Thursday, September 30, 2010

Better

The Silver Vixen seems a lot better today. She’s back on her feet and this evening has headed up to the community centre to hep take down the exhibits that her coven have been displaying for the last month. It has been immensely successful and generated a great deal of interest in the dark arts of sewing and patchworking.

Gorse Fox has a long day tomorrow as he heads up to the far north for a meeting near Manchester. He wonders if he’ll see any inuit or reindeer?

Late

Why do Starfleet’s leadership always start their teleconferences and webcasts late? Do they think that the crew have nothing better to do? 4 minutes and counting… This always gets Gorse Fox on the wrong foot as he’s furious by the time they condescend to speak.

Seedy

Why is it that the “on-hold” music for Starfleet’s webcasts always sounds seedy and like the soundtrack from a 1970s film that would have required delivery in a brown-paper package and would not be suitable for sharing with the Vicar?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chilling Words

It is reported that Neil Kinnock’s reaction to Ed Miliband’s leadership speech was to say “We have got our party back”. Can there be any more chilling thought than a political party the Kinnock recognises and celebrates.

To Sleep Perchance to Sneeze

The Silver Vixen has been clobbered with a significant cold. Significant enough that she has spent the day in bed being supplied at regualr intervals with hot drinks, paracetemol, and words of sympathy and encouragement.

GF booked his car in for what should be its last service and first MOT next week. He also spoke with his tame salesman who said that his new car was currently scheduled for a build slot in week 43. That’s good and should mean that the car is only a few weeks away.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Overheard

At the weekend, the Gorse Fox was walking along the banks of the River Arno between Ponte Vecchio and San Trinite. As appears common, traffic hurtled along the narrow street and people tightrope-walked along the narrow footpath. The Gorse Fox edged out and overtook and elderly matron and her husband. A Chicago growl rose from the matron:

“I’m surprised we don’t see more bodies on the street” she opined.

“Dat’s because they chuck dem in de river” responded her husband, sounding like Jimmy Durante.

She snorted, and moved on.

So soon

How quickly the memories fade. Indeed that was one the problems last week as memories of the rucksack and the phone faded too soon. Now a couple of days back and it’s like Gorse Fox had never been gone. The client is still in a state of utter chaos and Starfleet is getting conflicting messages from their programme director and from their procurement team.

Silver Vixen seems to be going down with another cold – and is less than amused, having only just shaken off the last one.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just Right

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Once in a while you take a photo that is just right.

The Gorse Fox was delighted with the way the sun caught the cross and made it glow atop the Duomo in Siena against the deep blue of the September sky.

For the first time with one of his photos he has actually asserted his full copyright on this image… as a rule he allows Creative Commons License, but thinks this one is worth better protection.

Segway

IMG_6889 The Gorse Fox notes, from the BBC, that the owner of the Segway business has died in a freak Seqway accident at the weekend. This is obviously a tragedy, but also a weirdly coincidental as GF had noticed this tour party in Florence (see photo) on Friday.

Photojournalism – maybe not

For those who have a high boredom threshold and would like to see more photos of the recent trip to Tuscany, the Gorse Fox has now uploaded more images.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Travelling again

Things worked out well. The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox bade adieu to Betty & Barney and headed for the train station. We had allowed plenty of time (to allow for mishaps) and this proved to be a good decision. The train was waiting for us and we made ourselves comfortable – but by the time it left it was packed and people were standing in the vestibules. We changed at Pisa Centrale ad headed for the airport.
Once checked in and security cleared we stopped for some coffee and then looked at the various shops that tempted the traveller. The plane ran to schedule. As we arrived and collected our bags, Urban-cub was waiting to whisk us back to the coast at the end of another enjoyable City break.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Treasure

In case nobody has mentioned it before in guide books or travelogues – Siena is a treasure. The intrepid foursome left the hotel and headed for the train station where for about 6 Euros each we booked our train to Siena, and some 90 minutes later we were pulling in to the railway station on the outskirts of the medieval gem. A short bus ride deposited near the centre and we set off to explore (guided by book that we had ordered from Amazon a few weeks back).

Florence is a throbbing, vibrant, and cultured city with plenty to see and do., but Siena seems lost in the mists of time and is like wandering through a film set – but for real. Whilst there were thousands of tourists, it never seemed rushed, or frantic – it just absorbed the people and folded them into its streets and piazzas so that they became part of the scenery rather than distractions from the scenery.

