveal that, as yet, the right name has not been found.

Last day of this session today... and an opportunity to get the Esteemed Client's Chief Exec on board. All have to be on best behaviour today - not easy for the Gorse Fox.
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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Despite his worst fears (those who know him will recognize his aversion to project planning) the Gorse Fox had a really good day.
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Storm rattled through over night... but it was a bit whimpish compared to those we get on the coast.

Another busy day ahead with lots of intensive analysis expected.

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Breedon Hill wakes

The moon still hung in the sky, shining weakly as the sun rose and took over lighting duties for the day. Early morning clouds took on a pinkish hue, and Breedon Hill dominated the view across the Vale.

A view like this, first thing, fill the spririt with optimism for the new day. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dull first thing, but then clouds started to scud across the sky. The sun periodically burst through and the Vale of Evesham was transformed into a multi-hued carpet of colour.

The day was fairly intensive with detailed planning and breakout sessions to keep the GF and his colleagues focussed.


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The view from the conference centre merged into the clouds. Fish Hill cascaded down to the floor of the Vale of Evesham, which stretched for miles in front of us. Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 13, 2006

An interesting spot, perched on the steep sides of Fish Hill with (what must be) spectacular views across the plain below. The murk of today was such that the panorama disappeared in the haze... but GF is hopeful that the weather will clear in the next day or two.

What is it about doing live demos? Esteemed Client asked Gf to show several technologies to the assemebled multitude. He had bee WiFi connected all day, with unrestricted access to everything he wanted. As the Esteemed Client started the introduction the link started to falter and dropped the GF from several systems. This limited the demo somewhat, but he still got to show the use of portals, Wikis, Blogs and so forth.

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Monday morning found the Gorse Fox following the instructions of his SatNav to a conference centre at the heart of the Cotswolds. Foul and mucky drive, but otherwise unremarkable.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Felicity - The New Broomstick

Just to put Sis out of her misery, GF presents a picture of the Silver Vixens's new broomstick.

GF must admit it's a pleasure to drive, and the Silver Vixen (who has called it "Felicity" - Felicity, I ask you !) thinks it's great. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Route profile

This was the profile of the walk.

We were meant to have covered 6.8 miles, but the detour took us to about 8 miles. We climbed about 1012 feet across the route, raising to a maximum height of 717 feet, and dropping to 213 feet.

Another lovely walk. If you are interested in seeing more pictures from the walk, have a look at the set on flickr.
Good countryside, good company, good conversation. Thanks James.

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Frieslands


Fieslands
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The final descent took James and the Gorse Fox past some tumuli and disused pits. Looking down from the bridleway over Frieslands a small airstrip could be seen.

Clusters of walkers, encouraged by the weak sunshine, were out and about and climbing the hill, cheery at the start of their walk and all carrying walking poles - they looked like skiers who had lost their way (and their skis).

Three folk were sitting watching the view, one of them asked the duo if they had some spare longjohns. Now, GF has had some strange requests over the years, but never before has a complete stranger asked for spare longjohns.


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Passing Valliers Bottom


Passing Valliers Bottom
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The last long, but gentle climb took the duo parallel to Valliers Bottom and up towards Chanctonbury.

The suave and urbane James was just ahead of the Gorse Fox. The pair seemed to be the only two people on the planet. Not another soul was in sight.


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Towards Chanctonbury


Towards Chanctonbury
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Descending past the Ramsdean Plantation near Findon the view opened up across the edge of the Downs and up to Chanctonbury.

The intrepid twosome crossed a field that was evidently rarely used by walkers. There was a small herd of cows watching them. The conversation strayed to TB in cattle, the threat of TB and badgers as carriers. (And how the animal rights folk had apparently sabotaged a test cull last year).

The conclusion was that if half the energy spent on animal rights and ecomentalism was expended on the human race we would live in a better world.


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Near Muntham Farm


Near Muntham Farm
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The conversation rambled on. So much so that the dynamic duo missed a turn and had to retrace their steps.

As we descended slowly we approach Muntham Farm from which we could look across towards Chanctonbury


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Winter Sky


Winter Sky
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
As we strolled we crossed a section of the South Downs Way and then turned south-east.

A gun club was shooting clays in one of the valleys, and some quad-bikes were charging up and down the valley sides.

