Saturday, May 31, 2008
Though nestling beside a busy road, it was a nice place with a good (but not over-elaborate) menu. The Gorse Fox was quite pleased with the choice overall. Good spot, and good food. In fact we have booked to go back for dinner at the beginning of August.
It was nice to get the latest news - how Blade is hopeful of an interesting job with a big engineering firm, and of how The Mask is sweating through his GCSEs at present. (Those were the days). They're all heading for Orlando at the end of next month - GF is not quite sure Florida is ready for this!
Oh yes! The scallops were great.
(*) Gorse Fox believes that this is owned by Chris Evans, the Radio 2 presenter.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
The problem we face is getting people to think in new ways. To understand "patterns" of activity and adaptive techniques that will restructure our options and routes through the system according to circumstance. Whilst it is clear this is the way we are going - it isn't clear that this is understood.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Another couple of days of workshops begins.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Justice Secretary Jack Straw told the BBC he "fully understood" the hauliers' concerns, but "government revenues have to come from somewhere".So, it isn't anything to do with the environment then; as we all suspected, it's just a tax-raising ploy and the environment is just spin.
Now that many Labour MPs are in fear for their seats (and their salaries and expenses) they are beginning to stand up for their constituents. It looks like there will be a back bench rebellion demanding that this is not enforced retrospectively. It's remarkable how they remember who they work for as their tenure becomes less stable and hoe survival starts to take precedence over party unity.
Good thing too.
(*) Correction: he did not lie. "It was there, if obscured in the detail, and obfuscated by references to a 'Showroom Tax' on new vehicles". The Gorse Fox would like to than GeoffH for this clarification.
Monday, May 26, 2008
The Bank Holiday weekend was forecast to be a wash-out down here in the south. Actually it hasn't been bad at all - what rain we had was on Saturday night or this morning. It's been warm and bright other than that.
The Gorse Fox had some chores to perform for Urban-cub... she has been decorating in here flat but needed some help with some finishing touches - so GF helped with a return to yesterdays' brief musical theme - he installed a loo roll holder, and Manzarak, Densmore, and Krieger(*)
(*) GF shouldn't have to explain, but just in case Lou Rawls was a soul singer, and Manzarak, Densmore, and Krieger are the 3 surviving Doors.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Gordon Brown treats us like S**t
If he had his way, he'd even tax it
No sense of fun
He'd tax the sun
Letting us down, that's Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown soaking the old
Taxing their pensions keeping them cold
Taxing the poor
Show him the door
Letting us down, that's Gordon Brown
Every lie you'd like to mention
In number 10 stealing your pension
Treats us like fools
Taxing our fuels
Blames it on Esso, it's time that he goes.
Gordon Brown can't make a decision
When he does, hoots of derision
He'll take your cash
For throwing out trash
Says that it's green when really it's mean
Gordon Brown inflation is climbing
Bills are up, but stop your whining
Prudence is dead
He'll lose his head
Revenge on its way, election some day
Letting us down, go Gordon Brown
Letting us down, go Gordon Brown
The Gorse Fox expects the men in dark glasses with interesting lumps under their jackets to come knocking any day now.
Piers Morgan writes in the "Live" magazine that comes with the Mail on Sunday:
"Having enjoyed a poisonous decade-long feud with our former First
Lady, I was hoping that her book would finally confirm everything I’ve
always thought about her; namely, that she is grasping, hypocritical,
whining, money-obsessed, back-stabbing and prone to delusions of
grandeur rarely seen in public life since Marie Antoinette said, ‘Let
them eat cake.’
But even I have been dumb-struck by the
sheer scale of shamelessness that seeps from every page of this
hilariously disingenuous and self-serving tome."
Now, come on Piers, tell us what you really think... there's no need to be coy.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
If inflation is high (which it is... despite the Government's fiddled figures), then people will want a greater return from selling their goods to the supermarkets in order to maintain their income. If oil prices edge up, and the tax on fuel jumps up, and the VAT on the fuel and the tax is therefore larger, then anything that uses fuel will have higher overheads and these will need to be passed on. So this will affect:
- Farm machinery
- Farm transport to depots
- Transport from depots to distribution centres
- Transport to the individual supermarkets.
