Thursday, February 28, 2013

Being sorted

The nice Mr Amazon delivered a new desktop router. As GF couldn't seem to coax the printer into communicating wirelessly, he decided to connect it to his LAN. This has proved partially successful - at least GF can now print - though has not yet managed to get the scanner to behave.

It was an interesting day from a work perspective. The team had managed to meet their deadlines and everything was on schedule. The client has dropped off radar for paternity leave, but that won't stop our progress. Having got everything under way and under control, it seems that GF is being moved on again and expects (in a couple of weeks time) to be picking up another project with the same client. GF wishes he could get a little stability but evidently his ability to shape new projects, and his extensive experience in dealing with all types of computer are too valuable when there are so many projects to launch.

Travel booked for another trip to Edinburgh next week.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Just Checking

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed out to, once more, hunt down the location of some rental properties. First looks seem ok, but may be a little close to a railway line. We then headed on to the development where we hope to (eventually) purchase our house. The idea was to give the sales office an update and to see if they had any news for us. Whilst there it was suggested we revisit the house that originally got us interested in the development. Could it work for us?

We went through the door and were again blown away by the living room and the kitchen, diner, family room. Again, however, the lack of a utility room or study would have made things intolerable. Going upstairs the master bedroom was perfect, the bathrooms were perfect, but the other rooms were seriously short of storage space. Doesn't matter how the cookie is cut, it just would not work.

Truism

There is a truism in computer circles that the device most likely to cause problems is the printer - even after all these years. Being away at the weekend, Gorse Fox switched off and powered down his printer and his computer. The computer is back up and working, but the printer will not successfully serve its prime directive. This has wasted several hours today as GF wanted to use it.

He has now given it a good talking to, and told it to sit in the corner and think about what it it wants to do with its life. He will give it until the weekend to pull itself together, then retry with a full re-install. If it fails to cooperate, then it will be put down.

Last day

This is the last day of the Gorse Fox's vacation. Back to work tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pottering

Having hosted the surveyor and answered a few of his more complex questions, the rest of the day was pretty quiet. We did pop out at one point to look at some houses that were available for rent - as we will probably have to rent a place until the new house is available. We were not so much interested in those particular houses - more the area. We were pleasantly surprised and will have to bear this in mind as things progress.

Survey

The chap is coming along to conduct the house survey for the buyers, today.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Return

We were greeted by the sun bursting out over the early morning clouds. The River Tamar reflecting the brightness up to our room.

We started to pack as check-out was due mid-morning, but not before a hearty breakfast. Finally ready we left our comments in the visitors' book and loaded the car. Pentillie Castle had been a great find, and the Gorse Fox has no doubt that we will return. We set off just before ten, and after a trouble free journey arrived home just before two.

Jasper the cat was beside himself with excitement when we marched through the door and stayed within a few inches of the Silver Vixen for the rest of the day. He had obviously missed her ministrations.

Urban-cub and Pistol Pete came round after work - as GF hadn't seen them on his birthday, this was arranged to make up for it. The local Chinese take-away restaurant was delighted as we loaded the car with a choice of dishes and had a quiet evening enjoying the food and chatting.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Heskyns Mill

Hidden away almost beneath the A38 near Tideford is Heskyns Mill. A beautiful old corn mill converted tastefully into a very, very nice restaurant. We booked, though clearly this was not necessary early on a cold February Sunday evening. We were greeted by a polite and attentive chap who offered us various menus that we could select from and enjoy a quiet drink by the bar before heading upstairs for our table.
Upstairs, machinery formed an interesting backdrop to the tables.

The food was what we were here for. The Silver Vixen enjoyed a pork fillet and GF selected a trio of venison (steak, faggotl, and sausage). 

There is no beating about the bush. The food was excellent. Absolutely lovely meal, well worth the effort to find the Mill.

Looe

Back across the Torpoint Ferry we made our way to Looe, a spot we have visited many many times in the past, a spot that holds a great deal of nostalgia for us.







Plymouth Hoe

Leaving Rame Head we took the Torpoint Ferry and parked on Plymouth Hoe. Lovely spot for a Sunday stroll to a cafe where a coffee seemed to fit the bill nicely before wandering on and watching the world go by.





Rame Head

After a hearty breakfast the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen headed out for another day of touring. Rame Head was the first destination made somewhat inaccessible by the propensity of the locals to build roads only half the width of those used in the rest of the country. This was not made easier by the "intelligence" of the VW satnav which seems to believe that any connection between two geographical points is suitable for car.

Rame Head was being patrolled by Dartmoor ponies and a few hardy walkers who eschewed the biting wind.



