Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sshhh

It has been a quiet day at the home of the Gorse Fox.

We finally managed to connect with Cousteau-cub (who was still chuffed by the Cup Final result). She was suffering from a slight ear injection that was keeping her out of the water for a few days. Overall, all was well.

The Silver Vixen spent much of the day with her fabrics, cutters and cottons. GF, however, spent much of his day searching out several old sets of course notes, documents from previous engagements... and that power block for the old laptop.

He finally found the power block (which seems huge compared with those we see on modern laptops). Firing up the old machine he found that it still started but that there was no functioning operatying system on the hard-drive. (Also, looking at it he realizes that it had no Ethernet or Token Ring - nor (of course) any WiFi.

As for the notes and old papers - they are background for some course material that GF wants to develop in his spare time before starting his next engagement.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Blue

It seemed that the day was dominated by blue.

From early morning the sky settled on a rich blue hue that remained unbroken throughout the day. The sun streamed down and the garden glowed. Unfortunately some of the morning was consumed with various Starfleet tasks that were needed in preparation for Monday.

Urban-cub had disappeared for the day, down to Gunwharf in Portsmouth - so the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox had a quiet day. The Silver Vixen planted a few specimens that had been collected over the past week or two, and the Gorse Fox caught up on some reading.

Of course it was Cup Final day. This saw the blues of Everton play the blues of Chelsea (who wore yellow). With and early goal for the blues (in 25 sec.) it promised to be a lively game and it certainly lived up to its billing with the blues (in yellow) equalising, and then eventually taking the lead. (Gorse Fox is sure that Cousteau-cub will have bee delighted).

GF tried to phone C-c several times but could not get through... and will have to retry tomorrow.

The evening involved catching up on some recorded TV and watching "Britain' Got Talent". The latter being won by an innovative and interesting dance troop... much against the odds.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Parting Views

Some parting views of Rosemoor. The Gorse Fox loved it.

As they left the Silver Vixen was waylaid by an Embroidery Exhibition that had been lurking by the door... so we wandered round that for a while. As we approached the exit a matronly woman entered, followed by her husband who muttered something soto voce. She turned and demanded he repeat what was said.
"I said, 'If I lose the will to live, you'll find me outside, impaled on a pitchfork'".
The Gorse Fox smiled and caught his eye as it rolled out of sight. 



We left the exhibition and hit the plant shop (which we, somehow, escaped empty handed).

We got back onto the road and made our way back to Sussex. It had been a fun few days.
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Lakes and streams

Gorse Fox loved the area closer to the lake. The small rill that cascaded down amongs the ferns and gunnera towards the lake. The mix of depth, colour and texture made it hard to drag the eyes away.
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Diversion

The route home was not what you might call direct. We diverted into North Devon and stopped at the RHS Gardens at Rosemoor near Great Torrington.

Having spent time at Wisley, this came as a bit of a surprise. It's on a different scale, nestling in a secluded wooded valley a few miles from the North Devon coastline. It was well worth the diversion.

As you leave the entrance there is an area of formal gardens which melt away to fields, a lake, and quiet woodlands.

These first few photos are from the formal parts of the garden... which the GF really enjoyed.

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Farewell St Benet's

Friday morning saw the sun finally explode through the cloud of the last two days. Unfortunately we had to say farewell to St Benet's Abbey and the family that ran the place. We have no doubt that we shall return.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bodmin Jail

Dinner was great. On Wednesday we had tried the local pub, and whilst adequate it was hardly a fine-dining experience. We decided that tonight should be a more memorable. It was difficult to get a good recommendation for a meal that we fancied (Silver Vixen not being a great fan of Chinese or Indian food).

A little bit of surfing highlighted Bodmin Jail as a possibility and as it was close, we started there (with a Plan B if it didn't work out).

