Thursday, July 31, 2008

Paparrazi

The paparazzi have started to release photos of last night's "session". In this picture we see
The Hitman raising half a yard.
Posted by Picasa

Tales from the night

The Hitman is leaving the team. Last night was his farewell - and this involved what may be described as a bit of a session. Tales are now trickling in as fuzzy minds start to reveal flashes of memory from last night.
  • There was drinking
  • There was arm wrestling
  • There was drinking
  • There was the Iron Man challenge (which involves drinking various noxious fluids whilst undergoing torture with elastic bands)
  • There was drinking
  • There was trying to remain on two feet when four seemed so much easier
  • There was drinking
  • There was trying to find your hotel
and so forth.

And there were those that did not manage to appear this morning !!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rose Red

The Silver Vixen had enjoyed her trip to Hereford though Jane (the voice of her SatNav) let her down by trying to direct her by a most circuitous route from Hereford back to Worcester. In the end, her innate sense of direction overrode the electronic voice and she got back successfully.

Mother Superior was not well so did not join us for dinner at Cafe Rouge in Worcester - but Deep Blue and the Abbott did. It was an enjoyable session from a company perspective, but the service was very slow and the Abbott's steak was almost inedible. We had some vouchers that reduced the bill, but despite this it was still one of the pricier meals we've had in Worcester for a while. To top it all they made a fuss over providing multiple receipts for our expenses.

Gorse Fox will probably not be visiting this Cafe Rouge again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wet

You know the Gorse Fox mentioned the fact that the Sussex coast seemed to avoid the rain at the weekend. Well it caught up with him.

The Silver Vixen was at the hotel in Worcester and GF decided to walk into town from the office rather than disturb her, or wait for a lift from a colleague. Halfway down the hil it started to rain. Within a few minutes this escalated to heavy a rain - and soon after that became a torrential downpour.

Soaked to skin, he arrived at the hotel, stripped off and jumped in the shower. (To be more accurate he actually went to his room first.... this didn't happen in reception!).

Warning

The first colleague who sends the linked article "IBM mobile software helps 'senior moments'" to the Gorse Fox is in for a poke in the eye. (Assuming he can remember who it was).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sultry summer days

It has been a hot and sultry day on the South Coast - we hear warnings of torrential thundery showers across the country, but the sun continues to beat down.

The Gorse Fox has been pre-occupied with work however, so has been unable to make the most of the conditions. His work email system has again been a little unstable (in fact almost unusable) and this has caused a deal of irritation throughout the last 10 hours... but it seems to have stabilised now that GF has upgraded to the latest version.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Just chillin'


Just chillin'
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen are having a quiet day. Breakfast was taken on the deck (by the east wing) and then we set about our tasks for the day. Silver Vixen is finishing off another of her bags, and GF has been reading council papers and doing the odd bits of research on the net.It was too nice to stay indoors so we ventured onto the south patio during the afternoon - that's when this ground level shot was taken.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Sentinels


The Sentinels
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
As the Gorse Fox returned from Worthing he was greeted by a field of silent straw sentinels guarding the approach to Kingston Gorse.

It had been a perfect day.

Just testing


Just testing
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
This is a test of the "lifeblog" utility that came with the Gorse Fox's new phone. It is meant to allow simple submission of items to the web from the application. This test was attempted from the synchronised PC

Chuffed

The Gorse Fox was chuffed to bits yesterday when he received a copy of a book which featured one of his photos. The book is an English history text and the version he was sent was the US version, the UK version not yet being available. It is funny to see the acknowledgment to "Gorse Fox" in the foot notes!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Quoth She

The batlle cry went up from Boadicea "Too much wine, not enough gin... where's the caffeine"... and so began the second day of the workshop. It went well an we were finished by 14:30... but the journey home took 4 hours so GF was not amused.

Tales

Tales are emerging from yesterday evening.
Who was the person found curled up on the floor outside her room?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Workshops

It has been another day of workshops in Warwick University. GF has been a busy little bee and has had a very good, though very busy, day.

The day was, however, capped by a fine meal and subsequent hospitality on the patio. This seemed to involve a number of people swaying back and forth a great deal, the ritual emptying of large numbers of wine bottles, and a great deal of "b*ll***s" being spouted by all and sundry.

GF switched to water quite early in the evening so he suspects he will have quite an active night!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Embalming Fluid

This has been another strange day with chunks of time being consumed by trying to stabilize the Gorse Fox's email system which has been periodically locking up for the last 24 hours. He's had some very positive feedback on his "grilling" from last week - so he's fairly buoyant - but needs to look at a couple of areas before the next panel.

