Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Home

Waiting in one of the lounges for the flight, Mother Superior revealed that our little Ray of sunshine had been using her camera to take pictures during our presentation. She spun through the images. A quick analysis and the Gorse Fox hopes they never see the light of day! He looks like a contortionist doing a song and dance routine at one point.

The flight back from Orlando was pretty uneventful. Being a "red-eye" most people slept and the crew stayed out of the way until we approached land. Mother Superior and the Gorse Fox were quickly through passport control, collected baggage and headed off in separate directions. Gorse Fox to the car and the warm tones of Terry Wogan... Mother Superior to the railway station for the trek back up to Worcester.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Done

The Gorse Fox has finished at the conference. He gave a joint presentation with Mother Superior... Then ran for the taxi befoe he was stoned by the audience.

He's sitting in the airpot lounge waiting for his winged chariot to take him home.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Geeks

The Gorse Fox has just sat through a discussion of conflict resolution and sequencing of multi-dimensional decision tables...

He really knows how to have fun!

Conference

The conference starts for real in a couple of hours. GF is up rehearsing his material (even though it isn't needed until tomorrow).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'll ask you once again

Mother Superior and the Gorse Fox completed the interview without too much trauma, other than the interviewer guessing incorrectly what the departments initials stood for.

Leaving we were met by the UK representatives of the winged horse who insisted on taking us for cocktails (which we strenuously resisted but eventually capitulated on so as not to appear rude!)

That led into the cocktail reception where we met up with Doris, and old friend of the Gorse Fox from a time when he had a different role within Starfleet, and were joined by a little Ray of sunshine straight from the airport. A buffet was available and waiter circulated with nibbles. very sociable.

Half way through, music started and an opera singere appeared on a balcony to "entertain us". The Gorse fox reflected on noise pollution and the efficacy of a Taser over 70 yards... in the end we moved to the other side of the courtyard for the sake of retaining some degree of aural function.

Lunch

When we got back to the hotel the sun was out, and that seemed like a suitable excuse for a cold beer.

GF then disappeared off... as the rain started again, so headed for his room where he started to go through the agenda and the presentation material for the conference.

Must pack up soon, as we have to do an interview at 17:00

Lights, Camera, Action

Another milestone... this is the Gorse Fox's 3500th post.

The morning was quite overcast, though very warm and humid. Mother Superior wanted to buy a camera so we headed for the Mall at Millenia a couple of miles from the hotel. We'd hung about waiting for a taxi, and hijacked the first to come along... which turned out to be booked for an airport run. The driver wasn't impressed when we clambered into the back and directed him to the mall.

We arrived early. Though the mall was open none of the shops were, and wouldn't be for another hour or so. This gave time to scout around and look for likely outlets and to sit down by Starbucks for a coffee and discuss a number of office-related matter and set a time for this afternoon's interview.

Eventually the tores opened and we went round every gadget store in the mall... did you know you can get a watch winder? Anyway, MS found a suitable camera and we headed back to the hotel

Plans

Not sure what today has in store... but breakfast is first on the list, and the Gorse Fox knows there's a cocktail reception this evening.

Annivesary

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the Gorse Fox Blog. It's been good fun and so far has not got him into too much trouble.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Looking around

The hotel is built like an an Italian fishing village with regiments of cyprus trees lining the ornate gardens and swimming pools.

The whole place is centered around this "harbour". The weather was heavily overcast (indeed there had been very heavy rain earlier), so it probably doesn't look its best.

Portofino Bay

Location, location, location

After a surprisingly quick check-in and passage through security the Gorse Fox was ushered to the plane and took his seat. He took stock of his surroundings. In front of him was a small screen with a map of of southern England and an icon representing the aeroplane. It was a little disconcerting to realise that this is fed from the flight deck, where they were plotting today's route to Orlando and the icon clearly stated that we were at Stanstead Airport. That came as news to GF who had driven to Gatwick!

The wonders of technology, eh?

Well the trip went without incident and the GF is now esconced in a very smart Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, getting ready to grab a beer and something to eat.

Taking the Mickey

Gorse Fox is off on a business trip to Florida so blogging may be sparse for a few days.

Friday, October 26, 2007

New Toy

The Gorse Fox is mobile again. He has taken delivery of his new toy.
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Accessories

The Gorse Fox is due to collect his new car today. Whilst reading the interwebnet-thingy this morning he wonders if he has made a mistake and omitted an essential accessory... It would appear that in Japan they are providing portable, compact, cardboard toilets!