Well for a prison(*) it made a might fine restaurant and we thoroughly enjoyed the meal and the surroundings. The Gorse Fox started with some fine ribs (which will come as a huge surprise to those that know him). We both followed with lamb shanks which were accompanied with perfectly cooked vegetables. A nice bottle of wine formed the perfect accompaniment. Probably not quite fine dining, still. Several mighty leaps up the ladder from the previous night and certainly a place we'd return to for a further sentence.

(Oh yes, and Plan B wouldn't have worked either - they had closed down!)

(*) No it's not still operating as aprison, but used to be the County Gaol.
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Quarry-side

The project is know for the huge Biomes, but the whole quarry is now being reclaimed by the terraced planting and will soon disappear beneath the lush flora.
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Plant this

An 80 tonne Cornish granite sculpture of a seed head. It's a good job these don't fall from trees.
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Nestling

The Eden Project is like some huge Sci-fi film set hidden away from view at the bottom of a vast quarry. The Gorse Fox likens it to a film set because it has a magical, whimsical feel about it that somehow makes it feel other-worldly.

Though it was very busy today - the crowds just melt away into the vastness of the site and it was rare that we saw large groups except at the entrance, restaurants, and exits.
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Aerodynamics

Pictures are being brought to by curtesy of Canon and the aerodynamic qualities of their cameras. Yesterday GF had loop the camera over a chair back, over his soaking wet jacket. After we had eaten GF got up and grabbed the jacket - forgetting the camera. Well fogetting it until he saw it soar across the restaurant and land on the slate floor a couple of tables away. 

There was a sharp intake of breath from around the room as GF gingerly lifted the camera body from the floor. No shards of glass were evident, no chunks of plastic, now springs or motors. It had survived and GF heaved a sigh of relief. So a vote for Canon and the robustness of their cameras.

Hospitality

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen were esconced in a fine room with a four-poster bed, period furniture, and anachronistically a digital TV and Wifi signal. St Benet's Abbey was a charming spot to stay. The breakfast was excellent and totally relaxed and the whole place just homely (right down to a huge dog - of the "Turner & Hooch" variety that was about the size of a bear - barked like a basso profundo and was scared of its own shadow).

It was a bit grey as we started out this morning so we had to think carefully about what we'd get up to. Being only 8 miles from the Eden Project it seemed like a prime candidate to fill the day.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Awash

After we had stopped for some lunch we set out again through the upper rhododenron garden and back round towards the lake. The rain seemed to have eased (at first) but soon returned to soak us further.

This is one of the most stupenous gardens in the country (if not the world) and in the rain it was still beautiful (though muted). A thoroughly nice few hours despite the rain.

Levaing Stourhead we headed onwards towards the west country. The rain seemed to fade away, but as we crossed the moors the clouds settled comfortably on the ground and reduced visibility to about 100 yards. 250 miles from home we arrived at St Benet's Abbey near Bodmin.

Occasionally when you chose an hotel from a web site you are not sure what you'll get. Boy, we struck lucky. The hotel is quaint, family run, and utterly charming.
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Poseidon

It was quite clear as we walked around the grounds and the rain got heavier that Poseidon was definitely in control.

(THis statue of Poseidon is in a grotto that you walk through as you go round the lake)
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Travelling

It was pouring with rain as the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen left for a couple of days in the West Country. The rain was driven by strong wind on the coast, but lessened a bit inland - but the rain was incessant.

The journey was planned to take in Storhead, where we planned to meet Betty and Barney Rubble. This had been planned several weeks ago - without (perhaps) due thought for the weather. Dressed in walking gear and waterproofs we headed out into the landscape garden. Despite the driving rain, it was not cold, but the vibrancy of the colours was muted by the grey skies.
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Success.. or not

Some days are better than others.

Gorse Fox started by taking the comatose PC to the ER where a nice man was going to take a look at the problem. 

Then it was a matter of returning to Urban-cub's flat to fix a recalcitrant drawer. Unfortunately the recalcitrant drawer remained recalcitrant and whatever GF did, the drawer and its runners were too wide for the orifice into which it should slide.

