Friday, April 30, 2010

One night in Bangkok

One night in Bangkok left this strong man unbroken… but a morning in MBK was quite the other way. The Gorse Fox should explain that MBK is a shopping mall near the National Stadium. It’s big. In fact it’s very big. About the size of Berkshire… and then stacked up across 7 floors.


This photo is one of the two atriums (atria?) where lifts and escalators transport bewildered shoppers between the floors.

One of these floors was dedicated to knick-knacks, pashminas, scarves, and silks. Is there any more that needs saying? As we wandered about the Gorse Fox marvelled at the degree of competition and salesmanship exhibited by the store keepers. Despite their best ministration we managed to escape with only a scarf clutched in a small plastic bag.

Escaping the clutches of the 6th floor we descended to the fifth. This was new experience. One corner of the mall was cordoned off and as you entered you were given a credit card. With this clutched in your hand, you wandered through a number of stands where you selected the food that you fancied and put it on the card.
IMG_6015 The choice was superb: Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Italian, French, American, Chinese, Indian and so on. Cousteau-cub pigged out on curry, whilst the Gorse Fox (being in Thailand) had Japanese nigiri and teppanyaki seafood grill with ramen noodles. The Silver Vixen demolished a Thai red curry. This was superb and such a simple but practical concept. As you leave you hand in the credit card and they work out the total owed.

Feeling full we burst out of the air-conditioned mall back into the 37C heat. Our destination was the other side of the river from where we went yesterday. A taxi was called for and we plunged headlong into Bangkok traffic. This, it became clear, drives (essentially) on the left as we do in England. However, it was also clear that road-markings, pedestrian crossings, and even traffic lights were no more than a convention to be adhered to by the timid. GF noticed a sign as he passed – but wqas too slow to grab the camera as they swept past “Porn Petch”. No comment will be added at this point.

Arriving at the pier we used yesterday we caught the ferry across the river. IMG_6018 Our destination may look like the Bangkok Space Centre, but is actually Wat Arun one of the last Khmer-styled edifices to be raised in the City. Known as the Temple of the Dawn it dominates the west bank of the river, almost opposite the Grand Palace.

The short ferry ride deposited us on the west bank and we headed for the temple grounds.

One of the things worth noting at this stage is that we seem to have the various tourist sites virtually to ourselves. C-c was right in calling this low season – but it did mean that we really do get a brilliant experience. IMG_6066 We paid our 50Baht (about £1) and walked into the complex and started wandering about. There was  magical feel to the place and GF couldn’t help but think of pictures he had seen of the temples at Chichen Itza in Mexico. The steep steps lead up to various stages – but were so steep that it made you think twice before ascending.

The Gorse Fox leapt, like a mountain-goat(*), up the side. The view, already god, got steadily better. At the top level GF turned a corner and surprised an attractive oriental girl enjoying a Marilyn Munro moment in the updraft as she took some photos. Whilst alone up their she obviously was not concerned – but the GF joining her, modesty prevailed.


As he has mentioned, the views were superb. (No! Behave!). From the top there was great view across the river to the Grand Palace.

Climbing backwards back down to ground level the Gorse Fox rejoined Couteau-cub and the Silver Vixen and they headed back to the river to catch the ferry and then the water taxi back to the sky train and the hotel.

It was still hot and steamy and the pool seemed an attractive option.DSCF1880

The sun was going down (remember this is the tropics and it gets dark at about six-thirty.

Cousteau-cub’s dive computer revealed the pool temperature to be 30C. It was like dropping into a warm bath (well, without the soap and bubbles). All three of us made the most of the facilities and whiled away some “chillax” time swimming back and forth.

Showered and ready rock we headed back out to a night market… but maybe that will be a tale for another time!

(*) Some may question this metaphor, and suggest walrus may be more appropriate.


We strolled along to a famous restaurant last night. It has 10 years of awards rating it as the best in the City. Certainly it was excellent – if a little pricey. We parted from C-c who headed back to her hotel as we headed for ours, a quick internet fix, and bed.

