Saturday, June 30, 2012

Plan C

There’s something a little disconcerting when the the Gorse Fox realises that if everything had gone to plan, we would now have been in our new house for a couple of months… but because everything fell through we remain in limbo. This has meant looking for a Plan B, in case the house we had reserved is sold by the builders – fed up with waiting.

A few weeks ago, Plan B emerged with an excellent local alternative.

Today we went further and discovered a Plan C. Plan C looks absolutely perfect – though may be another 9-12 months before it is available… but given that we have yet to sell up here, that may not be a show stopper.

Got a call during the afternoon from Beloved Aunt… it was lovely to hear from her, particularly as – after a change in medication – she has been unwell. The bad news is that she will be unable to come over for the Gorse Fox’s party.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Getting Started

Friday has been like the first day of a new school. A whole new bunch of people to know, a new layout, new rules, and the optimism that the Gorse Fox always feels when faced with new challenges.

  • How will he gather the data he needs?
  • Who should he interview?
  • What are the political ramifications?
  • How will he analyse what he finds?
  • How will he draw the right balance in coming to his conclusions?
  • A mind map starts to form

…and so it begins.

Disappointed by last night’s football. Really though Germany would go all the way – but they didn’t deserve to win last night, so cannot really complain.

Now whilst in this optimistic mood, perhaps the Gorse Fox should just go through his trust checklist:

  • Politicians, no (see expenses scandal and virtually anything promised to the electorate);
  • BBC, no (see treatment of Global Warming, anti-Government bias, anti-Israeli bias, etc.);
  • Climate scientists, no (see corruption of the scientific method, politicisation of process, stifling of debate);
  • Journalists, no (see Leveson inquiry);
  • Lawyers(*), no (see ambulance chasers who have created the whole compensation culture through their own greed);
  • Bankers, no (see credit crunch and rigging of LIBOR interest rates).

A parlous state of affairs.

(*)The Gorse Fox distinguishes between Solicitors who tend to be trusted advisors and agents acting during major life events and who, by and large, are fine and upstanding individuals – and Lawyers who are parasitic pond life and have created a sub-culture of blame and litigation that has done more to corrupt the optimism and joy of living than anything since the great flu pandemic.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fine day

Well it turned out to be a fine day. The briefing on the next piece of work was very interesting but the timescale is challenging.

GF was pleased that the chap he interviewed for a position in Starfleet turned out to be a real find. Starfleet will make him an offer.



Early start

Ready to catch to train and make an early(ish) start on the way to Starfleet offices alongside the Thames.
Briefing for new project this morning.
Interviewing this afternoon.



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

They think it's all over...

Well as far as this contract is concerned, "it is now". The Gorse Fox has been working down in Bristol since April last year, but now the problems are solved, the designs are in place, and the team are in place to deliver the solution. GF can walk away completely satisfied with a job well done. He has to ask himself, how many people on leaving their client actually get a hug from the slightly teary contracts manager?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bristol

Well the Gorse Fox has completed his penultimate day in Bristol on this project. This meant being around to deal with any residual issues whilst colleagues taking over from the GF handled the day to day meetings that he normally attends.

Looks like there is new short project bubbling on the horizon. GF should get details on Thursday when he has to visit Starfleet in London to conduct some interviews... And make use of the spare time in between to be briefed.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tivoli

The little mermaid, the Tivoli Gardens, Helsingborg... Denmark for the tourist.

Monsoon rains, flooded roads, tiny hotel room, taxi to the office and then from the office to the airport. The pleasures of business travel.

Never mind, GF is home.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Travel

The Gorse  Fox finds himself sitting in a bar in Copenhagen in the middle of a monsoon. No TV here to watch the game so may have to repair to his room.

Admin

Expenses cleared, and hotel booked for this week. Latest Java update to laptop has stopped expenses system launching from Chrome, but it does launch from Firefox.

Planning to travel light – no laptop, just iPad and phones.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Try out

Gorse Fox has bought a new phone and this is his first attempt st blogging from the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Encore

Well that was a satisfactory end to the week. Another excellent day, a load more admin cleared, a load more research done. Meanwhile, in London Starfleet colleagues are putting the finishing touches to a bid that GF has had a hand in.

The viewing scheduled for this evening was a wash-out. The couple did not turn up, and did not have the common decency to let us know.

Never mind, the Germany vs Greece football match came to a satisfactory conclusion. I suspect that Germany will will the tournament overall.

Hilarious Graham Norton show featuring Will.i.am, Miriam Margolyes, and Greg Edwards – haven’t laughed so much in ages.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

On a roll

The Gorse Fox seems to be on a roll. It was another really good day. It started with a review of a large document and then some minor changes to the paper written yesterday. Next GF had to craft some contractual terms for an agreement with another supplier.

