Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rubbling

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen plan to head out west to Hampshire where we will meet up with Betty and Barney Rubble to see in the New Year... however this not before seeing out the old year at the cinema seeing "Australia".

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

X-drive

The Gorse Fox has been looking for a service that will provide him with several GB or disk space on te web that he can use as a network drive. Idea is that the resource is visible to all of his computers and appears as a "drive"... then files that need to be shared can be copied into the space and accessed form any of the other computers. He's found several (free) services that go some of the way but it looks like he would have to part with coins of the realm to do exactly what he wants.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wii

The Gorse Fox's (little) sister and her family came to visit. This is always bodes well for a good day.

Today was no different. They had bought a Wii for Christmas as a "family" gift. (Blade works in a Gaming store so has access to such things). Once lunch was out of the way the cables, the remote, the nunchuks, the steering wheels and goodness knows what else came out.


We started with a simple 10-pin bowling game (Urban-cub got several strikes and was seen to celebrate accordingly).

The Silver Vixen had a go and soon got the knack (in danger of becoming a future Wii-whiz).

We moved on from bowling to Tennis, Baseball, Boxing, some driving games and goodness knows what else.
It is easy to see why these consoles sell so well and how people get drawn in to play together as a family.
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Thaw for the Day

And then a hero comes along...

Super Keith, the plumber, swept in chanted some magic incantations over the recalcitrant boiler; there was a whoosh and there was heat. Radiators burst into life, the sun came out, birds sang in trees, butterflies flitted by the windows, lambs gambolled in the fields, there was peace on Earth.

Ok that may be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point - GF and the Silver Vixen are pleased to have the heating working again.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ashes

Considering how many logs we have been burning over the past month (and particularly this week with the heating broken) the Gorse Fox is always amazed at how little remains, and therefore what an efficient fuel wood is. Clearing out the grate this morning for the first time this season, he removed a tray of fine ash... but left sufficient to cover the base of the fire for later (wood always seems to burn best on a bed of ash).

Gorse Fox should make mention of a by-product of Urban-cub's return. She has brought with her the Gorse Puma... a feline-noir that roams the house hunting shadows and reflections. With U-c away overnight the Gorse Puma was not confined to her room but followed us to bed... snuggling down under our bed overnight... or at least until the Gorse Fox's phone started to wail at 04:00 this morning. This "feature" is the calendar reminder function which kindly decided to remind us that Deep Blue is on vacation today!!! The Gorse Fox has had stern words with Mr Nokia and erased all calendar events from the phone.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Just chillin'

It's been a lazy day for the Gorse Fox.  Phone messages left for plumbers... but no real progess on the heating front. 

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Chill continues

Obviously the central heating has not spontaneously fixed itself so the house is chilly this morning. The log fire kept us cozy yesterday evening and some electric oil-filled radiators kept things on a cool but even-keel elsewhere. Fortunately, we have a separate immersion heater so at least we have hot water. 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Not watching

In years gone by Christmas was often the highlight of the TV calendar. 

Not any more.

This past weekend we were swamped with Strictly Come Dancing and Casualty... and now Christmas Day has another Strictly Come Dancing and two Eastenders episodes of misery followed by the Royle Family. 

GF will obviously retire to his study

Skype

Christmas lunch was taken at Brighton Marina. We have never managed to go out for Christmas lunch before, but this year everything came together and we had a super lunch with Urban-cub and here friend Looby-Lou.

We called Cousteau-cub on the way back. She had been at "Orphan's Lunch" at her friend's bar - open to all the folk away from home at Christmas. It was lovely to speak to her - but a shame she wasn't here with us.

Once back home the presents were opened and Agenet Mulder phoned in. This led us to Skype and a video call between the families. It was good to catch up and see that everyone was well.


Fanzine


Lifeblog post
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Cardinal Sin and the Bum Note fans reach out at Brighton Marina on Christmas Day

The Chill

Either Santa has been mucking about or the Gorse Fox has upset the Russians. He has come down to cool house this morning and fears the central heating has packed up. This does not bode well, fortunately we still have the wood fire.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Faster

Everyone must be at the shops. GF's email inbox for work has been almost silent. His phone is collecting dust, and he's finally managing to get through the work that he had planned for the week. All seems quiet.

GF had to pop out to shops himself - it was late afternoon. He reasoned that everyone would have finished by now and be home avoiding the last minute chaos. 

He was wrong. 

They were out contributing to it. Police were overseeing things in Rustington town centre as people jockeyed for the best parking spots outside the shops. GF chuckled and parked away from the worst of the crowds and walked. He bought the intended item and then headed back to his car observing the same people circling round looking for parking spots that were there when he arrived.

He's about finished for the day now, though does have a few more assessments to write up over the holiday period.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Draining away

The day started with the Gorse Fox up to his armpits in the drains again. Whoever said we don't know how to have fun on Kingston Gorse has obviously no idea! Some progress was made as the backlog of undrained water dropped another 300cm. An hour later it had not moved another millimetre.

In the background the Stitch Witch's Admiral had phoned. He has a set of rods that could be just what was required. Silver Vixen was off out and resolved to collect the rods on her way through. She returned mid-afternoon. GF lifted the inspection cover and started again. 
  • He started jiggling and rotating the rods...
  • It didn't work.
  • He then tried the rods in the drain itself.
  • It didn't work.
  • He went back to the inspection cover and jiggled again.
  • It didn't work.
  • He returned to the drain and tried plunging it, scraping it and generally fiddling.
  • There was a huge belch and the water disappeared.
The drain was clear. he got the pressure washer to clean it off a bit more and to clean the rods. That was when the Gorse Fox had a good idea.

Well maybe it wasn't such a good idea.

The rods included a half-moon shaped blade. If he could just push that up from the inspection hatch it would clear any remaining debris.

Well that was the theory.

In practice the half moon was hinged (like a grapple) and once in the pipe it had no intention of coming back out. GF pulled and yanked. Nothing. He dropped down into the inspection hatch and pulled and yanked, using his foot as a lever. Nothing.

He sat there giggling. He could see that he had replace a simple blockage with a solid piece of brass. He could foresee a jackhammer being needed to drill through the driveway to retrieve it. It was time to call the Admiral and ask for advice. "Turn it to the right and jiggle it" came the considered response.

Returning to the hatch, and dropping to the bottom he again grabbed the rods. He turned them to right and jiggled them. It took a while. It took a lot of jiggling. It also took a lot of twisting... but voila the rods came free and all was well with the world.

And to think some folk in the City will have wasted an afternoon at a Christmas Party when they could have been having fun like the Gorse Fox!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Drains

There are some things that you really don't want to hear when you are working away at your keyboard. One is "I think we have a blocked sink"  (Another is "There appears to be piranhas in the bath", but this latter was not a problem faced today!). On further investigation you realise it is actually a blocked drain, outside, it's just started to drizzle and it'll be dark in 20 minutes. 

Prepare tools:
  • Long stick (for rootling about)
  • Big screwdriver (to undo manhole cover)
  • Trowel (to lift debris)
  • Bucket (to receive debris)
  • Power washer (to cover the surrounding area in debris)
  • and so on
GF got stuck in - not literally - but despite his best efforts the problem persists. He did observe, however, the huge colony of snails that seemed to have taken up residence. It needs to be addressed in proper daylight so will have to wait until the morning.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Deck the Halls

It was necessary to replenish supplies ready for the festivities. This meant the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen descending on Sainsbury and spending 90 minutes avoiding collisions with people who had overdosed on their stupid pills. It was not as bad, according to Urban-cub, as Tesco where customers were arguing in the aisles and staff were moaning about how rude the customers were , as part of the traditional build up to Christmas.

On returning to the Gorse (and unloading the shopping) it was time to start on the Christmas decoration... not the GFs favourite escapade of the year.  It's done, however, and we can relax.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gone in 60 seconds

Urban-cub had put her old car up for sale on eBay. The 7-day listing came to an end today and though bidding was initially slow, she ended up with a winning bid of nearly twice what she expected... and only £10 less than she paid for the car two years ago. Not a bad result.

The purchaser turned up at the allotted time, handed over the crisp bank notes and signed the registration documents and disappeared with the car. Job done. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Biorythms

Some days you just know you should have stayed in bed.

