Friday, August 31, 2007
It occurred to the Gorse Fox that you do not want to delay a Bomb Disposal truck that appears to be in a great hurry. He pulled over to make way...
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The trouble with going out for dinner in a large group is that it increases the length of the meal exponentially. A nice Chinese meal this evening, but it was rather lengthy.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Meanwhile the Mighty Atom is joined by the lovely K8y to create a chirpy molecule here in Worcester... the Abbot is back from Cuba... and things are getting very busy
Monday, August 27, 2007
This is all made the sweeter by the announcement that John Prescott (also known for being bone idle) will not be standing at the next election.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Certain things became clear:
a) more medieval people wore decent watches than you would have expected;
b) digital cameras were evidently part and parcel of the equipment kept in their belt pouches.
c) cod pieces were very popular, but during a "fashion show" the commentator referred to the cod-piece of the model being worn in the front... Gorse Fox wandered "as opposed to?"
We stopped for a hog-roast. Well actually the hog had already been roasted - we stopped for some succulent slices of said hog.
We watched the world go by, observing the number of medieval beefburgers being sold, the number of Goths that evidently participated in these fairs, and that fact that ugly people who could just get away with being seen in public in modern clothes were not flattered by medieval clothes.
It was all very good natured and great fun. The participants were obviously fully into character and camping in their tents overnight. The visitors were enjoying the show and cheering and groaning as the joust was played out in the arena.
In one side of the dry moat, archers were loosing their arrows at polystyrene boar and this side some players were preparing for a rendition of Chaucer.
The view back across the garden to the castle.
Just behind this spot was a huge (ultra modern) sundial. It didn't quite fit the mood (but remembering this is an extension of the Royal Observatory. it was hardly unexpected).
At the far end there was a small garden surrounded by tall hedges. Looking over the border it was possible to see the tops of the Beech and Chestnut woods.
Unfortunately the castle itself was not open so we were unable to look inside, but at least we got a chance to wander around.
Whilst it is spectacular, GF can't see how he could ever have seen it from the road.
Herstmonceux was built as a manor house in the mid-15th century. Sir Roger Fiennes, Treasurer of the Household of Henry V1, started building the castle in 1441. This is one of the first major brick buildings (today it is the oldest brick building of any note still standing in England) and was years ahead of it's time in other respects, with concentration more on grandeur and comfort than on defence.
The plan was to visit Herstmonceux Castle and Grounds. We headed east, passing Brighton and Lewes, crossing the meridian, and noticing signs announcing a Medieval Festival... at Herstmonceux.
Not only was the festival unexpected, it was a little pricey to get in (though to be fair, it was only because it hadn't been expected).
Making our way down the drive we were greeted by the first of several fields full of folk in medieval dress, tending their tents, showing their wares, and practicing their skills.
It was obviously popular as there were quite literally thousands of cars in the surrounding fields (set aside for car parks).
I am a retired police sergeant and have extensive road safety and traffic accident investigation experience. I have followed the debate regarding speed
camerasand would like to add my opinion. Speed cameras have nothing whatever to do with road safety. They are a blunt instrument with which to criminalise drivers who stray several mph above the speed limit - something that clearly isn't dangerous per se, unless changing or prevailing conditions render it so. Cameras are not able to determine this. Traffic police officers could, but they have mostly been diverted on to other uniform duties, mainly to persecute members of the public for other trivial matters in order to fulfil their "performance indicators", which are hated universally by police officers.
This is a cynical ploy by the Government to fool the electorate that detection rates are up, but you score as many points for solving a shoplifting case as a murder. If the Government was remotely interested in road safety, it would invest more of the excruciating levels of tax it extracts from the road system. Instead, we are forced to endure increasingly dangerous road surfaces, neglected signs and ridiculous levels of congestion that have deliberately been engineered into our transport system. The clear objective is to make motoring such a miserable experience that people will be forced to take public transport.
With speed cameras, the authorities have simply created another dangerous hazard. Where people are unfamiliar with an area, they now spend far too much time with their eyes off the road looking at their speedos, and this has undoubtedly led to an increase in accidents. Fortunately for the Government there is no way of identifying from accident statistics where this has happened, as drivers, while admitting privately what really took place, will not do so officially. Straying over the limit by a few miles per hour does not make a bad driver. Poor governmental policy does.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
"I wish to purchase one of your fine automobiles" he announced, and so began the lengthy process of entering a suitably specified machine and then convincing said purveyor of personal automotive carriages that the price he had intended to charge the Gorse Fox was in fact preposterous, and that the Gorse Fox had a particular price in mind. Laying out the various printed quotations taken from the internetweb-thingy this very morning he was coerced into meeting the Gorse Fox's expectations.