The afternoon was more creative with further development of a reference model for broadcast media.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cloud

The Gorse Fox spent much of the day researching different approaches to "cloud" provision and then writing a paper on how this can be exploited by media clients.

Alongside this, GF finally got Starfleet's authorisation to go to Copenhagen to help with a workshop for another media client. This meant that, finally, he could book flights and the hotel. Needless to say the price has gone up by £100 since last week. GF needs to find time to prepare a talk on the changing face of broadcast systems and what Starfleet can do to help with transition to broadcast in a socially connected world.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Slow

A little slow off the grid this morning, but once GF got moving he had a really good day. Outstanding issues were wheedled down, the MI was handed over and the ongoing battle over whether GF is going to Copenhagen continued as escalation after escalation tried to get the right funding in place to allow authorisation for travel.

Managed to get home in time to watch the football.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Better

The journey across country was 90 minutes quicker than last week during the storms and floods. Much better.

Quiet day in the office as Gorse Fox starts his hand-over ready to move on.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Climate

Now and then the Gorse Fox has to say a few words on the the whole climate change issue.

  • Firstly, he should make it clear where he stands – the climate is changing. It’s what climate does.
  • Is it warming or cooling? There are scientist who espouse both beliefs – and he uses that word deliberately.
  • Is it man-made? No.
  • Does man contribute? Yes, of course every person on the planet contributes in some way.

The problem is that Climate Change has moved from a scientific hypothesis – yet to be proven, to a religion. It is no longer science, it is politics, and it is big business. As such it is almost certainly corrupted.

Now in today’s newspaper we see the headline that “A quarter of over 55s are sceptical of Climate Change and thing threats to the environment are an exaggeration”. The Gorse Fox is surprised the number is as low as a quarter. particularly in view of the report that:

A US government-funded survey has found that Americans with higher levels of scientific and mathematical knowledge are more sceptical regarding the dangers of climate change than their more poorly educated fellow citizens

and it goes on to explain

The results of the survey are especially remarkable as it was plainly not intended to show any such thing: Rather, the researchers and trick-cyclists who carried it out were doing so from the position that the "scientific consensus" (carbon-driven global warming is ongoing and extremely dangerous) is a settled fact, and the priority is now to find some way of getting US voters to believe in the need for urgent, immediate and massive action to reduce CO2 emissions.

Ooops

Perhaps a more worrying development is the news reported this week that “UN Climate Scientists plead for immunity from Criminal prosecution”. As John O’Sullivan reports:

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) issued it’s formal request for immunity from prosecution to “protect” researchers who have provided “evidence” supportive of the man-made global warming scare story.

and towards the end of the article:

Now the penny drops with the UNFCCC. They understand that climate scientists have failed to prove their man-made global hypothesis and are facing increased legal scrutiny. Lawyers are sharpening their legal minds to dissect from the UN’s bloated climate science body the malignant tumor of man-made global warming.  If the UNFCCC  legal immunity gambit can be resisted we may yet see criminal prosecutions for the worst offenders in the climate fraud.

Why, oh why, would any scientist doing genuine research, using auditable numbers, and mathematics want immunity?

It makes you wonder if the BBC are getting twitchy?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Steps

The problem statement was simple – how does an elderly lady get out of the shower when there is a 9 inch step and she has just had a hip replacement?

The Heath-Robinson approach, which first came to mind, involved pulleys and counter-weights and a chair suspended from a cable and guided by bluebirds. This proved a little ambitious.

Plan B involved two large sofa cushions – however the compression caused by the interaction of gravity and the carbon-based life form proved too great – though had to be endured for today.

The Gorse Fox took things in hand and made his way to the local supplier of wood to the discerning. Car loaded, he returned home to construct two steps that could be used individually or together. Having recently cleared the garage, the adhesive he thought to be lurking in the corner had in fact be stored safely at the local tip… so the final touches will have to await the return of the Silver Vixen from her sortie into the local village.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ooops

The Gorse Fox had ordered a print of his family tree. He checked the softcopy and was happy – but the printed version arrived today. The quality was super, but the print itself failed at some point and only three quarters of the entries got printed. The rest was blank space.

GF phoned the supplier. He checked the soft copy and assured the Gorse Fox that it was correct – GF assured him is wasn’t. Printout now being returned to have it corrected.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Research

Another excellent day working from home and spending a significant chunk of the day doing research for a presentation that the GF has to deliver in early July. This in turn led to LinkedIn where the Gorse Fox’s profile had languished, unloved and untouched for years. A major re-vamp followed.

