Tuesday, April 30, 2013

About town

Another day in town. As the Gorse Fox was at the station early, he took the earlier, slow train. It arrives in London at the same time as the fat train of yesterday, but stops more frequently during the first part of the journey. The difference was that it started at Bognor Regis and so the Gorse Fox was boarding at the first stop and thus the train was sparsely filled and the journey quite comfortable.

In the Starfleet office the Gorse Fox met up with his new team member and spent a couple of hours briefing him on the project in preparation for the afternoon's meeting with the client. It was nice to meet up with him again, it being a couple of years since we have worked together.

Afternoon was spent at the client's office, across in The City, getting a briefing on the client's view of the programme and the previous history thereof. There are more workshops tomorrow, but the Gorse Fox will rely on his side-kick to attend those - he has to write up his plan for technical governance of the programme over the next few years and provide several possible scenarios for the make-up and operation of the Design Authority (which the Gorse Fox will lead). It will mean another day London tomorrow.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Busy day

The Gorse Fox was up early and got his planned train up to Starfleet in London. Train was quite full compared to what he was used to, but at least he had a seat - and the journey was 10 minutes shorter.

At Starfleet the day began with some admin that had ben difficult to do from home with the 3G-only connection. From then on he was imbedded in calls and meetings for the rest of the day. The upshot of one such meeting was a great success in that the Gorse Fox has been authorised to bring another colleague on board to help with this significant conundrum. He starts tomorrow with a briefing from the Gorse Fox and then attending a meeting with the client.

Managed to get the 18:04 train - let's see if it runs to schedule. If it does, Gorse Fox should be home soon after 19:30.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Out and about

Plans were fluid, but a hearty brunch set the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen up for further adventures, staring with a drive to Barnham to get a train ticket for next week and to sort out the week's parking. The Gorse Fox also go a printout of the timetable for direct trains to and from London.

Then we headed across to Chichester. In need of a small kitchen table and a console table/wine rack we wandered round several purveyors of furniture to the masses, before ending up back at the Habitat implant in Homebase. We managed to order something that suited us, and will be delivered in a week or so.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

More cutting

It occurs to the Gorse Fox that it must be 12 or 13 years since he has last mowed a lawn. Yhis is not a pleasure he has missed... nor is it an experience with which he is thrilled to be re-acquainting himself.

Cuttings

Well that was a day. There was a trip to Homebase fro a lawn mower, washing line, and extension reel; there was a tour of BHS, there was a shopping spree in Sainsbury's, and there was an initial trip to the local dump.

That sorted the morning.

On our return to Fontwell, the Gorse Fox put the mower together and wandered back and forth until the lawns were tidy (if not up to Wembley's standard). The Silver Vixen was also busy rearranging, sorting, and unpacking bits and pieces in the garage and the garden.

The landlady and landlord dropped by to check on the new curtains and to introduce themselves - they seemed absolutely charming and when we pointed out a problem with the rear door to the garage it was noted and we have subsequently heard that a chap will be coming round to assess an then fix the problem.

Finally we headed round to the development where we hope to buy a property. We had to give them our new address and it was worth showing our continued interest.

Now a curry is called for.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Progress

Well it has been a good day on the house front.

By eight o'clock this morning John Lewis were knocking on the door ready to fit the curtain tracks and hang the curtains throughout the house. It took until early afternoon, but they did a great job and we now have curtains or blinds at all the windows.

By late morning the chap came to look at the aerial/satellite feeds. After some diagnosis and a some discussion we came up with a plan and he came up up with a quote. Several hours later, we had TV signals and satellite signals everywhere we wanted and once more we had access to TV for the first time since the beginning of the week.

Doh!

Wiring up the computer in the new house, the Gorse Fox decided to adapt the network design used in Foxearth and prepare for the installation of the phone lines. As Gorse Fox has pressed the dining room into use as his study, there is no phone point. This, in theory, is not a major problem. The ADSL router and WiFi hub will be sited elsewhere in the house and the signal carried over the power-line.

