Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gentle Hum

The air was filled with the gentle hum of the lawn mower as the Gorse Fox dealt with the grass and subjected himself to the first real hay-fever attack of the summer. Eyes pouring, eyes itching, nose sniffling and sneezes exploding - it was a time to share with the neighbours.

Season ticket picked up for the week's trains.

The Gorse Fox is now hiding inside until he has to dispose of the garden waste.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Been and gone and done it again

Well, that was a day.

We only gone and done it again - for the third time in three years we have payed up and officially reserved a house. The difference this time is that our progress is not contingent on the sale of another property - and so, we are in control of our own destiny.

As with all choices, there are compromises that are necessary - but they are not huge, and it does mean that we get a house built to very exacting standards. Now all we have to do is wait for it to be built - which will, no doubt, seem interminable.

Cut short

We spent a lovely evening with the Gorse Fox's sister and husband, going through their photos from their exciting trip to Abu Dhabi, catching up on family news, and enjoying good food in nice surroundings. Unfortunately it was cut short by you Trev coming over a bit peculiar and having to call a halt to the proceedings.

Hopefully he's feeling better this morning.

Friday, June 28, 2013

On any Friday

There used to be a video called "On Any Sunday" which revealed the world of the car racing enthusiast.
There should be a similar expose of any Friday, showing a chap sitting at a desk for 8 hours with a phone stuck to his ear. Though to be fair, it hasn't been as bad today as many weeks.

As we move towards submitting the next part of our commercial response - the focus turns to developing the supporting documents. The outline for this has already been discussed, but the Gorse Fox has managed to input many pages of text today and will slowly pull the remaining sections together  next week.

Mid morning there was an interrupt as the man from the delivery company arrived to collect the sideboard that had been erroneously ordered/delivered and discovered last weekend. It was good to get that out of the house as it was huge, even when packed flat.

Meeting up with the Gorse Fox's tiny sister and her husband this evening at that nice Mr Evans's restuarant. (It's her birthday tomorrow, so time to sit and tease her about the continued onset of old age).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ripping day

The Gorse Fox has been hanging around Whitechapel - not in any homage to the famous Ripper, but because that is where the client has an office. A delay in the morning train meant the Gorse Fox arrived just a minute or two too late to host the first call, so his colleague picked up the slack.

Most of the rest of the day was spent finishing the draft of a long promised document - now that the strategy has remained relatively stable for 72 hours.

Somehow, a document the Gorse Fox defined and laid out with its content has migrated to one colleague, and now to another. In this migration the Gorse Fox has somehow managed to pick up the responsibility for authoring chunks of the document that he never expected - and lost ownership of several sections he has already written. Never mind, it keeps the project managers and partners feeling important.

Across the aisle from the Gorse Fox is a hairy bloke listening to his ipod, an slurping some soup from a china receptacle with a spoon. His music is obviously deafening him as the Gorse Fox can hear the clink of the spoon and continuous slurping noises above his headphones. It's like sitting near some farm animal at feeding time.

The Islington Set

Another day in town. Specifically in Islington (which is a bit too close to The Emirates for the Gorse Fox's comfort). As is usual, three-quarters of the day was spent on the phone or in meetings, but at least it was possible to get some work under way whilst some of the calls droned on.

Slightly later train tonight due to the welter of late afternoon calls. It was interesting watching a woman and her mountain of a husband get on a crowded tube train with a double pram. The look of shock on the passengers' faces was clear, but the sight of her huge companion and somewhat menacing-looking stifled any comments.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Islington Set

Another day in town. Specifically in Islington (which is a bit too close to The Emirates for the Gorse Fox's comfort). As is usual, three-quarters of the day was spent on the phone or in meetings, but at least it was possible to get some work under way whilst some of the calls droned on.

Slightly later train tonight due to the welter of late afternoon calls. It was interesting watching a woman and her mountain of a husband get on a crowded tube train with a double pram. The look of shock on the passengers' faces was clear, but the sight of her huge companion and somewhat menacing-looking stifled any comments.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Another day

The Gorse Fox left the office.