As the Gorse Fox doesn't use the M25 too often he may be able to do without, but it just seem like the perfect accessory/talking point:
"Yes, it does 52mpg. It's great, really slick gear box, parking sensors (for the M25), heated seats, iPod connection, toilet, umbrella holder."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A-list

Bit of excitement at the Estate's AGM. It would appear that another of our properties is owned by an A-list celebrity. All very secretive.

Shame

So Spurs have lost their manager. It stinks rather.
The Gorse Fox is not impressed.
GF is always impressed by real customer service. He phoned his usual hotel and asked to book a room for late next week as the Silver Vixen will be joining him in Worcester and going to the nearby Quilting event.

"Oh yes" she said "I'll do you a nice suite at your usual rate".

GF thanked her profusely.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wondering

As the Gorse Fox drove back from the office to the hotel we wondered where one of the side-turnings led.

He couldn't turn and follow it, the traffic was too busy.

He hadn't got the SatNav, so looked round for a chap with a turban as he'd frequently heard the quote: "Sikh and you shall find"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Football

Dinner at Pizza Express was a pleasure after a busy day in Worcester. The most significant discussion of the evening revolved around football. (That's real football for any American readers, i.e. a game palyed with a ball controlled with the feet, what you'd call soccer).

The debate ranged over the wide range of foreign players in each team and whether any national teams were actually better than their best clubs. Then we moved on to the most significant part of the discussion. Who would play for a Worl XI or Galactic XI, but more to the point who would they play.

Given the almost infinite number of worlds in the multitude of galaxies, how many might have evolved life forms that play football and want to play in the Inter-Worlds Champions League. Now concentrate. Here comes the science....

How do you manage away games, and how do you choose the team given that it may take several generations to arrive at the game.

Sorry, head hurts.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Streaming

The Gorse Fox thinks that it's frustrating when hundreds of witty or significant thoughts have scudded across his consciousness throughout the day, but he hasn't had time to blog them. Then it comes time to blog and his mind is as empty as a that of a Labour politician.

One of the Silver Vixen's friends is in the throws of buying a restaurant. We were discussing over dinner the need for a meaningful name. "Get Stuffed" seemed inappropriate, "McDonald's" may send the wrong message (and her name isn't McDonald anyway).

The Gorse Fox asked where this establishment was... "Church Lane" replied the Silver Vixen.

He knows it well. Small village, nestling in the foot of the Downs. "Are they planning to open a fish restaurant?" he asked.

The answer was negative. Damn! Church Lane, the Downs and Fish... could've been "The Salmon on the Mount".

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Worthing

We stopped in Worthing on the way back... it seemed too nice not to stay out and do something else. So we went inside!

The Worthing Fish Factory was on the route chosen and it seemed like an ideal place to stop for some fine food. As usual it was busy, but we managed to get a table. There's always a buzz in there and today was no exception.

The Silver Vixen went for the lobster, and the Gorse Fox for the Butter Fish. Neither were disappointed. Superb, as usual.

We looked around the nearby municipal gardens as we left, and whilst very attractive, they were quite small.
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Craft Fairs

The Gorse Fox wondered about Craft Fairs as he drove back. There are evidently some immensely talented folk out there who make some extraordinary items. But hardly anyone buys anything. They are the sort of items you look at and say "Oooh, that's nice." but would never dream of buying. GF wondered if these fairs were less about the buying & selling, and more about the acknowledgments and praise of the visitors.

Lancing College Chapel

This was one of the side aisles to Lancing College Chapel. This spectacular building is currently undergoing renovation, so much was hidden by scaffolding.


The Gorse Fox thought, as he and the Silver Vixen left:
  • The children who go to school here are privileged to have such stunning surroundings and excellent facilities.
  • The chapel is amazing
  • He's glad he's no longer at school!
  • He wouldn't like the heating bills
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Cloister Two

The second cloister was even more impressive.

The crenellated tower (bedecked with TV aerials) stood in one corner overlooking the whole scene.

Half of a hexagonal tower dominated the north range.

A tower worthy of Rapunzel stood to the east. Though, given some of the Crafty Fair visitors it might be more appropriate for a witch!

The west range.
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Courtyards and Cloisters

Gorse Fox has a thing about courtyards and cloisters.

Lancing College had a superb example of two connected quadrangles surrounded by cloisters.

Walking up the steps to the left of this first building, the courtyard opens up before you.


The cloister was semi-enclosed with rose-arched openings embellished with a filigree of curved stonework.


From the inside of the cloister, the arched opening are more obvious.
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Flint Craft

Though cool, Sunday has been beautiful. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen decided that it was ideal fro a circuitous trip to Lancing to a Craft Fair that was being held at the Lancing College.

