Sunday, September 30, 2007

Help

The Gorse Fox has been helping the Silver Vixen set up her second email account and complete the monthly newsletter that she writes for her coven. It has to be sent off for final review by the Stitch Witch before being published.

Urban-cub popped in for a while, which was nice. She was in a previously unseen car - "It's a prison car" she announced. The Gorse Fox had heard of Open Prisons, Prison Ships, and this week even Prison Lorries, but he hadn't realised things had been down-sized quite to this extent. He supposes that with childlocks on the back you could probably keep 2 prisoners fairly well-contained as long as you didn't need too many staff.

Going... going...

Well, yesterday's viewing of GF's Golf went well, but failed to result in a firm offer. As a result he pinged some of the other candidates and 60 minutes later one was at the door. Thirty minutes after that we had a deal.

GF if a happy bunny.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

eBay Classified

GF is rather pleased. He advertised his Golf on eBay Classified. Today he has a viewer coming to see it, and he also has 4 other buyers waiting to see if it's still available afterwards... one willing to drive down from Manchester for it!

The advert went something like this:
This has been my pride and joy for the past three years, but the private lease is about to expire, and I've been out to order a replacement. I've been offered a good part exchange but thought that there may be a caring soul out there is just itching to own this little beauty. If so, on the successful exchange of a suitable number of monetary tokens, you can take over the care of this car as long as you keep it in the way to which it has become accustomed.
Over the 3 years I've always managed to average over 50mpg on every tank of diesel, and on a run have had it up to 68mpg - not bad for an auto, eh? (I would point out that despite the cruise control and the auto-DSG gearbox the driver is still expected to retain full control and can't rely on telepathy or telekinesis to direct the car).
Good condition throughout, though there is a small chip in the windscreen, and a mark on the front bumper where an evil troll reversed into me in a car park - then drove off without leaving his/her details (a special corner of hell has been reserved for this person).
What was nice was that several messages and responses were written in the same whimsical style... and one was just a note to say they weren't interested in the car, but had a good laugh at the advert.

List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Well it looks as if pressure is beginning to be applied to Wikipedia. The referenced article is in danger of being removed. It looks as if people should not be allowed to think for themselves.

(The Gorse Fox has saved a copy of the page in question, just in case "they" win).

Friday, September 28, 2007

Computer Error

Ooops. BT may had a slight problem according to Ananova. A couple reported:
"We only rang Chester 30 miles up the road. This bill was beyond ridiculous. Our normal bill is only £35 a month."

Seems reasonable... but what of the comment on the ridiculous bill? Oh yes, that was
The Chadwicks, of Nant-y-Gro, were charged £74,585.39 plus VAT for a seven minute phone call to Chester.

Apparently,
"We felt slightly more than horrified."

That would be an understatement!

Night moves

Driving at night can be immensely boring and tiring. Particularly if you are not used to diving long distances. To help alleviate the boredom the Gorse Fox phones the Silver vixen every so often on her flight back. She has a bluetooth connection on the broomstick so at the press of a button she can keep the GF in touch with her progress... and he can warn of traffic reports he's read from the interwebnet.

GF notes from Cousteau-cub's Facebook that she's left her phone in a taxi in Bangkok. Twit.

Variety

It's been a funny old day - the Silver Vixen hopped on her broomstick first thing (Gorse Fox had to fill the washer bottle at the outset - these modern broomstick come with all the mod-cons) and headed up to Jimmy's place to see her aunt.

GF started about half a dozen separate bits of work, each interrupted by the next as things cropped up throughout the day. Several remain incomplete... but they can be finished over the weekend. At least it was full of variety.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Networking

The evening was a pleasant affair. Only a few of us were staying at the venue, so we met up at a convenient time in the gym for a workout(*) then settled down to a fine three course salad and evening of putting the worlds to right.

(*)this bit may not be a totally accurate reflection of the truth. Replacing the word gym with bar, and workout with beer may be semantically more correct.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

On Course

Gorse Fox is on a course. It's easy as you become older to become a little cynical over courses. This one is entitled "High Impact Presentations" - and the Gorse Fox must say that he's very impressed so far.

Having said that, he finds the "improv" a little stressful!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Matchplay

The Gorse Fox has several people now interested in buying his car (VW Golf) - he's really rather pleased with e-Bay. By using the "Classified" service he is not at the whim of auction bidders - he set the price and gets contacted by those who are interested.