Deposit paid... job done, now he just has to await the construction and delivery.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Work today was an interesting mixture of telephone interviews for up-coming events and swimming through spreadsheets.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The evening started in our town centre meeting room (Cardinal's Hat) and moved on to "Ask" which provided the sustenance that we needed.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
It seemed like the ideal spot for lunch. Always buzzing with life, yet somehow not boisterous; always superb food, but never pretentious. A genuinely nice place to have lunch.
And yes... they did have colour photography. And yes... the Gorse Fox did have more hair then.
Lunch will be taken in Arundel, and the afternoon a little dependent on the weather.
For those of you not familiar with such things, 34 years is the Opal Wedding.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
"Cause we gotta mighty convoy,
Yeah we gotta mighty convoy, ain't she a beautiful sight?"
(With apologies to C.W.McCall)
This must be a wondrous sight, come early October.
Now they act as a haven for wildlife, and a mirror in which the shapes and colours of the surrounding trees and shrubs are duplicated in the reflections.
The woodland gardens cover some 240 acres in all and were started in the early 1800s by the Beauclerk family, but the Loder family took control in the latter part of the 1800s and several generations on, are still caring for the estate.
The Rock Garden was the first diversion. Mid-summer is not the best time to see this, though it has real depth and texture. We searched round the various nooks and crannies and at each turn there was a new view.
As we left, GF couldn't help but note that for a Rock Garden there was no Led Zeppelin, no Deep Purple... some Rock Garden!
Created in an east-west valley of the Sussex Weald between Cowfold and Handcross the old St Leonards Forest had been denuded for charcoal, but the land was not suitable for agriculture.
It was, however, a perfect spot for an extensive woodland garden.
Lo! and Behold! GF's printer is perfectly capable of doing the same (and with astonishing clarity). Another tick in the box for Canon.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
A meeting in Spur 0 Room 1 helped and that was followed by a meal with a small and select group of colleagues at the new Pizza Express. This was accompanied by an analysis of the taxonomy of UK humour which proved to be both fun and amusing as one unnamed colleague burst into a falsetto rendition of one of the songs from Life of Brian.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
After work the collective team joined up to invade Cafe Mela for a fine experience in Indian dining. Unfortunately, the evening went on too long for the Gorse Fox who was beginning to fade towards the end.
Monday, August 13, 2007
In other news...
GF is always amused by the accents heard on the TV, One announced yesterday that there's a meatier shower. He wondered if this was related to the Foot & Mouth crisis, or was just the inevitable conclusion of flying pigs.
The weather is due to collapse tomorrow - force 9 gales across the south. Before anyone moans about global warming, Gorse Fox would point out that the Fastnet Race starts today. That, in its own right, is a sure harbinger of bad weather.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
We were not disappointed. The food was excellent, the service was spot-on, and the ambiance "just right". Great lunch, at a reasonable price.
Leaving the restaurant, the Gorse Fox couldn't resist a quick photo of the Arundel skyline.
The Gorse Fox can reveal, exclusively, that this is not the end of the story. After considerable research through various journals and examination of archive footage the Gorse Fox can reveal:
- Dr Who - is fictitious and is filmed on a set and in various quarries
- Startrek - was mocked up on a set
Update: expect further revelations regarding Tom and Jerry, Mickey Mouse, Roadrunner, Wacky Races, and The Simpsons. GF has had his doubts for a while now, but with recent evidence the case is now coming together.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
A sortie on the bike took him to Goring and back, before he returned to the garden for some quiet reading.
Meanwhile, he will continue to struggle with some of the more subtle nuances of creating and handling graphics in Open Office...
Friday, August 10, 2007
GF continues to work, despite the background noise.
"Hiya Dad" she yells and charges in to give a hug. "Hard week?" she asks.
"Yes" GF replied
"Well take it easy" she purred "you're no spring chicken, you know!"
Deflated, GF returned to his keyboard. He doesn't need this sort of abuse... he can get that in Worcester!
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
At the end of the day, however, we met up at The Cardinal's Hat for a refreshing draught before moving down the street to the Thai Gallery for pleasant meal.
Conversation rattled back and forth, but it was clear that we were all weary as it didn't quite sparkle the way it sometimes does.