Instead of heading due east, we head north first, not turning east until Washington, then pottered though Steyning and St Botolph's to arrive at the Colleg from the north. This was the first time that GF had been this close and he was most impressed by the flint-faced buttressed walls of the school buildings.
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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Treachery and Treason

Gorse Fox notes that our Government has broken its promise to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution Treaty and treacherously given away further Sovereignty without any mandate from the people.

But then, the Gorse Fox asks, when has this Government treated the people with anything other than disdain and contempt?

We should expect nothing else from these cretins. He wonders if some rich lawyer could actually try to prosecute on the grounds of Treason, or Fraud.

Worry

It is worrying.

The Gorse Fox awoke. His dream was still fresh in his mind. Why had he been debating global warming with Bill Clinton, illustrating some of his points with Google Earth?

It is worrying.

(Charming man, by the way... you should meet him. Gorse Fox will mention you to him next time he passes through a dream).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Teleconf

A two hour teleconference seemed an unfortunate way to start the day. The call, however, was excellent. Mother Superior was reviewing some of the suggestions for the next stage of the development... and basically shuffled the deck (and ditched some cards). Many of the ideas that GF has been espousing (with limited traction) were being echoed by MS.

It means that next week will be "interesting" and probably quite busy, but that's no problem.

The call went on and on. In the end GF was getting close to check-out time so put the phone on mute and found his way through the hotel, paid his bill using sign language (and his credit card), and loaded the car. The call ended, and GF set off into the Warwickshire countryside for his trip back home. It was a glorious day, and traffic was quite light in his direction so he made good time.

Chips

The evening went well. There was the usual scrum at the bar before dinner, then we were ushered into the hall where we made our way to the pre-arranged seating. The food was good, and the wine adequate.

When dinner was over we were each given a token. This token could be exchanged for chips. This seemed strange having only just finished dinner - but the Gorse Fox assumed it was a Midlands thing.

It turned out the chips were for the Casino that had been set up for us whilst we were eating. Gorse Fox is not a gambler, so he wandered around from table to table watching and trying to understand the evident thrill that some of his colleagues displayed. Finally, he claimed his chips and placed a bet on the Roulette Wheel - it spun off, so he put it on the table. He won, doubling his stake.

He moved on to Blackjack. He put down his stake, and the the dealer turned over 21 - he'd won again. In the end he went to all four tables and won on each with his first bet. He started the cycle again - and won again. Eight straight wins. This disconcerted the Gorse Fox. His views on gambling are that you have to expect to lose. This meant a new strategy was required.

He picked a table, shared his chips with several colleagues who'd already lost their pile... and set about trying the lose the lot. It took a while.... but honour was restored. The Gorse Fox taught himself a damned good lesson!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Out and about

It was strange driving off on the Silver Vixen's broomstick. It is so different from the Gorse Fox's ex-car. Sitting quite high, as it does, gives a very different view of the road and the traffic. It also has wing mirrors the size of elephant's ears so the view of what's behind you is almost as big as the view in front.

The event in Kenilworth was interesting, but not quite what GF had expected. It was interesting to hear some of the external views of GF's programme. Interesting how many people are taking or getting recognition for the work that the team on the ground are actually doing. Met up with with some old friends not seen for several years which was nice.

Long, late afternoon conference call disrupted the agenda.

Lousy internet connection at hotel

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Day

Well that's the day.
  • Work varied,
  • Calls interminable,
  • Football rubbish, and
  • Urban-cub requiring further surgery on her back
Not a day to relish.

Tomorrow sees the Gorse Fox heading for Kenilworth for a meeting... that'll make a bit of a change.

Irony

The Gorse Fox listened to the news with interest. A Commons Committee was roasting the Directors of Northern Rock.
"Have you no sense of shame. Did nobody offer to resign over this?" asked one MP.
GF held his breath. Had he really heard an MP lecturing on moral equivalence and questioning why there had been no resignations. When was the last time an MP resigned over their disasters?

Tony Blair?... No
John Prescott? ... No
Charles Clarke? ... No

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No repeats

It was a quiet night. There was no repeat of the incidents of 1987 - not that there was any expectation or forecast that there should be.

Today is blog action day where everyone is meant to blog about the environment. Gorse Fox is conscientiously going to avoid doing so. It's one thing to get caught up in these crusades, it's another to advertise how you are taken in by media hype, lying politicians, and dubious science.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wind

It's late and the Gorse Fox was thinking of wind.

It was 20 years ago (the News reminds us) that the south of England was blasted by the huge storm that did so much damage. 115mph winds battered the south eastern counties, 18 people were killed, 15,000,000 trees were flattened, roofs were blown off, cars and lorries flipped over.

