Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jumping for Joy...

Joy was a bit worried, but she'll get over it.

The Gorse Fox has to complete the first round of appraisal assessments today. This means that he has to read all of the feedback and self-assessments that have accumulated for his team and then apply some arcane algorithm that scores them. Once complete, this will be sent on for further assessment and eventually moderation to make sure that people are treated equitable across the population. Most of this is now done, though GF still awaits one set of assessments from one notorious Starship Captain... but GF has him in his sights!

What made the day even better was the piecemeal cancellation of every meeting a every teleconference call throughout the day. This meant that GF could get on with document reviews and catch up with emails and other reading. Now back at the hotel he is feeling suitable relaxed and about to head down for a bite to eat before watching the football.


The Gorse Fox is not sure why, but he spent most his dream time last night walking round a suburban area with a fence panel on small brass wheels.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


The gorse Fox had two phone "incidents". It had been a really good day, and as the time approached 1730, GF considered his options. There were two teleconference calls scheduled. Where should he take them? In the office? In the hotel?

No, GF decided to done the headset and take the calls on the move. This worked pretty well until he went to get into the car and promptly hung up the call by switch off the phone as he donned the seatbelt. As the call was in full swing, he decided to leave it rather than interrupt them.

He was more organised for the second call. Headset on, phone on mute, everything was going well. GF wandered into TGI Friday and started to order. The call was still going strong. Then, just as he was completing the order someone on the call asked him a question. He went into mild panic grabbed at the lapel mic and nudged the phone off the table. He grabbed at the mic and promptly hung up. Enough was enough. He did not call back. He will make his apologies in the morning.

After dinner he went to Best Buy closing down sale. This worked well as it meant GF was able to pick up a gift that Urban-cub and Pistol Pete were looking for - and got it at very competitive price. One chap in there had a trolley with 3 48" LCD TVs. There was still plenty of gear there - but the discounts were good and it will all go fairly quickly.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Good day

It was a good day. The early start seemed a little fruitless when the traffic slowed the journey to over three hours. Fortunately one of his audio books kept the Gorse Fox amused throughout.

Once in the office the first few hours were consumed with meetings, but then the afternoon was moderately clear and enabled GF to finish downloading the missing software for the new laptop. This proved to be fairly pain free.

GF headed off to the hotel so that he could phone in to evening teleconference from his room and then head off to eat as soon as it was finished. With the latest 25% discount card he has acquired he managed to pull very pleasant steak dinner with a fine glass of wine. While sitting with one colleague chewing over the project, the new   project manager  walked in. We called him over and made introductions... while he preached his particular approach to the project. GF suspects we have some interesting weeks ahead, and there is strong chance of pyrotechnics.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


It has been been a busy day with a number of domestic chores to complete. New laptop wasn't quite ready for doing expenses so had to nurse old one back into life again to get up to date. Then, GF had to look at hotels for a night away after Christmas. This worked well as there was a good backlog of loyalty points with Hilton and whilst we could actually pick and choose, Betty and Barney Rubble were limited in their choice. In the end we have plumped for Kensington, like we did last year.

Urban-cub and Pistol Pete came round lat afternoon to join us for a Sunday Roast, which U-c has kindly offered to prepare for us.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


The morning started with the Gorse Fox checking his suspicious tyre pressures. After all was sorted GF and the Silver Vixen headed off to view the house in which they are interested. It proved to be illuminating and certainly proved to whet the appetite. If only we could get solid offer on the current house.

We then headed on to Chichester for a stroll around the shops and to have a coffee at Maison Blanc. It was a bit of a zoo with so many people out Christmas shopping, but it was nice to get out and have a look around.

Friday, November 25, 2011


The Gorse Fox has been watching bits migrate down a wire from the old laptop to the new one. This has been running for hours and hours, but has now finally finished. Now he has to finish configuring the system so that he can get his mail, and then download the office tools and drawing tools that GF uses in his daily work.

Tomorrow looks as if it may be a bit of a rush - GF seems to have a tyre problem on the car (good job the the Tyre pressure monitor chipped in with a timely alert) - not sure if it just needs air, or new tyres.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


The Gorse Fox is feeling chuffed.

