Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Canvas

The Gorse Fox had noted that Pistol Pete and the Urban-cub were deliberating over a new tent and whether they could afford a holiday. Sneakily he ordered the tent without telling them and it arrived today.

GF phoned requesting they popped round to “help shift something”. The subterfuge worked and they turned up ready for action. GF pointed to the boxes containing the camping equipment and told them to shift them. They were delighted – and promptly took the equipment out to the back garden to set it all up… giving us hours of early evening entertainment as this monster tent slowly arose.

Dire Warnings

The scare-mongering and dire warnings of transport melt-down have obviously been heard. The Gorse Fox observed that his train was devoid of normal commuters – they hare evidently all on vacation or working elsewhere. Starfleet, for example, has shut its premier London location for the duration.

Arriving at Waterloo, expecting chaos, GF was able to stroll across the concourse and along the road to Blackfriars without any let or hindrance.

Similarly, after his meeting was over, he wandered the slumbering streets and took the tube back to Victoria. It was (almost) a pleasant experience!

The meeting was interesting – revealing an interesting new business model, and a stream of funding and investment in futures that takes the breath away. What we still need to clarify is the extent to which Starfleet will be involved in supporting this.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hamster Wheel

The hamster wheel continues to turn with Gorse Fox galloping round inside. Today was dedicated predominantly to staff reviews, but also extending tentacles (do hamsters have tentacles?) to find new project.

One exciting opportunity has arisen, so GF is off to London tomorrow to explore a completely new “green field” opportunity. From the short briefing he has been give so far it sounds a) very exciting, and b) very valuable. Could be big enough to view as a good swansong!

Wednesday will also mean travelling up to the big city to do a review of another programme.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Primer

Two of the new doors were masked up and Gorse Fox managed to get some primer/undercoat on them. Still one face to go, but fairly successful.

Plan had been to hit Brighton this afternoon, by GF was feeling a little under the weather, so we stayed put and watched some of the Olympics, the Hungarian Grand Prix and the Team GB football against UAE. On the latter subject, there is a danger that this Team GB may actually turn into a credible unit if they play together much more.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Progress

Good progress is being made – the utility room has now been gutted, the old wall removed, new doors hung and prepared for painting. A plasterer came round to give us a quote for the finishing work (though we will wait for a second quote). An early trip to the tip got rid of twelve sacks of rubble.

Consideration is now being given to the kitchen – though work has has not started, yet.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mourning

The Gorse Fox decided to pay the parking fine as he cannot be bothered to fight the bureaucracy. He informed Hounslow of this…

Dear Sir or Madam

I am in receipt of your "Rejection of Representation" note regarding the above PCN. Thank you for taking so long to deliberate, your humanity and understanding do you, and the Council credit. If I was wealthy I would take this further, but cannot afford to waste the time and effort. I would, however, make the following point in response to your standard response note:

  1. The yellow line and stripes were accompanied by the white "No Loading" signs.
    It is quite clear that I was neither loading nor unloading.
  2. The kerb stripes mean that I was not allowed to park - even to load and unload - at certain times.
    I had not parked.
  3. The double stripe means it applies 24 hours a day.
    I appreciate that, and as I was in the vicinity for less than 2 minutes, this point is moot.
  4. A single stripe means the rule applies some of the time....
  5. I was sent the notice because evidence shows my vehicle parked at a time when the rule applies.
    No it does not, it shows my vehicle was stationary. I was not parked, I had just done a 3-point turn (to get out of the cul-de-sac), I was in full control of the vehicle, the engine was running, and the handbrake was not applied.
  6. The "purpose of this rule is to improve traffic flow and safety at busy times"
    It is a cul-de-sac - there is NO through traffic - any traffic entering the road must do a three point turn as I did.
    It was Sunday afternoon - hardly a busy time.
    Even your CCTV shows no other vehicle impeded and I was therefore not having any impact on traffic flow. The only pedestrian was on the pavement several yards from the car.

Yours, in mourning for the death of common sense,

It will have no effect – but GF felt better for sending it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stuff and nonsense

The Gorse Fox’ appeal regarding his penalty charge has been denied.

He should explain, that he wrote to the department, as follows:

Dear Sir or Madam

Whilst I do not contest that the vehicle shown is mine, and that I was driving. I do contest the circumstances whereby this PCN was issued. I do not accept that I have contravened any of the restrictions.

