Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Stoned

Gorse Fox notices that in Quebec newcomers to the town of Herouxville have been told not to "stone women in public, burn them alive, burn them with acid, etc."

This must be a relief.

It does, however, raise a certain concern about other towns in Quebec that have not made such a pronouncement... and the fact that these are only "guidelines" on the town's website.

Nothing to see here

Busy morning with almost no gaps between meetings...but for a change GF did have a few spare minutes at lunch time. Heading back to the south coast after this afternoon's meeting.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Looking forwards

The youthful Gorse Fox is of course years from retirement. He has, however, received this missive from Old Father Time, and now looks forward to retirement with a certain glee:
Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting?

Well for example, the other day my wife and I went into town and went into a shop. We were only in there for about 5 minutes. When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket. We went up to him and said, "Come on man, how about giving a senior citizen a break?"

He ignored us and continued writing the ticket. I called him a Nazi ****. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires. So my wife called him a ****head.

He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket.

This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote.

Personally, we didn't care. We came into town by bus.

We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired. It's important at our age.

Keep on waiting

Listening to the BBC Radio News on his journey up to Worcester the Gorse Fox heard that
"surgeons in Leicester would be performing a revolutionary new keyhole procedure on the aorta of an 89 year old patient who was plucked from the wreckage of an air raid shelter during World War II"

Gorse Fox knew that waiting lists were bad, but that is ridiculous

Monday, January 29, 2007

Starfleet

Starfleet is rightly proud of its reputation. In upholding that reputation each trooper is required each year to review Starfleet's code of ethics, and certify that they will comply. It's things like this that make the Gorse Fox proud to be one of them(*).

Some simple quotes:
  • Unethical behavior is never okay at work.
  • We all have a personal responsibility to know and follow this code of ethics at work and to report any violations. Starfleet is counting on you
  • Starfleet prohibits discrimination based on:
    • race
    • color
    • religion
    • gender, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation
    • national origin
    • disability
    • age
    • genetics
    • other factors unrelated to Starfleet's legitimate business interests
  • Starfleet also prohibits the use of violence, carrying of weapons, and the use and distribution of illegal drugs.
The actual code of ethics is quite a large document and in days of yore it used to be handed to all new starters. Now it's a collection of electrons on the intranet... but still a masterpiece of business ethics.

(*)He didn't mean one of them, he meant numbered amongst their ranks.

Green adviser's 500-mile commute

In the "Don't do as I do, do as I say" file from the Government's environmental policy we find this story at the BBC's website.
As a former member of the sustainability commission, Richard Wakeford said the explosion in low-cost air travel was "unsustainable".

and so we find that the
senior civil servant and former environmental adviser to Tony Blair commutes weekly by plane from his home in Gloucestershire to Edinburgh.

Now before you take umbrage, you have to remember that it's one rule for us, but a different rule for them.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Paint over

The weekend's decorating is complete. The living room crip and clean. The furniture shuffled.
Job done.

How lucky can you get?

Who'd have thought it? Two lottery wins in one weekend!!!

NOTIFICATIONS OF AWARD 2007.
Euromillion loteria Espanol Award 2007.
Paseo De La castellana
15-89, 28008 Madrid. Spain ,Branch.
Ref. No: ES/007/05/12/MAD.
Batch. No: GHT/2907/333/05.
YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS WON THIS YEAR EURO MILLION LOTTERY.

We wish to congratulate you over your email success in our computer
balloting sweepstake held on 24th January 2007. This is a millennium
scientific computer game in which email addresses were used. It is a
promotional program aimed at encouraging internet users, therefore you
do not need to buy ticket to enter for it.Your email address attached
to ticket star number :(4/5) drew the EUROMILLION lucky numbers
3-19-26-49-50 which
consequently won the draw in the Second category.
You have been approve for the star prize of $ 950,000,00. (Nine Hundred
And Fifty
Thousand United States Dollars Only).
CONGRATULATIONS !!!
You are advised to keep this winning very confidential until you
receive your lump prize in your account or optional cheque issuance to
you,This is a protective measure put in place to avoid people applying
for your winnig fund,as we have had cases like this before.Please send
,
Your Full Name,------------------------------------
Home and Office Telephone numbers,-----
Mobile Tele Number -----------------------------
Fax Number-----------------------------------------
and your winning ticket number,reference numbers and amount
won information.
For processing of your winning fund to our registered claim agent Via
addrress below:
Dr Luis Martinez
PROSEGUR SECURITY FIRM,
Avenida de America 12 Madrid Spain.
E-mail:prosegursec@aim.com
All winning must be claimed not later than 9th February, 2007.Please
note,in order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, remember
to quote your reference number and batch number in all correspondence.
Furthermore, should there be any change of address do inform our agent
as soon as possible.
Once again congratulations.
Best Regards,
Mrs.Emily Simon
(Lottery coordinator).