IMG_6982 We wandered down to the Campo, famous for the horse racing held round the square in July and August, and settled down for a coffee and to watch the the city shrug at the latest influx of tourists and continue its unique existence. Once caffeinated we headed out with cameras in hand and made our way across the square towards the bell tower, then round through the alleys and walkways marvelling at every new twist and turn.

 

 

IMG_7012 By lunch time we had found our way near to the old fish market – behind the main Campo and found a small restaurant where we were seated by the crusty old owner. Examination of the menu was a treat but when the Silver Vixen and Betty Rubble ordered the mixed cheese plate each, the owner put his foot down and said “No”. One is enough. And so it proved to be. The meal in general was excellent, if a little rustic. The fine spots of Balsamic vinegar that decorated certain t-shirts were an unexpected extra. As we drew to a close we ordered some coffee – espresso, and Americano was greeted with approval, but when the ladies requested Cafe Latte – he muttered something about Ba mbini under his breath and headed off to get the order. He did leave a carafe of grappa on the table which the Gorse Fox sampled with a degree of trepidation… and whilst rough and strong the small sip that he had proved no problem.

It was whilst we were in the area of the fish market that Barney Rubble realised he had forgotten his spare camera batteries. Betty gave him a piece of her mind that was spare at the time. GF, sighed with relief that it wasn’t him being forgetful again. He volunteered to take any photos that were required, but this was not necessary in the end.

 

IMG_7030 After lunch the zig-zag tour of the town continued, the highlight of which was the Duomo – the Cathedral. A masterpiece of dark and light marble it gleamed in the afternoon sun, looking quite magical. Tourists manoeuvred to get the best photos and wandered round gazing at the building. One Japanese tourist rolled ontto his back and started snapping away from the ground whilst pointing at every carving and embellishment. 

Unfortunately a cyclists’ group were holding a rally of some description and poor rock music was blaring out across the square, rather breaking the ambience.

Come late afternoon we headed back to the station and caught the train back to Florence. We changed quickly and went straight back out for dinner at a local restaurant (almost next to the hotel). It was, without a doubt, the best meal we had had during the stay, and was enhanced by knowing it would only take 30 seconds to get back to hotel!.

Saturday - Siena

Plan for today involves a train to Siena and a visit round the old city. This also gives us a chance to check all the times for tomorrow's return journey to the airport.

Yesterday evening we spent out in one of the main squares - there was a light rain, but the restaurant had covered seating and as it was still quite warm we made the most of the al fresco dining. The rain had obviously kept a lot of people at home (either that or they were watching QI) so the town seemed remarkably quiet (resent company excepted).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fear ion Florence, Terror in Tuscany

It is with a certain degree of trepidation, but also with pridee that the Gorse Fox reveals that so far today there have been no mishaps, losses, misplacements, or moments of forgetfulness (as far as he can remember).

An eraly alarm got us up and about. We had to have breakfast and walk across town to the offices of a small tour company who conduct tours of the City using native English guides. Well, that’s what the literature said. Actually our guide wasn’t English, she was Florentine, but her English was excellent and gave us no trouble. For sure.

IMG_6871 We visited most of the well known sites and had an intriguing commentary on the Piazzas, the Palaces, the Cathedrals, the Bridges and so forth. What quickly became abundantly clear was how wealthy Florence had been during the Middle Ages, and how that wealth has created the foundations of what we see today.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6882 One thing that you quickly notice is the statuary that adorns every niche or open space. You also notice that many of these statues are in various states of undress. This caught Betty Rubble’s eye and she spent an inordinate amount of time examining the bottoms of the men in marble. Her excuse was artistic research, but GF suspects it goes deeper than that. The sites were really quite stunning and hopefully the attached pictures will give you some inkling of the day.

 

 

 

IMG_6904 One of the last stops was the famous Ponte Vecchio which despite heaving with tourist still maintained a certain charm.

 

 

 

 

IMG_6891 From there we headed for the Duome and finished in the Cathedral with an explanation of its history and the problems of building such a large dome.

After the tour finished we stopped off at a street cafe for some lunch. The Gorse Fox continued to clutch his rucksack throughout the meal. His phone remained securely in his pocket and he refused to handle anything but the meal. He was taking no chances.