Fortunately, I use Google Latitudes to maintain a history of my journeys.

I had left home to collect my daughter from the Premier Inn in Bath Road. This was shown to be at 15 Bath Road. Programming this into the Sat Nav, it directed me to Hounslow.

Inline images 1

As you can see, at 15:48 I had just missed the turn

Inline images 2

A minute or so later I turned back (at 15:49)

Inline images 3

Turning back (going round the block and waiting for the lights) at 15:52 I was again approaching the turn towards the Bath Road

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I then turned into Lampton Road

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Where I slowly turned round (as the road was empty and I was not delaying traffic, nor blocking anyone) and looked to find 15 Bath Road. I would assert that I was not waiting (nobody left or joined the vehicle) was not loading, or unloading nor contravening the traffic enforcement, but searching for my destination.

It was at this point that it became clear that there was no Premier Inn at 15 Bath Road so I realised I needed to be at 15 Bath Road in Hayes. By two minutes later I was up near the Catholic Church on the A3006.

Inline images 6

I therefore respectfully request that this PCN be cancelled.

It would appear that there is a lack of common sense and humanity and the Gorse Fox will have to pay up – unless he fancies taking this to court. He is not amused, but is not wealthy enough to pursue this through the courts (which is what these people count on).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Piles

As the day has gone on piles of bricks have been collecting outside the garages, and sacks of rubble nestle in their shadow. One day in and partition wall has gone.

Doors need to be replaced, and that is the next task – selecting doors that fit the bill.

Whilst all of that was going on, GF had returned to work (albeit from home). This meant catching up with ten days of emails, and preparing mid-year reviews. In the background, Urban-cub had asked for some advice regarding a spreadsheet – and what should have been an easy task, turned out to be slightly more complicated.

Red Thai fish curry on the eastern terrace, accompanied by a glass of wine, seemed like the perfect end to the day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Eve of Destruction

We have heard from Cousteau-cub  she and the Coventry Hobbit have safely arrived in Hong Kong and were getting ready to see Stone Roses before setting off on the next leg of their return trip.

Silver Vixen has had a few appointments so GF started to catch up on Thank You’s and taking several car loads of stuff to the tip.

The Silver Vixen’s brother has arrived and we have emptied the utility room ready for the destruction to start – as one wall comes down and the whole room gets properly wired, plumbed and plastered.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Parting is such sweet sorrow

No it’s not. It’s a pig.

Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen have just got back from taking Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit up to the airport for their return trip to Thailand, via Amsterdam, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

It’s never easy to see her go – but at least, travelling with the Coventry Hobbit, it somehow didn’t seem quite so bad.

Will probably spend the evening grazing on food left over from Saturday. A glass of wine might even pass our lips.

Dinner with the Commonwealth Cousins

 Lovely evening last night with GF's cousins from Canada

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Catching Up

Today has been a matter of catching up with ourselves, having been in a proverbial spin all week. Glasses had to be returned to Sainsbury’s, food had be assessed, shuffled between fridges, or discarded. Photos had to be processed, and card and gifts opened.

The Gorse Fox has been immensely lucky. Amongst the gifts was a beautiful cut-glass brandy goblet that had been given to his grandfather fifty years ago – at his 60th. This will take pride of place. People have also donated towards a painting that we have planned for the new house… and there is enough champagne to re-run the Tour de France.

Late in the day we met up with our Canadian cousins and the Gorse Fox’s sister and brother-in-law. We had a super couple of hours at a local restaurant (as if we needed more food!).

Cracking

It really was a cracking day yesterday. People arrived from Birmingham, Devon, Cardiff, Buckingham, Brentwood, Swanwick, Willingham, Cambridge, London, Thailand, and San Francisco… and we had a ball!

There was food enough to feed a small city, drink enough to float a battleship (or scuba dive in). Everyone mixed well, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

It was so nice to see so many old friends and relatives – some of whom the Gorse Fox had not seen for years.

The Gorse Fox made a speech… and the girls Urban- and Cousteau-cub made a speech and nearly reduced the Gorse Fox to tears.

At the end everybody chipped in to help clear the venue and we left the place spic and span on the stroke of eleven. Back home it took and hour or so to unload and find homes for everything, then we collapsed into the armchairs and chatted into the early hours.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Absentees

A few last minute apologies received due to illness. Great shame but it is more important that these friends get well rather than turn up and feel dreadful.