As he writes a coach is disgorging blue rinses at the front door of the hotel. The distant fragrance of embalming fluid is wafting through the open window.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Notes

The Gorse Fox has been frustrated by a problem on his laptop which has been playing silly games with his mail system. He needs to spend some time sorting this out...

Reviewing some forms today, used in disease assessment, the Gorse Fox had to smile when he saw a checklist:
  • Inadequate drinker
  • Wrong drinker position
  • Insufficient lying area
  • Aggression - fighting
  • Tail biting
  • Sexual activity
There were others too, but Gorse Fox couldn't help but wonder if this form could also be used in town centres during the evenings.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Curry

Well Monday, for the second week running, meant an early start and a dash across country to Worcester. Meetings punctuated the morning, but the afternoon was moderately clear and allowed some progress.

A curry seemed the ideal end to the day... so we did our best to empty the buffet.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Glades

There were little glades, openings and vistas opening up to the left and to the right.

It was a stunning place and must be spectacular in the autumn.

Roots

Like a clip from Lord of the Rings this part of the visit took us along the Rock Walk where tree roots seemed to flow all over and through the sandstone outcrops.

Blue

Some plants just beg to be photographed. The Gorse Fox loves the various shades of blue that this display through out to the passer-by.

Outcrops

Sandstone outcrops (of Ardingly Sandstone) poked out through the lush shrubs and trees. These proved to be even more interesting as our journey continued along the well marked paths.
Posted by Picasa

Wakehurst Place

It was a bright but cool Sunday and it seemed like an ideal day to go visiting nature. And so, the Gorse Fox, Silver Vixen and her mother headed out to Wakehurst Place. It was over 200 acres of stunning woodlands, lakes and gardens.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 19, 2008

4K Sunset

Some sunsets just have to be shared... and the Gorse Fox cannot think of a more appropriate 4,000th blog post than this.
Posted by Picasa

Cocaine seizure

The Gorse Fox sees a headline on the BBC - "Mexican Navy Seizes 6 tonnes of Cocaine from makeshift sub in the Pacific"... whatever you point of view that is not to be sniffed at.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Avgas

Ahhh! The aroma of Avgas permeates the building as GF sits in Farnborough being buzzed by exhibitors from the famous Air Show!

Unfortunately he is in an inside office and can't actually see any of the displays.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Grill

The Gorse Fox had to get to one of the Starfleet offices this afternoon. He was there for a grilling to see if he was eligible to advance. Needless to say things conspired to make it challenging... the morning was busier than expected, but he did manage to grab some sandwiches that could be consumed on the move.

He drove back towards London and tucked in to his BLT... dripping fresh tomato down his clean white shirt (chosen especially for the event). An expletive may have escaped his lips soon after the tomato. He splashed water from his water bottle to see if he could wash it off - but it had found a comfortable spot and was not planning to budge.

He parked up at Starfleet and remembered he had a spare, clean shirt in his case - this was just the sort of emergency it was there for, so he stood in the middle of the car park and changed his shirt and tie before heading inside to meet the panel. Adrenaline was pumping and the Gorse Fox found that his mouth was dry (but supposes that's better than dribbling while you meet the great and good).

An hour later and a little shell-shocked he wandered out and assessed that as a first step - it seemed to go quite well, but there's plenty more hurdles to leap over the coming two months.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sshh

The Silver Vixen has, apparently, lost her voice. Fortunately, when GF phoned, she was with Urban-cub so the phone call was still a bit one-sided but the opposite way to expected.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Malfunction

The presentation seemed to go well, but the Gorse Fox has made a note to self: "Check for wardrobe malfunctions before standing up in front of a room full of people" before retreating behind a chair which he nonchalantly played with throughout the presentation.

Care in the Community

The Gorse Fox has traversed the Midlands to help out a Project Management conference in Nottingham. Think of it as community service... or at least care in the community.

He held a roundtable/surgery this morning and this afternoon has to do a presentation - which should be fun (if only he could remember what he was going to say - he wrote the material several weeks ago and hasn't had a chance to go through and refresh his memory yet).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blue rinses

It was hard to get back to work; particularly with a 5am start. GF managed to stay focussed though - with a new member joining the team today and the great news that the first part of the system is now running successfully at the pilot site.

GF arrived at the hotel. It was clear that Perry Mortem Tours were around. Two blue rinses were shuffling across the reception. They stopped and asked for directions to the bar, then shuffled on. A few minutes later, they returned, asking once more for directions to the bar. Deep Blue obliged and escorted them to the bar before returning to check-in. Dawn (on reception) explained they had been there for two days and still not mastered the geography of the hotel. Even though they had been directed to the end of the corridor and told to turn left, twice.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Winding up

We arrived home in the wee small hours and hit the sack. Sunday has been a matter of catching up with chores, work-related emails (so GF knows where he needs to be on Monday) and so forth.

