Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dear Diary

A very pleasant evening was spent with colleagues at the local Pizza Express. Conversation was varied and with the exception of when the Gorse Fox spoke, generally interesting.

Overnight the wind picked up and strong gusts battered the hotel. A squall line rattled across, waking GF. The weather is moving south east, so GF will probably head into it as he drives home later.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sshhh.... what's that?

It's been a hard day, but the Gorse Fox thinks he can hear a fine foaming ale calling his name.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Change

They say that a change is as good as a rest. Well GF finds himself in Reading for a change... And this intriguing day will finish with a trip up to Worcester. This meant a lie-in instead of the usual 5am start.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Darwin was an optomist

Gorse Fox has just read in The Register this article and includes the text verbatim for your consideration:

A Dallas man who accidently shot himself in the head while "showing off his pistol to friends" at a party last Saturday looks certain to make the 2008 Darwin Awards nominations.

According to the Dallas Morning News Andreous Robinson, 20, had been partying with chums in West Dallas when he decided to pop outside at around 1am and fire off a few rounds skywards.

Homicide officer Sgt. Bruce McDonald explained that Robinson "then came back inside and thought that he'd discharged all of the rounds, so he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger".

Robinson's counting skills proved inadequate, and he was later pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital.
Gorse Fox thought that evolution was a forward progression of improvement.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Victimhood

Several years ago the Gorse Fox worked with "Sherlock". Sherlock is a victim. If something is destined to happen, then it will happen to Sherlock.

Cars take particular pleasure in victimising Sherlock.

Dropping his girlfriend at Woking Station, where some alterations were being made to the car park, he reversed with a flourish out of his parking slot. With a crunch the back wheels mounted a curbstone and dropped into the trench beyond. Sherlock (dressed in his pyjamas) cajoled several passers-by to lift the back of the car back onto the road surface and then drove off.

This particular car, and Escort, was quite unreliable. He used to joke that he'd called the RAC so frequently that the RAC man would call in at his flat in the mornings out of habit.

Eventually Sherlock received a company car, a Rover. This should have put an end to the saga. Indeed it started another. Late for work one morning it transpired that his gearbox had failed. The car was taken to the local agent to be fixed, but parts had to be ordered from the factory and so the car was unavailable for several weeks.

Eager to save company money on car hire whilst the car was being fixed he phoned the company agent. The company, however, had changed agent. He the phoned the new agent's local office. Here he was told they were no longer part of that agency, but would better any price that Sherlock could get from the company. He finally got through to an official company agent and was told that there was an additional fee of £25 for delivering the car. He told them not to bother.

Sherlock rang back the local company and negotiated a good deal. He asked when they could deliver the car, and what it would be. The agent asked him to wait while he checked the yard. On his return he informed our victim that he wasn't sure, they hadn't actually got any cars at present.

Some time later Sherlock's Rover was the unfortunate victim of vandalism in a Car Park near work. (Sherlock was never the most punctual of people, consequently always arrived after the company car park was full). The rear nearside window of the car was smashed. Fortunately nothing of value was stolen. Being a late starter, Sherlock always worked late, and so he discovered this vandalism too late do anything.