He had to jump through a number of hoops earlier in the year and ended up with a 30 page case for his re-certification in Starfleet's technical community. The theory is that a re-cert case is fairly straightforward - but when GF hadn't heard anything two months later, he was beginning to get twitchy. He decided to write to the German Starfleet commander who looks after the technical troops. With the expected attention to detail and the efficiency that characterises her nation, the GF got a reply within 24 hours.

The Gorse Fox has been re-certified, and can rest easy for the next 3 years until the hoops come round again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Thank goodness for the mute button. It was clear that the daily telecon was going to run on and on. GF switched his phone to mute and packed his gear. He headed for the car, and then drove to Cribbs Causeway. Several timely interventions were made, but the was immediately returned to mute. He carried on and sat down in TGI Fridays, ordered, and was halfway through his main course before the call drew to a close.

Well travelled

The Gorse Fox was checking UPS tracking history for his new laptop. It certainly looks as if it will have been well-travelled by the time it arrives.
DateLocation Local TimeActivity
Newhaven, United Kingdom11/23/20117:30 A.M.Arrival Scan
Stansted, United Kingdom11/23/20115:25 A.M.Departure Scan
11/23/20115:00 A.M.Import Scan
11/23/20113:38 A.M.Arrival Scan
Koeln, Germany11/23/20113:30 A.M.Departure Scan
Stansted, United Kingdom11/22/20119:08 P.M.Period entry details necessary for customs clearance, have been requested from the receiver. / Released by Clearing Agency. Now in-transit for delivery.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates 11/22/20115:50 P.M.Departure Scan
11/22/20113:40 P.M.Arrival Scan
Stansted, United Kingdom 11/22/20117:30 A.M.Period entry
details necessary for customs clearance, have been requested from the receiver.
Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong 11/22/201111:15 A.M.Departure Scan
Stansted, United Kingdom11/21/201111:38 P.M.Package data processed by brokerage. Waiting for clearance.
11/21/201111:38 P.M.Package data processed by brokerage. Waiting for clearance. / Released by Clearing Agency. Now in-transit for delivery.
Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong 11/22/201112:15 A.M.Export Scan
11/22/2011 12:15 A.M. Origin Scan
Hong Kong11/21/20112:58 A.M.Order Processed: Ready for UPS

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The day was spent in the Starfleet office in Bristol. Several workshops were planned to allow the Gorse Fox to review the progress being made by the team with regards to their planning and design.

In general, things are looking good, but that doesn't mean that we don't have challenges ahead. That's what makes the job interesting. Unfortunately, the day finished a conference call that kept GF in the office until after seven. This fine for the part timers who don't start early, but as the regular reader knows, GF is usually hard at it by seven in the morning so these calls make for a long day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Being there

Today was a day for just being there. It was Silver Vixen’s birthday and an opportunity to spend the day together – just hanging out. To that end we had a leisurely start to the day and then pottered off to Gunwharf Quays for a wander around the shops and to see if there was anything of interest.

It was grey, it was dull, but it was warm and we enjoyed window shopping and spending a few pounds here and few pounds there. Stopping for lunch we made use of the time to chat with Cousteau-Cub on the phone.

All in all, a nice day.

More than twenty years ago

Several more than twenty years ago this very day, the Silver Vixen emerged into the world to cast her unique radiance upon the northern suburbs of London. A she grew and her family moved about, her goodness spread – and now she enriches the lives of all who meet her.

Happy Birthday

Sunday, November 20, 2011


As the reader may know, Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen have been trying to sell their house and move to a location with a smaller plot, but similar sized house. We have a developer interested in our house but, as you would expect, he is trying to get a knock-down price. We have told the agent what our bottom line is, but there is still a bit of a gap to bridge.

On top of this we have to ask whether we really trust him. We have had experience before. Indeed we once tried to buy his house, while he was try to buy this one. At the last minute he pulled out and left us high and dry. Fortunately we saw the potential here and drove a good price and have had over a decade of enjoyment.