Urban-cub phoned to say the apartment above hers has obviously had a major leak and it has caused some serious damage to her newly decorated bathroom. She is not a happy bunny.

Cousteau-cub has dropped her phone in the boat and whilst the SIM seems to work, the phone is broken, so we've had to rely on email contact this week.

Frantic week coming up by the look of it, (Worcester, Nottingham, Worcester, London, & Farnborough) so entries may be short. Silver Vixen is bringing her mother down to stay for a while also so things will be fairly abnormal at home also.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sunset Flight

We sat "people watching" in the airport. The Gorse Fox mulled over the sights that befell him and couldn't help but pick out the British travellers from all the rest. Easy to spot: a) clutching a drink; b) clutching duty free bottles and cigarettes; c) loud; d) shell suit, tracksuit or similarly inappropriate attire.

A "yoof" headed towards GF. He was dressed like Axl Rose of "Guns 'n' Roses" - black knee-length shorts over big boots, black t-shirt, bandanna on his head, and various facial piercings. He opened his mouth a cried over GF's head "Mummy, can I have my pocket money now?" - it made the evening!!!

The flight was uneventful but the sunset was cool.
Posted by Picasa

Travel back

The alarm went off early, there was last minute packing, cleaning, and checking to do. All things clear and under control we locked up and left.

We had a day to fill and there sights to see. We headed east from Nerja, passed Almunecar and on to Salobrena. The trusty SatNav got us there (though it's difficult to miss - a huge limestone outcrop with a Moorish castle in the middle of a flat coastal plain).

We climbed to the castle and up to the ramparts, the headed part way down to visit the Paseo del Flores. The view were superb, and the town almost deserted, which made exploration more fun.

From Salobrena we headed back west, stopping at the hypermarket at Velez-Malaga for some lunch and shopping. Lunch was taken in a typical local restaurant called California Grill!!! It was certainly true to its name... With a salad starter needing a forklift truck and two waitresses to deliver it.

From there we diverted north to see Lake Vinuela but it was seriously depleted since our last trip.

Finally we headed for the airport to sit and wait patiently for our flight and watch the riff-raff queueing for theirs!

Salobrena

The huge outcrop on which perches the old Moorish castle (once used by the Nasrids from Granada as a summer palace) has some huge cracks and faults. Repairs are being done to the castle, but one has to suspect that the cliff itself is that major risk.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cotton wool

The last full day at the villa broke with the Gorse Fox thinking of his team back in Worcester. This weekend they are taking the first pilot site into production... So GF sent them a 'good luck' message.

The villa was bathed in bright sunshine and nestled under a startlingly blue sky. GF settled down with his coffee and a book. A few minutes later he looked up to see what looked like a giant roll of cotton wool rolling up the valley from the coast.

Visibility dropped to about 30 metres and the temperature followed. The cloud rolled on and within half an hour it had gone and the temperature started to climb towards the mid 30s.

Urban-cub wanted a last day by the pool, so with the exception of a quick trip to replenish supplies we had a very lazy day.

Sierra de Tejeda

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Nothing

The 'interesting' plumbing risk became the 'critical' plumbing issue and required a call to the rep, a chat with the owner (Sebastian) and another chat with a plumber. The first was easy as the rep came from Burgess Hill, the latter were more challenging as they involved Spaniards who, strangely, spoke Spanish. The Gorse Fox's Spanish is only marginally better than his Urdu... Which made the whole event challenging. However, no complaints - the problem was resolved.

A Stephen King-like mist appeared mid morning across the town of Nerja. We were spared in the hills above, but it was quite eerie. No screams were heard so we assume it was benign. We stayed put at the villa making the most of the clear, hot day.

Another BBQ topped it off with chicken, ribs, eggs, huge prawns, potato, peppers, bacon and mushrooms. A soupcon of wine may also have been involved.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Frigiliana

The morning was warm, humid, but a little overcast. After the excitement of breakfast we got everything ready and headed out and up into Frigiliana. This is one of the best preserved Moorish villages in Al Andalus. The inhabitants are obviously immensely proud of their village's heritage and take immense care that new developments fit with the old village.

From there we headed across the mountains beyond Frigiliana towards Torrox and then on to Competa to lay the ghost of our last trip.

The Gorse Fox should explain. About 5 years ago we visited the region, went to Competa, but got a little lost in the narrow side streets. Finding the way blocked GF took a side turn and then another and found himself in a dead end with no room to turn. The next 15 to 20 minutes were very uncomfortable as GF tried to manoeuvre the car back round the corner and up the hill. The smell was foul... And some could be attributed to the red hot and smoking clutch plate. Eventually we escaped but were so irritated by the experience that we high-tailed it out of town.