"Style Magazine, sir?" asked the vendor at the tube. "Do I look as if I read Style Magazine" he responded as he disappeared into the ticket hall... and behind him he heard "You have a point there".

It had been a good day. The earlier train had got him to London Bridge on time and the tube delivered him to Islington almost to the minute he had predicted. Reviews of outstanding issues took much of the day as there were different players involved in different categories of issue.

Slides were prepared for tomorrow's Design Board - but the Gorse Fox is unlikely to have to present them given the packed agenda.

Also finished re-jigging the management tree for our division - only to be told that we may have to hold fire given some impending secret-squirrel deliberations.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A sense of the ridiculous

So the Gorse Fox was on the tube. He'd been in the office longer than planned. It was time to zip across town to Victoria. The tube left the station and within a few hundred yards stopped. Several seconds of silence ensued before the loudspeaker crackled into life:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your driver. We are being held at a red light. I have no idea why, and I've left my big red manual of crappy excuses back in the depot. If any of you can come up with an excuse, write it on a piece of paper and slip it under my door. Meanwhile, settle down, I expect we will be moving again at some point."

The passengers in the carriage laughed and grinned. What a splendid way to defuse the delay. In fact we were only there for a minute or so and were soon rolling towards Victoria.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Agent Mulder

The Gorse Fox's cousin, Agent Mulder is arriving from the Colonies. Plan is that we meet up at Gorse Fox's sister's house. Should be fun catching up on all the family news.

Need to get some stuff done for Starfleet before we leave.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Success and Failure

The day has marched on and the rest of the kitchen furniture has gone together remarkably well.
The Gorse Fox is feeling quite chuffed with the results.

All is not well however. The console table we ordered is not what has been delivered. Worse still, on checking the original order - they have delivered what was ordered. The error clearly occurred when the young girl entered the order to start with, and we didn't notice.

CIY

Some construct-it-yourself furniture arrived, mid-week.

Today seems like an ideal time to CIY. Unpacking the chairs, the Gorse Fox is rather pleased that he has finished the 4 chairs in just over 30 minutes.

There's packaging everywhere, but the chairs did go together very quickly and very firmly.

A good start. He has to pop out for a while, but when he returns he'll start on the table.

Boys day

The Silver Vixen has swept off to join her coven and head up to a stitch-witch jamboree at on of the large racecourses. (It probably lies at the nexus of some lay-lines or on the bias, or something). Anyway they are off, and The Gorse Fox and Jasper the cat have a day to themselves.

Now what mischief can we get up to?

It broke

Well the weather has been trying to be clement. It has been trying to live up to expectation. But like an alcoholic who has lapsed it broke over night. It seems to have returned to its bad old ways with wind and rain beating on the Sussex countryside and lying, sodden, in the gutters.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Well that's over

It was another day of calls, of decisions, of political awareness, and all of this was mixed with a frisson of excitement.

The calls were standard stuff, for the most part and warrant little comment.

The decisions revolve around the Gorse Fox's re-organisation of the management tree for his division. It was clear that there was one person who was left without a chair when the music stopped. This individual has an interesting history and tends to be treated with kid gloves. Who would be the new manager to gain responsibility? The Gorse Fox said he would give it further consideration but if no other alternative could be found - then he would take it on. He then went on to suggest the name of a colleague as the new manager. There were howls of laughter and the comment that it would certainly lead to homicide - but was not immediately clear who would be the victim. The Gorse Fox pointed out that this could indeed be the preferred outcome. There was a consensus that homicide was not an approved management technique, so it looks as if the Gorse Fox will be picking up a new team member.

The politics revolve around two of the Starfleet Admirals from two separate fleets, both involved in the current programme. There is quite clearly significant tension between them and the Gorse Fox would suggest that one will gain supremacy over the other when the next stage of the programme gets signed. This could be de-stabilising (or terminal) for a number of colleagues. The Gorse Fox has spent much of the day coaching and manoeuvring to ensure there is as little fall-out or disruption as possible among his technical team... though there is little doubt there will be collateral damage.