 

 

 

After lunch we headed back towards the River and the bridges and after some photos moved on to the Caste Pitti and the Boboli Gardens. We spent and hour or two wandering around the gardens, looking at the views and enjoying the calm of the open spaces after the bustle of the city. Finally we stopped for some tea before heading back towards the river, the ice cream shop and stroll back to the hotel.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The continuing trials and adventures in Tuscany

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As old age continues to impinge on the travelling party, Betty and Barney Rubble suffer the affliction of not getting the alarm clock set correctly. So as SV & the GF enter the breakfast bar, the phone message arrives to confess to the alarm “problem”. If only that had been the only incident in the day!

We completed breakfast and headed out across town back to the bus station (just by the train station). There we bought a ticket to Fiseole – the target village for today’s adventure. The ticket seller explained we had to get the #1 to St Mark’s Piazza, IMG_6779 and there change to the #7. It became clear as the #1 set off that it was carrying us back (through a circuitous route) to a spot near our hotel. No harm done, for the sake of a 1.2Euro ticket.

At St Mark’s Piazza (shown in the first photo) we swapped to the mountain bus that would carry us up to the village. Fifteen or twenty minutes later we were climbing off the bus into the square at Fiseole.

 

 


 

IMG_6781 After Florence it was quite a contrast. There was little traffic, and few tourists. It was relatively peaceful – and could lull one into an unwarranted state of calm – but more about that later.

Our first stop was for a coffee. We sat in a small cafe overlooking some Etruscan and Roman ruins. For some reason we felt quite at home. Suitable fired with caffeine we bought our tickets and descended in among the ruins. These proved to be an unexpected pleasure with an amphitheatre, an Etruscan temple, hot baths, and goodness know what else. All of this was painted against a backdrop of the Tuscan countryside that was quite magical.

 

 

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The amphitheatre used to hold about 3000 people – the Gorse Fox observed that if they had been built in the stone age they could have been used for rock concerts.

 

 

 

 

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Scattered amongst the ruins wer soome extraordinary “steampunk” styled sculptures by a German artist. Not ony were the slightly bizarre, they were also immensely atmospheric and actually enhanced the whole experience.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6821

Finishing off the tour of the ruins we left the amphitheatre via the museum and then headed to the town square for a bite to eat and a drink,

There were several establishments from which to choose. We chose the second and settled down. The Gorse Fox removed his rucksack for the first time and placed it on the seat next to him. He tied hos camera strap to the rucksack and looped it round his arm. There was NO WAY he was leaving without them.

Some drinks were ordered and the foursome settled down to some salads. The waiter was a surly chap with few graces… and he had to be chased for part of the order – only to be told it was “finished”. The Gorse Fox, being a fast eater made use of the time whilst the others finished to call Cousteau-cub – and though he got through, she was evidently busy with a customer as all he could hear was the dog barking and her voice in the background. He gave up after about 5 minutes.

IMG_6835 We moved on from the square, walking up to the convent of ST Francis way up above the town It was a place of peace and seclusion and was deeply atmospheric. On the way up the hill, we were afforded some fantastic views across the valley below, and Florence.

Up at the convent the cloisters were perfect sanctuaries of calm and contemplation. Leaving there we strolled down through the woods to the ornate cemetery and then back towards the town. It was at this point that Gorse Fox thought he’d try Cousteau-cub once more. It was at this point he realised he couldn’t find his phone. It was at this point that his heart-rate doubled and he might have muttered a rude word. Catching up with our companions, GF asked for his phone to be rung – just in case it was tucked away somewhere he hadn’t looked. The phone rang – but no ring could be heard. It was lost.

When was the last time GF saw it? At lunch. Had he noticed it it since? He thought he had checked it whilst walking up to the monastery… but wasn’t sure. It would be a matter of retracing his steps. First stop better be the restaurant – so he raced off (remember, he races Gazelle-like) round the corner. He wandered into the restaurant. “Por Favor” he said trying to curry favour - “Did I leave my phone at the table”. The surly waiter looked up - “Non” he said. GF was about to turn when a huge grin broke across the man’s face. “of course you did” he said “welcome to Italy” and he handed the phone across the counter. GF thanked him profusely and left.

Panic over, and excitement for the second day reaching a crescendo… the travellers turned entered the cathedral for the last part of the tour of Fiseole. After the cathedral we mingled with a gathering a wedding party before catching the bus back down to Florence. Walking through the streets we avoided the tourist traps trying to seel beer for 11Euros and found a slightly more sensible bar for a quick drink before heading for a Gelato parlour for some ice cream.