As the dynamic duo marched on the sky began to clear and a watery sun appeared at point where two contrails crossed. GF couldn't help but think that this looked like a Saltire.


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Those Cartoons

The Gorse Fox has, until now, avoided the debate regarding those cartoons. Today's walk and extended debate helped clarify his thoughts.

There is much rhetoric on both sides of the debate. GF believes you can only understand a problem by examining it from both sides.

He remembers that when "The Last Temptation of Christ" was released, great offence was taken. He remembers when the picture of the Madonna, made from dung, was shown he was deeply offended. Therefore, he finds it entirely understandable that the cartoons could have offended some Muslims. (Should they be any less susceptible that the Gorse Fox?)

Now, taking offence is one thing, demonstrating against this offence is acceptable, however, passing on and spreading the offence to people of a like mind is peverse. Stirring up fury in people who would never otherwise have seen the material is more wrong than the original offense. (Because such distribution will also offend and the perpetrators should know better).

Finally, the nature of the protests, threatening violence and mayhem, and assaulting people whose only connection to the offense is being born in the same country is utterley unacceptable and is an affront to any concept of civilisation.

We must all take responsibility for our own words, ideas, and publications. We should wield them with care, recognising and respecting those who will hear or read them. If we offend we should be taken to task. If we are offended we should complain. We can even have recourse to protest and to the law.

What we must NOT do, however, is stifle free speech - it is the jewel of a free society.

UPDATE:
Rightly, the Gorse Fox was taken to task (by The Pedant-General in Ordinary)regarding the the Danish side of this story.

There has been much written about this and Gorse Fox suspects a degree of post-rationalisation. Denmark is a free society, it uses humour and satire to lampoon just as we do in England. In general people may have known that cartoon of Mohammed may offend, but would any reasonable person expect that they would cause bloodshed? Gorse Fox thinks not. The fact that they were published in Egypt without incident shows clearly that this is a fabricated response. So GF suspects that the Danes, just as the English would have, published these cartoons to make a statement and hopefully send a wake up call to moderate Muslims across the world.

Gorse Fox suspects that in some perverse way this may even actually work.

Should the Danes have published these cartoons? Gorse Fox thinks, on balance, yes. Would the Gorse Fox now publish them? He's not sure. He preaches that you should take responsibility for your actions. He is not unduly worried about reprisals, but he would not deliberately cause offense (ok, he'd make an exception for lawyers... oh, and politicians... and trolls... and footballers who cheat). He said before that he had been offended by items in the past, and he believes that he should therefore know better.

BUT the dichotomy he faces is whether there is greater good here. That of freedom of thought, speech and association. In an icreasingly secular and multicultural society - as we enjoy in the "West" - it is only a free exchange of ideas and views that will allow us to move forward as a race. Suppression of these values will continue to foster dis-integration, dis-trust, and dis-respect.

The Gorse Fox has spoken!
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Climbing Barnsfarm Hill


Climbing Barnsfarm Hill
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Climbing the Barnsfarm Hill was an interesting exercise in keeping breathing and slowing the heart beat. A couple of idle weeks had taken its toll on fitness.

The views as we climbed were exceptional, but the panorama was somewhat flattened by the grey clouds.


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St Mary's Church, Washington


St Mary's Church, Washington
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The dynamic duo continued the route, passing the lovely parish church in Washington and then crossing a small bridge over the A24.

Conversation was beginning to range past the initial subject of work and on to the more important subjects of the day - like kids, ice cream, and cartoons!


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A Findon Cottage


A Findon Cottage
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The Gorse Fox was joined on this walk with the inestimable James from Whatsthatsmell. We moved forward towards Washington and looped west towards the A24.

This small cottage caught the eye... particularly with the green corrugated iron wall.

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Elbourne, Washington, Findon

This was the route chosen by the Gorse Fox for today's walk.

The walk started at a Car Park at the foot of the Downs, near Elbourne House (indicated by the "P" at near the centre of the map. The walk started northwards along Washington Bostal towards the village and once in Washinngton turned west, crossed the A24 then climbed up into the Downs.

At the westernmost point we turned south south-east and looped back down and across the A24 (just north of Findon), then headed north-east towards Chanctonbury Ring and finally turned west again back to the starting point.

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 Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 10, 2006

One of the stories related by "Graham Norton" relates to a previous government project on which he worked.