In fact that was the start of the problem. Gorse Fox peered myopically at his watch and misread it. This meant that he leapt from bed, heart pounding (which, he supposes, is a good thing), and shot downstairs to get ready for today's trip to London. It was at that point he realised it was 0600 not 0700.

It wasn't worth going back to bed so he pottered around, drank some coffee and made start on today's emails.

This confusion had not ended there. He caught the train and met up with an old friend, spending the journey in conversation. He was heading to another Government office near GF's destination so the conversations continued onto the tube and back onto Embankment. It was there that Jerry gave GF a strange look as they parted company and GF crossed the road and headed down a side street. Some hundred yards further on GF thought to himself "I've never noticed that building before".

In his confused state he had turned off the intended route and ended up walking round the block to get back to the building he had been standing next to as Jerry said goodbye. That was, after all, where GF was headed!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chaos

It has been a long day again. The various estimating activity has come to a head and the Dark Lord seems to have been overcome by the opportunity to add elements to the model. The Gorse Fox is am sure a logical analysis page by page would reveal more than a hapahazard scattergun approach, but then, what does he know.

The drive back to the South Coast was very slow. The whole world seemed to be on the move and the A34 and M3 were particularly slow and congested. Eventually, GF staggered in through the door to be greeted by chaos.

Urban-cub was trying to put her wardrobes together in the hall. Like most modern furniture it had been designed to be put to together once and never touched. This was the second time (at least) that these had been dissassembled and on each occasion more damage was done to the various fixings and the cheap chipboard. As we trid to lift the unit on its side it collapsed. GF had to resort to double-threaded screws strategically placed to maintain the unit's integrity.

Next it had to be moved into the bedroom.

This is when it became clear that the bed had to be dismantled to make way for it. And this is when the Urban-cub managed to kick the footrail of the bed into GF's shin.

Eventually everything was in place. Enough was enough. Day was done,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Done

The early start was as stimulating as usual - Not.

The day at Worcester was spent esconced with a confusion of project
managers in a conference room with a couple of Smart Boards.

Meanwhile back on the south coast, Urban-cub is continuing her move...
piecemeal. Bit by bit her belongings are creeping into our house. The
big bits are being moved this evening, so she'll probably move in by
the weekend.

Tonight promises another concert by Cardinal Sin and the Bum Notes.
The last of their Stadium(*) gigs before Christmas.

(*)OK it's not a Stadium, it's a pub. (A very small pub)

--
Sent from my mobile device

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tests

The Gorse Fox was on duty today. The Silver Vixen had to have some tests, so GF spent the day with her. As usual the attention received was excellent and they shuffled the test sequence around to accommodate us and let us get back on the road home by mid afternoon. We now have to wait for C2BAX to call and arrange a time to discuss the results.

GF is less than pleased that he has got to head back up to Worcester in the morning. This will mean that this week he will have covered some 800 miles (ignoring the train journey to London on Friday).

Was also apalled to see that our neighbour may have been the target of some vandalism - with one of their garden ornaments broken and a "For Sale" notice thrown into their garden. This may seem petty to the reader, but the Gorse Fox is sure it is most upsetting for his neighbour.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Long and Winding

It was a long day.

The Gorse Fox was up and on the road soon after 5 heading across country to Worcester. The roads were quiet and the journey trouble-free.

Once in Worcester the day started with the normal daily review and then the Gorse Fox spent most of the rest of the day driving the now infamous spreadsheet whilst gaggle of project managers offered advice as to what numbers should be entered.

Day done, and PMs trying to enter the findings into a project plan, GF hopped back into his car and headed back to the South Coast.

That was a tiring day.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Envelopes

The Gorse Fox has been pre-occupied with both the spreeadsheet that has filled the last week or two and domestic duties. On the latter subject the first task was to get the envelopes for the Christmas cards all printed. This was pretty uneventful except for the occasional paper jam... as a mail merge extracted all of the correct addresses from the relevant database.

Skype allowed us to chat with Cousteau-cub until the line dropped after abot 45 minutes. Here it was grey and dull, cold and damp. There she was barbecueing outside their house at 11 pm. It was 37C and too hot still to go indoors. The tourists have dropped off a bit, probably due to a combination of the credit crunch and the recent protests at Bangkok airport. She's still managing to dive just as much but is often teaching one on one instead of groups.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Laundering

The Gorse Fox has been fighting with the forces of international drug cartels, terrorism and the banks. You see in an effort to protect against money laundering the banks have made it ever more difficult to do anything with your money. The Gorse Fox wanted to transfer some money to Cousteau-cub... something he has done many many times before - though not recently.

The saga then began:
  • He logged onto his Online banking account. The signal was poor in the hotel so he kept losing the connection.
  • He went down to reception where the signal was stronger, logged on again and went to the relevant section to set up the transfer only to be rejected as he needs a special card-reader to authorise the the transaction. (Cousteau-cub has changed banks so he could use the existing transfer he has used in the past). He doesn't have one. It takes about a week or so for one to be provided and set-up.
  • He phoned the bank. They couldn't help on the telephone banking desk but realising he was a Private Banking customer put him through to the Private Banking desk.
  • The Private Banking desk couldn't help because he needed to be authorised for level 2 services. Apparently he hadn't requested this. (Gorse Fox not only had requested these services he even knew hs password and pin and secret question.... but "Computer says No").
  • Only solution was a visit to the branch.
  • The Gorse Fox would head out at lunchtime to do do this.
  • The work on the spreadsheet model took over - Thursday was a 16 hour day - the bank would have to wait (for some reason they're not open at 11pm)
  • So the Gorse Fox headed out into Saturday's gale to the Bank.
  • The bank couldn't transfer the money because Cousteau-cub banks with a different organisation. (Gorse Fox thought that's what the clearing house was for). In the end he withdrew the cash (plus some extra because with all of the delays C-c has probably incurred some charges) and walked round the corner to her bank (praying it was open on a Saturday) to deposit the money.
Done.

Gorse Fox thought these online services were meant to make life easier... but because he may be laundering drug money or financing terrorism life has to be made intolerably frustrating.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Phew

Work on the model restarted soon after 0500 this morning. It was all beginning to come together at last so Gorse Fox hopped into the shower, grabbed breakfast, and headed up the hill to the office.

GF expected the review to be somewhat tense... but actually it was very positive and whilst there were some areas where some changes were needed, in general it seemed well received.

GF got on the road early in the afternoon and was relieved to be home soon after dark.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nothing to see

It's 22:07 - GF is still buried in his spreadsheets. It has been a frustrating day as the model is immensely powerful, but is limited by the data availability and the time.

Big review tomorrow... so have to crack on.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Weird

Some days are just weird.

Meetings started early again and then the rest of the day was spent
working on the Gorse Fox's estimating model (it makes climate models
seem trivial in comparison).

An exec turned up at the end of the day to pass on the latest
information from Starfleet (or at least our part, thereof).

Then it finally hit weird.

Online banking claimed that the Gorse Fox couldn't do what he wanted -
and the help phonelines claimed he could never have done it. Inb fact
he was trying to transfer some money to Cousteau-cub as he has done
many times before. There was no quick way round it... he'll have to go
into a branch.

Then he went to Spur 0... it was pie night. Everyone was expected to
bring and share a pie. GF, warned, had brought three pizzas. He was
abused - they're pizzas. So GF burst into song "When the moon hits
your eye like a big pizza pie; that's amoure" (ok he didn't sing -
that would be unfair on the gathered throng - he just quoted). With
this incontrovertable proof he was allowed in and pie night continued.
It was great fun.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Phew

A 4:30 start is rarely a pleasure.
Today was not an exception.

Armed with hot coffee GF was driving north by 0500. Podcasts kept him
occupied as he crossed the country and watched the temperature drop
bit by bit as he got closer to Worcester.

The morning was not one of life's pleasures... but as the meetings
finished and the work started the day improved immensely.

At the end of the day GF called the Silver Vixen to check on her day,
which was evidently equally stressful but for very different reasons -
it is always hard to say a final farewell to a loved one. Today was
Aunti P's final act.

Finally a pizza and some red wine called and GF and his colleagues
answered. It was only polite, so to do.

--
Sent from my mobile device

Monday, December 08, 2008

Town

The Gorse Fox has packed his spreadsheets and headed up to London
Town. It makes a change, but does mean a fairly late trip home. The
Silver Vixen has gone up to Buckingham so it is not too inconvenient.

