Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Working day

Public holiday over, it was back to work today. Gorse Fox headed across country, glued to his latest audio book. It is now at a stage that makes the thought of heavy traffic almost attractive as the narration starts to draw the threads of of the story, slowly, together. Arrival means the end of another episode and several hours wondering what will happen next.

Urban-cub took Silver Vixen and her mum back up to Buckingham for an appointment tomorrow with the physioterrorist... Then the plan is that she'll return to Sussex with us for while.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Inflation

Well, lots of stuff filled the public holiday. Top of the list were some pressing chores...GF needed to get some ironing out of the way so he could get his packing done for this week in Bristol.

Next it was back to Urban-cub's spreadsheet for an hour or so. The finished article is, without doubt, a new masterpiece and will, without doubt, be the basis of many further spreadsheets.

Silver Vixen and Urban-cub are heading off with Mother-in-Law Tuesday, so tyre pressure checks were performed and fluids examined. Then, diesel had to be procured for the GF's trip to Bristol.

Back inside Skype was tested on the iPads and proved to work fine, even with video. Unfortunately we couldn't get in touch with Cousteau-cub to have a long distance video-chat... So GF settled down with his book for the rest of the afternoon.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Literature

Gorse Fox was troubled. Several aspect of Urban-cub's spreadsheet had triggered a series of "what-ifs" in the mind. This meant that most of the morning was spent reading manuals and trying out ideas. Not exactly a holiday novel, but nevertheless it was fun and GF learned several new techniques that will come in handy.

Curiosity satisfied, GF returned to a good book. He has taken to listening to his audiobooks on the journey to and from the west country, but reading "Kindle" books on his iPad. This means that he has two books on the go at present.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spreading

Gorse Fox spent a thrilling afternoon helping Urban-cub with some spreadsheets.

Living life on the edge!!!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Headlines




So we hit the front page of the local property paper

Schadenfreude

One of the last projects the the Gorse Fox was working on involved the design of an immense distributed data farm with significant performance characteristics in terms of response times and availability. Having worked on this for about 9 months, developing a design that was optimised for performance but trimmed to be competitive – some very dubious decisions were made by the client and Starfleet were pipped at the post by some Klingon enterprise.

GF hears through the grapevine that said Klingon enterprise is now having real problems delivering, and that their design is having major problems meeting the performance requirements.

That’s what happens when you make silly choices to save a percentage point or two of cost.

Sits back with a smug grin.

Karma.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Drifting off

There is a problem with the western section of the English section of the M4. it's not potholes. It's not weight of traffic. It's not even the proximity to Wales. It's the sheer unadulterated boredom of this 30 mile stretch between Swindon and Bristol.

Even listening to one of his audiobooks, GF finds this soporific. This week seemed worse than most so GF pulled in to a motorway service area for a 15 minute power nap. Refreshed, he drove on without trouble and without incident.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Goose

He knelt at the side of the table. "Hello, I'm Goose" the Gorse Fox responded "Of course you are" and Goose continued "I will be your waiter tonight".

Thus began another plate of ribs at TGI Friday at the end of a long day in the office.




Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Execs

So we are blessed with some executive intervention. As we have had so many Bank Holidays this month, could we look at working a couple of extra hours per week for the rest of the quarter.

This reminds the Gorse Fox about his 25th year in Starfleet, where he was graciously given and extra 5 days vacation... But was measured against the same number of working hours... So had to make up the difference. It is a sort of "here can you lend us a tenner" followed by "thanks, have a tenner". Almost no trace of cynicism at all.

We had another Exec "mandatory" call. As usual, late starting. As usual, a slide deck provided, but no real value added by the presenters.

GF has, despite all, had a good day. It seems that the Silver Vixen is making good progress with her Mother's recuperation and has had her walking round the garden. No pole dancing yet, but progress is progress.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Super injunction

Well, Ryan Giggs, who'd have thought it?

Wonderful quote in the BBC News saying how the new digital social media was making tone law look an ass. The Gorse Fox would beg to differ. The law has made itself look like an ass. The digital social media has just shone a spotlight upon it.

Now a few hints:

  • If you don't want your private life splashed across the tabloids, don't do anything you would find embarrassing.
  • If you think you can take on the Internet, you are seriously deluded.
  • If you are a judge don't allow remedies that are only available to the super rich... The law should be available to everyone.

