Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Arriving back at Olympia GF crossed the road to the little Indian Restaurant where he ate a couple of weeks back. He assumes they are not too busy as he was greeted like an old friend even though there had only been one previous visit. As he sat, the only guest, the two waiters took it in turns to come and chat. They commented on how green Islamabad was, how prevalent Starfleet is in Pakistan and so forth. What really threw the Gorse Fox was the question "Are you from India?" Now GF does tend to pick up some colour in the sun, but it's the end of winter. He is at his palest. And whilst he can mimic many accents, he had been talking in his normal voice.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
It was a full day - meetings, calls, documents, and of course, spreadsheets. At the end of the day we had an executive pep talk. GF had to bite his tongue as said exec told the team how important this bid was and how significant it was to Starfleet's strategy. This is the exec who was so busy at the beginnining of the year that the team did not get access to the required resources when first needed.
The Team was also informed that a major review would be required. GF has been pointing this particular review as major milestone since day one. Evidently, however it came as a surprise to everyone else. The phrase "Voice crying the wilderness" springs to mind.
The team met for a beer after work in teh "All Bar One" near Waterloo. What was most impressive was the young lady taking orders - she seemed to be able to memorize 10-15 orders without writing them down. Stunning performance.
After the beer GF walked along past County Hall and stopped at a Japanese noodle bar called "Aji" for dinner. Very like Wagamama's it appealed to GF's taste buds. He had some chicken dumplings, and some chicken katsu curry with a glass of wine. Then back across the bridge and back to Olympia.
Monday, March 29, 2010
It was a busy day just because of the amount of catching up that was needed.
At the end of the day GF headed off to Kensington and his hotel. Though he stayed at the same establishment a couple of weeks back, he has been allocated a very different room this time... or is it just a wardrobe with a bed?
It took a while to decide on dinner. Given yesterday's discomfort something simple was called for. He checked the room service menu - and then decided to stroll along the road to Pizza Express where he could get a better pizza, a Caesar salad, and a glass of wine for less that the cost of just the pizza in the room. Pizza Express was in the shell of what had once been a bank. It was huge and according to the waiter would seat between 350 and 400 covers. Well tonight there were 5 tables in use, thre of which were solos like the GF. Despite this service was very slow, but the food was good.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The Gorse Fox is suffering a degree of gastro-intestinal discomfort. This has been building throughout the afternoon. The Department for Energy and Climate has been in touch and asked about siting a wind farm just off the coast from here, but GF hopes this will not be necessary and things will settle over night.
The Gorse Fox was in a reflective mood. The week had been productive in that all of the decorating was complete, but frustrating in that he had some 1-2-1 interviews with his corps from Starfleet, he has some online learning to complete (how to Design a Starship in a Team and conform to the Customary Value Method); and he had to provide some continued support support for the project.
As GF packs for the coming week’s sojourn in the London office he notes that Starship always seems to assume the first few months of the year are quiet and therefore loads its dedicated employees with mandatory e-learning, mandatory refreshers, mandatory “row harder” calls, mandatory pledges of allegiance (against which you will be measured), demands to know how to contact you over the Easter period, and expects that all vacation is cleared by 6th April. Then it gets twitchy when people start taking their vacation at “critical” times. It then asks caringly about “work-life balance”. This actually defined as “is there enough life left in you to work?”
Well there is in the Gorse Fox and having finished this morning’s e-Learning, he’s back at it tomorrow.
GF thinks it was a good job that he and the Silver Vixen are not in Tenerife as they normally would be at this time of year.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
The Gorse Fox notices that the BBC have reported “Gordon Brown reveals five key general election pledges”. The highlights seem to be:
- Secure the recovery
- Raise family living standards
- Build a high tech economy
- Protect frontline services
- Strengthen fairness in the community
Well, well, well.
After 13 years of Labour we find pledges that imply that these items have not mattered before. The Gorse Fox would have thought that these were the very least that any government should do as a matter of course – not as promise for the future.
So what do these really boil down to?
- Secure the recovery
Boom and Bust comes to mind! Having presided over the catastrophic financial demise of the UK Economy – they would like the Gorse Fox to believe they are doing something clever to recover. This being the same group of individuals who sold the UK Gold Reserve at the bottom of the market, who dithered as the banks toppled, and who are incurring a £1.3Trillion national deficit.
(Question: How stupid do you thing we are?)
- Raise Family Living Standards
This is apparently being done by raiding families’ private pensions (again), by raising fuel duty, by taxing holidays, by giving Council workers the rights to enter homes, by allowing HMRC to open your mail, by taxing houses based on the view or proximity to services, by taxing telephone lines… the list goes on and on
(Question: How stupid do you think we are?)