He has been at an interesting meeting for Starfleet leaders who are
dealing with The Fedferation. GF had to present what has been going on
in Worcester - just to keep the city folk appraised.

Dinner was interesting - it was too late to wait until he got home, it
was not feasible to go to dinner in town, so he stopped at Wasabi for
some Chicken Teryyaki and Udon Noodles. Excellent evening meal enyoyed
on the train as the Gorse Fox splattered it all over his fellow
travellers as the noodles flapped about between the container and his
mouth.

--
Sent from my mobile device

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Shuffling

As days go Sunday was different. Urban-cub came round and spent the day with Silver Vixen clearing out the front bedroom ready for her impending move. We have a moderately large house but little storage space... and the room in question had been used to keep fabrics, cushions, a couple of spare beds, old electronic goods and so forth. What followed was a bit like that game where squares are moved around a small tray to form a specified sequence where only one blank space was available at any time.

The Gorse Fox helped out when a little muscle was needed but spent the second day of the weekend buried in spreadsheets to keep the esteemed client happy.

PM

It is what the Gorse Fox calls a Poughkeepsie morning. Crisp, cold, and cloudless. 

The GF has spent many a winter working in Kingston and Poughkeesie and looks back on those days and the cold cloudless skies with great affection. Morning such as this always bring those memories flooding back. (Including the less pleasant memory of being evacuated from the Edison Motor Inn into the car park in the middle of the night after their boiler broke - it was -23F at the time).

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sew

Sew it is Saturday and the Silver Vixen went off to spend the day with her coven sticking needles into things and trying hang on to threads of conversation.

The Gorse Fox buried himself in admin - first expenses, then back to yesterday's spreadsheet. Not the ideal way to spend a December weekend but when you are getting "design by committee" progress is ephemeral. At least he is not expecting any further changes to pop up during the weekend.

Urban-cub spent the day setting up advertisements for her flat, taking photos of things she wanted to sell on eBay and and generally ticking off the items on her "action plan". Very organised!

The Gorse Fox thought he'd check on the progress of his aunt but phoned the wrong number and had a very pleasant chat with a complete stranger... it didn't help that when he said his name she obviously knew someone called the Gorse Fox and it was a little while before the penny dropped at each end of the phone line that neither end knew the other!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Spoiler

The Gorse Fox has started to receive spam comments so he has switched on comment moderation. He regrets the inconvenience

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Seismic

There has been a seismic shift in technology adoption. The Silver Vixen has entered the world of text-messaging... as a sender (not just receiver). This is a major step forward for mankind.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

INDIRECT(CONCATENATE("'",$B5,"'!",D$4))

Scraping the ice from the car this morning, the Gorse Fox realised what a boon the front and rear windscreen heaters were. heavy snow is forecast overnight and tomorrow, though it isn't clear whether it will reach this far south.

The day has been spent buried in spreadsheets - which means that it has been a day of little stress and great pleasure. The Gorse Fox likes developing complex spreadsheets riddled with mathematics and complex relationships.

Looks like Urban-cub may be moving back in with the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen for a while. This will be fun... and we look forward to it. (She will however have to find new homes for the cats as GF is so allergic to them).

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Working through

The Gorse Fox managed to grab this photo of The Mexican working hard at his desk, last week. It was mid day which is why there is the blank patch at the bottome left !!!
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Chef

Poshbloke (The Abbot) and Welshbloke cdressed in their Chef's whites... though it looks more like welshbloke was preparing for a "how to be a Ninja class".
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Pizza

The Gorse Fox attended a dinner last night. A dinner with a difference. The Abbot was called upon to work the pizza ovens along with Welshbloke. The Gorse Fox and several othe luminaries were asked to wait on the tables.

The Abbot and the the Welshbloke were given chef's whites and set to work.

The Gorse Fox and the other victims were given T-shirts... largest one being 36in chest. Much huffing and puffing and several minutes of contortions made it clear that the Gorse Fox's athletic frame was not going to fit into the said T-shirt. So off he went to start taking orders for the starters and main courses. It was a a terrific evening with great fun had by all present.

There was a quiz - which the Gorse Fox's table won, and a "guess the baby" where photocopies of baby photos had to be identified. This was all very fine, but the Gorse Fox's picture was guessed to be the late Andrex!!! One of the other tables won that - but then three of the people featured were at that table.

There seemed to be a worrying decline in red wine stocks throughout the evening, but it was not immediately evident why. Various "thick heads" this morning may provide a clue.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Changes

Just for a change the Gorse Fox has to head for Worcester a day early. He has been invited to a dinner and feels is beholding on him to attend. It should be fun as I know that some "events" are planned - though have no idea what they are.

GF heads out soon after lunch for the cross-country drive.

Urban-cub was on the phone first thing and has invited herself round for dinner with the Siilver Vixen this evening so at least the void created by GF's early trip will be filled by U-c.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fish

What a splendid day. Betty and Barney Rubble came down to see us and the day followed a familiar pattern with the four standing in the kitchen drinking coffee until it was time to head off for lunch. Recent stories began to emerge, and family gossip was exchanged.

Lunch was fun affair, in this case at the Arun View, with some great fish (possibly the thickest skate wings the Gorse Fox has ever eaten).

Back home we lit the fire and sat an chatted well into the evening. The world was put to right, with discussions and solutions to:
  • Benefits culture
  • The horror of the events in Mumbai
  • The pure "Empire" response of the Maitre d' in the Mumbai hotel who demanded that the correct champagne flutes were used when the hostages were breaking open some bubbly.
  • The government demands that the banks lend money to get us out of the crises caused by the banks lending money.
  • The danger of the "cult of celebrity" where clebrity sponsorship is enough to convince the masses that black is white - and the damage this is doing... and how Prince Charles has been named the second most dangerous "celebrity" on the planet for his baseless position on numerous scientific topics.
Perfect. Time spent with friends is always valuable.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Patter

The door bell rang.

It was the man from the double-glazing company. Don't worry, he had been invited. It was time that the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen thought about what they should do about the porch.

The pitch was entirely predictable:
  • Open - get on good terms with the victim client. Try to be personable. Try not to bore them to death. Impress them with your importance and credentials (however inappropriate). Compliment them on their taste / location / coffee etc. Call the office to say what a good catch they would be and get permission to give them a good discount.
  • Determine the need - speak to the victim client about what it is they they they need, what they know about the company, and try to understand the competitive pressure. Try to ascertain the victim client's expectations on cost - this will be relevant in the next stage. (Look confused when the victim client says that cost is not the main determinant - ignore commenst regarding design as that is not within the abilities of your software). Take some notes as if this matters. Just as their eyes start to glaze over...
  • Propose - start trying to sell them whatever you came to sell (make it sound relevant to what they defined above, if necessary). Take lots of measurements. Suck on your teeth. Go and fetch some samples and give a totally inappropriate sales pitch considering they want a porch not double-glazed window units). Go and fetch the laptop to create some relevant designs. Huff and puff a bit as the software fails to draw anything more significant than a glass box and can't scale the door to the right size. Get out a calculator to start gathering some numbers (apparently the laptop's software isn't capable of managing costs). Treble the victim client's cost estimate and discount back to double the estimate. Test the water. Offer finance. Realise that you are losing... start to pack up. Make the all important (and expected) call back to HQ to say the sale is lost - this predicatably allows the manager to authorise a further discount to bring the price in at 1.5 times the victim client's original estimate.
  • Close - do a runner while there is still a chance that client may accept the offer once he has performed due diligence and got quotes from competitors.
And of course the client had already deflated his own estimate to start with, knowing exactly how the game works!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Earlier bird

The Gorse Fox still finds this hard to believe, but his first teleconference of the day (two and half hours-worth) started at 07:00. Once that was done it was back to the normal schedule and the ritual crunching of numbers.

A brief stop for lunch helped clear the head but was only temporary respite.

This evening promises a fine time with GF and the Silver Vixen booked for dinner at The Mulberry Grill - in the company of GF's sister and brother-in-law.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Home again

No. The Gorse Fox is not referring to some Australian soap opera. In order to participate in an "all managers" conference call from Starfleet he left Worcester early and managed to be home by late afternoon. The journey had been trouble-free despite the odd shower and he was able to settle down with a cup of tea in time to dial in.