Tats

Gorse Fox was just distracted by the sound of the Silver Vixen's sewing machine. This drew him to think of needles and in turn that led to tattoos.

Maybe the girls(*) of SV's coven could get tattoos - maybe a death's head bobbin with crossed needles on a field of fat quarters; or a tea cup with the legend Forever Full?

(*) GF uses the word "girls" in the loosest(**) sense

(**) He uses the word loose in the specific context of the above sentence and categorically denies any double entendre that may be constued from its use.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Red-belly

The Gorse Fox, in his guise of Parish Councillor (this doesn't involve wearing lycra, nor disporting his under garments on the outside of his trousers)* has just been round to the domicile of a fellow Councillor to drop off some papers.

Strolling back in the deepening dusk he saw what at first he believed to be some small birds in the road. As he approached, however, they turned out to be frogs with fairly vivid red-bellies and with a could of leaps each they cleared road and hid in the bushes.

It's a funny old world.

(*) At least, not as a rule.

Just thinking

Well there's an interesting one.

Fairly quite in terms of phone calls - though the 04:01 calendar reminder on the Gorse Fox's mobile phone is a feature that will be switched off p.d.q. - but that left GF with plenty of time to do some preparation for several sessions later in the week.

It would seem from Gordon's speech at the conference today that he has Dave in his sights. Unless dave wakes up and stops being so wet, he's heading for annihilation.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Irony

Ironic that the cow that has bluetongue was called Debby.

Broomstick

Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen took her broomstick across the county boundary to Hampshire to spend time with Betty and Barney Rubble. Great lunch at The Crown (in easy walking distance) and then an afternoon of tea and chat.

Honest John

Gorse Fox has mentioned Honest John before. Today he has been asked to list the various charges imposed on the motorist. Here is his summary:
Unless Government expenditure on unnecessary, wasteful consultations and suchlike is curtailed, the money has to come from somewhere – if not from motorists, then from less politically acceptable tax increases. But here goes: registration tax, £50; annual VED, £35-£400; fuel tax and VAT, about 80p per litre; VAT on new cars, 17.5 per cent; VAT on repairs and servicing, 17.5 per cent; tolls on Birmingham Expressway and various bridges; London congestion charge, £8 per day; VAT on car park charges, 17 per cent; fixed penalty speeding tickets (effectively a tax), £60; parking penalties (effectively a tax), £30-plus; IPT (Insurance Premium Tax), 2.5 per cent; council domestic parking charges; MoT test, £30-£40 per annum; VAT on car parts, 17.5 per cent; hospital parking; airport parking charges. And now pay-as-you-drive taxes are threatened, too.
Just thought it was worth reminding you.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bluetongue disease detected in UK

Oh dear. This is bad news. Bluetongue seems to be a nasty disease with a 70% kill rate of infected stock. It is not unexpected, but it is the first time it's hit the UK.
There have been recent outbreaks of the disease on the continent. Defra said the discovery in Suffolk was not considered an outbreak unless further investigation demonstrated that the disease is circulating.
Let's hope it remains a single isolated case

Broadband

Urban-cub is back on broadband now, but has a fairly rudimentary set up. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen went round to the flat to help set up the Netgear Router/Modem... soon after all was connected and working and we downloaded Skype for her also.

GF will have to set up wireless for he next time.

Happy Birthday

Gorse Fox wishes Cousteau-cub a Happy Birthday. She may be far away, but GF would guess that it's party-time.

Hopefully he'll speak to her later on the phone

Creative Sleep

The Gorse Fox had a restless night. Sleep seemed light throughout... and that meant dreams by the cartload. However, as a result of this dream-state he came up with the (utterly useless) invention of a motorised laptop bag with all-wheel drive (which could be swapped for caterpillar tracks) for times when you take you laptop over rough terrain.

Now where's that patent application?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dave Cameron

Well, the Gorse Fox is impressed. He has received a full and considered response for David Cameron (or at least one of his researchers). It does include:
Any unauthorised use, disclosure, or copying is not permitted

So GF will not include the text here. He has, however, responded with copy of his post Politics - The Big Con
He's sure he should have edited it slightly so as not to cause offense, but at the end of the day, these people have our futures in their hands and they seem to treat it as a point-scoring game.
Quote from Jermaine Defoe
"When you work hard, for some reason you get lucky"
Errr... yes. Though actually it might be the work rather than the luck.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Less is More

It's a little quieter today. GF has some time to reflect on some of the wider aspects of the programme... and that sees him playing with flowcharts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Farewell

The Gorse Fox joined up with some of his team to say cheerio to the Hobbit, who is leaving the project this week. We saw him off at the Singapore Restaurant. That's two nights runniing for the GF, but as he quite likes the restaurant he tucked in.

