Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Travel

A travel theme was evident in the evening's proceedings.

GF declared that it was time to leave the office. We all dispersed to our Worcester Hotels and then met up in an Austrian Pub for a beer, before changing continents and trying out a Mexican restaurant (Amigos) that we hadn't tried before. Very pleasant evening, but worrying when a bunch of geeks refer to someone else as a geek... that must make him an uber-geek.

Performing

Performing seals always impress the Gorse Fox. They seem to bale to learn a number of tasks of varying complexity, culminating in the ability to balance or juggle balls. In recognition of these skills they are thrown fresh fish and are given lodging. What a simple life.

GF was contemplating this fact as he spent the morning juggling priority calls, to do lists, and meetings.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

De-frazz

It's remarkable how a fine pint of foaming weissbier, and Chineses meal can rstore one's equanimity.

GF is back in his room at the hotel, feet up, TV on (watching football), laptop fired up (and on lap)... gently unwinding.

Frazzled

Usual early start and frantically busy day. Gorse Fox is a bit frazzled and is heading for the hotel. Will try and be more coherent later.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Just passing through

GF spent the day on the edge of the Surrey Hills. He'd love to pass on some witty anecdotes from the day, but it was not the sort of day that generated many opportunities for whimsy.

He must now return to the 367 unread eamils that he received in the two days he wasn't at work.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Demi-Terabyte

GF received a 500GB external hard-drive for his Birthday. This is the cause of great excitement as he is known for his fanatical devotion to backups. The last 35 years or so in the IT industry have taught him that Murphy was an optimist.

La Difference

The difference between men and women can be summed up quite simply.
Women can wrap presents

Rubble

After heavy overnight rain, the day has started bright sunny. Gorse Fox and the SIlver Vixen are heading to Old Basing to meet up with Betty & Barney Rubble for the day.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ring tone

It was time.

The Silver Vixen's mobile phone needed an upgrade. Th battery life was shortening, the clock wouldn't keep time, and it had no features such as Bluetooth, Picture Messaging, or even a camera. (All of which seem de riguer for the modern cellphone).

GF headed to Worthing and parked overlooking the old Lido. On a grey winter's morning it looked a bit quiet. No band in the bandstand, no kids on the rides, even the tide seemed lazy as the waves slumped lugubriously upon the sands.

The first stop was the Carphone Warehouse where a helpful young lady guided the GF (as if he was senile) through the features of the phone he had selected. It was only on completion of this diatribe that she thought to check the stock and found that she didn't have said device. (Helpfully she checked the stock at Bognor, Hove and Brighton and found they all had some).

Before heading across Sussex to another outlet GF decided to try the O2 store. What can only be described as a parrot came up to him (his comb arrayed in several vibranmt colours) and asked:
"Can I help you, Sir"

GF replied, "Yes, I wish to buy a parrot, I mean a Motorola XYZ"

"Oh no Sir, that is an old phone" squawked the parrot. "It must be 2 years old now"

"Do I look as if I give a damn?" questioned the GF. "The phone was chosen because it was simple, inexpensive, and had the minimum features that we require".

"I see Sir. Well we don't have that model." he sidled over to the left, looked in a little mirror, and then sidled back to the right. "We do however have its replacement, the Motorola SXYZ. Would you like to take that?"

Gorse Fox wondered briefly if birdcages had ringtones nowadays, or still relied on the trusty bell. (Obviously the little ladder would have been outlawed by Health & Safety). He summoned a withering look. "Let me just check, you are suggesting that I subtitute the phone I had selected, priced at £49 on your network by your competitor over the road, for a newer substitute, costing £279?"

"Errr, well if you put it like that it's probably not such a good deal" the parrot concluded.

Gorse Fox left the shop chuckling to himself, and making a mental note to return with some birdseed and cuttlefish.

A trip to Bognor resolved the matter, and Silver Vixen now has a sparly new phone.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Pensions

Jeff Randall has an excellent piece in the Telegraph taking apart the Governments's disgaceful treatment of failed pensions, and the judgement emanating from this week's court case (which this shabby bunch of crooks are still trying to find ways of wriggling out of).