The Silver Vixen was struggling with a choice of fabrics for her latest project. The Gorse Fox, ever eager to help, perused the selection and made several suggestions but was clearly way out of his depth. He left her to her ruminations and went off to make supper - deciding that was more helpful and well within his grasp.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mother Superior

This week is a big week. Mother Superior leaves the Agency. This is a great loss as she has been a great supporter of the Gorse Fox and Starfleet over the past 4 years and she had a certian way of thinking that gelled so closely with that of the Gorse Fox. She was a visionary and this rare skill will now be used to further other projects in the voluntary sector. This evening we say goodbye with a bit of a "do" at a local hostelry in Worcester.

Maths

The last few days of document reviews have been wearing... the Gorse Fox needs some mathematical stimulation. As a result he hit the spreadsheets worried that some recent estimates that he had seen were not based on sufficient science to convince him of their accuracy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monsoon

It has been a quiet day compared to many. Discussions on estimation techniques, reviews of documents, discussions over roles, discussions over degrees of parallelism.

At the end of the day the Gorse Fox checked in to the hotel, called the Silver Vixen, and then headed off to the Indian Restaurant to meet up with some colleagues.

Inspiring

A clear night sky greeted the Gorse Fox as he left home. A sliver of silver to the east showed a fine crescent moon trying to tear the fabric of the heavens. It was cold but the car soon warmed up.

As the Gorse Fox's journey carved a furrow across the country dawn broke and as the sun began its brief winter dominance the moon disappeared and a gold glow lit the eastern horizon.

It promises to be a nice day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reviewing

Having taken a day of vacation on Friday there was a daft backlog of emails for the Gorse Fox to handle this morning. Also the last few weeks of focus have left several documents in abeyance whilst they awaited his review. Finally they bubbled to the top of the stack.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rubbish

An icy blast of winter hit the country. Here we were spared the ice and snow but cold wind certainly made the day chilly. Chilly enough that for the first time in a couple of year the Gorse Fox lit the fire as he watched Spurs beat Blackburn and haul themselves out of the bottom three (they need to make space for Arsenal).

Much of the Gorse Fox's day was spent with MySQL and Joomla (a content management system) trying to build a template with which he was happy. This is for the Silver Vixen initially, but may actually be extended to the family tree website if it seems appropriate.

Managed to talk with Cousteau-cub until the signal broke down. She has been involved in another clean-up on Phi Phi and they managed to clear a further 270kgs of rubbish (though GF is not clear how much was from underwater and how much from the island itself.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Last Bastion

Cold winds were sweeping in from the north. Dark clouds were gathering as winter prepared an opening salvo. The Gose Fox and Silver Vixen popped up to Architectural Plants for a stroll around and to look for a new tree for the garden. We saw several trees that we liked, but decided to wait for now.

Despite the threat, the sun managed to highlight specimens that seemed to glow like fireworks exploding against the darkening sky.
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Birthday

It is the Silver Vixen's birthday. An auspicious day that is, no doubt, marked in all of your calendars. Judging by the piles of cards and presents that have arrived she has a bigger following than the England football team.

The Gorse Fox had taken the day off to spend with SV... and Urban-cub also took the afternoon off. We headed for Brighton Marina where we saw the latest Bond film "Quantum of Solace" and then had a splendid meal before returning home.

The film was an excellent yarn and certainly shows the new Bond has been re-invented for the current era. More gritty, and in some ways (story-wise) more relevant. We all thoroughly enjoyed it... though were disappointed to see we had missed a call from Cousteau-cub whilst in the cinema.

Dinner was taken at "The Brasserie fish" in the Marina. Very nice surroundings, attentive (but not obtrusive) service, and magnificent fish. Sardines, prawns, skate wings and lobster - all were superb. Certainly worth a return visit.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Long and winding

The highlight of the day in the office was the presentation to The Don. Crowds started to gather and the Gorse Fox believes that police in riot gear were standing by. Fine speeches were made, and a the farewell presentation concluded. It was a sad moment - the end of an era; but for the Don, the start of a new adventure - introducing himself to his family again, being home at night, eating home cooked food, and so on.

GF set off home a little later than planned. The journey seemed interminable - it being a dark autumn night plagued by idle roadworks and minor accidents that dragged the journey out far longer than usual. It was a huge relief to fianlly pull into the drive, open the door and take a deep breath of sea air laced with the faint odour of sea-weed


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bye

It is always sad when a valued colleague leaves. This week we see the
departure of The Don back to the wastes of East Anglia. It has been
great fun working with him, and tonight he will be "seen off" in some
style.

The evening is scheduled to start at a well known local purveyor of
Indian foodstuffs, followed by a gathering at several respectable
hostelries. The Gorse Fox will of course be keeping tabs on the
unfolding events from a respectful distance.

Now, must go; can hear a curry calling from the far end of town.

--
Sent from my mobile device

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Problems

After a very long day, starting well before 5, the Gorse Fox finally
got back to the hotel. He checked in and waddled up to his room - bags
clutched under his arm. Opening the door he was presented with
devastation.

It was clear that the room had not been made-up. The Gorse Fox did a
fetching pirouette and headed back to reception.

The girl at reception was deeply embarrassed and most apologetic. The
Gorse Fox calmed her and said "The fact that there is a problem
doesn't matter; it's not your fault. What makes people come back is
how you deal with a problem"

The Gorse Fox was upgraded to a suite.

--
Sent from my mobile device

Monday, November 17, 2008

Homework

The Gorse Fox had been worried that he may have to head for Worcester a day earlier than usual. Material for a Board meeting needed to be "just right"... hence the weekend effort. It did seem to provide a sound foundation and final polishing could be done over the phone.

With annual assessments coming up, briefings for the managers continue - as does the inexorable increase in workload. GF has a pretty good team, though and they have helped by getting their homework everything in on time.

iPod is loaded and ready for the trip tomorrow... just need to pack

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Atomic?

No this is not a picture of a mushroom cloud over a post-nuclear Isle of Wight. It is just a trick of the light... honest.
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Clearing the head

The Gorse Fox has been sat at the computer most of the day dealing with charts for his client, expenses for his bank manager, and assessments for his team. There comes a point when the head starts to throb and a break is required.

The Gorse Fox took advantage of this requirement and headed to the beach where the watery winter sky cast a feeble glow across the outgoing tide. The slight breeze was enough to blow away the cobwebs and refresh the little grey cells sufficient for him to continue his work.
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blinded

The Gorse Fox hates roller blinds.

Urban-cub has a red roller blind for her kichen window. It was awaiting affirmative action from the Gorse Fox to put it up. Thisa morning seemed like the perfect time. With Silver Vixen we arrived at Porpoise Place and GF set about the task in hand.
  • After some debate, the brackets did not require a baton, but were screwed to the frame.
  • The blind was unravelled and the core cut to length (distance between brackets minus 15 mm).
  • The fabrice was then cut to length (lenght of core minus 4mm)
  • The axle and ratchet were installed and the blind rolled up.
  • The blind was offered up and found to fit, but it was tight.
  • Too tight. The ratchet shed the beaded string.
  • Back at floor level the core was shortened by a futher few mm
  • The ratchet would not re-install
  • The few mm, were too many mm. The blind was now loose.
  • And the ratchet would neither take up its beaded string nor turn more 30 degrees.
GF has concluded he needs a replacement - but would guess that is not possible without an accompanying blind.

GF hates roller blinds.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Berks

As explained, the Gorse Fox found himself travelling to Reading... driving across West Sussex and east Hampshire to Basingstoke to shovel fistfulls of coins into the car park ticket machine so that he could leave the car and do the last 10 miles by train (avoiding the nightmarish traffic that is Reading). The journeys gave hime longer to catch up on further podcasts and now with the exception of a few back issues of "this Week in Photography" he's just about caught up.

At the office in Reading we spent the day "workshopping" that latest ideas about how land might be identified. The Gorse Fox always thought this was easy - if it's not wet, and you can't see through it - then it's land; apparently there's more to it than that, particularly if you keep animals on that land and they might move. The discussions ranged back and forth... but seemed to be quite productive.