What!

Gorse Fox handed a chart to Danny.
"That looks interesting, are those all the dependencies?"
The Gorse Fox replied in the affirmative.
"We'll make an honorary project manager out of you for work like this" he offered.
The Gorse Fox was appalled and threatened to take the chart away. Some people really know how to hurt a chap.

Review

Another day, another review.

Today we have the men from the ministry here to peruse the programme. Seems to have gone quite well so far.

Mother Superior is still dealing with the "troubles" so has not been contactable. Bit of a shame as she probably wants us to do something, but has actually asked us to, yet!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I'm going in...

Colleague sitting near the Gorse Fox:
"I'm going into my handbag. I may be some time".

Products you didn't know you wanted

Pantene Vanishing Moose - now there's a trick.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Phuket

The Silver Vixen has just taken a call from Cousteau-cub. having left home, here, at 06:30 yesterday morning she has only just arrived at Phuket as a result of the terrible plane crash there yesterday.

We were not unduly worried as we knew she was safe - but we did worry about any delays or re-routing that she might incur. As it was, she had to re-route via Krabi and then take a taxi ride to Phuket.

Post Its

There's something a little bizarre about sitting on a teleconference line connected to a meeting that is working with Post-It notes and some of the participants can only be heard by the more gifted species of bats. It requires a huge amount of imagination... and allows the Gorse Fox's mind to wander.

He wonders:
  • "What are they wearing?"
  • "Is the chairman wearing a dress?"
  • "Did he have a good weekend?"
  • "Do any of them have a black-eye?"

LibDems - Me too!

We begin an exciting new week with a splash of rain... and the news that Menzies Campbell and the LibDems were so embarrassed to be left out of the Gorse Fox's blog-post yesterday, that they have announced a whole bunch of hare-brained, crackpot and punitive ideas and taxes to ensure that none of our major political parties are electable.

(As the Gorse Fox was near the Houses of Parliament last week, he searched around to see where they perform the lobotomies on the party leadership... but it was not immediately identifiable)

GF admits to a great respect for many of the back-benchers who are the last remaining hope for a resurgence of common-sense and sanity. His own MP is Peter Bottomley - and he is an impressive and tireless representative of local opinion and issues.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Politics - the big Con

This is just some random thoughts on politics today

Firstly let let it be said that the Gorse Fox OBJECTs. Why should his aspirations and quality of life be constrained by reckless government spending, and flim flam emanating from bad science and a political bandwagon that has no substance in reality.

The Times review of the Quality of Life document tells us:

Material gain in Britain is making people less happy and only radical
action to protect society and the environment can prevent economic
growth from further damaging our wellbeing, according to a major
Conservative policy report endorsed by David Cameron yesterday.
and

The Tory leader said that much of the document would be included in the
party’s next manifesto, signalling that he will campaign to introduce
many of the green taxes that it proposes. He sought to draw the sting
from increasing the cost of cars, flights, loft extensions and
televisions by pledging that all additional revenue raised would be set
aside in a “Family Fund”.


Apparently the introduction should raise a few eyebrows:

Its introduction states that, beyond a certain point, "ever-increasing
material gain can become not a gift, but a burden. As people it makes
us less happy, as the environment upon which all of us, and our
economy, depend is increasingly degraded by it”.
So, there you are. By paying more stupid taxes you'll be happier because you have less of a material burden.

Whilst we are talking about these things we should expand the scope slightly and look at other "winning" policies that really benefit us.

Conning the Electorate
Labour
Conservative
Commentary
Inheritance Tax

Iniquitous theft of family assets that have been acquired over time from taxed income.

This is double taxation, and amounts to theft.
Pension situation

The near destruction of the UK Pension system by stealing £7B per annum from the funds is the most cynical treachery that a government can foist upon its people.

