Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Timeless quote

"How can we expect to govern properly if back benchers are given the facts" Yes, Minister

Ahead of schedule

The Gorse Fox was again numbered among those commuting to London. It was another superb day, already 23C when catching the train... and certainly a lot warmer by the time GF arrived at Waterloo.

GF had an office to himself today and was able to crack on with a lot of work that had been backing up for a few days. He also had the opportunity to conduct a couple of mid-year reviews for members of his team.

Around this he spent some time with an architectural modelling tool - but failed to get it do exactly what he wanted.

Over lunch GF ordered some tickest to go to Wembley in late July to see a couple of football matches: Celtic vs Al Ahly and Spurs vs Barcelona. The day was pretty successful really and he had the opportunity to catch an earlier train (which was nice)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunstroke

A glorious summer day was somewhat constrained by the need to go to work. Fortunately, both the train and Starfleet's office are pleasingly air conditioned. After an interesting day the Gorse Fox headed back out into the streets.

A gentle stroll along the Southbank, a wander over Hungerford Bridge, and then plunging in the oven that is Embankment tube Gorse Fox mused at the sights one sees in a warm London. At Victoria he deliberately let the first train go without him... he was NOT going to rush to force himself onto a nearly full train - it would be unseemly for a man of his breeding to be seen in a rush.

This was unfortunate. No sooner had the train left, but a sign came up announcing that the next train would be delayed. He consumed a fruit smoothie and watched the stream of sweating humanity rush about their journeys. Several hours later he clambered into his car and observed the usual quality of Sussex driving as the woman in front of him stopped in the middle of a level crossing to wave at a friend and give her lift. Then still bemused by stupidity he had observed he had to drive up the verge to avoid another woman driving a Discovery as she swerved round the bend onto the wrong side of road as he approached the Gorse. He can only assume they were both suffereing from sunstroke.

It was nice to get home.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Setup

So we arrived at the Savill Gardens which were already quite busy. We found a quiet spot and started to unpack chairs, blankets, tables, cloths, bags, coolboxes and so forth. The refridgerated coolbox had worked well and kept the contents cold... which in the 28C warmth was a good job.

Had a splendid day... and what a nice spot. Must return at some point.
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Now then, now then, now then

We have a day planned. Loading the car we will head to Savill Gardens where we will meet up with Silver Vixen's family for a picnic... and will bring the Silver Vixen's mother back with us for a week by the seaside.

Like all things for which we have more than a few hours notice, this has been planned to the nth degree. Chickens have been carved, salads prepared, and cheese, pork pies, cakes, cream, yogurts and various drinks stored overnight in the fridge. To ensure these were kept fresh a refridgerating cool box was acquired for the car and various coolers retrieved from storage all over the house. We have enough insulated carrying capacity to lay on a picnic for Glastonbury. Never let it be said we are unprepared!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Green

Gorse Fox is worried that the gastric incident of last night has left him in a position whereby he should now be considered a major contributor of greenhouse gasses.

Dead lamb bounce

Well, that was a night to forget. GF awoke soon after two feeling slightly unwell... took refuge in the smallest room and marvelled at how effectively his body is able to purge itself of items it does not appreciate.

He drifted back off to sleep to be woken by Silver Vixen's mobile phone battery warning of its pending demise.

He drifted off again. The phone rang downstairs... he was awake once more. So it stayed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Shoulder

The Gorse Fox seemed to spend the whole day on the phone, with barely time between the calls to complete basic functions such as making coffee or having lunch.

Work over, he and the Silver Vixen headed inland towards Surrey (car phone still carrying the details of the last teleconference for the first half of the journey). As explained earlier in the week our planned meal at Chris Evans' "Mulberry Grill" had been stymied by his recent fire. So we carried on past Chiddingfold and headed for Godalming where we met up with GF's sister and brother-in-law.

The restaurant chosen was converted from an old church and had an extensive menu. The food was excellent and the service was attentive without being obtrusive. The lamb shoulder chosen by the Gorse Fox and his sister was huge (in fact we qyuestioned whether they had forgotten to detach the shoulder from the rest of the animal). We had a nice meal and had the opportunity to catch up on family news from both sides.