GF also managed to get some time on the phone with the man from the Flying Horse. This proved very positive and should provide the input he needed for next week's Board.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Relief

The Gorse Fox heaves a huge sigh of relief as he sits down in the comfort of home. Three and a bit hours in the car listening to podcasts including
Skeptics Guide to the Universe
The Naked Scientist
Digital Planet
The News Quiz
News from Lake Wobegon
No more hotels until next week. Time to catch up with the Silver Vixen, and time to kick the virtual cat.

Unfortunately GF has to head back out first thing for a meeting in Reading that he really cannot afford the time to attend - but has to.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Foiled

Why does the Gorse Fox still use "foils" - he hasn't used an acetate foil in years. The name sticks, however. Why don't we still refer to "slates"?

GF seems to have spent most of the day displaying, talking about, and changing slides. This has not been without its moments of both fun and frustration. But all in all he thinks progress has been made.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dark Lord

Introducing the Dark Lord.

The Dark Lord has not featured in this blog before now. He joined the project several months ago and has taken control of major aspects of what we do. Nobody is quite sure how he arrived on these shores but there are rumours that he landed at Whitby on an otherwise empty sailing barge.

There are several things you need to understand. He is charming. He seems to carry some cloak of invisibility, or supernatural power to just appear and disappear. He has the uncanny knack of appearing on your shoulder at moments when you are in deep thought. Nobody is sure whether he throws a shadow which could be why his appearance always seems so sudden. He has never been seen near any of the mirrors in the building and one may question whether he has a reflection.

Eh?

Yesterdau afternoon the Gorse Fox climbed into the taxi and announced his destination.
The taxi lurched into motion as he tried to buckle his seat belt. The driver switched on the intercom.
"I'll take Westminster and Horseferry Road. There's been a murder in the Strand. It's bloody and it's chaos".
The Gorse Fox took this all in as he made himself comfortable. There was pause.
"What happened on the Starnd then?" he asked - interested in the detailed gossip that only a taxi driver would know.
"Nuffin'" he replied "it's just weight of traffic".
The Gorse Fox sat back, confused, and re-parsed the conversation. This analysis showed up the initial flaw in his understanding... it wasn't "There's been a murder" it was "It's been murder". With this new interpretation it all made sense.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Adnams

A couple of beers with a mandarin saw a pleasant end to the working day. Then GF headed back to Victoria to pick up his train to the south coast.

Under water

The Gorse Fox had to leave the comfort of his own office to head up to Starfleet-on-Thames for some calls prior to visiting the seat of government late this afternoon. Considering the widespread signalling problems, GF's journey was relatively uneventful - though delayed.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Belkin along from PC World

The Gorse Fox woke up to a domestic disaster. It was evident at first... there were ablutions to perform, curtains to open, and tea to be made and taken to the Silver Vixen. He then went in to his study.

There was something wrong, but it wasn't immediately clear what.

He started the computers (they are all shut down over night). The room started to hum into life. But something was wrong.

He opened a browser and that's when it hit him. The lights were not on on the Broadband modem/router. He was bereft. No internet. No early morning news. No email. No blogging... and if he didn't get it sorted - no working from home.

He did some basic debugging - but the problem was terminal. A trip to PC World was required and so he whizzed across to Hove and sat there outside the shop, going Internet cold turkey, until they opened their doors and let him in to drool over the various choices available. Making his choice he rushed home and feverishly installed the magic box from Belkin.

The look of panic that had haunted him all morning disappeared. All was well. Normality had returned.

Remember

Saturday, November 08, 2008

In the neck

It is a quiet day in the Gorse Fox household. Silver Vixen is busy with some patterns, and GF has been busy trying to get to the bottom of an irritating fault in one of his blogs.

He did manage to talk briefly to Cousteau-cub before here battery died... and will call back tomorrow to catch up on the news. Apparently Phi Phi is in a meteorological high pressure area at present and whether that was the reason or not certainly the call quality was very good.

Also heard that an aunt was unwell and currently confined to bed in hospital. It is a great shame as she is the engine room behind her whole family - so we will keep a watching brief on proceedings to where we can help without hindering.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Assessments

Starfleet has started its annual round of assessments. The Gorse Fox has been invited to contribute commentary to the assessments of many odd characters this year and spent time on and off during the day scribbling the odd response to these requests. He tries to be objective - but cannot resist the odd item of whimsy... this year this included:
  • He is like a cool beer on a hot day...
  • A bowl of spaghetti is better organized... and with the advent of alphabetti spaghetti is probably better documented
(GF would add this latter comment was about a system that was being assessed, not the colleague himself)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Ringing in the Ears

It had been a pretty successful day - the paper being prepared for the next Board meeting now seems to have a consensus, so just needs tidying up and socialising with the various interested parties.

It seems strange. The Gorse Fox travels back and forth across the country week in an week out. With a few exceptions his only company is the radio or iPod... but then, once in a while, he is interrupted by a phone call.

Like London buses, however, the interrupt is rarely singular. So it was this evening with the first call coming in as the Gorse Fox slid down onto the M3 near Winchester, then each time he ended a call, the phone would ring again and so it was right though until he arrived on his driveway.

Urban-cub was there when I arrived - she had stopped by to join us for supper.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Age

The Gorse Fox pondered on the realities of aging. As walked from Spur
0 to Pizza Express he passed an Estate Agency. An elderley gentleman
dressed in brogues, twill trousers, a barbour jacket and neat hat
stood outside looking at the houses advertised in the window.

Through his white beard beard he chuckled as he read the descriptions
out loud and dropped into paroxysms of laughter every time he read the
price.

--
Sent from my mobile device

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Who

A long discussion was held over dinner. Does the Abbott have a blog or doesn't he? If he does, what is it called and has anyone seen it?

Out came the Gorse Fox's internet-enabled phone. We searched and searched on every keyword and idea that we could come up with... but we were unable to find anything. GF is sure the hunt will continue.

Ooops

Good job the Gorse Fox left for the hotel early. Despite havib=ng his
reservations through until Christmas, the hotel had managed to lose
his bookings. Fortunately he was there early enough to still get a
room.

Dinner is planned for the local Tapas restaurant which is always good
value for money.

--
Sent from my mobile device

Monday, November 03, 2008

After a pleasant meal at Liming on Sunday evening the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen settled in for a quiet evening. Well, quite enough other than the Council papers that had dropped through the door and needed reviewing.

Monday was back at the coalface which had very little to do with mining anything other than ideas to help with some research for the upcoming board meeting. The scope of this, however, continues to grow so keeps the GF on his toes.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Inconvenient

We learn form the BBC of a case in the West Midlands where naughty pranksters left superglue smeared on the seat in a public convenience and subsequentlty a Man is found glued to toilet seat


Setting aside the poor chap's embarrassment (by the way, this seems to be a mobile-phone moment... what would have done without one?) imagine:

  • that first moment when he realised he was stuck.
  • the moment when he decided he had to call for help
  • the smart alec comments of the first rescuers to attend the scene
  • the morbid fear of toilet seats that will haunt the rest of his life

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Silver Vixen had arranged to meet with other members of her coven. The Gorse Fox was left to his own devices whilst, fresh from their Halloween jaunts, the coven met to compare the tricks or treats achieved last night. Certainly the ack-ack of fireworks here in KG was enough to keep the broomsticks well away from our airspace.

GF has busied himself with several domestic tasks and also spent some time playing with a speadsheet for the Urban-cub, and transcribing more from the old diaries.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Alter ego

GF is still trying to track down this new blog from his colleague... but at the moment everyone is being very secretive.

AGM

Yesterday's AGM was the usual bundle of fun. It always amazes the Gorse Fox how much heat can be generated in the discussions without the evidence of light. The estate has a new Chairman (pro temps) who is to be congratulated for handling things with a high degree of sensitivity and   patience, whilst providing clear and firm direction. (He and the other members of the Board are volunteers but often end up pilloried at these meetings).

Not everyone is eloquent, but their point of view is valuable and deserves respect. It is a shame that not all of the attendees had the common decency or courtesy to respect the Chair, the effort put in by the Board, or the views of neighbours and continued to mutter, chunder, and interrupt. There are times when one gets an almost overwhelming urge to tell people to sit down, shut up, and behave.

