Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it looks as if the dishwasher has finally died. Just what was needed.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Some reagent can be provided (if absolutely necessary) to remove the dye and the break the adhesion.
Labour currently stands for one thing: halting the cuts to the public sector. We have in effect become the party of the public sector. As important as the public sector is, it only represents a portion of society, and is not a panacea for all of society's ills as many in the Labour Party mistakenly believe.and
The civil rights movement was an 11-year long struggle to ban racial segregation against black Americans. People died because of the cause they were fighting for; equality based on skin colour. The coalition's cuts will close some libraries and re-allocate state resources in different ways, it is partly aimed at reducing the deficit and partly out of a desire to change the way the state works in the 21st century.Well given that this was published in a Labour blog, the Gorse Fox was a little surprised at first - but as he started to read the comments and saw the vitriol and invective cast upon this guy's perfect right to express an opinion his amusement turned toward despair.
In summary - give me wealthy, money-grabbing, wealth-creating polite people rather than nasty, vicious, bullies and pseudo-intellectual thugs that infest that forum / blog / and party.
Monday, March 28, 2011
This morning GF had to get the train to London. As he entered tine car park he looked for a spot that was not beneath one of the overhead lights. Seagulls tend to perch there and do unspeakable things to the cars below. Picking his spot he locked the car and went to buy his ticket and pay for the car park. By the time he got back to the car a gull had already decided that jet black was not his favourite colour and deposited upon the car. He was evidently a particularly unwell gull, judging by his donation.
So much for getting the car cleaned.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
The papers triggered so many thoughts GF may not have the eloquence or inspiration to address them all.
Fukushima - such heroism from the workers, but significant over-reaction from the media. A little perspective: worst nuclear accident in history was Chernobyl. 56 people killed in the immediate aftermath and possibly another 4000 in the 20 years since. Panic from the media... But actually less impact than road accidents in terms of numbers killed or injured. Greenpeace are not calling for the closure of all roads!
Protests against the cuts. Good example of people exercising the democratic right to protest and to show their loss of perspective. Previous government nearly bankrupts the country, current government has to restore financial stability (as they have had to do so often in the last 40 years) and people complain that the measures are affecting them... Well sorry guys, most of you voted in the last government. Man up and take the consequences like the rest of us in the private sector have had to do. As for those who resorted to violence - they are beneath contempt, and demonstrated their cowardice by wearing balaclavas and masks.
England beating Wales, 2-0. Most satisfying.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Well, it allows images to be included directly from the camera, but doesn't seem to allow them to be aligned and wrapped (at least in a WYSIWYG editor).
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Victor (the Alan Partridge look-alike) arrived in his Mercedes and unloaded the ground sheets, ladders and paint. After a brief hello and progress review he broke open the sandpaper and set about the garage door and its surround. As before, there was no fuss, and no mess, just a steady professional job. By lunchtime he was queued behind the drying time, so packed up ready for a brief return tomorrow to finish off the top coat.
The Gorse Fox is pleased to see that Cousteau-cub has been featured in an article from New Zealand. Follow this link: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=10714143
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
It was a stunning day. The Silver Vixen went to Pilates leaving GF to his own devices. As it was so nice, GF went outside and started to rub down the only surviving door from when we first moved in. (All other doors and windows have been replaced over the last 11 years). The offending door was scratched by the dogs that the previous owners allowed to roam free – now seemed like the right time to sand it down and re-paint.
It was so warm that GF was able to shed his jacket. Several hours later all was done that could be done – allowing for drying time. Tomorrow will see the next stage.
The afternoon was warm enough to sit out and enjoy a cup of tea in the Spring sunshine.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
It was one of those mornings. The sun was shining brightly and beckoning to us to come out and play – meanwhile, indoors, the phone didn’t seem to stop ringing. Any attempt at an early getaway was thwarted.
We had head for the RHS gardens at Wisley – membership means free admission so it makes for an inexpensive outing.
With Spring sprung the various early blooms and blossoms were out, but many of the trees and shrubs were still showing only faintest signs of life. During a previous trip we had learnt the treasures of the new greenhouses so headed in that direction.
The major architectural plants had not changed, but many of the individual specimens were different – possibly through new planting, but more likely because of the time of year. Whatever the reason, some of the colours were fantastic and the variation in the planting as you move through the greenhouse was quite enthralling.
As you move on through the from the arid planting you arrive in a more tropical or rainforest zone. This proved interesting as the Gorse Fox’s glasses and the camera lens steamed up. It took a while for things to settle and full vision to be restored. Once it was the Gorse Fox was confronted with a huge moth resting on a leaf in front of him. It seemed perfectly happy to just sit and be admired, and the flow of human traffic seemed to be of no interest or threat.