This promotional program takes place every year. This year lottery was
promoted and sponsored by THE MANAGEMENT OF THE STAATSLOTERIJ COMPANY
B.V AND SULTAN OF BRUNEI, we hope with part of your winning you will
take part on our next year 2 million international lottery.
The Gorse Fox can hardly contain his excitement! He does wish these cretins would crawl back inside a hole and stop this nonsense.
Just be nice to people.

You have to look twice

Gorse Fox wonders how many poor souls are taken in by emails such as the one he has just received:

WINNING NOTIFICATION

We happily announce to you the draw (#1019) of the UK NATIONAL LOTTERY,
online Sweepstakes International program held on the 27th January,2007,
Your e-mail address was attached to ticket number:56475600545 188 with
Serial number 5368/02 drew the lucky numbers :21-32-41-42-43-46, and
a bonus number of (17) which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd
category.You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of £251,420
(two hundred and fifty-one thousand,four hundred and twenty pounds) in cash
credited to file KTU/9023118308/03. This is from a total cash prize of
£1,005,680 shared amongst the (4) lucky winners in this category that is
Match 5 plus bonus.

All participants for the online version were selected randomly from World
Wide Web sites through computer draw system and extracted from over
100,000 unions,associations, and corporate bodies that are listed online.

This promotion takes place weekly.Please note that your lucky number
falls within our European booklet representative office in Europe as indicated
in your playcoupon. In view of this, your £251,420 (two hundred and
fifty-one thousand, four hundred and twenty pounds ) would be released
to you by any of our payment offices in Europe.

fiduciary Agent: MR: MICHAEL MARTINS
Email address: claimsagent0607@sify.com

(Form HLP)
REFERENCE NUMBER: UK/9420X2/68
FULL NAME...............................................
FULL ADDRESS:...........................................
SEX:.................................
AGE...................................
OCCUPATION.............................
TEL.......................FAX................. (If any)
COUNTRY................................
E-MAIL..................................
WINNING NUMBER......................


Yours Truly,
Richard K Lloyd.

Co-ordinator (Online Promo Programme).

Hey ho. GF thought he was rich (for about a nanosecond). But it's always hard to win a lottery in which you have not participated.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

C'est la vie

In a report from US travel magazine "International Living", Britain has been assessed as 37th in the list of countries offering "quality of life".
France came first.
You may gasp at being 37th (particularly when you realise that Slovenia, Panama, Bulgaria, and Urguay were all better)... but then you have to realise that the assessment was based on:
  • cost of living
  • culture
  • economy
  • environment
  • freedom
  • health
  • infrastructure
  • safety
  • climate
Well, thinks the GF how can Britain be marked down so low?
  • Cost of Living
    No probleme here... Increasing at an alarming rate (as much as 10% pa for some people, according to the ONS). Obviously healthy to be growing so fast.
  • Culture
    Hey! We have Big Brother, Eastenders, 24 hour drinking, Jade Goody, Jonathan Ross, Jerry Springer: The Opera, Bid Up TV.
  • Economy
    No problem here. Health £500Bn hole in the Chancellor's sums, but anyone can make a mistake. He's sorting it out by taking away our pensions and and ensuring that nearly all of us are liable for inheritance tax.
  • Environment
    Beautiful countryside, rolling hills, sweeping vistas - though the government plans to build over huge tracts of green belt and try to concrete over the south-east.
  • Freedom
    We are a free nation. But we have to allow tax assessors in to poke around houses, and will have to carry id cards and show them as if in an occupied country, and all the data the government holds on us will be shared (including our medical records). Yep, we're free.
  • Health
    GF won't even discuss this.
  • Infrastructure
    Hey, we have roads, and we have railways. the government doesn't want us to use the roads, and the train companies don't want us to use the trains... but the infrastructure is there.
  • Safety
    Here we lead the world. Our Health & Safety nazis are so paranoid that we
    • have firemen who cannot slide down a pole
    • have firemen not allowed to climb ladders
    • have teachers reprimanded for taking children out of school without a written risk assessment
    • have arrested a retired civil servant for diving into the deep end of a swimming pool
    • have signs saying "Beware falling pears" under a pear tree in autumn
    • are cutting down yew trees in case people slip on the pavement nearby
    • have banned conkers (except when wearing protective apparatus such as goggle and gloves)
  • Climate
    We have a great climate. Never too hot, never too cold... but it does get a bit grey!

Mmmmm. How on earth did we get as high as 37th?

Preparing to watch paint dry

It's a glorious morning down here on the south coast. The sun is up. There isn't a cloud in the sky (at least in that bit visible from GF's study)... and he can almost hear the paint brushes and rollers rustling as they brace themselves for a hard day.
Not meaning to procrastinate, he thinks he'll read the paper first.
And see if he can book a haircut. :-)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ooh, ooh, ooh

GF is taken aback. He has just found himself agreeing with David Cameron. He was speaking at the World Economic Forum and is quoted:

"Why can't we have a Chancellor of the Exchequer who gives a faithful
report of what's happening in the country, and what is actually in his
Budget? That shouldn't be rocket science."


