Friday, September 30, 2011
The objective was to allow the Programme Manager to pick GF's brain to ensure that he was ready for the board meeting while GF was on vacation. So as the sporadic interrogation took place, the Gorse Fox was able to crack on with emails, and admin such that he was just about clear by the time it was time to head out on the highway. Still some expenses to claim, but that will have to wait until the weekend.
The pressure (GF doesn't do stress) of the last couple of weeks has just dropped away and he is already in very relaxed mood.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Oh yes, did he mention that five weeks later they split up!
Tonight the Gorse Fox is hosting a couple of colleagues for dinner. Should be most pleasant.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Now, what is strange, however, is convergence. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen have some vacation time planned. His nano-sister and husband also have vacation planned at the same time. It turns out that we are all going to the same place. Now that is coincidence.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The very thought that the Labour Party could utter the phrase "quick buck" after Tony Blair had been in charge, or that they could refer to "asset stripping" after selling of the UK gold reserves and stripping private pensions at a rate of about 10Bn per year, is a degree of hypocrisy that the Gorse Fox finds breath-taking.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
The Gorse Fox has a thing about DIY. That thing is that anything remotely related to plumbing should be avoided.
Today he has broken this rule in a effort to stop the upstairs lavatory from dripping. The cistern was examined and adjustments made – but these made no difference. So it was that GF headed for the DIY store looking for a new “bottom-fill” valve assembly.
After much hunting about he found a side fill valve assemble and went and paid valid coin of the realm before remembering that he needed “bottom-fill”. Returning to the plumbing section he sought said item – but none was on show. He accosted one of the zombies who shuffle round the store and he confirmed that there wasn’t one on show.
“But might you have one in the stock room?” the Gorse Fox dared to ask. There was a long pause whilst this question was parsed and computed. The zombie admitted they might have, and shuffled off towards the tills.
He shuffled back. “Yes, we should have some. Would you like me to get you one?”. The answer seemed obvious and GF curbed his rising need for sarcasm, and said “Yes, that would be most kind”. The zombie shuffled off.
Some time later the zombie shuffled back and handing over one item to the Gorse Fox started to replenish the shelves with the others. Anyone else fancying a “bottom-fill” today should be accommodated “off the shelf”.
Returning home, GF drained the cistern and removed the old valve assembly and float and installed the new one. The dripping from the in-fill was soon stopped and the cistern filled. Slowly. Very slowly. In fact, there are glaciers that move more quickly that the cistern fills and float rises… and when it does rise, it won’t seem to shut the valve.
Much fiddling later, GF has given up.
Should have called Keith the Plumber to start with.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
The Gorse Fox was alerted by the Silver Vixen that the Sky decoder didn’t seem to be working in the kitchen. This was a pain, and a little investigation lead the Gorse Fox to conclude that the power unit had failed. At least, that is what the collective knowledge of the internet “hive mind” conclude.
Some time was spent looking for replacement units – but the conclusion was that this was about to cost more than GF was willing to pay.
Sleeping on it, the Gorse Fox realised that all of the TV and Radio channels that are generally used in the kitchen are also available on Freesat – and that the record function is never used in the kitchen.
Several hours later we now have HD-quality TV delivering 173 TV and Radio channels, and the man from Sky has cancelled our multi-room subscription. Most satisfactory.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Well that was a week! But at least, being Friday, the Gorse Fox has been able to work from home. This means that: there was no commute, there was tea and coffee whenever required without taking out a mortgage to pay for it, and there was a fast and reliable broadband service.
The Silver Vixen has swooped off with several of her coven to torment the people of Littlehampton as they invade a local hostelry and partake in some devilish broth or other.
The Gorse Fox is set for a quiet evening with the TV and the internet, having already enjoyed a curry to keep body and soul together.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Ninety minutes later, he was awake. A spot of indigestion was causing a degree of discomfort. Pillows rearranged, and a glass of water quaffed, he settled back down.
Two hours later the hotel fire alarms went off. These are not the sort that can be ignored. They are loud klaxons that had the denizens of the local cemetery asking what was going on. GF collected his thoughts (he had left them scattered across the spare bed) and dressed quickly. A glance in the mirror revealed a headless chicken in a Berghaus jacket wandering around aimlessly. The alarm stopped.
GF returned to bed.