Saturday, February 23, 2013

Crooked Inn


This was an unexpected find. Tucked just off the A38 The Crooked Inn is reached along a long private drive. Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen had booked and were greeted as soon as we arrived, and told where our table could be found. We were shown the specials board and given the standard menus and wandered off to our table. Once you have selected you return to the bar to order.

We both selected from the specials board, the Silver Vixen having local lamb, the Gorse Fox chose some pork fillet in calvados. We had to wait a little while, but nothing that was unreasonable given the quality of the food we were served. Both dishes were quite remarkable. Indeed I do not think I have ever tasted such a tender and succulent piece of pork. These were no Pre-prepared meals that were reheated on demand, these were cooked to order.

Food was outstanding.

(With reference to the recent scandals regarding rogue meat - the Gorse Fox noticed they took this seriously with a prominent sign round the back telling people to keep the gate closed to stop the horses getting in).

Salcombe

Burgh Island was charming, but with the tide coming in we already had to wade across one stream. Back at the car we headed onwards to Salcombe, a place we had both wanted to visit. Was quite surprised how similar it was to Fowey.






South Hams

After our walk we headed across the river and back into Devon. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen then dropped down into the South Hams. We stopped off at Bigbury and strolled across the causeway to Burgh Island. Once on the Island we had coffee and a baguette at The Pilchard Inn before heading back before the causeway flooded as the tide came in.

Around and about

Starting the day with a walk around the grounds of Pentillie Castle was very pleasant even though the wind was bitterly cold

Good start

After a sound night's sleep a blast from the shower and a hearty breakfast the phone rang. It was the Urban cub asking Gorse Fox to call the Estate Agent. Cell towers buzzing, Gorse Fox called. The viewing yesterday went well and the couple have reinstated their offer (dropped a couple of weeks back because of a break in the chain). A few minutes checking on the conditions and Gorse Fox accepted. Looks like the house is now sold (or at least in progress).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Spit and sawdust

Well that was different.

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen were told of a nearby pub that did great, fresh seafood. We were warned that t was a bit spit and sawdust. Let's just say that that as we walked in we were acutely aware that we were unlikely to come across a Jocasta or Tarquin at one of the tables. The Rod and Line in Tideford was a archetypal village pub. Full of locals and reeking of a popular village pub atmosphere from another century.

We both selected some haddock and were not disappointed. It was excellent... Though, perhaps, not what Gorse Fox had in mind for his birthday dinner. He even accepted mushy peas so as not to start a riot among the denizens of this strange little backwater.

Inexorable Passage of Time

Somehow these birthdays seem to come around more frequently nowadays. The Gorse Fox was, however, surprised to find that the omniscient Google had laid on a special search page this morning.

GF allowed the mouse to hover over the image to see what it was about... but the icon opened up a text message to wish the Gorse Fox a Happy Birthday.

Spooky... Now if we could just get Google to provide fibre broadband to the study here, that would round off the birthday nicely.

As it is, we are busy packing for our few days away.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

That's better

What a nice day. Just fiddling about, listening to an audio book as the Gorse Fox went about his business. iPad, iPhone and iPods updated, new audiobooks downloaded for the Silver Vixen and car filled up with diesel ready for tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the car wash was closed so the Gorse Fox resorted to a bucket and sponge and braved the cold wind. It's always nice to drive a nice clean car.

Spurs took their time to bring a smile to the face, but made it in the end.

And relax...

Gorse Fox has a few days vacation... perfect.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Not a good start

The Gorse Fox was scheduled to be in London. A train was scheduled to stop at Angmering at 07:38 - all looked well. Until 07:38 that is. Then the announcement informed the passengers, as they turned to icicles on the platform, that there was a fault on the train and it would be delayed.

Ten minutes later there was a further announcement; the train had been cancelled. Gorse Fox immediately texted his client and colleagues that he would be delayed and stood in the cold for a further thirty-five minutes until the next train arrived. He settled in for the journey and eventually arrive at his client's site some 30 minutes late (but still 20 minutes earlier than one of the client's colleagues who was meant to be with us).

Gathering his day-pass the Gorse Fox settled in to the conference room, then slid out to grab a cup of tea. His day pass dropped and bounced off his foot straight under a filing cabinet. It was evident that this could turn out to be a bad day. Scuttling back to the conference, tea in hand, he decided to stay put, taking no further chances for the day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Good day

The prep yesterday was helpful in setting out the stall for today's workshop. After strolling across the bridge and passing all of the fashionistas queuing outside the Tate Modern, Gorse Fox met up with his team and started debating, discussing, and probing. It was draining but fruitful in that we managed to complete the planned tasks for the day.

