Monday, September 30, 2013

Older, no wiser

The Gorse Fox is on the train waiting to see if there will be a performance this evening that matches that of last Thursday. So far it looks unlikely as we seem to have the usual passengers on board - all sitting their usual seats. Should be trouble free!

The Gorse Fox was in the Starffleet offices today in order to meet with a colleague and agree some numbers. It became clear very quickly that his were based on very different pseudo-science to those of the Gorse Fox. After a brief discussion he has decided the Gorse Fox's approach was right, reproduceble, and should be adopted. (As if there was ever a doubt).

Bumped into Kevin, who had worked with the Gorse Fox down near Bristol in the last few years. It was nice to see him again - particularly as he is looking quite fit again after his health scare.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lunch

After a quiet start to the day, Betty and Barney Rubble turned up for one of our periodic visits. This time they were visiting us.

As usual we had a lovely time sitting and chatting about families, holidays, and heavens knows what else. For lunch we went up to nearby Slindon to The Spur. They are quite a large establishment which serves both bar food, and has a restaurant. We opted to eat in the restaurant - and at first were a little concerned this may not be a good idea. There was a table of at least 30 aligned down one side of the restaurant - and clearly they were just about to order.

As it turned out, we needn't have been worried. We were served within an acceptable time, and when our meals arrived they were excellent. Whilst it may may not rate (nor aspire to) gourmet ribbons, it was a perfectly nice meal, served by polite staff, and all for a reasonable price. There is little doubt that we will return - and probably try a week night where the menu looks a little more varied.

Back home we had a an afternoon spent putting the worlds to right, looking at photos from the holiday, discussing dog breeds, and tucking into strawberries and cream.

It's nice to be with friends.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

M, cm, mm

After a mid-morning trip to see Angus and the Gorse Fox, freshly shorn, headed back to complete his list of questions that need to be asked, and measurements that needed to be taken.

It's all very fine having the spec for the new house but when you want to place furniture, decide on colours, or visualize the kitchen, a good model is a great bonus. It was clear that the model that GF had build from the original plans had its limitations and that some of the measurements inferred from the plan were incorrect.

Over in North Bersted we set about checking the actual colours from the chosen palette, then went across to the show house (notebook, camera and tape measure in hand). About an hour later we had a book full of diagrams and measurements. Back home the rest of the day was spent translating this information back into the model... and realising there were still key measurements missing and would have to wait for another trip.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Netwoes

The Gorse Fox related, last week, the problems he had encountered on his home network and how, at some expense, he had managed to almost cure them. (Indeed he thought he had cured them).

It became clear that there was still a gremlin lurking in the network.  There seemed to be two entirely separate address ranges in play. A little bit of research suggested that the addresses chosen could be the result of DHCP not being available.

Knowing that the DHCP server was available, the Gorse Fox worked back through the network and discovered the miscreant. He has a Powerline network. Segments of the network are connected over the house's power grid - rather than running cables round the walls. The very first link from the Router/ADSL modem to the power grid had failed. There three lights than indicate some lifeforce had flat-lined. The plug was dead, deceased, it was no more. Had it not been in the wall it would have been pushing up daisies.

A 20 minute trip to Chi afforded a simple replacement. Et voila, everything is now hunk dory. (The Gorse Fox should have spotted this last week!)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dramatis Personae

The audience were settled in their seats. The lady from Yapton in the stalls, and the Gorse Fox behind her.

The first player made his entrance. An elderly man (let's call him Strop) stomps onto the train, looks around then thunders to the area that will become the stage. He sits. Crashes his hand onto the table, and harrumphs.

The audience isn't yet sure if this is part of the play, but settle back down.

Enter the the second player. A big  young man in the prime of his life. Let's call him Marcus, because he had an immensely arrogant manner, seemed to be oblivious of those around him, and he looked remarkably like a clean shaven Marcus Brigstocke. As he entered, Marcus was talking loudly into the headset of his mobile phone. The audience all looked up.

It wasn't clear at first, but the play had started. Marcus continued to bellow into his phone and as the audience swelled as the train neared departure time, it was evident that the conversation was at no risk of winding down, and was to be conducted at a volume that brooked no non-participants.

The train moved off. The Gorse Fox put on his own headset to watch iPlayer (he never was one for theatre). The lady from Yapton put on her DVD player to watch the next episode from a boxed set of  24. The train pulled out of Victoria, crossed the bridge and passed Battersea.