He finishes with a lovely sequence of volleys:
When future historians come to judge the Blair project, the slaughter in Iraq and the loss of more than 100 British soldiers - for what? - will be at the top of the debit column: an eternal liability that will crush Blair's reputation.

Further down will be the annihilation of a once coherent and fully funded corporate pensions system. Its destruction began in 1997, when Mr Brown ended tax relief on pension fund dividends, costing private schemes about £100 billion over 10 years. It was not the only contributing factor to the unravelling of our occupational pensions, but it was the biggest.

Today, about two thirds of all British companies have closed their final-salary schemes to new members, and replaced them with much less generous alternatives. Even state-owned Royal Mail threw in the towel this month.

By stark contrast, thanks to a shabby deal done by Alan Johnson when he was at the DWP, most of Britain's 5.9 million public-sector workers continue to enjoy the benefit of index-linked, final-salary schemes and a retirement age of 60. In effect, he created a system of pensions apartheid: the haves; the have-nots.

As for ministers, they have voted themselves gold-plated, diamond-encrusted, fur-lined, leather-upholstered, deluxe retirement schemes, all paid for by taxpayers who have no such benefits and face the prospect of working to 67 in order to make ends meet.

Makes you wonder why we voted for them... oh yes, that's right, most of us didn't.

Craven Coven

The Silver Vixen has always enjoyed her time with her various covens. Recently, however, there has been a nasty under-current quite evident at one of them. This has come to a head and the Silver Vixen and several othere have decided to leave these Needlework Nazis to their own devices. As SV says, it's pointless getting stressed before going to something you should enjoy.

Lazy

Gorse Fox has made the most of a second day-off to be essentially lazy. A little blog-reading started the day, then the newspaper. With Barney Rubble's birthday on the horizon and an empty fridge a trip to the shops was in order... but that was rounded off with a leisurely lunch at the Swallow's Return.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Signs of the Times

Whilst the Silver Vixen was searching for some beads for a project GF watched the world whizz by. The North Laines in Brighton are always a source of amusement.

GF likes many of the shop names and store fronts. "Vegetarian Shoe Shop" caught his eye, as did this body piercing parlour "Penetrations"
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Rolling

Finishing the meal was a problem. There's only so much that we eat and maintain our sylph-like figures. Eventually we were able to lever ourselves into the vertical plane and roll out into the wet Brighton afternoon.

Leaving Momma Cherri's the girls posed briefly for the paparazzi, before hurrying off to the shops to work off some calories with punishing retail-workout.
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People who lunch

Being, as it was, the anniversary of GF's momentous arrival on this planet he and the Silver Vixen met up with the cubs.

Lunch was booked at "Momma Cherris Soul Food Shack" and we dutifully sloshed through the rain the 50 yards from Cousteau-cub's front door to The Shack.

The place has quite a reputation, and has been featured by Gordon Ramsay twice in his programmes on swearing. Fortunately, for our delicate ears, all was quiet and genteel.

The food was what GF would call "good peasant food" - like going to a good Mexican restaurant. It would never be haute cuisine, but is great value for money and very satisfying. You can imagine that in the evenings it's probably buzzing.

We decided to go for their "Soul in a Bowl" - whereby the chef basically prepares something for you, without you having to select. Today that meant a starter of; corn bread, hot wings, salad, and sweet potatoes. The main course was: suckatash (ratatouille with okra), coleslaw, southern fried chicken drumsticks, macaroni cheese, barbecued ribs, and jambalaya.

Excellent.

Why Road Pricing will happen

The Gorse Fox recommends you read this entry Why Road Pricing will happen

some of the facts that the Sainted Tony omitted from his email.

Crime

Those of you who have followed the recent story of the dog-bin will realise what a worry it can be when your locality is being targeted by some major crime lord.