Now, go away and behave.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Travelling home

Leaving the hotel, Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen headed across the Midlands to Buckingham and a visit with SV's family. Mother has had a new industrial hinge put in her knee and she is now recuperating. Bringing her down to Sussex gives her a chance to get some sun and some exercise on the flat... and gives some respite to the  Silver Vixen's sister who had been caring for her this last week or so.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Diesel

Apocalypse seems to be on hold. GF better fill up with diesel in the morning.


Harrowing

Turning away from the summit, the Gorse Fox headed back. He retraced his steps for the first half mile or so, and then diverrted off towards Sundial Farm where he picked up another path through some recently harrowed fields, past a small copse and through a disused and now overgrown quarry.

GF was soon back at the start point sitting on the boot lip of the car changing his socks and reflecting on a mighty fine walk.

Posted by Picasa

Summit

Finally at the top GF was getting battered by the breeze, and had to chase his hat at one point. The summit was a maze of Neolithic earthworks ruined by the much more modern stone tower draped in telecommunications relays.

sheltering beneath one of the embankments, GF sat down for a few minutes to take on water, check the map, and decide on the route back. He also tried to post his blog, but despite the telecommunications relays, he was unable to get a stable signal.

Northern Edge

Once the climb was over, the top of the hill flattens out and you walk through well kept fields, and small areas of woodland. This was nice and easy after the ascent and gave a chance for the heart rate to slow down. 

Gorse Fox was having some slight problems with the map. Normally he prints highly detailed digital maps of his route at a large scale. This time he was relying on an OS Landranger map, which whilst very accurate and detailed, was at a significantly different scale. Hence GF was having problems judging distance.

Land ranger

Once the climb was over, the top of the hill flattens out and you walk through well kept fields, and small areas of woodland. This was nice and easy after the ascent and gave a chance for the heart rate to slow down. 

Gorse Fox was having some slight problems with the map. Normally he prints highly detailed digital maps of his route at a large scale. This time he was relying on an OS Landranger map, which whilst very accurate and detailed, was at a significantly different scale. Hence GF was having problems judging distance.

Hill or Mountain

GF stopped and chatted with another walker, well into his descent. He was a local who climbs the hill every weekend to set himself up for the week. He explain that the earthworks and tower at the top of the hill just push it to 1000 feet, and hence to being a mountain.

Vale of Gloucester

As the route climbed the hill, wonderful vistas opened up to west and south. This one is looking over the village of Bredon, with the silvery river running through and the Vale of Gloucester beyond. This village had always caught GFs eye as he headed down the motorway from Worcester. The picturesque setting, the river, the church spire... And yet could suddenly change as the river floods and the village appears to float above a huge lake.

Summit

Today's walk was not too challenging, but was nevertheless rewarding. GF found a nice parking spot at Woodmancote, changed his footwear, packed his rucksack and head up the slope. A couple of horse riders paused for a cheery greeting as GF was checking the map to decide on which fork should be followed.

Trouble

GF is having trouble posting his blog entries for today's walk. Hopefully, more later.



Air traffic control

The skies in the vicinity of the the Three Counties Showground are black with approaching visitors on their broomsticks. The occasional cackle can be heard as minor collisions occur an besoms brush bosoms. GF was quickly in under the radar and then, having dropped the Silver Vixen, was back out and heading away from the chaos.



Friday, May 20, 2011

Moving Picture Palace

What a pleasant evening. A whizz up the motorway to Worcester where a very nice meal was enjoyed at Saffron's, and then sated, a stroll along to see what was being shown at the local moving picture palace.

A couple of hours later, the latest episode of Pirates of the Caribbean was consumed and we headed back into the night and swooped back to the hotel.



Settled

After a pleasant drive across country, and pause for a snack at The Air Balloon, the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen have checked-in and made themselves comfortable at Puckrup Hall.


Nice location, just north of Tewkesbury; nice old mansion with an hotel extension ( just out of shot).

The hotel is surrounded by beautiful views across the golf course -which rather messes things up for non golfers as it limits the walks that you can take in the grounds.


Hopefully the weather will hold and GF will make up for it tomorrow with a proper walk.