Drumsticks

Seven thirty and the oven was on, and now several hours later there is a pile of cooked chicken pieces that you could hide a car in. Gorse Fox has been to Sainsbury’s in LA to pick up wine glasses and now there is a bit of a lull until we gain access to the venue.

At that point we will try and set up a convoy, like those that took equipment to Bagdad, to try and transport all of the plates, tablecloths, drinks, jellies, snacks, tea, coffee, salads and heavens-knows-what to the Centre.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Concern turns to Panic

Only one day to go and still working through lists – the real problem being that we are not relying on frozen foods and now as we approach the day the fresh foods are now becoming available.

A trip to Tesco was required and Urban-cub helped as we filled another trolley to overflowing. Back home and unloaded we then set off back to Sainsbury’s for another car full.

Fridge is full, spare fridge is full, freezer is full, garage is full, and hallway is full. Still more stuff to get at the last minute tomorrow  - and, of course, we will need to cook the chicken portions.

I suspect that, after the disappointment of the GB-vs-Brazil football just now, we will have an early night.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Revving up

The week is revving up. Much preparation has to be left until late as we need the food to be fresh, the frozen stuff to be cold, and the hot stuff to be warm. Today concentrated on the last drinks trip. The garage is slowly filling up with Cokes, lemonades, fruit juices, squash and the odd can of beer and a bottle of wine with 90 straws.

The Silver Vixen has been cutting tablecloths from a roll and ensuring that everything will be ready in terms of layout and so forth.

Urban-cub was not impressed as she had paid extra to ensure a morning delivery of a dress – and it did not turn up. She then spent hours on the phone trying to track it down. All was well in the end as the dress turned up during the afternoon.

The Gorse Fox has a suspicion that tomorrow and Saturday morning will be frantic.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Drains

Dishwasher soap is not a subject on which the Gorse Fox would normally blog, nor hold forth in polite company. However, we have suffered from a blockage of the drains, and whilst expecting this would take a few minutes to clear – has actually taken two hours.

Two hours during which the Coventry Hobbit has been reaming the drain with rods, and hosing it with high pressure jet. Meanwhile the Gorse Fox has been up to his arm pit in cold, greasy, standing drain water trying to find the source of the problem.

It turned out to be coagulated dishwasher soap that had turned back into soapy bricks and jammed completed sealed the drain.

This was not how the Gorse Fox had planned to spend his vacation… and is fairly sure this was not high on the agenda of the Coventry Hobbit when he left Thailand with Cousteau-cub.

Even after several visits to the sink with differing soaps and cleaners GF’s arm still has a most unpleasant fragrance.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Strategic Outsourcing

As “the kids” practised their Wii skills, the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed for the venue where the weekend’s event will be held. GF had not seen it close-up and the manager needed to instruct us on the use of the AV equipment and the various kitchen facilities. It is all looking very good and should serve us well.

Next stop was Sainsbury’s to outsource the sandwich making to someone more familiar with mass-production than we are. This was somewhat delayed by the inconsistencies between their order list and the price lists – but this will be sorted.

The wet weather had abated, the sun was breaking through so we all headed into Worthing for a bit.

Musical playlist is under development for the weekend – one MP3 CD should cover it…. about 10 hours of music.

Spent the evening with Urban-cub and her wolf.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Torch

The day was essentially wet. There was no plan for the day – after all the travelling and excitement at the weekend, a quiet day seemed like a good idea.

Sausages, mushroom, bacon and eggs got us started – we were setup for anything the Wii could throw at us.

Pistol Pete and Urban-cub turned up with their wolf, Scrumpy and Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit dressed up in winter gear to go with them and walk the dog. Not long after this dripping mass of humanity (and the wolf) returned – cold and wet.

Preparations for the coming weekend are still progress. This meant that we had to start collecting together the various bits and pieces necessary for the day. Tesco was the target of our raid. Disposable plates and bowls, napkins, party-poppers, squash, snacks, and goodness knows what else leapt off the shelves and nestled in our trolley.

The trip to Tesco took longer than expected and the idea of going to see the Olympic Torch as it passed through Worthing had to be shelved for another sixty years or so.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Home

The family is complete once more – Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen collected C-c & C-H from Heathrow and brought them back home where U-c was preparing a magnificent roast dinner. (Shame we had sold the table and chairs and consequently had to eat off trays).

