Monday, December 31, 2007

Drip, drip

It had been a lovely day and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. The clearing away was complete, Urban-cub had gone to bed, and we were shutting down for the night. Then GF heard those dreaded words...
"There's something dripping"
Sure enough the Silver Vixen had discovered that the water inlet on the downstairs loo had decided to spring a leak.
Drip, drip, drip.
We rootled around and found a container to catch the drips and headed off to bed. At half past midnight the Silver Vixen stirred - all she could hear was the dripping. Gorse Fox and she looked for a bucket or larger receptacle - but nothing could be found that fitted in the gap. I desperation GF switched off the mains water. The dripping stopped - bed beckoned again.


Up early this morning GF has been trying to fix the leak. So far his every effort has resulted in making it worse. The ironic thing is that yesterday his brother-in-law was here and he's a plumber. If it had only started a few hours earlier!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Be Prepared

Vast hordes of the family are descending on our little hide-away this very day. Yesterday was spent preparing - now we sit an wait. (GF get thinks he understands how the troops at Rourke's Drift must have felt just before it all kicked-off).

"It's the drums I can't stand, the drums."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Deceptive

The Gorse Fox has finished reading the Council papers and must deliver them to the next Councillor.

It's deceptive.

You look outside the window and the sky is blue, and the sun is shining. A few stubborn puddles linger from last night's rain, but it's essentially dry. A light jacket should be adequate.

Kingston Gorse looks quiet - but then that's what we expect.

That's when the wind caught him. The light jacket was not such a bright idea. He dropped off the papers to a neighbouring Councillor and carried on round to the beach. Very few people were out. The tide was nearly full, and the south-westerly was driving the waves furiously (well, furiously for Sussex*) against the beach. Spume was drifting onto the greensward and the low sun allowed its light to be split into coruscating light shows by the prismatic water droplets that hung in the sky. GF decided he wasn't adequately dressed to enjoy a prolonged stroll, so ducked down one of the twittens that led back onto the Gorse.

*Note: Sussex is a very genteel county. The Sussex idea of fury is writing a stern letter to the Telegraph. A violent fury might actually involve slapping your own thigh whilst posting a stern letter to the Telegraph.
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Friday, December 28, 2007

Only testing

Gorse Fox should have known better.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

After seeing James's character Elrond, GF thought he'd take the test. Apparantly this shows GF to be:

A venerated sage with vast power and knowledge, you gently guide forces around you while serving as a champion of the light.

Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not - for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminescent beings are we, not this crude matter! You must feel the Force around you, everywhere.

Yoda is a is a character in the Star Wars universe. More Yoda information is available at the Star Wars Databank.

One reflection - he can live with that.

MnX

Simple pleasure... lunchtime approached.

Bake some baguettes, slice longways - and butter while still warm.

Finely dice some ham and leftover turkey
Chop some spring onions
Sweat down in a little olive oil
Add four eggs beaten in a little milk with freshly ground pepper.
Fry gently, and finish under the grill

Slice the omelette onto the baguettes.

Devour

Oh yes. Simple pleasure.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ruling class

As the ruling classes continue to protect their positions (snouts firmly in the trough) in our major democracies - ignoring the wishes of the patient majority, exploiting the hard-working, and law-abiding citizens the Gorse Fox fears that only the extremist will have a voice in the future. He believes that this cynical political class sub-culture across Europe, the UK, the US are creating the medium in which the virus of extremism starts to flourish. Their response is to restrict the freedoms of society in general, without recognising the true enemy.

Bhutto

The Gorse Fox has noticed a great deal of rhetoric, political opportunism and point scoring emerging in the wake of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Whatever the facts of the case, may God have mercy on her soul.

Sssh

It's been a quiet day. GF thought he was having hearing difficulties - then realised that it was just that Urban-cub was back at her apartment.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sucks - not

In, what is becoming a seasonal tradition, another major gadget has succumbed to bad behaviour and rendered itself unusable. Last year it was the TV - and that meant purchasing a replacement.