Keep you head down

According to an American Evangelical group – the Apocalypse is due on Saturday (21st May).

the head of the Christian radio network Family Stations Inc has said that he is sure an earthquake will hit on May 21, sweeping true believers to heaven and leaving others behind to be engulfed in the world's destruction over a few months.

"We know without any shadow of a doubt it is going to happen," he told Reuters.

Now, Gorse Fox may come across as a little sceptical, but he still plans to climb Breedon Hill. (Maybe he can watch the Apocalypse from there?).

But, just in case, he won’t bother filling up with diesel until Sunday – it would be a shame to waste it!

Grindstone - stopped. Nose safe.

Gorse Fox has a day's vacation. The weather looks superb, and we have things to do and places to go.

Two members of Silver Vixen's coven have taken their 4-broom drive and made their way to Malvern. With the big quilt show scheduled for the weekend, GF will be escorting the Silver Vixen to join up with the aforementioned and create a triumvirate of chaos in this previously tranquil area of the country.

May the Lord have mercy on the natives.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Done

The Gorse Fox has just been to the first meeting of the new Parish Council since he stepped down. It was quite interesting sitting there as an observer rather than participant. He was very proud when presented with an award from the Council for all his hard work, and several mentions in dispatches for the development of the design Statement. New members were co-opted onto the council and GF made his apologies and left things in their capable hands.

Back home GF has examined the fine gift of wine, and read the kind thoughts in card. He will miss his Council meetings... But it is time to move on.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mixed fortunes

Gorse Fox has been having laptop trouble today - numerous crashes requiring reboot. Most frustrating as each incident takes about 20 minutes or more to recover. Will have a bit of a clean up and see if that helps. It would be a lot better if Starfleet would let us upgrade to Windows 7.

Team dinner planned for this evening. Should be fun.

59

There was an article in this morning's paper suggesting that Old Age begins at 59. The Gorse Fox can assure the authors that they are wrong - he is 59 and is just entering middle age... Old Age is a long way off.

Damned cheek!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Coaching

The Gorse Fox had his meeting in Portsmouth then headed west to the office in Bristol. The afternoon was well packed with meetings, decisions, and (of course) admin.

Heading for the hotel, GF was looking forward to a quick meal and a quiet evening reviewing some cases for recertification from his team. Unfortunately, it is clear that we have another Teutonic tour party and they got the hotel restaurant booked out until eight-thirty. Too late for GF.

He considered a quick trip out, but needs to work. Room service is called for.



Encore

Another working week begins. A meeting at Starfleet’s office near Portsmouth will punctuate the trip across to Bristol.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Creme Fraiche, fail

Spring onions, chopped. Chorizo, chopped. Mushrooms. Green peppers, chopped. Carrots, diced. Red wine, and a dash of Worcester sauce.

So far, really good.

Added some creme fraiche.

Disaster!

Authoring

Gorse Fox has resigned from the Parish Council. because of the plan to move, GF decided he should leave the council matters to those that will be most affected.

One of the outstanding issues that was still in Gorse Fox's lap was the Parish Design statement and that needed some updates after reviewing with the local District Council. In a parting flourish, GF has spent most of the day wordsmithing and checking photos. The job was finally done. The documents have been passed on. GF can heave a sigh of a relief.



Pick of the pics

IMG_0173

The design effort that Silver Vixen has put in to the gardens, assisted by Mellors, is really coming to a peak.

GF was conscious that some of the marketing literature for the house features pictures taken in early February. It seemed like an appropriate time to update some of them.

IMG_0175

The sun was up, the sky was blue with a smattering of white fluffy clouds. The Acers bed was looking lush.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

In (more) praise of MiFi

Gorse Fox has extolled the efficacy of his MiFi gadget in the past. Today he tried something different. He fired up the MiFi and slotted it into a handy drawer in the car. Then he set up the Silver Vixen’s iPad to connect to it…. et voila, despite not having a 3G iPad, she had full access to the internet as we travelled about, courtesy of the private WiFi bubble created in the car.

Very impressed.

Scratch that

We spent some time viewing available properties online. As usual the criteria were well understood, and choice quite limited. Several properties attracted us and the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed out in the car to take a closer look.

The first stop was near Felpham and whilst the house looked nice enough it seemed quite small compared to home. It was also crammed in to its plot and seemed claustrophobic even to look at. We scratched that.

