Thursday, August 31, 2006

Business Class

Staying at our usual hotel in Worcester last night it was evident that not all guests are equal. The Abbot obviously gets some form of upgrade to a "Business Class". He returned to his room after work, to find a young lady resting on the bed.

They don't advertise this service, and claimed they had inadvertently checked her in to the wrong room. GF is not so sure. He thinks this may be special treatment for the Abbot.
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dinner

The Abbot treated a bunch of us to dinner. We went to Monsoon, an Indian restaurant in central Worcester. What we hadn't realised was that they provided a buffet. This suited the Gorse Fox as he could pick and choose, and the group didn't have to wait to be served.

The food was excellent for the £9 per head dinner!

Conversation ranged with a great deal of teasing and banter... and discussion of Boston's blog.
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Technoclasm, again

Gorse Fox is frustrated. His bluetooth headset (which he only uses whilst driving) seems to have lost its bond wit the phone. He's tried clearing, then "pairing" the connection again... but nada. The pairing workis, but the connection won't complete.
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Alarm, Return of the Noise

The silence that followed the overnight alarm seemed strained. At seven Gf struggled from bed and stood by the shower contemplating the controls.

RRRRRRRRiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNggggggggggggg !!!

The alarms went off again... and again small clusters of irritable humanity began to gather in the car park.

Somehow the apology letter that had been shoved under the bedroom door seemed trite. GF thought of burning it in the wastebin.
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Alarm, A Sequel

It's 03:25, and the Gorse Fox has just had the pleasure of a trip to the car park. The fire alarms went off again. Dishevelled excuses for humanity gathered in un-amused clusters as security checked the building.
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Alarm

For the second time today the Fire Alarms demanded our evacuation from the building.

The first time was inconvenient as it interrupted the meeting and coincided with a shower of rain.

The second time was beyond a joke. Dinner had just been served... but not started. Customer focus was good, however. Food was prepared again from scratch... and complimentary wine provided.
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Emergency. Which service do you require?

The Gorse Fox passed a car on the way to Warwick this morning. Said vehicle was decked out in the advertising livery of Dominoes Pizza. On the back it quoted the Dominoes' national hotline number. Why does a pizza delivery service need a national hotline? Are they a new (6th) emergency service?
"Oh look! He's collapsed. Call 999." cried the concerned citizen.

"No. Call Dominoes" shouted another.

Well GF guesses that they will arrive within 30 minutes
"Stand back. Stand back, let me through, I'm from Dominoes'. Do you want a side order of garlic bread?"


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Wishfull Thinking


Sitting in a meeting with a large group of Civil Servants. The day's happiest moment arrived when one senior individual piped up:

"You have to assume we are in the death throes of a government. A new government makes decisions that should last. This lot make knee-jerk
policies to keep the media happy"

Monday, August 28, 2006

Chillin' - The Sequel

Occasionally, a cloud scampered across the sky as the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen sat in the garden, and listened to tide washing the beach.

It was a perfect afternoon, with periodic shade and a gently breeze to prevent the sun from seeming too hot.

Once in a while a private airplane would track along the coast, like a weary hornet.
Some clouds, laid out like maps against the sky, looked mildly threatening, but soon passed.

GF has been reading a magazine about Spain, and looking at a brochure of National Trust holiday cottages. The working week seems so far far away - and that is what a long weekend* should achieve.

*(GF suspects that win on the lottery might have the same effect - but that requires that you do the lottery!)
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Calendar entry

Gorse Fox has just been helping the Silver Vixen with some formatting for the newsletter she writes each month. He notices that her coven have their annual general meeting on Friday 13th October...

Seems very appropriate, though halloween may be better still
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Grey Vote

An article in the weekend papers pointed out that the "grey vote" or "baby-boomers" will be the majority of the electorate by 2009.

Perhaps the main parties should reflect on that.
"Excuse me. Will you vote for me?"

Now let me see.

Are you from the party that has stolen £7Bn per year from pension schemes?

Are you from the party that taxes share transfers?

Are you from the party that will punish my thrift by stealing 40% of the inheritance I have created for my kids?

Are you the party that is threatening to raise my council tax because I have kept my property looking nice, have improved it (using my taxed income), and have a nice view?

Are you the party that gave John Prescott a job?

MMmmm, that's a no then.
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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Saving time

The Gorse Fox has just been thinking. (It does happen occasionally). Wouldn't it save time if, as a nation, we just ignored everything spouted by the left. Trendy left-wing idiots foist one idea after another on the nation. Anyone with an intelect greater than a pea can see the idea is patently stupid, or divisive, or just plain lunatic... but the idea is adopted. Then 10, 15, or 20 years later they are proved wrong (and in some cases even own up to it). Let's make a pact. In future we will ignore the trendy-Left.