The major debate yesterday was in regard to installing and electronic barrier, or not. Arguments raged and suffered from fractured logic. The facts, as best the Gorse Fox can determine, are:

  • Existing security guards are not performing effectively
  • Health and safety are demanding better accommodation for them
  • Health and safety are demanding they take comfort breaks, requiring backup cover
  • Residents have been complaining

the Board have suggested and electronic barrier

Arguments against seem to be:
  • We'll be trapped if there's a power cut - refuted, gate can be backed with UPS and unlocked by master key to fail open.
  • Emergency services can't enter - refuted, they are provided a master pin code
  • It removes the Right of Way granted in the Deeds to the properties - GF can't see how this changes the status quo when the security guards have the existing gate down.
  • There's no real problem anyway with non-residents parking for the beach - GF thinks that would very quickly change if KG was known to be open instead of guarded.
  • Burglars would be able to get through - er! Hello! they can now when the guards aren't on duty.
  • Cyclists will be able to get through - er! Hello! they can now with or with a guard.
  • People will randomly push buttons until someone lets them in - as opposed to the guards justy waving them through.
Arguments for seem to be:
  • Gates will be closed at extra times without costing any more - seems logical
  • Won't need to build facilities for the guards - which can't be placed by the gate anyway because KG doesn't own that land.
  • Gates will deter or prevent non-residents from parking on the estate
Gorse Fox feels fairly neutral about the whole issue, but is always amused by the logical fallacies that get trotted out in such debate... and it makes him feel mischievous and want to argue the contradictory position just for the heck of it. Anyway, a vote was held and came down in favour of investigating the scheme further. 

Of course we could just build better facilities somewhere and pay for better guards, put in CCTV, or weapons emplacements.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

For All or was it Four all

An excellent draw in last night's football, where Harry drove the team to a fine outcome at the home of the Forces of Darkness.

GF is a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work he faces. The interrupt-driven nature of his time in Worcester is not conducive to completing things.

Heading back south mid-afternoon to attend an AGM during the evening.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sorry

Sorry but the Gorse Fox lacks inspiration today... thyough he has just
realised he has been maintaining this blog for four years as of this
week.

Silver Vixen apparently had a fairly fraught journey back from
Buckingham due to the various weather related incidents that had
caused havoc across varios trunk roads.

A rumour is going round that another colleague has started a blog. GF
hasn't got to the bottom of thisd yet but will add it to the blogroll
when he tracks it down.

--
Sent from my mobile device

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mex

A strange day.

With the clocks changing at the weekend and the change in the weather,
the Gorse Fox was greeted by icy windscreens in the pre-dawn dark.
Fortunately the heated windscreens quickly cleared the opaque view. As
it was half-term the roads were very quiet as he headed up to
Worcester.

The day was filled with a single meeting that consumed most of the
working day... but has hopefully provided some clarity.

The evening was very different. The Gorse Fox had been invited to the
home of the Mexican and his wife for mexican styled meal which was to
be followed by Cardinal SIn and the Bum Notes weekly rehearsal
session. It was a lovely evening and the food was excellent - only
surpassed by their hospitality.

--
Sent from my mobile device

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Funny Old Game

Football is a funny old game. Spurs have had an atrocious start to the season. The treacherous sacking of Martin Jol last year saw the team he had built win a cup... but then during the summer the main strike force was sold, and nobody of great significance brought in. The Director of Football semed clueless, and Juande Ramos seemed bemused. 

It was clear that their job were on the line... and the rumour mill had started. But the news that they have all been sacked to be replaced with Harry Redknapp is a bolt from the blue. The Gorse Fox hadn't even heard of it as a wild whisper, let alone a credible rumour.

Let's hope this wakes them up and they start to achieve.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Catching up

The Gorse Fox has made the most of a quiet day to catch up on some reading, his expenses, and some of the blogs that he likes but has not had a chance to read for a while. The Silver Vixen is having a quiet day with her patterns and fabrics.

Little to report - move along now now, please.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cracking onwards

So the RAV4 needed a new tyre. GF had checked the number 235/ 16R9856T/ 100T123765/ XYZ or whatever and looked online. e-Tyres were by far the cheapest in the area and would come to the house to fit it. (GF had checked all this out several months ago).

Going online he ordered the service yesterday... and mid afternoon the chap rang the bell and got started. His van was a fully equipped workshop and the tyre was changed in no time. GF got chatting to him and it turns out that he comes from the next village and has been doing this for a couple of years now - and may end up changing up to about 20 tyres a day across West Sussex. Overall it was very impressive and GF had to fill in a little checklist to confirm that the locking wheel nuts had been returned, that the job was done to his satisfaction, and that the wheel nuts had been tightened with a torque wrench rather than an air gun (to ensure they can be released by hand if necessary).

Excellent value for money... and highly recommended.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Choosing your words

The family had arranged to meet at The Bell in Winslow, near the Funeral Director's. We drank some coffee and had something to eat before heading out.

As we left to head for Funeral Director, where close family would follow the hearse in a limo, the question arose - "Is there enough room in your car? If not we could probably fit another body in ours!" The Gorse Fox bit his tongue - this was not the moment to giggle.

The Funeral went very well - with moving tributes from the family and then we repaired to a nearby hostelry for the wake.

Farewell

Today the Gorse Fox, Silver Vixen and rest of the wider family say farewell to the Silver Vixen's aunt.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You have to laugh

So the story leaked.

He had bought a Wii and proudly discussed it with his friends. They teased him that he would have to stand up to play it... he looked shocked. He read the instructions for the games and realised that you did indeed have to stand up to play - you couldn't possibly do it from the armchair.

He was distraught.

The following morning he was back at the shop demanding his money back.

Surprise

Some days begin well... and bring surprises. Today was one such day. It began well with a long hot shower and then a leisurely breakfast. (He did get dressed in between - just for the sake of the locals).

He stopped for diesel and some Rombout's coffee and then came the shock - as he waited to pull back into the traffic a BMW 5 series stopped and waved him out). This could be the first time this has ever been witnessed. He considered stopping and taking a photo - but decided that would delay the traffic further.

A generally good day at work was followed by a the journey south through the autumn sunset to Sussex.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Normality

Well, normality has nearly been restored. All of the data has been
transferred to the new laptop and most of the applications are
installed and working again.

Needless to say it didn't go exactly to plan, but wasn't too bad.

Plan for the evening is dinner with Mother Superior at the local
purveyor of Indian cuisine along with the Abbott.

--
Sent from Google Mail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Monday, October 20, 2008

Still going...

New laptop is still rebuilding, but at least the Gorse Fox can get back onto the internet again... though still seems a long way from getting to his work email (which has its advantages!)

New toys

The Gorse Fox has now collected his new work laptop and as he speaks lots of bits are thundering down an ethernet cable as the new one tries to mind meld with the old one and absorb all that it stored over the years.

Good job the afternoon was meant to be filled with conference calls and being offline is not too problematic.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Not Grey

Well the earlier grey start didn't last. The sun is streaming through the windows and it looks like another brilliant day on the coast

More pictures

What a contrast - Sunday is overcast, breezy and a few showers are passing through. This seems like a good excuse to display some more of the photos from yesterday... and to recommend a trip to Tricia's Tales to see her photos of Sheffield Park.





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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Riot

The sat-nav hurled us east from Kingston Gorse and deposited us, some 36 miles later, at the entrance to Sheffield Park, near Uckfield. Evidently, the sat-nav had performed a similar trick for several thousand other people as we were backed up along the road, crawling at a snails pace the last few thousand yards to the entrance and then to one of the overflow car parks.

This is, without doubt, one of the National Trusts' real treasures... and whilst, as members we entered without paying, there was a long snaking line of visitors willing to pay the entrance fee for a glimpse inside.



We were not disappointed. The views soon opened up upon a riot of autumn colour carefully framed by evergreens and huge specimen trees. Wheresoever you looked, there was a vista or image worth remembering or capturing.

A series of lakes ran through the middle of the grounds acting as a mirror, reflecting the powder blue of the sky and the cathedral of colour that poured from the foliage.


A day such as this, with sights such as this cleanse the spirit and clear the mind.


Sheffield Park is indeed a special place - we will return.
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If you wish to see the other 150+ photos taken at Sheffield Park please visit the Gorse Fox's Sheffield Park Flickr Stream

Colours

It is a stunning autumn morning. The sun is wandering slowly across an unblemished sky. The breeze is barely strong enough to ripple the leaves on the trees.