This morning – we slept in. There was sleep to make up – and who were we to ignore it. Now, bright-eyed and bushy tailed (metaphorically at least) we prepare to meet the day.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Being a Tourist

Being a tourist is always a bit more fun if you have someone with you who knows the lie of the land and watches out for pitfalls. Cousteau-cub provided just such a service.
We headed across to the sky train where we picked up the next ride to towards Sathorn and the River.
The air conditioned carriage was already seen as a must. The 27C heat when we landed had increased now that the sun was well up and the humidity was stifling. The journey only took 5-10 minutes and we were deposited by the small pier where we picked up a ferry to take us to the heart of the city.

The ferry passed plush hotels perched next to slums, fabulous palaces and small restaurants. All life was there, as they say.
We disembarked just before the Grand Palace and wandered through a small market and found a number of street traders setting up for the day. Cousteau-cub needed breakfast – and we needed a drink already. Stir-fried chicken, chilli, and basil on sticky rice ensured C-c was not going hungry and iced green tea ensured we didn’t dehydrate. As we left the little plastic stools on the road-side we encountered the first of many attempts to scam us. As we approached the side gate of the Palace a chap assured us it didn’t open until 1 o’clock – but was happy to guide us round elsewhere until it opened. C-c answered him in Thai – and he immediately realised he was found-out and left us alone. This particular scam was tried out about 4 or 5 times as we walked the perimeter of the Palace to the main entrance.

Inside the walls stands a different world. It was phantasmagorical. Pinnacles, spires, and domes dripping with gold and with coloured tiles that caught and reflected the tropical sun. It was, quite literally, breath-taking. As we made our way round every path and and corner, new vistas and new marvels were revealed. This was different world. (Talking of which, the Gorse Fox noticed how many foreigners there were. Chirpy little coves. Nice smiles and funny way of talking.)

IMG_6007 We stopped at many of the temples and, removing our shoes and hats would wander in to see the shrines.
Compared to the Baroque obscenities of some of the European Cathedrals – these had a peace and charm and lightness that made the visit a pleasure. There is a problem, however. Bruising. When your jaw keep dropping at these sights, you end up with a bruise on the chin.
From the Palace we headed on to Wat Pho – the giant 40 metre Buddha in another collection of stunning courtyards and palaces. Many, many more photos were taken and they will, no doubt, find their way onto Flickr at some point.
We headed back to the hotel. It had been a long day and we didn’t want to overdo it in the heat. An hour or two to rest was called for – then we would head out once more… for who knows what!

In Bkk

The rest of the flight went off without incident and we arrived at the futuristic airport in Bangkok. We were quickly through the formalities and heading for the taxis.

The taxi driver smiled and grabbed the first of our bags and opened the trunk of his car – across the trunk hung a washing line with various items of the recent wash still drying. The Silver Vixens case took pride of place next to the driver – there’s no need to disturb the washing!

While we made our way to the hotel the texts started to ping back and forth. It was clear that Urban-cub had been following our progress and had now formally handed the baton of control over to Cousteau-cub.

We checked-in and made our way to the room – within a few minutes the phone call from reception was announcing the arrival of Cousteau-cub and she headed up to join us. It has been a long time since we last saw her and it was so exciting to see her again that we just sat down and chatted for an hour or so before deciding on what to do for the day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


The Gorse Fox has now leapt forward 6 hours by adjusting the timezone on the computer. Outside a bright moon glints off the engines as we streak through the night. Not sure where we are at present but we passed Amritsar about an hour back.


About six hours to go. The flight has been very comfortable despite the evident age of of the 747-400. It seems strange to be on a flight without individual screens in the back of the seats… but on the TV screen up front they are showing Avatar.

Most of our fellow travellers are asleep.


The morning started early – but that is the pleasure of international travel and the need for three hor check-in times. This conspiring with the vaguaries of the M25 mean that you have to be cautious and allow plenty of time.

Urban-cub acted as chauffeuse and ensured we had a trouble-free first leg of the journey. Arriving at LHR we completed our check-in, picked up a few bob of Thai currency and headed off to get some breakfast.

Suitably replete and with time trickling on we bade adieu to Urban-cub and prepared for the next leg of the journey to see Cousteau-cub. Every stage of the trip seemed to be going remarkably smoothly – no queues for check-in, no queues for security, pleasant stroll around the shops, half empty plane… This is how travel should be.

The flight left on time and took a track across the North Sea. Crossing The Netherland we headed over Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Myanmar and finally Thailand. (That may not be the exact sequence, but GF is working from memory of the pilot’s briefing).