This year it seems that our vacuum cleaner has developed terminal asthma and whilst sucking hard is finding it harder and harder to breathe. It appears that our dying Dyson has found a way of spinning its motor even more loudly than usual and wafts the unmistakable smell of burning about the house.

Gorse Fox fears a trip to the Sales is on the cards (at least on-line if not physically).

Milestone

Today saw a significant milestone in Urban-cubs recovery - she actually started driving again. This is great news all round (more mobility for U-c, less running around for Silver Vixen).

Australia's controversial national ID program hits the dumpster

The Gorse fox notices that Australia's controversial national ID program hits the dumpster
as reported by "ars technica". It just goes to show the benefits of having a new government. (Though GF understands there may be a separate proposal in the offing).

Maybe Australians are not keen on carrying a card just to prove their right to exist to jumped up little jobsworths at every interaction with the State.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

At table

Cousteau-cub was with us in spirit at the Christmas table. A place was set, a beer made available, and her photo and some Thai silk adorned the chair.

A toast seemed in order..

Urban-cub and Sir Lancinglot resorted to horseplay - knowing Cousteau-cub could not respond!
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Though far away

Even though Cousteau-cub was far away (and probably underwater) she was in our thoughts throughout the day... hanging around on the Christmas tree.

We did manage to speak to her in Thailand several times during the day (thanks to the marbvels of cell-phone telephony and voice over IP).
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Merry Christmas - verse

The Gorse Fox had a somewhat disturbed night and his brain started to process:

Santa was a devil
He woke me with his sleigh
Wide awake at 3 a.m.
Is too early in the day

I couldn't drift back off to sleep
I tossed and turned and rolled
but wrapped up in a duckdown quilt
at least I wasn't cold

I went downstairs and drank some tea
and settled in a chair
and several hours later
dropped off to sleep right there

Have a Happy and Holy Christmas

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ssshhh

The Gorse Fox is still working today. It has been wonderful. Logged on and head-down in documents and spreadsheets for about 6 hours so far and not one single email - and the only phone call was wrong number.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Giblets

The Gorse Fox mentioned the trip to Sainsbury's as a joyous occasion on Friday evening. Apparently the local Tesco was heaving at 05:30 in the morning and again at 22:30 at night. GF & the Silver Vixen were lucky, Sainsbury's was very quiet.

This reminded the Gorse Fox of an email received recently from Old Father Time which included:
A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at a branch of Sainsbury's store but she couldn't find one big enough for her family.
She asked a passing assistant, "Do these turkeys get any bigger?"
The assistant replied, "I'm afraid not, they're dead."
And remember "A puppy is for life, a turkey is for Christmas"

Exchange

Last month the Gorse Fox was talking to Angus. Angus is like a cross between a championship sheep-shearer and Edward Scissorhands. You sit down in the chair - a hum of electonic shears starts, then there's a flashing of steel as scissors orbit your head and then it's done. Five minutes, max.

Angus was extolling the pleasures of Champagne - the Gorse Fox explained that he and the Silver Vixen were underwhelmed and that whilst he is frequently gifted bottles as awards and "thankyous"... they tend to sit in the corner unopened.

"Do you drink Scotch?" he asked.

The Gorse Fox explained that for purely medicinal purposes the water of life had been known to pass his lips. Angus explained that customers often bring him whiskey at Christmas - and he doesn't drink it. "How about a swap?" he asked.

And so yesterday the Gorse Fox went, clutching a bottle of Piper-Heidseck to get his hair cut - and returned with short hair and a couple of bottles of scotch.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Great quote

From Investor's Business Daily:
...a study in the Royal Meteorological Society's International Journal of Climatology looked at 22 computer models used by the IPCC. Most of the models couldn't even predict the past.
The article also points out:
Heartland Institute senior fellow James Taylor has noted that more than 600 scientists at the Bali gathering could have debunked Gore's warming theories, but the U.N. "censored" them.
If only the UK media would start to pick up on this and begin to provide some balance to the coverage.

Sunset

The day started well as blogged earlier.

It seems that dusk was not going to be beaten easily, however.