The Gorse Fox is breaking out the camera... he can feel the need to capture nature.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lessons

The Gorse Fox has received and email that is worth sharing... (as usual GF sends acknowledgements to the original author, whoever that may be):

GORDON BROWN was visiting a primary school and he visited one of the classes. They were in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings.

The teacher asked Mr. BROWN if he would like to lead the discussion on the word 'tragedy'.

So the illustrious leader asked the class for an example of a 'tragedy'.

A little boy stood up and offered: "If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field & a tractor runs over him and kills him, that would be a 'tragedy.'"

"No," said GORDON - "that would be an accident."

A little girl raised her hand: "If a school bus carrying fifty children drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy"

"I'm afraid not", explained GORDON - "that's what we would call great loss"

The room went silent. No other children volunteered GORDON searched the room. "Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?"

Finally, at the back of the room, little Johnny raised his hand...

In a quiet voice he said: "If an airplane carrying you and Mr Darling was struck by a 'friendly fire' missile & blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy"

"Fantastic!" exclaimed GORDON. "That's right. And can you tell me why that would be tragedy?"

"Well," says little Johnny "it has to be a tragedy, because it certainly wouldn't be a great loss and it probably wouldn't be an accident either!"

Worcester's Got Talent

As promised http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=RniWyrVpir4
Also please see link to their Band website in the blogroll at the side. A YouTube search for "GorseFox" (as a single word) will reveal further videos of this supergroup in action.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aftergig

Last night's gig was a tour de force by the band. Video may well follow (depending on the quality and the opportunity to upload).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Giggin'

Today is the big day. The band formed several months ago after a
musical evening at the pub is having its first gig. Cardinal Sin and
the Bumnotes are about to hit the big time with an arena gig at Spur 0
this evening.

We'll all be there to support them and it should be good fun.

--
Sent from Google Mail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Move along

The Gorse Fox regrets that there is lttle to report. It appears that
some people have been trying to second guess the GFs design and that
means that he now has to waste time discounting some of these.

Dinner was really pleasant with just a few of us meeting at the Tapas
restaurant for some fine enchilladas and some rioja.

--
Sent from Google Mail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chuckling

The Gorse Fox is not one to watch
  • Strictly Come Dancing
  • Britain's Got Talent
  • The X Factor
or indeed any of this victim-TV. 

Last night he made an exception and watched Peter Kay's spoof talent show "Britain's Got the Pop factor... and possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar on Ice". It was one of the most enjoyable and funny TV programmes he has seen in years. Really well produced and acted, it was made to seem absolutely real... but the whole dialogue was laced with wonderfully funny lines - rarely overt - usually very subtle.

Brilliant TV that GF believes will become a classic.

Strange

It has been a strange day. GF was home alone - with the Silver Vixen up with family in the midlands. The phone was quiet, the door was quiet. Everything was quiet. 

The one exception came when a Starfleet Admiral called with some long awaited news. It would appear that the GF can please some of the people some of the time. In return it seems that they can please him.

There was also an inbound email from Cousteau-cub today. All seems well in Paradise and she's obviously getting busy.

Bags are packed and Podcasts are cut ready for the morning's trip to Worcester.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stupid Pills

The Gorse Fox helped out Urban-cub by purchasing an oil-filled radiator for her flat. Sir Lancinglot, before walking out, had stripped and removed all of the night storage heaters and now as autumn draws on the lack of heat is becoming troublesome.

The phone rang

It was Urban-cub reporting that said radiator did not radiate. Indeed it did not even register that it was receiving power.

The Gorse Fox returned this morning to collect the radiator and exchange it at B&Q. The chap was very helpful and went and checked that the fault was as described... and then sent us to take a replacement from the shelves. Returning to the counter he offered to check that this one worked. At this point silent alarms must have gone off. 

A supervisor swooped in. "You can't do that" she explained, clicking her heels together and slapping her boots with a swagger stick.

The youth stammered "I was only going to plug it in". The Gorse Fox raised an eyebrow.

"'elf and safety" said the supervisor. "If you plug it in, it can no longer be sold to the customer" and then muttered something about only following orders, annexing the Sudetenland and how 'elf and Safety was the new Reich and would last 1000 years.

The Gorse Fox smiled and took the radiator unopened back to Urban-cub's flat where, wearing rubber gloves, rubber soled boots, goggles, and safety helmet he pugged the radiator into a normal socket and went for the switch. Urban-cub and the cats were asked to shelter in the kitchen, neighbours had been asked to put mattresses up against their doors and tape their windows, and the emergency services were on speed-dial.

The Gorse Fox counted down... "Five, four, three, two, one" 

He flicked the switch. 

There was no thermo-nuclear incident. There was no flash. The Gorse Fox was not hurled across the room. The apartment block is still standing.

We had heat.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

RIP

It has been a quiet day, which started with the sad news that the Silver Vixen's aunt had died. This was a blessed relief as she had clearly given up and the spark that made her what she was had receeded further and further into her confusion.

Silver Vixen will be heading up to Buckingham for a few days to try and help sort things out.

Don't think so


Don't think so
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Given the collapse of the Icelandic banks, this seems highly unlikely.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bits

Lots of unrelated work items meant that the Gorse Fox spent the day re-arranging bits and bytes to form recognisable patterns when printed onto paper or displayed on a screen. As Nicholas Negroponte said "Move bytes not atoms".

During the evening the GF spent some time fiddling with his phone and has managed to download the lates map sets and various other applications that make the phone even more useful than it was before.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Committee

The Gorse Fox escaped early in order to get back for a Council
meeting. The best laid plans were, however, nearly thwarted by traffic
in Swindon and and incident on the motorway near Fareham.

GF arrived at the meeting a little late, and the proceedings were well
under way. Fortunately there was little that could be considered
controversial so the meeting finished in good time.

Interesting snippets emerged when discussing the village history...
including a haunted house. What wasn't forthcoming was further detail
regarding the story that Dame Myra Hess lived on the estate during the
40's

--
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bank

Well it seems that the Gorse Fox, like most other UK tax payers, now
owns chunks of the UK banking sector. He plans to wanser around a
number of the local banks at the weeknd and see what he should do with
them. Maybe a little re-decorationg and de-cluttering, or maybe some
new furniture. There also seems to be a lot of paper cluttering up the
drawers and that could be recycled into his pocket.

Seems like a plan.

--
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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

All done

It has been an interesting day. The Gorse Fox has been busy helping
re-structure various project aspects - or at least explaining what
needed to be done, and fortunately he now has a practitioner of the
satanic arts to get it done.

There were a few tense moments in the office this morning, but GF was
not involved and everything seemed to quieten down.

The afternoon featured a young colleague demonstrating a product that
Starfleet has recently acquired. It seemed to go well, and chances are
that it will be added to the portfolio.

GF caught up on news from the Silver Vixen and then headed out for a pizza.

--
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Monday, October 06, 2008

More than a feeling

It's nice to see that with his return to work, Boston has started blogging again. Hopefully, as the days progress we will learn what went on during the summer and why he is now wearing a disguise.

Limits

The Gorse Fox's work mailbox reached its limit. This was fine at the weekend as it prevented any further distractions emails from coming in. First thing, however, GF had to hit the Archive button to return to semblance of normality.

The day has been quiet. Not a single phone call. Bliss.

This has meant that a great deal of progress has been made - which, given the diary entries for the next few days, is probably a good thing.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Ruby, ruby, ruby

The party for the Crumbs was an excellent "do". It had taken 8 months to arrange and was held in the Orangery of the Saville Court Hotel at Englefield Green. It was so nice to see the Crumbs again... it must be about 10 years or more since we last got together. It was a big event and there must have been well over a hundred guests.

We shared the table with our famous "Page 3 girl"... who we last saw featured on her birthday. It was nice to catch up on all of the gossip and the goings on and reminisce about earlier times at Starfleet. Much of this was done with sign language and by mouthing words over the sound of the band. This involved a great deal of laughter, eye-dabbing (from the laughter), and wondering what had become of "so-and-so".

It was the early hours of Sunday before we left and made our way back along the empty roads, through the blustery winds and rain to settle in the comfort of home.

(A note to anyone who may be visiting the Saville Court Hotel in the dark - the signs are "subtle" to say the least - in fact they are nigh on invisible in driving rain... but the entrance is actually right on the corner of Bishopsgate Road and Wick Lane.