GF would take it further. Why can't we have politicians who try to tell the truth rather than obfuscate. But you carry on Davy boy... good start.

he continues:

"When I worked in the Treasury it would have been unthinkable for the
Chancellor to give a Budget speech in which he didn't include the major
proposals in his Budget,"
he said. "This Chancellor has done it
repeatedly. He did it with changes to Advance Corporation Tax, which
was the big pension funds steal."


Gorse Fox cannot adequately express his contempt for the Chancellor and that move.

GF would like to apologize for the testing that has been going on, but he needed to check what did and didn't work after the switch. Many who switched during the beta programme had problems with various components (like photo uploads)... so even though the service is now out of beta testing it was worth a few checks under the hood.
(So far everything he's tried has worked just fine. Looks pretty stable).

Test


Test
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Gratuitous holiday snap sent as a test of Flickr photoblog.

Flickr

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Keep on testing

Gratuitous picture of Gorse Fox's great-great-grandparents as a test that he can still upload photos from Picasa, successfully.

(This photo was probably taken in Glasgow in the last quarter of the 1800s)
Posted by Picasa

Testing some more

This is a test of "Performancing" for input to the new Blogger.

Testing

Gorse Fox has just switched over to the new version of Blogger. It seems sensible to test that he can still make entries.

Hen's teeth

There is a view in Starfleet that on large projects finding enough IT Architects is like searching for hen's teeth (with apologies to Atyllah).



Gorse Fox must be the tooth fairy(*) re-incarnate. He is about to bring two further architects into his team, and has been offered two more on top of that!



(*) Any needless comments regarding fairies will be expunged. You have been warned.

Total broadband - total something

After 20 minutes of searching, the Gorse Fox found a contact number for BT Broadband on one of the pages of their site.
He dials. The number is out of use, and has been replaced.
He dials the new number.
He plays tag with the menu options and eventually gets through to a human.
"Hello, my name is Gary, how can I help you?"
"Hello, I'm the Gorse Fox and I ordered an upgrade to BT Total Broadband through your website, at the weekend. As yet I have had no form of confirmation. Can you tell me the status of the order".
"Can you confirm your number?"
The Gorse Fox obliged.
"Ahh!" said Gary "I see the problem. You can't upgrade because you don't have Broadband on that line"
The Gorse Fox assured Gray that he did, he had been using it for at least 5 years, and what's more he was being charged for it.
"No, you definitely don't have Broadband"

There was a slight break in the Gorse Fox's legendary equanimity.
"I'll transfer you" said Gary, and there was a slight pause.

"Hello, my name is Gloria, thankyou for calling BT Yahoo, how can I help you this evening?"
"Well, Gloria" said the Gorse Fox as went on to explain his query...
"You can't upgrade, sir" GF could almost hear the exasperation in her voice, "you don't have Broadband"
"Then please explain why you are billing the Gorse Fox for a service he doesn't have"

There was evidently no script on the call centre computer to handle that response. Gloria had to think for herself. She dug into the system, and lo! and behold! she found that Gorse Fox did indeed have Broadband... but that his online upgrade had not been processed. The order was resubmitted over the phone... and now we must wait.


[File under: ]

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Photos

Cousteau-cub took some wonderful photos of Brighton in the snow yesterday. Remarkable photos under any circumstances... but they were taken with a mobile phone.

(Technology convergence is brilliant, but what GF wants to see is a toaster with a 5 megapixel camera)

Close Shave

The Gorse Fox is relieved. He has tried to keep his head down and stay clear of publicity. As a result,he has thankfully been omitted (once more) from this years list of the world's sexiest men. The list shows a number of predictable entries: Daniel Craig, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, David Beckham... & David Cameron. It even includes Gordon Brown.
Gorse Fox notices that John Prescott failed to make the cut, despite all his publicity.
[File under: ]

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Safe

Home safe and sound. No signs of snow or ice. Traffic free-flowing.

Winter

Urban-cub and Silver Vixen report snow on the coast. Here in Worcester it's cold, but dry. GF hopes the journey home tomight will not be too troublesome.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Excitement unbounded

Gorse Fox finds Worcester such a vibrant place. After a curry with his colleagues he returned to the hotel to find the notice board advertising the various events that are on at present. Top of the list in the main suite was "Paper Folding".

GF can hardly contain his excitement. He only hopes that the participants aren't too rowdy when they leave.

Busy day with lots of progress punctuated by the odd meetings.



Silver Vixen sounds a bit rough on the phone. She seems to be on the edge of losing her voice.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Distraction

Gorse Fox has been in a number of meetings. One, which lasted for many hours had the odd moments of distraction. Looking at his notes he sees occasional entries like:

  • 15 minutes discussing semantics and taxonomy. Called to an end when the Chair reached boredom threshold.
  • Chair has very high tolerance.
  • The Don is chewing his leg off in an attempt to escape.
  • Concerted attack by governance nerd.