The Gorse Fox headed down to the beach as the sun dipped below the horizon and splashed vermillion across the indigo and powder blue wash that remained of the sky. The sea glowed in response and rock-pools punctuated the foreground with shards of colour.
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Trollcast

The Gorse Fox was reviewing available podcasts on iTunes. He was amused to find a series on Project Management by Scopecreep Project Management Consultants. So far, there's about 100 podcasts in the series... which probably says all you need to know.

Brand New Day

There is a stunning golden glow to the dawn. The Gorse Fox was up and about in readiness for a trip to see Betty and Barney Rubble - but as his car can barely be seen under the layer of road dirt acquired this week, he thought he should get up early to clean it.

Standing by the back door, tea in hand he watched in wonder as the initial filaments of gold that quilted the clouds began to grow in intensity and as the clouds themselves became suffused with colour.

Then, in an instant the huge globe of the sun became visible and in the following moments the colours peaked then quickly faded.

The phone rang, shaking GF from his reverie. It was Betty... Barney Rubble isn't well. Today's trip is off.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Shops

Last night the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen had a rather disappointing trip to M&S for Christmas victuals. There were some nice items, but most of the things on our list were not available. The upshot of this is that we now need to spend some quality time in Sainsbury's on Friday evening.

Joy to World.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Amazon - new services

The Gorse Fox just checked Amazon to ascertain the status of several Christmas gifts that have not as yet arrived. In doing so, he noticed a couple of new tabs showing new services.

Shoes - he can understand (just), but Babies?

He can only assume this is part of Amazon's "Madonna portal".
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Run silent, run deep

Gorse Fox had a great run back to Sussex last night. Leaving Worcester later than planned he found the roads to be very quiet and so was able to keep a steady pace of rapid transit across the country.

The journey overlapped the dead hour on radio. This is the time from 7pm when they only play folk or country & western music. This is just wrong. Both are considered as abominations - and the Gorse Fox believes they are condemned in the Book of Mormon and several of the more enlightened apocrypha (like the Southsea Scrolls, which were found buried in the silt near Portsmouth); some native American tribes even believe they pressage the end of world as we know it and the return of their ancestors to walk the earth.

Gorse Fox used this time to catch up on various (old) podcasts - The New Scientist, Sceptoid.com, the Naked Scientist, etc. It certainly made the journey pass quickly and GF found himself parking up at home in no time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Taking the p***

The gadget that most colleagues seem to want this Christmas is a Wii. This proved to be the subject of much discussion and debate.
How realistic is the action?

What games are available?

Could we have wii competitions in the office at lunchtime?

Could we have a New year's Wii party? We could invite friends and tell them to bring their own Wii.
And then "She who must be obeyed" came up with the line: "I'd swap my wii for a Nintendo DS".

The Gorse Fox thought about this. It didn't sound like a good deal. Indeed the choice of name does not lend itself to sensible polite conversation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Woman gropes mall Santa - Boing Boing

Maybe the Gorse Fox got off lightly compared to some Santas. As reported in Boing Boing - Woman gropes mall Santa - Boing Boing

Evidence

Well it seems that there's more evidence of Santa's visit. GF suspects that he may be haunted by these images over the next few weeks. (He trusts that there are no children blog readers as this could well traumatize them).
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Santa duty

The Gorse Fox has completed his tour of duty as Sanata at the office Christmas lunch. Fortunately it went well - though his duties were limited to attendance - no chimneys, no mince pies, not hot-toddy were involved.
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Monday, December 17, 2007

Darwin?

Over dinner we commented on black pears and the fact that Worcester Council cordoned off a pear tree last year in fear of a falling pear hitting a passer-by. This led to the Gorse Fox recalling some of the antics he got up to when a lad... and the fact that Health & Safety nazis and spoil sports would never allow such adventures now.

This evoked the response from a colleague: "I'm not sure I'd trust youth today to have such adventures".

This got the Gorse Fox thinking about Darwin. Is this safety consciousness actually a disservice..? Shouldn't we allow people to remove themselves from the gene pool through stupidity?