Well we've just heard that a SWAT team was sent to a car park in Angmering. After some reconnaissance they managed to recover the stolen dog-bin and return it. It is not clear whether the contents were intact. The perpetrator of this villainy has not yet been identified, but GF is assured that the county's finest are leading the investigation.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Supper

"I've come all the way from Worcester for this" said the Gorse Fox as he walked into the Fish and Chip shop in Angmering.
The assistant looked up "Really?" she said.
"Yep, It's taken nearly three hours, but's worth it... trouble is they're always cold by the time I get back".
She looked up. She saw the grin on the Gorse Fox's face. "Oh, get off with you".

GF is always amazed at how people are willing to take outrageous statements at face value.

Trust me

The Gorse Fox has received his email from the Prime Minister. He is, of course, whingeing that road price charging may be good for us, and it isn't intended to be a stealth tax, and it isn't intended to be big brother surveillance.

Well that's all right then. If Tony has said it, it must be true.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Murphy had no idea

Just after eight the Gorse Fox had arrived in Worcester and was sipping a hot coffee. Mother Superior was livid as she had just heard who will be conducting our next major review - this almost guarantees a poor report as he is rabidly anti-Starfleet, doesn't believe in the approach we are taking, and is basically insufferable.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Surrey

Gorse Fox had to head across to the Surrey Hills. It is clear that Surrey and stockbroker belt needs a little investment. The roads across the hills and approach Guildford are apalling - pockmarked with bad repairs and huge potholes. At least, however, GF managed to park at his intended destination.

His attendance was planned to provide answers to any technical questions or issues that might have arisen, but as it happens there was little to address. He did manage to catch up with Uncle Fester and Boston, however.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Pet hates

Gorse Fox is reviewing some documents. In doing so it reminds him of several of his pet hates (besides cats). Most of these hates involve the mangling of the English language:
  • functionality - the word functions perfectly as function
  • methodology - the word is method
  • productisation - oh, for goodness sake!
  • electronification - GF has no idea
  • physicalisation - building, creation, eixistence
and readers have added
  • utilize - the word use is enough
  • irregardless - regardless of the fact that regardless is the word

Picasa

The alert amongst you will notice that the last few pictures have been provided, courtesy of Picasa. The problems of the past few weeks seem to have been fixed at last.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Setting


The Gorse Fox's sister and family have been here on the South Coast. After a sumptuous feast prepared by the Silver Vixen it was necessary to take the air and walk off a few calories.


The sun was going down as we got down as far as the beach. The tide was out and it was clear that the winter storms had scoured the tidal reaches clear of sand and revealed the underling chalk and flint.
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Worthing Pier

The pier was almost deserted at this time of the cool winter morning. Tide was high, and the sound of the pebbles tumbling over each other as the waves receded was almost loud enough to drown the sound of the seagulls.

According to the Heritage Trail
Opening some 10 months later on 12th April 1862 Worthing Pier consisted simply of a 960ft (291m) long by 15ft (4.6m) wide promenade deck, with a landing stage at the seaward end. Although very popular from the start, both with locals and visitors, entertainment wasn't considered until 1874 when a 9-piece orchestra was engaged to play for three hours a day 'weather permitting'. Some years later, in 1881, a German band from the Rhine was contracted to play daily and conditions were improved for the audience and band alike with the construction of two shelters.
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Worthing

Gorse Fox needed some new boots for his trusty Golf. Last week he went to the tyre centre only to be told that they had to call the VW maintenance company for permission and being Saturday they weren't there.

This week, permissions in place, the Gorse Fox arrived at the tyre centre and dropped off the car for them to do their bit. GF headed off for a stroll in the early mrning sunshine.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 16, 2007

Westminster


Westminster
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
So the Gorse Fox made his way to London. "I'll meet you at TNT House" he said to Mother Superior. He then went and signed in to an entirely different building (let's call it Book Street)... And wondered where she had got to. Eventually his phone rang:

"Where are you?" she said.

"In reception" he replied.