Just googled

Gorse Fox was just reviewing some of the search queries that have resulted in people visiting the blog... Today seems to have been a little bizarre with these searches:

  • birthday cake blueprints
  • sat nav level crossing fine sussex woman

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Human Rights

According to the Mail on Sunday

Cherie Blair shocked Britain's most senior civil servant by claiming
she was entitled to cut-price designer clothes worth thousands of
pounds - because she was protected by European human rights laws.

Gorse Fox doen't really have an axe to grind on this, but the argument continues:

Barrister Mrs Blair, an expert in the controversial human rights
legislation, claimed the law gave her the right to 'enjoy her
possessions' without the State meddling.

Ahh, there's the rub. Gorse Fox will remember that one when the inspector comes to snoop through the house to revalue it for Council Tax.

Whinger

Arsene Wenger has been complaining (there's something new) that The Forces of Darkness get proportionally more yellow cards than their opposition.

Of course they do! They are a snide bunch of cheats who, when they are not playing exquisite football, are cynical cheats who dive, hack, and whinge. Watching them, as he is at this moment, fluctuates between pleasure at some great football, and fury at their gamesmanship.

(But then, Osama Bin Laden is one of their most famous fans... say it all really!)

Quiet day

A quiet day which involved filling in a form to claim a tax rebate. One of the finer things in life.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Service Upgrade

So GF received an offer from BT Broadband... an upgrade to "Total Broadband". He hesitated. Why change something that seems to work perfectly?

But then it should mean a faster service, free evening and weekend calls, a new wireless hub and so forth... and this was going to be cheaper than his existing service. A no brainer, really.

Testing 1_2_3


This is just a test post. The Gorse Fox is trying out ShoZu as a means of photoblogging from his phone.

Posted by ShoZu

Friday, January 19, 2007

KO

Old Father Time has sent another email that made GF chuckle and thought it worth passing on:

Afternoon,
I'm not usually one for posting warnings about potential scams but I had a close miss today. I walked into B and Q some old guy dressed in orange asked me if I wanted decking. Fortunately, I got the first punch in and that was the end of that. Those less suspecting might not be so lucky. Be careful out there....

The Department

Gorse Fox visited "The Department". Ushered into the meeting room, he found a fine spread of sandwiches and fruit, juices, tea, and of course coffee.

The secretary (who appears to have survived a sense of humour bypass) gave the Gorse Fox a blank look when he pointed to the coffee:

"Organic coffee! As opposed to..?"

She then started to tell him about fair trade coffee and pesticides. All GF's instincts told him to respond... and point out the ridiculousness of the label but he resisted, and she left the room. GF sighed. Posted by Picasa
Friday finds the Gorse Fox sitting on a train en route to London. After yesterday's storms, the morning has started with a whimper. A few shredded clouds still litter the sky, and a golden sunrise pressages a fine day.
[File under: ]

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Duck

The Silver Vixen reveals that some tiles have been dislodged from a neighbour's roof. So far, all seems intact for us, though chunks of wood are being flung about the garden and BBQ cover has been dislodged again. GF hopes that it's all still there when he gets home.

Batten down

A major storm is pounding us in here in Worcester. The wind speed is rising, and the rain thrashing down. The UK Wind Speed Map shows that we are not getting the worst of it, but it looks as if the Silver Vixen is getting a pounding back in Sussex.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Oh well.

Back at the hotel the Gorse Fox considers the day.

On reflection, it was Wednesday.

  • Wireless hotspot "There are too many users using this account."
  • GF checks all aspects of his alter-ego, and checks for incipient schizophrenia. No, none of us are logged in.
  • Phone BT Openzone
  • BT Openzone helpdesk keep him on hold... for 8 minutes
  • "Hello, it's Jeff here, how can I help?"
  • GF suppressed his desire to say "answer the phone more quickly"... gave his account details, et voila here he is.
The efforts GF goes to in order to keep you informed!

Upgrade

GF and his colleagues have been upgraded. One of the wings in worcester has been refurbished and we have all been moved into the palatial surroundings, this week. First impressions:

  • Nice
  • Strange smell
  • Comfortable
  • Conducive to work
  • High density
  • High octane

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dodge and Weave

Gorse Fox is back in Worcester after a fairly uneventful drive.

Well almost uneventful. It's 5:45, dark, but clear. The dual carriageway is empty in front of GF for at least a mile. Behind him the road is clear for at least half a mile. GF is listening to the radio and chuckling to himself over something or other. He catches sight of lights over on the other side of the road... and at this point "white van man" swings across the dual-carriageway into GF's "lane". Closing speed of about 70mph. Distance to impact 20 metres. Brain calculates options, checks mirrors and somehow retains his equanimity as he dodges the van.