Having spent a working lifetime saving for their pension the governments cynical raid on these funds is morally reprehensible and no more acceptable than Robert Maxwell's similar raid on the Mirror pension scheme.
Personal freedom

The continued erosion of personal freedom is breathtaking. A country that has, throughout its history, fought to protect its freedom and those of others now wants draconian controls on its own people:
  • They are watched by CCTV
  • Their cars should be tracked
  • They will have to carry Id Cards
  • They will have to submit their DNA to an already discredited databases
  • They will have to allow tax assessors into their homes

Short haul flights
The "elite" have decided that short haul (national) flights will be subject to additional taxes to encourage people out of the sky on the pretense that this is to reduce CO2 and save the planet.

This is a penalty not on flying, but on people's personal time. Very few people fly short-haul within the UK for fun. They do it because their business requires it. If this is to be penalised it will have one of several outcomes:
  1. the extra charges will be passed on to the end consumers;
  2. the extra charges will make business more difficult and slow the economy;
  3. individuals will have to consume even more of their "free time" to travel by alternative means.
The elite, however, will continue to fly.

Plasma screens
As the Gorse Fox wander round the offices of Whitehall he sees the 60in plasma whiteboards where TV can be displayed and video-conferences held.

This is too good for the rest of us though. We have to make do with other technology because plasma screens may contain harmful gasses.


Car Sales Tax
We are no longer to be allowed to make a choice of cars unaided.

The latest proposal is that cars that are deemed "bad" by the elite will have extra sales taxes added to their cost so that we will by cars that they deem "good".

Good and bad is based on CO2 emissions. CO2, for those not up to date, is the gas that gets the blame for Global Warming but has been proved pretty conclusively to have no effect on GW, indeed it seems to grow as a result of GW (not the other way round as you are led to believe).

See Falsification of CO2

As Clarkson said recently regarding the Toyota Prius:
These use just as much fuel as normal cars
and are designed only to assuage the guilt of people whose opinions come
from a man so hopeless he couldn’t even beat George Bush to the White House.
(Actually they use more fuel that my car).
Low energy light bulbs

Oh, this is clever.

We must use low energy light bulbs - but can't import the cheap ones from the Far East, we have to use the expensive ones from Europe... the ones that contain unacceptable levels of mercury.

Why? its CO2 stupid. Less CO2 is created because less energy is consumed by the light bulb.

Standby mode
Standby mode must be removed from devices because of the energy consumed when it is quiesced.

May make sense in terms of saving electricity - but don't paly the CO2 card again. Just how stupid do you think we are.

See Skeptics Guide to Anthropogenic Global Warming

Supermarket parking charges
This is so ridiculous it it is laughable.

The concept of a supermarket is that you can get all of your shopping under one roof. This means that you then have to get that shopping home, which for most people demands a car, and probably a single trip per week.

This is an efficient use of transport, particularly if you combine the trip with another necessary journey. But no, the "elite" (who probably never go shopping) have decided that the proletariat should pay for the privilege of collecting their weekly shopping. It is seen as a green tax.

Even if there is a local bus service (there isn't one where the Gorse Fox lives) - how are people going to struggle onto the bus with 10 bags of weekly shopping?

The Gorse Fox sees it as an absolute suicide path for the Tory party.
Council tax re-banding

This is wrong in so many ways:
  1. it give tax assessors the right to enter your home (with the police if necessary)
  2. If you live somewhere that has a nice view, or is near a good school then your tax will be increased
  3. If you have improved your property (with your taxed income) its tax value will increase.

Company parking
In order to cut carbon emissions, companies should charge for the parking facilities they provide.

Excuse me!

Most people have no alternative to their car for work. Why should they be penalised because of the rickety bandwagon of carbon politics.

(The Gorse Fox has a simple choice - a 3 hour drive to work once each week or a 6-hour series of train journeys. He would have to charge his time for these as he considers this a major inroad into his quality of life. If his client then charged him for parking, he would then charge that fee back to the client... who wins? Well, as his client is the Government he reckons he does!)
Downgrading local hospitals

As the Government attempts to reduce regional health inequalities,
there are growing funding disparities between the North of England and
the South East
  • The Government spends £1,250 per head on
    patients in the South and £1,450 per head in the North (Alice Miles,
    The Times, 15 July 2006)
  • Is the Prime Minister aware that consultants at Worthing hospital,
    which is threatened with downgrading because it is in a Conservative
    area, have been told that they must not see their patients before eight
    weeks, even if their patients’ conditions deteriorate?
Spin

Another word for Dishonest or Lies.

Spin has done more to erode the electorate's trust in their politicians than anything in the last 10 years.