The next was more interesting (at least on the screen) – big, 6-bedroom property in Selsey. Again this was scratched off once we had seen it. Primarily because Selsey is so remote, and secondarily because the though the property looked ok, it was clear to see that it was a maintenance nightmare – fully rendered and painted white, this would be an on-going money-pit. (Just as an aside, Selsey also has more tornadoes than anywhere else in the UK and GF suspects that because of its location there’s probably a view that Chichester constitutes “the big city lights”)

The next contender was quickly written off, being situated on a main road and backing onto a static caravan park. This afforded little privacy or peace.

The final property was just across the rife from home. It was a quirky property that may deserve a closer look.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oops

Blogger has been down, dead in the water. Now it is back, but seems to have lost one of this week's posts. Not sure whether GF can remember the details to re-post.

Anyway, GF has been working from home today. This was a pleasure, though remarkably busy as one of the issues he has been handling decided to turn critical. This kept the phones and the emails busy and gave GF a few difficult moments.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Peanuts

A colleague was explaining his imaginary routine when away on business. Firstly, back to hotel. Check out restaurant and decide against it. Head for supermarket, buy 24 cans of lager and 6 bottles of wine and a packet of peanuts. All fits within the daily allowance - and because he bought food (peanuts) he can claim the purchase as dinner.

Seems like a plan... And so he would like to do it every day!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Drinking the Koolaid

GF headed for Cribbs Causeway - a huge retail park and Mall to the west of Bristol. There was a decent choice of food outlets and GF enjoyed a snack at one of the outlets before strolling round to see what was there. A trip to the Apple store for the Silver Vixen proved fruitless but GF also checked at Currys. Again no luck, but it was suggested that a visit to their megastore nearby may be more successful.

Returning to the car, GF head off to the big retail park and found his way in to the vast hangar that made up Currys megastore. Required item was queried, confirmed, and purchased. In and out in 5 minutes. Result!!!



Scam

Some scams can be quite sophisticated. Last week, the Gorse Fox received a call from a company regarding the sale of our Timeshare. They said a consultant would call sometime this week. Ok, thought he, no quick hard sell.

Today the "consult" called. Lo' and behold, they had managed to sell both weeks for the price we originally paid. A couple were ready to pay their deposit if we were happy to go ahead. GF's b/s antenna started to hum. He started to ask questions and to request some formal emails, rather than a just the voice of a woman at the far end of the phone call. She was willing and said would send info through. GF probed more, what was this costing? Nothing, he was assured. It all comes from the buyer.

Sounds promising, he said. So there is nothing to pay? That is when the other shoe dropped... GF would have to provide a retainer of twelve hundred euros.

B/S alarm was flat out. Call was ended and Mr Google was consulted. Guess what? There were legions of people who had fallen for this scam and reported it. GF heaved a sigh of relief, and returned to his spreadsheets!



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Stereotypes

The Gorse Fox had forgotten about stereotypes. He went down to the restaurant just in time for opening - only to find a geriatric blitzkrieg winding themselves up to a whimper at the door (which hadn't opened on the dot of seven). The door swung open and they marched in ( ignoring instructions to wait to be seated) and headed for their favoured tables. No towels were evident, but it would not have bee a surprise.


Perry Mortem Tours - first reprise.

The Gorse Fox often wondered what happened to the Pre-corpses when they left on their tour bus from Worcester. It appears that they may well head for Bristol, judging by the number of shuffling zombies that wandered aimlessly about in the hotel restaurant early this morning.



Monday, May 09, 2011

West


The Gorse Fox left early and headed out onto the highways and byways of Britain. Across Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Avon, quickly at first and slowing through Hampshire before the roads cleared and it was possible to enjoy the bright spring morning.

Once at work, the day was quickly filled with the usual crises, workshops, and discussions.

He headed for the hotel and arrived just before two coaches - a rugby team and German tourist bus. Fortunately he was at the front of the check-in queue, and he quickly decided that he would ignore the hotel restaurant and reign to his favoured Indian. He was greeted like a long lost friend (even though he has only been there twice) and immediately offered a lassis. Funny how small things can break the ice and and get you remembered!