We moved on and found our way to the restaurant for a light lunch before looping back towards the rockery and the upper terraces. GF has spoken in the past of the poor design of the rockery, so won’t go in to detail again. Despite his reservations, there are some good sections and careful selection of your viewpoint can offer some nice sights.
As we wandered around it was clear that they are doing a great deal of work on the gardens and they will be very different in a couple of months… but at the moment they are a little sparse.
Or is it age? The Gorse Fox was pondering the reality of a visit to the Ideal Homes Show. He has decided that it is a sign of maturity when you look at gadgets and then calculate how often, in reality, they would be used and therefore where you would store them for all the rest of time. Calculations completed, you walk away empty handed.
Monday, March 21, 2011
The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen enjoyed their day at the Ideal Home Exhibition. It didn’t seem as big as it used to be, but was better than our last trip a couple of years back.
There was no specific objective for the trip – but it was more of an opportunity to see what may be of use if and when we move. Not in terms of removals companies, more about insulation, heating, furnishings and so forth.
We started in the Ideal Woman section - a more motley bunch of sights you could not imagine – we soon escaped.
Lunch was taken at Greg Wallace’s cafe – and lunch doesn’t get much tougher than that.
We then started zigging and zagging through the various stands and actually stopped at one to select some new cooks knives. Then we carried on and saw extensions, saunas, cabins, and so forth. It was a great day.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
There was a call from the estate agents. The couple who visited yesterday were very interested. They loved the location and love the house. The only problem seems to be that they have not yet got a buyer for their house – and otherwise would have made an offer. This was both good news and frustrating news as it still leaves the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen with a number of houses on a wishlist, but no ability to progress with them.
We headed out again. A property had bubbled to the surface in last night’s review, but the details were sufficiently sketchy to warrant a quick check. Sure enough the Gorse Fox’s suspicions (caused by the shadows in the web details) were proved correct and the house had an easterly facing garden and was therefore unsuitable.
It was time to explore a bit further. Aldwick was becoming a contender and there was a nearby wildlife reserve at Pagham. We headed out that way and found ourselves down by the beach, which is on the western end of the bay looking east towards Brighton.
Along the beach a few souls were struggling with their sailboats and a good few fishermen were casting their lines from the the pebble bank. Whilst the village itself was not very enticing, the beach seemed nice and was not punctuated by breakwaters as it was well sheltered from the prevailing currents and winds.
At the end of the road was a small car park and the the start of various footpaths that take round parts of the lagoon. Whilst it was bright, there was a chill in the air and the paths did not have a good walking surface so would have been both cold and tricky for the Silver Vixen so we looked about for a bit before heading back towards the car.
From the lagoon we could see the spire of the local parish church off to the west. After we had stopped for a mug of tea and a baguette we took the car and went to explore. Church Road seemed to provide a clue and so we pottered of down the narrow lane. Sure enough we found ourselves at the Parish Church of St Thomas a Becket. This was charming, and larger than expected.
Tour complete, we headed home. It had been a pleasant few hours.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Anyway, this is photo that the Gorse Fox took from the back garden, using 35 x zoom, and hand-holding the camera (no tripod). Quite pleasing result.
There was a viewing scheduled so the Gorse Fox helped the Silver Vixen clean and preen – everything had to be spick and span.
We made ourselves scarce – it was a glorious day and there were several properties that were worthy of an initial reconnaissance. We zigged and zagged through the various areas of interest and determined those we liked and those we didn’t. We are lucky that there are so many really nice areas nearby – and several caught our attention.
We stopped off for a meal – nothing special, but it would sustain us through until morning and gave us a chance tio take stock of what we had seen.
Then we headed off again. This time just north of the Downs. We had in mind a quick look at a property that had attracted us, but we suspected may be too dark due to the westerly aspect and significant tree cover.
This seems to comprise one farm, one manor, one rectory and a church. It was a charming spot, with great views up to the top of the Downs.
This is spot along the top of the Downs where the South Down Way cuts across and continues its west-bound route towards Amberley and ultimately Winchester.
The views from Chantry Post in the late afternoon sunshine were superb. The balloon that a few minutes earlier had been slowly inflating below was now soaring into the clear sky. They would have a wonderful view across the Weald and the Downs .
We carried on and found the property that had interested us. We were right. Though the house looked very picturesque, it was surrounded by trees that seemed, even on a day like this, to blot out all of the light.
It had been a nice afternoon, but it was time to head home. We will be interested to hear from the Agent and get the verdict on today’s viewing.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Again, the Gorse Fox received a missive from Old Father Time. Again it contained both humour and insight that makes you go hmmmmmm.
Let's put the pensioners in gaol and the criminals in a nursing home.
This way the pensioners would have access to showers, hobbies and walks. They'd receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc. and they'd receive money instead of paying it out. They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly if they fell, or needed assistance. Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them. An attendant would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and snacks to their room, er . . . cell. They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose. They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counselling, pool and education. And even the vote!