He drove home with the wind whistling around him, his mind turning over the ramifications of the broken window. Arriving back home, he decided to park up against the wall to ensure that no further entry could be gained through the gaping window. Unfortunately Sherlock's rear view was somewhat impeded and as he reversed into the only gap available alongside the wall, he ran into the front of a neighbour's car. This car was was an old Triumph Herald being lovingly restored by its owner. Sherlock's car, affectionately kissed the front of the Triumph and locked onto the bumper. Sherlock realised what had happened, selected a forward gear (hopefully first) and moved forward to disengage. Unfortunately Sherlock's Rover was firmly fixed to the Triumph, and moving forward as he did, Sherlock only managed to rip the font-hinged bonnet from the car.
But computers would conspire against also (which doesn't help when you work in IT):
Sherlock bought a new computer for home. His computer had all the software he needed for both home and business use. He was, however, short of disk space. He carefully reviewed the book and ordered a new disk. The disk arrived without the screws required to mount it. Irritated he phoned the supplier. The supplier asked him what size screws were needed "It's your disk" he replied, "you tell me". After several phone calls Sherlock was getting irritated. They sent some screws, eventually. Sherlock mounted the disk and blew the power unit on his computer. The failure was serious enough that it needed to be returned to the manufacturer.
The sometimes computers and cars would gang-up on him:
Sherlock was over-committed work-wise, as he often was, and desperate to complete the preparation of his foil presentation he decided to work at home. His computer had all the requisite software and he'd get fewer disruptions. Soon after starting, his computer failed. Several days later, and as the result of many phone calls he arranged to leave work early and drive to the manufacturer to collect the repaired computer then go home, set it up and continue with his preparation. He left work at lunchtime. The following day he seemed tetchy so I asked if his preparation had been successful. Not exactly was his reply. On the way back from London, his one month old car had broken down on the M3 with a total electrical failure.

That was where he spent his evening.
That electrical failure was the start of another saga:
Sherlock had splashed out on a very nice company car. It had all of the extras. Heated rear windscreen, leather seats, air conditioning, on board computer, and electric windows. It laso had a slight electrical fault. Nothing too serious. It was just that whenever it rained, the electric windows would open themselves automatically. Gorse Fox nevwer found out what happened about that.
and there's no accounting for his sense of direction...
One time while driving back from Brussels he took the wrong road was half way to Paris before realising that he should have been in Calais by then.
Sherlock left Starfleet soon after and was last seen going round and round the M25.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Physioterrorism

In the past it has been necessary for the Silver Vixen to subject herself to various courses of physio-terrorism. As the Gorse Fox waded through some old files he found the following notes that he had made at the time:
The Silver Vixen attended physiotherapy a couple of times each week. Leslie was a great physio, always providing a wealth of guidance and support and a seemingly limitless variation of exercises, obviously developed and perfected over the hundreds of years following the Spanish Inquisition!

Leslie also had an endless supply of anecdotes which used to brighten the sessions.
When the hospital was being extended the physiotherapy department was relocated to a temporary portable cabin in the grounds. Within the cabin were some cubicles for massage and what Leslie refers to a TLC. One very large woman, several years past her prime insisted that instead of stripping to her underwear for her massage, she must strip naked. She did this and stood waiting in the cubicle. Noticing a blind in the corner, she raised it to see what was outside. The blind covered a full length window, the other side of which was a you builder eating his lunch. As the blind went up he looked up, dropped his sandwich and ran for it. Our lady roared with laughter and explained to Leslie what had happened. "I'll bet that made his day" she finished off. Leslie confided in us it was more likely to have ruined it, or turned the poor boy gay!

She also told us about the Zimmer frame:
The ubiquitous zimmer frame came up in conversation. This triggered another of Leslie's tales. A slightly vague, elderly lady was pushed in on a wheelchair that she didn't strictly need. During the session it was explained to her that she could get a zimmer frame which would support her when she walked. Rather vaguely she insisted that she would get hold of the frame herself. Her family reported that she went home and looked through the local phone directory for a Dr Zimmer, and coincidentally managed to find one in our area. Phoning the unsuspecting doctor she demanded in, stentorian tones, details about the frame and where she could pick it up. The doctor thought this was a wind up and claimed ignorance of the whole situation. The lady phoned back several times, but the doctor hung up. At the next physio session the lady was asked if she wanted a zimmer frame. "Not likely" she replied. "Phoned the chap, not at all helpful. Won't bother".

Friday, January 25, 2008

Over and in

The working week has drawn to a close for the Gorse Fox. It shouldn't, as he still has things to do, but he has hit a mental block and is having trouble thinking his way out a paper-bag.