"Of which building?" she queried

"Doh"

Another senior moment.



This photo was taken after the meeting as GF headed past the back of Westminster Abbey towards Whitehall.

In Motion


In Motion
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The London Underground... People in transit. Gorse Fox heading home.

HoP


HoP
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The Houses of Parliament always look impressive. Shame about some of the people who work (for us) there.

The Up Line

It was once explained to the Gorse Fox that railways in Britain have an Up line and a Down line. Up lines head in the direction of London (or maybe the main terminus/junction) and Down lines head away.

Today, the Gorse fox will be following the Up-line to the very heart of the democratic process to consult with those who occupy Whitehall. These trips are required occasionally just to reload his natural cynicism.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Shields up

Gorse Fox has been under sustained troll attack for the last 24 hours. This is the trouble when you let contract people loose with each other and a simple piece of technology that they don't (want to) understand. As a result they pick on some irrelevant point and make a fuss over it, and keep picking at it like an open sore. At the end they will have wasted more money discussing the point than the item being discussed would even cost.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Roses are red...

Dinner at the Chinese restaurant in Worcester with the Abbot, Carl, Mike and the Mighty Atom...

Oh yes, Valentine's Day 2007 will always be special.

Malfunction

The Zip is a marvellous invention, when working properly.
It just sits there.
When pulled in one direction it closes.
In the the other it opens.

However, when a zip gets stuck it becomes a major problem.

Last night, GF suffered a wardrobe malfunction (fortunately it did not involve glitter, tassles and national TV). A zip that was to be opened decided to jam. Talking nicely to it had no effect. Digital dexterity had no effect. For a while, brute force had no effect. Eventually brute force (fuelled by a degree of desperation) did the trick and the zip leapt the tracks and really screwed up with the two sides no longer aligned and the closed bit being open and the open bit being closed.

Once free of the zipped item, GF was in a position to try and perform maintenance on said mechanical fastening. All appears to be well again, and this morning he is dressed properly. He will, however, continue to check his modesty throughout the day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Glimmer

Winter is losing its grip. For the last couple of months it has been dark whilst GF was driving to Worcester, at least as far as the M4. He has now noticed the "dawn's early light" whilst on the A34, and this morning the first glimmer was whilst he was on the M3.

As he crossed the Cotswolds, a flock of starlings filled the sky. It swooped, whirled, climbed, dived, split and reformed. A stunning display of acrobatics unfolded and made the heart soar.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Food

Yesterday, the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen went into Brighton to meet up with Cousteau-cub for a bite to eat.

We selected a super bistro-styled restaurant called "The House", which is only about 50 yards from C-c's front door.

GF highly recommends said establishment. Having never eaten there before, he did rather underestimate the portions and so having started with a good helping of calamari, he chose this calzone as his main course. Then he thought (always a bad move) how peckish he was, so ordered a side salad and some french fries. When the waitresses struggled in, carrying the plate between them (apparently the trolley they usually use had collapsed under the weight) he realized that they served mighty fine portions.

Boston would love it.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Now I know

The Gorse Fox has spent much of the morning with his arm stuck up various blocked drains. He now thinks he knows what it must be like to be a Vet.
At least GF could use a pressure hose!

Travellin' Man

Gorse Fox has just booked tickets for a Spring trip to the Canaries.

It was interesting how widely varied the prices and conditions were, and how important it was to read the weasel words small print. This time he noticed that his preferred carrier (who he's used for the past few years) was £110 more expensive than his chosen airline, and included the warning : "Prices below exclude a per passenger fuel and APD supplement on short haul routes of £35.00 and £105.00 on all long haul routes". So with those prices (let's call them Gordon Brown's profligate government supplement) not yet included they would have ended up £180 more expensive.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Windows tax

Thinking about tax, and remembering the historical "window tax" (brought in by William III in 1696 and lasting until 1851) got the Gorse Fox wondering about stealth tax.