Central heating, simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ's and legal aid would be free, on request.
Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with gardens. Each senior could have a PC, a TV, radio and daily phone calls. There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered to.
Meanwhile, the "criminals" would get cold food, be left all alone and unsupervised. Lights off at 8 PM, and showers once a week. Live in a tiny room and pay £900.00 per month and have no hope of ever getting out.
And bullied by the matron and so-called "nurses" all the time.
Justice for all we say.
Acknowledgements to the original author, whoever that may be. It is strange when you look at things like this and realise that in many cases prisoners are generally better treated than the elderly.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The Gorse Fox was in town. Starfleet are recruiting and GF was there to interview candidates and to observe a team exercise. These are always interesting as the candidates show their abilities (or otherwise) to work under pressure in a team. Some teams are good.. and others show no ability at all.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
After another trip to Warwick, Gorse Fox is back home and impressed with the economical performance of his car. He checked the consumption and range and was delighted to have achieved an average over 60mpg and realised that at this rate he would achieve just over 900 miles on a tank full. The new car is significantly more efficient than its predecessor.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The Gorse Fox went to visit a new client. It would have helped if he had been given the right briefing for the meeting – but never mind, GF improvised. At the end of the meeting Gorse Fox wanted to tell them to settle down and leave it to him. Instead they will probably argue for the next three months… then ask GF or Starfleet to come in and perform miracles.
Monday, March 14, 2011
It looks like this week is going to be busy. Gorse Fox started with a trip to Warwick. Unfortunately, the work was such that we didn’t complete it in the day – this means a return trip is scheduled on Wednesday.
On the way back GF had to take a couple of calls. This was the first time he had used the phone integration in the new “in anger”. Must say – very impressed with sound quality and ease of use (even if one call came from France!)
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Market forces are such that selecting a Plan A, B, C, or Z for that matter is fairly futile until we have some genuine interest in the current home. Having said that we went hunting again in search of a couple of properties seen online. In reality, neither suitable – one because of the particular estate (which has a developing reputation for troublesome teenagers), the other because the garden would spend virtually the whole day in the shade.
Not easy this house-hunting lark!
Saturday, March 12, 2011
The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen spent another day house hunting – both physically and online.
The morning’s trip was fruitful as it confirmed that SV would be content with the Plan B house that GF visited last week. Indeed, talking to the local gardener made us realise that it would retain many of the benefits of their current location.
Back home the computer continues to spew up various examples, but despite many hundreds of properties – only two found their way onto the list.
GF enjoys the hunt – but until this house is under offer, cannot get too excited.
Friday, March 11, 2011
A magnitude 8.9 earthquake is huge. Sometime this morning Mother Nature shrugged and in so doing shifted a huge chunk of her crust near to the coast of Japan.
Such events give us pause to marvel at the mighty forces of nature, and to think of our brothers and sisters who have been affected by the devastation that ensued.
It would be easy to catalogue what is known of the devastation – but that adds no value to the stream of reports. Most of this, however, is just stuff. It can be rebuilt or replaced. What is most significant is that people have been injured, families have been torn apart, and many have been killed.
The Gorse Fox has them in his thoughts.
Well the last two teleconference calls of the day were postponed until next week. Result!
Talking of results, the Gorse Fox has refrained from crowing about the outcome of this week’s Champions’ League fixtures. However, a few observations are now due:
Barcelona were awesome, providing a master-class in football skills. The Forces of Darkness can complain all they like about the Van Persi red card (which was unjust) – but realistically it had no impact on the game. What was disappointing was the degree of histrionics and play-acting that was evident on occasions from the Catalans… particularly Dani Alves. Completely unnecessary – let the football do the talking. As usual the Forces of Darkness looked utterly miserable throughout – it is evident than none of them want to play football for a living and are being forced to accept vast sums of money to run around the pitch
Spurs were dogged. Milan hemmed them in and commanded the midfield. Spurs dug deep and and shut them out. It was an ugly but gutsy performance. In contrast to their satanic North London neighbours they played with good humour and smiles on their faces. Oh yes – and they got through to the quarter finals.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Old Father Time sent an email recounting a story that the Gorse Fox should probably share:
As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Corryong back country.
As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn't stop for directions..
I finally arrived over an hour late and saw that the funeral bloke had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologised to the men for being late.
I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place and earth covered most of it. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play. The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this poor, homeless man. And as I played 'Amazing Grace,' the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together.
When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head
hung low, my heart was full.
As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "I ain't never seen nothin' like that before and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."
Apparently I was still lost...
With acknowledgments to the originator… whosoever that may be.
The Gorse Fox had to refer to some data from the Office of National Statistics. Whilst there he downloaded a time sequenced data set that documented inflation since 1948.
