Saturday, March 31, 2012

Clearing

The Gorse Fox suspects that “clearing” will be the predominant theme for the next month or so.

The day started with clearing some (virtual) paperwork. Solicitors, it would appear, have dragged themselves into the modern era and are now happy to exchange correspondence via email. So it was that GF received some email at close of business on Friday and was able to deal with it and respond by mid-morning on Saturday. This electronic approach must significantly fore-shorten the normal process.

The other part of “clearing” for the day was the Silver Vixen working through the kitchen and living room cupboards and drawers and ditching the detritus of the last thirteen years… and the Gorse Fox starting a similar process in his study.

Friday, March 30, 2012

White Room

We headed off to Chichester. Traffic was slow and mindless idiots queued back from every filling station in anticipation of a strike which is at least 7 days away (if it happens at all). After all, these fuel tanker drivers are so hard done by – driving up and down our motorways for £45k a year. (At this point the Gorse Fox would point out that our fuel tanker drivers in the Army drive around in Afghanistan for £17k per year).

We also learned of a woman who was decanting petrol between containers, in her kitchen. She is blaming the Ministers because the petrol vapour exploded and left her with 40% burns. Will nobody take responsibility for their own utter stupidity any more?

Once in Chichester we met with GF’s sister and brother-in-law for some coffee and then as b-i-l went off to visit some clients, we pottered around the shops, then headed along to show nano-sister where we were planning to move. After lost of ooohs and aaaahs we then headed to an industrial unit near Ford Open Prison where a chap specialises in furniture built in a New England style – this was just sumptuous and gave lots of ideas for what we could do.

At the Oyster Catcher we stopped off for dinner – and coincidentally bumped into Urban-cub and Pistol Pete. Had a lovely evening.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Starfleet Codes

Anything that involves the transfer of funds within or outside Starfleet means knowing the right code. The Gorse Fox required some new software for his laptop which though only a couple of hundred pounds, was likely to save him several days of work.

The question was, whose code should bear the cost?

The project agreed they should fund it, and revealed their code. This turned out top be wrong and was rejected. They had no other – and had been using this code for some time.

We asked the Admiral – he did not know, and certainly did not want it charged against his code. We went hunting, and finally – some ten days later – the code came through. Despite being on vacation GF logged in and completed his order; within ten minutes it was approved. GF now awaits delivery.

It’s all about knowing the right codes. It’s all Da Vinci’s fault.

Residue

Several years ago Cousteau-cub and the Gorse Fox demolished a large shed that used to occupy the east terrace. A by-product of this demolition activity was a significant volume of polystyrene sheets, several inched thick, that had been used to insulate the shed. All of this was duly stacked up in the garage loft, ready to be used again if the Gorse Fox built a new shed.

It had to go.

GF spent the morning tossing it back down the ladder and stacking it neatly. Then, over three trips, filling the car to the roof with these sheets and taking them to the recycling depot.

A residue of tine polystyrene balls littered the garage and the car, and Mr Dyson’s fine cyclonic vacuum cleaner was engaged to slurp them all up.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Paperwork

The first day of the holiday was spent with paperwork – what fixtures and fittings would remain when we moved? what is the provenance of the building etc.? This took a couple of hours to complete – then to prove we are not laundering money (chance would be a fine thing) we had to dig out passports and driving licenses to take to our solicitor. (Can anyone explain how the possession of a passport or driving license prevents us from money-laundering?)

Next we had an appointment at the new house to measure up for window dressings, to select the carpets and the flooring for the bathrooms. This all took longer than expected as there seems to be an extraordinary number of things to consider and to measure up. The one slight disappointment was the presence of a manhole cover right where we were hoping to build one wall of a conservatory – so that plan has to be adapted.

Over in paradise, it is clear from the photos that Cousteau-cub has posted, that she and the Coventry Hobbit had a lovely holiday in the Gili Islands. Can’t wait to have a chat with here and hear all about it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Porridge and Parole

The Gorse Fox was awake surprisingly early (even for him). He pottered round until the hotel restaurant opened and settled down to huge bowl of porridge and raisins. This was real porridge – the sort that has the consistency of modelling clay, the sort that you could throw on a potters wheel and fashion your own cereal bowl. Perfect.

Work was a continuum of questions and answers, emails and responses, confusion and clarifications. It was important to clear the decks – GF has a couple of weeks parole holiday and needed a degree of confidence that all would be well in his absence.