What to do?

Well, one thing was to pop along to the builders developing the house we would like. Explaining the predicament, they immediately offered to do a deal, and by the end of the day we had knocked the price down significantly.

Spreadsheets have been glowing hot all afternoon and we now have a clear view of the parameters within which we can manoeuvre. Will have to sleep on it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Interesting day. (Ok, may be not interesting in comparison last weekend at Wembley, or watching Santana, or a good night's sleep).

We had a house viewing planned this afternoon, and this meant that most of the morning was spent fluffing, plumping, and cleaning but the GF had to bury himself in his laptop for the rest of the day. The Silver Vixen headed out for the afternoon for a session with the Embroiderers' Guild, meanwhile GF found that he was in mail gaol.

GF should explain. Starfleet, in it's infinite wisdom, limits mail files to pathetically small limits. This saves the accountants about 25 cents, but costs the staff house of effort each week trying to manage the mail queues down. The accountants are happy, the staff are irritated, and productivity suffers. After about and hour GF had fiddled about enough to escape mail gaol and started getting mail in, and able to send it out again.

The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing appraisals whilst the house viewing went on around him.

Friday, November 18, 2011


A day working at home has meant some real progress being made. A snotogram received earlier in the week had bubbled to the top of the stack. GF considered the best way to respond. In the end a masterpiece of latent sarcasm and overt vitriol. It felt good. Better still, and hour later, the Gorse Fox received a grovelling apology.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


"Engineering" called. It was Scotty's man in charge. GF explained his Laptop problem. His response was "easiest way to fix that is to junk it and give you a new machine". He told the Gorse Fox to wait for the form to come through, fill it in, and it should be ready in about a week.

Sounds perfect, now that he has discovered a work-around that he can live with for now.

On it goes

Frustration continues. GF got the laptop working late last night. This morning it was fine for about three hours and then it failed again. For no obvious reason, GF switched off the WiFi and retried. Voila, the laptop worked. Switched on the WiFi and again it locked up.

A couple more tries showed this behaviour to be consistent. So it looks like the WiFi card is failing or the drivers are corrupt. Reported to "engineering" and they "raised a ticket".

Now, several hours later the Gorse Fox is still waiting for them to call back. GF may end up switching a load of stuff to his spare Notebook, just in case!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Per Ardua

The Gorse Fox walked into the Exec Lounge whilst still clutching his mobile phone to his ear. He managed to load a dish with some snacks, he managed to retrieve a wine glass. One handed, however, (remember he was clutching the phone) he was unable to open the wine bottle. Two of our finest entered the lounge in full flying gear. Seeing my predicament one (with Lightning and Harrier badges) opened the wine whilst the other circled in a protective ring nearby.

The Gorse Fox finished his call and thanked his rescuers profusely. Proud to serve, came the reply. They circled the lounge and after a barrel roll disappeared into the wild blue yonder.

Process - Pah!

The Gorse Fox's laptop was behaving well and he had just prepared some minutes for a meeting. Unplugging said laptop he waddled off to the meeting only to find the laptop in a serious sulk. No matter what he did he could not release the screen nor move characters or cursors on the screen.

The power-off button was beckoning, and in the end the Gorse Fox succumbed to temptation. The problem was that the laptop would not restart properly. It got part of the way through the Windows startup and then just hang there. using the Safe Mode, GF managed to gain access to the files and applications, but not the network. Files were immediately squirrelled away onto an external drive.

He called "engineering" in Starfleet. Scotty wasn't there but a dusky sounding maiden told GF he had to run a full virus scan and then a disk cleanup. GF responded that this was not a logical response to symptoms and please would she book him in for a laptop rebuild. Patiently, she replied that until she had received the diagnostics from the actions she had requested she could not take further action. GF fingered his Phasar, but realised that he was up against "process". Process is not there to apply logic and solve problems. It is there to torment and to get them caller off the line.