"Why don't the voters trust politicians?" - Alistair Campbell, Ed Balls et al. that's why.
Destruction of independence of the Lords

The Lords is an institution that has been all but neutered by the the "politics of envy".

The Lords created a check & balance to the Commons. Because it was not elected, it could take the long-term strategic view, without worrying about being popular when the elections come along. This was a worthy body that served the country admirably for centuries.

It was disliked because it was predominantly hereditary so had to be neutered - particularly when they started to provide too much scrutiny of the government.
Lowest disposable income since 1981

Yep. Remember the feel-good factor and "you've never had it so good" - well thanks to the profiligacy of the government we're moving to the point "you've never had it at all" as it will all be deducted before we get paid.
Multiculturalism

Utter failure.

Multi-cultralism has created ghettos of non-English speaking immigrants who have no intention of integrating.

We should welcome immigrants into our society as it enriches the nation - but in return they have to conform to our way of living, our laws, our language and integrate into mainstream society. This has worked perfectly for 1000 years, but fallen apart and created separation and strife since liberal multi-culturalism has been allowed.
Emissions


MOTORISTS are facing a fresh squeeze from Alistair Darling, the chancellor,
with a one-off £2,000 tax on 4x4s and the most polluting cars, a leaked
Treasury paper has revealed.

The aim is to reduce emissions.

This is stupid enough to have come from the Tories "quality of Life" document...

In most cases it is OLD cars that create the emissions. Lower taxes so people can afford to replace their old high-polluting cars to newer low-emission vehicles.

This is further elitism - as the wealthy will still buy whatever they like - and ministers will be ferried around at our expense. People who need big vehicles - because of large families, disability, work (farmers, builders, nurserymen etc), or the rural location in which they live will be penalised.

Human Rights act

Hah!

It seems that the only people who actually have any rights are criminals and troublemakers.

When the Human Rights Act starts working for the victims of crime and injustice the Gorse Fox will start to support it. At the moment it is a perturbation of justice.

Paraphrasing Henry "Who will rid me of these damn cretins". Evidently the electorate can't as we have a morally corrupt government and and a totally inept opposition. No vote will solve the problem. What we need is a politician with charisma, common sense, and no personal agenda or ambition - someone who genuinely wants to serve the voters and won't be swayed by hype or bad science.

Just to make it clear - the Gorse Fox is not against taxation. He doesn't like it, but he's not against it. It is right that a society collects money from its people to provide services that matter and to protect and care for those who cannot look after themselves.

It is NOT right that this society gives money to the indolent and feckless.

5 o'clock

Five o'clock seems like a silly time to be up and about on a Sunday morning. It was necessary, however, to get ensure that we got Cousteau-cub to the airport in time for her flight. By now she should be 25 minutes into the journey - stopping at Qatar en route.

It was fare less emotional than last time we did this; probably because we have come to expect it and know that's what she does! This time also, we've had longer to get used to the idea.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Skype

With C-c going away tomorrow we have just managed to get her set up and working on Skype. That'll be good as she has a VOIP handset and a webcam so we should be able to video-phone her.

Stick it to 'em

The Gorse Fox has finally had a chance to think about the Conservative's Quality of Life suggestions. As a result he has just written to Dave to tell him exactly what he thinks. What tosh!

The Gorse Fox does wish he'd stop saying "We've been listening to what matters to people". Tripe.

How many people do you know want to:
  • pay for going to the supermarket
  • pay extra to use an flight in the UK
  • pay extra to buy a car that is not on the right list

Get a grip... or lose another election.

Old Riders of the Purple Age

So the the Old Riders of the Purple Age have swept across the skies on their broomsticks for another day at the coven, wielding the needle and turning huge bolts of fine fabrics into small scraps.

The Gorse Fox is left to his own devices... and whilst he fancies a walk, he is expecting a phone call from Mother Superior to discuss possible improvements to the systems supporting the latest "emergency". So, with that as an excuse, and the fact it's C-c's last day at home - he'll stay put.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Broomstick

One of the problems that comes to the more mature members of the Silver Vixen's coven is sometimes described as a senior moment. Leaving the stitch and bitch meeting the Silver Vixen stood as a friend searched her pockets for her keys for her broomstick.

"Check your bag"

So the bag was emptied onto the car park - No they're not there.

"Were they in your hand when you posted the Community Centre keys back through the post box"

No, she didn't have them then.