"We worked in a series of buildings which were in need of repair. One morning a chap left his desk to get a coffee. When he returned, a lump of the ceiling was on his chair and the rain was dripping through the roof into the back of his monitor. He immediately alerted the site supervisor and his own supervisor to the risk, and waited having been ordered not to touch anything."

"About an hour later two chaps turned up with a clip board and made notes before walking away. Meanwhile the rain continued to drip into the monitor."

"Two hours later, four more chaps turned up with clipboards, clustered round the offending monitor, made notes and walked away saying that they could not switch the monitor off - it was against Health and Safety procedures"

"Some little while later a seventh chap turned up and removed the lump of ceiling and put a plastic bag over the PC monitor - which was still left running"

"It was two days before the monitor was powered off, removed and replaced"

He did not explain whether the ceiling had been fixed - but I think he explained clearly why we pay so much tax.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Good day filled with meetings, but each with a satisfactory outcome. Managed to introduce new, enthusiastic colleague (who will know, henceforth, as Graham Norton) to Esteemed Client... and he launched straight into a dissertation on architectural modelling techniques. GF had to chuckle!

There are rumours of impending human sacrifice in the upper echelons of the account. This is approximately on schedule according to the Gorse Fox's law of complex contracts. This states:
In all complex projects there is a honeymoon period during which everyone tries to make things work and turns a blind eye to cock-ups. At the end of the honeyomoon period (usually 12-15 months), tension exists due to the backlog that remains to be cleared, the arrival of new work, and a modicum of disillusionment. This phase can last for weeks or months, but is brought to a climex by a cock-up. This causes a bloody fight, and executives to be replaced. If the new execs are good, the contract will now thrive and be a success... if they are not, the cycle will repeat.


[File under: ]
A pleasant evening spent with a colleague at GF's favoured Chinese restaurant. GF chuckles at the colleague's sheer intensity and enthusiasm, and hopes that he can be convinced to join the team for the long haul.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Gorse Fox was hurtling across country long before dawn. Roads were wonderfully quiet, and he was in Worcester by eight.

First meeting was with The Abbott, and we managed to nuke the trolls within a few moments. Moving on to see the Esteemed Client we had a very fruitful meeting. Good start to the day!

[File under: ]

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Trolls - Obit for an Ally

Trolls (who will heretofor also be known as the Axis of Evil) have inflicted a fatal wound on one of the Gorse Fox's only allies. He has just resigned in the face of overwhelming odds.

Gorse Fox sympathizes greatly with his fate (and rues his passing)... but is determined to overcome these pernicious cancers at the heart of the contracts.

[File under: ]

Monday, February 06, 2006

Old Father Time has passed on the following to the GF... He does not know the original author, but acknowledges his work (though it has been slightly edited)...


THE CLASSIC VERSION:

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The shivering grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

THE END



THE NU-Labour VERSION:

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others less fortunate, like him, are cold and starving.

The BBC shows up to provide live coverage of the shivering grasshopper; with cuts to a video of the ant in his comfortable warm home with a table laden with food.

Britons are stunned that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so while others have plenty.

The Labour Party, Greenpeace and The Grasshopper Council of GB demonstrate in front of the ant's house. The BBC, interrupting a cultural festival special from Notting Hill with breaking news, broadcasts them singing "We Shall Overcome"

Ken Livingstone rants in an interview with Trevor McDonald that the ant has gotten rich off the backs of grasshoppers, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his "fair share".

In response to polls, the Labour Government drafts the Economic Equity and grasshopper Anti Discrimination Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant's taxes are reassessed, and he is also fined for failing to hire grasshoppers as helpers. Without enough money to pay both the fine and his newly imposed retroactive taxes, the government repossesses his home.

The ant moves to Spain, and starts a successful wine-exporting company.

A Panorama special later shows the now fat grasshopper finishing up the last of the ant's food, though Spring is still months away, while the council house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he hasn't bothered to maintain it.

Inadequate government funding is blamed, Trevor Phillips is appointed to head a commission of enquiry that will cost £10,000,000.

The grasshopper is soon dead of a drug overdose, the Daily Mirror blames it on the obvious failure of government to address the root causes of despair arising from social inequity.


THE END



[File under: ]

SatNav

Gorse Fox bought a portable SatNav (TomTom ONE) system for the Silver Vixen's new car. Yesterday's trip to Covent Garden was an opportunity to try it out.