Sunday, May 08, 2011

Legal High

The diversion to John Lewis yesterday was meant to result in the selection of some dress-making fabric. It actually resulted in a new coffee machine. The Gorse Fox has spent this morning setting it up and trying the various setting… and as a result he is undergoing a significant coffee “buzz”.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Leaks

Saturday sees the first photos of Cousteau-cub’s scubathon leaking out on acebook. GF will try to get permission to show them here, but hasn’t had time to contact the copyright owner.

Vince Cable has accused the Tories of playing rough – guess that he means that they acted like politicians.

GF & SV heading for the far North (High Wycombe) in order to visit Silver Vixen’s mum in hospital – she’s just had a new hinge installed in her knee.  Apparently a visit to High Wycombe Hospital involves a mandatory stop at John Lewis nearby. (Guess that it is like pre-med).

Friday, May 06, 2011

Hiding to Nothing

The Gorse Fox has been following some of the commentary from the media and from twitter regarding the death of Osama Bin Laden, and hates to return to this grizzly subject. However, a few points are worth making:

  • There is no sense in releasing the “pictures”. Conspiracy theorists will claim they were photo-shopped.
  • Burial at sea may seem strange (and conspiracy theorists will again claim a cover-up), but it does preclude some location from becoming a place of morbid pilgrimage
  • DNA tests will again be dismissed by conspiracy theorists

The sad and paranoid conspiracy theorists will never be satisfied – so don’t pander to them. The rest of us may have the odd doubt about some of the details, but essentially believe the outcome.

Now give it a rest!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Voting

The Gorse Fox has done his democratic duty and voted. He was appalled when talking to some colleagues who had voted in the AV referendum but chose their vote because they don't like what the government is doing!

Sorry but by all means choose candidates because of your political likes and dislikes... But NOT the way in which the country should vote. There are times when despair seems like an appropriate emotion.



So proud

Gorse Fox is so proud. Cousteau-cub completed her Scubathon after 8 hours and 12 minutes. What an achievement!!!

Scubathon

Cousteau-cub should be gliding back and forth underwater all day today. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen are thinking of her, and wishing her luck.




Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Incantations and rituals

A car washing and valet service were doing a thriving trade in the car park at work. It is now raining as you would expect.


Better still

Better news. Marcus Brigstocke is a yes campaigner. What a comedian! GF seems to disagree with almost everything he espouses, and so it is again. Seems like a slam-dunk.


Expectation

Tomorrow is the big day. Cousteau-cub will do her Scubathon to raise money for victims of the Japanese Tsunami.



Confirmation

This morning's Independent has a full front page advocating Yes to AV... Confirmation if ever the Gorse Fox needed it that we should vote NO.

Strangely, GF is not against changing the voting system - but he is against this particular change. If he was given the choice he would select some form of proportional representation, but to do that properly would require a major shake up of the way in which seats are allocated in Parliament.



Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Traffic

The children are back at school. Not the Gorse Fox's children, they have outgrown that. No all of the other little tykes. This means that the traffic was dreadful and the journey across to Bristol took an extra half an hour... But at least it was a comfortable journey.

Not too much to report in general, Winston Churchill is still dead as is Alexander the Great. Let's hope they give Osama Bin Laden a good spanking before he leaves them for his final destination. More brimstone is on order.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Stooping Low

So the news informs us that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. Special Forces have evidently completed a mission that has taken many years to come to fruition.

The Gorse Fox thinks that there is a propensity for some form of triumphalism at this outcome – however he does not believe that we should ever rejoice in the death of another human being, however wicked he appears to have been. Rejoicing at this would mean stooping to level of barbarism and mob mentality that we witnessed in the Middle East on 9/11. This is no way for intelligent, educated, and civilised people to behave.

Now, this is not to say that we should not allow ourselves to feel a certain relief, or even satisfaction that he is no longer a threat, but ultimately he was but one man at the core of web of evil. There is still much to do before the threat is eradicated.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Rubble

It was a most pleasant day. Cousteau-cub had dropped a message to say at the Scubathon was back on and would take place on Thursday. Good to know she's fit again.

We headed off to the wild west and to spend the day with Betty and Barney Rubble. The weather was still warm, dry and Springlike and the drive across country was glorious with the fresh green of the year's new growth offset by the fields of rapeseed and the woodlands carpeted by thick drifts of bluebells.

We went out to lunch to the recently reopened Mill Stream at Odiham. What a superb job they have done.
The setting cannot be improved, and the food was just brilliant.