Thursday in Tuscany

Yesterday evening was a resounding success. The hotel has an arrangement with a restaurant about fifteen minutes walk away. As we had no specific plan we decided to give it a try. The Restaurant Riflessi turned out to be a real find. The food was exquisite. The presentation was elegant, the surroundings were pleasant, and the service was both informative, friendly and thoughtful. Prices were reasobale and all in all the conclusion was that we had done well.

The plan for for the day started with breakfast at the hotel and a bus ride to a local hill-top village. Let’s see how things work out. One thing’s for sure – the Gorse Fox will be wearing his rucksack all day!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Trials of travel (or is it age)

An early start saw the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen ferried to the airport by Urban-cub. This was the first visit to the notorious T5 and it went rather smoothly. The lines for security were, of course, long and the security attendents were taking an exceptional time to examine two elderly English gentlemen with pacemakers – they were so feeble they could hardly stand – but the whole queue had to wait while they were ritually humiliated by security – then laughably, the rest of us who had been caught in this bottleneck were rushed through as if it was a race.

We met up with Barney and Betty Rubble for some coffee and made our way, sheep-like, onto the plan that carried us in a degree of comfort to Pisa. With the bags collected we purchased our train tickets to Florence, which meant a train to Pisa Central and then a quick change onto another train. This was all going rather well, really.

The clouds of fate, however, were gathering and an element of chaos about to be injected into our plans.

We boarded the train to Pisa – a journey of some 5 minutes. Then arriving at the station we headed for Platform 1 (at the opposite end of the station). There we waited for the train to Florence. Minutes ticked by, and the train arrived. GF heaved the bags up into the carriage – Barney Rubble right behind. The Silver Vixen and Betty Rubble behind him. It was at that point that GF realised he was missing his backpack. He had left it on the airport train. It contained his camera, netbook, SV’s camera, the perfume she had bought at the airport and numerous other sundries. GF felt sick to stomach.

Ordering an immediate about-turn they disembarked. GF explained his stupidity and set off, Gazelle-like (*), across the concourse to where the Airport train should be – meanwhile Barney Rubble went the station manager to explain the situation. GF arrived to find the train gone. Barney was more lucky – the station manager having phoned the train’s guard and asked him to look for the missing rucksack. All we could do was wait for the train to return.

Restoring GF’s faith in human nature the train arrived back at the station with the missing rucksack. Heaving a sigh of relief, the intrepid travellers continued their journey, catching the next train to Florence.

We have checked in to a nice hotel, just of one of the busy piazzas. A quick drink in tIMG_6757he piazza and stroll around the locale helped us get our bearings prior to this evening’s meal – which is looking very welcome at present.

Unfortunately, the big let-down of the day (other than GF’s stupidity) was the fact that we failed to talk to Cousteau-cub on her birthday. We tried numerous times, and left text messages – but it's not the same. All of the intrepid group hope that she’s had a wonderful day.

Felicitations

The Gorse Fox, Silver Vixen and Urban-cub are thrilled that today is Cousteau-cub's birthday. Though she is over 9000 kms away, she is very much in our thoughts and we hope she has a wonderful day.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Usual rush

The Gorse Fox is experiencing the usual rush that tends to precede any time away from the office. The client is giving a imitation of the pinball wizard in their thought processes and their decision making. Frustrating, to say the least.

GF has tried to contact Cousteau-cub but the phone just rang out.

Silver Vixen spent the afternoon at one of her covens – was expecting some new recruits,

Monday, September 20, 2010

Refreshing

It has been a refreshingly quiet day today. The Gorse Fox has been able to spend some time tidying up some documentation and doing some computer based training.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Red Baron?

Where’s the Red Baron when you need him?

The Gorse Fox is lucky enough to live in a small enclave on the South Coast where residents are bound by a covenant to avoid noisy work at the weekends. This means no power tools, no lawn-mowers, no hedge-trimmers and so forth. At first this seems draconian – but actually it proves to be a great source of pleasure as the “Gorse” remains quiet and people can sit quietly in the gardens listening to sea lap against the pebbles.

Well that is the theory. This theory is rather interrupted by some total t*sser who comes along at weekends and insists on doing acrobatics in small plane just off of our beach – defeating the efforts made by those of us on the ground to remain quiet.