The frisson of excitement cam when we got a call from the developer. The next phase of development has now been finalised and as another couple (from Somerset) were showing interest, did we want to come and get first dibs on a plot. Calls got rearranged and we hopped in the car and headed for the sales office. We poured over the plans and have selected the plot we want. It is now informally reserved and the sales lady will now try and get us a firm price (we have a rough idea, but need something more concrete - so to speak). This is all rather exciting as this is the house that first attracted the Silver Vixen to this development, last year. There's still a long way to go, but things are looking positive.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Muggy

It was and early train that whisked the Gorse Fox to the Capitol. He was in the office before 0900 and it was just as well as he was volunteered to run a telecon for the client on his arrival. From that point on the day proceeded much as usual with call after call and meeting overlapping meeting.

Afternoon saw the Gorse Fox present the outline of his end to end strategy to a client department and was chuffed to discover they were very happy with it and suggested it was abridged and presented to the Principals in the next week or two at the most.

Very muggy in London today. Tube was particularly unpleasant.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Some days...

The plan was simple enough. The Gorse Fox would get the train to London Bridge. It was really quite simple. he would drop down into the tube and take the Northern Line to Angel. That is simple, isn't it?

Evidently there were several variables that had not been considered. 

The Gorse Fox arrived at London Bridge early - good so far. Then he made his way to the tube entrance. Here is where it started to deviate from the plan. They had shut the gates to prevent over-crowding on the platform. Gorse Fox considered his options and decided he had time, and would queue. 15 minutes later they let us through and down to the platform. A few minutes later a train came in and filled up. The Gorse Fox decided it was too full and would await the next train. It did not, however, move. It just sat there until there was an announcement that the train in front had broken down.

Along with the rest of the throng the Gorse Fox left the, now suspended, tube and went to find a taxi. time was getting short and he was not able to be choosy. As a result he got a taxi driver who supported Arsenal. All things considered the day was looking like pants.

In fact the day picked up from there and went pretty well work-wise.

There was, somehow, an inevitability that on a day such as this there would be a coming together of painful foot with immovable furniture. Icing on the cake really.

Never mind - the Gorse Fox managed to get the favoured train.

Different route

The Gorse Fox will take a different route this morning. Meetings in Islington dictate a journey via London Bridge and the Northern Line.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Man about town

No need to change trains today - the Gorse Fox went all the way to Victoria before burrowing his way down into the tube to head to eastern part of London and and what was supposed to be a day in the client office. once there, it was matter of getting onto their email service and their filing systems and finding out how to set WiFi access for my Starfleet communicators.

Plans soon changed. It became clear the Gorse Fox had to present himself at another of the client's offices in time for an afternoon meeting. After lunch he burrowed back down into the tube and made his way to Islington for some more meetings. Fortunately these finished at a sensible time and the Gorse Fox was able to zip back to Victoria for his preferred train.

Early Start

The Gorse Fox seems to have been awake since 0430 and even though he remained in bed he already feels as if it has been an early start.

Time to head for the train.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Back in Town

the Gorse Fox was woken by the alarm clock. This does not happen often as his internal body clock usually preempts the device by about 5 or 10 minutes. Jasper, the cat, was waiting in the study for his morning treat (he finishes the milk in the bottom of the cereal bowl when the Gorse Fox has breakfast), He was clearly put-out by the tardy appearance of your correspondant.

There is a long discussion to be had about the nutter on the train station. Gorse Fox will cast a veil over that for now. Suffice it to say that he declined to opportunity to examine his footballing injuries from the weekend.

AFter letting a couple of packed trains depart without him at Clapham Junction, Gorse Fox finally arrived at Starfleet for a fairly fruitful morning before grabbing a cab to get across to the client's site in East London for the rest of the day.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Nice day

The Gorse Fox is feeling smug. he has had a lovely message from Cousteau-cub and Urban-cub and her family came over to spend the afternoon with us. So we have celebrated Father's Day, Amber's birthday, and the engagement of Urban-cub and Pistol Pete. On top of this the Gorse Fox got a call from Agent Mulder who plans to hit the UK next weekend.