The Gorse Fox remembers it well. Living in Hampshire he was woken by the vibrations that permeated the whole house. Lying there he heard he listened to the howling wind and remembered he'd left the bin out. He stumbled out of bed, headed downstairs and into the teeth of the gale. He was struck by how warm it was - which was just as well as he was only wearing his pyjamas.

Opening the back gate it became clear that the bin was nowhere to be seen. GF trekked up the road and found the errant receptacle nestling with several other bins in a quite corner. Breaking up the party he dragged it home. The lid, however, was missing.

He trudged back up the road and then as he turned to look down the road the lights went out. Power was lost across the village and the Gorse Fox stood there completely disorientated struggling to realise that it was just a power cut - not the instant onset of blindness. Some while later he came across the bin's lid, returned home, and snuggled back under the covers.

In the morning we took stock. We had been lucky... no damage. Trees blocked most of the exits from the village, and for the first time in his working life Gorse Fox missed a customer meeting as he couldn't find a clear route across to Bristol.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sun

By the time the Gorse Fox arrived back at The Gorse, the sun had broken through. It was looking like a nice afternoon.

It had been a pleasant 6.5 mile stroll, but now a fine glass of cool beer was calling.

It would be rude to ignore...
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Over Patching

Looking north from Highdown, Patching hides in the valley and Angmering Park Estate dominates the Downs beyond.

Gorse Fox has walked that section of the Downs many times - Blackpatch, Harrow Hill etc.
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Play Misty for Me

Though warm and bright, it was still quite hazy over the Downs. Hear and there the sun broke through, but overall the views were in soft focus.

Here, over the trees you can just make out the walls of Arundel Castle in the distance.
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A Slight Flaw

The slight flaw in the Gorse Fox's cunning plan became evident on arrival at Highdown Gardens. They are not open at weekends after 30th September.

Doh!

He carried on round climbing to the top of Highdown. In the old earthworks some gnarled trees poke their heads into the prevailing winds. Tiny acorn-like fruits prepare to begin the next generation.
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Highdown

The clump of trees on the central horizon marks Highdown, but the clust off to the right of the picture surrounds Highdown Gradens.

By heading along The Rife and cutting through Ferring, Gorse Fox had a fairly direct route. (Other than dodging the dogs with their walkers who seem to be everywhere - blowing the whistles and clutching the plastic bags).
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Colours

It seemed like a good day to see some of the autumn colours. However, with no access to transport it was a matter of picking places in walking distance.

Leaving The Gorse via East kingston and heading for the The Rife, Gorse Fox passed the first evidence... this ivy on one of the walls of East Kingston. Probably past its best, but still vibrant.

He picked up his pace. Highdown Gardens would be the target for today.
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Ally Pally

The Silver Vixen and her coven have flocked to Alexandra Palace for a big show. (Black pointed hats, shiny back fabrics, green facepaint, wart enhancers, bats entrails etc.)

The Gorse Fox has the day to himself... though no car to get too far out and about.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bankers

With vast sums of cash filling several rooms as a result of the successful sale of the Golf, the Gorse Fox decided that he should put this money in the bank. He duly loaded every pocket and wheelbarrow and headed to the nearest town...

Nat West isn't open on Saturday in Rustington (but at least it's not a trendy wine bar).

Worthing was the next best bet... and so laden with wads of cash to the point that he looked like Bibendum he waddled into the bank in Worthing.

Some time later he walked back towards the car (he had borrowed SV's broomstick) and wondered to himself if he'd got enough cash to get out of the car park.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Coven AGM

This evening (as we approach Halloween) the Silver Vixen has gone to the Annual General Meeting of her coven. There'll be some strange mists and evil potions emanating from Durrington tonight. The Stitch Witch herself will stand and invoke the Witchfinder General to locate new members for the committee. The Silver Vixen will relinquish her grasp on the Newsletter and melt into the background.

When the formal business is over they will revert to traditional games:
  • Knobbly wart competition
  • Wet tea-towel competition
  • Stitch the tail on the donkey (they had to get a more docile donkey this year as they have limited public liability insurance).
and when its all over they'll roar off on their broomsticks in clouds of smouldering rubber(*).

(*) That's the trouble with special underwear - it can't take the strain.

Pedestrian

The Gorse is now, temporarily (he hopes), a pedestrian. A nice man has promised to take care of the Gorse Fox's Golf and exchanged sufficient monetary instruments to make it worth his while.

It seems strange.

A New Nobel Prize

We learn from the BBC that Gore and UN panel win Nobel prize
He assumes this a new category. The Nobel Prize for Misinformation and the Promulgation of Poor Science.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Et in Arcadia Ego

Driving back into Sussex earlier than usual the Gorse Fox took a slightly different route to avoid traffic. A new housing development is underway with the somewhat grand title: "Elysian Fields".