The Silver Vixen is in her sewing room, finishing off the creation of another masterwork - this one a very nice bag.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mela

Yesterday was wall-to-wall with a 5 hour and then 2 hour meeting. GF expected to suffer various degrees of discomfort and ennui, but actually they weren't too bad. AT the end of the day Mother Superior , the Abbott and Gorse Fox retired to a fine Indian establishment, known for its preparation of exquisite Indian meals for the discerning palette. A fine Thali was an excellent close to the day.

Today's all day meeting was finished by lunch-time, freeing up an hour or two rather unexpectedly.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen... The Stella's

Gorse Fox has just been sent this (which he presents with fulla acknowledgements to the original, but anonymous author):

It's time again for the annual "Stella Awards"!

For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee.
You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving.
Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?


That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy.


Here are the Stella's for the past year:


7TH PLACE:

Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

6TH PLACE:

Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hub caps.

Go ahead, grab your head scratcher.

5TH PLACE:

Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT, days on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish. Amazingly, the jury
said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish.

We should all have this kind of anguish.

4TH PLACE:

Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

3RD PLACE:

Third place goes to Amber Carson of Lancaster , Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113, 500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

2ND PLACE:

Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000...
Oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.


1ST PLACE: (May I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please?)

This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home from an OU football game, having driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down, $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Out of the Darkness

The Gorse Fox's mobile phone ran hot last night as one text followed another, updating him on the progress of the battle between good and evil, and celebrating the 5-1 victory of the Forces of Light over the Forces of Darkness at White Hart Lane.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Drifting off

As the Gorse Fox drifted off to sleep he had an idea. Not earth shattering, but a neat little idea. The trouble was he kept waking up to explore it some more...

There was the early morning run to Worcester and an early meeting to clear before he could try out the idea. However, he's now feeling smug because it worked first time, and it has improved the visible output from his spreadsheet. (How sad that things like this amuse!)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Hundreds of tons of timber washed up on Sussex beach after cargo ship sinks | the Daily Mail

This article in the Daily Mail: Hundreds of tons of timber washed up on Sussex beach after cargo ship sinks indicates just how much timber came ashore from the "Ice Price". Some great pictures!

Compared to Worthing, we got off lightly here in Kingston Gorse

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tales form North Britain

The Gorse Fox was looking through some old files and came across the following tale, related by the Gorse Fox in the first person regarding an incident during a holiday in Scotland in the early '70s.

Pushing the Boat Out

The chain was removed from the gangway, and Angus MacSweeney welcomed us aboard. I wondered if this was a genuine name, or whether we were being greeted by a cartoon character.
It had been a grey day. After a hurried fish supper in the High Street of Fort William, Silver Vixen and I had made our way to the quay for a cruise up and down the Loch. It was early in the season so there were only a few would-be sailors waiting for the trip.

After waiting to see if any stragglers would rush up at the last minute, Captain MacSweeney started the engines a slowly pulled away from the quay and into the channel. The 38 ton vessel, freshly painted black and white, cruised down towards Ardgour, passing on our left (sorry port-side) the hotel we were using as our base for the tour, and to starboard the cottage where I had stayed several years earlier. The evening sun had broken through and it was turning out to be a very pleasant trip.
We carried on down as far as a small island where seals can sometimes be seen, though not on this occasion, then turned and cruised back up towards Loch Eil. We chatted with our fellow passengers, mostly middle-aged couples on holiday, the statutory American tourists, laden with cameras, the sort of clothes that would be proscribed by any fashion police, and an overbearing, over-friendly, over-talkative, over-the-top wife. I love Americans, but often think that they would not have such a joke image, when abroad if only they'd leave their wives at home!

We turned to port, into Loch Eil and into the setting sun. It was a lovely tranquil evening, the Loch reflected the forest clad hills lining the water's edge. The only ripples were from the outgoing tide. Soon after passing the paper mill at Corpach we turned for home, well Fort William.