Nice evening

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Skyline

It was a busy day by the banks of the mighty Thames. GF is getting the knack of this commuting lark... though today there was a necessity to top up on sleep on the way to town.

GF is busy trying to find a needle in a haystack. Though nobody is sure whether the needle exists, and whether this is the right haystack. As a result he has (yet another) spreadsheet that is growing in complexity by the hour and is being completed by one teleconference after another (a situation that will extend into tomorrow if not beyond).

In order to be available for a conference call, GF left early and strolled across the bridge to Embankment. He may have been in a hurry, but to too much to stop for a photo down stream. It had been a lovely warm summer afternoon, and everything seemed bright, and everyone wore a smile (like MPs when their expenses come through).

Once at Victori GF found a corner to occupy whilst on the conference call... and then finally made his way home. As he walked through the door a cold glass of wine was pressed into his hand and he reflected on how long the glass would manage to maintain its hold on the liquid.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Should he?

Gorse Fox wonders whether he should be flattered or worry.

He has just had "friend" request on Facebook from a young lady he doesn't know, with whom he has no mutual friends, but who is working on a "male acute psychiatric ward".

Thames

Another excellent day on the banks of the Thames. Very busy little project team... good communications. GF is quite impressed. Only trouble is the nearly 4.5 to 5 hours of commuting each day... but at least he gets home each evening.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cricket

The idyll that is a warm summer day, a cricket pitch, and club-house that sells cold drinks to needy presenters.
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Burger it

The Gorse Fox was back at Starfleet's centre near Winchester. It was day full of presentations from the great and the good... most of which were very good and actually quite heartening given the current economic climate.

What was also interesting was the opportunity to meet his secretary (for the time) and his manager (for the first time). Funny how you form a picture of someone over the phone and how different they can turn out to be IRL(*).

At the end of the day we strolled down to the clubhouse and had a few drinks and a BBQ whilst watching the cricket. Perfect end to the dsay.

(*) In real life.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Barking mad

As the Gorse Fox made his way along the Southbank he was startled to notice that the trees had been wrapped in polka-dot fabrics.

It is some form of installation art, rather than some sort of arborial measles
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Smoke

The Gorse Fox was in "the Smoke" today, luxuriating in the palatial Starfleet office on the Southbank. (That was sarcasm by the way). He picked a good train - not too busy at first, and got him to London at a suitable time.

The day was filled by an interesting workshop reviewing the solution Starfleet will suggest to a significant client. Then a pleasant stroll across Hungerford Bridge to the Tube and quiet train back to the coast.

Oh yes... talking of smoke, Chris Evan's restaurant was to be our location for Friday evening; not so however. His restaurant's kitchen burned down a few weeks ago apparently, so we must replan. GF has chosen the "Bel and Dragon" at Godalming.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Finishing line

Today saw the final push towards the finishing line. In a massive last push Silver Vixen, Urban-cub and the Gorse Fox attacked the flat for one last time.
  • Last coat of paint for two doors
  • Handles
  • Touch up paint in hall and loo
  • Touch up paint in kitchen
  • Clean cooker
  • Clean fridge
  • Clean washing machine
  • Remove all tools
  • Remove ladders
  • Remove everything not being left for tenants
It was two or three hours of hard work... but it was done.

Cousteau-cub called from Phi Phi when we got back. She was veryt chatty and very excited about her plans for the next few months with the trip to Malapascua Island and then a new challenge on Koh Lanta.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

DIY

Siver Vixen was away with the friends of her coven at some event (probably involving a ducking stool) at Sandown Park. For Urban-cub and the Gorse Fox it was a day of DIY at the flat... nothing of great interest to report.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ooof

Day started with a journey across to Starfleet's site near Winchester (again... second day running). GF was attending a meeting for deepgeeks. It started with some discussion about the market. This was earth shaking (the same way dropping your toothbrush registers on a seismic detector). Things perked up after that and we got some career discussions followed by a discussion on instrumentation to measure and record environmental detail.