The theory was fine except for one thing. the Network Attached Storage wouldn't show up in the configuration. The Gorse Fox went through a number of diagnostic processes, but it just would not appear in the configuration. He returned to first principles. (Why does he not try first principles first? Surely the clue is in the name?). He started to trace the wires and cables... et voila, the power socket was not properly pressed home. Face/palm slap, and 10 seconds later everything was working fine.

Ssssh

The Gorse Fox woke early and decided to sneak out of be and get the day under way. He should have learnt by no that the the amount of noise he makes in the morning is inversely proportional to how quiet he is trying to be. Every door squeaks just that bit louder, he get a fit of sneezing or coughing, and today all of the loose change fell out of his pocket into the bath. He probably wouldn't have made any more noise if he'd got out of bed signing an aria from one of the great operas.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Phones

Today has been about phones. the first call came in at 08:30 and they just followed, one after another until late morning. The Gorse Fox got an hour or so to do some actual work before the 14:00 teleconference kicked in and that was followed by another teleconference which, in turn, was followed by a call to BT to try and sort out the phone lines. Even that call - with no appreciable wait - took 40 minutes.

Meanwhile the Silver Vixen had popped back to the old house to pick up mail, popped into the Agent's to proffer goodies and champagne as a "thank you" and dropped off a few letters that the Gorse Fox can't email because the broadband is not set up and they were to big to email over 3G.

Finally, the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen zipped along to the restaurant at Fontwell Park Racecourse (The Old Stables) to enjoy some lamb shank (with hardly a trace of horse meat) and a rich sweet.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In vino veritable

Methinks a glass of wine is called for.

Travelling

The Gorse Fox had to travel for the first time from the new house. Seemed like a simple idea, but found that there was no parking available near the station. In the end he found a side road some three quarters of a mile from where he wanted to be. Good job he had allowed plenty of time.

Once in London the Gorse Fox went to Starfleet for a couple of hours, then headed up to the Angel to meet with the client's chief designer. We had a really interesting and informative meeting, but it is clear that the task ahead is somewhat daunting!

Meanwhile back in Fontwell, Betty and Barney Rubble were meeting up with the Silver Vixen to help with some more unpacking and some gardening.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Scuppered

With no satellite signal and only a single LNB we cannot yet get Sky, nor can we get Freesat (though it did work for several hours yesterday before giving up the ghost. The Gorse Fox has also tried Freeview but that seems to have given up also. In a fit of pique the Gorse Fox tried setting up the AppleTV but even that seems to demand an internet connection (personal WiFi doesn't seem good enough).

Looks like we may have a few days where the tv remains a dark and mysterious box nestling in the corner of the room.

GGG

With no broadband till Mid-may the Gorse Fox is relying on 3G. This, however, is also flakey and his work laptop is dependant on a MiFi device perched on the upstairs back window ledge.

Not very satisfactory

Monday, April 22, 2013

Whew

It was quite a day. The removal chaps arrived at 08:00 and quickly got stuck in. They worked non-stop and by 13:00 the house and gardens were packed into two huge vans. The Silver Vixen and Urban-cub cleaned and polished as each room was cleared.

We headed to the new house and the Gorse Fox started to direct the boxes and furniture to the correct rooms. As we progressed it became clear that there was more to down-sizing than throwing out some wardrobes. Bit by bit the first few thousand boxes got emptied and it was possible to start to see carpet.

BT made contact. It seems that it will be mid-May before we have a phone line or broadband. For now the Gorse Fox will have to make the most of 3G (which seems very poor at the moment).

Moving Day

Up early - today is the big day; the removals chaps are due in about an hour and we are doing the last minute de-installations of TVs, computers, and so forth... and the Silver Vixen is getting ready for a cleaning blitz as the rooms are cleared.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sofa So Good

After a visit from the buyers the Silver Vixen went shopping with Urban-cub, taking the spoils to the new house whilst GF continues pottering, changing addresses, and demolishing a huge sofa that had to go. Fortunately his sabre saw had not been packed, but even with this is it took over an hour to get down to a size that it could be taken to the tip - in two loads.

