Monday, January 31, 2011


Not sure whether the Gorse Fox is finally succumbing to a cold virus or is reacting to dust caused by all the sorting out round the house. Either way there is some explosive sneezing going on.


The Gorse Fox is starting get a trickle feed of information regarding his new project. Looks as if it should be interesting and should dust off some long dormant skills. He wonders if he’ll need to remember how to write overlays for linkage editors, conditional job control, or IEFBR14! (Though the latter should be easy for man of his propensity for idleness).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oh dear

It’s a shame.

The Silver Vixen’s brother carried on with the work throughout the day. One by one they all they dropped off the list until it was all done. He had done a superb job and we had moved on a great deal during the week.

The Gorse Fox settled up and off he went. A few minutes later the phone rang. GF answered but it was all silent.

A few minutes later it rang again, but again all was silent at the far end.

Finally it rang and a voice said “It’s me. I’ve broken down on the roundabout”. GF headed off to help… but it was soon clear that it was something significant (sheared drive shaft was GF’s diagnosis) and a call was placed to AA. It would be a while.

The man in yellow turned up and took a look. He diagnosed the problem as a sheared drive shaft, and said he would need to call the AA Relay to get the car and occupant home to Camden. It would, however, be 90 minutes at least before he turned up.

Leaving the car we headed home where GF prepared supper before headed back to the roundabout to await the pickup. Finally, the man turned up, the car was recovered and GF headed home. GF felt sorry for his brother-in-law who given up so much of his time and was rewarded with a major mechanical failure on his way home.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Work continues

The Gorse Fox was up early and sitting in the barber’s shop by 0730; then shorn he headed home for breakfast. Next he phoned a Samsung service centre and headed off to Portsmouth with the defunct TV.

Meanwhile the snagging list continues to have items crossed off. The grouting is complete, the door jam fixed, and door handles are fixed.

While this was going on, GF & SV headed off to choose some flooring and whilst out were told the TV was fixed so headed back to Portsmouth. (GF’s diagnosis of the fault had been correct – faulty capacitors on the power board).

During the afternoon it was back to the building site to sign some papers and get the marketing underway.

Friday, January 28, 2011


It is better to keep quiet when things are going well.

The Gorse Fox tried to turn on the TV. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. It won’t switch on. A little googling tells the Gorse Fox that this is a common problem with Samsung TVs. No quick fix available!

Reviewing the situation

Whilst the Gorse Fox has been reviewing a proposal for a new client, work has continued apace round him.

Vic Coogan has finished the painting. Superb job, and good value for money. Will certainly use him again.

Meanwhile the Silver Vixen’s brother has finished some tiling in one of the bathrooms – which was no mean feat, considering we couldn’t find the tiles at first! Now he’s fitting a bedroom door where we had never bothered before.

Progress has be very satisfactory for one week!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Leaps and Bounds

The Gorse Fox is amazed at the progress that has been made whilst he’s been tapping at the keys for Starfleet.

Vic Coogan has stripped, has sanded, has primed, has undercoated, has cut-in, has masked, and has rolled. Tomorrow he just has some gloss to do. GF is stunned by the speed at which he has worked and yet somehow everything looks brilliant. GF only wishes he’d come across Vic years ago.

Meanwhile SV’s brother has worked through his list and again seems to have achieved far more that GF would have thought possible in a single day. This evening we headed to B&Q for some supplies ready for tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Slip, slap, slop

The decorator, Vic Coogan,  arrived on the dot, and before we knew what was happening dust sheets were laid, step ladders acquired and pots scattered around the bedroom and bathroom. Vic Coogan drew his sandpaper, refused a tea or coffee and launched himself at the task ahead.

Good start

Meanwhile, the Gorse Fox had to make his way up to town for some appointments in Starfleet's offices.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The Gorse Fox was sorry to learn that his nano-scale sister has a problem with her eye and needs to see a specialist next week. He expects all will be well, but hopes that chap is versed in micro surgery!


Last of the appraisals completed. The Gorse Fox is very proud of his team.

Meanwhile, back on the coast – the decorator has been engaged and should start tomorrow morning. Still waiting to hear from the Silver Vixen’s brother as to whether he can do some of the other remedial work.

Second valuer arrived, was shown round, and off he went.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Appraising the situation

Last few days of delivering the staff appraisals. So far it’s gone well, but Gorse Fox is lucky that he has a very high-performing team.

He also has the pleasure of trying to find some good examples to quote in a proposal for his client-noir. However, this has proved to be quite difficult.

The day has been interspersed with phone calls to the bank, to decorators, to agents and so forth. Even managed to have an online chat with Cousteau-cub for a few minutes.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Not Nav

The Gorse Fox made a mistake.

Yes, it's hard to believe, but it's true.