The evening descended into a degree of chaos as an XBox Connect and a Nintendo Wii were pressed into action and all and sundry joined in the various games on offer.

Lovely evening.

Countdown

The countdown to meeting up with Cousteau-cub near Heathrow has begun. This meant a shopping trip to ensure we have enough food to feed the Glastonbury hordes, and careful synchronisation with Urban-cub who has volunteered to cook dinner for us all.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stand down

The Gorse Fox is now officially on vacation. AT home, but on vacation. Now, the point of this break is to spend time wit Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit and to prepare for a family party. Fortunately, it looks as if emporium of J. Sainsbury will be pressed into service to provide various platters of sandwiches and so forth; we will just have to fill in round the edges.

We also have a Plan regarding the sale of the house. We have decided to invest a small amount to improve the porch, kitchen, and utility room… then to get new photos taken and re-start the marketing push. With this in mind we spent some time wandering around our local DIY store seeking ideas and prices.

Friday, July 13, 2012

SIM

Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit were due in. Their trip had started with a trip to Singapore, then to Amsterdam, and finally into London. However, as they were meeting up with the Hobbit’s brother, Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen were not there to greet them. Indeed we weren’t even sure of their arrival time.

The day drew on and GF kept checking for text messages, facebook entries and so forth… Nada.

Late afternoon the phone rang – it was Cousteau-cub. She had managed to get a free SIM card and just bought some credit – Contact.

All had gone well and she and the Hobbit were checked into their hotel in Middle Earth and meeting up with the family in Hobbiton. It was lovely to chat and know that she was nearby… even we won’t see her until Sunday.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Line Out

The Gorse Fox had a good day. It started with a trip to the next village to collect a colleague and then head up to Twickenham. The journey, which would normally be tedious, was a relaxing chat in a pair of comfortable armchairs – that just happened to be mobile.
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On arrival and registration at the “event” we milled around the coffee stands with several hundred colleagues; catching up with old friends, and getting the latest news from pet projects.
Eventually the throng settled into an auditorium and the presentations commenced with a healthy dose of thanks, exhortations to achieve even more, and an underlying hint of humour. Nicely balanced.
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Breaks were taken for coffee and eventually lunch. Not the usual “event buffet” – but individual bowls of Caesar salad, individual mug-sized containers of fish and chips, and schooners of jelly. Portions reflected technology – constant miniaturisation, but astute raiding of the waiters’ trays as they emerged from kitchens allowed sufficient calories to be consumed to allow the afternoon to continue.
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After lunch the keynote speaker left the Gorse Fox with his head in his hands. Brilliant opportunity for some real inspiration – but the speaker completely dropped the ball and ended up talking for an hour about stuff we’d all seen on TV documentaries.
The Gorse Fox was next of the agenda as the throng split into smaller elective groups. He had been concerned that he still handed forged the mental pathway through the material he had prepared, but once he got started the adrenalin kicked in and the mouth seemed to operate on auto as the brain ran on ahead and prepared the way. Seemed to down very well.
AT the end of the event the weather had set-in again and we had slow drive home, but though the traffic was heavy  at least we kept moving.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Winding up

The Gorse Fox was working from home. The plan for the day was firstly to finish the draft of the report he has been writing, and then to finish his preparation for tomorrow when he is giving a presentation at an event at Twickenham.

Everything went remarkably smoothly and the plan played out. It really was a most successful day.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pardon?

The Gorse Fox headed for London to meet with an Exec. He filled in the morning with more research and more writing. Very successful start. Then at lunchtime, with thirty minutes before the scheduled meeting said Exec pops in and says "I've double booked myself. Can we reschedule for tomorrow, in Coventry".

The Gorse Fox contemplated for about a nanosecond. "no" he said.

Flummoxed by someone who didn't back down, the Exec juggled his diary and GF got his meeting, albeit a little late.



Monday, July 09, 2012

Coming together

The research of last week is beginning to come together. After a torrid few hours catching up with expenses at the start of the day, the Gorse Fox started to construct his report. As ever, structure is everything, and once that emerges, the actual writing comes quickly. There is still a fair bit to do, but so far GF is happy.

All in all, a very successful day.