"Were they in you bag of spells?"

The content was emptied onto the floor. The bag was shaken around. The keys were not there. A note of panic was becoming noticeable.

"Check your bag again"

A long pause followed.

"Oh I just remembered, I came with Gracie Fields tonight, I didn't bring the broomstick".

The Silver Vixen climbed onto her broomstick and flew home.

LZ2007

Well, it seems that over 20 million fans have entered the ballot for the tickets to see Led Zeppelin in November.

Make that 20,000,001 as GF has just managed to get his name into the ballot. If successful it will be the first time he has seen them since missing the Silver Vixen's 18th birthday party to see Led Zeppelin at Wembley (well, you have to have a sense of priority... and we were only friends at that time).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Home

The day was a bit frantic... preparing contractual material, discussing resourcing, reviewing specifications and coping with the general level of phone calls and questions. In some ways it was frustrating as it is clear that there have been some decisions made (within Starfleet) without due consideration of the impact.

GF got away at a sensible time and headed south-east, back to the safety of Sussex. Cousteau-cub had already left for her "Farewell Do" in Brighton... en event for which Brighton is surely not prepared. So GF and the Silver Vixen had a quiet evening examining the contents of an interesting Sicilian wine bottle.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gray Monk

The Gorse Fox had the pleasure of meeting the Gray Monk for a quiet curry. Given that they had never met before there might be the problem of identification. However, the judicious choice of the Curry house meant that GF was the only person there. This narrowed the chances to an acceptable level.

Dinner was a pleasure with wide ranging conversation encompassing religion, crime, faith schools, computer design, arson, the explosive properties of petrol, and the Civil Service.

Next time he has been promised a tour of the Abbey.

Led Zeppelin confirm reunion gig

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Led Zeppelin confirm reunion gig
Oh goody, goody, goody.

New foot-and-mouth case confirmed

BBC NEWS | UK | New foot-and-mouth case confirmed
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Signs of the Times

The Gorse Fox was in London for a Board meeting.

Walking back to the railway station he passed a restaurant that evidently had no license for the sales of wines and spirits. On the window were several signs inviting patrons to bring their own... and evidently they had a sense of humour. Among the signs talking about bringing wines and beers was one saying:
"You can bring your own wife"
It made the Gorse Fox smile

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tools

Gorse Fox believes that it is always worth having the right tools for the job. That's why he has a surfeit of (rarely used) power tools that would make Norm Abram blink hidden away.

Mellors turned up this afternoon clutching his brother-in-law and a major chain saw. Our 90ft long hedge was reduced to a height of 6ft in about an hour. This would have taken GF a whole day to achieve.

It works

Gorse Fox has noticed that since the latest upgrade of Picasa, direct blogging of photos seems to have started working again.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cake with a difference

The Gorse Fox forgot to point out that Cousteau-cub has a birthday coming up, just after she heads for Thailand. We couldn't let that go, un-marked. So, as she cannot eat cake, we had to come up with an "alternative birthday cake".

We thought this was pretty inventive (though in previous years we've had candles in a pizza and a Mars bar!).

The Gorse Fox should probably have gone round the other side to take this... Cousteau-cub is not being allowed to travel to Thailand unaccompanied at the age of 13!
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Low tide

As you can see the beach is empty, though a few people are still strolling along the greensward.
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Post-prandial constitutional

After the BBQ, where it took two people to carry the meat back and forth, and after the dishwasher was loaded, there was a definite (though not very vocal) call for some exercise.

After several calls for "Anybody fancy a walk?" we had a quorum and set out for a stroll along the beach.

Sir Lancinglot was wearing new trainers so insisted on walking in bare feet along the sand (the tide was out). The rest of us strolled higher up the beach.

Though the greensward was busy with dog walkers, the beach was very quiet and we seemed to have the whole place to ourselves.
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Fried potato - GF's way

The garden chairs have been cleaned and the tables wiped.

Wine and beer are cooling in the fridge.

The salad is prepared, potatoes par-boiled ready to mix with onion, bacon, chorizo, cumin, coriander and turmeric, and the BBQ is ready to fire up... we do plan to see Cousteau-cub off in style.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Prep

With Cousteau-cub heading back to Phi Phi next week, we have a bit of a do planned for Sunday. This meant that a raid on Sainsbury was called for. Preparing, as if for a military campaign, the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox took the superstore by storm. Shock (at the sight of the bill) and Awe (from other shoppers as they saw the trolley) sums up the trip.