The Gorse Fox was impressed. The screen, whilst small was clear and easy to read, without being a distraction. Best of all, however, was the voice directions. This meant that clear instructions were provided as junctions were approached. What made it so useful, however was the fact that once in areas that GF was unfamiliar with, he didn't have to continually check for street signs, or badager the Silver Vixen to check the map again. He could concentrate on the road and enjoy a stress-free journey.

One thing that was evident, however, is that there is a market for additional voices and tones. The standard voice was patient and clear... What GF wanted, however, was one that injects a note of disapproval, or sarcasm when you deviate from her instructions.


"So you think you know best, eh? Well get on with it, I'm having a nap."

"What's the matter can't you take simple instructions?"

"I said TURN RIGHT, stupid."

[File under: ]

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Day Tripper, Sunday Driver, yeah!

The Silver Vixen, Gorse Fox and an, as yet, undetermined number of cubs are heading up to Covent Garden to meet up with SV's mother and siblings to celebrate the birthday of earlier this week.
The original plan was to use the train, but with several of us going it will be economical to drive.


[File under: ]

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Torment - The Sequel

Here's another view...

Can't show too much, after all the Silver Vixen hasn't seen it yet (well not since the test drive, anyway).

[File under: ] Posted by Picasa

Torment

It is a brother's job to torment his sister. The Gorse Fox's sister requested photos of the Silver Vixen's new car...

The Gorse Fox is happy to oblige.[File under: ] Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 03, 2006

Trolls, eh!

Several escalations in progress at the moment to try and get 4 projects off the ground. Let's call them Project A, B, C and D. The Abbott, who is part of the escalation, sent a note requesting additional information on their status. The Gorse Fox was one of the recipients as were several trolls.
  • GF responded to all of the questions with as much information has he had.
  • One of the (borderline) trolls has kept quiet.
  • The other (lead) troll sent a note to the Abbott whining that Project D was nothing to do with him (making no comment on A, B, or C that were). That's the value that trolls add.

And people wonder why GF gets wound up by these cretins.
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The Silver Vixen has left for a day out with her coven. No doubt she will arrive home with several cubic metres of fabrics (because you can never have enough). The day will also give her time to think; she has decided that her new car (being collected tomorrow) must have name. This is a worrying trend. Gorse Fox feels uneasy about this... suggestions so far have ranged from Shrek, through Sassy, The Green Goddess, Clarissa, Lucinda, and on to Kermit. No decision has been made as yet.
[File under: ]

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Groundhog day

Today, the feast of St Blaise, and the Gorse Fox's mother-in-law's birthday, is Groundhog Day
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Groundhog day

Today, the feast of St Blaise, and the Gorse Fox's mother-in-law's birthday, is Groundhog Day
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Wrong number

So there were the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox in bed, drifting into the arms of Morpheus.

The phone rang!


Gorse Fox leapt from bed and started his headless-chicken impersonation as he tried to a) find his glasses, b) find his slippers, c) find his dressing gown, and d) run down the stairs; all at the same time. Of these, all he actually managed was to get to the bottom of the stairs.

Was it one of the cubs?

Was there a problem?

Was everything all right?


Gaining a degree of composure he answered the call. It was his beloved aunt from the colonies. An elderly uncle had passed away, and she wanted to let him know while she remembered.
Beloved aunt then went on:
"I knew you go to bed late" - er, no! He goes to bed early, and gets up early.
"Have you got a cold?", He replied in the affirmative
"Now that makes me feel guilty" she said.
Then she chuckled (as only she can) - "You know I got your number wrong just now? I phoned your old house... I got him out of bed too! she confessed. Apparently he was non-plussed "Were you trying to call the Gorse Fox? He moved from here seven years ago" Re-checking her address book, she realised the mistake and called the right number.

Gorse Fox returned to bed chuckling.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Discussions with Silver Vixen and Esteemed Client forced the Gorse Fox to cancel this week's trip in an effort to get over his cold without sharing it further. As this seems half the fun of having a cold, GF is festering in his study under an ever growing mountain of tissues.

Finalised the details of the transaction which will see the Silver Vixen change her car, and was pleasantly surprised by the insurance quote... a sure sign that age is creeping on.
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