- Build a High Tech Economy
The Gorse Fox should hope so.
- Protect Frontline Services
The Gorse Fox wonders who they are being protected from. Then he remembers that whilst it makes sense to invest in such services as the Police, the Armed Forces, the Fire Brigade, the NHS and a few others – it is ridiculous that we invest in many of the stupid services foist upon us. He also remembers that the way the Government Departments are run means that there is no reward for saving money, only for spending all of your Budget. The only risk to frontline services is the Government machine itself.
(Question: How stupid do you think we are?)
- Strengthen Fairness in the Community
Sounds good. This means that the Gorse Fox won’t have to pay for the indolent? This means that all communities will be equal under the law? This means that if a group build in open fields without planning permission they will be moved on and the fields reclaimed? This means that all traditional religious groups will be treated in a similar fashion? After 13 years of Labour none of that is happening now.
(Question: How stupid do you think we are?)
The problem is that there are members of the electorate that will be suckered… as they were 5 years ago. As long as people vote GF shouldn’t care – but he does begin to wonder if there should be some form of eligibility test before you get a voting form.
Do not disturb.
The Gorse Fox is having a quiet day. The sun is pouring warmth from the bright blue skies, Spring has definitely started (with the gentle warble of motorised lawn mowers filling the air yesterday, though obviously not today on The Gorse), the decorating is about done, a radiator cover is on order for delivery on Monday, and Spurs have just won 2-0 against Portsmouth, whilst the Forces of Darkness were held to 1-1 draw by a late goal at Birmingham.
The Silver Vixen has been pottering – checking old paint cans, clearing up behind GF, and even checking round the flower beds and pots.
GF had to review some local plans for the Parish Council – nothing too controversial – but no doubt some will not see it that way. There’s certainly plenty of precedent for the changes being sought.
GF needs to start psych’ing himself up for the coming week of work… but can’t even psych himself up to do that.
Friday, March 26, 2010
The paint that Gorse Fox has used to decorate the downstairs bathroom has obviously been mixed by some alchemist or wizard. Perhaps the Gorse Fox should explain.
The walls were blue. They were to be changed to “cappuccino”. The paint was from an old tin found at the back of the workshop and was quite rusty on the outside. Once open and thoroughly stirred it appeared like any other paint. When on the brush or roller however it seemed to slide across the surface to be painted rather than adhere. More worryingly though, it seemed to be transparent – the underlying blue clearly showed through whilst the paint was drying.
Where the alchemy came in was the drying process… at the end of which it had pulled its little molecules together and clearly left a very good finish that had become both opaque and the requisite colour.
All of the major painting is now complete – though there are some smaller bits to do still. Overall, very pleasing.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
But then the Gorse Fox should never underestimate the stupidity of the voting public... that, after all is why we are where we are!
Thirty minutes later GF leapt to his feet, performed a fandango and sprung from the room. He had escaped and the ministrations of the inquisitor had proved both painless and successful in that his feet felt significantly more comfortable than they had for quite a while.
The Gorse Fox had a rare opportunity to visit the Doctor. He needs to get a form signed to state that he is fit to scuba dive on the forthcoming trip.
Now He observes that the media make a great song and dance regarding “man flu” and the inability of men to stand up to minor ailments. The GF would merely observe that of the 14 people in the Doctors’ waiting room – only 2 were male and one of those was the Gorse Fox with his form.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The Gorse Fox has had another successful day. Up and about early, he masked the walls and edges of the carpet and went mad with a roller and the gloss paint. Now many purists eschew the use of paint rollers. The Gorse Fox however, is a great proponent of their use and the speed at which huge areas can be quickly covered. The particular paint used today has a six-hour drying time. This meant that once finished, GF was able to twiddle his thumbs play on his computer and conduct some personnel reviews whilst watching paint dry.
Taking six hours as a guideline, rather than deadline Gorse Fox launched himself once more at the walls. The second coat went on much more quickly deft strokes, sweeps and dabs rapidly achieving the finish, that was planned.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Gorse Fox has developed a habit. It was probably acquired from Urban-cub. You see, every time she tries to leave the house she ends up returning for some forgotten item.
When the Gorse Fox is doing DIY or decorating he lays out (at least in his mind) all of the items that will be necessary and then gets going. At this point he discovers that something is missing, has run out, or is insufficient. He duly puts on his jacket and heads to the DIY store to purchase, replenish or replace said item. As he waves goodbye to the person on the checkout he call a hearty “See you later”.