Item for the agenda of next AGM – can we re-install the Ack-Ack battery that used to nestle in the corner of the estate? Otherwise, can we extend a welcome to the Red Baron?

Passion and bad sportsmanship

The Gorse Fox revels in the bad fortune of the Forces of Evil. Yesterday they were held to 1-1- draw at Sunderland, thanks to a last minute goal. From that point onwards the reaction of their manager was entirely predictable – being the bad sport that he is he waded in to the ref for his timekeeping. It would appear that not only is he oblivious  to what happens on the pitch, and consumed with angst over big boys tackling his precious kids, he is also completely unaware of how to lose (or in this case draw) with grace and honour.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Frame

A further flurry of sawdust, the whine of the new drill, a few splashes of weather-resistant wood glue and the base frame for the garage work top has taken shape. The Gorse Fox has a reputation for his Victorian approach to DIY – this doesn’t mean that he employs children, or servants working 18 hour shifts, but rather that he has a tendency to over-engineer. The frame in question is what he would describe as “sturdy”. Boeing have asked if they can borrow it to prop up the front of their Dreamliner, and authorities in Chile have asked about a bulk order to use the frames as pit-props.
Work will continue with the fitting of the work surface.
(Very impressed with the power of this new 18V Li-Ion drill)

Li-Ion

After a bit of research and comparing several possible sources, the Gorse Fox made his way to B&Q at Shoreham. (He had checked online, and the store at Worthing was out of stock). The defunct cordless drill needed to be replaced if GF was going to finish the work surface in the garage. There seemed to be a pretty good £40-off deal at B&Q  that made the purchase of an 18V DeWalt an almost sensible price. In the store it was still marked at full price, but the tills had been adjusted and GF left the store clutching his black and yellow booty.
Now he just needs to wait whilst it charges.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pop(e)ularity

The Gorse Fox’s blog seems to have been very busy today – his comments, via Twitter,  on His Holiness seem to have attracted a degree of interest that was surprising.

Done

Today was the final full day of the bid preparation for the latest project fro the client. Needless to say this  was spent satisfying the Trolls that we know what we are doing and the bid is sensible and deliverable. The Trolls had their say and we got back to work. GF’s input was complete and he offered help to colleagues. Everything looks frighteningly under control.

GF also finished off a macro for one of his spreadsheets – this dynamically builds an index of the worksheet and its contents.

The Silver Vixen managed to make the most of the good weather and spent the day out in the garden pottering about, instructing Mellors, and tidying up.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Visit

The Pope is visiting. Not the Gorse Fox, you understand, just the Country as a whole. The “aggressive atheists” and the sneering media have been trying everything to discredit and disrupt the visit. It is a shame. Nobody is perfect, but the Pope seems like a good man and he is being vilified for decisions made years ago and the Catholic Church is being vilified for the behaviour of some of its members.

The Gorse Fox is not condoning nor excusing actions of the wicked few – but he likes to remember that the Church is based on a foundation of “love one another” and “forgive your enemy” and a moral code that stretches back for centuries. Only a very small fraction of the billion church members have perpetrated these nefarious deeds that all are being tarred with.

It is trendy to deny the existence of God, to vilify believers, and to sneer at organised religion (as long as it’s not Islam). Well GF is a proud believer and proud of it. Sneer all you like… the Gorse Fox will forgive you.

God Bless you.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Level playing field

Did you know that £1bn in subsidies are paid out to UK wind power operators, according to Ofgem. Much of this subsidy comes from us, via our fuel bills. Over half of what a wind turbine "earns", comes not from the value of the electricity sold, but as a direct wealth transfer from citizens to the private operator.
This Public Information Announcement is brought to you via The Register as it is unlikely that it will be reported by the BBC.

Idle

The Gorse Fox notes that a Fire Brigade Officer had the temerity to say the unsayable – that many people are bone idle and he has managed to reduce his headcount significantly, yet improve the overall performance of the Brigade in his region. Now this gives raise to several observations:

  • This corresponds with GF’s observations – where sickness rates at one former client were up to 30% in some areas of the country. (Though he would add that there were many of their colleagues who worked their socks off – and deserved to be paid far more than they got).
  • This corresponds with an observation from the Deputy Head who also commented on people who go off sick for 6 months then come back for a week (otherwise payments drop)… then go back off sick. (This was the sort of behaviou recently featured in a national newspaper).
  • The Fire Brigades Officer has been forced to apologise.