Finally, the day was done and GF was able to head out onto the Queen’s highways and set the controls for West Sussex. The holiday had started.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Short week

It was a brilliant start to the day - the change in the clocks meant the sun wasn't up as GF headed off to work, but it was a pleasant drive, despite the normal traffic hot spots. Once in the office, there was the usual round of admin and questions, but this was augmented with some of the annual appraisal set up. Starfleet requests that we set up personal objectives and provides us with guidance as to what needs to be covered. GF started reviewing some of his staffs' objectives and also spent time reviewing his own objectives with his manager.

It is a short working week this week - GF is on vacation from close of business on Tuesday.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sketchup

Sketch up, which GF is certain he has mentioned before, is a superb (and free) bit of software from Google. GF has spent much of the day working on developing 3D models of the proposed new house, trying to work out sizes and proportions for things that we have planned. What is most impressive, besides the software himself, is the number of YouTube videos that take you through the features and functions.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Planning

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen spent the day considering some of the plans that we should consider for the prospective new house.

We looked at flooring samples, then went to the new garden centre to look at garden buildings and shrubs. Then back at home we reviewed the floor plans and location maps.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Survey

A nice man came to the house. He was the surveyor engaged by the potential purchasers to give the house a thorough going over. He remained with us most of the day and gave us the works. Fortunately he gave us the all clear and said that he would be writing a very positive report... And that he would like to have the money to buy the house himself.

GF also received his new work phone today. That meant a bit of set up but now everything is looking good.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Not bad

Well the budget itself wasn't too bad, though the media tried to stir up mischief by misrepresenting many of the changes.

The Gorse Fox, having had his porridge, headed into the office for what turned out to be a fairly good day. He had to present some of the solution to the PMs. By mid afternoon all the meetings were done and all the tasks were under control so GF headed back along the motorways to Sussex.

A good day, done.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Some thoughts - regarding Budgets

Old father time sent an email - some of its content was repeatable. Some was genius. The Gorse Fox acknowledges whoever the origenal source was:


  1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
  2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
  3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
  4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
  5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Good day

Not stunning, but good. Progress on most fronts at work and progress on the move.

GF is now sitting in restaurant at the hotel waiting for his evening meal and listening to a cool beer calling his name.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Snowballing

Things seem to be snow-balling already. Letters to solicitors, calls to agents, appointments for surveyors... and at this point it looks as if the schedule is tight. Good job the Gorse Fox has some time off in the run up to Easter.

Work itself was surprisingly productive (given GF was a little distracted). Several more items got slashed off the issues-list. GF did spend some time acting as a shoulder to cry on (metaphorically) for some colleagues. Whilst GF was in a spontaneous mood, matching yesterday, he ordered a new work phone.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gamble

It is a bit of a gamble.

It goes like this – offer received but not accepted on current house. New house selected, but pending.

New couple wander into town and show significant interest in our target house. GF drops everything and with the Silver Vixen high-tails across to the new property and lays down a deposit to ensure it doesn’t get snapped up by anyone else. If anything falls through, half the deposit disappears! But if everything works, then the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen just bought a house.

Just need to hope and pray that everything goes smoothly and that the bank will play nicely.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Reality Check

Are you aware of the following ?

The British Government provides the following financial assistance:-

BRITISH OLD AGED PENSIONER

(bearing in mind they worked hard and paid their Income Tax and National Insurance contributions to the British Government all their working life)

  • Weekly allowance: £106.00?      

REFUGEES LIVING IN BRITAIN

(No Income Tax and National Insurance contribution)

  • Weekly allowance: £250.00

BRITISH OLD AGED PENSIONER

  • Weekly Spouse Allowance: £25.00?      

REFUGEES LIVING INBRITAIN

  • Weekly Spouse Allowance: £225.00

BRITISH OLD AGED PENSIONER

  • Additional Weekly Hardship Allowance: £0.00?

REFUGEES LIVING INBRITAIN

  • Additional Weekly Hardship Allowance: £100.00

A  British old age pensioner is no less hard up than an immigrant/refugee yet receives nothing

BRITISH OLD AGED PENSIONER

  • TOTAL YEARLY BENEFIT £6,000? 

REFUGEES LIVING INBRITAIN

  • TOTAL YEARLY BENEFIT: £29,900

Sad isn't it?

This is not a “pop” at refugees or immigrants. GF is proud that these people wish to come here and make a better life. GF thinks they bring a rich diversity to our country and many of them are extremely hard working. IGF welcomes these newcomers, though does believe that they should integrate – he is an implacable adversary of multi-culturalism, which he sees as divisive and damaging.