After some thought and fiddling, GF gave up. Two options were open 1) make a new drawer, or 2) get a new base unit. GF headed to B&Q and looked at option 2... but whilst not too expensive they did not have the right coloured doors available. That led to option 1. GF stopped off at his favourite woodyard and bought some appropriate wood. Now it would just be a matter of taking the front off the old drawer and building a new smaller drawer frame.

Saw, band-saw, electric drill/driver, router, biscuit cutter. All was set. The Gorse Fox got cracking but was evidently not at his best. Everything was cut to size. The router ploughed (or started to) a slot for the drawer bottom, however it was clear the router bit was blunt and GF had no spares. Eventually all was well (except for cutting a biscuit slot in the wrong place) so GF got ready to dry-assemble the parts. This is when he found the drill battery was dead, and so was the spare.

Enough was enough. GF put his tools away and went to cook supper.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Technoclasm

The Gorse Fox has been at the centre of a technoclasm.

The day started well enough, helping Urban-cub publicize her flat for rent online. Already there has been a deal of interest and one request to view. So that was satisfying. GF then pottered about creating an advert that she can put up on the wall at work. All-in-all he was happy with progress.

He went outside to make the most of the sun but after a while thought he could hear the distant rumble of thunder. He popped in to view the storm track, and that was when he realised that all was not well. 

There was lack of humming noises in the study. There was a lack of lights in the study. The main computer (Falcon) was down. 
  • Had GF switched it off accidentally? - No. 
  • Was it a fuse in the house circuit? - No.
  • Was it a fuse on the powercable? - No.
  • Was he in trouble? - Oh yes!
Now fortunately the Gorse Fox is paranoid and so he has plenty of backups that should be no more than 30 minutes out of date... but the frustrating thing is having to either get the base unit fixed or replaced (and in the latter case the money and time it will take to get everything back to normal).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

BBQ

The weather was stunning. The sun shone, there was little or no breeze and the only sounds were of the neighbour's tennis court, and children playing on the beach. The sea was so calm that the waves could not be heard in the back garden.

The Silver Vixen spent much of the day gardening, Urban-cub spent much of the day on a sun-lounger and GF was pottering about between the garden, the computer, the kettle, the football and so forth. 

Mid-afternoon we tried to call Cousteau-cub but failed to get through, though we did manage to exchange text messages.

It was too good not to make the most of the day, and so we fired up the Barbecue for the first time this year.

Silver Lining

They say that every cloud has a silver lining. Spurs were beaten by Liverpool but at least Newcastle went down.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Powerless

The Gorse Fox thought he'd resurrect an old (and fairly unique) laptop. This museum piece is 15 years old and is a model of RS/6000 that was never released for sale. GF, however, was presented with one as an award. When new it would run either NT or AIX and was based on a PowerPC chip and had a 10.5 inch screen.

The idea was to see if the Gorse Fox could resurrect this beast with a Linux distro. Having finally found a distro that GF thought was worth trying he started the download and wandered off to loft to find the old laptop. Clearing the dust of the case and taking it back to the study GF was horrified to realise that he had obviously stored the power supply and plug somewhere "safe". As this is a fairly unique machine (codenamed Woodfield) is even had a special (20V) power socket - which meant that he couldn't use one of his many spares.

GF will have to root around some more in the loft tomorrow to see if he can find his "safe" hiding place.

Friday, May 22, 2009

GF has left the building

Thursday was a strange day. Gorse Fox loaded the car with doughnuts, cakes, biscuits and other sugary products - the assumption was that a) a lot of people would need sugar after the previoous night's entertainment; and b) it's the traditional way to say Goodbye. He just may have got the estimating model for sugary comestibles wrong... as by the end of the day there was still a significant mountain of calories nestling in the corner of the office.