You may think this is a friendly affectation, but no. Years of experience have taught the Gorse Fox that a single trip to the DIY store is never enough and that if he goes there at all, there is bound to be at least one subsequent visit. Today proved this point yet again. In fact, to be honest, if the Silver Vixen had not needed to get something he would have ended up making three trips… fortunately because she was out GF was able to phone and request that she collect the missing “roller for painting behind the radiator”. (Incidentally, he also knows that he will find the old one when he finishes later this week).
Monday, March 22, 2010
The first day of vacation started at a leisurely pace with tea, muesli and the papers. Then a wander through some emails and some time updating a spreadsheet before the paint brush leapt into GF’s hand.
Masking up and cutting in took a few minutes before it was time to grab the ladders and staging get everything set up ready to spin the rollers. Silver Vixen helped out with small landing at the top the stairs. By mid-afternoon the walls were done and GF & SV were clearing up.
A good day
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The Gorse Fox managed to get through to Cousteau-cub on the phone. It is clear that she is as excited about the impending visit as are the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox. It was an opportunity to discuss some of the more practical issues:
“What about taxis from the hotel your place?” asked the Gorse Fox. There was a brief pause as she went on to explain “Taxis aren’t quite what you would expect – they tend to be pickups with a bench on the back or even motor bikes with a platform for the passenger”. The Gorse Fox observed that he used to ride a motor-bike but though he passed his test he never bothered having it recorded on his license. Cousteau-cub responded “License? you see 8 year olds driving motor-bike here with their families on the back”.
Looks like this trip is going to be an eye-opener.
Silver Vixen is feeling a little under the weather today, so GF will have to ensure he does not cause too much of
a disturbance when he starts throwing paint up and down the walls again
Saturday, March 20, 2010
The Gorse Fox thoroughly enjoyed last night's Sports Relief telethon. In particular, with the segment featuring Smithy winning BBC Sports Personality Manager of the Year award was exceptional. A great moment in comedy. Despite the humour, it was a rousing call to arms for our politicians and our sports people and will surely be cited as a great motivational speech.
Over the next few days the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen have plans to complete various decorative projects within the house. He does however still have some outstanding items of work to complete so that his team can ensure there are no loose ends during his vacation. The Gorse Fox is feeling a little sorry for himself this morning. Over the years he has had recurring problems with his big toes. This morning he is feeling considerable discomfort from the big toe on his right foot.Typically, this sort of discomfort culminates in the removal of a toenail. Each previous time this has been done he has been assured the nail would not regrow and will be well. Each previous time, however, the nail has regrown and each time the problem has recurred. This is all very fine but with a trip to Thailand planned, the last thing GF wants is a problem that will prevent free movement or potentially swimming.
Spurs have a difficult game today against Stoke City. With eight first-team players injured their depleted squad will have to work very hard for three points.
Friday, March 19, 2010
The theory is that we have arrived at the weekend. For the Gorse Fox, however, it hasn’t quite worked out like that. With a week’s vacation coming up he still has to write a hand-over to the team, complete a mandatory Starfleet course which won’t load on the computer, and finish some documents that are needed for review on Tuesday.
GF will have to grab some time slots over the weekend to complete this lot.
What was nice today was the opportunity to catch up with an old friend - albeit on the phone – but it was still good to hear what he had been up to and how he could help the project GF is involved with.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
This will be the first thing he would do when he logs on in the morning. Hopefully, this will be a useful addition to his arsenal of software and will help him in the task of writing the various response documents that will be required over the next few weeks.
This blog entry has been dictated using Dragon NaturallySpeaking and so far it seems to be quite a useful tool.
(*) There is the off-chance that they are here to see someone in the TV studios next door.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Meetings, calls, documents and questions filled the day and progress, though slow, was steady. One of the partnerships was confirmed, another seems to be moving towards a satisfactory conclusion. Some potential collaborators were also lining up to help.
Other platoons within Starfleet were falling into line and things have a chance of getting back onto track.
At the end of the day our team decided to find a restaurant and eat together rather than splitting up and each eating alone like three "Billy no mates". We headed along the river, crossed the Thames and the Strand and headed up to the edge of Leicester Square. There, on a corner, was an inauspicious little establishment called Tokyo Diner. It served bento, sushi and sashimi.
The Gorse Fox got lost in the menu and found it hard to decide what to try. So much sounded and looked so good. Eventually he plumped for the Chicked Teriyaki Bento (in the photo) and some squid nigiri (sushi) and prawn nigiri all washed down with some sake. It may have been a funny little place, but there is no doubt it was excellent and will certainly receive many return visits.