Four hours later the diagnostics are still running and nothing has been found. GF is not best pleased and may have to be Mr Grumpy when he calls "engineering" back


Laptop seems to have frozen. Not looking good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Most of today was spent in the Starfleet offices in Bristol with a workshop to drive out any remaining concerns regarding the next stage of the project. It went really well and it was good to see that the team have such a good understanding of the problems they have to solve.

GF got a bit of a kicking in the management call regrading a document that one of the team had not released whilst GF was away on a course. Par for the course really. Psychic ability and telekinesis is apparently prerequisite.

Stayed in the hotel this evening and had a snack with the team whilst watching the England vs Sweden game.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good one

It was a good one. The traffics as kind, despite a slightly later start, and once at work the day went well. The one problem that arose was the discovery that a document that the Gorse Fox had requested back in April was never developed. This is one of those moments when it would be immensely satisfying to wield a baseball bat at the people involved. However, being a person of sweet and gentle disposition GF has just knuckled down and started to write himself.

After work, GF headed for the hotel and after his call home he strolled down to the lounge and joined colleagues for a glass of wine and a bite to eat.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blue Skies

It is another gorgeous day down on the south coast. There’s barely a cloud in the sky, and the temperature is about 16-17C. Too nice to stay in.


The plan was to wander round Highdown Gardens, but we had forgotten that they are closed at weekends in the autumn and winter. We carried on up to Highdown itself, with the Neolithic earthworks still protecting the site from the worst ravages of the wind.


Despite this image, the earthworks were not hiding a secret bunker, and a missile had not just been fired, blowing the tree to one side. No, it was serene, and a magnet for people out walking their dogs.


We weren’t out for too long, but it did seem like a perfect day to be out in fresh air, enjoying the last vestiges of the mild autumn weather.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Game Over

At the end of the game we all poured out of the stadium to head for our various modes of transport.


As we have have done before, we stayed by the car and had a picnic whilst those around us sat, stationary in traffic queues, trying to enter the grid-locked surrounding streets.

We had some tea, sandwiches, carrot cake, cold sausages, and energy bars.


We chuckled at the mounting frustration of the other drivers, but left them to get on with it.


All in all it was a good trip, a good result, and very good day out.


Car park nearly empty, we joined the tail end of the traffic, nipped through the back streets to Greenford and the A40, onto the M25 and were soon home.



The game kicked off and the during the first half the England team seemed clueless. The Spanish danced round them and and made everything seem so easy. England defended doggedly and effectively, but whenever they gained control of the ball they either a) had a rush of blood to the head and passed the ball to the Spanish; b) ran with the ball straight into the Spanish; or c) tried to retain possession, and passed it backwards through the team to the goalkeeper who would then kick the ball up the pitch to the Spanish.

In the first half there were no appreciable highlights. In fact at half time they tried to show highlights on the big screens and only managed about 45 seconds of footage. Even that was an exaggeration!

The second half was better. The useless Walcott was replaced, and there seemed to be more purpose. England scored, but not resting on the lead did attempt to go forward. They still had to defend heroically, and Jo Hart (in goal) still gave the ball away every time he got it). Danny Wellbeck came on and there was a further change of pace. In the end, the second half was quite good and the 1-0 win was a good (if unexpected) result.


The fans were gathered in their sections – the Spanish fans down one end, and the England fans taking over the rest of the stadium
The red and yellow of Spain stood out in the sea of white created by the England supporters. The Spanish were vocal and good humoured and there was a buzz about the place.
When it came time for the National Anthems there was a respectful silence, and for the English anthem, coloured cards were raised to form the Cross of St George


The score doesn’t really tell the story.


We arrived at the stadium in plenty of time, parked and made our way through the turnstiles. The tickets gave us seats up in the third tier, but the view was excellent. We settled down with our cups of tea to await the match.


Along with Urban-cub and Pete we are heading off to Wembley to go and support England in the friendly international with Spain. Should be a pleasant evening.


Jasper the cat is till not talking to the Gorse Fox. Yesterday morning GF managed to kick the cat and now he’s sulking. GF knows he is trying to lay a guilt trip on him, but GF won’t fall for that. If you are a black cat, and you lie in the middle of the floor outside the bathroom at six o’clock on a autumn morning and you are not wearing a high-visibility jacket (and hard hat) – then you have brought it on yourself.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Two hours

Only a couple more hours to run on this course. It has been very good so far, and the agenda for the rest of the day looks pretty good.