Various reviews consumed the morning - and then there was team meeting where the Abbot announced that he too was leaving at the end of next week, and took the opportunity to introduce his replacement. He then gave a vary nice farewell speech for the Gorse Fox and then there was a lovely presentation. This included some engraved glasses from "Spur 0" engraved with "Gorse Fox @ Spur 0" and "Silver Vixen @ Spur 0", and a very excellent bottle of Scotch (which GF tested last night).

As the afternoon wore on GF started a round of goodbyes - forgetting quite how many people he knew! There are many people there that GF will genuinely miss, but he's leaving them in good hands and is sure that his colleagues will maintain GF's vision of what's needed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Swansong

The Abbot to the Gorse Fox to The Glass House for dinner. It was very nice suitably up-market for "last supper"... the Abbot also planning to leave Worcester at the end of next week. A fine fish soup that almost had a gel-like quality was a good choice of starter, and then some pan-fried hake on a bed of spinach with a crab risotto was a perfect main dish - all accompanied by a fine wine. Superb meal, which was followed by a return to the Cardinal's Hat.

The triumphant farewell gig of Cardinal Sin and The Bum Notes was a brilliant event - dedicated, it should be noted, to the Gorse Fox and his own farewell to Worcester after 4 years and 9 months. All proceeds from the evening were collected for the Noah's Ark Trust which cares for bereaved children.

Throughout the evening the audience were able to partake of various libations and it was great fun - and well-attended by colleagues and friends old and current... as well as a good helping of complete strangers. The Gorse Fox was horrified when he heard "Who is Bob Seger? I've never heard of him". (Children just aren't getting the education they should - and GF blames it on their parents as well as the schools - and maybe he should look for his next contract in the Department for Education to sort this out). GF digresses. The band did a great job and everone had fun... GF was horrified to realise it was nearly one in the morning before he headed back to the hotel but chuffed to bits that it had been such fun.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

3..2..1

Siver Vixen at the Chelsea Flower Show... first time visito (very excited).

Gorse Fox is winding down - last few days at Worcester. Trying to ensure that the designs are sound before he leaves.

Farewell concert tonight. Should be fun.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The House

It appears the Michael Martin is to step down as Speaker of the House of Parasites. Obviously Gorse Fox's blog entry yesterday tipped the balance.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Expenses

Starfleet has a world-wide expense policy. (Actually it's probably Universe-wide, but GF has been stuck on this planet so far, and hasn't had a chance to try his hand at galactic per diems). It can be frustrating, but it's fair, it is transparent and it is rigourous.

Meanwhile in Parliament the scandal continues and the Speaker Michael martin has apologised for the problem (That's all right then. Nothing more to concern us). 
  • This is the man who was to preside over a review of said expense policy - but was allegedly apopleptic at some proposed changes to the second homes allowance when it was pointed out that he had a Grace and Favour apartment and therefore didn't (shouldn't) need the allowance. 
  • This is the man who has had over £700,000 spent on improvements to his apartment and nearly £992,000 on his garden.
  • This is the man who claimed £4,000 in taxi bills for his wife.
  • This is the man who tried to prevent the Freedom of Information act from including MPs expenses
  • This is the man who over the past six years has enjoyed a total of 16 trips to destinations including Hawaii, the Bahamas, New York and Rome with his wife - at taxpayers' expense (Her travel bill alone for just 10 of the trips was £25,000)
  • This is the man who blocked an FOI request for information regarding expenses for MPs' foreign trips
The Gorse Fox does not believe he should be made a scapegoat for the fraudulent activity of a large number of Right disHonourable Members - but he does think he should be sacked and lead the procession of sacked MPs that should surely follow to Tyburn.

Gorse Fox finds it difficult to express the disgust he feels towards those of the political class who have soiled Parliament with their bottom-feeding, self-serving greed.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wet, wet, wet

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen woke up to a grey day which by the time we'd had breakfast had turned to heavy rain - and it didn't look likely to relent. We decided that the best bet was just to head back to the south coast - it was too wet and miserable to consider stopping somewhere en route.

Once back in the south the clouds broke up and the sun burst through (as one would expect). 

