Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Home Alone

Well we are now home alone. The last of our (very welcome) visitors has left and now we will slowly get back to normal. The Silver Vixen is fighting off a sore throat and having a quiet afternoon. The Gorse Fox is going through the month;s budget and transactions to make sure everything is accounted for and is under  control.

Plan is for a take-away meal from the Indian restaurant tonight - and a quiet welcome to New Year, in front to the TV. Urban-cub may join us as Pistol-Pete is on duty... and GF managed to chat online with Cousteau-cub earlier. so it's a good family day.

Noon Image: 31 Dec 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pitch perfect

Footbal went well. Paul, the Silver Vixen's brother joined in and scored one of our eight goals as we played an 8-a-side match. It was still cold but not too bad as we started to move about. The Gorse Fox played sweeper, which kept him busy.

Noon Image: 30 Dec 2014

Brrrr

Cold and frosty start to the day... hope it warms up before the football

Monday, December 29, 2014

Beach

It may have been very cold over night - but it was a gorgeous, bright, sunny day today.


It was too nice to stay in so we pottered down to the sea front and had a nice long walk - first eastbound along the promenade, then west-bound.



Noon Image: 29 Dec 2014


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bruv

So it was lovely day yesterday with Gorse Fox' sister and family, and today we have the Silver Vixen's brother with us. We have several kilos of pork, turkey, and ham left... and the Silver Vixen has prepared a slow-cooker full of chicken thighs and vegetables for later.

We made the most of the nice (but cold) weather and went out for a walk before coming home to wathch the football.  

Noon Image: 28 Dec 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Noon Image: 27 Dec 2014

Poised and ready

Pork is roasting, vegetables are prepared, wine has been opened and allowed to breathe; we just await our next set of guests - the Gorse Fox's sister and her family. As someone commented on twitter - there is so much food, you have to decide whether to eat it or scale the south face of it... and we still have several kilos of cold turkey and ham left from Christmas day.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Barney

Had a lovely day today. Barney Rubble came up from Devon to have lunch with us. It was a ong drive, but it was nice to see him - partcularly over Christmas. As he doesn't tolerate glutem easily, the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen had searched for a suitable recipe. In the end we chose a fish based stir-fry. The fish was marinated in orange and spices for an hour and then roasted for fifteen minutes. This was then added to stir-fry - spring onion, fine beans, sambal oelek, cashews, and rice noodles. This turned out to be a triumph.

Noon Image: 26 Dec 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

That went well

Well today went well. The Gorse Fox was well organised and well-ahead of himself when Urban-cub and the family arrived. The turkey had roasted, had been smeared in mayonnaise and mustard and browned-off and was now resting. All the vegetables were prepared and ready. Some wine was mulling on the stove and there was plenty of time to sit down and share out the Christmas presents.

Without going overboard, we had all been very lucky with our gifts - clearly some careful thought had been put into them.

Back in the kitchen the stuffing was made - sage & onion mix, sausage meat and diced dried apricots, all wrapped in bacon. Tom Kerridge's carrot recipe was simmering (butter, sugar, star anise, water), and bit by bit everything came together. The Gorse Fox was satisfied with a very successful campaign.

Needless to say parts of the afternoon disappeared in a post-prandial unconsciousness, but we had nice time over all.

As the Gorse Fox writes this, the Silver Vixen is watching a recording of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas show - but though GF has sat through most of the season - the BBC's insistence on resurrecting the execrable Bruce Forsyth has driven the Gorse Fox to his study. He cannot bear to be in the same room when that decrepit, unfunny old hack is on the TV.

Anyway, the Gorse Fox hopes you have all had a wonderful day full of good things and good company. God Bless You.

Noon Image: 25 Dec 2014

Greetings

The turkey is inthe oven so the Gorse Fox takes this opportunity to wish you all a very very merry Christmas and a wonderful 2015.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

No resolved

The telephone fault has not been resolved. The engineer called and categorically proved the fault lay between the cabinet and the exchange - but clearly didn't manage to get the guys in the exchange to rectify the fault. GF guesses it will be next week before the phone is back on.

It begins

The Gorse Fox has started on the food preparations.
This afternoon the gammon has been simmering in coke infused with peppers, onions and cloves. Then, after cooling a bit it was glazed with dijon mustard mixed with American mustard, soft brown sugar, and honey before being gently roasted.

It will now sit and wait for the morning before being carved.