The alarm restarted.
The Gorse Fox got up
The alarm stopped.
The Gorse Fox returned to bed... And so it continued for about 30 minutes.
The rest of the night was undisturbed, but GF was displeased by rapid progress of time and the sudden appearance of six o'clock.
As he checked out of the hotel he commented that he didn't remember requesting an alarm call. The comment soared above the head of the receptionist, wasted.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Today has been pretty good, considering. The weather was fairly poor, but that doesn't matter if you spend the day indoors. Much of the day was spent drawing a sort of timeline showing the various stages of our new approach to the project and highlighting the difficult problems that we still face. Very satisfying.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Rumour is evidently spreading regarding GF having a towelling shoulder. Yet again he had a very difficult call from a colleague that ended with virtual tears dripping from the phone. Great shame that people can get to such a level of stress, and a shame that so many people have to spend so much time away from the families, and how this can have a terrible impact on relationships. Gorse Fox can't help but be thankful for the support, good humour, friendship, and love of the Silver Vixen.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
The Gorse Fox mentioned to “Rick Wakeman” that he loved the music from the old TV programme – Midnight Caller. Well, Rick tracked it down, and the Gorse Fox is now downloading several albums of the most brilliant “late night jazz”.
Can’t wait to get a chance to listen to them.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
There have been several tragedies in the past few days that are worthy of mention.
Firstly, the Gorse Fox has been moved by the loss of the four miners in South Wales. What a terrible thing for the families and friends – and a sobering reminder to us all of the risks that miners take across the world on a daily basis to extract minerals for our consumption.
Also we hear, this morning, of the tragic crash of the vintage P51 into the crowd at the Reno air show. As with several high-octane sports and shows the spectators expect a degree of risk from the pilots, or drivers, or riders. They don’t expect, however, to become involved or become victims. Again, a sobering moment and the Gorse Fox’s thoughts are with the families and friends of those involved.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Somehow, motivation was hard to come by. There was admin to do and GF is not known for his travels within the adminisphere. Expenses came first, but it was not a usual clean sweep – oh no. Starfleet’s corporate card dictates the expenses that can be claimed, and so the Gorse Fox is still a week or so out of date. No doubt this saves someone a few pounds.
On the subject of motivation, the Gorse Fox has been looking forward to attending an education session next week. This has long been scheduled and the diary kept clear. Starfleet, in its infinite wisdom, has now cancelled (not postponed) the course – thus making a mockery of the exercise we are forced to go through each year to identify the development plans for the year.
The Gorse Fox also noted that another course was cancelled, and that the notification did not arrive until late evening. He wonders how many people will not check their mail over the weekend, and turn up from all over the country anyway!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
The focus this week has been firmly on preparation for a Board meeting next week. This continued today with several opportunities to “socialise” the material in advance – and make adaptations accordingly.
GF got roped into a late afternoon meeting which was an interesting challenge as it was introducing some significant new requirements into our project. This is likely to need some attention in the next few days.
The late meeting meant that GF was late leaving Bristol and consequently caught up in slower traffic than usual. He was home, however, in plenty of time to see the new Billy Connolly series begin with his travelogue of Route 66 as it starts in Chicago (a fabulous city) and winds down through Illinois. GF loves the quirky way BC sees the world and thoroughly enjoys these road trips.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Work done, GF headed for Cribb's Causeway and sauntered in to TGI Friday's for some salad, ribs, and a glass of wine.
Back at the hotel, GF called the Silver Vixen for a chat, then settled down for a quiet evening nursing an incipient cold and listening to one of his books.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Leaving Starfleet GF headed for the train in order to get back to Sussex as soon as possible and pick up his car for the trip across to Bristol. Murphy (the famous lawmaker) stepped in at this point. He decided that the Gorse Fox should spend the afternoon on a wide selection of trains and platforms on his journey South. The injection of Emergency Engineering works at Clapham meant that 90 minutes into the journey he was awaiting the third train and had only got as far as Croydon.
Once on the right train the itinerary was changed again and then train rescheduled to terminate four stops short of GFs destination and Murphy deemed this would be a 4 train trip.
Let's hope the drive across country is less irksome.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Finally it was time to share them with all of the participants in yesterday's shin dig.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Families are strange. For some people they are merely an accident of birth, and mean little. For others they are the nucleus of their existence. With travel being what it is today, and the requirement to go to where the work is, families can become stretched into a global diaspora.