AT home we unpacked and settled down for a quiet afternoon - but the weather seemed to have followed us so we sat and watched the football and made the most of some down time.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A day out

A quiet start to the day. Gorse Fox took the Silver Vixen along to the Three Counties Showground near Malvern. She wasn't on show, just attending a Quilt Show. Arranging a pick-up time he headed onwards.

He started at the Car Park at Tank Quarry - where he found no spaces to park (and he hadn't got sufficient change for the Pay & Display anyway). He carried on round the hills, but again could not find a car park with sufficient space - this was not a major disappointment as the rain was thrashing down and GF didn't fancy getting soaked.

Where next?

He headed back towards Malvern and stopped at some shops to await a break in the rain. There was little to catch the eye - and GF was having trouble getting his magic keyboard to connect with his phone. In frustration he gave up and stuffed the gadget in the glove box and headed down towards Tewkesbury. He's been there many times, but never had the chance to look around the Abbey.

He waited in the car park for the rain to clear again and then made his way to the entrance (he dutifully got a photographic license) and started to roam back and forth as different marvels caught his eye - stained glass, statuary, carvings, the scale of the building, the thickness of the pillars... and so forth. It was a charming Abbey - quite intimate in its size and set well in its landscape. From there he spent some time strolling around the town and down by the river before heading back to the hotel for a while.

The Gorse Fox went back to collect the Silver Vixen and bring her back to Tewkesbury... and head out to dinner.

Dinner was trip down memory lane for GF. He had booked a table at "Aubergine" where he used to eat frequently a couple of years ago. It was everything he remembered. The menu, though not extensive, is well balanced and gives a good choice. The surroundings are quaint, and the staff are just superb. Well informed, cheerful, polite, and very amusing. The food was excellent. A starter of Portobello mushrooms with stilton was followed by a tagine of lamb with couscous and all this washed down with a fine wine. A blackcurrant sorbet finally cleared the palette. GF has eaten at many restaurants over the years but few are as much pleasure as Aubergine. (If you are ever in Tewkesbury or nearby, do drop in and enjoy a great meal).

River Avon

The River Avon where it comes into Tewkesbury
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Alleys

A small alley where there was a Baptist Chapel
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The quiet streets of Tewkesbury (between showers)
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Curves

Some of the glimpses that are afforded as you wander down the aisles of the Abbey.
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Gorse Fox loves the juxtaposition of rooflines, towers, walls and windows
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Buttress

Alongside the Abbey - the pathway leads beneath a flying buttress mimicking the curve of the tree.
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Tewkesbury Abbey

Tewkesbury Abbey from the car park.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Mishaps and misadventures have a habit of following the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen when they travel together. Everything was going swimmingly this time. We had checked in to the hotel. They had done us a special rate (as valued and frequent customers). They had given us one of the suites. This is how things should be. And so the Gorse Fox headed off to work, leaving the Silver Vixen to roam Worcester.

It was a quiet day at work. Most people were working from home and so the the office was less that one quater full. GF was able to get on with some presentation material and answer some outstanding emails. All was well. In fact you could argue that GF had been lulled into a sense of well-being and contentment. His iPod was leaking "Ten Years After" into his ears and the sun had just come out. (Can you guess what's coming yet?)

His leg vibrated. This was not a natural phenomenon, but rather the consequence of his mobile phone nuzzling in his pocket. It was the Silver Vixen. 
The conversation went something like:
"Hello there, how are you doing? How was Worcester?"
"Ummmm, well we have a bit of as problem"

A sinking feeling appeared in the pit of GF's stomach "Oh yes, what's that?"
"The hotel have been forced to close until Monday. We've been asked to leave."

The Gorse Fox wondered what the Silver Vixen had been up to to cause such a reaction, but she went on to explain.
"There's been an outbreak of Norovirus, and the men in Bio-hazard suits have just arrived to deep clean the hotel".

And so GF packed his stuff and headed back to the hotel to help pack and load the car and find some alternative accommodation for the weekend.