Work

The week started with the drive up to Worcester. It was frosty and foggy, but the journey was uneventful. Work was diverse with time spent on a new project, the existing project, and some contract clarification.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Treason and Lies

We were promised a Referendum on the EU Constitution, but this week our treacherous prime Minister and his schoolboy puppet signed us up for the Lisbon Treason Treaty.

The Gorse Fox is NOT anti-EU. He is unsure how he would vote in such a referendum. However, he is disgusted by this (sadly not unexpected) treachery. The excuse from the traitor Brown being "It's substantially different from the Constitution".

Well here's some other views:
Here are some of the main points of the European Union's new Treaty of Lisbon: It incorporates the key reforms in the constitution but it discards the name. (Euronews)

The Reform Treaty draws much of its substance from the European Constitution... (Irish Times)

...critics warn is practically the SAME as the ill-fated EU Constitution, which bit the dust two years ago after the French and Dutch rejected it in referendums. (The Sun)

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the architect of the abandoned European Constitution, has admitted that the document has been rewritten by EU leaders in a different order just to avoid the need for referendums.

"Looking at the content," he wrote "the result is that the institutional proposals of the constitutional treaty….are found complete in the Lisbon Treaty, only in a different order and inserted in former treaties.."

He made clear that the purpose of the rewritten Treaty (now called the Lisbon Treaty) was to make people think the new version did not merit being put to the people in referendums.

"Above all, it is to avoid having referendums thanks to the fact that the articles are spread out and constitutional vocabulary has been removed," he added.

(The Telegraph)

Is there a Plan B?

With the fatuous self-congratulatory band of zealots returning from Bali, the Gorse Fox wonders if there's a Plan B?

In a few years time when we have reduced the 7% of annual CO2 emissions caused by man by 25-30%, driven some folk back to the stone-age, destroyed the economy and food production, and Climate Change is still happening - what will be rolled out as Plan B?

The problem is allowing politicians and the media to get involved. They have so little comprehension that they are easy to manipulate by pressure groups. (The image of using politicians and mediacrats as a replacement for fossil fuel swims alluringly into view).

BBC - More Deception

The Gorse Fox is amazed that there was nothing in the paper regarding either: a) the deterioration in transport links; or b) the BBC deception.

Perhaps he should explain.

In last night's episode of Robin Hood we had the eponymous hero and his band set out on foot to get from Sherwood Forest to Kirklees in two days, and then having left Kirklees had to take Queen Eleanor of Acquitaine to Hull to catch a boat the following morning.

Being generous regarding the dimensions and location of Sherwood Forest, the first journey is a mere 60 miles... but from Kirklees to Hull is about 75 miles.

Travelling such distances in the time alotted (on foot) is clearly a deception by the BBC or a serious indictment of our existing transport system.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

OO yes

The problem with the mail merge in Open Office is now solved... and the best bet was not to use that feature as such, but to develop the form "by hand".

Friday, December 14, 2007

OO

Gorse Fox has frequently extolled the virtues of Open Office - but has again found that its mail merge is not quite as intuitive as it should be.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Worse for Wear

Overheard:
"I once got a taxi home to Hamilton... forgetting that I'd moved to London four years earlier."
Gorse Fox concludes he is but an amateur compared to some!

Tut-tut

There appear to be a few people with sore heads today. Some, it appears, were still at it at 01:30, some of the more robust were still at it at 02:30, at 03:30 several survivors were looking for a club that was still open. Some don't seem to remember anything.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas do (Mark 1)

Well the Gorse Fox has left them to it. It looked as if they were settling in for a long session, so GF bade adieu and sneaked off.

It had been a nice evening with small cells forming raiding parties at various pubs around the town. By seven, the raiding parties were drifting out of the pubs with and air of nonchalonce as they started to home in on Monsoon. We settled in, as if for a siege. With purpose we started to empty their barrels of Cobra and Carlsberg before moving to the tables and hitting the buffet, It was an excellent repast - with nobody having any excuse to go hungry or thirsty.