Shame to see the Ireland football team so comprehensively thumped by Spain. It really was boys against men. The gulf was huge.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

There’s nice for you

The Gorse Fox had the pleasure of working from home today. This meant that there were very few interruptions and he could bury himself in the matters of the day. This included discussion of a DoU with another line of business – who always seem to have a knack of wriggling off the hook when most needed; and adaptation of a spreadsheet. The latter, surprisingly, has been changed to use a slightly different approach to the problem but delivers the same outcome. It even looks exactly the same. The difference is that it is only two thirds of the original size… and it can now dynamic change shape to accommodate additional content. (Most satisfying).

In the background the Silver Vixen and her mother pottered about, and during the afternoon even got a chance to sit out in garden. Convalescence seems to be going well, and the check-up at the surgery received glowing results.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dry

Despite the dreadful floods of yesterday and the closed roads across Sussex, today was pretty benign. Certainly by the time GF had to drive home the roads were dry and clear.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A little damp

The rain started last night, and fell throughout the night and into the morning.  The Gorse Fox set off at his usual time but soon ran into deep standing water. It presaged a long journey. So it turned out. The A27 was closed near Chichester and the first 30 miles took well over two hours. Fortunately, as the GF headed west the flooding lessened - though the rain continued. In the end the journey took well over 4 hours. Ominous start to the week!

Once at work, things went remarkably smoothly. It was quite a good day.

It was clear when he left work that traffic was backed up all over the place. GF allowed his in-built sense of direction to take over and deliberately headed out of the car park by the back exit. This allowed him to whizz round the back and follow the railway to drop him down in front of the traffic.

Managed to see the second half of the England - France match. Was impressed with the discipline shown. It seems to the Gorse Fox that if you cannot play the tick-tack football of Barcelona, then the best approach is solid, disciplined defence and the ability to break quickly with good strikers. Not as exciting as tick-tack, but a good scientific approach.

News from Sussex reports that the rain continued and the water is, in places, several feet deep and many roads are closed. Here in the west country, the rain stopped several hours ago and it doesn't seem too bad.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tree

More of today than is healthy has been spent doing work-related tasks. The Gorse Fox notices that the “work-life balance” epithet is a thing of the past. Now it is more like: “work if you still have life and want to balance your cheque book”.

Had to update the GF CV. His name is being put forward to help a well known media company, by Starfleet.

With salary planning and mid-year reviews coming up, it looks as if it will be a busy few weeks.

Back down to Bristol tomorrow

Returned to the long term project that is the family genealogy. With a family event on the horizon GF has been looking for a way of printing the whole family tree on some kind of banner. After a lot of Googling GF finally found a service that looks as if it will do the job. File duly uploaded – and now awaiting contact to all GF to view the outcome before paying.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Parole

The Silver Vixen's mother has been discharged from hospital. It took most of the morning to get confirmation, but eventually we headed up to High Wycombe to collect the her for her convalescence.

It took a long time to load the car once we were there, but we were soon back on the road and heading south.



Friday, June 08, 2012

So it begins

Each year Starfleet’s leading technologists in the UK and Ireland hold elections to select new members of their group. Some members have a tenure for three years, to ensure a continual change in overall membership; some (like the Gorse Fox) are permanent members. Nominations are open across the various divisions of Starfleet, but in the Gorse Fox’s Division there are so many potential candidates that we run a pre-selection process to ensure that we do not dilute the voting and that we have picked the very cream of the crop. For the last few years, the Gorse Fox has run this process and as the 2012 election process swings into gear GF is setting up weekly calls to manage this years list.

GF had to review the current media bid today. It helps, having been involved for a couple of days. At least GF had a good understanding of what was required and what was being put together. The team had done a good job.

Yet again, Silver Vixen’s mother’s discharge from the hospital has been delayed which saved a trip to High Wycombe, and meant that the Silver Vixen could go out with her coven during the evening. They had a speaker who turned out to be very inspiring so SV was pleased the way things had worked out.

GF watched the opening matches of the Euros. He wasn’t overstruck by the Poland team or the Greece team, but thought that the Russia team looked dangerously impressive.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Mixed

It was a mixed day.

Work went well and some of the changes that Gorse Fox has been working are coming to fruition. Now he ill just use an existing media bid to test out the final version.

GF is still having trouble getting the final agreements for the funding of his trip to Copenhagen in a bout a week’s time. Suspects that it will all collapse before the event.

Great news of the day was that an old friend from Starfleet, now resident in California, is coming over for the Gorse Fox’s big birthday party next month. Whilst we have kept in touch – it is many years since we have seen him. It’ll be great fun to catch up.

Cousteau-cub posted some photos of the horrendous storms they have been suffering in Koh Lanta. Bars, road, even swimming pools washed away. Dreadful. Thank goodness they are ok.

Silver Vixen’s mother still not well enough to leave hospital. Looks like it will be the weekend before she escapes.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Viewing

Well it was all hands on deck. The agent called and asked if they could do a viewing late in the day. The clearing and preparation for Silver Vixen’s mother had paid off – there was little to do, but the Silver Vixen had a busy afternoon planned so things had to be squeezed in.