Lovely day... shame it's back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Visitors

What a pleasant day it turned out to be. Some initial "playing" on the new computer found a product collection called AMPPS which looks as if it will provide the ideal hosting environment for the Gorse Fox's secret, private, blog. Once it was install the Gorse Fox spent an hour or so going through many of its interesting components. There is still a fair bit of faffing around to be done before all is copied across (and some changes the Gorse Fox made to Wordpress need to be re-applied to ensure that dates prior to 1970 are handled, but it does look promising).

Betty and Barney Rubble came over to visit. It is always nice to see them - and as they have recently returned from a week in Edinburgh there was much to talk about. We popped down to "The Old Stables" at the race course for lunch. Though close enough to walk there, we took the car is the skies looked a bit threatening. The meal was nice, without being special. Good simple fare, well cooked and served by a cheerful and helpful waitress.

Back at the house Barney Rubble set to work with a screw-driver to try and determine why we had problem with some of the phone sockets. After much to-ing and fro-ing we had got all of the sockets working. The problem was we had introduced a buzz on the line and dropped the internet speed by 2Mbps. The Silver Vixen made an executive decision - undo it all and get it back to how it was. So it is that we now have 3 working phone sockets and 3 dead ones again. The internet connection is back up close to where we had it before.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Black Silk

In a swoosh of black silk, the Silver Vixen mounted her broomstick, circled Fontwell, and with a barrel roll and a squeal of besom on tarmac flew off to meet up with her coven in the Worthing area.

The Gorse Fox is left to his own devices.

Let Down

The Gorse Fox has had to let someone down, He had been asked to spend three hours talking to the students at Imperial College, describing what computer system architects do all day. The GF was instructed that this should be widely interspersed with examples and anecdotes from his career. Given that has spanned 42 years now, there are plenty of anecdotes to tell... and GF thinks it would have been fun

However, the project work looks so busy that he cannot spare the time and will have to defer to a colleague.

Operator, operator!

The Gorse Fox has spent most of the day on the phone. This is now becoming a common feature of Fridays. At least some of the calls are such that GF can make small bits of progress as the calls drone on.

Toeing the Line

The Gorse Fox has woken up to the realisation that his troublesome foot seems to have entered an acute phase again over night. This makes for an uncomfortable few days unless he can catch it with some anti-inflammatory cudgel this morning.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Way Back

Another day done and the Gorse Fox is on his way back home. He has bumped into some of the regular travellers that he is beginning to recognise from the Thursday evening flight and has now settled down to grab a bite to eat before heading to the plane.

It has been an uneventful, though tedious day. Nothing much that demands comment.

Apparently Prince Charles was up here in Edinburgh today. He made no effort to come and see me so, in a huff, I ignored him.

Bright Start

Lovely cool bright summery morning in Edinburgh. Driving up from Leith, the taxi afforded some wonderful glimpses of the City highlighted by the early morning sunshine.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Head meet Wall

It has been one of those days. One of those days where the pleasure emerges when your head stops impacting with the wall. It has been a day of internal Starfleet meetings where all the alpha males and alpha females were struggling to assert their will - as a result we have contributed significant carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and, one might argue, little else.

Now the Gorse Fox is still in the office waiting to "bond" with his colleagues over a  birthday dinner for one of the number. Shame that most people eat late... GF likes to eat as early as possible.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Travellin'

The Gorse Fox started the day with a drive to Gatwick and then a train to London - accompanied most of the time by a conference call to keep him amused and entertained. Once at Starfleet the Gorse Fox had to interview a potential addition to the team and make glacial progress on some of his work before heading out again.

A stroll and two tube journeys later he was sitting with the client meeting several of the Principals and clearing up a number of issues that he had observed. Then it was back across town in the tube and back to Gatwick.

Flashing through security he made his way to Jamie Oliver's for a bite to eat before his flight North. Now, sated the Gorse Fox sits and awaits his flight whilst watching the world go by.