The TUC are an industrial terrorist group and seemed to be hell bent on protecting the idle, the indolent, and the wealth consumers (as opposed to creators). This is also an insurgency against the private sector pensions which have been cut back year after year, but the TUC expect to protect their pensions – paid for by the private sector. This is an insurgency against the all the voters of the UK who voted for either of the coalition parties and therefore chose a tough line on managing the vast deficit left by the Union’s previous puppet government.

They THINK they will get public support – well the Gorse Fox can assure this Taliban-styled, stone-age group of thugs that they won’t be getting much support here.

It’s Just Another Day

The Gorse Fox has had another busy day. Busy days like this (particularly working at home) rarely have any major points of interest. Today was such a day. The Operational Model is effectively all finished except for some tidying up – but the important thing was to get the document, which will go to the client, under way.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nothing to see

The Gorse Fox has been heads-down all day trying to make progress between the five and half hours of telephone calls that interrupted the day. Little has happened of interest.
The Silver Vixen was out at one of her covens throughout the day – though should probably have been nursing her cold.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Old Friends

Silver Vixen has heard from Mrs Tiggywinkle. She and Badger were trying to arrange to meet us when they are in the area. Unfortunately, the dates in question clash with us visiting  Florence. We will be heading down their way in a couple of months so we’ll have to rearrange and meet up with them then.

Rhume

The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen have been fighting off sore throats. GF seems to be winning, but the Silver Vixen seems to be succumbing to a full-blown cold. Shame, but rather this week than when we head off to Italy.

GF made contact with Cousteau-cub. SHe seemed to have had a rough week so he sent a text to check she was ok. She’s spending a few days on Koh Phi  Phi to get away from some of the adolescent behaviour back on Lanta. It was clear that she was already feeling better, which was good news.

Work was intense, but at least he was working from home.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

TUC

So the TUC has decided that the voters of Britain who chose to elect a government that had promised cuts to sort out the national deficit left by the previous government are to be ignored and they will coordinate union strike action. Stupid, anachronistic, peasants. But at least they don’t get paid when striking – so that saves money.

Undead

The Gorse Fox notices that they have dug up Bruce Forsyth again for a cameo on Help for Heroes – don’t they think our injured servicemen have suffered enough?

X-Sunday

Had a lovely day with Agent Mulder before he returned to his current mission. We collected him in a small Surrey village and then, checking all the time for a tail, zig-zagged across country, doubling back to check we were not followed. We looped into a fold of the Downs and found a quiet Inn where we could have a quiet lunch before heading back home to the Coast.

Sitting in the afternoon sun we chatted about family news before finally having to deliver him to his train for an anonymous arrival in London.

Lovely day – an so nice to see him again.

Meeting

Today sees the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen meeting up with Agent Mulder. We’ll collect him from his current handler at a secret location not known by either of us, at a time that we will only know after it has happened. Then we will sweep back through the sun-kissed countryside towards to coast and decide on plans for the rest of the day.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Brighton

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen spent the day with SV’s cousin, The Coiled Spring, and family (the Deputy Head and Bonham-Moon). It was nice to wander round Brighton for a few hours and watch the stag and hen do’s as they kicked off and strange groups of people dressed as batman, superman, devils, angels, and so forth began their journeys from venue to venue to police station to A and E.
We went to an oriental buffet at “Day’s” – it was bustling and busy. There were over a hundred different dishes to select from including Chinese, Vietnamese, Malay, Thai and Japanese Cuisine. It was excellent. We all made several trips to the various buffet tables – for GF the presence of a Sushi bar and a separate Teppanyaki grill was the icing on the cake.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Design Feedback and the Parish

GF had some significant and positive feedback from the District Council regarding the Design Statement that he had prepared for the Parish. There are some changes to be made, and some areas where they fell we could strengthen our guidance, but in general it seemed well-received. Preparation of updates has been added to GF’s list of things to do.

Talking of the Parish, the Gorse Fox attended the Parish Council meeting last night. It was strange in that a number of members of the public attended – and whilst they are always welcome, they rarely turn up. The catalyst for their attendance was a presentation from the Fire Brigade as part of their “consultation” regarding changes to the provision of cover across the area. It goes without saying that this was viewed with suspicion and concern and parishioners wanted to have the say. The Gorse Fox would observe that the Officer left with a number of areas for further consideration, but one suspects that it will have little or no impact on the outcome.