Tomorrow we reconvene and try to complete the remaining topics.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Prep

The Gorse Fox has a couple of days of workshops coming up. Today was an opportunity to do some more research and preparation. It was also an opportunity to debate or discuss semantics as the Gorse Fox and a colleague have divergent views on the measurement of availability and the measurement of resilience. Gorse Fox contends that there is a difference, his colleague sees them as the same.

Early evening we had another house viewing by the couple who had to drop out a couple of weeks ago. They now have another buyer for their house so were eager to take another look here and see if they could negotiate the price down.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bit between teeth

The Gorse Fox is fed up with his broadband. As half the world seems to get faster and faster service, the Gorse Fox's service seems to have degraded to the point that it rarely can download at 2Mbps. Discussion with BT was interesting as the call centre clerk tried to explain the technology to GF. GF put up with it for a while, then decided he would show his hand regarding knowledge of the underlying technology (he was once offered a job designing and writing the software for digital exchanges) and his ability to identify when he is being snowed. In panic GF was referred on to another group (who aren't on duty until tomorrow).

The private nature of this Estate probably precludes any fibre connections to the house, but there should at least be fibre from the exchange to the distribution cabinet. But no, we struggle with 1.7Mbps as Korea delivers 200Mbps. Pathetic.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wasted

The Silver Vixen has been out with her coven. The Gorse Fox was left to his own devices. In this case, those devices were the laptop and the broadband modem. Starfleet have deigned to allow us at least 40 hours of education this year - what they haven't done is reduce the number of billable hours that they want us to work. The Gorse Fox has, therefore, spent most of the day catching up on mandatory education - riveting stuff (if you are brain dead).

With a birthday coming up and a few days off looming, GF also spent time trying to select a suitable short break. He considered Jersey, looked at Madeira, but after consultation with the Silver Vixen has chosen a country pile on the Devon/Cornwall border. Now it is a matter of hoping that the weather is clement!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ahhh Home

The Gorse Fox loves having the opportunity to work from home - aiming to do this every week, and being pretty successful, all things considered.

Starting with the admin of allocating annual bonuses (bribes are still welcome, team!), the Gorse Fox then progressed on to defining the need for and function of a Design Authority in his new Programme and specifying its terms of reference. These have been sent out for review and comment. It will be interesting to see the response (given the history of such a function in previous programmes with the same client).

Then it was a briefing for Dr Bognor, who is taking over as our exec on this programme. (Made sure he was on board with a number of ideas and suggestions).

Good day really.

Off to meet with GF's little sister and B-i-L for dinner tonight.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Breakthrough

The sun has broken through in Edinburgh. Locals are shielding their eyes and pointing excitedly at the sky. Some are hugging their loved ones, and sobbing, believing the Apocalypse is drawing near. Public service announcements are being made on the radio and TV trying to quell the panic and explain what the bright light is.

Meanwhile, the Gorse Fox has had a good day in the office. It has predominantly been research again today, but some solid ideas are beginning to form. As an aside it looks like the Gorse Fox may actually be in line for a wider role than was originally expected.

Looking forward to getting home!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Working

It has been a good day. The Gorse Fox has managef to gain access to th internet at the client's office. This is a major breakthtough in itself.

Meetings seemed to go well and news tells us that Dr Bognor is sbout to join the hierarchy. That one assumes means we ca  expect the pressure to be cranked up.

Tried a local Malaysian restaurant after work. Superb.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Up here

Down there the Gorse Fox spent an interesting and busy morning with his client. Then he rushed to Starfleet for a conference call. After a quick catch up he headed for the train and the south coast.

Bags packed and supper wolfed down, Gorse Fox headed off to the airport and now finds himself ensconced in a new hotel. (Or at least new to him).

Early start

Some complete twit of colleague decided to arrange an early meeting in London - GF is less than amused. If it had been an internal meeting he probably would have declined the invitation, but as it includes his new client, he does not really have that opportunity.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Passing

Last ever episode of Lewis tonight. Great shame, one of the best TV dramas. The intellectual content and gentle humour will be sorely missed.

Flux

The Gorse Fox's plans for the week are already in a state of flux. His initial view of the week included several trips to London mixed with work from home. This has been changed and Edinburgh has re-entered the mix. So he is down to one London trip (tomorrow) and then a couple of days in Edinburgh.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Visitors

We had visitors. Betty and Barney Rubble came down to see us for the first time since their daughter's house was trashed by teenagers. Fortunately the insurance company have stepped up, but it still took three months to make the house habitable again, and it is only this week that their daughter and her son move back. Even the remediation had its problems when the painters evidently failed to cover the new carpets before painting and knocked over a pot of paint. This would be bade enough, but they tried to clean it us with white spirit, and then hide it!