What this is is and expose of the inequities of life in modern Britain, where the old are discarded and treated with contempt. It will be interesting, as the aging population grows – thanks to post-war baby-boom – whether the silver voters will finally get a voice.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Busy or not

It was looking like a busy day. There was a load of follow-up work from yesterday’s workshop and the day was interspersed with planned calls. The morning email added to appointments.

The Gorse Fox cracked on and as the day progressed most of the calls melted away as people cancelled or forgot – this meant that the real work could be the focus. Most satisfying.

The mind turned to the realities of moving house – assuming the offer is real (and can be improved). The Gorse Fox returned to his spreadsheets, which were first crafted thirteen months ago. It occurred to him that the values he had were a year old and could do with updating. This proved to be a most satisfying exercise as the value outstanding on the mortgage has diminished quite dramatically.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Home

The workshop went remarkably well and GF managed to gather all the information he wanted.

He was able to hit the road a little earlier than expected and managed to get home a decent, if unexpected, time. Shame that the road works are causing such chaos.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Frisson

There was a certain frisson in the air. The Silver Vixen called at lunchtime to say that there was an offer on the house. Ooooh, oooh.
The amount offered was a little below GF's ideal - but if the worst came to the worst it would still work! Gorse Fox assumes this is their opening gambit for a negotiation. GF has suggested a course of action... so let's see what happens.

Back in the office the day was very successful - most of the tasks planned for the day came to fruition, and those that didn't were well on track. Tomorrow sees a day in the Starfleet offices.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Charge Codes

It has been a strange day. Nothing startling, but no big successes either. GF felt the day was somehow sub-standard.

One of the things that was troubling him was the volume of data he had in front of him that somehow needed to be illustrated - in the end he decided that he needed some new software that should allow him to automate much of the drawing process. Unfortunately Starfleet is in the middle of changing procurement systems and GF wasted a huge amount of time trying to work out the process... and how to ensure the charges were assigned to the right department.

He finally left the office and despite planning to go out for a meal, he ended heading back to the hotel and eating there. He just couldn't be bothered.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Duvet

Oh Dear. It was not a good start to the day. The Gorse Fox got up at much to the same time as usual, and though not as organised as usual, he managed to hit the road at the usual time. He drove up Kingston Lane and found the gates closed at the level crossing. He hopped down to the next crossing (which sometime skips the problem) but it made no difference. GF had to wait. The gates eventually opend and GF headed off through Angmering and up to Hammerpot. Half a mile up the the A27 GF joined the back of a traffic queue and 1hour and 20 minutes later he arrived on the hill outside Arundel, 5 miles from home. This was not an auspicious start to the journey, nor the day.

Despite that, the rest of the journey was fairly uneventful and the day spun by, though many of his colleagues were working from home because so many of the Bristol hotels were full this week (Cheltenham Festival). GF headed off to his hotel.

He queued as people checked in and eventually got to the front and was greeted by a cheery "Hello Gorsefox". (After all, he stays at the hotel frequently and is well known). There was a long pause. They couldn't find the GF's details, nor his booking. The receptionist was most apologetic regarding the delay and fact thatthe booking couldn't be found. GF smiled, and said that it was"not a problem", and "certainly not her fault". He smiled and said "Problems happen, don't worry. It's all about how you handle them, not the fact they have arisen".

It was at this point the the Gorse Fox had a crisis of confidence and checked his phone. Ooops. He had forgotten to book a hotel this week at all. He bluffed, "I can't seem to find the confirmation number". "Don't worry" she said "I'll create a new booking - after all, you are a Diamond Member, I'm not sure what the rate will be, though".

The Gorse Fox thanked her and said "Oh, the rate is easy - it should be the Starfleet rate" and went on to tell her the rate. Booking sorted, she upgraded the room and gave the Gorse Fox his key. He thanked her kindly and snuck away.

Sometimes you suspect that you should not leave the comfort of the duvet.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Reunion

What a day. The Gorse Fox met up with several friends with whom he shared his strange school days. What was interesting was that, though it has been over 40 years, we all seemed to pick up almost where we left off all those years back. Old photos, old stories and old memories flooded the restaurant.

Stunning day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hunting

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen have been house hunting again. The agents had visitors to view our house, so we had to make ourselves scarce.

The hunt was pretty good as the house we looked out was promising but it does depend on our sale.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Review

The Gorse Fox had and early start as he commuted from the bedroom to the bathroom, the bathroom to the kitchen and then the kitchen to the study. No traffic, no delays. Perfect.