Moving on to the new house, GF and the Silver Vixen went through the inventory to check nothing had been missed. Photos were taken and the paperwork will be updated accordingly.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sorting out

The day started with a trip to Chichester to sign the rental forms and collect the keys for the new property. surprisingly, given the last week, all went smoothly and we were soon heading back. We had a new property to view at midday - but not before a good coffee at the local garden centre.

The viewing was interesting - it was a lovely property, but much too small for our needs. We said our thanks and headed home. Next on the agenda was a trip to the tip with the old freezer and an old radiator - but that was soon sorted - thanks to Pistol Pete and his estate car.

Finally we got across to the new house and had a chance to look around and put up some blinds. We also opened some vents and turned the heating on at a very low setting to help air the place. Tomorrow will need another trip to cross-check the agent's inventory.

Looking positive.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Hallelujah

The solicitor and client at the start of the chain finally dragged themselves off the golf course and sorted out a missing signature. Exchange of contracts took place and we are set. We meet with the rental agents in the morning, and the removals company are re-scheduled for Monday.

Light in Tunnel

Have just heard that the funds have transferred. There is light at the end of the tunnel.  It may not be getting brighter at this point because the person at the start of the chain hasn't actually signed the contract... but solicitor is chasing that.

Decided that the risk is now worth taking - have re-instructed the movers for Monday and will collect keys of new property tomorrow.

Taking (but not holding) deep breaths.

Excuses

Well the Gorse Fox has heard some excuses.

The Solicitor informs us that the guy at the start of the chain was ready for the exchange but hadn't realised that it meant the transfer of funds... and so had not set that up. We are assured it will happen today. The Gorse Fox is not holding his breath as he sits among a metropolis of boxes into which everything is packed.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nada

Nothing by the end of the day - looks like we are staying put tomorrow

Waiting

House is now packed away into boxes. The keyboard echoes in the emptiness of the study... but still the contract exchange has not been confirmed. Tomorrow's move is looking iffy, to say the least. Fortunately the removals firm seem to be quite flexible and we have a "plan b" and "plan c"

Packing

The house is being packed up around us, but we still await confirmation that exchange has taken place and that we can therefore commit to the new place and allow the removals to take place tomorrow. If not, then we may have to live out of boxes for a few days and reschedule for Monday or Wednesday.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Still holding

Things are moving at a snail's pace. There was, it appears, a problem with the intelligence of the Reference Operative. It appears that the text "the Gorse Fox is and has been a full time employee of Starfleet since September 1984" does not convey that this is a permanent position. The Gorse Fox pointed out that it was a period of time probably greater than the Operative's lifespan (which she conceded). It must say that the employment is permanent - the Gorse Fox was tempted to point out the folly of such a statement, given that he would one day retire, but decided to leave well alone.

The problem got sorted thanks to the good graces of the Gorse Fox's manager.

Exchange did not happen though. Apparently the transfer of funds further down the chain failed to materialise. One assumes it will happen overnight.

Some great photos of Cousteau-cub's wedding turned up during the day. The Gorse Fox needs to go through them again, but it did look like a wonderful day.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Holding one's breath

Despite the Gorse Fox's worse fears, Starfleet came through with the reference needed. Indeed, the Gorse Fox had implemented Plan B so in the end they got two references. Meanwhile back home the Silver Vixen had heard from the agent and it looks set for a contract exchange tomorrow. One may hardly dare hope....

But being the optimists that we are, the removal company are turning up tomorrow to start on the packing.