Ah well... he's now sitting with SV in the Travelodge at Tewkesbury.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tapas

It seemed like a day of Tapas - little tasters of one problem or another. A little bit of estimating, a side dish of strategy, another dish of powerpoint and so forth. It was varied, but interesting throughout. A new chap has joined the team and wanted to a briefing on some of the strategy work that GF had completed in 2005. Once that had been dug from the archives we went through the material and dropped much of it into a newly updated tool. This was quite useful and gave him a foundation upon which he could take things forward.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, the Silver Vixen was wandering through the nooks and alleys of Worcester going from one fabric shop to the next, or one sewing shop to the other. She had commented that she was disappointed by one shop where the owner had obviously taken a well-known US pattern, copied it, put her name on it and was selling it as hers with no acknowledgement of prior art. SV is always very aware of copyright issues and was upset that this was so blatant.

Come the evening we met up with GF's colleagues in the Cardinal's Hat and then wandered round the corner to The Lounge for tapas. (See, the story comes full circle!). A really pleasant meal in great company and a nice way to finish the day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hither and thither

The day saw Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen zip across country to Winchester. GF had a course to attend nearby, and SV decided to spend the day in and around the former capital.

Disappearing down into Starfleet's labs, the GF was directed down and up a maze of corridors. It reminded him of the old text based Adventure games - and he kept expecting an angry dwarf to appear and shoot arrows, or a trapdoor to open and drop him back to the start of the quest. Eventually he found the windowless room that would be home for the day as worthy being explained some new ideas for dealing with recalcitrant carbon-based lifeforms.

At the end of the course GF nipped back to Winchester, collected the Silver Vixen and headed on up to Worcester. Once there, and checked in, we went to join some colleagues at the favoured hostelry. On count-up it was clear that there would be about 18 for dinner - and the nearby Chinese was nearly full. A quiet word, however, and that was sorted - the lady from the Chineses delivered a couple of hundred poundsworth of hot food to the pub where we all tucked in.

A fine evening.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lie in

If it's Tuesday it must be an early start and a drive across country to Worcester. Only this week it's different. GF has had to rearrange the week as explained yesterday - and so this morning he had the luxury of a lie-in and spent a quiet day in his home office.

He is preparing some presentation materials for a session in a a week or two - and this has given him the opportunity to read back through many of the materials he has generated over the past few years. This helps get the context right, but also reminds him of many of the interesting moments behind these documents.

Wednesday he's heading for Winchester where he'll drop the Silver Vixen before carrying on to a nearby office for a course. Then it'll be back for the Silver Vixen and on up to Worcester.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's half past two

The GF is evidently losing some of his faculties. Convinced that he had a meeting near Winchester tomorrow he had arranged his week accordingly. 

Checking his diary - it's on Wednesday! Week now needs to be rearranged.

Beam me up

GF had to head for Starfleet HQ first thing. With his communicator not working he needed to get direct access to Starfleet's network in order to get to his mail, do his normal day's work and also try to correct the problem.

Having sung the praises of the help desk on Friday, today was less inspiring. The colleague on the far end of the line was evidently transfixed by one part of the problem presented - and ignored all aspects except that. GF patiently explained that she was concentrating on the wrong symptoms but a poor telephone line and vast distances were obviously hampering comprehension. In the end GF thanked her for all her help and started again by himself.

He uninstalled each of the communications packages and re-installed them from scratch (this could only be achieved whilst connected to Strafleet's network - otherwise he would have done this last Friday). Problem solved.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Starfleet

GF will have to head for Starfleet HQ in the morning. The encoding mechanism used by his communicator seems broken and he cannot contact Starfleet network remotely. Most irritating... and difficult being out of touch.

Talking of which...

The Gorse Fox heard, whilst talking with a neighbour, how a previous owner of GF's home had been harangued on his own doorstep by a minion of "The Colonel". (The Colonel, apparently used to "run the estate").