Lunch featured the smallest piece of battered fish that GF has ever seen ( that wasn't actually in a domestic tropical fish tank).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On course

The Gorse Fox is still away from the office on his course. Again, he has bumped into old friends that he hasn't seen for years. It is good to know that Starfleet still has a few "old lags".

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

On course

The Gorse Fox is nearing the end of the first day of his three-day course. It has been good so far - particularly as it was a chance to catch up with old (even ancient) friends.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


It was a low stress day. An early start, review of a 195 page document followed by numerous smaller documents. None belonged to the Gorse Fox, he just had to assure them.

GF held his weekly design meeting, which fortunately finished early so GF was able to get on the road and head back to Sussex.

Monday, November 07, 2011


The Gorse Fox rose early. There was coffee to make before getting on the road. Jasper the cat lay in the hallway, eyeing progress somewhat dolefully. He was not amused that he had been woken up. 40 minutes after consciousness was achieved, the Gorse Fox was on his way. Fortunately traffic was kind, even if his innate clumsiness was not. As he drove past Portsmouth the fresh (but now cooling coffee) managed to miss his mouth and deposit itself down his pale pink shirt and into his lap. As auspicious starts go - this was not one!

Once in Bristol things were remarkably calm and quite - other than the stack of documents that had arrived for the Gorse Fox to review, edit, and comment on. By mid-afternoon the interrupt rate was high enough that GF was starting to thrash, reading and re-reading the same text. In frustration he packed his bags and retreated to his hotel and a semblance of calm.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


A visit to see Betty and Barney Rubble is planned. Always a pleasure, even if the journey back can be a little tiresome on dark evenings.

Saturday, November 05, 2011


It is the weekend and the Gorse Fox is enjoying some down time. After meeting up with sister and brother-in-law for dinner in Chiddingfold last night , we were late to bed. The morning was relaxed with some research on the web, and catching up with some reading.

Urban-cub popped round early afternoon so she could borrow the food processor, but the the Silver Vixen returned to her sewing and GF to the Internet.

Frustratingly, something has changed and some code GF wrote several years ago has stopped working. The code used to strip blog entries from here, and file copies in GFs private meta blog.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Word of the day

The Gorse Fox would like to bring the following to your attention:

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

GF would like to acknowledge the originator of this, but he seems to be anonymous

Thursday, November 03, 2011

That’s better

After the trials of the week so far, today was a welcome change. The Gorse Fox had to be in Surrey for some meetings with the client and with other parts of the Starfleet team.

This meant a leisurely start at home until rush hour was over, then a short trip north. In general, the meetings went pretty well, and GF was able to get away mid-afternoon and finish off his work at home.

Much more civilised.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Just leave me alone

The Gorse Fox has had another trying day. Significantly more trying than yesterday. He doesn't want to talk about it. His equanimity is in jeopardy and somebody needs a slap.

In order to ensure we meet our obligations, GF has had to step in and write a document, due today, but not even started by the proposed author. This is a subject area that GF is not familiar with so he had to spend several hours on the phone getting a brain dump before setting fingers to keyboard. Document is now complete and under review before release.

At least he is heading home tonight... Though it is likely to be late.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Bitch of a Day

Gorse Fox does not like to complain, but to be honest, this was not a good day. GF was in the office by seven, and had to start sending strop-o-grams within a few minutes. Fortunately these worked and responses arrived before the cut-off time.

More documents were turned around despite late review comments arriving at the last minute.

Preparation for a meeting on Thursday was not encouraging. The people involved had their heads firmly buried in the sand, and GF has challenged them to step up to the plate and will be checking on their progress tomorrow and on Thursday morning before the proper meeting.

Late (for the GF) a teleconf kept him in the office later than wanted. As a result room service seemed like the best solution to dinner. GF does not like to eat late! It may be a bit later tomorrow, but at least it will be at home.