It just goes to show that even at this time of the morning people can still be suffering the effects of the previous night's stupid pills.

Monday, January 15, 2007

More Interference

The Gorse Fox directs you to the article "Government Seeks New Anti-Nuisance Powers". David has, again, got right to the nub of the issues we face:

Yesterday, the Government Minister
for Minding Other People’s Business, Trigonometry Punkbuster, announced
that the government would be seeking new powers under new legislation...
Sounds like a real department... in fact sounds like the whole government. As an example of these powers David cites:

Under the proposed new legislation we want to enable government
inspectors - with police backup if necessary - to enter people’s homes
and examine the arrangement of their cutlery drawers.’

This erudite dissertation contains research from the University of Camberwick Green, and quotes from Professor Sprinkle Hoodihugga.


Masterful analysis



Technorati Tags:

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Driving you wild

The great philosopher start his piece in the Sunday Times:

Twenty-five miles per hour. On a derestricted national road. That’s how
fast the little Peugeot was going. Queen Victoria would have called it
slow. There were tribes in pre-human Ethiopia that would have called it
slow. On the Beaufort scale, twenty-five miles per hour isn’t even
classified as a light breeze.
Naturally, there was a huge snake in the Peugeot’s wake. Trucks.
Vans. Bicycles. Oxen. People going to work. And me, on my way to
Birmingham airport. If I’d known I was going to be travelling so slowly
I’d have used a horse.

Driving through Sussex were you, Jeremy?

You may have noticed, the Gorse Fox is not impressed by the speed fascists. He believes that you should drive to the conditions... and that may mean 15mph near a school, or 10mph in a busy High Street, but it may also mean 80mph or more on clear straight motorways or dual carriageways. (GF would add that he uses cruise control to ensure he does not allow his speed to drift ever upwards... and interestingly his Golf is more economical at 78mph than it is at 70mph, by about 2 mpg).



Technorati Tags:

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Millinery attacked by Bee

A certain bonnet may have been attacked by a bee. As a result (and not before time) paint brushes were drawn, furniture moved, and the process of smartening up the living room commenced.

It was soon clear that there was some marking that may have indicated the ingress of damp, and this corresponded to a run of wall where we have been seeing the gutters failing to due their duty. Investigation made it clear that there were insufficicient downspouts for the area of roof, so GF went off with a list and returned with lots of different bits of plastic pipe and gutter. Needless to say, it had cost a fortune but GF spent and hour or so with a ladder and some tools and we now have a new piece of gutter with a downpipe.

Hopefully this will rectify the problem, but with the prevailing south-westerly winds driving any rain into that corner of the house, only time will tell.





Technorati Tags:

Wisdom

Gorse Fox refers you to the ever readable Gray Monk and his post "Some Rules of Life every school child should get straight". His rules are quoted from Bill Gates, but despite that, GF believes they should be printed on every classroom wall.



Go read them.

Now.

What are you waiting for? read them now, and come back when you've finished.





Technorati Tags:

Friday, January 12, 2007

Where technology counts

Ananova tells us of the Flush Loo. This is technology at its best.

Roto Rooter's toilet comes equipped with a TV and DVD player, an Xbox 360 and an iPod.

There's also a laptop computer, a fridge and a beer tap, reports Metro.

The toilet comes complete with an emergency button in case there are any plumbing problems.




Technorati Tags:

Invasion of privacy

GF heard at last night's council meeting that the National Audit Office are requesting the right to examine the bank accounts of County and District Council staff. the excuse is that they have so much opportunity for fraud.

Whilst it doesn't affect GF, he thinks it outragreous. This seems to presume guilt unless proved innocent. GF would remind you that they already have the ability to apply to the courts for the right to look at the accounts of a suspect... but this removes the courts from the process.

At what point is the wretched government going to stop prying into every nook and cranny of our existence?





Technorati Tags: ,

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The End

GF noticed several headlines along the lines of "The End for Becks". All GF can say is he hopes he gets a similar end... $128M over 5 years for leaving Real Madrid. GF thinks Mr Beckham has had the last laugh on the headline writers.

Busy, busy

Early start again, followed by day in Reading... back in time for a quick bite before heading off to a council meeting. No time just now.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Schedule

First meeting of the day is scheduled for 8:30 and due to last for seven and a half hours! That'll be productive.

Monsoon

Leaving the office in Worcester last night was like emerging into a monsoon. The rain was lashing down, the car parks flooded, the roads awash. Checking into his normal hotel GF settled down to unpack prior to meeting up with colleagues for dinner. Aptly, the venue chosen was Monsoon, the Indian restuarant that provides the buffet service. Mother Superior and the Abbott joined us for the evening and we had a very pleasant time.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Splash

There's something mildly satisfying about sitting, smug, in the car as the rain thrashes down outside. There is, however, something equally disconcerting about sitting there watching the rain, but dripping with water yourself.