Meanwhile back at Starfleet the Gorse Fox has been preparing material for a workshop tomorrow and sitting on interminable teleconferences that wiped out the whole morning. There are times when being the chief designer, for such a huge undertaking as this, can be a positive pain in the ear. One interesting nuance to this opportunity, however, is the client's hands-off attitude to design; the Gorse Fox may end up being the ultimate authority for what gets designed and installed as nobody else seems willing to step up to the mark. This could be an interesting story for the memoires.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Progress

It can be a problem when work interrupts a train of thought or plan of action. So it was today. The Gorse Fox had to start the day at the Starfleet office in Edinburgh where he would spend much of the morning in a workshop.

By lunchtime he had not received any interrupts from the real world so he did the interrupting by phone the letting agency to determine what else they may need. They claimed they had sent some forms for the Gorse Fox to have completed but it was evident they had not arrived. after a little cajoling and pushing the agents re-sent the forms and the Gorse Fox started to complete them. This proved fairly trouble-free until it came time to submit them. It didn't like the format of Starfleet email addresses, claiming they were invalid. Eventually when the Gorse Fox had found a way round that he tried to submit but nothing appeared to happen. Frantic phone calls with the agent revealed that the reason was that the Gorse Fox had not clicked a particular button. checking the form, the Gorse Fox observed that the button suggested was not actually on the form. Bizarre... but sorted.

By the end of the day everything seemed to be on schedule... though Starfleet say it takes 4-7 working days to turn round a reference. Not much the Gorse Fox can do about that today but he will start to exert pressure tomorrow.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Preparation

On the off chance that everything starts to go to plan, we had a bit of a last minute clear out, the Gorse Fox ordered some temporary window blinds, arranged for the collection and destruction of some confidential waste and took a car load to the local tip.

Emails were written to solicitors, and agents. Details were sent to letting agents and links for references included. Its up to everyone else now - Gorse Fox has passed on every morsel of information he can think of.

The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox went into Worthing for a bite to eat at Liming (the Mexican Restaurant) then headed back so the Gorse Fox could collect his stuff for this week's trip to Edinburgh. After a very bumpy flight he is now sitting in his hotel room preparing for the week's work.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Positive vibes

The positive vibes and wishes of friends, readers, and family are obviously paying off. The plan was to view three potential houses, but ended up as four. It was clear, however, soon after we entered the first house that we had a solid contender. The Agent was instructed to call her office and get things under way and the rest of the day was really spent confirming to ourselves that the other options were not really viable and fielding telephone calls from the letting agent asking for various details.

Now we are up against time - can we turn round the references and forms in time? (and more to the point, will the solicitors be in a position to exchange contracts - because the final commitments can't be made until that happens).

The stress of the last few days has morphed to a gentle but mounting excitement. It looks as if we may soon be living in Fontwell... but based on recent experience, the Gorse Fox is not counting any chickens.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Limbo

Well we seem to be in limbo. The owner of the house that we had hoped to rent has concluded dealings with the other party and she is set to move in. The GF is furious about the way in which the agent has behaved, but respects the owner who had taken the position that he was negotiating with the other party first and because we didn't commit (because the agent didn't keep us informed, and the contracts had not been exchanged) he opted for her. His decision was honest.

But we are in limbo.

The agent took us to see another property - it was in the local equivalent of Millionaires' Row. Fabulous location, but the house was barely habitable. The Gorse Fox felt embarrassed that the agent thought we might consider it. The place needed raising to the ground and rebuilding - not a lick of paint.

The online search continued. Several properties have been shortlisted and tomorrow we will rattle round the county viewing candidates.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nothing is ever clear cut

It seems that the Gorse Fox might have been hasty in his reports of yesterday. The Silver Vixen today visited the agent and despite yesterday's promises it seems thta everything is again up in the air.

The Gorse Fox has tried to even the playing field by offering to pay rental starting from tomorrow even though not moving in for another week. It is all in the hands of the owner now. Meanwhile the agents have come up with a plan "b" which we will probably look at tomorrow... but the Gorse Fox holds out little hope that it will suit.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Watching the world go by

The Gorse Fox is sitting in Edinburgh Airport watching the world go by as he waits for his flight home. He wishes they would shut off the ambient music.