Given that most Government departments eschew open source, and have fallen hook, line and sinker for anything that comes out of Microsoft Gorse Fox would assert that we are, once more, paying a Windows tax.

As Taxpayers we are funding the expensive, resource-hungry software, and lining the pockest of the richest man in the world. The upshot of this Windows tax is:
  • HMG uses a resource hungry, buggy, operating system,
  • Requiring ever higher specification computers
  • In order to run an inflated browser full of security flaws
  • A word processor
  • A spreadsheet, and
  • A presentation generator
GF trusts that you are proud of this selection (though admits he does use the resource-hungry, buggy operating himself - at least on this machine).

BUT if GF was spending other peoples' money he would be less profligate, and be looking at flavours of LINUX as an operating system supporting thin clients and providing predominantly open source software (like Open Office, or MySQL).

Taxing times

Gorse Fox is never amused by the subject that is a burden to us all: Tax. Whilst he recognises the necessity of taxation, he believes that this dishonest government has taken it to extreme levels.

A great new site has been put together by some individuals providing Talk TV and debate: 18 Doughty Street

One of their latest offerings is this video:



As they say:
This video - campaigning against Britain's record and wasteful burden of tax - is the first of 18DoughtyStreet.com's weekly political adverts.

Through these ads, which will be designed and chosen by 18DoughtyStreet.com viewers, we aim to challenge Britain's grey political consensus.

More Tests

Fiddling round some more, Gorse Fox has come to the conclusion that the Picasa/Blogger link is hosed.

However, reading some of the help information he decided to try another method that he's not used before.

Therefore, by way of an experiment here is a photo of the GF's sister. (Obviously and early example of the use of photography, and probably worthy of a place in a museum).

Weird, Encore


IMG_2383
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Well, that experiment wasn't exactly successful was it? It appear that it uploaded the "post" but not the photo.

For the sake of completeness, here is that missing photo, courtesy of GF's Flickr account.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Weird

This photo was loaded as a test. Gorse Fox has been having problems uploading from Picasa. However, it seems that switching off backlinks should allow it work.

As it happens this weird picture had GF stumped. It was by the side of the River Ouse in Buckingham.

Quiet!

It's a quiet evening.

Silver Vixen has gone to meet with her coven. As we speak, she and her cohorts are sweeping through the skies to Worthing and probably harassing any poor sould not carrying a cross or neclace of garlic.

Huge cauldrons of herbal infusions (tea) will be brewed, and no doubt there'll be a great deal of cackling, and a little sewing.

Quiet! GF is concentrating

Another day spent editing and reviewing (409 pages of data model). Not much opportunity for wit or wisdom, there.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bin Missin'

At the cauldron that is local government the Gorse Fox was again embroiled in the white hot debate regarding dog bins.

It appears that a dog bin has been sited near an entrance to the beach. It was carefully sited to ensure it could be seen by dog walkers; it could not be seen from nearby houses; and it did not impact access for maintenance to the fence of nearby houses.

In addition it was placed to stop people cutting across a corner rather than using a designated path.

Within a day or two a neighbour had moved it because it cut off the corner, a few days later it had been knocked over, it has subsequently disappeared.

Who'd have believed life could be so interesting? Who'd have believed there a market for stolen dog bins? Should the council put RFID tags on the bins?

Editing

GF has spent most of the day reviewing and editing documents. This may sound tedious, but he has a good team and the documents were in pretty good shape overall.

The sun has been streaming in all day, but now that it's set the temperature is dropping quickly. The Silver Vixen spent much of the day with Urban-cub but should be arriving home soon clutching a fine armful of fish 'n' chips.

GF has a Council meeting tonight.

Weather, or not

The micro-climate that seems to bless this stretch of the Sussex coast seems to have protected us, once more, from the ravages of the weather. The BBC is reporting chaos on the roads and trains across the South, and the Midlands... and the Gorse Fox is sitting here watching a gentle drizzle.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Early doors

Gorse Fox received a missive from the Met Office: "HIGH IMPACT SNOW EVENT forecast for Thursday morning" and it went on to warn of significant disruption to travel.
What is happening is that a frontal system is moving up from the southwest, and it is going to meet cold air and produce snow as it moves across England and Wales.