The Gorse Fox was set upon half way through dinner. A red bobble-hat was thrust upon him and he was asked if he would dress up as Santa for the Christmas Lunch next Tuesday. Deciding there was no way out, he acquiesced. One was asked if that meant he got to sit on the Gorse Fox's knee - but was crestfallen when the GF replied that only good boys (and bad girls) got that honour. The Gorse Fox is a little worried that he has been well and truly stitched-up (as opposed to quilted).

Back in his room he is conscious that Marks & Spencer are holding their Christmas do and disco beneath his window. So far it is not too loud... but he suspect sleep may be sporadic!

PS - Very few photos were taken (thank goodness)

Groundhog day

GF seems to have found himself stuck in a sort of Groundhog Day. He seems to immersed, once more, in the development of spreadsheets to model an emerging project about which little is known.

The office is busy - everyone has made sure they are around and about to ensure their attendance at tonight's Christmas Party. Once more we are going for traditional food - and having the party at the Indian Restaurant. Should be interesting.

Groundhog day

GF seems to have found himself stuck in a sort of Groundhog Day. He seems to immersed, once more, in the development of spreadsheets to model an emerging project about which little is known.

The office is busy - everyone has made sure they are around and about to ensure their attendance at tonight's Christmas Party. Once more we are going for traditional food - and having the party at the Indian Restaurant. Should be interesting.
A frantically busy day yesterday drew to a close with a quiet drink with Mother Superior and the Abbott, followed by a tip to Pizza Express for a bite to eat with sundry colleagues.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Triumph

Well all the reports say what a triumph last night's Led Zeppelin concert was. Gorse Fox is gutted that he wasn't there.

Talking of triumph... this morning's sunrise was one of the most colourful and glorious that GF has seen in many a month. he even noticed a Highways Agency patrol stop to take a photo of the sky reflecting in the flooded fields near Breedon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Evidence

The Gorse Fox told you that a storm was rattling across the coast yesterday. He points you at the photographic evidence in this article from the Mail.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Crucible of Insanities

In 1691, a phenomenon sociologists call a "collective delusion" swept the enclave of Salem Village, Mass. As a consequence of social paranoia, hundreds of people were accused of practicing witchcraft, and perhaps two dozen lost their lives. Of course, we enlightened moderns would never succumb to superstition and mass hysteria.
So says this article in the News and Record.
It goes on to say:

Or would we? According to sociologists Robert Bartholomew and Erich Goode, collective delusions have taken place with surprising frequency, and the phenomenon's long and shameful history includes several episodes from the recent past. A relic of the Dark Ages it is not. In fact, global warming could be described as a collective delusion, a modern equivalent to the Salem witch hunt.

Simple but well written comparison with the Witch Hunts...

On the shelf

Almost done.

A final coat of paint is required to finish this off, but the Gorse Fox has just about finished the unit. You may wonder why so few shelves? and why so tall?

The answer is that it is designed to take bolts of fabric which, standing on end, are about 600mm, and by the time you have 3 shelves... you are already getting pretty tall. Add the plinth and the crown mould, et voila.
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Pigments

Another storm is rattling across the south coast. The neighbours tree is almost bent double. The house vibrates as the big gusts hit. A day to spend indoors, thinks the Gorse Fox.

Final touches on the shelving unit today.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Mirror Of The Sacred Scriptures & Paintings - Hidden Images, mirror, art, da vinci, history, bible

Following an article in the Telegraph, the Gorse Fox was directed to this site: The Mirror Of The Sacred Scriptures & Paintings - Hidden Images, mirror, art, da vinci, history, bible.

GF clicked the various buttons and was mesmerised by the images that appeared. He makes no comment on the content of the images, but does recommend you take a look at what may well be a new dimension of da Vinci's genius.

Plans

Gorse Fox hopes to spend much of today turning perfectly good wood into smaller pieces of wood that will finish off the shelving unit in the Silver Vixen's sewing room. That is the prime objective.

The weather is foul, so there will be no temptation to hit the hills, and and Silver Vixen is meeting up with a friend who has a stall at a Christmas Craft Market to give her some moral support (and help if necessary).

Friday, December 07, 2007

Got it

GF has spent most of the afternoon and evening trying to resolve a minor error in a spreadsheet. GF has finally got it. He'd deleted three cells by accident.