Today we found a car park, and headed up to the Plaza de Alijara... But were, frankly, underwhelmed. We headed back for a stop at the supermercado and then back to the villa.

Another BBQ, this featuring several racks of ribs seemed like a good end to the day, and as we finished clearing away Urban-cub struck up a conversation with the owner (who has a small stable below the villa). She and the Silver Vixen went down to see the horses and his doves. Struggling with the language there was a lot of laughter and arm waving as it became clear that one of the horses was pregnant, and the doves were well cared for, and one of the chickens had just laid an egg... Which he immediately gave to Urban-cub.

After polite 'Gracias' and 'Buenos tardes' they left and returned up to the villa where Urban-cub, in her excitement, dropped and broke the egg as she tried to show it to the Gorse Fox!!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Hazy days

Quiet of the late afternoon... Haze blurring the mountains.

Haze

It was another frantic day for the Gorse Fox, Silver Vixen, and Urban Cub. Should we visit Frigiliana, should we stay by the pool. Should we sit on the verada or the patio. Is it time for a beer. Or should we drink some some wine? The decisions were endless Relaxing can be so tiring!.

A slight haze has formed over the mountains to nort and east of us. It's still well into th 30's and beautifully peaceful... Though the plumbing is providing some interesting challenges.

Another BBQ is planned for tonight.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sundown

Sun finally dropped away behind the mountains to the wewt.

BBQ

32C and cloudless... Perfect again. A trip to the Supermercado saw the fridge replenished with steak, chicken, and all of the trimmings for a BBQ.

Quiet afternoon with the books and the occasional dip in the pool.

As the sun started to drop the Gorse Fox fired up the charcoal. Soon after as the charcoal turned white and the meat hit the grill, the wine bottle opened as if by magic. Some salad and patatas bravas came together as if by magic... And we had a fine meal as the sun dropped lower in the sky and picked out the peaks of the Sierra de Tejeda.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Evening in Nerja

We tootled down to Nerja for supper. The trusty Sat Nav took us straight to the parking garage that GF had remembered from his last trip. Strolling to Balcon de Europa we people-watched before heading for a fine meal overlooking the Med.

Strolling back through th4 streets full of families out for their evening constitutional. Perfect day (except for the sore feet)

Feet

The Gorse Fox is paranoid about sunburn - particularly on his feet. With this in mind he spent the day coweringbin the shade with a Book...moving every now and then as the sun moved round.

Evidently he was not quick enough as waves of heat emanate from his feet!

Balcon de Europa


Balcon de Europa
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The game commences

So the trip started with a leisurely drive to Gatwick and dropping the car at Valet Parking. What a simple and convenient way to sort out parking!

The flight was unremarkable despite being seated midst a hen party... Who were remarkably well behaved and could give hen partys a bad name.

GF brought the Sat Nav which provided trouble-free instructions to firstly the hypermarket for supplies and then on to the villa.

U-c was very excited when she saw it and GF is worried about how she'll be prised away next weekend. A dip in the pool seemed the perfect aperitif before supper which was taken on the patio as the sun slid slowly to its nightly resting place.

Poolside

The Gorse Fox, Silver Vixen and Urban-cub have found a pleasant little spot to spend a few days. The villa is small but very nice and the patio and pool afford a lovely view over the mountains.

Schadenfreude

Or however one spells it... the early morning rain and wind made the thought of Spain somehow sweeter

Friday, July 04, 2008

Pack

It's time that the Gorse Fox stopped work and started to prepare for a brief break from the rigours of the laptop. Blogging may be a little sparse over the next few days, but GF promises to retro-blog to catch up when he gets time.

Migrating Auntie

Oh dear... Auntie is back in play and consuming chunks of the Gorse Fox's time.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Merlot

The fist bottle of Merlot was criminally smooth last night. Gorse Fox evaluated it and decided it was probably an anomaly. The Don had not commented so checking a second bottle (in the interest of scientific research) he proved the "anomaly" hypothesis to be wrong.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Change

There feels like change is in the air. Dark clouds are gathering in the west. The Gorse Fox looks forward to a few days in Spain.

Greenpeace

It is a sorry state of affairs when GF finds himself nodding in agreement with Greenpeace. According to the BBC:
Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said the plan to bring in higher taxes on cars which people have already bought "gives green taxes a bad name".

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sun and travel

The sun blasted across the south and middle of England as GF cruised across to Worcester. The diesel engine is beginning to loosen up and he achieved 49mpg over the journey which in the current climate of high fuel prices and legalised theft by tax is very satisfying.

The day was spent looking through the work that needs to be achieved over the next 6 weeks... and putting together some slides for a forthcoming grilling by Starfleet.

SV has been preparing for tomorrow's craft fair so GF is looking forward to hearing how things went.