We had lunch at the Swallow's Return - which was surprisingly busy.  Service was polite and pretty good despite the number of diners.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Stuff

It was time for a hair cut. Angus found a slot in his appointment book and the Gorse Fox duly turned up and teased him about the current situation that Aston Villa find themselves in. This might not have been a smart move as he was wielding scissors and a trimmer. GF is now worried he may have something rude carved into the back of his head.

The advantage of a living in a bungalow is that cleaning the windows is a fairly simple process. Despite a gently rain, GF made his way round the house trying to free the windows of their winter detritus and salt deposits. No doubt, now that they are clean we will have another storm to muck them up again.

Managed to catch the second half of the Spurs game against Newcastle - another fine win; and whilst everyone focusses on Gareth Bale, the Gorse Fox thought that the industry and work rate put in by Aaron Lennon made him the man of the match.

Great win for Southampton too. That'll please Pistol Pete.

Respect

Reading a cousin's facebook entry, the Gorse Fox observed this quote:

“IN losing respect for their parents, a good many young people seem to have lost respect for themselves. Indeed, they seem unable to respect anything at all.”
The Lady. Modern Family Life. 5th August 1926
How true, and how interesting that this was seen as an issue 87 years ago. They would be havoing attacks of the vapours now!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Progress

It has been a good day and despite a number of planned phone calls and one or two unplanned calls, the Gorse Fox has managed to get a lot of work done.

Gorse Fox notes that Mr Cameron seems to have a good day, too. He seems to have agreed a reduction in the EU budget. The only concern now is the threat from the members of the EU Parliament to force a secret ballot on ratification. (That way they cannot be held accountable, individually, if they scupper the deal). Given that their accounts have be qualified for all but one of the last 20 years - and last year there was question over 89 Billion Euros - you have to conclude that this is a deeply flawed and probably corrupt organisation.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Perturbation

It may be a sign, or maybe a harbinger(*).

There is definitely a perturbation in the fabric of the universe. It has only been known once before, but it occurred again today. The first time was in 1987 and a hurricane had devastated southern England. The Gorse Fox was trapped in his village and unable to get to a scheduled customer meeting.

Now, for the second time in his career, the Gorse Fox was late for a customer meeting. This has shaken him up. Punctuality is important to the Gorse Fox. It shows respect and attention and is a basic tenet of good manners. Today's event was worrying - could we be approaching the end of times? Are the prophecies of Revelations beginning? Hopefully, no. Hopefully it was just the fact that a person was taken ill on a train in front of ours and we were stuck outside the station for 45 minutes whilst paramedics handled the situation,

But don't take any chances.

(*) Harbingers can be so hard to come by these days. They are obviously nearing extinction and tend to carry an air of doom.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Preparation

The day has been spent reading and analysing documents for the latest project, and then starting to extract the key points and create a framework for a new piece of research. It has been a really good and interesting day and the Gorse Fox is ready to go back to town tomorrow to discuss this with the client.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Seat of Power

The Gorse Fox was up early. Today he had to make his way to the Thames-side seat of power for a meeting with the client and a discussion as to how we best start to pick the new project apart and make a start. What a pleasant change it makes to meet with some people that really know their subject in deep detail and can discuss and justify their views.

Lots of work to get done before next meeting on Thursday.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Self study

At the beginning of each new year Starfleet expects everyone of its employees to re-certify  in a number of areas. Today was GF's opportunity to take the online class and tests to ensure he is covered for the coming year.

Another course is downloading as this blog entry gets typed, but GF suspects that will take a while to complete.

Cleared

Head seems to have cleared sufficiently that the Gorse Fox is at least coherent today. Painful cough and headache lingers - glad that there's no Edinburgh trip today.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Vegetated

The Gorse Fox has vegetated in front of the TV most of the day, feeling sorry for himself.

At least Spurs won to cheer him up.

Cold

The Gorse Fox has developed a cold and cough over the last 24 hours. This is not a source of amusement, not was it conducive to a good night's sleep.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Coffee

Another house viewing scheduled this morning. Will be heading out for a quiet coffee and leaving it to the Agents.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Oh Well!

That went well then.

The buying chain beyond our putative purchasers collapsed. They're so fed up they have backed out. What a good job we didn't cancel any of the other viewing that are scheduled.