The Gorse Fox also hears continually from the Media and the Government about the cost of a barrel of oil and the fact that the "industry" is making huge profits. Excuse me! The Government is making even bigger profits. It is New Labour that is raking it in, not just BP and Shell.
So next time that you worry about inflation or the cost of driving to work (because there is no railway infrastructure or bus that will get you there) - remember where much of the blame lies.
Diesel @ 126.5 p/l Cost of fuel itself: 57.31p Fuel tax: 50.35p VAT on fuel+fuel tax: 18.84p
Gordon Brown (the man that robbed your pensions) tried to divert opinion with a rather pathetic attack on OPEC during the week - revealing either that he thinks the public are stupid, or that he is stupid himself. The Gorse Fox refers you to "Who Gets What from Oil" and the excellent graphic therein, and also the fact that the UK is a major oil producer (though not a member of OPEC).
(*) Calculations courtesy of http://www.abd.org.uk/fuel_tax_calculator.htm
Friday, May 23, 2008
GF has also been handling several personnel queries, opportunities, and processes.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
It was a sad day in some ways. Boston took his leave of us, having been the longest serving member of the project (other than the Gorse Fox). He is returning to his home in France to keep an eye on his breeding programme (which is coming to a fruition very soon now). GF will miss his company, and hopes he returns after the summer when he realises he needs more sleep than he can get at home with a new-born, and there are insufficient curry restaurants within a sensible distance from home.
GF had company on the way home. One of his colleagues lives in Winchester and as GF had to drive past on the way back to Sussex he agreed to drop him off en route. This made a change from the normal diet of Radio 2 or podcasts.
Life is always made special by the little victories - the last part of the journey involves crossing a railway crossing. As this crossing is closed for nearly 40 minutes in the hour the Gorse Fox is nearly always delayed, sitting there with the engine off for 5 or ten minutes at the end of the journey. Not this time. The gates were open and he swept straight through... a little, but satisfying victory.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Busy day trying to analyse the output from the past two days of workshops. Brain is tied in knots.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
It's Mother Superior's birthday this week so we are taking her to dinner tonight. Should be good as we are heading for "Brown's" by the River.
GF should have got a clue from the way the Bernoulli Effect sucked the curtain straight across the bath; but no, he climbed right in and promptly got hammered to the back of the cubicle where he cowered under relentless pounding. He considered not washing his hair as he was concerened that the rinse process might strip the remaining follicles from his head. He eventually climbed out and is sitting at the keyboard trying to recover from the liquid beating.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
- Boris Johnson: "I have as much chance of becoming Prime Minister as being decapitated by a Frisbee or of finding Elvis."
- John Prescott: "The Green Belt is a Labour initiative and we intend to build on it."
- Harriet Harman: "Tony Banks described the English fans arrested in Marseilles as brain-dead louts - that goes for me as well."
- Robin Cook: "They found more dangerous chemicals in Coca-Cola's Dasani mineral water than they did in the whole of Iraq."
- Harold Macmillan: "It has been said that there is no fool like an old fool, except a young fool. But the young fool has first to grow up to be an old fool to realise what a damn fool he was when he was a young fool."
- Boris Johnson: "Yes, cannabis is dangerous, but no more than other perfectly legal drugs. It's time for a rethink, and the Tory party - the funkiest, most jiving party on Earth - is where it's happening."
- Margaret Thatcher: "I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end."
- Michael Howard: "You are the deals-on-wheels Prime Minister - no wonder the Chancellor is not a happy eater!"
- David Blunkett: "David is supposed to be a sad, lonely, old, blind bastard. David's not meant to have fun or go to nice restaurants or - heaven forbid - have sex."
- Edward Heath: "Do you know what Margaret Thatcher did in her first Budget? Introduced VAT on yachts! It somewhat ruined my retirement."
So what has he learned today?
- When someone says they want a 2 page report and you write 8-10 pages they still add more when they review it.
- However many times you review a document you always find something to tweak.