Not News

It seems that even the Daily Mail online seems to think that changing the interface on the iPhone warrants banner headlines. The Gorse Fox has news... changing a bit of software to look different is NOT NEWS.

It's bad enough that all the technology magazines give it wall to wall coverage... they have at least got an excuse for being duped by the marketing machine - but you don't expect mainstream journalistic outlets to get swept along.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sorted

The Gorse Fox has finally managed to get an hotel sorted out for this week's trip to Edinburgh. He's not sure what is going on up there, but hotel rooms have been very hard to come by at anything like a decent rate.

Now GF has found an hotel at Leith... though suspects he won't be tempted to swim in the Forth whilst there.

Start the week

The Gorse Fox is lucky in that he is starting the week at home. The day is slightly overcast, and the cat seems to be trying to dig through the earth's core in his litter tray. Outside it is still and quiet. One suspects this is the lull before the metaphorical storm of work that is building up.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Mail merge and Mowers

Urban-cub popped round to visit for a few hours - that was so nice as it gave us some time to talk about the planned holiday and also her recent engagement.

Finally managed to get the change of address cards printed and posted off. (Note: MSWord mail merge works better on the Mac than on the PC - it remembers to compress blank lines in the address). Once that was done, GF managed to get out and mow the lawns before settling down for a quiet afternoon in the garden.

Now need to think about migrating the private blog, the music library and the photo library... but GF wants to think about the best way of keeping things neat and tidy before he gets too far along the line.

It's still there

Walking into the study this morning, the Gorse Fox relises how much the new iMac dominates the room.

All experiments so far have been fairly successful and was impressed to note that it automatically teamed up with the AppleTV box and mirrored the screen (when requested) on the family TV. Next I have to work out why my product key for Mac:Office won't register - having downloaded and paid for a new copy of Office for the new platform.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Ooops

Well the Gorse Fox did it. It took a bit of soul searching, but he did it.

He now has a stinking great 27 inch iMac sitting on the desk and he now has to start the slow process of moving and converting some stuff from the old PC. Not everything will be moved, and the old PC will not be cleared for quite a while yet.

One thing at a time !

Good morning

A lovely start to a new day. The Gorse Fox hopes everyone has a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

GF got cold feet over the new iMac and cancelled the order so that he could sleep on the decision. Sometime in the next hour or so he will have to step up to, or back away from the plate (metaphorically speaking).

Friday, June 07, 2013

Sulking

The Gorse Fox's PC seems to be sulking. He went out at lunchtime and order a new iMac, which he will collect tomorrow. On his return he finds the PC is running normally again... no turbo-fan, no sonic assault.

Oh well, bullet has been bit. Could be an interesting weekend!

Fans

GF was looking forward to a quiet day working from home. It now appears that it may not be "that quiet". The fan on the PC seems to have gone into turbo drive and currently it's like sitting in at the edge of a runway listening to engine tests on an RB211.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Thursday

The trains were slow this morning and the Gorse Fox was at least 15 minutes later than planned in getting to the office. The morning was spent adapting slides as an outcome from Tuesday's review and in preparation for the afternoon's discussion with the client.

Mid-morning Posh Bloke walked by with a mobile phone stuck to his ear (as usual). The Gorse Fox managed to catch up with later in the morning and that was quite the highlight of the day.

The Gorse Fox was due at the client's office early in the afternoon. It was too nice to take the tube or taxi so the Gorse Fox headed out on foot and some 45 minutes - warm, but smug - he wandered into the building and announced his presence. The City of London had ben heaving. On such a fabulous day, everyone was out during their lunch break making the most of the open space and the bars. It had a real buzz about it.

The Gorse Fox had three back-to-back meetings lasting all afternoon. Each was good in its own way and he left feeling that it had been a really good afternoon. This feeling was enhanced by it being 1700 and he dropped down into the tube in time to get across to Victoria for the early train. Texting the Silver Vixen - a trip to the local restaurant is arranged for this evening.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Back down South

SO the reason the Gorse Fox hot-footed back down-south was to attend a review this morning. Guess what, it was cancelled.