GF then had to head back to Sussex in time to take a series of phone calls regarding his involvement with Auntie and the election of some new deepgeeks.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Drips... not

Well worktoip was successfully manouevred up the winding stairacse with about 1cm to spare. Once al was settled GF changed into his smart clothes and shot across to Starfleet's base near Winchester where he was presenting before Simon, Amanda and Piers and waiting for three buzzers.

In fact the presentation seemed to go well and he's through to the next round (i.e. he has to give the same pitch at another event next week).

Then he shot back towards the east and helped the plumber some more. It's so nice when you have a reliable chap who is a "completer finisher" and for who short cuts will not do. Everything is now plumbed in, the new work surface is in place, and everything has been cleaned up. Very satisfying.

Frantic

It will be a frantic start to the day. The Gorse Fox has to help the plumber get the new work tops to the flat... but then needs to rush across to Winchester to give a presentation.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Installed

Wednesday finds the Gorse Fox installed in Farnborough. A pleasant early morning drive across the Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire countryside seemd like the ideal start to the day.

GF had a couple of quarterly reviews to conduct with members of his team and whilst at a Starfleet base made the most of the opportunity to get some new software installed. This chugged away in background for an hour or so... but eventually burst into life. Now it will just be a matter of getting to grips with it! First impressions are quite favourable.

Talking of installations, Cousteau-cub (who seems to have been an installation on Phi Phi for several years now) is busy preparing for some changes also. It seems that she off to the Phillipines for a couple of months to work at a dive school there... and then returning to Lanta to jointly run a dive shop. Sounds wonderful... even if she is (initially) travelling a further 1700 miles east from us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Grin

The Gorse Fox is immensely pleased with his new circular saw. It made short work of the task - turning a slice of the worktops into fin sawdust. Such a clean cut that GF can't tell which was original edge and which is the cut edge. The right tool, with an excess of power makes short work of the job.
According to the BBC
"Gordon Brown says a Tory government would "deprive" people of public services they now take for granted."
Well the Gorse Fox says that GoBro is providing too many "services" on the never-never, spending money he doesn't have by borrowing stealing it from our collective future (having already sold off much of the UK Gold Reserve at the bottom of the market. He is counting on the next Government not being a Labour Government and that they will take the heat when the public purse strings are pulled tight and somebody has to pay off the debt

Monday, June 15, 2009

Old Friends

The Gorse Fox had a frustrating start to the day... "Can you be in Farnborough for a review from 8 until 12" came the request. GF thought about the logistics and politely declined - he also had to be in London in the afternoon and it just wouldn't work. He agreed to dial-in.

0800 GF dials the number and waits. Twenty minutes later he is still waiting. He gives up. He makes contact with the "team"... the call had been deferred until 0930. (What a good job he hadn't trekked up there for eight).

0930 he re-dials, ten minutes later the call is opened and we start. GF explains that he has entered his reviews as commentary and markup in the files... he is thanked and dismissed. He is even more pleased that he hadn't trekked across there.

He collects his thoughts and heads up to London. What a pleasant trip it was. The train was fairly empty, the journey trouble-free. A he left the train his phone rang and he was asked to help out with some work for Auntie for a few weeks. That sounded fun so he agreed.

The afternoon's meetings went well and when all was done GF headed along to the Festival Hall's Skylon restaurant for dinner with Mother Superior and the Abbott. It was the perfect end to the day - a very nice meal with good friends. GF suspects he will be doing the London trip far more frequently over the next few weeks!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Going nowhere

The Gorse Fox has driven about 80 miles today without really going anywhere. It went something like this...

Need new fine-cut blade for circular saw. Go to Focus DIY. They don't have any.
Go to Wickes, they have some, but wrong diameter.
Return Home.

Pick up tools and drawer carcass to head to the flat and finish fitting the drawer. Lay everything out to check it... 3mm too wide. Pack drawer carcass back up in the car.
Swing by B&Q for the saw blade. Choice of hundreds... none with correct tooth count and diameter.