- The new communicator works better at home than the old one.
- Adding yoghurt as a substitute for cream in a dish of flat mushrooms and sun-blushed tomatoes is a mistake.
- There are a lot of Vivien Leigh fans out there who liked the Gorse Fox's pictures of Notley Abbey.
- It's time for a glass of fine red wine.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Its been pretty frantic today. The Gorse Fox has been writing a paper that revisited a decision made last year and to assess whether anything had really changed and whether it was the right decision then and whether it would still be right now. Conclusion - it was and is right.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
The Gorse Fox caught a few minutes of a programme on the Middle Ages. It explained that in the worst cases serfs had to work up to 50 days per year for their land owner in return for being allowed to live on and farm his land - but that twice a year the land owner would have to provide a feast for all of these people. (Oh yes, and they had 80 Holy Days each year).
According to the calculations for 2008 by the Adam Smith institute - National Tax Freedom Day is June 2nd... the 154th day of the year. The Gorse Fox is just trying to remember the last time the Chancellor laid on a feast for us all?
Now stop reading this, and get back to work - the Chancellor is waiting,
Sunday, May 11, 2008
The Gorse Fox feels a little sorry for Betty and Barney Rubble who have gone to the Algarve where the temperature today seems to be about 17C - a good 10 degrees lower than here!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
The Gorse Fox put on his sun hat and gardening gloves and removed the turf bit by bit. It was hot (high 20s) and quite frankly GF is not used to such drastic forms of exercise. As a result this meant there were may opportunities to lean (workmanlike) against his shovel and take in the view.
Despite living but yards from the sea, the soil in the subject corner of the garden was heavy clay. This obviously made the task a lot heavier than expected. Fortunately, we had a huge pile of compost that has been nurtured over the years and today was its turn to be put to use.
The Silver Vixen disappeared with Urban-cub (who had popped round to borrow the garden for sun-bathing) to the garden centre. An hour or so later she returned with a tree!
During one of his rest stops (awaiting his heartrate to drop down below 200) he decided there was scope for some photos of the garden. Which gave him an excuse to delay a little more.
Eventually it was done. The tree (a birch) was planted and watered in, and the Gorse Fox answered the beer that had been calling his name so seductively for the past few hours.
Friday, May 09, 2008
The Gorse Fox was tapping away on the laptop whilst keeping half an eye on the TV. A programme started called something like "Police Interceptors" featuring a squad of Essex police officers driving Suburu Imprezas and Mitsubishi Evo VIIIs. As the programme unravelled it showed a number of chases through the streets of Essex and of course each resulted in capture of the various perpetrators.
The Gorse Fox wondered if they have a similar squad here in Sussex... though rationalised that they would probably only need milk floats to overhaul the majority of Sussex motoring nutters.
Sitting at the cutting edge of government like this is akin to snowboarding down a black run. The excitement is palpable. We had only booked a small venue for the meeting and were in danger of being overrun by the single member of the Parish who attended. The proceedings went very much to form with several major issues being tabled:
- Siting of dogbins (episode 37)
- Cleaning of culverts
- Replacement of bollards
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Something disturbed the fabric of the Gorse Fox's dream.
The journey that was subject of the dream involved traveling across London by tube at a time when there were problems on the network and many lines were closed. People were wandering through the tunnels and crossing the lines to get to "active" trains. The Gorse Fox, ever cautious, waited until a suitable train arrived and boarded. It was not a line with which he was familiar, and it was not immediately obvius in which direction the train was traveling. Two stops later it arrived at the rather unexpected terminus of Derby, which claimed to be 188 metres above sea-level.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
He got up and dressed and went down to breakfast. As he walked into the restaurant he was overcome by the aroma of lavender and formaldehyde. It was clear that the shuffling was from the hordes of pre-mortem visitors from the north that the hotel was hosting as they made their way down the corridors to towards the smell of tea and toast.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Sure enough the place was awash with blue rinse. Near-corpses were shuffling back and forth to the bar asking for Warninks Advocaat and Buckets of sherry. The Gorse Fox changed quickly and headed out into the light to get a pizza, a book, a bell, some garlic, a crucifix, and a stake (you can't take enough precautions when the hotel is overrun as such.
