Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Just passing

It has been a vary ordinary day. A minor panic is arising in the realm of the network. The realm of the network is anathema to the Gorse Fox, and he always worries when such problems arrive at his door. Never mind, he can feel some executive direction welling up.

There is a simplicity to Nando's. Be seated, order your good and pay, return to your seat, wait briefly, eat, leave. Done. There is a sinking feeling when you follow 20 or so students up the steps and into the restaurant. You just know everything will take longer... And so it did. However, GF still enjoyed his piri piri chicken and Caesar salad, and was still back in the hotel soon after 1900.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Awake

Gorse Fox was awake at 0415. It wasn't a natural wake-up... it was brought about by someone in a neighbouring room apparently trying to deflate an inflatable buffalo with a squeek valve in the exhaust vent. The screeching/whining sound reminded the Gorse Fox of a BAC VC-10 using full reverse thrust as it tries to stop.

Eventually, dropping back off, GF was flung to the ceiling by his alarm clock interrupting his reverie. The day had started. Again.

Once he arrived at work, the day went much as usual.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Back at it

The cat woke the Gorse Fox before the alarm interrupted his beauty sleep. This was not a problem as GF was eager to get on the road and get started. It turned out to be a trouble-free journey and he settled down in the office in plenty of time to get bombarded with one issue after another - in most cases these were the outcome of misunderstanding (not problems) but everyone is so stretched at present that they just aren't taking it all in.

Back at the Hilton this week for the firt time this year. Didn't manage a room upgrade, but did get a nice bottle of wine, some biscuits, free WiFi, and nice fluffy bathrobes. Couldn't be bothered to go out to eat, so made the most of the 25% off voucher and ate a nice grilled chicken breast on cous cous and salad with a lager to wash it down.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Alarm

After a week’s vacation, GF returns to work tomorrow. This will mean setting the alarm and climbing out of bed early. This morning the cat decided it would be appropriate to help GF acclimatise, leaping on to the bed and walking all over the Gorse Fox until he got up, stumbled down the stairs and let the cat out into the garden to play.

The early start did mean that he has managed to get a fair bit done – the papers were studied, emails checked, expenses completed, ironing finished, and car filled with diesel. The day was under control – though a small irritation occurred when the Silver Vixen’s car failed to start – but judicious use of the battery charger soon sorted that out.

The highlight was Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit calling in on Skype and having a long chat. It was so nice to see and hear them and to catch up on their news and plans. They are heading off for a week in Lombok in a three weeks time and are obviously looking forward to the break.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Venturing out

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen had to make themselves scarce – the agents were bringing prospects to view the house. GF plucked up the courage and suggest a rare trip to the large emporium on the outskirts of Hove that is owned by the Messrs Marks and Spencer. Such trips fill the Gorse Fox with dread, however this time was not too bad. The Gorse Fox will explain:

M&S as it is colloquially known seems to attract vast throngs of humankind. As in any large group, there are people of all kinds, namely the well-heeled, the couples, the families, the vague, the terminally stupid, and the zombies. Unfortunately there is no simple equilibrium displayed in this demographic. It is seriously out of kilter, with a bias towards the list.

Today, however, it was not too busy. The zombies were obviously in the town centre, with their noses pressed up against the windows as they tried to gain entry to the shops without understanding the function of a door. The terminally stupid were scattered about talking about world events as reported on CBeebies and blocking the aisles with their trolleys and endomorphic frames. The vague were present but as the wandered aimlessly around, they caused little distress to the normal public.

After trying on a number of pairs of trousers, the Gorse Fox had to conclude that they were making the waistlines smaller than before. Swapping the selection, he eventually chose a suitable pair and satisfied that this would last another year or two – he and the Silver Vixen beat a hasty retreat.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Plans change

The day was very grey and a bit misty to start with – this meant that the idea of the helicopter flight could wait. GF wants a nice clear day to make the most of the views.

Change of plan.

Next on the list was a trip to Brighton. There were some domestic chores to complete first, but Brighton seemed like a good idea. Chores complete, and nearly ready to leave GF glanced at the cinema listings.

Change of plan.

The film “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is released today, and is being shown in Chichester. Tickets are booked.

No further changes of plan are planned.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Curry

GF and the Silver Vixen has a very pleasant evening spent with Urban-cub and Pistol Pete at the local Indian restaurant “Monsoon”. Lovely evening.

Fashion critics

The Silver Vixen wanted to see where the Chichester College was and where its car park was in relation to the part of Chichester she knows. We headed off into the late winter sunshine and soon found the target. The Silver Vixen was happy and we headed back to the town centre to have a look around any suitable galleries and enjoy the nice weather.

Though the temperature was warm, it was not warm enough for the Silver Vixen to do without her coat. It was, however, warm enough for her to eschew the fur trimmed hood, and leave it hanging casually on the back.

