Monday, April 30, 2012

Tasty

Indian buffet in hotel bar - result!
(And very tasty it was too)

Good start to the week

It has been a good day. A start at the client office in Surrey saw a good clear analysis of the various ways folk would access the systems and the different supporting technologies over the life of the project.

After that, GF headed across to Bristol where he was able to write up his notes and have a long and interesting discussion with his manager... But perhaps more on that at a later date.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Quiet

Outside it has been stormy. The rain thrashed down, the wind battered the house.

Inside, all was quiet. For a change we had a peaceful day - no more shifting, no more dumping. Done.
Well not quite, there remain a few items to dump next weekend, but essentially we are done.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wood chuck

How much wood must a wood chuck…

The day started with a member of the Silver Vixen’s coven turning up, with her familiar, and a large enclosed trailer on the back of her broomstick. The Gorse Fox had a lot of wood left over from various projects, and rather than just ditch it, he was happy to see it go to a new home where it could be fashioned in startling new forms, or burned in wood-burning stoves.

Once the wood had been chucked, the Gorse Fox cast his attention to the ten crates of books. At the re-cycling centre there is a large container for books and games – so after a last minute check through the stacks of literature GF committed them to be re-cycled.

A trip to the local builders’ merchant was next – we had wanted to look at some ideas for the kitchen, and look at some lighting options; and so we wandered the aisles pointing at possibilities and making mental notes of the price points.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Alongside

Alongside the day job GF still had a few I's to dot and t's to cross for the solicitor. Also, we had to visit the new house for the final inspection and the familiarisation.

At the end of the day, a chappie turned up to take the dining room table and chairs and the sideboard. The end of an era for these items that had been in the family for years. Sorry to see them go.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Home

Busy day and lots of progress. Documents finally released for a review. Usual trouble with trolls. GF was asked when a document would be ready and suggested end of day Wednesday, an hour later an email arrived demanding it on Monday. Water and duck's back come to mind.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another good one

Yep, GF concludes it was a pretty good day. Not a special, nor exciting day; just a good day. Meetings were pretty fruitful, data was beginning to make sense, and phone calls were sparse.

Meanwhile back in the real world the Silver Vixen was talking with the builder's sales office. Everything is still going well.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Good day

Despite waking up at 3:20 the Gorse fox has had a good day. The first meeting of the day was at 7:15 and that set the pace for the day.

Messages trickled in during the day. Cousteau-cub had got her tickets for her summer trip home with the Coventry-Hobbit. So we are all getting excited.

Silver Vixen got a call from the floor fitters at the new house and got a chance to go along and check the way the various coverings were being laid and the way the border strips were picked out. She also managed to take and email some photos so that GF has had a chance to see the outcome.

The builder is ready to hand over the new house next week. We just need to get all the solicitors lined up.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Plan

The Gorse Fox loves it when a plan comes together (to paraphrase from an old TV programme). The email containing the photographic evidence of the remedial insulation was received by the Building Inspector. He confirmed everything was ok, and by mid-morning GF had the electronic copy of the certificate. A few seconds later - so did the solicitor!

Routing

The Gorse Fox's usual week starts with an early morning drive to Bristol. This week we had a variation on the theme. The morning started with some gentle emails at home, and the a leisurely drive up the A24 to see a colleague at the client's Surrey site. Some frantic sketching and debating filled a couple of hours and then the Gorse Fox headed down to the West Country.

With no meeting scheduled in the office, GF went straight to the hotel in order to turn the mornings research into sensible diagrams that could be verified and presented. A very fruitful afternoon.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

More junk

The day was not special. There was a lot of junk queued up for a trip to the dump so GF spent a while trying to find the best loading configuration to manage it all in one trip.

Then a note arrived from Cousteau-cub. She had found some good flights for her trip home in the summer. GF checked them out and found that there was a stack of hidden surcharges. GF sent an email warning... But so far we haven't found anything better.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Blog Change

The interface to Blogger has changed. The Gorse Fox likes change, but as ever, it may take a little getting used to. What the reader sees remains unchanged. The interface for the author, however, is a lot cleaner and may take a little acclimatisation.

Rockwool

Some remedial insulation was required in the loft space. One panel of a stud-wall had not been filled. The Gorse Fox headed off to B&Q and spent some time deciding which of the products would be best and would satisfy the Inspector.