The police are looking for...

The Gorse Fox is looking at various options regarding the provision of transport should there be an "interregnum" between the expiration of his current lease and the arrival of his new car.

Whilst looking through various rental options he noticed a local company called "Getaway Cars".

He wonders if any of them have bullet holes, or crash damage. All-in-all he has decided against them... he doesn't want to be pulled over on his way top Worcester because he's driving a vehicle that is sought by the police.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Moral decline and Manners

There is a debate going on at the BBC about moral decline. On the One Show this evening this was discussed just from the simple standpoint of declining manners and lack of politeness (or respect). The point that they failed to acknowledge is that good manners are like high grade engine oil, they allow the normal frictions of daily life to slide by with the least wear and tear. The reality is that the more diverse our culture becomes, and the more densely our island is populated the more important good manners become. (If that's all right with you).

Choices

Gorse Fox is thinking of changing the background template for this blog. No because he is fed up with it, nor because he dislikes it... more because a change is sometimes needed.

But then again... he may not bother; idleness is fun too.

Oo-er

The Silver Vixen has arrived back with Urban-cub. She's feeling a bit doddery, but that's just the anesthesia wearing off. Apparently C2BAX injected the anesthetic asnd said that it was very light and would take about 30 seconds to work.

Urban-cub continued to chat then said "Oo-er, here we go" and that was it until it was all over.

Anyway it may take up to two weeks to take effect but let's hope this is all that's needed.

Flash

Urban-cub has just arrived. She reports that the speed camera on the A259 is ablaze. The Gorse Fox, of course, could not endorse such vandalism.... but sits here with a warm grin trying to avoid the thought that we need more such community-minded individuals.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Thriller

The hotel has another coach party. Over breakfast it looked like the cast of Michael Jackson's thriller shuffling round looking for food that didn't need to be chewed. The Gorse Fox queued for some fruit and yoghurt and sat back down.

A youngster in the party (probably only 75 or 80) chirped up "I see they have black pudding today. That's instead of marmalade."(*) The little old women all collapsed in squeals of girlish laughter. That was a signal to the Gorse Fox that it was time to leave whilst he retained a modicum of sanity and he still had control over his urge to throw things.

(*) That's a phrase you don't hear every day.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

MexiGeek

At the end of another interesting day, the Gorse Fox joined up with his team for a meal. This was long planned. Indeed he noticed it mentioned in the minutes of a team meeting in January. (Well, there's no sense in rushing things!)

Sixteen of us - associate geeks, geeks, uber-geeks and consulting-geeks settled down and tried manfully to wade through "Chester's" vast menu and sample their wide selection of beers. It was a really enjoyable night and as we all spilled out into the night, the Gorse Fox headed back to the hotel whilst the more hardy headed on to another hostelry.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A golden orb of sunlight exploded over the horizon as the Gorse Fox approached Newbury. It was a very pleasant drive this morning as GF covered the distance between Sussex and Worcester.

From the moment of arrival there seemed to be activity, reviews, meetings, overlapping meetings, updates, and new design challenges. Wonderfully stimulating... if you take you excitement at a desk rather than being on the cutting edge of adventure sports. (GF leaves the reader to judge his particular preference).

A few colleagues congregated in a suitable establishment that would allow gradual accretion of further workmates whilst fine ale was sampled. Eventually, a small septet broke away to try the fine cuisine afforded by Pizza Express. Discussions ranged from Indonesian hotels, to poker; from honeymoons to monasteries and on to whether a wife should still vow to "obey" during a wedding ceremony (the Gorse Fox obviously has no view on this and defers the question to the Silver Vixen).

Monday, September 03, 2007

Gorse Fox has been working from home, as is his habit on Mondays. Phone has been quieter than usual, but the variation in tasks has kept him on his toes. Next conference call in a few minutes.... meanwhile the laptop is frantically backing up to a portable disk kept for that purpose (it's a little while since GF did this and he has changed the software so needs to reset everything).