He entered the address in Buckingham into the car's Sat Nav. It calculated routes and suggested one that looked 15 miles shorter than the others. The high-level view looked ok. Gorse Fox didn't, however, failed to check the lower-level detail... and set off with the Silver Vixen to visit her family. The Sat Nav guided us north via every country lane it could find all the way to Guildford taking at least twice as long as it would have if GF had driven his normal route. Then the route started to make sense until, at Beaconsfield, it again diverted us across country. By the time we finally got Buckingham the journey had taken 3 hours instead of the expected two and a quarter.

No such mistake was made on the route home. The route GF chose may have been 14 miles longer, but it only took 2 hours - though there may have one or two occasions where GF may have inadvertently exceeded the odd speed limit.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


The Gorse Fox can be a little impulsive. He, the Silver Vixen and the Urban-cub headed back west a few miles and took another look at one of the houses we had viewed last week.

Last concerns seemed to melt away as we checked various questions. Before we knew what we had done the Gorse Fox slapped down a reservation fee. It looks as if we’re moving!

Now all we have to do is sort out the sale of the current house, but yesterday’s valuation was most satisfactory.

Friday, January 21, 2011


The Gorse Fox notices a headline in a technology paper that predict a bonanza for Hull from wind farms.

This is interesting. The Gorse Fox is pathologically averse to wind farms –

  • they are a blot ion the landscape,
  • they are expensive to build (and have to be subsidised by our electricity bills),
  • they are extremely inefficient (Texas estimate 7% efficiency) and they don’t work when they are most needed (in cold weather brought about by an anti-cyclone), and
  • interestingly they don’t work if the wind is too strong,
  • they are a potential hazard to wildlife
  • they have been known to interfere with radar
  • they can be noisy
  • they are a visual abomination.

But Hull … there’s a thought. They may even be an improvement there, and with John Prescott living nearby they’ll never be short of wind, and will suit the style of a great deal of huffing and puffing but actually achieving nothing at all of value. Their habit of not working in adverse conditions would also suit “two Jags” perfectly.

Seems like a prefect match.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Long days

Well yesterday finished with a taxi ride to the Gorse Fox's hotel at five o'clock this morning. Bleary-eyed, he set the alarm and crashed. Eight o'clock arrived waaaaay too soon and after a shower, quick breakfast, and check-out the Gorse Fox headed back into work.
The proposal has to be submitted this afternoon... so we are in the final throws. It will be good to get home tonight.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tick, tick

As the clock ticks away the day the Gorse Fox recognises that there is a way to go yet. In fact his next scheduled meeting is at ten p.m. and is certain to generate more work that must be completed tonight. He suspects that the inside of this starship will lose its interest over the next few hours. Fortunately several of the troopers with whom he is working are really nice folk and good humoured considering the amount of work to do.

He managed to find time to deliver the first of his staff appraisals today. Another is scheduled for tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


It's coming up for nine in the evening and GF is only just getting ready to leave work. it looks as if several of his colleagues are in for a long night, but fortunately his bit of the jigsaw seems to be in fairly good shape. There are a few embellishments required tomorrow, but nothing earth-shattering. What was interesting was that GF was asked to write about a subject for which he has little or no experience. The spin-cortex of the amigdulla took over and seven pages of goodness-knows-what sprang from his fingers... and so far has passed all the reviews.

Time to head off back towards Olympia and get some shut-eye.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Its sedimentary my dear

The Gorse Fox is back in London. The work is coming to a head with Thursday's deadline; having said that GF wasn't frantic today, though suspect he will be later this week.

He headed to the hotel and was (quite rightly) upgraded to a fine room. Once he dumped his stuff he headed out to his favoured noodle restaurant. As he entered he was told "No fried rice, no water". Indeed outside the road was up and engineers were scratching their heads as they peered into the chasm. Going to a Japanese styled restaurant and being told "no fried rice" is like going to a football stadium and being told "no team". (Come to think of it, that's what happens at Upton Park and the Emirates most weeks). Anyway - in the end GF selected carefully and did enjoy the meal (which he guesses is the difference with Upton Park & the Emirates).

GF got talking to the chap next to him. He was a vulcanologist on sabbatical from Harvard and whilst studying here in England he hadn't thought of a trip to the Canaries. GF then spent ten minutes talking about Mount Teide on Tenerife and Lanzarote. (He should be on commission).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

There I was, diggin’ this ‘ole

‘Ole in the ground, deep and sort of round it was(*).

It would appear that there a series of leaks emerging from the gas mains outside the house. ‘Oles have been dug, and there’s been a great deal of head scratching as the workmen tried to find the extent of the problem. It is somehow unexpected, in these days of Health & Safety, to note that as they examined the ‘oles, first thing this morning, the workmen were casually smoking as they chatted.