Head home. Finish adjustments on drawer. (Incidentally, these were always expected - it's easier to take a few mm off than put some back on). Glass of water, pasty.

Head to Screwfix - too much choice. Still no blades of correct diameter and tooth count. Bought new circular saw and suitable blade.
Turned round and headed back to the flat. Finished fitting drawer.
Headed home. Fitted alternate blade to new saw.

Sat down with a cold Weissbier. Enough!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ebb and Flood

The Gorse Fox was on the move fairly early. The replacement of the sink in U-c's flat has required the replacement of the work surfaces. That, in turn, has necessitated help from U-c's friend with a van; even GF's car cannot accommodate 2 3m worksurfaces.

Safely nestling in the garage the work surfaces await cutting to length; a task that will have to wait as GF needs a new blade for his circular saw (to ensure a clean cut).

Betty and Barney Rubble came across from distant Hampshire to spend time with us. After the initial coffee and gossip we out for lunch. We chose the Arun View - it's been a favourite since we moved down and has never let us down. Sitting by the window, overlooking the river, we watched as the tide came in and raised the river level some 3 or 4 feet during out meal. Lobster was the catch of the day so we made the most of the reasonable prices and munched our way through lobster sald or lobster thermidore.

Our post-prandial trip ended up at a garden centre. This came as no surprise... but allowed time for the meal to settle. It also involved the purchase of several horticultural specimens - mostly for Betty & Barney, but another Acer for us.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Move along

Not much to see here!

Another full day of reviews... a little uninspiring. Silver Vixen is out with her coven and Urban-cub is in the other room watching Big Brother. GF is quietly sitting in the failing light enjoying a little TV.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Council

The Gorse Fox spent most of the day reviewing documents for some colleagues. This turned out to be fairly interesting - though did raise many questions and corrections.

He also ran a teleconference which was the first part of an election process for an internal Starfleet super-geek group. The number of candidates was low and the level of interest low - a sort of electile dysfunction. So he re-opened the nomination process for a few extra days and will re-run the call next week.

The ParisH Couuncil planning meeting was a little frustrating - somehow the 30 minutes of content and business expanded to fill two hours. It was GF's fault - he was chairman, but wasn't feeling dictatorial enough to cut the discussions.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Keeping score

The Gorse Fox has had a good day, making much progress on the course he is working on, and getting involved in reviewing some material for colleagues... in fact a LOT of material!

When all was done there was a family outing to a local DIY emporium. The sink (and it would now appear the worktop) in the kitchen needs to replaced before the tenants move in. We wandered through the ranges available and found suitable samples. What is needed is a "man with a van" for the worktops... but in the meantime the kitchen sink and taps have been fitted into the back of the Gorse Fox's car.

Collecting Chinese food on the way home we settled down to watch the football and were well-satisfied with the 6-0 scoreline.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

News and contact

What an interesting day. The Silver Vixen was out with her coven learning how to craft something or other for their capes or broomsticks... the Gorse Fox was tapping away at his keyboard back home and researching further information for the course he's writing.

The cat was quiet. Too quiet.

GF carried on with his work, taking calls and making calls. Reading documents and slides - and creating new slides.

The cat was definitely too quiet. GF became concerened. He instigated a search - garage, utility, kitchen, lounge, studies, bedrooms... nothing.

Mother Superior rang. It had been a long time since we last spoke. It was so nice to catch up with her and exchange all the relevant gossip. 

The cat search continued sporadically.

Work calls and research continued until Urban-cub returned and then Silver Vixen. Needless to say at Urban-cub's return GF expalined about the cat and she headed straight for the garage - the cat wandered back into the house as if nothing had happened. All was well.

The best point of the day, however, came mid-evening when the the Bishop rang - the GF's aunt is finally out of Intensive Care after nearly 9 months. Motor function seems to be returning and real progress is being made.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Reviewing the Situation

The Gorse Fox had to travel to Farnborough. He had been asked to participate in a review of a large up-coming contract. He had a long discussion with the Don prior to the meeting to ensure he understod as much as possible of the background. Then prepared for the event itself.