Some classic cases in point:
  • Communism
  • Comprehensive education - which disenfranchised two generations of students
  • Regional asseblies (oh no, they haven't owned up to that yet)
  • Multi-culturalism - which ignored 1000 years of history that showed integration was the anwser


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Chillin'

A perfect afternoon saw the Gorse Fox sitting with the Silver Vixen out on the deck. A warm breeze took the edge off the hot sun, clouds scudded across the sky, the waves pounding beach provided a soundtrack worthy of a film sequence, and a glass of sangria made the whole thing seem as though we were somewhere exotic.

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Pubs

GF notices someone has visited this blog with the search words "pubs Kingston Gorse". If the visitor returns, he has bad news. There are no pubs in Kingston Gorse. Indeed there are no commercial premises of any description within the Parish.

If the denizens of KG need to visit a pub, they have to walk across the Rife into Ferring, or through West Kingston to East Preston.
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Exercise

Gorse Fox likes exercise, but regrettably does not do enough. One of the by-products of exercise is improved muscle tone, and even additional muscle bulk.

This is all very well. The problem is that GF has had explosive hay fever for the past 24 hours, with significant rhinitis. This has meant a frequent exercise in nose-blowing and sneezing. As a result he seems to have increased the muscle bulk of his nose (one part of the body that needs no encouragement).

Another by-product of this is that he can see his watch at night, without using the backlight. The gentle glow given off by his nose seems perfectly adequate for the illumination of close objects (and due to his watery, myopic eyes... believe me, they have to be close up).
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Bucks Update

GF knows that you have been waiting, breath bated, for an update on yesterday's trip to clear the Mother-in-Law's garage.

The first thing to explain, is that the GF was confused. He was on garden destruction duty, not garage cleansing duty. This was relatively good news. Loading the car with spades, forks, reciprocating saw (with heavy duty blade) and other assorted tools we headed off.

Traffic was flowing freely and we were making good time, until we saw warning of a road closure. The A34 (our main route) had been closed by a serious accident. This meant some deep thought and pondering over the maps looking for an alternative. In all this added an hour to the journey (no, not the map reading... the use of the alternate route).

Once there, Den & Dom, and Paul were busy transporting the contents of the garage to the tip. GF and the Silver Vixen headed for the garden. Out came the saw, and several small trees and large shrubs were cut into small enough sections to be bagged up for disposal. Nesting boxes were fixed. Liner and gravel put down. Plants planted.... and so forth.

Before we knew it, it was late afternoon, the job was done and the rain had started. (Best still, Arsenal had lost... though unfortunately so had Spurs).

We headed back to Den & Dom's house for a BBQ (if the rain eased)... and were joined by the Silver Vixen's gorgeous neices.

Very late getting back to the south coast.


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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bucks

GF and the Silver Vixen are heading for Buckingham today. The plan is to meet up with SV's brother and sister and do some serious clearing of their mothers garage and garden. GF can hardly wait!
What they will find in this garage - stuffed as it is to (in fact beyond) the rafters - can only be imagined.
Further reports later.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Technoclasm

Back on the south coast, the GF is juggling phone calls and trying to write several documents... however, his VPN keeps dropping, which is causing him immense frustration. No doubt Boston would shrug this off as being the result of over-dependence on technology. Then he would smugly return to his paper, search around for his pen which has run out of ink, then pick up a broken pencil.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Render under Caesar

The Gorse Fox has had some good news.

Dusty has been waiting to take holiday. The wait has been dictated by the gestation period of his first child. Yesterday he phoned to say things were happening and Butter was in labour.

Today, Uncle Fester announced:
"Dusty is a father. Mother and (as yet unnamed) baby are fine, though Butter had a ceasarian in the end"

Now, GF is no surgeon, but believes that this is not the way caesarians are normally done. It certainly seems a circuitous route.

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The Gorse Fox notes that there's no more Pluto. The planet has been downgraded. Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are under threat.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Reflection


Back in the hotel the Gorse Fox reflects on the day.
Mother Superior met with Pam Ayres. Evidently she was happy, as the
feedback was good. GF is now being coerced into applying for promotion.
This means jumping through several hoops. GF believes it to be unbecoming
for a gentleman of his advancing years to jump through hoops... but sees
little option other than compliance.

Also managed to meet the Mighty Atom's career manager... that gave the GF
an opportunity to tell her what he really thought... but GF wouldn't reveal
that here as he wouldn't like to make him blush.

Dinner tonight in Tewkesbury.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Brush


The Silver Vixen was in IKEA when GF phoned. That sounded worrying, until she assured GF she had only picked up a washing-up brush. Somehow Milton Keynes seems like a long way to go for such an inexpensive utensil.