The engine coughed, and Angus MacSweeney was heard to scream an expletive in an accent or dialect which made its meaning perfectly clear without any of us understanding what it was he said. The solitary cough turned into a paroxysm, and without further ado the engine died and we drifted to a silent halt in the middle of Loch Eil. Crew muttered and shouted and disappeared into the bowels of the vessel. Passengers chuckled and chatted and cheered each time an attempt was made to restart the engine. The tide was still going out and slowly the current started to drag the boat towards the uninhabited shore.

As the boat drifted one of the crew grabbed a boat hook and tried to keep the boat in away from the shallows. I grabbed a boat hook and so did several other passengers. Each time we approached the shallows we drove the boat hooks into the ground and tried to push the vessel away. The boat hooks took the strain for a while, though bending alarmingly, but after twenty minutes 38 tons of Glasgow-built cruise boat decided it was going to paddle ashore, with a grinding sound as it hit the gravel and a lurch as it stopped we came to rest stern-first on the shore. Now what! We were out of sight of Fort William, we had no radio, we were on the uninhabited shore of Loch Eil, and the engine was still dead.

I reasoned that if we had managed to fend the boat out of the shallows with boat hooks... surely we could push it off the gravel. So with a cry of "Let's push the boat out" I leapt over the side onto the shore and put my shoulder to the stern of the boat. The crew looked amazed, other passengers looked amused, Di looked concerned, I looked alone and a complete prat. However I was determined and digging my boots into the gravel, and filling the them with water as a result, I wedged my back against the boat and started to heave. I could feel the colour rising in my face as I pushed, and thought I was going to burst a blood vessel. Once I begin to look stupid, however, I am stubborn in my determination. One more effort was enough and I could feel the boat start to shift. A cheer went up from the passengers as the boat was free and started to drift clear. Eager hands reached down to help me back and as I struggled to gain a foot hold, the prow of the boat was caught by the current and the boat started to turn and again beached itself.

As I had proven the theory by now, I expected others to leap over the side and help. They, however, realised that one complete idiot on any boat is enough and left me to try again. Who ever heard of jump-starting a 38 ton boat, after all! Again I dug my heels in and again I heaved and shoved. One fellow passenger broke a boat hook trying to help from the deck. Silver Vixen was looking over the rail telling me to give up. The crew were still trying to start the engine and other passengers were getting fed-up. I stopped for breath. A small flotilla of rescue boat could be seen heading towards us. One more try. My legs started to quiver, my face glowed red and slowly the boat shifted. I had freed it again, and again it drifted clear and slowly away from me.

The rescue boats arrived and passengers were abandoning our stricken vessel, assisted and encouraged by the crew. Silver Vixen stubbornly refused to move. I was still wading out to catch the boat. Finally, I caught it and jumped, grabbing the rail. The effort of pushing the boat and then wading after it had been too much. I couldn't raise myself and was just left hanging there until SV had finally managed to alert the crew and remaining passengers to my plight. I was unceremoniously hauled on deck and ushered straight to a rescue boat.

Silver Vixen sat with me bemoaning the fact that noone helped and how they were all happy to leave me on the shore. She was probably thinking about how she'd drive home once they'd had me committed. As we headed for the dock the engine of our erstwhile cruise boat coughed into life and with a smile and wave Angus MacSweeney and his crew swept by us and arrived back at the quay while the rescue boats still had several hundred yards to go.

By the time we docked the boat was deserted. I'd guess they had all retired to the local bar to recount the tail of the idiot who pushed the boat out!

Eidesis

The Gorse Fox is not sure that is a word... but he is still committing old photos to digital memory.

Over 960 so far indexed, filed and catalogued.

It is an immensely satisfying (though tedious) job... knowing that all of these memories are now filed digitally for future generations (One of GF's hobbies is genealogy and he is determined to make things as easy as possible for his descendants).