What a save

The Silver Vixen was checking properties on line. She noticed the that the home we were planning to rent had disappeared. Panic.

She phoned the agent - they had let it to someone else despite us making it clear that they should contact bus if anyone else showed interest. The Silver Vixen got stuck in and the balloon went up (metaphorically). Several hours and many phone calls later she had it sorted. We move - all things being equal - next Friday. No panic!

Thank goodness the Silver Vixen was on the ball and spotted the problem.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Easing

The Gorse Fox ha a dreadful night. The pain from his foot woke him every time he moved. By five o'clock he was dying to get up and about.

And early breakfast was enjoyed before grabbing a taxi down to the client's site. As it was only seven thirty, the place was deserted so the Gorse Fox was able to get on with some work and setting up the day. The think about this foot problem is that it is entirely painless if there is no weight on it and the Gorse Fox is sitting still. It only hurts when trying to move about.

As the day progressed the acute pain began to disappear and now the Gorse Fox can get about a little more easily. The foot is still stiff, but at least it is not so painful. This, by the way, dictated the Gorse Fox's evening meal. He was clearly not going to chance walking far so he took his place in the hotel restaurant for an early meal. Now back in the hotel he plans a quiet evening in front of the TV and an early night.

Monday, April 08, 2013

RIP Margaret Thatcher

The greatest Prime Minister of the post-war period has died. The vitriol from the pathetic left has begun, but Gorse Fox will not accept their indoctrination. She took hold of the country as it was plunging towards bankruptcy and she put us back on the right track.

She didn't destroy the mines - the Miners' Union destroyed the mines - she just stood up to them.
She didn't destroy the steel industry - it was uneconomic and doomed to fail - she faced reality.
She didn't start the Falklands conflict - but she did stand up to the Argentine aggression and protected our citizens.
She didn't try to buy votes with benefits - she allowed people to buy their own council homes.

The list of her achievements would go on for pages.

The toxic left can say what they want - but history will remember her as the greatest Prime Minister of the last 60 years.

Not playing

The Gorse Fox needs to let Avb know that he will not be available for the game against FC Basel on Thursday. He went to bed with a slightly stiff foot... and woke up unable to put any weight on it. He spent most of the day crawling and hobbling around the house but had to face up to a drive then flight to Edinburgh. This has been a nightmare of discomfort - and certainly his usual cat-like elegance as he walked was far from evident.

Yep, Spurs will have to do without him this week.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Welfare

Initially the Welfare or Benefits system was designed as a safety net to help those in greatest need.

In recent years Benefits have been created to buy the votes of those who want to be looked after.

As a wise man once said (and GF would credit him if he knew his name):


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

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Rebate

The Gorse Fox was checking some statements and became concerned that he was paying too much for his Sky subscription. He started to check online when a chat window popped up from Sky centre and an operative asked if help was required. Leaping on the opportunity, GF explained his query and when all was checked, it became clear that they had not reduced the subscription after GF changed his package 18 months ago!

Large rebate expected in next 48 hours.

Result.

Hate, Envy and Despair

GF has been focused on work and moving house, making little comment on current politics for a while now. However, reading the papers, watching the BBC, and following Twitter he can't help but notice (and this is a wild generalisation) that the more left-wing / socialist a person is, the more they seem to:

  • be filled with hate, vitriol, and invective
  • be jealous of what others have
  • believe they have a right to have what others have worked hard to achieve
  • sow a message of despair through distortion of the facts
  • prefer catchy slogans to demonstrable facts or science


Now excuse me, but

  • the Gorse Fox worked hard at school to get a good education
  • got a job, starting at the bottom as a data-correction clerk
  • has worked hard for 42 years (so far) - often exceeding 70, 80, or even 90 hours per week
  • is happy that some of his taxes help those who are in need through infirmity or injury, and doesn't really mind too much that they support workers and their families where their wages do not match their basic requirements


This doesn't mean that some socialist can continually demand more and complain when the Government puts a cap on the benefits INCREASE scheduled for future years... The Gorse Fox's employer - like most in the private sector is quick enough to cap or even cancel salary increases if the financial climate is not right. Why then should this not apply to management of the Government purse.