GF dined with Mother Superior, the Abbott, Vincent and Rocket. Nice Thai food, and not too much business-talk made it a pleassant evening

Meetings

Today's early morning free-time was consumed by unscheduled meetings, then the scheduled three-hour meeting ran for 5 hours, then the two hours after that were consumed by more unscheduled meetings... and there's another scheduled for 19:30 over dinner.

Joy unbounded.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Tewkesbury again


The Silver Vixen headed for Buckingham,anda few days with her sister. The Gorse Fox headed for Tewkesbury.

Early evening is obviously a prime time for travel as the roads were empty. In fact they were empty enough to tempt a Police Traffic car onto the roads. GF likes traffic cars. They are driven by human beings, and humans can make judgements (unlike cameras).

This traffic officer made the judgement the GF was no threat with cruise control set at 75... and after a while overtook. Cars coming from behind started to bunch as they saw the dayglo stripes. He wasn't catching anyone without stealth.

He indicated and left the motorway. GF remained at the speed set in cruise control. The following traffic accelerated... and the traffic car rejoined the motorway behind them. Picking his victim he then eased up behind him and switched on the blues. It was all over in a flash.

Sneaky, but good to watch (as a non-participating observer).

Vulpes Familiaris

The Gorse Fox has been busy with domestic duties, on the last day of this brief break. One of the most pressing matter was to iron a few shirts ready for another few days away in Worcester. This, however, gave him time to watch a DVD of the conservation work done at Ightham Mote, and featured on Time Team. Fascinating stuff, and an exposition of real craftmanship.

More later. (Hopefully)

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Final Glimpses

Some final views of this enchanting house.

The south range from the outside. (Seems to be evidence of serious damp in the ditch around the house).

(By the way, photos are not allowed inside the house, which is why the GF hasn't shown the insides).

Two-arched bridge leading to the main entrance.

There is a cosy, homely feel to this place. Some old houses are dark, cold and uninviting. Not so Ightham Mote.



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Just Looking Around

Peering through the archway below the entrance tower the Gorse Fox could see a range of cottages.

This lower part of the tower dates from the 1330's... though the rest of the range is more recent.


The Cottages were built in the 1470s. Originally they formed a complete courtyard, but only a part of it remains.

The leftmost part of the range is actually available as a holiday cottage, which must be so tranquil once the visitors have gone for the day.


Looking back from the gardens by the cottages at the main (west) entrance range.



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Courtyard

Crossing the moat, and going through an entrance hall brings you into the courtyard.

This first view is, again, the original (east) range of the building. The other three sides were built on at various points in the house's history.

Note the Grade I listed kennel (large enough for a shetland pony - though actually it housed St Bernard).

The west range includes the entrance tower, which apparently gives great views over the countryside.

This part of the building also housed the apartments of the Charles Henry Robinson, the last owner of the house.

The north range is a late 15th century addition (comparatively modern).

The clock mechanism dates from th 1680s, though the clock itself is dated 1798.

The Gorse Fox has always loved cloisters and courtyards. This one afforded shelter and peace and must have been a wonderful place to sit on a summer's evening, with a glass of foaming ale and your laptop.




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Ightham Mote


The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen were off on their travels again.

Tucked in a hollow in the Kent countryside is one of the many enchanting gems of our long English history. Now cared for by the National Trust, this manor house is one of the most charming places that the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen have visited.

Built in 1320, it has been inhabited thoughout 650 years, growing as the needs of the owning family grew.
The National Trust have spent £10M on the conservation of this moated manor - saving it for generations to come.

If it seems familiar, it was featured on "Time Team" as the conservation approached completion.

It is ceratinly one of the most photogenic buildings Gorse Fox has seen.

This range is the original fabric of the house, from 1320.

Gorse Fox notes that the earliest building phase included the Great Hall, Crypt, Old Chapel and two Solars.

A Grade I listed building and in part a Scheduled Ancient Monument, Ightham Mote is according to Pevsner, "the most complete small medieval manor house in the country' and provides a remarkable picture of architectural development over more than five centuries."


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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Feeling Smug

Feeling smug, the Gorse Fox rested on a suitable perch. (It was as if it had been made for him).

He waited for a while, to greet passers-by, and bestow words of wisdom upon them to brighten their dreary lives... but none turned, so he went and got a cup of tea with the Silver Vixen. Posted by Picasa

Silver Vixen

Making the day perfect. The Silver Vixen, in her element - a fine garden. Posted by Picasa

More borders

The Gorse Fox is not a great one for flowers. GF prefers trees and shrubs... not wussy flowers.