This photo (from 1984) was taken in a small bay, east of Looe (at Millendreath). The cubs were playing in a pedalo within a lagoon. Unfortunately they got it stuck on a rock right in the middle so GF had to swim out to free them.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Storms

The winter storms have again taken their toll. A vessel, the `Ice Prince', sank 25 nautical miles South of Portland on the evening of the 14th January 2008 after a fairly dramatic rescue of all 20 crew. It now sits in 62 meters of water on the seabed. Around 2000+ tons of timber carried on deck has been lost to the sea.

Well, not totally lost - muchh of it seems to have come ashore here alkong the Sussex Coast.

Unfortunately, the vessel owners have appointed contractors who are responsible for recovery of the timber cargo - so any idea of stocking up the garage with flotsam are dashed. Police Forces have been authorised by the Receiver of Wreck to act on her behalf and failing to comply with their directions would be committing an offence for which they may, on conviction, be fined up to £2,500.

Not all of the flotsam was timber - it seems that fishermen have lost a number of pots, nets and ropes.
Posted by Picasa

Passage of time

Gorse Fox has a task to perform. He has been asked to make a speech at an upcoming celebration for Betty and Barney Rubble who both attain their 60th birthday this year. This is difficult because preparing a speech worthy of the event is important - and of course because of his comparative youth, so much of their lives took place before he was around! Nevertheless, as a good student of history he will make every effort to get the tone and the historical facts right.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Landing

Well the Gorse Fox trusts that 136 people and 16 crew will be going out to buy lottery tickets this weekend. Their guardian angels were obviously working overtime yesterday.

The cynical side of the GF worries that the real heroes (the Captain/Co-pilot) will end up getting blamed because the big aircraft manufacturers do not like any implication that the fault was that of the plane.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Buried

Gorse Fox is buried under a sea of spreadsheets again. All are urgent. All are complex and sourced form multiple files. It's like juggling with 27 balls... bound to turn out badly!

Thai'd up

A frantically busy day yesterday finally came to an end with a pleasant social evening with colleagues. Meeting first at a local hostelry we headed on to eat at the Thai Gallery.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Soap

Always interesting sitting minding you own business in a restaurant... when in walks one of your colleagues with the wife of one of your clients.
Crystal clear morning belies the heavy rain of the past few days. Gorse Fox is in Worcester, having driven straight from Farnborough yesterday.
GF's thoughts are with those who are affected by, or threatened by the floods... particularly the Gray Monk in Tewkesbury.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Harumph

Needless to say the waiting went on until about 16:30. At this point several of the culprits responded and the Gorse Fox tried to cram a day's work into a couple of hours.

Most frustrating.

Overnight a serious storm hit us on the South Coast and the sheer noise of the wind battering the shoreline and the house was enough to give a very disturbed night. The Gorse Fox is up and ready to head out - for a change it isn't Worcester (yet). First he has to go to Farnborough, so at least he can afford a more leisurely start (and in this weather, he suspects, a steady but slow progress is all that he should expect).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Frustration

Gorse Fox has a stack of things to do... but everyone of them is waiting on input from other people. All have been chased... but still he waits.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Blimey

Where did Sunday go?

The Silver Vixen went to Farnham with a few select members of her coven. Meanwhile, the Gorse Fox has spent the whole day scanning, cataloging and captioning nearly 350 photos.

Photos

Over the last 30-40 years or so the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen have collected untold number of photos. Some remain in albums. Some remain in the envelope received from the developer. Some are loose. Nearly all, however, are in a big box.

The problem with a house like ours is that there are too many places a large box can hide. The Gorse Fox has been playing hide 'n' seek with said box for the last two weeks. As usual in such games it turned out to be hiding in the last place that GF thought to look. However, he now has the box and has set about scanning the whole collection. (A task that will take many months).