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Housekeeping

It's been a fairly quiet day as the the Gorse Fox has been doing some housekeeping on his computer. He has spoken before about Allway Sync, the software he uses to manage synchronisation of his active files with a backup device... well it was time for a review to make sure unnecessary stuff was not being needless saved, and all the important stuff was. While he was at it he restructured some disks and moved various odds n' sods about.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Screaming Harridan

Leaving the peace of the Church, Gorse Fox continued down to Ilex Walk and then on to the beach. At this time of year the seaweed is thick and lush and as the tide was high it was being pounded against the beach and giving off that wonderful "seaside-smell". The Gorse Fox loves it, though Silver Vixen thinks it's foul.

Strolling back onto the greensward there were several coiffured matron walking their dogs. At this point GF must point out that when it comes to pets he's never quite "got it". It could be that his allergic reaction to cats and dogs makes him resistant to the charms these companion animals bestow:
  • moulting hairs
  • huge vet bills
  • damage to gardens
  • inability to take a weekend break with relying of friends or neighbours
  • carrying plastic bags containing their bodily waste
  • etc
however, it is clear that some people feel the need, and so we see them walking these beasts along the greensward. Now, it occurs to the Gorse Fox that most animals are driven by animal instinct and if you choose to let them off the leash they will do what animals do... and this is how an elegant lady in coiffured hair, makeup, designer glasses, and the full works ended up screaming and swearing at another lady and threatening to kill her, because one dog had taken a shine to pretty little Frou-frou and attempted to consumate his desire. The Gorse Fox, by this time, was crying with laughter - and the angrier and more foul-mouthed the lady got, the more the Gorse Fox laughed.

He's not absolutely sure this helped the situation!

He was still chuckling when he got home. It had been a nice, easy 7.5 miles and a well needed stretch.

Sistine Chapel (no not that one)

Arriving at Titnore Lane the Gorse Fox turned south and headed towards Goring. Taking his life in his hands he crossed back across the A259 and then made his way along to the Church of the English Martyrs.

This is a most unassuming Catholic Church from the outside. Built in the 1980's it has an almost industrial design... low, oblong, and a bit like a small school.

The outside does not, however, prepare you for waht is inside.

A local artist, inspired by visiting the Vatican, has reproduced the Sistine Chapel ceiling - taking him over 5 years to complete - and it is a beauty to behold.

The Gorse Fox bought a photography permit and took many tens of photos, but as the permit stipulates that they are "for personal use" he will respect the implied copyright by not showing any others on the blog.

He does recommend that if you are ever in the area, it is well worth a visit. For more information go to http://www.investmentart.co.uk/
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Agribot

Crossing Highdown and descending towards Durrington the Gorse Fox wandered through a farm's yard. It was stuffed full of "boys toys".

Gorse Fox has no idea what this was but it was huge. At the right end was some form of conveyor mechanism and on the left what the GF would assume to be either some form of hopper to feed the conveyor or some form of receptacle to receive something from the conveyor.
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On the pull

Continuing up the hill one couldn't help but notice the goats in the field near the mill (Ecclesden Mill).

GF is pretty sure that they were not available as part of the PYO deal further down the hill... but speculated that they would probably pass muster at local nightclubs. And once the local lads had consumed several lagers, might even find an escort home.
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PYO

Roundstone Farm is a Pick-Your-Own farm. Gorse Fox had always associated this with fruit. Indeed when we lived in Bedforshire we would take the cubs to a PYO strawberry farm and watch as they tried to put more in their mouths than they did in their baskets. Anyway, Roundstone seems to have spread the horizon somewhat and there appeard to be beds of all kinds on vegetables ready for you to select and pick.

This view intrigued the Gorse Fox as these poppy-tracks divided one section of the field.
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East Kingston

Passing the Old Cottage GF headed along The Rife then zagged back westwards to a point where he could could cross the railway.

Crossing the freshly tilled field and then the A259 he cut along the path by Roundstone Farm.
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Walking from home

The Silver Vixen is out with her coven terrorising the simple folk of Worthing. The Gorse Fox has been left to his own devices (Cousteau-cub being at Urban-cub's).

A walk was called for, but GF could really be bothered to plan anything to adventurous. He decided that today would be a circular walk starting and ending at the front door.

Mellors had turned up whilst GF was preparing... so he passed polite conversation and then got started. Out from The Gorse, he strolled inland passing the pond turning east. On the way he passed the security guard who insisted there would be "no rain this coming week" whilst stroking the space where his beard may once have nestled. (He looked as if he had once had a full beard and moustache that had crept up his cheeks and round his eyes, but then in a fit of pique he had shaved everything below his top lip... oh yes, and did GF meantion he was ginger).
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