By now everyone was getting fed up with Marcus and his high-volume call. The audience kept looking up, looking at each other and rolling their eyes. Being British, however, we just put up with it. All except Strop.

Strop snapped. Leapt from his seat and wrested the phone from Marcus. He then told him to shut up and in no uncertain terms that the train passengers were fed up with him and his phone. Marcus leapt across the aisle and fought for the phone. Blows were struck and there was an extensive use of Anglo Saxon expletives as Strop tried to keep Marcus from his phone. Eventually prising it free, Marcus called the guard and demanded the attendance of the Police.

So it was that we waited outside Clapham until the Police arrived at the station and the play moved into its final act. Strop slunk off down the train as Marcus awaited the Police. Then they went, carriage by carriage to find him (the train doors having remained locked throughout).

As part of the finale, the Police came back to ask for witnesses (audience feedback). WIth the exception of the Gorse Fox, everyone remained dumb, claiming to have seen nothing. The Gorse Fox gave his name and contact details... the train was released, and the journey home continued.

Days

Some days worry you. They start ok then head down hill. The Gorse Fox got the usual train but just short of Horsham it stopped and awaited a signal change. 10 minutes later it was off and then got caught in congestion which slowed the rest of the journey to London.

The first tube was too full so the Gorse Fox waited for the next. Halfway to his destination "for operational reasons" it was terminated and we all had to get off and await the next train. That was too full, so the Gorse Fox let it run and awaited the next. Not a great start, all-in-all.

Actually once the working day started it wasn't too bad  though despite setting up a central repository, random spreadsheets are turning up with numbers for which there is no provenance. This has been the major focus for the day - along with the justification of changes to the plan to move the build of one environment to the front of the plan.

Glad it's done for today.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Spinning

Another day finished - mind still spinning a bit from last night's news but the sheer volume of work today has kept the Gorse Fox heading in the right direction.

Various events are conspiring to involve the Gorse Fox in additional work and to some degree he is glad. He would rather focus on things with particular outcomes than faff about providing general input to all and sundry.

Stunned

The Gorse Fox is a bit stunned to hear that one of his school friends - who he had an email from last week, has passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly.

God Bless you and your family, Julian.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nexus

The Gorse Fox seems to be the nexus for information flow. Whether it is the major projects review, the business case, the scope of activity, the approach to the project or whatever - he seems to be the source from which information flows. Well that's true for all but the project managers (who always know best).

So it continued today - refining scope, deselecting unnecessary apps, defining a strategy for development, and so forth. Actually, it was quite a good day really!

Some interesting developments in the background may change the involvement of the Gorse Fox and his team, but only time will tell.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Done

Another day in London. Another day of calls and panics as people suddenly believe their top priorityis yours   and they want answers. The Gorse Fox lets these situations wash over him to a certain degree, otherwise it would be a stressful existence.

Several major items were brought to a head today - though it will take the rest of the week to nail them completely.

Price quotations have arrived for the extras in the new house. Another box to tick off.

177 working days to go.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cutting

The day started with a session re-drawing the the racks the Gorse Fox modelled yesterday. (He realised that he'd mix width and depth incorrectly and that could be problematic when trying to place furniture).

Once that was done it was time for the more prosaic chores - the lawns seemed to have put on a spurt and the Gorse Fox needed to get them back under control. This didn't take too long but generated a huge volume of cuttings. This meant that the GF had an opportunity to take a trip to the local recycling centre and dump several bags of garden rubbish and various domestic detritus.

Back home the Gorse Fox returned to the modelling. The Silver Vixen pulled up her chair and together we shuffled and moved various items of furniture round the model until we had an optimal layout. This will mean a trip to Ikea in  order to achieve the plan - but the plan does look as if it should work!

Just as we were finishing, the Skype bell rang. Cousteau-cub was on the line. Today is her birthday and therefore the anniversary of lighting up lives (all those decades ago !). We had a lovely long chat - and caught up on the gossip from Koh Lanta, and the details of their honeymoon on Bali.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Acute

The Gorse Fox foot problem has recurred - though swapped to the left foot this time. Pretty acute first thing and negotiating the stairs - or indeed even walking was a less than elegant exercise. As the day has worn on the problem has eased, though not gone away.