Another topic that was discussed was the perennial issue of Dog Bins and the siting thereof. The Gorse Fox cannot believe how much of his recent life has been spent discussing this, and the behaviour of dogs and their owners on the Greensward. He suspect that the best solution is for any dog not restrained by a leash to be tranquilised and impounded and all dogs have to wear diapers.

Gorse Fox feared that he would open up a topic of contention when he commented on a letter received by the Council regarding “No to Nuclear” – he is strongly pro-nuclear and the sooner that the UK starts building new Nuclear Power Stations the better. He said his piece, and was astonished to find a general consensus within the Council and the parishioners who attended. For those interested in the science, rather than the arm-waving scaremongering and rhetoric, the Gorse Fox recommends reading (or listening to) Rethinking Nuclear Power by Brian Dunning (Skeptoid.com).

As days go…

Today has been pretty quiet for the Gorse Fox. This doesn’t mean that he’s been idle, just that the lower number of calls than usual meant that he could focus on the tasks in hand rather than suffer a significant number of garbage-collection cycles as his protein-based cache needed flushing to deal with interrupts.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Weird

Picture 1

After a rather unsuccessful Skype session with Cousteau-cub the Gorse Fox tried to determine why the connection wouldn’t hold or whether he had a problem with his webcam. Webcam appears to be working so GF assumes problem was that other end or in creating the tunnel between us. Will have to try again over the weekend.

Best Wishes

Today is the birthday of the Coventry Hobbit. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen would like to wish him a brilliant day – and regret that they cannot be with him to celebrate.

Better

The Gorse Fox’s ante meridian meteorological admonition of yesterday has evidently struck home. This morning sees a return to normality with wall to wall sunshine, powder blue skies swept clean by cherubs, and angels tending the unicorns in the fields. Golden rays of warmth stream across the heavens and illuminate the trees with a homely glow. Birds are snuggling up to one another as they sing their early morning chorus to the sun. Whippets have been seen fleeing north. All is well on the south coast, once more.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Maintaining Equanimity

A Starfleet colleague had sent a note yesterday requesting a meeting to clarify some aspects of the project. The Gorse Fox was up early and headed for the railway and on up to London. Two and half hours later he was unpacking his laptop and preparing for the day. Calls came and went, hours came and went, discussions came and went. The one thing that didn’t come was the colleague who had requested the meeting.
As you might imagine, Gorse Fox was less than chuffed and showed great restraint when she later called to ask a few questions. He maintained his equanimity and was polite as irony and sarcasm dripped from his lips.

Making an Exhibit

The Gorse Fox is very proud of the Silver Vixen. She and the “Naughty Girls” (a smaller coven) that meets in Angmering have been putting on an exhibition of their handiwork. This appears to have been a huge success attracting not just the normal users of the Angmering Centre, but also people making special trips to see the exhibit. The feedback has been terrific (and much deserved) and she and her coven have a great deal of talent.

Grey

The Gorse Fox muttered – if he wanted to wake up in the semi-dark to leaden skies and rain he would buy a whippet and a flat cap and move up north. He wants to wake to the rising sun, with clear skies kept blue by cherubs with paint brushes, and have unicorns gambolling in the fields – like he normally does on the south coast.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Hive

The Gorse Fox has been at the centre of a virtual hive of activity as he moves onto the critical path for both current projects and tries to coordinate competing ideas, participate in numerous teleconferences, adapt the existing design models to new information, and retain a modicum of sanity.

He’s given up on the last item.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Clarity

A degree of clarity is beginning to form around the first of the projects in which Gorse Fox involved. A full afternoon exploring options and scope eventually started to bear fruit and it looks as if we finally have a potential way forward (at last).

Strike

So the tube strike was meant to cause chaos today. Actually, it had no real impact on the Gorse Fox who made his way to and from Southbank without incident or delay. What was frustrating, however, was hearing from a fellow traveller that if she or her colleagues didn’t make it in to work (strike or no strike) they had to deduct the day from their holiday. So these throwbacks to a past dark age do not just inconvenience people they cost people also.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Portsmouth

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed for Gunwharf. SV wanted a particular type of bag and there is a store which stocks just the thing. Whilst there we made the most of things and strolled around the other shops and looked for various items that were on a wish list. It was interesting how busy the place was – the car parks were almost full and the place was heaving.