Back home the camera recorded “before”, then GF set about cutting the insulation to fit and installing it. The camera then recorded “after”, and for good measure it also recorded the insulation in all of the other loft spaces and crawl spaces. Email was sent to building inspector with all of the evidence. Now we wait.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Quotation

Working at home has so many advantages. You can carry on with the “day job” whilst clearing odd questions, and odd debates about domestic issues.

The Gorse Fox put down the phone from a conference call and was summoned by the Silver Vixen. Should we offer the old lawn mower to the chap who cut our grass? If so, would GF retrieve it from the shed. The couple of minutes it took to complete the task was useful as the mower has now moved on to its new owner.

At lunchtime the man from the teleportation removals company arrived to review the contents of the house and give us a quote for the move. The Silver Vixen was on hand to escort him, but as it was lunch time, GF did the tour.

The Starfleet travel booking system was kind enough to alert the Gorse Fox that his Passport will soon expire – again a brief interrupt saw the online forms completed and hopefully the form will arrive for signing in the next few days. (Which may be useful as GF may have to go to Copenghagen in the next few weeks).

At the end of the day a batch of questions arrived from the the Solicitor. These were quickly handled – but there is still a busy week-end ahead.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Monsoon

For the second week running the drive back from the West Country was made more interesting by some heavy monsoon-like rains. The surface of the M4 was invisible beneath several centimetres of water and the spray from the passing vehicles exacerbated the lack of visibility imposed by the rain. Again, drivers were remarkably sensible – traffic slowed, gaps were maintained, lights were on, nobody tried to change lanes and fifteen minutes later we popped out into bright sunshine.

GF’s mobile phones were giving problems. He could switch between the phones in the car, but though the connections were made and the phones could be accessed, neither was able to make or receive calls whilst connected. Will have to try this again tomorrow.

One of the removals companies turned up today to survey our stuff and give us a quote for moving it to the new house. GF was very pleased with the quote, as it was only two-thirds of what he had budgeted. Expecting a competitive quotation tomorrow from another company.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Starfleet

The Gorse Fox spent the day in the Starfleet offices in Bristol. Workshops were scheduled and a cast of thousands turned up. Various familiar topics surfaced as they usually do, but eventually we started to expose the real topics that mattered.

All in all it was quite a good day.

When GF finally escaped, he walked back into town and stopped at Picolino's for a bite to eat before heading back to the hotel to watch the football.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How Much?

Gorse Fox just wandered down to the restaurant in hotel. (He is not staying in his usual home from home). He checked the menu, checked his pulse and spun on his heels. Clearly this hotel is not familiar with Starfleet expense policy. Returning to his room he ordered room service from a different menu, at a much more reasonable price despite the "tray charge".

Inspection

It transpires that we need to undergo a further building inspection. This is now scheduled for tomorrow. SO frustrating... but meanwhile everything else seems to be under control.

Except of course GF.

He realised when he got out of the shower that he had forgotten to pack socks for the week. He raided his emergency pack to satisfy the demand for today - but it did mean an early exit from work to enable a pit-stop at Marks and Spencer.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Back in Bristol

The journey to Bristol was a bit slow. Evidently people had returned from their Easter break and were intent on clogging up the transport arteries that lead GF to the west.

It was a day with no scheduled meetings. This, by its very nature, means that it was a good and productive day. GF spent time looking for gaps in our end-to-end solution, and satisfied that there  were no gaping holes, he moved on to a review of the provision of virtual applications and virtual desktops.

The Solicitor made contact - he was have problem with the local building department - they could not find a certificate for building work we had corrected when we moved in. GF called the Council and spoke to a nice lady. He explained the situation and she checked the records to confirm that it was all signed off as satisfactory... and suggested and Urgent email may get the required paperwork. 45 seconds later she had the email. Now we just need to wait.

A chap also called the Silver Vixen. He wanted to check some brickwork for the purchasers. After a long chate with the Silver Vixen he realised he had examined the house once before and confirmed there was nothing to worry about - but he would re-visit to check.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nice day

Betty and Barney Rubble visited (hopefully for the last time at this house). As usual we had a chance to catch up on our various activities, hobbies, and families. For lunch we headed to the Oystercatcher where we had an excellent but simple meal before heading on to Felpham and reviewing the new house.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lofty ambitions

Living in a bungalow, with a large room occupying most of the loft, the Gorse Fox doesn’t have AN attic, as such. There is a walk-in loft space, which was emptied last week-end. But. he has several attic spaces occupying the four corners of the upstairs – each is low, has a sloping roof, and stretches a long way.