By the way – Thai Airways food is superb.

More later.

Service Disruption

There is likely to be a certain amount of disruption to this blog over the next few weeks. The Gorse Fox will diligently write his entries, but if unsure  of the degree to which he will have internet access. Rest assured that all will be uploaded in the fullness of time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bouncing Broadband

Blasted broadband is bouncing on and off. Not sure if it’s the Gorse Fox’s router or BT… but it does claim that that it can’t pick up ADSL every now and again… so suspect it it is the line to the house or the switchboard. Shame, when it’s been so reliable for so long now.



Windows 7 plus: Google Chrome, Google Picasa, OpenOffice, Skype, Evernote and iTunes…bare minimum, but functional.


Reconstruction of the Gorse Fox’s netbook continues apace (alongside real work). At least it is now able to start up and operate – though it will take quite a while to get it back to a preferred state. GF did take the opportunity to upgrade it to Windows 7 at this juncture… downloading all of the latest drivers from the Samsung web site.

This entry was written from the netbook as a means of checking all was beginning to stabilise.


During Tuesday’s normal day’s work (albeit from home) GF will have to rebuild the Netbook. All attempts of recovery last night came to nothing. Must conclude it is well and truly stuffed. Mea culpa.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Gorsefox is not happy. He was clearing up the disk on his little netbook... and managed to destroy the boot menu and hence cannot start the system. Not at all.

Now GF needs to find a way of rebuilding. Pooh!

Winding Down

After the excitement and pressure of last week, the the Gorse Fox has a remarkably quiet day today and tomorrow. This is good as it gives time for the brain cells to stop processing the bid activities of last week, and start looking forward to the forthcoming trip.
One a different subject – the magic little phone – GF was pleased to find a Dropbox client and also FTP servers & clients.
Oh yes, and the PADI Open Water “theory” is now complete, new swimmies are purchased, new shorts are in the bag, Cousteau-cub’s shopping list is all accounted for, and foreign exchange is ready for collection at the airport.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Test 3

This final test concerns the treatment of photographs.Jane

This random photograph of some strange woman gurning seems like a likely candidate for the test.

Does the photo get uploaded correctly? (And where to?) and is it placed correctly in the blog post?

Why is Gorse Fox doing all of this? Well he is assuming that there will be times when he is away that access to the internet is limited or at least inconvenient. He does, however, wish to continue blogging and hopes that he can upload batches of blog posts that were developed off-line and that they will retain their correct date information.

Test 2

Well it looks promising in that GF can store drafts locally (with no connection). Now the question on everyone’s lips is “Does this retain the original publication date and time?” or does that get reset when the file is finally uploaded?

One more test to go. (And yes, it does seem to respect rather than reset the publication dates).

A series of Tests, please bare with the interruption

This is just a test post to see whether Windows Live Writer actually needs to have a connection or whether GF can “stack” posts.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


That’s better. The Gorse Fox is now a little better organised. He has managed to spend the morning re-booking Cousteau-cub’s flights and hotel so that she can meet up with us in Bangkok.  Just as he was finishing that all of the official paperwork for GF & SV’s trip arrived by email. The printer was chuntering away for ages getting everything out on hardcopy.

GF found a web service called Tripit. This seemed to be a good way of collating all of the travel details and sharing them with interested parties. He duly signed up and posted all of the relevant details so that everyone who needs to know has the same information. There’s also an “app” for the phone so that the information is available when you are on the move (though it is probably only useful in your home country, or in emergencies due to the cost of data-roaming on phones).

Shame about the Spurs score at Old Trafford, but at least Man City only managed a draw.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Fell asleep on train. Ended up in LA. Now waiting for train back.


It is done. Well and truly. Document finished. Documents formatted. Documents sent.30 seconds to spare.

Cheer goes up.

Office is emptied.

Beer is consumed.

Journey home commenced... and bottled of wine threatened.


Did the Gorsefox ever tell you how frustrating he finds some products from Redmond. Since he got out of bed some 31 hours ago, MSWord has crashed and lost updates 3 times and he has also had a "blue screen of death" that lost updates and precious time.

And yes, the Gorsefox does know about and use both autosave and ctrl_S.

Straight through

Well GF and a few hardy colleagues worked straight through the night. Starfleet evidently switch off the heating but not the air conditioning. By five o'clock he was frozen and started to muse on the efficacy of a fire in one of the offices... and maybe some tea.