Never mind, the Gorse Fox went to the Starfleet offices and had a very fruitful day. There were calls, there discussions, there were even some decisions and to top it off, the call that threatened to delay his trip home was achieved by using a taxi instead of the tub to get across to the station. Satisfied, he should now get home at a sensible hour, even if tomorrow will require an earlier start.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

That was a day

The meeting started at 0930 and the Gorse Fox was meant to present for 90 minutes. Yeah, and the rest. 

After 30 minute we were still on the second slide. By 1230 we had only finished 7 slides. A first world alternative to torture. AFter a break for lunch the torture moved on to a different subject and the Gorse Fox was able to sit at the back and get some work done whilst listening to the interminable debates going on up front. By 1600 he was able to escape as he had a call with Starfleet  Research... and somehow was not able to rejoin the meeting in a timely fashion - given that he had to head for the airport.

Now he sits an awaits some food in the airport prior to his journey home.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Getting About

There was a meeting planned in London. Tomorrow a meeting is planned in Edinburgh, and Wednesday back in London. Sorting out the best routings was an interesting challenge. In the end the Gorse Fox drove to Gatwick and parked. The got the train to London (only to find the meeting had been cancelled).

All was not lost - it was still a very fruitful day and much progress was made. Then, just before five, the Gorse Fox went by tube to Victoria and caught the train down to Gatwick, the monorail back to North Terminal and returned to his car to collect his overnight case. By six he was in the Terminal and preparing for the flight.

(Preparation involves finding a suitable place to grab a bite to eat before the flight).

Now several hours later the Gorse Fox is sitting in his hotel room having listened to a taxi driver bemoan the state of Scottish football all the way across from the airport.

What will tomorrow bring?

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Out and About

A glorious day in Sussex, again. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen made the most of it and continued the hunt for a new house. An appointment to see a likely prospect turned out to be a disappointment. In fact GF is less and less enamoured of that particular development.

Moving on we returned to see the sales exec at a development we had visited before. He had news of a house style we liked - but not in a position we liked; more interestingly he had news of their new developments and the styles that would be available there. That looks promising (but at this stage, who knows whether it will be affordable).

After a coffee and a wander round the department stores we went to find the location for another forthcoming development. Again, looks promising - but may be premium pricing because of its location. Will have to wait and see.

Day finished with some more work... and sorting out travel for this week.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Unexpected

It's mid-evening. The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox are enjoying the TV recorded during the week. (You don't honestly think we would watch, let alone enjoy, any of the execrable trip that is actually broadcast on a Saturday evening).

The phone rings.

It's Urban-cub and she's excited.

She was phoning to tell us that Pistol Pete had proposed to her, and that she had accepted. She was, understandably, over the moon. We too were delighted. He will be a nice addition to the family, though we did ask:

1) Is he drunk?
2) Is it April 1st?
3) Will he look after us when we get old?

We didn't actually get clear answers to any of these questions as, by this time, the Urban-cub had been overcome by emotion.

What a lovely end to the evening. Congratulations Urban-cub and Pistol Pete.

As expected

The Gorse Fox helped the Silver Vixen load the panniers of the Silver Vixen's broomstick and watched as she swept into air, circled Fontwell, then headed back to the Worthing area to meet with her Coven.

Turning on his heels he headed back to the study and continued the development of the end to end architecture story for his latest client. Eight hours later he emerged with a feeling of mild elation - the draft was complete until review comments came in.

A messenger raven arrived (actually it was and SMS text message) from the Silver Vixen, she was just preparing to take off and return. The Gorse Fox, stiff from sitting, decided it was time to mow the lawns. So it was that by the time she flared the besom to touch down, GF was enjoying the sunshine and tidying the landing strip.

Joy

We received a package during the week (whilst the Gorse Fox was in Edinburgh). It was bound collection of photos (in book form) from Cousteau-cub's wedding to the Coventry Hobbit. It was absolutely lovely and the highlight of the week.

Only about 10-11 weeks to go before we head out to Thailand to spend some time with them. Frankly, the Gorse Fox can hardly wait!