Also a note to the band - if you have a sound level metre - and there was one clearly visible on the wall - the objective is to keep it in the green or amber and rarely touch the red... keeping the sound in the red all of the time means that you are probably distorting the sound - which for some may be a blessing, but last night's band were very good and the sound levels were detrimental).
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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Wind

Wind is a subject that is a constant companion to the coast-dweller. Be it on-shore, off-shore, (under the duvet) or blasting along the shore it is always interesting. Today, the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen are scheduled to be attending the Ruby Wedding of the Crumbs. (Mrs Crumb used to work with the Silver Vixen in Starfleet, many years ago.)

In preparation for this auspicious event SV was to get her hair done... but with the wind blasting along the coast it seemed destined to end in disaster. The Gorse Fox therefore volunteered to drive her to the coiffeuse - dropping her at the door and collecting her from said door some hour or so later. This gave him an excuse to wander round the nearby PC World looking at shiny sparkly gadgets and drooling a lot.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Stuff

Friday was a mixed day. The Gorse Fox had left his car at the garage
for its first service... not bad after 19000 odd miles.

The core hours were filled with spreadsheets, contracts, and word
processing... but whilst stimulating, it does not warrant much further
comment.

--
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

New boy

The team comlement has be boosted by the arrival of another new boy. We now a full-time practitioner of the black and satanic arts or project management to provide support. GF is impressed so far. He seems to have grasped the extent of the project and has already started to provide his own brand of organisational input. GF thinks he'll do well.

For the second week running GF managemed to escape from Worcester at a sensible hour and had a pleasant journey back.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Chemistry

Supper was enjoyed by the select few at the Indian buffet. We were
saying farewell to a team member who is about to take a year's leave
of absence from Starfleet and go to live in Lagos. He will be missed
as he has been an excellent practitioner of the satanic arts, a
constant source of wit, and an ace bongo player in the "band".

The Gorse Fox was back in his room by nine.

He settled down to watch some TV but soon realised that there was
nothing of sufficient intellectual content to keep him amused. He
resorted to a podcast... by 10 minutes in he was bored with a
discussion that challenged whether or not the Vikings had sufficient
ink-making technology to have inks containg titanium dioxide. In the
greater scheme of things this did not feature highly on his catalogue
of missing knowledge to be acquired.

--
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Car Park

Car parks can be interesting places. At the hotel, the Gorse Fox
noticed a van "E-On Energy Networks" parked next to another smaller
van "Psychic Tarot Readings". He assumes there was a layline bewteen
them.

--
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

All done

The day seemed endless.

The usual journey was accompanied by technology news from various podcasts.
Once at the office the meetings started and seemd to fill the day -
though having said that several were cancelled and with different
priorities emerging the day turned out to be very different from the
plan.

At the end of the day some fine Austrian beers were calling the Gorse
Fox and his colleagues. A most pleasant aperitif before retiring for a
pizza.

--
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Mixing

A day of mixture:
  • It started dark and grey and ended up bright and sunny
  • GF started with a busy diary that seemed to clear itself
  • A large email inbox seems to have become self-limiting
  • Additional snippets of information have become available for the Parish wiki
All in all a strange day... but Worcester beckons tomorrow!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Diversion

Roadworks closed the railway bridge at Arundel for the weekend. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen had arranged to visit Betty and Barney Rubble in Old Basing... so needed a diversion. Traffic reports yesterday were not promising so the route chosen was through Storringto, Pulborough, Petworth, Midhurst and so forth.

What an excellent choice that turned out to be. On a glorious autumn morning with the leaves just starting their preparations for their grand finale the route was spectacular. Traffic was light and despite the longer route it only added about 10 minutes to the journey.

A super day was enjoyed (we think of it as help the aged) by all and was crowned by a very fine Sunday lunch at The Wellingston Arms near Stratfield Saye. 

Good weather, fine food, good friends - perfect!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Design

A stunningly nice day again today.

The Gorse Fox spent some time cleaning his car which so reliably hauls him up and down the motorways every week. It has been a while since it received any TLC - but today seemed the perfect time.

Most of the rest of the day was spent working on the Parish Design Statement, which GF offered to draft for the Parish Council. Once some of the illustrations were included it became rather unweildy as a document to circulate to the Council so he converted it all to a wiki. He just has to hope that his fellow councillors are able to get involved.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Success

The recent, and seemingly endless grilling by Starfleet's Guardians has finally reached a conclusion and the Gorse Fox has passed through to the other side, becoming one of the Guardians in his own right.
What a relief!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Gorse Fox managed to get away at a sensible time and cruise sedateley across country back to the coast. As usual on the journey he was accompanied by various scientists, technologists and comedians who had squeezed themselves into his iPod intent on educating, informing or amusing him during his journey.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Older

The Gorse Fox has just written a long and inspired post which within a
few words of its completion suddenly disappeared before his very eyes.
He will try again, but may not have quite the same melifluent flow as
last time.

The long and meeting filled day started with a rather explosive
exchange of views in the office. GF was not involved, but was amused
by the invective and vigour employed by the protagonists.

After end to end meetings the Gorse Fox felt beckoned by a foaming ale
of Austrian origin with colleagues in Spur 0.

Then the siren song of a dough-based comestible covered in vegetables,
anchovies, and pepperoni attracted the Gorse Fox and his colleagues to
a local emporium, giving the owners a chance to reduce their stock of
fine wines.

--
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Worcester Evening


Worcester Evening
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The day had been pleasant, if cool. Work had been interesting and GF had made a lot of progress.The receptionist at the hotel had done GF proud. As he checked in she noted the room allocated and commented that it wasn't a very good one for such a regular customer... and so again he was upgraded to a suite. Very comfortable!After his call home, he headed out for short walk in the Worcester evening before joining up with his colleagues at the Indian buffet.A fine day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hippy Birthday

Cousteau-cub reaches another milestone in her current sojourn on this planet. It is a shame she is so far away - but Gorse Fox & Silver Vixen spoke to her yesterday and know that she'll have a whale of a time today.

Happy Birthday.

Open source

The Gorse Fox is great proponent and user of Open Source software. In his latest forage through the network he discovered OpenProj

With a name like that it won't surprise you that it provides software to assist in the satanic arts of project management - and is very viable alternative to MS Project (particularly as it is free) and readily interchanges data with it if necessary.

GF is getting to a stage that he needs very little software that actually costs him money. Almost everything he finds himself using is open and free.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beating the bounds

The Gorse Fox has made the most of the glorious weather and wandered around the Parish taking photos of every road, lane and avenue. he also took some of the Greensward as shown here.

These photos will be used to illustrate the Parish Design Statement on which he is working.

A quiet Sunday was also an opportunity to phone Cousteau-cub over in Thailand. She's back and working hard, and GF's first call interrupted her while she was teaching a course, so he had to call back later.

She had organised a clean-up on the island for the last three days. She explained that it had been a great success and that they had cleared 500 kgs from the beaches and 60 kgs from the dive sites. She was just settling down to put her feet up and watch the football when we called.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sunset

This could well be the perfect end to a lovely day as the sun spills its palette across the western sky and the silhoettes of wind-blasted trees stand like sentinels at the edge of Kingston Gorse.
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Brighton

So we collected the Urban-cub and headed along the coast a ways to Brighton. It was a gorgeous day and we found that we were by no means alone! To make matter more interesting some roadworks along the front narrowed the traffic to a single lane... but we were soon through and searching for a car park with spaces.

As we left the car park we noticed a restaurant on the corner "Wokmania" - advertising an Oriental buffet for £7.90 - the information was filed away and headed about our business among the famous Laines (top picture).

Having wandered about and checked out the information being sought we then headed back to the main drag - the Cafe culture was clear to see on a day like this and it is quite obvious why Brighton and Hove are such a magnet to the young and sociable.

A bit more shopping found the Gorse Fox being re-shod at the farriers in an effort to reduce the impact of his bruised heel(*). Silver Vixen and Urban-cub browsed the shops for a bit and then we headed back to Wokmania.

Gorse Fox was impressed. Huge selection of Oriental dishes - Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian - laid out to select from. People grazed back and forth. The quality, choice and selection were superb. Will have to return on another occasion - or convince them to open an outlet in Worcester.

(*)Blamed on Gordon Brown.
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