People are coming back in now and the heating is back on - a degree of comfort returns.


This is just a test of Blogaway, the Blogger app for the Android phone.

Still, still at it

Getting chilly on deck. Still editing and reviewing. Crew dropping like flies now.

Still at it

Yep - still reviewing and editing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Team Feast

Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
GF is looking to a long night. Editing and word-smithing all day - but still a fair way from completion.

"Deliverance" proved to be a good choice for selecting dinner. An online menu gave us a choice of Indian, Chinese, Italian, and American cuisine. After an exchange of project funds a little man in a van fetched said meals from their nearby kitchen and delivered them to the door. The team took over one of the Starship training rooms and tucked in. (GF suspects tomorrow's student may not thank us).

Latest draft has just been released so we are diving back into the text.


Travel Agent phoned to say that all was now arranged - flights, hotels etc. and our trip is back on - just deferred by 7 days. This means that the Silver Vixen will miss the Malvern Quilt Show - but GF guesses that a trip to some of the Thai silk markets may ease the disappointment.

GF finished editing documents soon after midnight last night and was back at it early in the morning before catching the train back for more Text in the City. He suspects it'll be a long day today.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


So Gordon Brown has said that he is in politics to make a difference and if he isn't making a difference he'll go. Well the Gorse Fox would like to suggest that he's safer when he's not making a difference... considering the areas that he did effect:

  • pensions
  • gold reserves
  • financial crisis

and a list as long as Peter Crouch's arm.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Well, GF and the Silver Vixen heard - as expected - that they would not be travelling when planned. The airline said the flights would not be leaving but we could re-book. The travel agent was brilliant and just slipped the trip by 7 days. Managed to cancel Cousteau-cub's flights and hotel - and will need to rebook them for next week.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Well the ash cloud continues to disrupt the preparations and travel plans. GF is still not sure whether he and the Silver Vixen will be flying off to Thailand or not this week.The travel agent has assured the GF that they can re-arrange the trip or will refund the cost, but the airline should be contacted. The airline said to call back on Tuesday at 11:00. So everything is still up in the air (so to speak).

Busy day at work

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Thinking about all of the ash, the Gorse Fox wondered how long the cable was for his Dyson?

Mmm, maybe not.

So much to do

There is so much to do, and so little time.

  • Check status of travel plans with travel agent
  • Complete teleconferences this morning
  • Finish some estimates for the client bid
  • Finish documentation for client bid
  • Plan work for the team whilst GF is away
  • Pack (or not)
  • Get currency (or not)
  • Complete voting proxy
  • Monitor Urban-cub's progress - at least she's out of hospital again as of late last night
But first... a cup of tea!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


There is a conspiracy afoot. This conspiracy is working against the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen, knowing they plan to visit South-East Asia in the near future:
They called an election. hoping we'd stay and vote. (Sorted - proxy voting forms)
The client moved the date for bid submission. (Sorted - except for i-dotting and t-crossing)
They blew up a volcano to ground all flight. (Still working on this one)
Urban-cub was taken into hospital. (Still working on this one, too)

Oh well, life was never meant to be easy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Yes Ma'am

It was 06:30 as the taxi carrying the Gorse Fox swept towards Buckingham Palace. Should he stop in for breakfast or carry on to Starfleet. He decided that the ceremony that would probably accompany breakfast at the Palace would delay his busy day and opted for the Starfleet staff restaurant.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

5000 up

A long day again - but a good one (because Spurs beat Arsenal last night). It waould be be nice to say something important and pithy in this 5,000th blog post. Unfortunately the day was consumed by work. Gorse Fox was at his desk soon after seven and has spent the day rying to finalise estimates, worked on documents, and generally kept his head down.

Finally getting away he headed back to Kensington and dived straight into Wagamama's for a repeat of last night's culinary delights.

I saw that Gordon "knows what needs to be done". That's excellent. Step down and disband the Labour Party.

GF notes the volcanic disruption to flights. He still has a few days for the winds to change before it become problematic!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Not Indian

The Gorse Fox had another interesting day - trying to complete ablutions, trying to get dressed, trying to get things out of the "wrong" pockets. Pharmaceutical preparations ingested with breakfast and lunch provided limited relief, but hopefully will allow a good night's sleep.