If you hear that a chunk of Sussex has disappeared, then you’ll probably know why… and probably see the Gorse Fox orbiting the earth alongside the International Space Station.

(*). With apologies to Bernard Cribbins.


IM is the acronym that geeks use for “Instant Messaging”. GF was delighted to catch up with Cousteau-cub on IM today. It would appear that she has a barrage of new meds, but is already feeling better than she has done for the past few months.

All down to spurious allergies, it appears.

Clothes Mountain

What started as a quick tidy up, ended in a huge mountain of clothes being stacked up and taken to the dump. All are old, and all seem to suffer from  the defect that they shrink over time and no longer fit the svelte, athletic figure of the Gorse Fox.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


The mathematics of a potential move have started. A spreadsheet has started a life of its own… and at this point it contains the dimensions of all of the rooms of the current house, and those of several candidate properties.

An agent has been approached to value the current nest – though the outcome of that must wait another week or so.

The list of “things to put right” has increased. Can see some DIY on the horizon.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Raj

Last Monday evening the Gorse Fox enjoyed dinner in a fine Indian restaurant. An elderly couple sat in a booth. He was evidently a little deaf, she was evidently very patient.

“What do mean they’re from Bangladesh?” he boomed.

“That’s where they come” she explained.

“Where the hell is Bangladesh? There’s no such a place” he responded.

“It’s what used to be East Pakistan” she sighed.

“Oh” he said “you mean West Bengal”. There was a noticeable “Hurrumph” as he settled back to his curry.

The waiter gave a withering look. The Memsahib looked weary. The “colonel” looked as if he came from another world and another time.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Two balls

A good day. Juggling was limited to two balls, though someone was trying to throw a further one into the mix. GF managed to get away at a sensible time and catch the “usual” train home, though thi smeant missing the start of the Parish Council meeting.

Sorry to hear that Cousteau-cub appears to be unwell and has gone to Phuket for a check up. It’s times like these where the distance seems (indeed is) so great.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Not Simon

It has been very intense day. From the moment GF approached the Starfleet building he knew it would be busy... and so it was. A day spent juggling the demands of three separate bids proved a little challenging, but not impossible.

GF headed for the hotel and stopped off at Garfunkel's for a bite to eat. Those who know the Gorse Fox will know that he is very partial to spare ribs. He was, therefore, delighted that he had only ordered half a rack... as they really were a disappointment.

For the record, ribs should not need sharp implements. Just pick them up and beckon the meat. It should leap straight into the mouth without any coercion.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Whoaa... that was unreal.

There are moments that can be quite unsettling.

The Gorse Fox got back to his hotel from a trip to the Midlands and phoned home. Urban-cub answered the phone and we had a short chat before GF spoke with the Silver Vixen. GF then hung up and made his way to a nearby purveyor of fine cuisine. He sat down in a restaurant in Kensington and ordered his meal. A few minutes later a couple of women walked in. Not a surprising act in its own right - but became so when he realised that the second of the two women was that absolute image of Urban-cub, and even had many of her mannerisms. GF was so unsettled by the likeness he phoned the Urban-cub to tell her - and sureptitiously took several photos to send her.


The Gorse Fox notes that the anachronistic parasites who lead the tube drivers union are threatening a strike on the day of the Royal Wedding. Aren't they nasty, small-minded cretins?

Monday, January 10, 2011

That's better

Silver Vixen reports that the heating is fixed. Failure of thermocouple again, apparently.

Up high

Sixteenth floor of the hotel this week. This means the Gorse Fox has a stunning view across London. Most satisfactory. Very nice meal at the Light of India restaurant in the Gloucester Road. (Only one block from the famous Bombay Brasserie - though the menu was a little expensive there).

Bus Behaviour

We are all familiar with bus behaviour. This is the phenomenon whereby you wait for a bus for ages and then several arrive at the same time.

Work at Starfleet seems to be adopting this behaviour. Last week was quiet, this week GF has decamped to London to do some work on one client, meanwhile he has been asked to go and visit and assess a totally different client up in the Midlands - and of course last year's client keeps popping up above the parapet. Oh well, never a dull moment.

Silver Vixen managed to call the heating engineers first thing this morning and they were hoping to get someone to pop in during the day. Meanwhile, GF left a huge pile of logs by the fireplace - just in case they were needed.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Less Interesting

As the evening has begun we have realised the central heating has failed. Oh joy of joys! It’s very clear out there so is likely to be a cold night.

Interesting Day

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen had an interesting day. The objective was to look at several of the housing developments that are under way in the area. Whilst we may choose to move, it would be sensible to have an idea what is available out there, and what may or may not fit our requirements.

What became obvious immediately was that there would be lost of compromises required – rooms in modern houses were not as spacious as those in ours. However, the efficiency of the houses would be greater, the maintenance lower, and the garden of a much more manageable size.