He can now relax.

Drips

There is a school of thought that water vapour is a far greater contributor to Global Warming than CO2. The Gorse Fox suggests that this is likely. So given that there is so much research my motor manufacturers into fuel cell technology - where the only emissions are water - are we any better off?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Two years

Yesterday the team gathered at The Swan with Two Necks - an ancient pub in Worcester - celebrate the fact that the Mighty Atom had been on the team now two years (second longest "inmate" after the Gorse Fox). After ensuring our stomachs were lined with fine ale we retired to Cafe Mela to enjoy a superb Indian feast.

As usual confirmation was varied:
  • Cars
  • Work
  • Weddings
  • Christmas
  • Dubai (from whence The Abbott had just returned)
  • Sun
  • Sea
  • Shopping
  • Debauchery and
  • Camels

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Trying

It was a good, but somewhat trying day yesterday. The modelling spreadsheet GF had been working on was presented to the multitude... and the seemed generally to go down well - though one person seemed to be arguing to make it less accurate by using irrelevant data as the base. GF remained silent - he finds it is the best way!

In the end, having delved into the details, it seemed to gain general agreement. There's still some work to do, but that shouldn't take too long.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Seconds

Note to self: when you peer at your watch in the middle of the night, do not mistake the second hand for the minute hand. Such confusion can cause the Gorse Fox to leap from bed at 04:20 instead of 04:50.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Frustration

Having almost completed the shelving unit yesterday, it is immensely frustrating to have to leave it and get back to real work today. There's only a few tasks left:
  • Face the shelves,
  • Install the crown moulding
  • Install a plinth moulding

Spreadeagled under spreadsheets

The Gorse Fox seems to be spreadeagled under spreadsheets at present. Having spent several days buried in the pseudo-science of predicting the future (which is probably based on more fact that current Global Warming science), GF has now prepared some slides for tomorrow. It looks as if it is going to be wall-to-wall meetings almost from arrival.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Interposer

So the Gorse Fox continued to work on the shelving unit. He discovered several things whilst assembling the unit.
  1. If you use you thumb as an interposer between a heavy shelving unit and a blanket-chest neither gets damaged. The thumb, however, can turn strange colours and provide intense pain stimuli.
  2. When you lift a heavy unit into the upright position be sure to bend your knees and keep your back straight - and pray that your trousers do not split from crotch to belt as they did for the Gorse Fox.
  3. When you are putting your tools away remember the interposer lesson above. Do not use your cat-like reflexes to allow you to use your other (so far undamaged thumb) as an interposer between gravity and jigsaw with its blade still attached. Doing so can cause the covering (skin) to be ripped and internal fluids (blood) to spray out.
It was time to give up. We would have a stir-fry for supper. The Gorse Fox's thumb had stopped squirting. he was back in control. Put Wok on stove. Add oil, bacon and finely sliced chicken. Wait for a bit until everything is seared. Add sliced carrots, a chilli, and sliced mushrooms. Once seared, add the peppers. Stir quickly. Turn round and try not to use the edge of the Wok as a fulcrum for the spatula. Doing so causes half of the contents of the wok to catapult across the kitchen.

Maybe today the Gorse Fox's biorythms were not at their peak.

Many Coats, Single Colour

Joseph would have been appalled. The clear light of a very stormy day revealed that the existing coast of paint were not adequate to provide the cover that we needed. GF has, therefore, spent several hours putting another coat of paint on the components of the storage unit he is building.

The Silver Vixen is busy in her sewing room, the final coat of paint should be about dry. GF is about to start assembly.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Picking paint

The Gorse Fox is picking paint off his hands. He has finished painting the wood ready to assemble the carcass of the shelving unit he's building. A couple more hours and it should be dry.

The weather started brilliantly this morning, GF made the most of it and popped to the shops for a new jigsaw. Now the forecast storms are beginning to sweep in. Threatening clouds are scudding ominously across the sky. Torrents of rain briefly jet-wash the neighbourhood and disperse. The sun fights bravely what will surely be a losing battle against the prevailing weather.