Tomorrow sees the last interviews during a trip to London.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Alone

With mother-in-law back in the wilds of Buckinghamshire, the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox are back on their own. A quiet day was the order of the day. Very little to report.

Shame to see Murray lose to Federer, but it was quite clear in the third set that his mind was not in a winning frame.


Saturday, July 07, 2012

Return

The Silver Vixen’s mother has been staying while she recuperates from a hip replacement. It is time to return her to the twee villages of Buckinghamshire in the wastelands north of the M4.

Will try to find an outboard motor to supplement Toyota’s engineering of the RAV4 in order to deal with the torrential rains that seem to be affecting other parts of the country.

Sneak Peek

Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen got a sneak peak at the development plans that surround Plan C (as revealed last week). The agent has managed to purloin some drawings and, with suitable caveats, has shared them. During this process some accidental photography may have caused images of the plans to be recorded on phone of the Gorse Fox (he cannot imagine how this might have occurred).

Outbreak of Common Sense

There is a company that manufactures a widget called a “Gripple”. The founder of the company explains about his success in today’s Daily Mail.  It is an interesting article and flies in the faces of modern business practices.

Perhaps one of the most telling quotes is:

And then there’s the Hugh Facey doctrine on accountancy: “If you’re running a cricket team, you send in a batsman to bat and a bowler to bowl. You don’t send in the bloody scorer. Accountants are great at keeping books. But don’t let them run the bloody business”

Better still:

Accountants, for example, are banned from all key company decisions – on the basis that they throttle innovation.

This is entirely consistent with the Gorse Fox view that most great companies start with great entrepreneurs or innovators and as the company progresses the entrepreneurs and innovators slowly get replaced with “professional managers” and accountants – and with that starts the inevitable decline to mediocrity or complete self-destruction.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Just a reminder

As Milliband and Balls continue to lecture on the economy

The ultimate defamation to our historical appreciation of gold occurred between 1999 and 2002 when Gordon Brown sold 395 tonnes of Britain’s gold, at the lowest price for 20 years.

Oh well, no harm done, eh?

An average price of $275.60 an ounce was achieved in the gold sales. Since that time gold’s price has increased six-fold. In contrast the values of the dollar, yen and euro have each dropped significantly thanks to inflation and poor monetary policies.

Doh!

(Quotes from therealasset.co.uk)

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Coasting

Today's agenda saw the Gorse Fox heading back along the coast to Starfleet near Portsmouth. He was scheduled to meet with a colleague for some more data gathering as part of his ongoing review.

Nothing too much to report. Everything went to plan and slowly the data is coming together.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

In the North

The Gorse Fox had to head North today. He had meetings with colleagues in Starfleet premises in London, and the further meeting with a client nearby.
Timing worked out well and GF was able to get an early train home.
The meetings were fruitful and the data gathering is coming along well. The issue GF faces is how to develop some credible hypotheses and write up a report that makes sense.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Interesting

The Gorse Fox has had an interesting day. First thing he managed to have a quick chat with Cousteau-cub. We are all getting pretty excited with her due home in a couple of weeks. Let's hope the weather improves for her trip.

Work started with a review of a bid which needs to be released in the next day or two. Then it was a quick trip along the coast to Starfleet to meet up with some colleagues to help with the cost review he is conducting at present. This proved to be enlightening but failed to reveal a silver bullet.

Zipping back home GF got on with the preparation of a presentation that he will be delivering late next week at an event at Twickenham. Not finished yet, but it is getting there.



Monday, July 02, 2012

Wet

Bright start deteriorated into wet afternoon- GF actually has the light on in his study. Crazy. If he wanted miserable weather he’d live up north!

Very successful day – reviewing and being reviewed.

Meetings and calls set up for most days in the next week or so. Lots of data gathering – then need some huge burst of analytical energy to turn that data into something useful.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Taking root

Plan C seems to have legs… sleeping on it overnight allowed the collective subconscious to consider many aspects of the choice and conclude it looked good.

GF returned to the marketing suite for further information and to take some photos of the site plan and model, to ensure that we were not missing something obvious. As usual – all depends on selling the current house, and seeing some more definitive plans of the houses to be built. We await developments.

The Final of the Euros was a super spectacle with the Spain team making Italy look ordinary. It was a master-class in football and surely one of the best footballing sides that the Gorse Fox has ever seen.