It didn't take too long to get back to the hotel and touch base with the Silver Vixen... but it will be nice to head home tomorrow after work.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
In the office we had a review with several Starfleet Admirals and Chief Engineers where we were asked to explain what we were up to with this long-term bid. This enabled them to stroke their chins sagely, to nod knowingly, and to cast their pearls of wisdom upon use. We respectfully hung on their every word and will of course fulfil their every whim.
GF also had an opportunity to interview two of his new staff for the first time today. Both seem like good chaps.
Have to talk to the other two new boys tomorrow.
Leaving work he headed back for the tube. Again it was unpleasant - and Earl's Court was an absolute zoo as the normal crush of commuters was augmented by Chelsea supporters en route for a game. Arriving in Olympia GF headed straight for a restaurant for a pleasant curry and a glass of lassis before heading back to the hotel.
Monday, March 15, 2010
GF let several trains go by - it would be unseemly for a man of his demeanour and dignity to be seen forcing his way onto a crowded train.
Boarding a quiet train GF headed for Earls Court where he changed for Olympia and then wandered along to the hotel. It was too late to go back out for a meal so he settled for room service. Unlike the Marriott, the Hilton had BT Openzone which meant GF had decent internet access.
This got him thinking about the restaurant itself. Expensive (13p for 4 fl oz of hot water) with diminishing portion sizes and staffed by people who would clearly prefer to do anything rather than serve, smile, or interact in anyway with their customers. With the exception of one or two individual they are as humourless as quick-set concrete.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Should be a lot to say, but it’s late and the Gorse Fox has an early start. Quick summary:
- Try to call Cousteau-cub
- Flowers and card;
- Try to call Cousteau-cub
- Drive to Buckingham (Try to call Cousteau-cub during journey)
- Try to call Cousteau-cub
- Pick up Silver Vixen’s Mum
- Try to call Cousteau-cub
- Go to Silver Vixen’s sister
- Try to call Cousteau-cub
- Give up and book holiday anyway
- Have lunch
- Talk a lot
- Drive home
- Email Cousteau-cub
- Tweet M4tt
- Get bags ready for the morning
- Write blog entry
- Go to bed
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Many people have their historical heroes; Alexander the Great, Aristotle, Churchill, Max Planck, Leonardo Da Vinci, Cavendish, Einstein, Feynman, Boyle, Homer Simpson. The Gorse Fox has, however, just crossed Isaac Newton off his list.
Perhaps he should explain.
If it had not been for Isaac Newton, when the Gorse Fox tried to descend the ladder in the stairwell that he was painting, gravity would not had flung him in a downwards trajectory across the stairs. Without Newton’s damned gravity he would have just floated above the paint tray and the stair rail and neither would have been impact points on his arms and legs.
Blast you, Isaac Newton.
Now, should that title end with and exclamation mark or a question mark?
The Gorse Fox ordered some software last weekend from Nuance. He wanted the packaged product, not the downloadable image.
On Tuesday he received the confirmation that it had been sent from the distribution centre in Ireland. By Friday though, there was still no sight of it so he phoned to enquire on its whereabouts. It turns out that because he had not asked for Express Service the package could take 10-21 days to arrive. For it to take that long, he assumes it is being hand carried by a delivery agent who is walking from Dublin to West Sussex to ensure the package doesn’t get lost – and if this is the case then he is impressed by the personal service he is receiving. If however, it is not being hand carried by a specially selected personal delivery agent – then, in this day and age, the service is pants!
Friday, March 12, 2010
The Gorse Fox danced round the kitchen with the elegance of gout-ridden walrus. There’s a holiday in Thailand to pay for! He returned to the envelope – how much was the rebate?
Ah. £5.30 – probably wasn’t going to make a significant dent in the overall financial position. Evidently this some is so significant to National Debt however, that HMRC couldn’t be bother to reimburse it.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
A plate of sushi and a glass of wine seems like a suitable end to the day.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The afternoon was interrupted by an email plea from a distant family member. Gorse Fox was suspicious and cross checked with Facebook and Twitter and in the end concluded that her account had been hacked and there was no panic and no need to change the evening's plans.
Plans may actually be a rather grand word for the evening. Back at the hotel GF phoned the Silver Vixen and then decided that he would order room service and have a quiet evening in preparation for tomorrow's workshops.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Having dropped his bags in the room he phoned the Silver Vixen to check on what was going on in Sussex. She's had a successful day and enjoyed her first meeting of the coven at their new location.