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The A-List

Gorse Fox noticed a visitor had reached this blog search for "celebrities in Kingston Gorse". This is a subject the GF has never really discussed, and discretion would prevent any disclosure of current residents (if any were indeed celebrities).

Historically, however, Kingston Gorse is built in the parish of Kingston within the Poling Hundred of the Rape of Arundel in the County of West Sussex. Kingston’s existence is recorded as far back as the 9th Century.

Kingston Gorse was the home of several well known people. During the intra-bellum, Le Touquet was seen as very chic, however, for celebrities who needed frequent access to London it was inconvenient. This area of the Sussex coast was seen as an alternative - with trains providing regular access to the West End.

The first houses were built on Kingston Gorse in the late 1920s. Among the early residents was George Black - the impresario who controlled the London Palladium. This was a time when the Crazy Gang were popular - Flanagan and Allen moved into the area (though not KG itself) - and the stained glass windows of George Black's house featured various characters from the Crazy Gang.

When George Black died, his house was bought by Billy Butlin and became notorious for its parties.

Jack Hylton, the band leader, lived just behind where the GF lives today.

Teddy Knox (of Nervo & Knox) lived just behind GF's neighbour's house

Dame Myra Hess was often heard practicing on her piano.
During WWII most of the houses were empty and used as billets for the Canadian military.

From the Evening News, September 8, 1953:
SQUADRON Leader Neville Duke yesterday broke the world air speed record in his Hawker Hunter. He did it on both attempts, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. The figures were achieved on the second flight over the three kilometre course off-shore between Rustington and Kingston Gorse, Sussex.
The average was 727.6 mph. The speeds on the required four runs over the course were: 716.7 mph, 738.8 mph, 716.5 mph, and 738.6 mph.
There have been a number of famous visitors to Kingston Gorse. On Tuesday, 5th Sept 2000 Mrs Clare Poupart of Kingston upon Thames wrote:

“On my way back to the UK from Canada in the thirties, I met Ray, a young man who had been given a trip to Europe as a reward from his bosses at MGM Studios. He put me in contact with Joseph Barbera and William Hannah, who were also working for MGM.

Joseph and William spent a weekend with me at a house my parents had rented in Kingston Gorse. We bathed in a very cold sea, played leapfrog on the beach and danced at the local club. Who’d have thought they would have gone on to become the famous duo “Hannah Barbera” creating cartoons such as Tom and Jerry and The Flintstones”

So, there you go, history and celebrity all in one posting.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Survival of the Fittest

Gorse Fox is sure he is not the first to report... but this year's Darwin Awards have been announced.

What are the Darwin Awards? Well they are annual awards...
"Honoring those who improve the species...by
accidentally removing themselves from it!"
So who won in 2007(*)?
Michael was an alcoholic. And not an ordinary alcoholic...
His wife said he was "addicted to enemas" and often used alcohol in this manner.
The Gorse Fox invites you to read the rest yourself... and let it be a lesson to you.

(*) Strictly Michael was joint winner, but the Gorse Fox will let you discover the rest yourself.

Apologies

The Gorse Fox extends his apologies for being so sparse in his his postings this week. Unfortunately, the reality of work has consumed most of his time and most of his concentration - not leaving much opportunity for his mind to wander to other things.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Frantic day... and GF needs to leave early in order to drive back south for a Council meeting.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pizza

Mother Superior joined us for dinner in Worcester last night. It had been a busy day finishing with a "stream of consciousness" meeting that will take several hours to absorb. Fortunately fine ales are a considerable lubricant for the analytical processes of the GF's aging brain.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Laid back

The Gorse Fox was interested to observe that his blog was accessed yesterday by a Google search of "bone idleness". This is not remarkable in its own right - only that the search stemmed from a university!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Shock! Horror!

Without meaning to trivialize the problems faced by those affected by the floods in Australia - the Gorse Fox was shocked to read the BBC report: Australia floods strand thousands

It actually blames the problem on El Nino and makes no mention of this being caused by anthropogenic global warming and CO2 emissions from SUVs.