The Silver Vixen went out during the morning to meet up with her coven and collect more fabric for more projects. This left the Gorse Fox to his own devices. The device chosen was the computer running Sketchup. So it was that various items of furniture from the Silver Vixen's hobby room got measured and modelled and stored ready for using in the house model.

Once  the SV returned home and we had a bite to eat we headed for Chichester in order to pick up the ring that we had commissioned. Absolutely delighted with the end result.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Net Nuts

The Gorse Fox was faced with a problem. Part of the home network was not behaving... and the network attached storage was not accessible and the PC couldn't seem to see the internet.

It was time for some basic debugging... but whatever the root cause, it was not an error caused by GFD playing. Indeed yesterday he did not touch the computers, and the day before everything had been working fine.

Bit by bit he moved cables, ran diagnostics, and generally fiddled. Eventually he decided that the problem was either with the network switch (which seemed likely) or my be compounded by a problem with the NAS. Unable to waste more time he went online and reserved a new switch and a new NAS from PC World.

Most things are running again now - the switch seemed to be the root cause. However the PC is still not talking to the internet-thingy. Two remaining possibilities - 1) a duff cable; 2) a blown ethernet connection on the motherboard. Let's hope it's the former.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Midlands

Plans changed.

The Gorse Fox had been destined for London, but late on Wednesday was directed to the Starfleet offices in the heart of the Midlands. This was good - It gave the Gorse Fox a chance to take the car for long run and to listen to his audio books during the journey.

The journey was lengthened by two cars that had decided to try an occupy the same space on the A34, at the same time. Indeed one had obviously tried to enter the other through the tailgate. By the time the Gorse Fox was affected there was a 6 mile tailback that added about an hour to his journey.

The day itself was quite interesting and GF feels that a lot of progress was made and several fresh problems surfaced.

The Silver Vixen called - she had heard from the agents and the solicitor - Exchange had occurred on contracts for the new house. Now we just have to wait! Meanwhile she had also heard from the jeweller and the ring we commissioned for our Ruby Anniversary is now ready.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Signature

Contract signed - exchange can now take place.

Now to wait about 9 months for the property to be built!

Futility Check

As the Gorse Fox prepares for another day of calls - indeed they are scheduled fro 0930 through until 1500 without a break - and then restart at 1600 he observes the sheer futility and waste of traveling 5 hours a day to sit in an office in London in order to sit on exactly the same calls.

If he had wanted to travel to an office and sit on the phone all day - he would have got a job in a call centre.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Trains

Back in town today - what a thrill. 

Busy day in the office has left the Gorse Fox with a headache. Unfortunately, it is a real one, rather than a metaphorical one. 

Solicitor informs us all the monies are in place for the exchange of contracts on the house. The Gorse Fox will work from home tomorrow so that he can nip out with the Silver Vixen and stick their signatures on the bottom of the relevant bits of paper.

Trains seem messed up tonight. Had to head to East Croydon to catch the Bognor Service. Not sure what the delays are but evidently there has been some issue in the Arun Valley.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Home Start

The Gorse Fox decided that the best use of his time would be to work at home today. This saved the best part of five hours travelling and made it possible to catch up with some of the many tasks that have been building up.

He probably should have gone to London, but in the end it worked out very well.

Letter from solicitor turned up at the end of business. Looks like we are ready to exchange contracts on the new house. Deposit being transferred to the solicitors account overnight... but still need to sign the documents, and not to sure when that will be possible.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Modelling

The Gorse Fox, having consulted with the Silver Vixen has completed the positioning of extra sockets and other features for the new house. The diagram is back with the the developer and has already been acknowledged.

Since then the Gorse Fox has been refining the 3D Sketchup model of the house - now that he has some detailed drawings of the kitchen. Time consuming - but very satisfying.

Rain has now started and the heating has come on.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Options

Who would have believed that choosing a few options fro the new house could be so time-consuming. Some were easy - but will need thought. For example it wasn't enough to request extra power sockets in various rooms - the Gorse Fox now has to mark up a plan as to where they should be installed.
Others were less straightforward.

A bathroom cabinet seemed like an easy choice until the price was revealed. Then it meant a trip to a finished property to see what this unit looked like, and whether it really justified its cost. (It did. We selected it).

The kitchen colour scheme seemed easy. A selection of one from four. Even that had ramifications as it affected the tile choices and flooring choices throughout the house. (The interior designer had an integrated design for colours and textures - based on the kitchen selection). No this may seem obtuse at first - but the kitchen is very much the focal point of the house and actually the designs work well.

