Thursday, November 30, 2006
[File under: Diary]
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Not sure which of these will be chosen to brighten the meal... but further suggestions are welcomed.
- Sumo karaoke
- Onion bhaji ping-pong (using Naans as bats).
- Dressing up (though the Abbot doesn't have to wait for Christmas to do that)
- Face painting, and of course
- Seasonal Tattooing
- Seasonal body-piercing - this could include the use of Christmas bells
[File under: Diary]
"Silver Vixen arrived (in the dream) and was cross. She was cross because she had had to escort Cousteau-cub home because of her phobia for gloss paint, and that fact that she had painted the inside of her fridge with bright gloss"Not sure whether Gorse Fox should be more worried about the dream, or the content of the dream! (And, NO, Cousteau-cub does not have a phobia for gloss paint).
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Dear Mr. Architect:
Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion.
My house should have between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.
Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it, and the walls don't have nearly enough insulation in them).
As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly maintenance costs as low as possible. This should mean the incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminum, vinyl, or composite siding. (If you choose not to specify aluminum, be prepared to explain your decision in detail.)
Please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials are used in construction of the house, as I want it to be a showplace for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be alerted, however, that the kitchen should be designed to accommodate, among other things, my 1952 Gibson refrigerator.
To insure that you are building the correct house for our entire family, make certain that you contact each of our children, and also our in-laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the house should be designed, since she visits us at least once a year. Make sure that you weigh all of these options carefully and come to the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any choices that you make.
Please don't bother me with small details right now. Your job is to develop the overall plans for the house: get the big picture. At this time, for example, it is not appropriate to be choosing the color of the carpet. However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue.
Also, do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build the house itself. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans and specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would expect the house to be under roof within 48 hours.
While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. It therefore should have appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. Please make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a consensus of the population in my area that they like the features this house has. I advise you to run up and look at my neighbor's house he constructed last year. We like it a great deal. It has many features that we would also like in our new home, particularly the 75-foot swimming pool. With careful engineering, I believe that you can design this into our new house without impacting the final cost.
Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at this time to do the real design, since they will be used only for construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held accountable for any increase of construction costs as a result of later design changes. You must be thrilled to be working on an interesting project such as this! To be able to use the latest techniques and materials and to be given such freedom in your designs is something that can't happen very often.
Contact me as soon as possible with your complete ideas and plans.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Show me someone who drives slowly and I’ll show you a catastrophic bore. Someone whose life is empty, shallow and pointless. But there’s more to it than that.
They are also deeply unpleasant. Like bell ringers, they wish to
impose their beliefs and their way of life on everyone else. They are
people with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in amoral
behaviour without empathy or remorse. And that’s the
dictionary-definition of a psychopath.
On form, eh? Well, you may aregue that this assertion cannot be backed up by facts... but Clarkson continues:
The next time someone goes on a random shooting spree, hosing down
innocent men, women and children and then making good his escape,
please do not look for someone driving away at high speed in a flash
car. Look instead for someone in a chocolate-brown Nissan Micra doing
You don’t believe me? Well, think about it: how many racing drivers have been done for murder? None.
And now try to picture Saddam Hussein doing 200mph in a
Koenigsegg. You can’t, can you. Or Michael Ryan, or Robert Mugabe. And
then consider Hitler, whose automotive legacy was the VW Beetle —
absolutely the slowest car in the world.
Remember the M25 murderer Kenneth Noye? Remember what car he
stepped from before he stabbed that kid to death? Was it an M5 BMW?
Nope. It was a diesel-powered Land Rover Discovery, and this proves my
point. Slow drivers — they’re all exceedingly dull and they’re all
Well, he may have problems proving the last bit. However, living in Sussex does make you wonder, and look sideways at all of the hats that seem to be driving slowly in the middle of the roads with an apparent ignorance of all that is going on around them.
Technorati Tags: Motoring
GF has spent much of the last 24 hours looking at ways he can create satisfactory slide shows of his digital photos on DVD, such that they will show on both PC and TV.