The Gorse Fox had reached Swindon. The rain was hurling down. GF was thirsty so he grabbed a bottle of spring water, unscrewed the top and whoosh!!! the sparkle had decided to escape and spray the inside of the car... and the Gorse Fox. His grey trousers were soaked, his shirt was soaked, the steering wheel dripped, the inside of the windscreen needed wipers (and so did GF's glasses).

Monday, January 08, 2007

Trend

The trend that started before the break has continued with another trip to Reading. GF was hopeful that he could stay in the south this week, but events have conspired against him and he needs to go to Worcester for a couple of days.

Today's meeting was a really good way to start back (apart from the 5:45 start)... Practical, informative, stimulating and the start of some real implementation activity.

[File under: ]

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Despond

Gorse Fox is trying to remain upbeat and positive, despite the facts that:

  • The Forces of Darkness won against Liverpool yesterday (not that GF supports Liverpool)

  • He didn't win the lottery yesterday (he didn't actually do the lottery, to be fair)
  • The weather is grey
  • The Nu-Labour (nu-Fascist) party is still in power, so his pension will continue to be eroded, and a large percentage of his wages will continue to be taken and given to all and sundry.

  • It's back to work tomorrow
Have a good day.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Instant noodles

Gorse Fox notices the inventor of instant noodles has died, aged 96, in Japan. GF wonders if he could be revived by pouring boiling water over his coffin, and leaving for a minute or two?



Technorati Tags:

Plagiarism

The Gorse Fox is shamelessly plagiarizing a quote from a recent Starfleet newsletter... and acknowledges the originianla author:

  • Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
  • Can fat people go skinny dipping?
  • Can you be a closet claustrophobic?
  • Why is the word "abbreviation" so long?
  • Is it possible to be totally partial?
  • If a book about failures doesn't sell is it a success?
  • If a funeral procession is at night, do folks drive with their lights off?
  • When companies ship Styrofoam, what do they pack it in?
  • If you are cross-eyed and have dyslexia, can you read all right?
  • If a stealth bomber crashes in a forest is there a sound?
  • If a parsley farmer is sued, do they garnish his wages?
  • When it rains, why don't sheep shrink?
  • Should vegetarians eat animal crackers?
  • Do cemetery workers prefer the graveyard shift?
  • What do you do when a endangered animal eats endangered plants?
  • If a mute swears, does his mother wash his hands?
  • If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?
  • Is there another word for synonym?
  • Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do "practice"?
  • When sign makers go on strike, is anything written on their signs?
  • When you open a bag of cotton balls, is the top one meant to be thrown away?
  • Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all"?
  • Would a fly without wings be called a walk?
  • Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?
  • If a turtle does not have a shell, is he homeless or naked?
  • Why do they sterilize the needles for lethal injections?
  • Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
  • Is it true cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?
  • What is the speed of dark?
GF can almost hear the groan...







Technorati Tags:

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sparks

Gorse Fox has been showing his expertise with electricity. The light in the porch had been out of action for a while and it was time to fix it.

  • Fuse was removed
  • Old light fixture removed (completely broken)
  • Wires left hanging from ceiling
  • Drive to DIY store and buy replacement light fitting
  • Return home, drink coffee
  • Remove fitting from box and read instuctions
  • Follow instruction and fit new light
    • Strip wires
    • Feed through grommets
    • add insulating sleeves
    • Tighten terminals over exposed ends of wires
    • Attach light fixture to ceiling
  • Insert light bulb
  • Re-insert fuse
  • Jump back as spark blows fuse
Get out list of local electricians. Pick up phone.





Technorati Tags:

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Tale for our Time - The Squirrel

Gorse Fox was sent the following, he accepts no credit for the text, but acknowledges the anonymous author for his or her perception:



In most of the world

The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building and improving 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 squirrel is warm and well fed.



The shivering grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

However, things may be different if the Squirrel lives in the UK:

The squirrel 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 squirrel is warm and well fed.



A social worker finds the shivering grasshopper, calls a press conference and demands to know why the squirrel should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others less fortunate, like the grasshopper, are cold and starving.



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



The British press inform people that they should be ashamed that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so, while others have plenty.



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

Ken Livingstone rants in an interview with Trevor McDonald that the squirrel got rich off the backs of grasshoppers, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the squirrel to make him pay his "fair share" and increases the charge for squirrels to enter inner London. In response to pressure from the media, the Government drafts the Economic Equity and Grasshopper Anti Discrimination Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer.



The squirrel's taxes are reassessed.



He is taken to court and fined for failing to hire grasshoppers as builders for the work he was doing on his home and an additional fine for contempt when he told the court the grasshopper did not want to work.



The grasshopper is provided with a council house, financial aid to furnish it and an account with a local taxi firm to ensure he can be socially mobile. The squirrel's food is seized and re distributed to the more needy members of society, in this case the grasshopper. Without enough money to buy more food, to pay the fine and his newly imposed retroactive taxes, the squirrel has to downsize and start building a new home.