Urban-cub and Pistol Pete came to join us and have a look at the show-home. This helped with some of the decisions as we were able to get an additional opinion.

Once all was done - we headed for Chichester and grabbed lunch at Nando's

A nice day. Tomorrow the Gorse Fox has to plan the locations of the additional outlets - but the weather forecast is not good - so it will be a good exercise for the day.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Crazy

It was crazy - the calls started at 0830 and continued until the early afternoon. During the calls, instant messages were splashing onto the screen in an almost continuous stream. Fortunately the MUTE button allowed the Gorse Fox the luxury of an occasional scream, and also to greet the guy who came to fit some new tyres on the car, and the plumber who came to fix a problematic cistern.

An unplanned trip was required late afternoon - the Silver Vixen had a sore eye, and on discussion with the local pharmacist was told to go straight to the GP. Drops and tablets acquired we will monitor for improvement over night.

Silver Vixen is off to meet with her coven this evening so GF will have some quiet time with Jasper the cat and a glass of cabernet sauvignon.

334 days, and counting.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reviewing

Much of today has been spent reviewing the outcomes from previous reviews. The Gorse Fox has the luxury of being given "help" from his manager and other colleagues - now realising the sheer scale and scope of the programme. This is goodness because it means that there is good chance that many of the things that the Gorse Fox does not have time to address will now be picked up and handled.

Potentially, this also means that there is a succession plan available - should he decide to retire earlier than planned (or move on).

Later train than planned tonight, but at least the Gorse Fox is working at home on Friday.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Starfleet

The Gorse Fox had a bit of a change today. He had meeting scheduled in the Starfleet offices. This meant a slightly more relaxed journey to work and a day in a relatively quiet and spacious office.

The scheduled meeting went well - though the Gorse Fox wasn't required through to the end (fortunately). Now he sits on the train wondering if everything will run to time, whether the lady in front is really watching a DVD of Danger Man (in colour), and whether there is really such a thing as artificial intelligence - given how little natural organic intelligence he seems to encounter at present.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Not much

Well, some days are filled with excitement. Some are thrilling. Some make the heart soar. Today did not fall into any of the aforementioned categories.
Train ran on time.
Arrived at work.
Worked.
Took several calls.
Had lunch
Worked.
Took some more calls.
Got the tube to Victoria.
Got on the train.
The Gorse Fox can hardly wait for the next instalment.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Bad start

It was not a good start.

Arriving at the station at 0630 only to find they were already warning of disruption near East Croydon. Apparently, once again, a poor soul had tried to occupy the same space as an oncoming train, at the same time. As previously observed, this does not usually work out well for the human - nor for that matter, the train driver.

The journey ended up taking an extra 30 mins, but was diverted to London Bridge - which actaully turned out to be fairly convenient.

The Gorse Fox will draw a veil across proceeding during the day. Suffice it to say that a certain person sent the Gorse Fox about seven or eight emails this morning - each asking a question or clarification. Some people have too much time on their hands.

The journey home was also problematic. First they switched platforms, then the laid on a shorter train than usual. As a result, the Gorse Fox had to stand for the first hour of his journey. This is not befitting a gentleman of his years and standing.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Ruby

Quiet day to day. It started with a response to the Solicitor's latest questions regarding the new house. This made a lot simpler by yesterday's trip to the site, where the agent gave us the missing specifications.

The other trip yesterday saw us in Chichester looking to find a suitable ruby ring for the Silver Vixen. Eventually we found a Jewellers that actually made their own rings and took a commission to make one to the Silver Vixen's requirements. Should be ready in a few weeks time.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Diving: 3

The Gorse Fox promised to post some of the pictures from the diving back on 27th of August. Think of this as part of the catch-up service.

Gorse Fox and Urban-cub about to enter the water

Urban-cub beginning to feel more confident under water

Gorse Fox and Urban-cub

Gorse Fox blotting out the sun

Gorse Fox blowing bubbles

Urban-cub and the Coventry Hobbit (with GF hovering behind)

Gorse Fox and Urban-cub are introduced to a 2m Leapard Shark

Urban-cub and Coventry Hobbit round the fan-like coral

Shoal of snapper

Yep, feeling good.

Contracts

More contract papers arrived from the solicitor, overnight. The Gorse Fox has spent the first few hours reading through and checking the results of the formal searches.