We stopped for lunch at “Giraffe” – as their outlet at Southbank always seems to be so popular. Menu seemed good and the food was ok without being special.

Had a nice time overall, but left a little later than planned and missed “Screwfix” on the way back as a result.

Squash

The Gorse Fox used to be a fanatical squash player. One of his old playing partners has just “friended” him on Facebook which is nice. Say what you like though, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

FIles

The telephone rang. It was agent Mulder. He is preparing to visit the UK and it was time to plan to meet up when he arrives. It will be nice to see him after so long.

Thai

For the second week running GF has prepared a Thai-style soup for dinner. Stock, coconut milk, ginger, chilli, tamarind, rice noodles and so forth. The recipe was found in a magazine last week and has proved to be a winner.

Nearly done

This is the first post from the rebuilt machine. Hasn’t taken too long, though to be fair, not all of the applications are re-installed yet. At least the basics are all there and working.

Genuinity

The Gorse Fox’s netbook (Hawk) is being re-imaged from the genuine retail disks that it was originally built from. Hawk has always been sparse in terms of applications and data as it was meant to be quick and portable rather than a heavy-duty workhorse. As a result, re-installing is an opportunity to clean up rather than a significant inconvenience.

GF would love to know why it suddenly forgot it was a genuine copy for which GF had exchanged significant coins of the realm.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Curses

The Gorse Fox is not happy. His netbook has popped up and claimed it is (all of a sudden) not running a genuine version of Windows. Given that he installed Security Essentials last week (and that checks that you are running genuine code) GF knows all was well when he last used it.

Have to decide best approach – probably re-install from scratch.

Bias

It is interesting that after the BBC have admitted to a long history of left wing bias (as if we didn’t know!) the Labour Party are asking for reassurance that the BBC’s “editorial independence is not being compromised”. 

Ah, so the “independence” is fine as long as it continues the left-wing bias… but if it tries to become more balanced then it is being compromised.

Interrupts

The Gorse Fox has been working at home. Throughout the morning he made calls and retrieved calls without incident. Since lunch, however, every call made or received has knocked out the ADSL for several minutes at a time. GF is NOT amused.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Lists

Talking of Bob Crow and his strikes… GF was thinking about his mental list of people he most despises:

  1. Ambulance chasing lawyers – who have created this litigious society where everyone is afraid of doing anything in case they are sued… in doing so they have put up the price of everything (that is still allowed) and ruined the lives of countless people.
  2. Union officials who advocate strikes but get paid handsomely themselves, strike or no strike and inconvenience the general publlic with no concern for the damage it may cause to them or their lives or jobs.
  3. Gordon Brown – needs no further explanation
  4. Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell, Peter Mandelson – ditto
  5. The last government – for the systematic dismantling of the pension system, and so many other things that Google wouldn’t have room for GF to record them all.
  6. Advocates of Political Correctness who, like the government above, have done more to damage freedom of speech and expression than any Briton in history.

Sorry about that. Not too sure what came over the Gorse Fox (the purple hue is receeding from his face now).

Lemmings

As the London Underground unions hark back to their stone-age practices and continue with plans to strike next week, the Gorse Fox wonders whether it would ultimately save money to replace all of the rolling stock with unmanned trains, and the station platforms with screened access like they have on (parts of?) the Jubilee Line.

Bob Crow, their leader, reminds the Gorse Fox of “Red Robbo” from the 70s who almost single-handedly destroyed the indigenous car industry. Bob Crow is like a harpooned whale, thrashing about trying to damage everyone he can. A throwback, and a man 40 years out of date.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Vet

Jasper, the Gorse Puma, has not been well. Silver Vixen was not happy, so she called Urban-cub. Urban-cub was not happy, so she called the Vet. The Vet was understanding, and Jasper was bundled into a cage and taken to see said Vet. Said Vet diagnosed a sore throat and prescribed some antibiotics.

Hopefully all will soon be well. It’s not nice to see a poor, dumb animal suffer. (Mmmmm, in that case, why weren’t half the cabinet of the last government put down?)

Designs

The development of the design for the solution to the latest project moves on apace. A discussion this morning clarified a significant misunderstanding that made material savings on the blueprint.

Latest news filtering in from other project talks of chaos, missed meetings, tangents, scope adjustments, and anarchy. Nothing new there then. Trouble is that we are all paying for this indirectly.