Having said that, he was taken aback by the display in these borders. By the richness of colours. By the variety of shades, and the utter glory it represented.

GF may be a scientist... but this is beyond science.


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Borders

The formal gardens were a riot of colour. Considering how dry the summer has been, it was amazing to see such richness.


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Lingering






A few final shots of the remains of this rather enchanting building.
The dovecote nestles in the corner of the walled garden.
Looking back across the dovecote towards the building, gives an impression of what a superb residence it must have been.

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Hammer

The ruined Nymans would make a great movie set for one of the classic Hammer House of Horror films of the '70s.


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Ruined but not Destroyed




The remains of the great hall, framed by the specimen trees behind, the shrubs and climbers at the front.

All it needed was a damson damsel (you plum!) calling from the upper windows.
Having been through the last habitable parts of the building, we emerged on the eastern aspect. Lady Rosse (nee Messel) moved back into the undamaged part of the house in 1979 and remained there until her death in 1992.
Ah, ha... a damsel is found, lurking by the entrance watching for prince charming. He, however, was too busy taking the pictures to notice.

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Nymans House

The house, at Nymans, sits more or less in the centre of the 30 acre primary gardens.

Messel was a successful stockbroker, and puchased the house and 600 acres of land for himself and his family.

At that time, the house was a large Victorian villa, which he extended with a tower, and large conservatory.
When his son inherited the house, he set about major alterations. He shrouded the victorian villa in a romantic medieval frame.

The works were completed in 1928, but the family only got 19 years of use... as on 9th February, 1947 the major part of the building was destroyed by fire.

The ruins remain, and provide a romantic backdrop to the gardens.


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Specimens

Everywhere you looked there were stunning specimen trees. Sequoia, Acer, Quercus, Cedrus (it sounded like the Brasil midfield).

This Acer up on the ridge caught the Gorse Fox's eye. Posted by Picasa
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Survivor

Nymans was badly hit by the great storm of 16th October 1987. Many of the trees were flattened, and a huge exercise of renbewal and replanting ensued.

GF is not sure if that is the history of this specimen, but it looked like an overgrown bonsai. Posted by Picasa
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Nymans

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen decided that an outing was called for in celebration of their wedding anniversary.

After brief debate, Nymans was chosen:
"Do you fancy a trip to Nymans?"
"Yes"
Well, GF said it was brief

Nymans is a National Trust property on the Sussex High Weald. It was developed over three generations of the Messel family, in the 20th Century.
Not far from Handcross, this huge estate looks out over the Weald and south-west towards the coast. The thirty acres of themed planting are surrounded by many hundreds of acres of woodland.

The main route through the primary gardens starts with the pinetum. This fantastic collection is interspersed with rich Acers... and demand a return visit in the autumn. Posted by Picasa

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Ryanair plays hardball on security costs

So Michael O'Leary wants to sue the Government for the financial impact that the new security measures have had on his operation we hear from the Telegraph in their article Ryanair plays hardball on security costs

Gorse Fox thinks that Government should withdraw his license to operate for the impact this objectionable little man has had on customer service and truth in advertising.

Fortunately:

A DfT spokesman dismissed Mr O'Leary's view, saying: "We have no intention of compromising security levels nor do we anticipate changing our requirements in the next seven days."

Friday, August 18, 2006

Global Warming - Vegetarians to Blame

It was reported on the radio that scientists in Australia are try to breed more efficient cows. The problem, it appears, is that the current bovine converts its feed into milk or meat... but creates about 250-400 litres of methane a day, as a by-product. The concern is that this is a major contributor to global warming.

The Gorse Fox's interest was raised so he hit Google, and found that this is a serious subject - not just a lot of hot air.

There are numerous other arcticles on the subject, and the unconscienable use of the word "cowabunga".

What is clear, however, is that vegetarians are to blame for global warming. Cows and sheep are vegetarians and we have discussed them above... but the Gorse Fox knows the impact that vegetarianism (and radical vegetarianism) has on the digestive tract of homo flatulens sapiens and believes this to be conclusive proof that they are to blame!

Update: Gorse Fox discussed this with the Silver Vixen. She wandered off muttering. Gorse Fox only caught the words pot, kettle and black. Not sure what she meant!

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Test drive

The Silver Vixen hadn't been impressed with the cauldron, at her feet.

So she decided to have a test drive instead. This new broomstick has particularly low emissions, requires no tax, and no petrochemical fuel... it is the GTI version, hence the short handle. Posted by Picasa

Car Park

Because the Gorse Fox had brought his car, we had to park in the normal car park.

It was evident, however, that other members of the Silver Vixen's coven had driven themselves, and been able to park a lot closer to the exhibits. Posted by Picasa