The good news is that all looks well... and even a 1:200 year flood event is not expected to impact the new property - though the property we were originally considering would have been affected.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Sentence Continues

The Gorse Fox has just realised that he has now, as of today, completed 29 years with Starfleet. This has been an intriguing passage in his life during which he has been lucky enough not to have a single day's sick leave. (Not to say he hasn't had the odd bought of illness - only that it has never coincided with days when he has meant to be working).

However, for now, the sentence continues...

Friday Puzzle

The Gorse Fox is presented, daily, with the same puzzle.

A train is made up of two sections, A (4 coaches) and B (8 coaches). For two thirds of the journey the train stops at all major stations on the route. Then it splits into two separate trains.

Train A runs as an express to station X then on to destination Z, stopping at intermediate stations.

Train B runs to station X, but stops at intermediate stations along the route. Leaving Station X it then runs to destination Y - one further stop along the line.

A significant number of regular passengers travel in train A, but then once arriving at X, leave the train and move to the parallel platform to await Train B to take them to destination Y.

The Gorse Fox's problem is understanding Why? No further trains are involved. They await the next train, which is train B. Why not stay on train B to start with? Running fast on train A does not get them home any quicker if they then wait for train B.

It is illogical, Captain.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Tube Lag

Is there such a thing as tube lag?

Certainly, the tube that just conveyed the Gorse Fox across London seemed a little confused: "The next station is Monument..." No it isn't the station before last was Monument. The tube moved on: "The next station is Temple". No it's not, the last station was Temple (but at least it had caught up a bit).

Passengers were getting on and then beginning to look very confused as the announcements persisted in lying about the train's location. Great fun to watch the confusion on their faces.

Good, but boring day at the coal face. No further comment is warranted.

Glad to be working from home tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Summer in the City

Another exciting day draws to a close. The Gorse Fox can hardly contain his enthusiasm and zest for work.

It would appear that even the most simple of tasks should not be delegated when you go on vacation. The Gorse Fox maintains a master list of documents that are to be created and issues reference numbers for said documents. (A task he is barely qualified to execute). It has become abundantly clear that this task is too complex. In his absence numbers have been allocated out of sequence and duplicated and completely ignored in some cases. Now he has to sort this out over the next few days. This is NOT rocket science. How can it be cocked up so completely in three weeks?

Some interesting challenges lie ahead on the personnel front. The Gorse Fox does wonder why people make life so difficult for themselves. He watched a documentary on the German Auto industry yesterday, and it was compared with the demise of the UK car industry during the 50s, 60s and 70s. Some of the behaviours that we evident in those self-destructive years seem to be passed on through the genes of some people as the plunge forward.

Only Wednesday, but Gorse Fox is growing weary of this week.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Tick

That's is another day ticked off. (Not that the Gorse Fox is counting, of course - well 342 if you must know).

Biggest bombshell of today was being informed of a design change that had been made in the Gorse Fox's absence - that makes no sense at all. What's worse is that whilst various "execs" seemed aware of it - nobody who understands the implications had even heard of it. Gorse Fox has to try and unpick the mess over the next week or so.

Work may be filling the days at the moment but the mind does keep wandering back to Thailand. Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit are off to Bali on their honeymoon today - so let's hope they have a good time.

Design

The Gorse Fox has just been described in a client document as one of the "Philosopher Kings" of design.

Feeling smug.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Nose, meet Grindstone

The Gorse Fox had the great pleasure of rising at 0545, downloading 400 emails that had accumulated whilst he was away, and catching the early train for a stimulating day in London with my esteemed client.

The day was full of thrills and excitement and, as such, a thoroughly enjoyable day after the holiday.

If you detect the slightest hint of sarcasm in the paragraphs above, then...

(How soon can the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen get back to Thailand) 

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Nice interlude

There was a nice interlude in the depressing Sunday - holiday over, chores under way, Southampton lost, Man Utd lost, and more depressingly Spurs lost to the Forces of Darkness - and it's back to work tomorrow.

The nice interlude, however, was bumping into Scobi Wan Kenobi and his family in Sainsbury's. So nice to see him again after two or tree years.

Adjustments

The Gorse Fox's body has not yet adjusted - hence he's been up and about since 0530. This is, no doubt, good preparation for the coming week... but at present he feels that sleep may have been more forthcoming!