GF spent much of the day dealing with work calls – just because he had not gone down to Bristol, didn’t mean that work did not carry on.

The agent turned up with the viewers – who turned out to be neighbours. It all seemed to go well, and soon after they left there was a call from the agent to say they had made an offer. This was excellent news, though the offer was not sufficient. But GF expressed his thanks and suggested to the agent that whilst we were willing to negotiate – the opening offer was not sufficient.

Let’s see what happens

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Plan Change

A delay in the recuperation of Silver Vixen’s mother means that she remains in hospital a bit longer. This mean that the Gorse Fox will have to cancel this week’s trip to Bristol and work from home so that once her release is scheduled he can play ambulance driver and fetch her.

Patriotism

The Jubilee weekend has re-awakened a sense of patriotism across the country. In solidarity with that feeling the sausages, bacon and eggs are cooking for a proper English Breakfast.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Shuffling

With the Silver Vixen’s mother due to convalesce with us for the next month or so, the morning was spent returning one of the bedrooms to a habitable state. With everything piled and stacked, ready to move, it was neat and tidy – but uninhabitable.

We then decided that the use of some spare crates would be a neater solution to the storage released from the sideboard when it was sold. A major move around followed in the living room – much to the confusion of Jasper the cat.

After the execrable coverage of the Rive Pageant by the BBC, we chanced our sanity by watching the coverage of the Concert at the Palace. You would have thought, in this day and age, that they could have actually spent more that 30 seconds adjusting the sound levels and attempted to get them right. You would also have thought that they might have got some performers who new roughly where the notes were meant to be. It was quite clear from some that they only had a cursory familiarity with the right notes.

GF has never been fond of Rap music – Will.i.Am reinforced this with his rhythmic verse, set to music, and permanently off-key.

At least, as the evening has worn on, the quality has improved and it has ended up on a celebratory high.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Pageant

We spent the Diamond Jubilee much as we did the Silver Jubilee – in hospital with the Silver Vixen’s mother. She had had her hip replaced (with an artificial one – we had suggested a roller blade or something useful like a Swiss Army knife, but this was rejected).

With most of the nation at the River Pageant, or watching it on TV, or at Street Parties – the roads were empty as we made our way up to High Wycombe. The brilliant sunshine that we left on the coast deteriorated into torrential rain as we skirted the capital.

Though pale, SVs mother was quite alert and chatty so we stayed fro a few hours before loading the car with the various items of apparatus she would require when convalescing with us on her release.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Brighton

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen pottered for most of the day, but headed across to visit family in Brighton during the late afternoon.

With a Fat Boy Slim concert scheduled, and a Protest March in progress we expected some hold ups and diversions – but in the scheme of things, we buzzed along and arrived in no time. A cup of tea and a chance to catch up on family news was the first order of the day. It seemed that several recent health scares had come to nothing – though news of the Silver Vixen’s mum’s hip operation was arriving during the evening.

We headed down to the town centre and our usual haunt “Day’s” – The buffet selection means that each of us can find things that we like and have a very pleasant feast.

What became clear was that this was also the first stopping off place for various Hen Parties and Birthday Parties. Thus we were subject to regiments of hormonal young women almost dressed in clothes that would be more appropriate for hanging around on street corners in major ports. Unfortunately the scene exuded an aura, not of fun, joy, and hope; but rather of decadence and depravity.

It is clear that the Gorse Fox is getting old.

Friday, June 01, 2012

It was a long day

The Gorse Fox got the second train of the morning up to London to meet up with the team crafting a response to one of the big media companies. GF is considered a bit of a specialist in this area and they clearly needed help.

Allowing a veil to pass across the day itself, GF finally escaped from the build a while after seven. Checking train times, he decided to head for Waterloo and try to intercept his train at Clapham Junction. It would be touch and go.

The train pulled out of Waterloo, stopped briefly at Vauxhall to pick up the spies from MI6, and then headed onwards to Clapham. As we passed under the viaduct carrying the Victoria trains, GF looked up to see if his train was there – but no. There was a chance he would make it! A few seconds later we drew alongside a train on the next track and started to overtake. It was GF’s train… and we pulled into Clapham alongside it. The doors seemed to take an age to open, but GF was well positioned and exploded from the carriage and down the stairs, turning left into the tunnel and the right up the stairs to Platform 12. Bursting back into the light he watched the train doors close and the train pull away.

Oh, well. It gave him 30 minutes to stand and ponder the meaning of life, to search for the Higgs Boson particle (it wasn’t in his pocket after all), and to curse the way so many bids end up consuming peoples’ non-work time, observing that some of his colleagues are going to be working through the weekend – and are unlikely to get any thanks or recognition for their effort.