Gorse Fox did not fancy driving back through the Cotswolds in 5 inches of snow.

A quick change of plans, and GF is now back in Sussex to avoid travel tomorrow.

Media Vultures

There seems an almost palpable disappointment in the media over the announcement that the vet has been declared free of bird flu.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Worcester again

GF has checked into the hotel (room swapped) and is settling in for this week's trip. One thing about the Fownes is that the heating is good... and it's well needed tonight. Not quite the -42F that it hit in Minnesota last night, but a cool 2C. Snow is forecast for tomorrow.

Dinner was taken at our favoured Chinese Restaurant. Seven of us did significant damage to the menu and their selection of bottled beers. Discussions revolved around work, technology, and the meaning of life (well, maybe not the meaning of life).

The story came out about the power cut.

Worcester was hit with a power cut yesterday. Lights, computers, microwaves, kaput. After a few hours the National Grid was re-routed, lights came back on, the Tannoy spluttered into life "Please delay switching on your computers" ... and then again "Please refrain from using kettles until the power is fully restored".

Needless to say Starfleet was pilloried for not having a generator in front of the servers. Actually, the client never had a generator when they ran the system, and would not pay for the a DR service whne Starfleet took over.. but it's still Starfleet's fault.

Five o'clock

There are times when these five o'clock starts are less than fun. This morning was one of them... Gorse Fox was not filled with the joys of spring (it hasn't yet sprung), and he wasn't singing in the shower (the Silver Vixen would not have been amused) but to be fair GF had a good trip up to Worcester so shouldn't complain.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Snigger

GF spent the day at a location deep within Surrey. His firsat visit for a year or so, so his badge had been de-activated. He is, however, likely to revisit fairly frequently in the next few months so he tried to get his badge re-activated. This was too difficult. No recycling here then. So he had to have a new badge made... and whilst there he noticed some huge (1m square) light switches there to remind you to turn out unwanted lights... but they were made of plastic (at least cardboard could have been recycled).

Let's whip up some hysteria

So the BBC started its reporting of the latest outbreak of Avian Influenza quite responsibly. It reported the facts (which were accurate) and even made nice comments about the speed and effectiveness of the reaction and explained the protection zones, the surveillance zones and the use of movement restrictions.

But today they resorted to type.

Spangles was out and about interviewing people near the farm for the Six o'Clock News.

"What do you think about the outbreak?" she simpered to anyone daft enough to be nearby... and as they all responded with satements to the effect "No problem." or "No worries", the story started to slip away so she whined:
"But aren't you a bit worried that it could spread to humans?"

That's right, as there's no sign of concern, let's try to whip up a little hysteria. There are times that the Gorse Fox thinks BBC journalists have a PhD in Stupid... or worse still, they think we have.

Bunch of Crooks

An eye opener... but should be no surprise.

(Worst part is that they are "our" employees)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Tranquil


IMG_2382
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The tranquility of the riverside walk belies the fact that the town and all the sprawling housing estates that have sprung up over the last 30 years are only a few hundred yards away.

It was chilly, and maybe that was the reason there was almost nobody out and about. The clean air was soon relieving the effects of the cats and GF soon turned and headed back.

GF's allergy to cats renders him no friend of the feline monsters.

Ripples

Silver Vixen went off to visit Auntie P during the afternoon.

GF was beginning to suffer from the proximity of the indiginous cats. He was starting to feel a little breathless, his eyes were streaming and he was feeling less that tip-top. He made his excuses, and took the opportunity to take a stroll in the cool feline-free air.

Down by the River Ouse he wandered towards the Town Centre, and stood mesmerized by the whorls, eddies, and ripples by the weir.
Posted by Picasa

21st


IMG_2388
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
GF and the Silver Vixen headed up to Buckingham as planned. It was meant to be a Silly-slipper lunch party, but we had not got the message (fortunately). The birthday girl was there (well, she would be, wouldn't she?) along with the Silver Vixen's mother, sister & her partner.