- Nero barfed at the task
- Ulead barfed at the task
Saturday, November 25, 2006
"Tired of Turkey?"
"Tired of Goose?"
How about a low fat alternative. The Gorse Fox found this book on the shelves of a store in Lanzarote. He's not sure how much meat there is on a Canary, but it would point out that the feathers can be used as additional decorations. It is probably the ideal Christmas meal for one, but should you have guests you may need a few. The other advantage is that you can get them from a pet store, so don't have to fight through the supermarkets.
Friday, November 24, 2006
[File under: Diary]
We boarded the bus for the Long Term Car Park and observed as passengers (with their brains still in their luggage) boarded and blocked all the passagees and exist, whilst the back of the bus was empty. Once back at the car we were soon on the move and back home where we had an orgy of envelope opening of all the cards that had arrived for the Silver Vixen whilst we were away.
Today, a degree of normality returns... and GF will read a newspaper and watch the news for the first time in over a week (and much to his surprise the world has carried on without his attention).
[File under: Diary]
Thursday, November 23, 2006
A quiet morning with the books, on a sun terrace overlooking Fuerteventura seemed like a good start. The airport tanfer was not due till 12:50 so there was time to kill.
We went out to wait for the bus 15 mins early as requested... But it was 15 mins late (as expected). The journey to the airport was delayed by roadworks,but we got there. Then it was the usual heaving throng at check-in and the long queue for security. Finally we were through and able to sit down for a tea... And watch our embarcation times slip.
And they claim there is a romance to travelling.
Lanzarote deserves a further visit. It has a nice feel to the Island (certainly in the south) and there are a number of things that we did not get time to explore... and this does seem like the perfect time of year for such adventures.
The afternoon, spent by the pool, was time for reading and a time for musing.
Why is there a sign by the pool, outside the PADI Dive Centre, indicating "No diving"?
Is it accidental that Spanish jewellery shops are called "Joyerias"?
Why is it that the uglier a person is, the more flesh they insist on uncovering?
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Perfect... and somehow so much more fulfilling than an afternoon in Worcester!
[File under: Diary]
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The plan was to hit the the northernmost part of the island. It was a little overcast, but 28C and there was a pleasant, though strong warm wind. We drove up towards Arrecife, then westwards towards Teguise where the route took us north through Haria and Ye. There we turn onto a small track that took us to the Mirador del Rio.
Mirador del Rio was another of Cesar Manriques' designs. He took an old gun emplacement and converted it into a sleek curved rock formation at the top of a high cliff. On entry though the centre of this sweeping curve, you are greeted by a vast panoramic window that opens onto the Atlantic Ocean and the Isla Graciosa across the straits. It is a magical place with the most breathtaking views.
The Gorse Fox & Silver Vixen sat on the upper view platform and watched the view for ages. GF, however, kept getting disturbed by other tourist asking him to take their photo. At first this seemed like a pointless exercise; why would the GF want photos of complete strangers? Then it was made clear the photos were to be taken on their cameras.
From the mirador, we swept round the north coast to Ortoza, a small point at the tip of the island. It was a sleepy little port, from where the ferry leaves for Isla Graciosa, with some stunning views of the nearby cliffs... but little else to keep us interested.
We looped back south and stopped at Puerto Calero for an ice cream, and managed to experienec the worst service GF has had at any restuarant anywhere in the world. Avoid "Lani's" at all costs... unless you have hours to spare. Puerto Calero is a plush marina with some very expensive boats moored and some very nice looking shops. It is also the spot from which the submarine safari leaves. GF had arranged to meet up with Urban-cub & Sir Lancinglot for the Silver Vixen's birthday as they disembarked from the sub.
They came back to the hotel with us and we sat and watched the sun go down from the pool bar, and then made our way along the promenade to find a restaurant where we could have a celebratory meal. We stopped at a German establishment and had a pleasant meal (though no birthday cake). After that the kids got a taxi back to their resort and we had a quiet evening in the hotel.