Monday, August 06, 2007
GF is sorry, but it's time we stopped catering for the terminally stupid. If someone can't read a simple road map they shouldn't be allowed out without a carer.
In comparison to the cost of a major disease outbreak the budget shortfall pales into insignificance (in fact it is about 0.00047%)... but we are now spending time trying to plan round this short
Sunday, August 05, 2007
A pleasant ride in the sunshine is a perfect way to enjoy a summer's afternoon. Well, at least it is if you bicycle saddle is not made of concrete and the manufacture has thought to put some springs or dampers at various points of the design.
The other nice thing about being on two wheels is that the sedate pace allows you to looks at the various places you pass and allows easy opportunities to stop for photos. (This thatched cottage is in Rustington).
The Gorse Fox stopped in Rustington to buy some stationery, and then cycled on. He had some time to kill so cycled on towards Littlehampton.
Stopping on the beach for a while he watched the families frolicking in the sea and digging in the sands. Thirty or forty yachts were clearly visible in the bay - it was an archetypal British seaside scene.
The beach was fairly busy (though this is not apparent from the photo). Twenty minutes later GF was back on the bike and cycling on.
Littlehampton was heaving. There were people everywhere - making use of the beaches, the crazy-golf, the boating lakes, the gardens, and the amusement centre. Others were fishing off the harbour wall, though it was not clear that anyone had caught anything significant.
Dragging himself away, GF headed back, with a brief stop to see Angus. When he got home he had cycled about 10 miles (which Mark would probably consider a warm-up). He had also realised that there is a potential market for arnica-impregnated underwear. The small concrete saddle (about 8 inches long by 1 inch wide) had caused immense discomfort in places the Gorse Fox cares not to reveal. Suffice it to say he has achieved a very creditable John Wayne walk since returning.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
So just to gee things along the BBC have had a helicopter hovering over the site taking footage of the infected farm. This is obviously a special kind of helicopter that does cause air turbulence. Cretins.
- Defra information about FMD
- World Organisation for Animal Health - Foot and Mouth Disease
- Warmwell - an independent site that monitors and reports on issues faced by UK Farms
- ProMed - Alerts from the International Society for Infectious Diseases(*)
Sources of virus
- Direct or indirect contact (droplets)
- Animate vectors (humans, etc.)
- Inanimate vectors (vehicles, implements)
- Airborne, especially temperate zones (up to 60 km overland and 300 km by sea)
- Incubating and clinically affected animals
- Breath, saliva, faeces, and urine; milk and semen (up to 4 days before clinical signs)
- Meat and by-products in which pH has remained above 6.0
- Carriers: particularly cattle and water buffalo; convalescent animals and exposed vaccinates (virus persists in the oropharynx for up to 30 months in cattle or longer in buffalo, 9 months in sheep). African Cape buffalo are the major maintenance host of SAT serotypes
(*)Who'd have thought that Infectious Diseases had their own Society?
First it was examine in situ, but GF needed more light and elbow room.
Then it was removed to the deck where it could be worked on... but GF could not find the right sized wrench.
So it was unceremoniously stuffed in the back of the Golf and taken along to a very nice man, called Stuart, at Halfords.
Stuart abandoned his desk... looked at the problem, grabbed a spanner and fixed the bike. What a nice man. (GF obviously rewarded him handsomely).
What does the author expect? A personal visit to every farm in the country? The information is all over the radio, the TV and the internet. If farmers are ill-informed it is because they have chosen to be.
(When the new system is complete - if budget constraints ever get sorted out - it would be possible to email and even fax every farm, where they have provided email addresses or fax numbers)
Let's hope this was spotted early enough and that there has been no transmission beyond the farm.
Reading the National Audit Office report on the lessons to be learned from the 2001 outbreak, we can only hope that the speed of response has been adequate (you can only start to respond once you are aware of the problem).
Working on the periphery of this, it seems a shame that the budgets to provide new support systems for such outbreaks are currently threatened.
Friday, August 03, 2007
"Probably needs formatting" he thinks.
Plugs memory card in PC... nada. PC couldn't see it.
Plugs memory card into laptop... nada again. Laptop couldn't see it.
Tries to email supplier - email address bounces (might have helped if GF had typed the address correctly). Time to talk to Mr Amazon, he thinks.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
GF is looking forward to a break... but after everyone else is back, when they have settled back in and forgotten they've ever been away. It always seems better that way!
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Nothing special, but very successful.
GF hears that C-c has been trying her hand at bicycle mechanics - sounds like a visit to Halfords is on the cards for Saturday!