Now there are many interpretations you might put on the statistics presented, but GF wondered how the value of money had changed since 1950 and so he plugged 1 GBP into the spreadsheet in Dec 1950 and then calculated its inflation year on year until now. Anyone care to guess?
The Gorse Fox will put you out of your misery. 1 GBP in 1950 is equivalent to 23 GBP today (if you do not include property values in the calculation) or 26 GBP (if you do).
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Today was mixed. Gorse Fox had several calls during the morning to catch up with some of his team and to get to know his new team member. This is always interesting as you get an insight into what makes people tick, and the projects on which they are working.
The calls were punctuation in a day that revolved around the preparation of a slide deck for discussion with a client. This in its own right proffered some unexpected challenges as GF decided that he wanted to add some images as background. Normally this is straightforward but GF wanted to be clever and overly four images on each other and allow them to bleed into each in such a way that allowed each to be identified – but all to be seen a bit like a watermark. In the end GF decided his knowledge of Photoshop was not adequate to achieve the desired result and further time could not be wasted. A compromise image was found and used.
Gorse Fox is making no comments about last night’s Barcelona/Arsenal match until he has seen the Spurs/Milan match tonight.
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
What an interesting day. The Gorse Fox has spent chunks of the day researching some migration options for a potential client. Basically, the question is how do they get off the flawed old hardware and software they currently run – and migrate to shiny new Starfleet hardware and software? At this stage GF is looking for the various options which can be investigated and discussed. There’s still a fair bit of thinking to do before meeting up with the client for the first time.
GF has also picked up a new member for his team. This person has migrated (while we are on the subject) from consulting to the blinding white light that is Architecture (as opposed to the dark side that is project management).
Monday, March 07, 2011
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Sunday was spent doing home computer admin. A new 2TB network drive gave the Gorse Fox an opportunity to move some files and folders around. This in turn meant re-configuring the backups – it’s no good having a single copy of your files… computer components DO fail.
This included some great photos of GF’s dad from his days in the Navy around 1945.
Those who know the Gorse Fox will recognise that GF did NOT inherit his father’s looks.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Sometimes the urge to give someone a slap can be over-powering. The Gorse Fox was in PC World looking a an additional disk drive. He approached the till and a trainee (probably wearing long trousers for the first time) approached. He commented on the drive and how much it would store and proceeded:
“It’s amazing how much you can fit on a disk now”. GF nodded and commented that technology did indeed move quickly. “You should see the inside of one of those disks!” commented the callow youth – GF’s hackles were twitching. “If you understood how these things were made, you’d be amazed” the lad went on – digging himself deeper into a hole.
It was at this point that the Gorse Fox had to ram his hands deep into his pockets. A slap was rising and control had to be maintained.
GF thanked the youth for this insight, referred to his work with the disk design folks in Havant and Santa Theresa, paid for his goods and left. A young trainee, glowing red from ear to ear, slunk back behind the displayays.
Friday, March 04, 2011
An early start, the car, and many miles of tarmac saw the Gorse Fox in Warwick. A day spent listening to teleconferences caused GF to realise the journey had been a real waste of time. He was well pleased, therefore, when caught in a 6 mile traffic jam south of Oxford and didn’t get home till mid evening.
Thursday, March 03, 2011
A busy day. On top of the work that GF was already involved with, he was phoned by Franco-Brazillian-English chap that he has know for several years. Martin (as we shall call him) had met up with one of the media companies. They have a problem and it seems to fit right up GF’s street. The only question is whether GF can extract himself from the stuff he’s currently working on.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Meanwhile GF has spent the day buried in a huge diagram, only able to see small sections of it at a time which makes connecting all the boxes rather fiddly.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Watching the local evening magazine programme, GF was moved to write:
Would it be more sensible for you to re-brand South Today as "Cuts Today". It seems to be all you report nowadays. All our councils have to balance their budgets (unlike the EU). They have been penalised in favour of the councils up north for the past 13 years and now, as we now have a huge national deficit, we have to sort it out.
Perhaps you would ask your interviewees which budget they would trim to save their pet project. There is a finite pot of money and councillors have to make a difficult choice how to allocate it to cause the least impact.
He has already had a response
Thank you for your email. Because of the large number of messages we receive we cannot respond individually to each one but all comments are read and forwarded if necessary. We're always keen to hear your stories. If we don't follow up your suggestion this time please don't be put off from contacting us again. We hope that you will continue to watch and enjoy our programme. Best wishes The South Today Team
GF suspects he won’t hear any more!
The Gorse Fox was reflecting on yesterday.
He met distant cousin that he hadn’t seen for several years. “Where are you living now?” he asked. “I’m in the old folks home, behind the church” he explained.
The Gorse Fox continued with some small talk as his brain started processing, A small explosion went off in his head as he remembered that this cousin (let’s call him Fr. Phil)* is only a year older than GF.
Is GF really that close to committal?
(* well, that is his name, after all).