In the office the Gorse Fox had a number of meetings where the current project was reviewed at different levels and with different "lenses". Consumed a lot of time, but was useful.

At the end of the day GF headed back to Kensington and planned to eat at the Indian he had noticed yesterday. The establishment, however, was deserted and GF headed back towards Balans. In contrast they looked packed so GF decided to head back up the other way to Wagamama's. Even that looked like a poor choice at first as people were queuing outside, This turned out to be the outcome of the fire alarm going off. A few minutes later we were ushered in and all was well. Terriyaki beef and crispy squid was an excellent choice and may require a further sampling another night.

Back in the hotel it seems that several coachloads of a) Italian children and b) Italian near-corpses had been delivered. The former were running up and down the corridors and playing in the lifts; the latter were sitting in the lounges and bars staring at each other, waving their arms about, and shouting in Italian.

Gorse Fox retired to his room.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


The Gorse Fox used to visit High Street Kensington often as a youth. The advanatage of living in Cockfosters, at the time, was that tarvel was simple. Piccadilly Line would link hime to almost any part of London easily. Forty years on it is remarkable how little it has changed - obviously there are new shop fronts and new franchises - but essentially it has changed little. (Biba seems to have gone, as does the old market).

GF got off the tube, called the Silver Vixen and wandered along the Street looking for a suitable restaurant. He chose an establishment called Balans and boy did he strike lucky. It was a limited menu but covered most bases - for an omnivore such as the Gf it was a problem - too much choice. He plumped for the Jambalaya - chorizo, clams, squid, prawns, tomato, rice and so forth. Brilliant.

GF's shoulder is no better (thanks for asking) - but he has, under SV's instruction, got some paracetemol and ibrufen. Hopefully that will allow some more successful sleep tonight.

Saving grace

Ahh, Starfleet's staff restaurant sells Nurofen!

What a pain

The Gorse Fox seems to have wrenched a muscle or something in his upper arm. This was probably the outcome of wrestling laptop and suitcase around. The upshot of this appears to be:

  • It hurts, and that prevents sleep.
  • Last time he emptied his laptop bag he removed the emergency strip of ibrufen
  • He doesn't pass any open pharmacy en route to the office
  • He's tired, therefore likely to be less patient than usual
  • He's proved that he is not ambidextrous as he found it difficult to manoeuvre the toothbrush or hairbrush with his left arm
  • It's difficult to dry your back after a shower when you have no power in the reciprocating arm
  • It's difficult to tie your tie
  • Putting on a jacket is like a sketch by Emo Phillips

Pathetic really.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Manifestly mendacious

Laptop playing up. Relying on phone.

Gordon Brown has released his manifesto. It promises to rebuild the country. Two points:
1. Given that he has been at the heart of government that has got us into this mess, why does he think he can be believed.
2. Given that none of the promises of the last manifesto were fulfilled, why would any believe this one.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The Gorse Fox has been reviewing documents and editing text all morning. The material is coming together quite well but still needs a broader review. He suspects that the coming week will be frantic. He’s managed to get an hotel for the week but it is in Kensington so it will be a tube journey each day rather than a pleasant stroll along the Thames like last week.

It looks like a fabulous day outside. It is a shame to be swamped in work and not able to enjoy it.

Tried several times to call Cousteau-cub but failed miserably.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


The planned trip to Thailand is not too far away now. With GF’s work commitment he has very limited time for preparation.So once back from Buckingham, GF spent some time reviewing various web deals and offers to see if they offered any benefits for the trip. He resisted.

FA Cup Semi Final result will please the Cousteau-cub… though GF feels a sneaking sympathy for Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa given the way clear-cut refereeing decisions have changed the face of their big games of the season.

Spurs play the other semi tomorrow – let’s hope they have a good day. Somehow, GF thinks that Pompey may give a do or die performance as they are already relegated and fears a banana-skin.


Despite not feeling well, the Urban-cub has left the nest to spend time with the Princess for her hen-do. Not sure it was a bright idea, but let’s hope she has good time.

Friday, April 09, 2010


That was a day!

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed out from our overnight sojourn in Buckingham. It was a glorious start to the day and traffic was light, at least until we arrived at the NEC. Once we had cleared the Hooray Henriettas going to the showjumping, we made our way onwards to the Gadget Show Live.