It is Sussex, but even still.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dining in Style

The Gorse Fox dined in style with a dozen colleagues at the local Chinese. It was a pleasant evening with conversations ranging through:
  • tractors
  • fortified towns in France (only those owned by Boston)
  • dairy rabbits
  • the uses of long rubber gloves
  • the uses of chicken fried rice as a hair accessory
  • how to imitate Gerry Adams' voice (but not why you'd want to)
  • the low aerodynamic qualities of food consumed with chopsticks

Reviewing Reviews

The second day of the technical review took place today. It went quite well, but did find several areas that we need to look at. It also threw in sharp relief the various behaviours you see when people are under stress. One individual amused the Gorse Fox as he started making his excuses and shifting blame for a problem that hasn't yet occurred. I think it's referred to as getting your retaliation in first.

GF was invited to a conference in Orlando along with the Abbott and Mother Superior. GF has prepared some presentation material for the event and today was warned to book the flights whilst there still seats available.

He duly booked the seats.

An hour later it was suggested he might have to cancel them... but he hasn't done yet because at the rate that things change here, they may be needed again in the morning!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Pleasant evening with colleagues starting in Spur 0, meeting room 1 (The Cardinal's Hat) and then moving on to Singapore (seems like a long way to go for dinner, but it was worth the effort).

Interesting gossip... but nothing that can be revealed.

Review

Gorse Fox has been part of yet another review today. This time it's a technical review of the work his team have been doing... Only haf way through - but so far, so good.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cardiac transport

GF noticed a smart Mercedes sports car during his drive up. Number plate was A40RTA... He assumes this is owned by a cardiac specialist.

Observation

Gorse Fox drove up to Worcester a day early. He observed a 40 tonne truck on the edge of the motorway. On the back was a sign:
Do not push
Strangley, it hadn't occurred to the Gorse Fox that he might.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Catch-22

Gorse Fox has a problem.

His password for Starfleet has expired.
But Starfleet has an online password reset feature, so no problem?
Well that requires you are logged on. You can't log on without a password.
They can also send your new password to your internal email address. But you can't get to the internal email system without the missing password.

Mmmmm seems to be a flaw in the logic here!

Southern edge

This is what the southern edge of Sussex looks like this morning. Bright, sunny, warm, calm and alsmost deserted.
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Cold

It' another spectacular day down here in Sussex, but Gorse Fox seems to have developed a cold. It snuck up on him during the evening and by bedtime he was streaming.

Talking of Cold... it would appear that Gordon got cold feet. No real surprise there then. Much more interested in having the job than having the mandate to do the job. Gorse Fox thinks, in an obscure way, that this is a good thing. It gives Dave a chance to polish up some real policies to add to the few already announced.

Gorse Fox believes that he would start by reviewing every single item of government expenditure. He would then use this as the springboard for re-balancing or cutting tax. It is too easy for the baying hounds of Nu-Labour to scream about cuts in services when the Tories announce a tax cut. If, however, you start by listing various items of government waste and their cost, you can explain that by not funding x and y we will reduce tax by z. Oh yes, and don't do the sums yourself - get a firm of tax accountants to do it so that you can't get the usual response about getting the sums wrong.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Battered Sentinels

The battered sentinels(*) that guard the beach and strive to prevent the erosion of the low lying land beyond are looking a little tired and in need of replacement in some locations.

(*)This is not a new Glaswegian delicacy to try with a fish supper.
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Reflections

The Victorian buildings along the Worthing seafront are reflected in the pools left by the receeding tide.
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Heaving beaches

The Gorse Fox can think of few things less appealing that the heaving beaches you see in the holiday brochures.

This is what beaches should look like.
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Worthing Pier

A slightly more conventional view of the Pier.

Gorse Fox had just finished lunch with U-c and was starting his walk back. She had to pop home to change ready for her afternoon shift... so we headed our separate ways and GF checked his watch to see how long it takes from the Pier to the Gorse.

(It turned out to be 75 minutes)
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Beneath the Pier

Not the usual view of Worthing Pier.
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Fish loses Bicycle

A sthe Gorse Fox approach Worthing, where he planned to meet Urban-cub for lunch, he noticed that more than just rope and net could be snared up on the groynes.

Evidently some passing fish had lost his bicycle.
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Strung up

Here and there the groynes had snared some fishing net, or some rope. Barnacles clung to wood turning the surface into a visious abrasive, but hiding this was green and brown beard of kelp.
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