It was time to empty these. So it was that much of the morning was spent on hands and knees crawling into these spaces to retrieve boxes and crates of goodness knows what. The filtration process started and much of the material we were holding for Cousteau-cub was transferred into 3 80ltr plastic crates, clothes were vacuum packed in bags, and a few odd bits set aside for the next trip tip. Then came the next space – this had an old VCR, a DVD player, an old TV, an original IBM PS/2 20MB PC and printer and several storage boxes of books and notes from a strategy course GF attended back in the 90s.

The car was loaded and GF went to see his friends at the tip.

One of the Freecycle claimants finally turned up – a day late – for some wardrobes. Even then she only took half of them and said she would be back tomorrow for the rest. Annoying. (But then, the other residual claimant didn’t turn up at all).

Friday, April 13, 2012

Disruption

The day was peppered with distraction and disruption as GF tried to complete a document and send it out for review.

A neighbour called in – we had not met before, but have spoken to her husband several times. She turned out to be absolutely charming, but did like to chat.

With the surplus furniture advertised on Freecycle earlier in the week, several of the claimants arrived at points throughout the day to take “their” bits.

There was a call from the purchaser

There was a call from his builder

There was an urgent email from the solicitor.

Never mind. In the end everything got done and GF packed up as the early evening news began. Talking of which, it was Aintree’s “Ladies Day”. Watching the feature on the news, one has to ask “has there ever been more ironic name for an event?”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Storming through

It was a great day at work. Loads of progress made and Gorse Fox was feeling smug by lunchtime.  Several diagrams that he had been checking proved to be riddled with errors and he had a degree of fun putting them right before returning them to the authors.

The journey home was made a tad more exciting by the storm cells that were marching across the country and GF drove through brilliant sunshine, drizzle, hail, thunder and lightning and back into sunshine before heading into the next cell.

Once home it was clear that the Silver Vixen had been very busy and cleared all of the wardrobes and cabinets of their content, ready for them to be claimed by the respondents from Freecycle.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Strange Day

It was a strange day - lots of meetings, most of which were cancelled before the GF was affected. This is a good thing. This meant that real work could continue without disruption.

At lunchtime GF heard of the quakes in Aceh. He checked online and saw Cousteau-cub was on the net. He checked and Koh Lanta had received the tsunami warnings and the beaches and shops were evacuated. She headed inland and up to her house to await the all-clear. Even while we were chatting she was getting texts from the Emergency Centre providing further information. Now, hours later, all seems to be settled and safe. It was good to know that the tsunami warnings actually work and provide sufficient time for an evacuation.

At the end of the day, GF got a couple of emails from his solicitor. This evening will be spent answering questions about the house.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back at work

It was a super start to the day. The roads were clear as many people were still on vacation. At the office the usual catch up exercise started as GF waded through a couple of weeks of messages.

Several days ago GF put some unneeded furniture on Freecycle. It finally hit the notice board today and this evening GF has been replying to all the respondents.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Back again

More clearing out - this time the loft took the brunt of the work. More detritus was identified and another car load was dispatched. Along with this load went the Gorse Fox's first IBM PS2 computer... A massive 20mb disk and a 13 inch monitor. It was sad to see this museum piece go, but it was using space and had no practical future.

The clear out also revealed six boxes of books that can go to a charity shop.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Lunch?

Just as the Gorse Fox and the wider family finished picking our way through a huge chicken, this bird dropped into the garden.

Thought about it for a bit – 170C for 3 hours? Then decided that the there wasn’t sufficient meat on the legs.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone.

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen are expecting Urban-cub, Pistol-Pete, and his children round for lunch.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Mashup

The day has been a bit of a mashup. We started with the usual last minute clear up prior to the scheduled viewing by our purchasers. This was elevated to a degree of panic when we saw an overflow pipe dripping. GF fiddled with the water pressure coming in to the house and the dripping stopped. Everything was ready.

The purchasers arrived and were given the full room-by-room tour. He seemed like a nice chap – a bit older than the Gorse Fox – but clearly had little or no say in what was going on. She was as similar age and, escorted round by the Silver Vixen, was a maelstrom of decorative ideas as she tried to come to terms with how she would arrange the house. A couple of hours later, they left – apparently satisfied.

We had promised Urban-cub a chance to see the new house, and so collected her and Pistol Pete’s daughter. We went back round the house and noted that they had started marking up for their “snagging” and were being very pernickety. Having said that, we did spot some items they had missed, but we will get our chance to do a proper inspection before we move in.