It is evident that the gulls that seem to have taken ownership of South Street were not impressed with the latest fashion and one – who had evidently eaten well, but felt too laden to fly with ease, decided that it was time to jettison the content of its lower gut. This was down with such precision that it filled the Silver Vixen’s hood without her even noticing until we got home.

She was not best amused.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rotary Wing

Several years ago the Gorse Fox won an award in Starfleet. The award was was to visit an airfield in the Midlands and spend some time having a trial helicopter lesson. This, he decided, was just about the most fun you could have above sea level. (See Note 1)

Today, it appears, the Gorse Fox has complete 21,915 days of life and as a celebratory bonus the Silver Vixen had arranged another chance to hang beneath a rotary wing an stare down at the Sussex countryside. As a result we headed off to Shoreham Airport to go and select a suitable organisation to provide this service. That done, it is now a matter of selecting a convenient date for the venture.

On the way across country we did manage to chat with Cousteau-cub who had popped over to Koh Phi Phi for the day. it was lovely to hear from her; particularly the bit where she and the Coventry Hobbit had been discussing whether they might be able to visit in the Summer.

We stopped at L.A. for a meal – and managed to chat with Urban-cub as she left her course in Warrington and started her journey home.

A super day.

Note 1: Certain restrictions apply to this statement.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shopping

The Gorse Fox is not proud of it. He is an impulse shopper. Today could, so easily, have turned bad… but he was resolute. He bought nothing beyond the odd coffee and some tapas at lunchtime.

We had set out for Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, where, meeting up with Betty and Barney Rubble, we had planned to wander the shops and have some lunch. With professional help from Silver Vixen the first part of the plan went without a hitch. Every shop was checked, and those providing a modicum of interest were examined within an inch of their lives. The Gorse Fox and Barney Rubble were selective and only entered those shops that demanded our attention – the rest of the time we hovered outside in the cold.

By lunchtime we headed round to the restaurant we had chosen. In perfect synchrony with yesterday’s Bignor trip, we found it was closed. Heading onwards we stopped at La Tasca and enjoyed a selection of tapas: Tortilla Espanola, Polo Malaga, Pork Belly, Gambas Valenciana… all washed down with a jug of sangria.

After lunch, the idea had been to head to the top of the Spinnaker Tower. Again we were thwarted. The lifts were out of action for planned maintenance – but we were welcome to climb the 570 steps. We thanked them kindly for that offer but decided that fighting the forces of gravity, even as a group, was not an efficacious post-prandial delight, and wandered off back to the shops.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Boxgrove

After Bignor, we headed on through the Downs, past Sutton, Barlavington and Duncton. We passed Fryan's Hangar and then dropped down into Boxgrove to see the old Priory.

The Priory had been extensive and the ruin was just an old guest house some 25 yards outside the original Priory buildings. On a bright winter's afternoon it shows up well against the blue sky and the rich pasture



The Church and a few walls are all that remain of the Priory itself. The Church exhibits some excellent old architectural flying buttresses on the south side, and as it is seen today is only abot half of its former size.

The ruins of the guest house are completely open for the public to wander around.


Inside the church there is a vaulted ceiling that would be at home in a major cathedral. The stained glass windows are also exceptional and include one to commemorate a US Airman who fought and died in WWII - very poignant and almost anachronistic in such an ancient building.
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Bignor Hill


From Arundel we headed out into the Downs. The Silver Vixen had never seen the extensive Roman mosaics as Bignor. That, at least was the idea. It turned out, however that the exhibit doesn't open again unti March 1st.

Not to be thwarted, the Gorse Fox diverted and took the lane up the north flank of the Downs to the top of Bignor Down. This afforded exceptional views from Edburton / Fulking in the east across beyond Chichester in the west.

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Arundel

We started the week with a trip to Arundel. The objective was to look in some of the galleries to see if there was a painting that GF found compelling and would make a lasting memory of the impending birthday.

Whilst we did wander around and poked our way through many windows and several galleries, there was little that had the compelling pull that demanded it be mounted on our wall. Arundel is always worth a brief trip... but it it is always brief and only extended by a trip to a tea shop, wine bar, or restaurant. In this case we stopped off at "Belinda's" for bowl of soup and cup of tea.
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mildly satisfactory

It has been a satisfactory day. A proper egg, bacon, and sausage breakfast set us up for the day.

Various bits of research have been done. Various bits of software downloaded and installed, and generally GF's computer centre is behaving well.

On top of this, the Forces of Evil were dismissed from the FA Cup yesterday, and Spurs have a replay coming up after today's gritty 0-0 with Stevenage. Not a pretty game, but functional.

Only dark spot was not being able to contact Cousteau-cub. Will have try again during the week.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Off

It is nice to be at the start of a week's vacation and not have to spend time working or thinking about computing.