The local authority takes over his old home and utilises it as a temporary home for asylum seeking cats who had hijacked a plane to get to Britain as they had to share their country of origin with mice. On arrival they tried to blow up the airport because of Britain's apparent love of dogs.

The cats had been arrested for the international offence of hijacking and attempted bombing but were immediately released because the police fed them pilchards instead of salmon whilst in custody. Initial moves to then return them to their own country were abandoned because it was feared they would face death by the mice.



The cats devise and start a scam to obtain money from people's credit cards.



A Panorama special shows the grasshopper finishing up the last of the squirrel's food, though spring is still months away, while the Council house he is in, crumbles around him because he hasn't bothered to maintain the house.



He is shown to be taking drugs. Inadequate government funding is blamed for the grasshopper's drug 'illness'.



The cats seek recompense in the British courts for their treatment since arrival in UK.



The grasshopper gets arrested for stabbing an old dog during a burglary to get money for his drugs habit. He is imprisoned but released immediately because he has been in custody for a few weeks.

He is placed in the care of the probation service to monitor and supervise him. Within a few weeks he has killed a guinea pig in a botched robbery.



A commission of enquiry, that will eventually cost £10,000,000 and state the obvious, is set up.



Additional money is put into funding a drug rehabilitation scheme for grasshoppers and legal aid for lawyers representing asylum seekers is increased.



The asylum-seeking cats are praised by the government for enriching Britain's multicultural diversity and dogs are criticised by the government for failing to befriend the cats.



The grasshopper dies of a drug overdose. The usual sections of the press blame it on the obvious failure of government to address the root causes of despair arising from social inequity and his traumatic experience of prison.



They call for the resignation of a minister.



The cats are paid a million pounds each because their rights were infringed when the government failed to inform them there were mice in the United Kingdom.



The squirrel, the dogs and the victims of the hijacking, the bombing, the burglaries and robberies have to pay an additional percentage on their credit cards to cover losses, their taxes are increased to pay for law and order and they are told that they will have to work beyond 65 because of a shortfall in government funds.

Are you listening? It would almost be laughable if it wasn't so close to home.





Technorati Tags: ,

More Genealogy

Gorse Fox has spent another day buried in dusty old electrons as he continues to research obscure parts of the family. Yesterday's effort was a success, and now the earliest entry in the Silver Vixen's side of the family can be identified in 1668.



There are still various items of conjecture, riddles, and apparent dead-ends; but that is half the fun of genealogy.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Genealogy

One of the ways in which the Gorse Fox passes his time is in the research of his family tree. This has been going on since the early 1990s and at times becomes all-consuming. Tracing the family tree can be immensely interesting at a number of levels:

  • helping you understand your background
  • helping you get to know what made your ancestors "tick"
  • discovering places where the family have lived
  • discovering records of the family
  • discovering old letters and photos
  • discovering military records referencing your ancestors
It can also be a source of huge frustration as

  • you find that family stories are not true
  • assumptions that you have made are false
  • you hit "brick walls" in your research
Today GF is in a hall of mirrors (hanging on a brick wall), where he finds three separate pieces of research contradicting each other. If it can be resolved, it will drive the Silver Vixen's family back 2 more generations to the mid-1600s.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Democracy Inaction

You may be under the illusion that you live in a democracy. In order to continue to foster that illusion 10 Downing Street has a website that allows the creation of, and signing of petitions.



There are several active petitions, but those that actually caught the GF's eye were:

  1. We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to... Implement a procedure whereby the population can vote to remove the sitting government and force a general election.
  2. We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to… Scrap the planned vehicle tracking and road pricing policy

And of course you can add your own. Feel free to visit the site and add your name to the petitions that you believe to be worthwhile.



How about "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to..."

  • Give the English the same rights as the Scots and Welsh
  • Save the taxpayer £140,000 per year by sacking John Prescott
  • Live up to the promise of a government that is whiter than white
  • Remember he works for us, not the other way round
  • Stop wasting money on unelected assemblies and quangos
  • Prosecute Gordon Brown for the theft of £100Bn from private pension schemes
  • Amend the Human Rights Act so that it gives rights to Victims and not just Perpetrators.
  • Stop being so condescending
Well, it's a start!





Technorati Tags: ,

And back...

Gorse Fox continued the walk through East Preston and down to the shoreline, where he turned east and headed home.
It had been a pleasant (6 mile) walk in the sunny afternoon, though a chilly breeze scoured cheeks.

If you wish to see more photos of the quaint houses in Angmering, please take a look at the Gorse Fox's Angmering Set on Flickr.
[File under: ]

Old Mill House

On the road south from the village of Angmering towards East Preston, stand these pretty cottages. The cottage on the left is called The Old Mill House, and on the right is The Old Cottage.

It is good to see that so many old houses do survive.