As he started working through his emails and the document reviews he had scheduled he got a phone call from the Teddy Bear... "any chance you could do a CTO review of a bid for a Government agency?"
GF agreed and said he should be able to find time on Monday or Tuesday. As it happened, however, the lead designer was off on vacation tonight so GF made contact and spent most of the afternoon pouring through diagrams and designs and questioning the chap. Analysis complete, he knuckled down and wrote his report. Job done.

Meanwhile, the day job still had to get done - three separate design documents were reviewed and commented upon and two documents for which the Gorse Fox was the author were extensively updated and re-published. On top of this there was a stream of telephone calls and teleconferences. It has been intense, but satisfying.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Back home

It's Thursday evening and that means GF has arrived home.

And relax...

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Mr Grumpy emerges

The Gorse Fox goes to bed early and sleeps well. That is the way of the world. Last night this was not the case.

At 0046 the Gorse Fox was awake. There was a conversation being conducted in them hallway outside his room. He tried to ignore it, but there was no indication that the discussion on IT Support was coming to an end. Enough was enough. GF stumbled to the door and slammed back the bolt and the deadlock. He ripped the door open and requested in no uncertain terms that they "For goodness sake shut up, go to bed, and let everyone else sleep".

Not a word was uttered. Silence prevailed. Mr Grumpy went back to sleep. All was now well.

GF had the opportunity to spend some time at the Starfleet offices in Bristol this afternoon. It was fun because he got a chance to catch up with one of the Starfleet Admirals to whom he ultimately reports. Was flattered she remembered who the Gorse Fox was.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Saffron

The Gorse Fox is a man of habits. These habits are most noticeable when he is in hotels. GF broke one of the habits this morning. He decided not to move the phone from the bedside table to the desk. He would, after all, remember to pick it up before he left for work.

Wrong.

The question now was how honest they were at the hotel and whether the phone would still be there when he returned.

Most of the day was spent considering data relationships and how best to file some data that was not really suited nor organised in a way conducive to its further analysis or storage.

At the end of the day, the Gorse Fox really fancied a curry. There was only one sensible destination (given the location of this week's hotel) - Saffron.

One good curry later, GF returned to the hotel to retrieve his phone and settle down for the evening.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Quiet day

It was strange. It is not half term. As far as the Gorse Fox knows, the teachers are not on strike. Yet, the roads were very quiet as GF made his way across country. Arriving early he had a flying start to the day.

There was a number of planned meetings but these went by quickly even though GF seemed to pick up a number of actions.

Checked in to the usual hotel and had dinner in the restaurant on site. Now a quiet evening in front of the TV is planned.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Bash

The Gorse Fox is planning to have a bit of a Bash to celebrate the recent birthday. A February birthday is not conducive to serious partying. For this reason we have chosen a date in the summer so that we can get everyone together.

Today GF has been sending email “hold the date” cards to those invitees for whom he has an email address. This is an interesting exercise as it becomes clear that so many people change ISP and with it their email provider. If only people would realise that these tings are independent of each other and a Gmail, or Hotmail account (or the like) can stay with you whatever ISP you use. It is also interesting because you realise that so many people still don’t have email.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Obsolescence

Obsolescence is a time, like adolescence, when some device just lies there and ignores you. When you try to stimulate it, it just gives you the technological equivalent of a “whatever!!!” and continues to ignore you.

The Gorse Fox has two mobile phones. One is kept for work, the other is for family. This was deemed necessary several years ago when a certain project troll would wake up in the middle of the night with a bright idea, and choose to phone the Gorse Fox to discuss it. He also managed to receive several work calls when away on vacation. Enough was enough.The work phone can be switched off, or left behind at weekends, but the private phone is always available to the family wherever GF might be.

Yesterday, as the private phone approaches the end of its contract it went blank. It would not respond to any act of stimulation, it became adolescent… and remained like that for about twelve hours. Then GF had one last try – phone was dismantled, battery removed, SIM removed, storage removed. Everything was cleaned and re-installed, the power button was pressed and voila, the phone seems to have been restored to a useful life.

GF will take this as a warning and start considering the replacement device.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Fine Friday

Well that has been a good Friday. Gorse Fox was working at home and has managed to have an immensely quiet day – very few calls and only one teleconference early on.

This has meant that he has been able to make some serious progress on some of the project work and some of the reviews that were outstanding. He’s also had the chance to touch base with several of his team.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

News

Had a viewing today. Sounds like we may have someone interested though we won't know until the weekend after next.