No hurry for decisions, the sorts of houses that we would want are not available in current releases – and there’s plenty to achieve here first. But it’s good to start seeding ideas.

We used to have a Charles Church-built home, so they were one of the developments visited – but whilst the houses were of a good quality the staff at the visitors’ centre were surly, unwelcoming, and frankly unprofessional compared with the staff at all of the other builders visited. SV and GF both agreed as we left that we would not be going back there again.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


The Gorse Fox has done his annual duty and given sacrifice to the vampires of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Strangely and unexpectedly, he seems to owe them some addition tax (though fortunately not much).

Friday, January 07, 2011


Was delighted to see that one of the MPs embroiled in the Expenses Scandal has been imprisoned. Fiddling expenses is not some grey area – if you claim something to which you are not entitled – then it is nothing short of theft. In Starfleet you are expected to have itemised receipts for every expense. Any missing receipt has to be justified to your manager – who becomes responsible for your honesty and must reject the expense if there is any doubt. Any case of fraudulent claims is cause for immediate dismissal.

The Gorse Fox sees that there is some move towards easing the regime at Westminster. This should NOT happen – MPs should have to endure the same auditable regime as the rest of us.

New problems

The Gorse Fox’s time working from home has come to an end for a couple weeks. A new set of problems have been presented by a new client and he will spend some time in town working on finding a solution for those.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Chugging on

Good, but quiet day. Lots of personnel administration to do, but good to clear it.

At the end of the day Urban-cub turned up to help take the cat to the vets for some jabs. Cat was not best pleased at being stuffed into his carry crate, but was happy enough once home.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Gorse Fox had the pleasure of working from home. This meant that there was no ungodly commute, just the chore of opening the laptop and logging in.

One possible new project with anew client melted away during the day, but more stuff came in during the afternoon from the last one. Time will tell whether we decide to invest, but GF is ready to get involved if necessary.

Urban-cub came round after work so we got to hear all of the ins and outs of what’s going on at the prison. The spin has obviously kicked in and little is leaking out and it looks as if certain areas are closing ranks and it is clear that a lot of the prisoners are just as appalled at what happened as everyone else.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Stone Begins to Grind

The queue for train tickets wrapped round the ticket office and out of the door. Two people were serving tickets and there was a queue at the self-service machine. It was a good job the Gorse Fox had allowed plenty of time.

By contrast the train itself was quiet throughout the journey and GF was soon at Starfleet – (soon, being a relative concept). This gave GF time to prepare for the exit interview of one of his team, who was retiring.

The interview went well, and the parting comments were very much what GF would have expected. GF was presented with 2 old laptops and a mobile phone to dispose of, and this is where the day turned silly.

To return laptop you must fill in a form and await an email that registers the return, then the laptop can be returned to the right department. This would be fine if the process worked in a speedy fashion – but it takes a minimum of 24 hours (for some stupid reason). This means that GF now has 3 laptops to worry about – and he certainly wasn’t going to cart two spares home!

He went to the Deskside support group and they said they couldn’t help, he went to the deployment group and they said they would not help, so he went to security.

Security tried to help – they suggested GF went to the deskside support group or the deployment group. GF explained. Security said they couldn’t help.

In the end GF found a friendly colleague and locked the laptops in his locker… and that’s where they will stay until GF is next in Starfleet’s offices.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Lists and decisions

The Gorse Fox has started the day by developing a list of the jobs that he needs to do (or finish) around the house. This list was a lot longer than he had hoped it would be. Once done, this will have brought the house up to scratch… and at that point the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen will probably take stock and decide whether to stay put or whether it may be time to move on, and downsize.

This may sound strange to those who know us, as we are are very happy here, but we do have a huge garden that takes a great deal of attention that we cannot give it, and in the longer term may not be willing to pay for its maintenance. Maybe a smaller place (at least from a plot-size perspective) with a more maintainable footprint would make sense.

Anyway… lots of work to complete before we get to that decision.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


It was a quiet day. Silver Vixen was fighting off a cold and the Gorse Fox was just bone idle.

First thing he managed to exchange a few messages with Cousteau-cub who was concerned about Urban-cub after the incidents at Ford prison yesterday. U-c was off duty as was her partner so they were not affected until later in the day when the Saint was called in. It’s so interesting getting the inside story as opposed to the spin that is actually released!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen would like to wish everyone a joyous New Year – with peace, love, and harmony infusing every moment.

Now, GF has been called a bit of a geek. He enjoys technology, mathematics and science in general. This caught his eye, according to @mathematicsprof

  • 2011 is sum of 11 CONSECUTIVE primes: 2011=157+163+167+173+179+181+191+193+197+199+211
  • and of course today’s abbreviated date is a nice neat 1-1-11, or 010111 (which if treated as a binary number is: 23)