When we got back, we had a message from another agent saying that one of their clients is now in a position to make us an offer. Whilst we are pleased to have a fall back – we would never renege on the existing offer (even for an increased amount) unless the purchaser started to mess us around.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Another trip

The Gorse Fox is becoming as familiar with the people that operate the local recycling centre, as he is his own work colleagues. Another day of clearing drawers and shelves, cupboards, crates and what have you meant another trip to the the recycling centre.

Now, GF would not be as bold as to say that everything is sorted, but would say that they seem to be under control. This weekend will probably act as the starting-gun, with the purchasers visiting and hopefully some clarity emerging on dates.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Hanging about

 The Gorse Fox was treated to a helicopter flight / trial lesson as part of his birthday present. Today was the day that had been scheduled, and so it was that GF and Silver Vixen headed off to Shoreham to pay the money and get underway.

The Silver Vixen had declined the offer to accompany us - and so we flew the 2-seater R22. She remained resolutely on terra firma and acted as official event photographer. This image was taken just after take off, where we took a bow to audience. The Gorse Fox would add that, at this point as we hung from the rotors, he was not touching anything.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Seven Years

We are advised to keep financial documents for seven years. The Gorse Fox has decided to ignore such advice. Most organisations are now able to provide online statements, and, frankly, the storage of all this information is becoming a hassle.

So the question is, what do you do with all of this filing? Gorse Fox found an organisation that will send you paper “Confidential Waste” sacks which you can fill and seal. Once sealed they will be picked up and put through an industrial shredding machine, without being opened. A certificate of destruction is provided. This seemed like just the service GF required and so he ordered five sacks. Twenty-four hours later the sacks dropped through the letter box – and the clear out begins.

A number of items of furniture will not be joining us as we move along the coast. They no longer fit with our plans. It would appear, however, that they no longer fit with anybody’s plan. An antique dealer advised that we would have trouble disposing of them.  The auction house Gorringes couldn’t even be bothered to respond to an email. But a local dealer offered us what seemed a derisory amount, explaining that the beautiful mahogany would be stripped back and painted. This seemed sacrilegious but is the reality of today’s taste.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Ever Crateful

Well the clear out continues. The Gorse Fox started going through the shelves in his study and in the ensuing sort-out, GF managed to fill a crate with old CDs, brochures, manuals, and so forth. He even found cartridges for his last-but-one printer (as they were HP cartridges, they were probably worth more than the printer itself – and for that matter, probably lasted longer).

Come the afternoon – we launched an attack on the garage. This meant sorting and disposing of partially empty paint cans, chemical potions, oils, and goodness knows what. Two car loads later we were in a pretty good state.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Brighton

 Morning chores complete, and in the face of a splendid (though chilly) day, we decided to hit the big city  and headed along the coast to Brighton.

There was a purpose behind this, beyond just a nice trip out. GF is still trying to find a painting or piece of art for his birthday. Beneath the esplanade in Brighton, nestling among the pubs, ice cream vendors, and fish and chip stalls lies several small galleries. One we had visited before, buying a painting for Cousteau-cub's 30th.

We retraced our steps and found the galleries and chatted to the artists. We did not buy anything but we have several ideas now - one of which is to commission something specific, based on one of Cousteau-cubs photos.

Galleries done, we carried on along to the pier where we strolled out along the wonderful old structure and watched the rides at the end as they threw their vistims into the air and spun them. GF couldn't help but comment that at £5 per ride it seemed expensive - but you got all the vomit you wish for. Gorse Fox has never been one for these rides!

Back into town we stopped at "Day'S" restaurant. This is an Asian buffet and boasts some 250 dishes available for your selection. This seemed like a perfect end to the trip.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Bucks

It was a glorious start to the day – though the temperature was much lower than we have been experiencing. We cannot really complain as it is still early April. GF was lucky to catch Cousteau-cub on line and managed to have a good chat and catch up on news and their recent holiday.

We had arranged to meet with the Silver Vixen’s mother and sister for some lunch and so headed up to Buckingham. After initial teas and coffees we pottered along to Woughton on the Green in Milton Keynes where we had a table booked fro lunch. The place was heaving as the weather was so nice – and whilst the food was excellent, the service was very slow.

Back in Buckingham the Gorse Fox helped SV’s sister with her new laptop whilst we heard all about her new job and they heard all about our house move.

Meanwhile, in the background Spurs beat Swansea to complete a perfect weekend (Arsenal having lost).