Anyhow... said minion approached the owner and told him he'd have to move off the estate. When questioned the minion explained that it had come to the The Colonel's attention that the owner was not married to his partner. That sort of thing cannot be tolerated!

Owner ignored it, needless to say, but it's funny how things change.

Spam

GF has just received the usual dose of spam - most of which gets filtered out by gmail (if you are not using gmail - you should be). Was amused at lates from some Photo printing outfit allowing GF to set and send out all his wedding paperwork. He's sure that the Silver Vixen would be most impressed... after almost 36 years!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Design

The Gorse Fox has enjoyed Saturday. He has finally got some time to do some more Parish Council work and completed the first draft of the Parish Design Statement. This took several hours and then the problem was how best to send it around for review. In the end he downloaded FreewarePrimoPDF and that allowed him to create a PDF file to send around the other members of the council.

Urban-cub's day was disrupted by a crisis. Her phone ceased working. In the end she had to go out and buy another - one can't be out of contact for more than a few minutes nowadays.

Silver Vixen spent the day in the garden picking up from where Mellors left off and ripping weeds from the undergrowth in the bright sunshine. GF went out to help for a while - but as said before GF is not one of the country's great gardners..

Friday, May 08, 2009

TGIF

Or at least TG Friday is nearly over.

It all started with a trip up to London for a meeting. At the station GF queued while indecisive ancients tried to select the right ticketing combination to get them two stops up the line. Time ticked by as they got closer to death, but the queue moved not an inch. Trains came and went, a stray asteroid whizzed by, several glaciers melted, and the GF started to get irritated. This all before 5 hours of travelling (there and back) for a 1 hour meeting. 

He arrived at Victoria facing a 25 minute walk, and so the rain decided it was time to drench SW London as the GF sloshed across towards Millbank.

GF arrived at the government offices - the small lobby was crammed full of people trying to get signed in. GF was queueing again. The security guard made calls trying to locate the people being visited by the throng in front. Eventually it was GF's turn. His beard had grown several inches, more hair had fallen out and he had probably gained several wrinkles. GF introduced himself and identified the "party" he was visiting - the promised security was not waiting, and new one had to be written.  GF's party was not answering the contact number and so he sat in reception for 15 minutes wondering about the meaning of life and observing the subset of humanity that passed in an out of the building during his sojourn.

The meeting finally kicked off and was both interesting and successful... but you are not interested in that.

GF headed back to the station and on to home.

A bit of email preceeded some laptop maintenance (as instructed by Starfleet's robots). Unfortunately that is when things started to go wrong. The WiFi failed. After a little debugging, he tried the Ethernet cable. Ethernet was dead too. In fact GF's laptop was suffering an attack of PC-autism. Finally he resorted to the Starfleet Help Desk - they managed to get the connections working again in a couple of minutes. 

Oh yes, and GF's iPod won't sync with the PC.

Not a day to remember

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Home

GF has whizzed across the country and now sits on the coast with a full belly, sitting in his own armchair, and watching his own TV. It's nice to be home with the Silver Vixen and Urban-cub. 

Unfortunately he's not working at home on Friday, so has to go up to London... but that's tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Soft

The Gorse Fox has had an interesting day. He's been reflecting on the
last 4.75 years of work and trying to pull together some presentation
material to help crystallize the vision and thinking that has driven
it.

After work a small hop-based libation was order of the day. This in
turn was followed by fine Chinese food featuring soft-shelled crab -
the best GF has tasted since "Spanky's" in P'keepsie.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Suite Dreams

GF has had a good day seeing several designs taking shape before his very eyes.

A quiet evening at Pizza Express with several collleagues seemed like
a perfect end to the day, but then....

The Forces of Darkness were destroyed at the Emirates, and GF could go
to sleep happy.

--
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What the hell do you know?

Interesting article from a BBC reporter regarding China's attitude to Ed Milliband. In China they expect a Minister to have bothe expertise and experience in the the area for which they are responsible. A Minister for Health, for example, is expected to have practised as a doctor.