Monday, May 05, 2008
In the end we chose not to go ahead with the shutters but not before we had met the future captain of the UK national Talking team. GF has often come across salesmen who could waffle but this guy was working at another level.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Again, we had chosen "Liming" in Worthing as our preferred purveyor of fine Mexican cuisine and again were not disappointed. (Though the Gorse Fox suggests that it may have contributed significant amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere; he does like refried beans).
After lunch the plan included a visit to a garden that was open as part of the National Garden Scheme. This "Healing Garden" was dedicated to herbs - and was certainly a labour of love for the owners. It was also clear that they had collected a great deal of money for charity as a result of the scheme. The Gorse Fox was however somewhat underwhelmed. He is sure it was of great interest to herbalists - but in the grand table of gardens he has visited and wanted to photograph it was not challenging for the play-offs!
Saturday, May 03, 2008
He knows. He apologises.
Today would have been perfect. Good weather, the Silver Vixen out with her coven... but no. No walk today. The problem, you see, is that in Starfleet promotions are not bestowed upon one, but rather one has to develop a convincing case as to why one should be elevated to a new level of technical certification or new level within the hierarchy.
Having a day to himself GF has been working on this - trying to remember how many Klingons he's slayed, or how many peace treaties he's brokered throughout the galaxies - whilst transporting here, there, and everywhere. It's not finished yet, but is well on its way.
To boldly go...
Friday, May 02, 2008
Why? Because he's spent the last 10 years making you poorer, and trying to control your life. The Gorse Fox asks that you consider:
- The inflation rate - which we are told is currently 3.8% - but that does not include council tax, motor fuel, or central taxation. GF has seen diesel rise from £1.02 per litre to £1.21 per litre in under 4 months.... and remember most of that is tax.
- The standard of living - which we are told has improved - but that is at the cost of people getting into debt to maintain the lifestyle they had been used to; or working longer and longer hours, or working multiple jobs.
- Transport - which we were promised would be integrated - but actually is utterly disarticulated, and now they are proposing to build new towns in areas with no local jobs, and no transport infrastructure to allow people to get to work other than driving (but hey! that ups the tax revenue).
- Crime - which we were told they would be tough on - well that's true if you are a motorist (you are almost certainly a criminal by now), or if you drop a bit of sausage roll in the street while feeding you child, or if you defend yourself against attack.
- Probity in Government - the Gorse Fox is almost speechless - fortunately books and blogs have been written that reveal how this crowd have stitched us up. The most mendacious and damaging of them all was Gordon Brown - destroying peoples pensions and breaking the trust between people and Government; and of course writing lots of very damaging small print that was never revealed during his budget speeches, but snuck in to make you poorer.
He recommends that you read the transcript (linked, above) or listen to the podcast. It is an excellent exposition of the realities of the nuclear industry, it discusses:
- the 4 generations of nuclear power plant design (Chernobyl was G1, Three Mile Island G2): "The newest plants being designed for commercial use are called Generation III+, which incorporate all the newest knowledge from operating Generation III designs. If a new reactor was approved and built in the United States today, it would be a Generation III+ design. Even if every plant employee keeled over with a heart attack, neither a Chernobyl nor a Three Mile Island type accident would be possible; the systems are fundamentally redesigned so that the reaction cannot be sustained if things go outside the parameters."
- the realities of "safety" and the fact that you would need a power plant catastophe every 3 week to be equivalent to the number of people killed by the particulates from coal power stations each year. "If the world was filled with Generation I reactors run by feuding coal miners, we would need a worst-case scenario every three weeks just to match the US death toll we've imposed upon ourselves by clinging to our current fossil fuel system. Next time you see a hippie cheering the defeat of nuclear power in the US, realize that a healthy environment and saving lives are clearly not their priorities."
- the realities of "waste" and the the fact that G4 designs virtually eliminate waste (there is talk that G5 may consume waste from earlier designs - not discussed in the write-up, but mentioned in the subsequent comments)