People were queuing for the shuttle buses by eschewing the free transport we walked from the car park to the exhibition halls.

The building had not long been open but was already thrumming with the rampant excitement of geeks and nerds - and the whiff of linament from the more mature visitors. On display in the halls was a wide selection of every gadgets and gizmos that you could wish to see. There was a supersonic car, there was a Formula One simulator, there were Power Tools, there were cameras, there were video cameras, there was every kind of laptop, netbook, notepad, and e-reader that you could wish to see.

Making our way around the show wheezy bitter and sad down each aisle to ensure that we did not miss any of the exhibits. Having said that we did skip the game zone, which was of no interest to the Gorse Fox.

Soon after lunch, we made our way to the auditorium. The live event was scheduled to begin at two o'clock. As the introductory music reached a crescendo, an 8'6" robot strolled onto the stage and introduced the presenters of the show; Jason Bradbury,Ortis Deeley, Suzi Perry, and John Bentley. There followed an hour and a quarter of entertainment featuring competitions, giveaways, amazing technology, gadget racing, and even dance. The Gadget Show Live was without any doubt well worth the entrance fee.

Leaving the auditorium, we returned to the exhibition halls. The initial crush had died away, and it was easier to examine interesting gadgets close-up. The gorse Fox returned to examine several cameras and several small net books, but in the end, he Resisted the temptation to part with any money.

The exhibition closed at 5:30 and we made our way back to the car park, fought our way out of the exhibition centre, and joined the Friday rush-hour on the M42. Within an hour we were back in Buckingham, quaffing a glass of cold white wine, and preparing to go out to dinner with the Silver Vixen's sister and partner.

Cheng-Du the Chinese restaurant in Buckingham, turned out to be an excellent choice, and we had a splendid evening. All in all, it was an excellent day.
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Thursday, April 08, 2010


Very busy day at work... but had to get away early

Leaving a sickly Urban-cub in control, Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox are heading up to the far North to stay in Buckingham tonight.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Domo Arigato

An early start saw the Gorse Fox walking along the Thames path towards the Starfleet offices. The day was busy with meetings, optimisation workshops, spreadsheets, more meetings and more spreadsheets.

At the end of the day the Gorse Fox snuck out as the clock was striking seven. Back along the Thames to the hotel and dropping his bag in his room he turned on his heels and looked for an eatery.

He chose Tsuru, a Japanese restuarant that he had noticed the previous night at the Bluefin Building. What an excellent choice this turned out to be. A prawn and scallop dish, a chicken tempura, and a chicken katsu curry. Oh yes, and a chocolate fudge brownie! Excellent - GF will definitely return when in the area.

Back in his room there's another hour or so of work to get done.

Update on Desire

A reader has asked how the Gorse Fox is finding his new phone. This is easy, it's either in his top pocket or by the bed.

As a device it is superb - the screen has exceptional (class-leading) clarity and the 1Ghz processor makes it a very snappy performer. There appears to be a limitless supply of apps from the "market" and so far the Gorse Fox has found apps to do almost everything he has wanted. There are a couple of things (TVCatchup for example) that are not yet available - but are scheduled for imminent release so it is no major issue. The integration with the various Google accounts and features is superb and it works as an extension of GF's Google environment - Contacts, Mail, Calendar etc...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Right or Left

The Gorse Fox had a busy day up at Starfleet's offices by the Thames. What with progress on his bid, he also had to review another bid which robbed the day of a couple of hours. That is something that will need writing up this evening.

He strolled along through Southwark to his hotel only to be told he had no reservation. With infinite patience he showed them the email confirming his reservation and explained that he had phoned on Sunday to cancel the first night of the 3 night stay. They had evidently not recorded this and marked him (and charged him) as a no show. GF said this is not an issue as long as they resolve the problem to his satisfaction. The approach paid off as they found him a room and said they would sort out the no-show charge.

With bags dumped in room he returned to reception. "Which way to a decent restaurant?" he asked. Turn right, then right again at the second set of light and there are several on the right, expained the receptionaist.