What an interesting concept - MPs that may actually know something about their portfolio! It would never catch on. A Minister for Helath that knew the difference between a large set of muscles on which he sits from a hinged joint in his arm --- No! it could never happen. 

Oh yes - Ed Milliband's is case in point, a Minister for Climate Change who isn't a scientist.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Puff

The Silver Vixen's RAV4 seems to be running out of puff in one of the rear tyres. GF has pumped it up a couple of times, but is slowly deflates. GF has contacted e-Tyres again and hopefully a replacement will be in place in the next couple of days.

Lofty thoughts

As mentioned yesterday, the Gorse Fox had an appointment with the loft space. Urban-cub had returned from her outing and we started to clear space. The reader should be aware that this is no traditional loft, but rather the space between the eaves and the bedroom walls - thus it it deep but not high, has but small areas boarded, and the rafters slope at 45 degrees to catch unsuspecting heads when you are crawling round on all fours.

After stirring all sorts of dust, suffievient space was clear to allow access to the co-ax from the roof, and also provide crawl-ways to the significant corners where new co-ax needed to run. Measurement were taken and a hole drilled - spot on - to allow the first of the new cables to be dropped to the lounge. That was the easy bit.

We then had to shift a number of further items to gain further access to the smaller eaves and pass cable through small dusty apertures. Duct tape and a long piece of wood played a significant role in dragging the cable through. Eventually everything was lined-up and the final hole drilled. The cable dropped down and U-c now has a usable TV signal. 

It was at this point we discovered that though she may have a good signal - she didn't have a usable Freeview box (they were both giving trouble). This meant a trip to Currys - who were out of stock except for an expensive one, Tesco - who only seemed to have deals that incorporated Setanta, and Comet - who had a good selection and came up with the goods. Freeview DTV signals are now succesfully plugged in to both of the target TVs, they're tuned and running.

PM

The Gorse Fox notices a report from the BBC that Harridan Harriet Harman says "I don't want to be PM".

Well that's good... because the Gorse Fox is pretty sure nobody else wants her to be, either!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Pink

Brush strokes of bright pink brighten the baby blue evening sky at the end of a quiet day. The Gorse Fox spent some time fiddling with the settings on his mobile phone and trying to get several dormant features to work properly. This took longer than expected, but as a by-product he found several new apps and features that should prove useful.

GF also spent some time with long lengths of co-axial cable. Whilst the roof aerial provides a good signal, the distribution panel in the loft seems to prevent the signal moving on to the various rooms where TVs are. A little basic debugging showed that either the panel or the down-cables were faulty. GF ran a new cable and voila the DTV signal burst into life and provided 60 or 70 new channels. GF will have to run the cable properly through the loft space.

Got the chance to talk with Cousteau-cub today. She was a bit peeved after having some money stolen when she was returning from a visa run to Penang. At least she wasn't hurt in any way (except perhaps her pride).  

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Weeds

The Silver Vixen spent the day with her coven leaving GF and Und Urban-cub to their own devices. As U-c had been out until the early hours she made the most of a quiet morning cleaning her car. 

The Gorse Fox pays good money every week to Mellors so that he will do the garden. This is because GF doesn't "do" gardens. He enjoys sitting in them, photographing them, and even visiting them - but he doesn't "do" them.

Well it would seem that neither does Mellors - or at least he doesn't do them at a rate that can keep up with nature. As a result the Gorse Fox ended up getting his hands dirty, spending several hours on his hands and knees ripping green things out from the mud. It was a glorious day and if one must get one's hands dirty GF can't think of a better day for it.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Ctrl-L

A day working at home made a change. Gentle background music played as GF continued to work with the spreadsheet that has occupied most of his week. It was interspersed with some Excel tips and tricks as GF tried to simplify some of the components of the model.

You know that GF said he hoped he'd be more inspired today - he would like to apologize; he's not.