The Silver Vixen’s family are geographically less dispersed than that of the Gorse Fox – and are good at maintaining some contact. So it is that today 30 or more of us will be meeting up for an (almost) annual get-together.
Friday, September 09, 2011
Gorse Fox was up early. Lots to do.
Documents to review, documents to write, documents to re-write for others and the usual calls to handle and re-prioritisations to cope with. One colleague said that he could see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Gorse Fox looked – it was just a ventilation shaft, and the darkness returned.
There are a number of frustrations that never seem to recede – the fact that Starfleet will not (easily) provide some of the basic tools such a tricorders and phasers; the fact that may colleagues seem totally unable to use these basic tools of the trade (putting a phaser on “stun” then throwing it at an alien is not an informed use of the tool); not having enough ensigns to man a Starship. All of these conspire to make Friday evening the highlight of the week as the relief sets in and sound of head banging against brick wall starts to recede.
Time to go and wrap the Gorse Fox round a fine glass of wine.
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Work was actually quite good, possibly because many of the GF's colleagues were away at an event. The day progressed without interrupt and huge progress was made.
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
At the hotel he phoned the Silver Vixen, then headed out for something to eat. In the lift he bumped into a colleague. "Are you joining us all for dinner?" he asked. GF responded "after the day he has had, the last thing he wants is an evening talking business with colleagues" and having offended everyone he wandered off to Piccolino.
He picked a quiet table and ordered. Two girls came in and sat at the next table. One accused the other of being a man-eater, the Gorse Fox shuffled a little further away in his chair, ate his dinner and thanking them for the entertainment left and headed back to the hotel. However, he does seem to have a standing invite to Brasserie Blanc, where the man-eater seems to work!
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
During dinner last night the Gorse Fox volunteered to drop the day job for a few days and get on with some strategic thinking. As a result he has spent the day developing some slides to explain the realities of complex programme and an alternative approach to what we are doing.
With the day done, the Gorse Fox spent some quality time with grilled chicken and some of Caesar's left over salad. Now back at the hotel he's settling down to watch the football.
Monday, September 05, 2011
Sunday, September 04, 2011
The day seems to have revolved around technology. There were photos to upload from yesterday first.
This was a row of beach huts near Ferring that we wandered past yesterday, whilst out for a pot-prandial stroll with Betty and Barney Rubble.
Once the photos were uploaded, it was a matter of getting the Silver Vixen’s photos from her phone to he iPad and her computer, and doing a mind-meld between her iPod and the iTunes library on said computer. This would all have been simple if it wasn’t for Apple’s propensity to download updates to iTunes (45 minutes), to the iPod (5-10 minutes), the iPad (45 minutes) and the iPhone (45 minutes).
Despite the huge delays, everything went to plan, and while the airwaves were being saturated by bloated code, the Gorse Fox cracked on with the re-certification case he has been working through. A few hours later he sent it off for review (before final submission) and slammed the laptop shut in relief.
The Gorse Fox hears that Agent Mulder has picked up an alien virus. Treatment is under way, but rather unpleasant – hope it all goes well.
Saturday, September 03, 2011
The Gorse Fox has had a productive start to the day. The papers have been read, new driving license form completed, driven in to town and driving license renewed, back home and changed the BT deal that provides our telephone service – additional features and lower price.
Betty and Barney Rubble are expected later.
Friday, September 02, 2011
Thursday, September 01, 2011
It was a strange day. The Gorse Fox’s first meeting was at seven fifteen and by seven thirty, a colleague was waiting patiently for his second meeting. It was looking like a busy day.
The phone rang. It was one of Starfleet’s most senior designers asking if the Gorse Fox would be interested in a new role. Would he take over as the lead designer for a major Government department – on a long term basis – specifically till he retires. Interesting opportunity, without doubt, but the Gorse Fox politely declined. The job would mean spending 4 days each week away from home and living much too far west for his comfort!
Soon after the phone rang again. Another request. Would GF participate in the design review of another Government sponsored project. Sounded very interesting and would only take a couple of days of GF’s time.
Once the calls had finished it was back to document reviews and feedback. Who says geeks don’t live on the edge?