Again quoting from the village website: "Unfortunately, the sweeping modernisation of Britain in the 1920's and 1930's also impinged irreparably on Angmering and many ancient houses and cottages within the village were demolished in the name of "progress", a situation which we hope would not occur today with greater appreciation of our heritage." Posted by Picasa

The Green

Angmering still radiates from the green, surrounded by its little parades of shops, the pub, and the school (just up the hill).

According to the village's website: "during the Summer of 2001, a Middle Bronze Age (c.1500 BC) settlement was located approx 700 metres north from the centre of the village. Additionally, a second site approx 700 metres to the north-east of the village centre revealed settlements from the Mid- to-Late Bronze Age, Iron Age (c.750 BC to 0 BC), and Saxon (c.450 AD to 800 AD)."

It is quite clear that some of these original inhabitants still have driving licenses, and forget that they are no longer driving chariots and carts. Posted by Picasa

Wandering through Angmering


The High Street heads east towards the Spotted Cow (an excellent pub), and on to Ecclesdon Manor (or at least it would if it wasn't for the by-pass that cuts across the old road).

The road is bordered by quaint old Sussex flint houses, a few Victorian villas, and some modern developments. All-in-all it still retains a nice country feel, and can be quite picturesque.

"Although its population has shown continual expansion, particularly since the 1930's, with many new developments, Angmering has retained its rural charm principally due to the preservation of its village square (see photo right) and the designated Conservation Area which contains many ancient and attractive buildings of brick and flint, some timber-framed. The oldest of these dates back to the 14th Century but a number of fine 16th to 18th Century houses and cottages still exist today." Posted by Picasa

Walkies

Another beautiful day here on the South Coast. This (of course) called for a walk, but things have been so wet lately that GF is sticking to solid ground for now.

Today he decided to head inland through the parish of Kingston, of East Preston, and on into Angmering. Angmering was the main village of the area, gaining wealth through the wool trade. (Weavers Ring and Weavers Hill giving clues to its past). Posted by Picasa

Red faces as the BBC is outfoxed in listeners' poll - Britain - Times Online

The Times Online reports of Red faces as the BBC is outfoxed in listeners' poll where the "flagship" Today programme organised a listeners' poll where they could vote for the law that the listeners would most like to see scrapped.

The hideously urban BBC have “suspicions that there was an organised campaign at work”. (Errr... yes, that's what voting is about - rallying your supporters to ensure they register their views). As a result 52.8% voted for the repeal of the Hunting Act.

Gorse Fox (who has no axe to grind on the subject of hunting) did participate in the vote - he was one of the 6.1% that voted that the Human Rights Act should be scrapped.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Lighthouse Cottages

GF's walk took him east towards Worthing. The greensward was mushy from the rain, and people were out in their droves. This rather took the edge off the walk, so GF diverted inland for a while before doubling back towards the beach.

Near Ferring he bumped into James and his lovely wife and daughter just getting out of their car to walk along the beach. So we joined up and strolled back towards the Gorse, where we parted.

GF turned up past Lighthouse Cottages (which were never anything to do with a lighthouse, but were once a signal station) and back onto the Gorse. It had been a pleasant hour or so, made all the more enjoyable by this chance encounter. Posted by Picasa

Flotsom

Down on the beach, the tide had turned and was beginning to ebb.

The evidence of the stormy weather was still clear in the breakers as they rolled in from the Channel.

Up beyond the normal high tide mark, seaweed littered the greensward, and this old gnarled root had been thrown clear of the waves.
A ship carrying timber had obviously fallen foul of the storm. Maybe the strapping had given way, but what looks like a deck cargo of timber had been washed overboard and now litters the coast. (According to this morning's paper, the timber stretches from Poole to Newhaven)

As the GF walked he saw people taking what they could carry. One guy was loading a minibus to the roof with the timber. Posted by Picasa

Tranquility

A day such as this should be enjoyed.

With that in mind, Gorse Fox headed out into the heaving throng that is our little corner of Sussex.

Well, ok, it's not exactly busy, but Gorse Fox did see a neighbour sweeping his drive. Posted by Picasa

Stage set for Fatboy beach party

Cousteau-cub and her friend Whelk have tickets for today's big concert at Brighton: Stage set for Fatboy beach party (and tickets for the after-show party).
Gorse Fox is sure they'll be getting ready... but the question is "Will Brighton be ready for them?"

Media Hypocrisy

Gorse Fox should know better. He should know by now that the media are a bunch of hypocrites.

The BBC Online, the Daily Mail, and the Times all bemoan the photos /videos that were made available of Saddam Hussein's execution. But all of them have used the stills from the sequence or pointed the reader to sites on the web where they can be viewed.

If they really want to wring their hands in horror - they should do so without providing further publicity to the sordid display.

Good start

The old year may have blown itself out in a fury of high winds, but the New Year has started without a cloud in the sky. That's what the Gorse Fox considers to be a good start.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year