So the Gorse Fox spent the day playing with Microsoft Access on his computer. Oh well!

Friday, February 17, 2012

S***ake

Well there is a turn up for the book.

The Gorse Fox capitulated and took his rash and his itching to see the doctor. The doctor looked at said rash, pushed, prodded  and fiddled. He scratched his head (metaphorically, not as a result of the itching!). "Well" said he, "I would like to bring in a colleague to look at this."

The Gorse Fox nodded assent, and the Doctor charged off down the corridor.

The Doctor returned with his colleague and the poked, prodded, and fiddled some more. "Have you been abroad?"

The Gorse Fox responded "No, but have been to Bristol". The first Doctor sucked at his teeth and said "That's awfully close to Wales, but probably not the cause".

"Have you eaten anything different this week?" asked Doctor2.

GF thought about it. "A Thai meal on Monday, and Caesar Salad on Tuesday and Wednesday".

A small light clicked on behind the eyes of Doctor2. "Were there any Shitake mushrooms?" Again, GF thought about it, and responded in the affirmative. The Thai salad of prawns and glass noodles also had shitake mushrooms (indeed that was one of the reasons he chose the dish.

"That's it" asserted Doctor2. "The good news is that you have flagellate dermatitis, and that comes from badly cooked Shitake mushrooms; the bad news is that it will itch like hell and won't go away quickly".

Well, the Gorse Fox was glad that he could provide them with a little puzzle to end their week - but wished that they could have come up with a more positive prognosis, i.e. the rash will disappear tonight, the itching will stop, and you'll lose 14lbs by Monday.

'twas not to be.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Itch

The Gorse Fox has broken out in a rash. It has picked sites in his hair, forehead, hands, arms, legs and feet. The itching is driving him to distraction.

His concern is not only that the rash will impair his natural good looks, but also that he doesn’t know the cause. He feels perfectly well in himself, so it is unlikely to be measles or shingles or any similar complaint. He has been in a different hotel so it could be a reaction to the soaps and shampoos (which would account for the spread).

Whatever it is he wishes it would stop! He feels like he has been rolling in nettles.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nothing special

It has Been a fairly ordinary day. Nothing extraordinary other than a client PM telling Client management to "but out". The issue was that we had a bunch of techies trying to come up with the best solution to a problem.

Some PMs got involved and escalated a number of unclear vectors. As a result we spent two weeks faffing about trying to satisfy the PMs instead of solving the real problems.

During a call this afternoon on of the PMs started to ask questions. Client PM told him to shut up and leave
It to the techies. "if you hadn't got involved we wouldn't have wasted the the last two weeks". GF would love to have said that, but there are limits.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Locality

As has happened for several weeks now, Gorse Fox has spent Tuesday at a different site. This week it really could not have been more convenient - being next door to the hotel where GF is staying. This meant a fairly relaxed start to day, and a hotel breakfast (a rare treat, when it contains a compote of fruits of the forest and a bucket of plain yoghurt).

The day was quite successful despite a few tantrums from various people in all-day workshop. GF had to intervene several times to get the meeting back on track, and to calm things down. Despite all of this, it was an immensely productive day... and GF was able to stroll back to the hotel for his end-of-day conference calls, and to write up his notes.

##

Monday, February 13, 2012

Half term

Oh yes. It is half term. GF is no longer interested in such events on his own or the cubs' behalf. However he loves the fact that the roads are much quieter and his journey is much more relaxed.

Work was interesting as GF worked his way through his to do list and then found he had a new batch of tasks coming in. Oh well, 'twas always the way.

Thinking of Cousteau-cub he headed out for some Thai food.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Prep

Sunday has been quiet. The morning was taken up with reading the papers, doing some ironing, and catching up on some reading on the Internet. Starfleet insists that all staff annually recertification that they will adhere to their code of ethics. Today, GF had to follow the online course, take the tests along the way, and complete the certification. Now this is done GF must avoid killing Romulans again for another year.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The times they are a changing

And so we learn that Councils can no longer say prayers before a Council meeting – a practice that has been in place since the reign of Elizabeth I. A Christian couple were prosecuted for denying a bed to a gay couple in their B&B because it was against their religious convictions. TV and the media continue to sneer at religion and the liberal elite and chattering classes ridicule people who believe in God. (At least they do if it is a Judeo-Christian god, if the belief is Islamic – then cowardice prevents them from saying a word).

Meanwhile, “reality TV” glorifies the baser aspects of society and programmes such as Eastenders portray a way of life that includes violence, adultery and infidelity of all kinds, dishonesty, and general bad behaviour as if they are the norm.

Recent surveys have shown that people are more dishonest and the cult of the Celebrity leads people to follow the strangest of role models.