Shortly, more of the strange inhabitants of Buckingham started to turn up... Big Al, Steve, Bidge & the Belly Dancer... and so on. Then the Silver Vixen's bother arrived with his better half. It was a nice collection of folk and we had a very pleasant day.
Another glorious start to the day, the golden light of the morning sun bursting throught windows, clouds banished.
The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen are heading to Buckingham today. It is the lovely Becky's birthday celebration.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Route profile


Kingston_profile
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Eventually we did get back to the car. It had been a nice walk. Not spectacular, but nice. Super vistas, but nothing that made you go "wow!".

The statistics sid we had;
- covered 11.7 miles
- climbed 1380 feet
- reach a high point of 629 feet
- and a low point of 103 feet.

We'd talked ourselves and walked ourselves to a halt. It had been fun, and Gorse Fox would like to thank young James for his company

Kingston-by-Lewes from above


IMAGE_00053
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Looking down from the Downs, Kingston-by-Lewes nestled in the valley. The long shadows of late winter were beginning to eat int the village, and the breeze had picked up again.

Hang gliders were hurling themselves off the Downs and soaring effortlessly in the winter sky.

GF kept explaining to James that there was only about a mile to go... but he suspect he wasn't believed after the third or fourth time!

South Downs Way - killer cows


IMAGE_00050
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Our route intercepted the South Downs Way and we started to head west back towards the car park..

Looking back the way we had come the hills rolled away into the distance. The field we had just left was a muddy where we enterd we sank into thick slimy mud. After about 50 yards it began to become firm again, but our boots were coated in a green wet slime. This is not good. The fact that the slime was green, implies that it contained "processed" grass... and the only thing in that field that processes grass was a herd of cows. GF thinks these boots will need hosing down.

The field was again inhabited by killer cows. In fact there were some young calves getting quite frisky. This agitated the damme and she headed threateningly towards us. Gorse Fox checked his back pack and could find no pepper sauce or mustard, so decided that discretion was called for and we diverted around them.

Breaky Bottom


IMAGE_00043
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
We were passing Breaky Bottom Farm (the lates in a long procession of bottoms) when the phrase "are we nearly there yet" first sprang to mind. We were about six or seven miles into the walk, but we were both out of practice.

And there was nother climb coming up.

Looking East


IMAGE_00038
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
We made our way across the hill and through a field of cows. James does not love cows(*). He tends to think of them as two tons of mobile mayhem... so we picked our way gingerly through these vicious predators and out the other side where we got some nice views across towards South Heighton.

(*) GF would add that he does not love cows either, but he sees them as two tons of prime steak that delivers itself, and come wrapped in a fine leather jacket.

Agritecture


IMAGE_00035
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
This was the first (test) photo taken on the phone and a few moments to catch breath before starting the climb up Highdole Hill

Rusting ton


IMG_2356
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Here we were at Pickers Hill Farm, at the lowest point of the walk, not quite halfway round. GF took this photo and then the camera shutdown.

No problem, he had a spare set of batteries. That was only useful if the re-chargeable batteries were actually charged up. So he then dug out another set... and they weren't charged up either. So GF could take no further photos.

Fortunately, as he explained before, James had his camera... and then GF remembered he had his phone, so he could take a few more (even if they weren't quite so controllable).

For some reason James had been given instructions to take pictures of rust or rusting items. (GF tried to stay out of his eyeline)

Thelwell


IMG_2352
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
This chap seemed particularly unimpresed by the intreped twosome as they strolled by debating the meaning of life, the universe, and the impact of the media on the populace.