He headed back out the room and made his way to a nearby Indian Restaurant. When he arrived at Meghani one table was already occupied but the restaurant was othewise empty. He settled down in the corner and ordered a mixture of dishes whilst watching the world pass by. Sitting at the other table were four haircuts that haven't been seen in England since 1973. He became aware of the chatter and realised that the other diners were English and Italian and kept switching back and forth between the two languages. "Last time we wer here Gianni was so drunk he ordered loads of dishes for us and then got up and went home leaving us to eat it all and pay the bill". (Evidently they know how to enjoy themselves).
An elderly lady, obviously a regular, walked in and on being greeted explained that she had had a dreadful day and they were lucky she was there. Her young companion arrived and before his coat had been removed she had thrust a sheet of paper into his hands and bemoaned here dreadful day. As the conversation emerged it was clear that she had been trying to learn a piece of music - and failed. He muttered words of comfort and explained that he waited "until I can feel the melody in every sinew of my being". A fleeting urge to slap was quickly suppressed. Obviously they live right on the edge this close to St John's Wood!
Further diners arrived and before long all but one of the tables was occupied. A foursome arrived and were shown the table next to the Gorse Fox. They sat and began to chat - in French. The restarant was full. It was good, and it was obviously cosmopolitan. The Gorse Fox commented as paid the bill, but the proprietor explained it was like that every night.
The Gorse Fox headed back to the hotel. How can a hotel not have free WiFi in the rooms in this day and age? and how can there not be a shaver socket in the bathroom (for electric toothbrush charger)?
Monday, March 08, 2010
GF then tried Laterooms... but nothing appropriate was available (i.e. not too cheap and not too expensive).
Trying again just now, however, the Starfleet system threw up some new choices and lo! GF now has accommodation planned.
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Yesterday’s effort paid off and by the end of the day the hallway had been redecorated. “Overtly Olive|” didn’t sound promising and GF was sceptical right up until it was finished – but now acknowledges that it looks really good. There’s still a bit of touching up to finish and a length of dado to be replaced – but essentially it’s done.
This has brought the stairwell into sharp focus. This is an item that we have not attempted since moving in. It will take a great deal of effort, a head for heights, and nifty colour scheme and some inventive solutions to solve some of the “anomalies” in the plaster and the junctions where the stairs meet the walls.
Oh yes… and GF needs to spend some time finalizing arrangements for a trip to Thailand!
Saturday, March 06, 2010
He went into the garage to get some Polyfilla and massages the tubes as usual to make sure the content was malleable. In the cold of the winter the plastic tube had perished and the act of massaging the tube caused it to fall apart leaving the Gorse Fox with his hands covered in moist, quick drying filler.
Cleaned up, he headed back to Focus and bought this fresh replacement.
Now, where was he?
Friday, March 05, 2010
Today is Starfleet’s day of ignominy. Promises and contracts amounted to nothing. Over the last few months they reset the clock on the crystals and today the bright blue crystals that have shone in the palms of so many colleagues for so many years will fade to black and they will be vapourized or maybe escape from the dome. Master Inventors, Distinguished Engineers, loyal foot soldiers all sacrificed for the sake of shareholders and globalisation.
The Gorse Fox wishes his departing friends and colleagues all the best for the future. He hopes they find happiness and contentment and assumes they will delight in the relief of escaping from the incessant pressure of the past.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
The Southern Railway were most apologetic. A line-side fire near London Bridge was causing serious disruption and delays. Resigning himself to a long journey the Gorse Fox settled down with his iPod.
Bizarrely the journey turned out to be trouble-free and GF arrived on time. No doubt he would suffer on the return journey – particularly as there is and England football game on TV.
Again, he was wrong. Everything ran to time… and he just got home in time for kick-off.
GF suspects this will luck will be balanced out in the near future.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Google has a new feature called Buzz. It’s been available for a couple of weeks now… and GF has been using it. It allows the Buzzer to send messages and receive messages a bit like Twitter but embedded within Google Mail.
GF has now extended this to use a layer on his Google Maps. This allows him to send Buzz messages on the move and also to see what is going on nearby. Seems like a neat feature and the Gorse Fox thinks it is much better than Twitter.
Monday, March 01, 2010
As the Gorse Fox returned home from a day in London the train lurched along track and the guard announced: “Has anyone left their pink bicycle in carriage number 6? There appears to be a bike here with no owner”. The Gorse Fox checked his pockets – not, it wasn’t his.
Now he may be getting old and a tad forgetful, but is sure he’d remember if he had a bike with him. He fears therefore for the state of mind of the owner of said velocipede – particularly when they realise they have left the train and they are pedalling home on thin air.