As we plunge headlong into a sewer of moral turpitude, who is standing up for those who believe, for those that are faithful, and for those who are honest? Clearly not our political classes and evidently not the religious establishment.

Maybe the sign at Heathrow will be vandalised soon and say “Welcome to Sodom and Gomorrah”

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ordure, ordure

The battle of wits continues and and there is a number of tests under way examining the aerodynamic properties of ordure. The Gorse Fox has picked up the task or air traffic control for these tests over the next week.

At least he was working from home during day – having dropped the car at the garage for some new tyres. He would guess that 22,000 miles on a set isn’t too bad, considering the size and weight of the vehicle… but at nearly £300 per tyre, it is an expense he could afford not to have. Serendipitously he received a rebate from one of his credit cards which went a long way towards counter-balancing the bill.

We decided to reduce the asking price for the house. Within 30 minutes that agents were back on the phone to say that there was a couple waiting outside to view the property. A few moments of panic ensued and then we let them in. They were a waste of space. Just tyre kickers with no intention to buy.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

That's a nice change

Various events conspired to demand a change to the normal Thursday schedule. One was an important teleconference scheduled for late afternoon. This meant that the Gorse Fox would either have to stay in Bristol until it was complete, or head home early and take the call at home. Given the option of not getting home till 2100, or heading back at lunchtime, the Gorse Fox decided on an early exit and was home, logged on and feeling smug by 1430. This is a working practise that bears further thought!

Other than that we had an interesting start to the day where GF had to join his senior colleagues in reviewing and  answering a difficult email from a supplier. The wording was such that it could be interpreted as a fuse for some forthcoming fireworks. Handled with customary delicacy and plain mathematics GF suspects this will now go away, but it had some fairly bizarre assertions regarding expected performance. As GF explained, it was like working out the travel time from Bristol to Worcester by measuring how long it took to drive round the M25 in rush hour. Gorse Fox is of the view that if you plan to have a battle of wits, you should at least come armed.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Strange times

So we see the Italian manager of England sacked for standing up for the principle of "innocent until proven guilty", whereas the English FA are far more attuned to lynch mob rule. We also see that a true man of honour would have stepped down as England Captain and not put his manager in that position... But then who ever associated the epithet "man of honour" with the ex-England team captain?

Only Capello comes out of this with his head held high.

Problem now is who will follow him, and the Gorse Fox fears it may be 'arry, and Spurs do not want to lose him.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Result

The day was spent in the Starfleet offices in Bristol. This meant a leisurely start and a quiet walk to work. Then after a client presentation and several impromptu meetings GF called it a day and headed back to the hotel.

There, GF was delighted to find that the Marriott had a reception for regular visitors. GF was greeted by the manager and offered wine and access to the hot finger buffet. Always happy in such circumstances, GF set about eating hot fingers. In the end it was pointless going out to eat, he was satisfied.

Monday, February 06, 2012

A smack can sometimes offend

Starfleet sometimes use contractors. Currently we have one working on with us. Very smart chap, but seriously in need of a slap.

GF has never bee fussy over food. The contractor is seriously fussy. He orders from the menu but demands changes. Even a sprig or unwanted parsley is enough to incur his ire and cause the plate to be returned. He does like to get his money's worth however. He deducts the price of his meal from the daily allowance, then stands at the bar ordering peanuts and pretzels until the full allowance has been spent.

He needs a good hard slap.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Forecast 0-1 Reality

Well the weather forecasts that predicted snowfall may have been right in the far north (places like London, Southend, Oxford and so forth), but down here in the balmy south, all we saw was some rain. Not that this cause for complaint, just that it would be nice to have a bit more accuracy.

GF and the Silver Vixen are off to spend the day with Betty and Barney Rubble (where the forecast predicts freezing fog!!!)

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Ssh

After a late night last night, we had a disturbed night as the Gorse Puma prowled the house and ended up wandering all over the bed several times.

The day was quiet. So quiet.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Frantic

It has been a fairly frantic day for the Gorse Fox. He had several teleconferences and one review that consumed most of the morning. Meanwhile he still had several documents to complete and release.

All done now.

Now for a relaxing evening with his tiny sister and hubby.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Clear and cold

It was clear and crisp and even early in the morning it was getting light. Better still, it remained light for the first half of the journey home.

The day itself was fairly intense, but nothing worth discussing.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Good one

Some times things just come together. The Lemsip taken before bed had resulted in a good night's sleep and GF awoke feeling much better. A further Lemsip started the day and by 0650 GF was at his desk.

The first meeting was at 0800 and they ran back to back throughout the morning. Then GF had a chance to get some work done. By the end of the day, GF had caught up and with a smug grin packed the laptop and headed for the car.

Back in Bristol GF parked the car, grabbed his jacket and headed for the restaurant. A quick glass of wine a calzone and a salad slid down nicely before a spot of window shopping and back to the hotel.