We also debated the climate change hysteria, and the skewed reporting of scientific conjecture and rigid suppression of any scientific counter-claims. But, of course, there's money to be made out of hysteria. Governments can tax more, councils can claim their cuts in service are to encourage better re-cycling, and papers and TV can make an infinite number of documentaries for the gullible and the terminally stupid. (GF is not questioning Climate Change, that's what climate does! He is questioning why only one side of the anthropogenic argument is ever publicised).

Balsdean Farm


IMG_2349
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
At the southernmost point of the walk (slightly off the planned route) we looked back northwards over Balsdean Farm.

It had been fairly level up to ths point, but rejoing our planned route we were soon heading for our first descent and subsequent climb.

Looking back


IMG_2345
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Looking back along the Balsdean Botton, towards Bird's Brow and Long Bottom.

You will already have got the theme. Again the walk was a story of Sussex bottoms, whatever they are called they have a gentle, almost sensuous appeal.

Standean Bottom


IMG_2344
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Looking across Standean Bottom , Pickers Hill, and Whiteway Bottom towards the Seven Sisters.

Conversation was still dealing with the issues of the day, work, contracting, blogging, and the sleaze that is our current government.

Windmill


IMG_2341
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Between Ovingdean and Rottingdean stands a windmill. Silhouteed against the glare off the sea it was hard to pick out through the viewfinder.

Young James


IMG_2340
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
At this point of the walk the young and spritely James was getting to grips with the camera.

Decisions needed to be made:
- Should I use manual focus?
- Should I use autofocus?
- It's so bright can't see anything... or is it the sunglasses?

It turned out to be the sunglasses... and we moved on.

Silver Surf

After changing into the walking boots and grabbing the backpacks the intrepid twosome headed south-east towards Saltdean. As the view opened up the sun painted the sea a blinding silver. A cool breeze kept us on our toes... and the low sun made photography a little challenging.

James had brought his camera with him... which turned out to be a good job (but more about that later).
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Kingston-by-Lewes


Today's walk (the first of any significance this year) saw the Gorse Fox and young James headed to eastern side of Brighton to set out on the day's stroll.

The walk started a a car park on the left-most point on this map, at the junction of Drove Road and Falmer Road near Woodingdean. The route followed an anti-clockwise direction over the Bostle towards Saltdean, but turning east at Balsdean Cottages, past Highdole Hill, Breaky Bottom and Mill Hill where we picked up the South Downs Way and turn bak towards the west and the car.
A gentle afternoon stroll that will stick in the memory with the phrase "are we nearly there, yet?".

No calls

Gorse Fox notes that Kylie Minoque has split from her boyfriend. Makes note to self: "Change phone number again" (last time was when Jennifer Aniston split from Brad) and "Filter all calls and emails"
(He can't stand the begging and the weeping over the phone - and after all, he's spoken for!).

Good Start

Cracking start to the morning - cool and crisp, and cloudless.

The Silver Vixen is off to meet up with her coven and drink tea, so the Gorse Fox can feel a walk coming on! He must spend some quality time with his maps and see what he can come up with.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Complete

Well the unpicking of the Anti-virus software was a real pain. GF had a an old corporate version that did not include an uninstaller. This meant doing it all by hand by trawling through the registry and removing all the little tracks it leaves, and eventually erasing the files from disk.

At this point the new install started to work... and the (somewhat pranoid) GF is fully protected again.

Upgrade

Gorse Fox has almost completed his upgrade to BT Total Broadband... pretty uneventful really. Only issues seem to be:
  • clash between Softphone and Skype (easy to sort out... disable the BT Softphone)
  • Installation of the Symantec Anti-virus... over GF's previous Anti-virus. That is taking a lot of unpicking.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Heading back


Heading back
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Travelling at lunchtime means the station is almost deserted. Travelling is almost a pleasure like this.

Lies

They lied.

The second train turned up and ran to time.

(See, no good believing in omens).

Transport of delight

The Gorse Fox does not believe in omens... But this morning he may make an exception.

He missed a turning en route to the railway station, adding a couple of minutes to his journey. As a result he just missed his train, only to find the next two trains were cancelled.

Unbounded joy.