This seemed to be attended by a cast of thousands - which surprised him, given the technical nature of the review. Once it started, however, it was clear that they had not prepared the technical details and were intent on telling us the story of their efforts. Whilst interesting, this turned into a long afternoon - and they were asked to go away and get all of the technical information so that it could be reviewed later in the week. A wee bit frustrating.

Smug

There is something about the elections - both UK and European - that makes one feel smug. It would appear that the electorate have maintained their distate for the current Government and slapped them about a bit. It is, perhaps, too much to hope that their seedy party, which peddles a politics of envy, is about to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Success

Despite the weather forecast it was a lovely day in this part of Sussex and though it has clouded up a bit and there are a few odd spots of rain it still looks like a nice evening.

The Gorse Fox had no particular objective for the day and is pleased to report that he achieved them absolutely.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Sawdust

The Silver Vixen spent the day with her coven. This left the Gorse Fox and the Urban-cub to their own devices. The Urban-cub was "on a mission" and spent the day rushing around doing stuff.

The Gorse Fox headed off to Wickes to get some wood and then returned to make the drawer that he's spectacularly failed to make 10 days ago. This time he was more organisaed and dug out his old slot cutter, biscuit-joiner and saw. An hour later, all was done.

The England football game (away in Kazakhstan) was not shown live, except on Setanta - really useful when only about 3 people actually have subscriptions. Fortunately Twitter and live feeds from the web kept GF in touch. By all accounts the game was fairly boring - so maybe the idea of watching highlights isn't so bad. Anyway, the 0-4 result was satisfactory.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Results

So, in an effort to cheer up the Prime Minister after last night's resignations the country gave him a resounding raspeberry in the polls. Not a single council (of those up for grabs) is under Labour control... not a speck of red defaces the map. And just to keep journalists in their feeding frenzy we saw further resignations and a reshuffle.

I hope that there isn't a cat at Downing Street.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Benefit culture

An unremarkable day.

The Silver Vixen was out attending a course at Selsey, and the Gorse Fox was left at home in the care of the cat. Not once during the morning did the cat bring the Gorse Fox a cup of tea or coffee (or even offer to make one). At lunch a few stern words were exchanged and the Gorse Fox was hoping for a better service during te afternoon. He was to be disappointed.

Some rubbish excuse about the lack of opposable thumbs was not satisfactory - said cat needs to pull its weight, not just lie about all day living on benefits.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Weekly curry 'may fight dementia'

Now and then there is an article that is good news. it would appear that 
The key ingredient is curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric.
Curcumin appears to prevent the spread of amyloid protein plaques - thought to cause dementia - in the brain.
It's nice to find some food based story that isn't a scare. Particularly as it's curry.

Archives

The Gorse Fox has always been cautious. As a result he has multiple backups stored on multiple machines and in multiple places... and when he finishes a project or engagement he archives all the related files on CD or DVD and stores them somewhere safe. (In fact he has materials, emails, letters and documents stretching back to 1988).

Over the last few days the Gorse Fox has archived all his files and also reviewed a number of old archives and day books. This turned out to be fortunate - he managed to find the files from a course that he attended back in 1998, a course that he wishes to reference for the course he is writing.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Welcome back

The Gorse Fox phoned the PC hospital to enquire on the prognosis regarding his loved one. As expected it turned out to be the PSU - which the kindly PC doctor replaced with a transplanted PSU rather than a new one. He'd also run several sets of diagnostics and managed to recover some it's youthful spriteliness. 

The machine is now back in the bosom of its family, being fussed over and cared for.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Where?

The good people of Worcester were confused. Indeed they though that the Gorse Fox was confused. Having bid his leave from them ten days ago, what was he doing back? or was he just a bit senile and had come across country out of habit?

The Gosre Fox had to assure them that this was a planned visit to present some key material to their execs, and senility had not set in THAT quickly. All went well, and GF his bows and again left the building.

Job done.

Reforming Parliament

As Old Father Time just pointed out in an email, if Gordon Brown wishes to reform Parliament, maybe the first thing to do is ensure that the Prime Minister has been elected by the people.