He set off. He dialled the Silver Vixen on his way and gave here a running commentary as he wandered the streets. What seemed like several miles later he looped back having not found any suitable establishments. On a hunch he set off again, this time turning left whenever the instruction said right. This proved to be the correct approach and he found himself by the Bluefin Building where he chose a Middle Eastern restaurant and enjoyed a Duck & Apricot Tagine with a nice glass of Rioja.
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Monday, April 05, 2010

And Breathe

The Gorse Fox had a few pressing chores to complete this morning but once that was done and lunch (a thick lentil and bacon soup) consumed he whizzed round to the station to get his ticket for the week and then settled down with his PADI Open Water Diver manual and videos for an afternoon of study.

What was heartening was that most of the “science” was basic physics that he learned in school – the new stuff was more in the area of the equipment and how it is set up and used. However, it didn’t seem too complicated and he assumes that a lot of it is a matter of good practice, confidence, and inner calm. (And remembering not to breathe water).

Busy, but short week coming up.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to everyone.

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen plan to meet up with Betty and Barney Rubble today. The forecast is a bit mixed, but the day has certainly started very brightly.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


Though he really shouldn’t be.

The Gorse Fox went to Curry’s to look for a microSD card. They had them but for what he wanted they expected him to swap seventy-nine perfectly serviceable pounds of our national currency. This seemed unreasonable to the Gorse Fox.

Arriving home he checked online – same make, same model, same size, same specification – twenty-seven pounds. GF’s good friend Mr Amazon will now be sticking said device in a very small envelope and posting it.


The Gorse Fox wishes to learn to scuba dive. Cousteau-cub has offered to tech him and to improve the experience she has suggested having a face mask made up to match the prescription for his glasses.

The Gorse Fox phoned the store where he got his glasses. Because it is more than 2 years since his last eye test they will not tell him his prescription. “We do not recommend that you have anything made to a prescription that is more than 2 years old” she quoted. Well, thank you for the recommendation.

The Gorse Fox requested the prescription be sent anyway. The young lady was not happy.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Not the Streetcar

The Gorse Fox has been happy with his mobile phone but the contract has now expired and so GF tootled back to the shop and negotiated an upgrade. Gorse Fox was keen not to be sucked in by the iPhone hyperbole and locked in to the closed world of Apple.

The trip was most advantageous. Exchanging 20 of Her Majesty’s finest pounds and signing a new contract for one third the value of the previous contract, GF left the shop clutching the new HTC Desire – an Android based phone.

When buying any new gadget there is a degree of set-up and familiarisation. The Gorse Fox found the set up  to be very straight-forward and spent much of the afternoon familiarising himself with its features and seeking useful Apps from the store.

GF had considered waiting and getting the same phone from Vodafone, but examining the offers left him in little doubt that T-mobile was the significantly better deal.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


The day started bright, sunny, but cool. Gorse Fox checked out of the hotel and strolled along to Olympia station to pick up the tube. Now Olympia isn’t like most stations with train running every 3 or 4 minutes. It is on a branch line and only gets a train 3 or 4 times an hour. GF had evidently just missed one as he had long wait and was quite chilly by the time the train arrived.

Crossing the Thames over the footbridge running alongside Hungerford Bridge GF could help but admire the view of London in the early morning sunshine.

The day was interesting. Lots of serious writing and nearly five hours of estimating using some new estimating tools. What was nice was seeing the Chief Exec of Starfleet’s UK operation queuing in the coffee line for his own coffee, not once but twice during the day. What was better was that he recognised the Gorse Fox and stopped him as he walked by, shook his hand, and had a chat about old times… when we used to work together back in the mid-90s.

The offices were almost deserted by late afternoon. At 5 o’clock we had our usual end of day meeting. As it started the heavens opened, there was lightning, there was thunder and the Gorse Fox was not looking forward to his walk back to Embankment. Umbrella at the ready he slipped out of the Starfleet offices and splashed along the Southbank, crossed the River, and arrived at Embankment tube with his feet damp and his trousers soaked.

When he got to Victoria the Tube station was crawling with Police and cameramen to record a piece regarding the recent murder that was perpetrated at the station last week. Everyone was being filtered out through the small exit into Victoria Street. This was like emptying a sack of porridge through a syringe. GF was delighted to finally see daylight.

A couple of hours later GF arrived at Angmering. The Silver Vixen collected him from the station, and he was soon home. Urban-cub poured out a glass of wine as GF settled down to a plate of Sushi.

Tomorrow is a “Bank Holiday” so though it was a short week, work-wise, it was a good and hard week.