[File under: Diary]
It had been a nice afternoon with the U-c & S-L; it was time to finish our drinks and gather our bits and pieces and head out for dinner... the Silver Vixen's birthday needed celebrating.
This was the submarine that Urban-cub and Sir Lancinglot had been out in. The "safari" lasted about 50 minutes and took them out of the harbour, and down to about 30 metres where they say a number of wrecks and plenty of fish.
Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen were there to meet them (assuming we ever got any service at the restaurant in which we were sitting).
You approach from the east and get no inling of the view that is hidden behind this crescent shaped entry. The volcanic rocks sweep up from ground level to a highpoint at the centre, then fall away again to the far side of the crescent. The entry is obscured but nestles beneath the single circular window that breaks the frontage.
The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen picked a table by the window and sat there gawping (whilst consuming a suitably refreshing beverage of our choice).
The extraordinary shapes, striations and flows within the roack seem to demand study. One rock formation towards the top right, looks like and angry bulldog peering out across the sea.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Monday and it was again overcast, about 26C but the air was thick, and visibility limited to a few miles. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen decided that trip to Lanzarote had to include The Timanfaya National Park, and Mantanas del Fuego.
Driving up from the resort lead us via Yaiza and the west towards the lava fields and volcanic cones. Entering the Park the road weaves through the grotesque shapes of the rocks that were hurled up from the earth's crust and up to a point where the car must be left and the journey continued on coaches. This environment is jealously protected, and rightly so.
The coach led us on a circuitous 14km journey past the fumeroles, craters, lava flows and fields of ash and ejecta. This tortured, nightmare landscape looked as if it could have been conceived by the brush of Bosch, yet held a strange and fascinating beauty. Photos were limited by the coach windows but GF looks forward to reviewing them once home.
Back at the terminous they showed how hot the ground was still, as just beneath the surface bracken hurled into a hole burst into flame, water dropped into tube created an instant geyser, and a huge open pit was being used to cook a rack of chickens. Certainly you could feel the heat emanating from the walls, the holes, and even the gravel.
Great spot and well worth the visit.
Quiet afternoon reading and sewing by the pool. (for the avoidance of confusion, Gorse Fox was the one reading)
As the Gorse Fox tried to peer over the wafts of hot air forced him back. The temperature of the BBQ is said to be 300C... not bad considering they've no charcoal!
This pit had been excavated a few feet down, and bracken thrown into the pit just burst into flames.
Here and there shattered rocks seem to claw their way through the surface like drowning men gasping a last breath.
This was an awesome place.
The entertainment staff at the hotel all wear yellow t-shirts with "Animacion" emblazoned across the back. This is obviously the Spanish word for "activities" or something similar. (The Spanish seem to have their own words for most things... Most inconsiderate*)
Anyway this "Animacion" seems more like Cartoon characters rather than entertainment. This would be fine if the staff all looked like Jessica Rabbit, but somehow Wile E Coyote seems more appropriate... And you should see the men!
*With apologies to Steve Martin
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Jameos del Agua is a part of the 7km volcanic tube that resulted from the shrinking of a lava flow that ran out under the Atlantic. Now the top of the tube has collapsed in several places and Cesar Manrique has developed the space into a work of art. We must have spent a couple of hours wandering through the chambers, past the lagoon, and on into the lush gardens and volcanic exhibits. Well worth the entrance fee. (Pictures to follow !)
Dropping the newly-weds back at their hotel we headed back to the south coast and looked back on an excellent way to spend an overcast day.
[File under: Diary]
The upper level is occupied by a museum that is dedicated to the sciences surrounding the study of volcanoes, of geology, and of the measurement of ground deformation (perhaps indicating volcanic activity).
It was said that the tools used to measure ground deformation are so accurate that from Barcelona you could measure a deformation in Granada as small as a 1 Euro coin. So if you ever mislay your change when in Granada, there's a chap in Barcelona who can probably help you find it.