The Gorse Fox can't help but think that socialism and extreme left-wing politics are a cancer at the heart of the country. It was discredited and dismantled in the Soviet east - but like many cancers seems to have survived and metathesized here.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Pivot

Well after a fair bit of faffing about, the Gorse Fox managed to successfully install the software that enables him to review the database of information the team has gathered about the client's existing systems. Long way to go before it is complete - but at least GF can now review the data.

Working with extracts from the database GF managed to develop a number of pivot tables that showed several different analyses and illustrated how complex this work is going to be.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Summer Schedules

Damn and Blast!

EasyJet have switched to their summer schedule. This has added several hours to the GFs week as his flight to Edinburgh arrives later, and his flight home isn't scheduled to land until 21:30.... and then to top off the "customer experience" they bus us back to the terminal - adding another fifteen minutes or so to the journey. It was just after 22:30 before GF arrived home.

That's got that off the chest (until next week)

It had been a glorious day in Edinburgh (though cold with snow showers down here in Sussex). AT lunchtime GF was able to stroll across St Andrew's Square in shirtsleeves - as long as he stayed away from the shaded areas (which were still very cold).

Documents are almost ready - just awaiting the insertion of some tables, once the team have finished rebuilding the source database! Pressure is slightly relieved by the fact that we will not hand over the documents until the client has signed the contract. It seems that some of the large organisation believe that Starfleet operate as a charity and there is no real necessity to pay.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Long day

It was a relatively long day. An early start saw the sun lighting up Edinburgh in a way that has been sorely lacking for a number of weeks. Today was glorious - if chilly. A quick breakfast prepared Gorse Fox for a stroll up past the Castle and down to Princes Street en route for Starfleet's offices.

A number of internal meetings and discussions filled the morning before we headed down to the client's site for a meeting with their project managers. We seemed to come to a remarkably quick consensus on what was needed in the deliverables scheduled for this week... and headed back up the hill to Starfleet for the rest of the day.

Gorse Fox has just got back from supper at Nanyang's - the local Malaysian restaurant that he likes so much. The plan for the rest of the evening is to catch up on last week's documentary on Pompeii. BBC iPlayer can be a boon to the travelling man!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Friends in the north

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen went to the solicitor. Contract is now signed and just needs to be exchanged for things to move forward. As you would expect we are well on top of things, but can really do nothing further without some solid dates.

At the end of the afternoon the Gorse Fox headed for Gatwick which was uncommonly busy this evening. Undaunted, he made his way through the throng to a plane destined for the northern reaches of the Union and another few days in Edinburgh.

Old Boiler

The Gorse Fox has had the old boiler serviced. (He should, perhaps, clarify or disambiguate - this is a reference to the gas fired central heating boiler). The heating engineer gave the old beast a good going over and it fired up and ready for another year of service.

He was obviously not fully aware of the latest Health and Safety concerns, however. Borrowing a step ladder to check the header tank - he failed to harness himself or request that the Gorse Fox held the ladder. Then reaching the top step he balanced on the ladder's handrail in order to see what he needed. GF could feel a lawsuit in the making (should he fall) so twice pointed out the error of his ways and offered a bigger ladder. These offers were declined and fortunately gravity decided today was not the day to play tricks.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Helmets on

The Silver Vixen called to the Gorse Fox. A number of vans had collected in the road outside the house. Checking from the upstairs window it was clear they were from the gas company. Now, there is only one thing more disconcerting than seeing the gas company at the bottom of the drive - and that is seeing the bomb squad.

The Gorse Fox went to check with the foreman - it appears that there is slight build up of gas in a pipeline outside a neighbouring house.