The BBC have really let their standards slip. GF would like to bet that this article gets updated with some fatuous comment from the terminally idiotic.

Phew

The phone rang.

Gorse Fox was in the middle of drawing a complex diagram. As he answered the phone he asked the caller to hang on while he saved the work.

Duly saved, the Gorse Fox turned his full attention to the caller. 30 seconds later the screen went black, the light on the mouse switched off, the power light switched off. The laptop had, to all intents and purpose, powered off. GF swore quietly to himself, imagining a failed motherboard.

After the call was over, GF went into maintenance mode. Check the power, check the connections, remove and then re-seat the battery, re-check the connections, and recheck the power. Cross fingers and toes. Switch on.

Familiar lights blinked on. The screen came to life. All was well... and because he'd thought to save his diagram as the phone rang - no data was lost. Now that's a good start to the week.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Duty

One of the primary duties of being a brother is that of embarrassing your sister.

The Gorse Fox has spent a lot of time this weekend scanning old photos...

...and he came across this!

1471

The Gorse Fox was in a deep sleep. The Silver Vixen was in a deep sleep. So they should be - it was the middle of the night.

Slowly the GF was returned to consciousness by an incessant ringing. When sufficient consciousness had returned he rightly assessed the sound to be the phone. He leapt out of bed and crashed into the door frame has he headed for the stairs.

The ringing continued.

He opened the the door to the living room - the ringing stopped. Walking across to the phone he checked the display... mmmm, last call was the Silver Vixen during the afternoon. Confused he wandered to the stairs and then realised it was the phone in the study (which is ex-directory). He checked - it was an 0845 number calling at 00:58.

He was not amused.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Staying put

The Silver Vixen is off to the first meeting of her coven for 2008. No doubt the gossip will range around the number of pairs of socks or sweaters that they quilted as presents for the unwary.

GF is planning to stay at home. He had a walk planned, originally, but is having a slight problem with a rickety ankle to has decided not to chance it. SV spent much of yesterday clearing out some cupboards and spaces in the attic... this means that there is avast amount to be taken for recycling - and a lot of old photos that need to be scanned for posterity.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Working

Gorse Fox was back working today. This was not too much of an inconvenience as he was working from home... and it looks as if many of his colleagues are still making the most of the holiday.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Flakey

A few snow flakes are drifting past the window. GF would like to walk the Downs again today, but must remain in to greet the arrival of Keith the Plumber.

Christmas Shopping

Having spent the run-up to Christmas rushing around the online stores, Gorse Fox was rather pleased with the presents he had selected for his loved ones. He was, however, disappointed when one did not turn up. He was particularly disappointed when he had checked before ordering that said item was in stock - and that the 14 intervening days before Christmas would be adequate for its delivery.

He has now received an email from the online supplier apologising and explaining that they were no longer able to source the item. GF is not pleased... and has obviously cancelled the order.

Finding another source of said item was fairly simple - and GF has just re-ordered with guaranteed delivery tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Experimental Google Map of walk

The Gorse Fox has been playing around with Google Maps. Below is an experiment. It (hopefully) shows the map of the route against the aerial photo of the this part of the Downs and attempts to indicate where various photos were taken during the walk. (This includes several photos not featured in the blog entries below).


View Larger Map

Walkover

It was the first walk for several months and though it wasn't far, and was not too demanding - GF was not pleased at his level of fitness.

This should have been easy, but he actually found the last mile or so hard going. Anyway, the statistics are:

Distance: 8.2 miles
Highest point: 620 ft
Lowest point: 22 ft
Total ascent: 870 ft
Posted by Picasa

Final stretch

This picture records the last half mile of the walk - along the South Downs Way, eastwards towards the car park from whence the Gorse Fox had set off.

He was finding it hard going - partly because his fitness had obviously declined, and partly because of the strong headwind.

He was out for two and half hours - saw one bunch of ramblers near Burpham, and two dog walkers near the car park on his return.

It had been a really nice walk and a good way to start the year.

Gorse

Gratuitous picture of Gorse
Posted by Picasa

Solitude

The Gorse Fox had been walking for about 90 minutes. Some 5 miles or so were under his belt (so to speak).

He mused that he seemed to have the Downs to himself. He had not seen another living soul. (Strictly speaking, he hadn't seen any dead ones either - just in case you were wondering).

As if conjured up by his very thoughts he turned a bend only to be faced with a cluster of crusty ramblers coming in the other direction. They called cheery "Hellos" as they passed, but somehow they had broken the spell.

Turning the bend had also pointed GF directly into the wind as it scoured the Downs. This made the going a little slower than normal as he continually had to wipe his eyes (and nose) as he headed north-east.

Wepham Cottage and Burpham

Gorse Fox knows that he has featured Wepham Cottage before, but he cannot resist including it once more, It is such a quintessentially English cottage that you expect to see Miss Marple appear at the door.

Moving though Wepham the hedges fall away leaving this view across the field to Burpham. Again, it looks as if it has been peeled from a chocolate box. The church dominating the village, and all of the little houses clustered around on the high ground above the floodplain of the Arun to the left.

Earthworks

Walking between the hillside over here on the left and the gallops on the right the weak winter sunshine helped emphasize the earthworks on the hillside and track that led up into Tenantry Copse.

This whole stretch of the Downs is criss-crossed with many different earthworks. It isn't clear whether they are defensive or agricultural. The GF suspects that they are mainly agricultural.

Towards Norfolk Clump

The route continued down from Springhead Hill and across Wepham Down towards Norfolk Clump - the small copse that crowns the hill in the background.

It was very wet under foot - and the path had been churned up by horses using the route across the Downs. GF skidded here, leapt there, splashed everywhere - and as he continued to slip and slide he mulled over the elegant sight that he must be from a distance and realised that any distant viewer would marvel at his lightness of foot and compare him with Nuryev or Baryshnikov.

Into the sun

It was clear, once the Gorse Fox was out of the car that there was (as forecast) a bitterly cold south-easterly wind scouring the Downs. He was glad of his new fleece and hat. (The erosion of hair covering from the Gorse Fox's cranium - whilst not as bad as some, has left a significant "solar panel" at the back of his head and through this he has a propensity to lose considerable amounts of heat).

The sky was a watery colour with a weak sun trying hard to penetrate the cold below. Whilst it never actually warmed up - the wind did blow away the early clouds. Walking in to the low sun filled each view with deep contrasts of the bright sun against the deep long shadows of winter.

Somehow this image seemed a perfect illustration of winter - the skeletal remains of an old tree - still lying where it fell and pointing accusingly at the wintery sky.

Walking from Kithurst

The Gorse Fox decided that a walk was on the agenda for the day. After perusing the folder of planned routes he chose this one.

The walk starts at the Kithurst Hill car park at the top right of the map. Following clockwise it starts by heading south until we pick up the gallops (as in horse racing - not a gastric complaint). Hugging the edge of the hill and the gallops it turns south west until it reaches the Knell where it turns north over The Conyers and down into Wepham.

From Wepham the route follows the road towards Burpham but diverts round the east of the village up to Peppering High Barn. Here the route turns north-east and runs straight for a couple of miles back up to whre it intersects with the South Downs Way and turns east back towards the starting point.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Still it drips

The drip continues - it is only controlled by switching the water on and off from the mains. GF has left a message for Keith the plumber.
Posted by Picasa

Wishes

The Gorse Fox would like to wish you all a very Happy and Holy New Year - may peace and harmony be the reason for which 2008 and is remembered in history, and health, wealth and happiness be the reasons you remember it with affection.