Noon Image: 24 Dec 2014

Over optimistic

Thhe Gorse Fox's praise for the logistics companies may have been a wee bit premature. Thee furniture, due before 14:26 yesterday, never turned up. looking at the tracking information it is clear it was returned to the depot with the comment "check address". The Gorse Fox has written to them with confirmation of the address and an explanation of how to get to it - clearly their satnavs have not been updated so the just gave up.

The Gorse Fox cannot get too upset about it as it was not expected for a couple of months, so this early delivery was a bonus.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Last game

The Gorse Fox met up with "the Worthing lads" this morning for the last pre-Christmas football. We had a good turnout so managed a 9-a-side match on a larger pitch. The advantage was that this enabled us to better organise our formation and play with a bit more structure. The game ended up 6-5 to the Gorse Fox's team (only 1 goal for the Gorse Fox ).

And on another point, Santa seems to have delivered the Gorse Fox two new balls and pump. This should help when we play without the sponsorship (and equipment) from Brighton & Hove Albion.

Guess who?

So  the Gorse Fox's favourite company is back on point. Phone lines are dead, phones report "Check Line"... and no dial tone is available. strangely, however, the Broadband is still working.

Gorse Fox suspects it is no coincidence that he saw the BT Openreach van at a neighbour's house early this morning, and by the cabling cabinet later. He would guess they have screwed up the cabinet. Phoned bT and (amazingly) an engineer is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Noon Image: 23 Dec 2014

Parcels

The Gorse Fox has been impressed by the various logistics companies. Again he has ordered some stuff from Amazon and it has turned up within 18 hours... and GF has just received notification that the furniture we ordered last week (which was on an 8-12 week lead time) will be delivered today. So even things for which there was no expectation (or, indeed, requirement) of pre-Christmas delivery will have arrived in time for Christmas. Mind you, that does mean the Gorse Fox has a load of self-assemble to complete... and will have loads of packaging for the dump.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Chat

It was lovely to spend half an hour or so on the phone (Skype) to Cousteau-cub earlier. She sounded very chirpy and the acute flare-up of her Rheumatoid Arthritis was back under control. What is evident is that the combination of broadband here and on Kog Lanta is not really man-enough to sustain the video calls, so we had to drop down to audio-only.

Noon Image: 22 Dec 2014

The Big One - Manic Monday

The media seem besotted with the idea of naming days Black Friday, Panic Saturday and so forth. Well today we are embarking on Manic Monday. Today we plan to do the pre-Christmas food shopping, and with guests on Christmas, Boxing, Boxing+1, and Boxing+2 days we have a fair bit to cram into the trolley. Using his pre-loaded store card (an on-going benefit from Starfleet) the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen should be able to complete the trolley-dash and get a 6% saving... not a fortune, but it all helps.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Noon Image: 21 Dec 2014

Deck the Halls

Well actually we decked the hall, lounge, and family room. Yesterday saw the retrieval of the crates of decorations from the garage, and the Christmas tree from the loft. Several hours later the Silver Vixen had worked her magic and the house was dressed and ready for the season.

Now, the Gorse Fox would stress this was internal decoration. With the exception of a Christmas wreath, there is no external decoration of the house. In general, GF finds that to be difficult to get right. Some subtle lighting can look nice, and even some spectacular lighting as we often see in the US. Too often, however, we find poorly executed, tacky decoration that is badly designed and looks just dreadful. Rather than get it wrong, we have opted for the minimalist approach.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Noon Image: 20 Dec 2014

MOTD

Well TV coverage hasn't exactly been Match of the Day, but in case you are interested in seeing more walking football, here is a video that the Silver Vixen shot last month when we were playing at the Ford Football Arena -

Friday, December 19, 2014

Lights, Camera... Action

The Gorse Fox has tracked down the TV clip from our walking football tournament. It was a short 4-5 minute segment in a longer programme. If you are desperate to see it, then view  http://www.thelatest.tv/player/playlist/6?v=10625 from Latest TV (Brighton). The clip in question start at about 1:08:00 into the recording. (The observant may be able to pick out the Gorse Fox wandering about aimlessly in a light blue bib).

(With thanks to Matt, the following link should take you directly to a YouTube clip of the relevant recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCAnaJej3Fc )

Noon Image: 19 Dec 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Shopping

The man from Ocado delivered the week's groceries and once it was stowed away, we headed to Chi for some shopping. We were still looking for a suitable set of glass tables and decided to revisit some stores we had previously discounted. Well, perhaps we need not have bothered, there was still no suitable solution to be found.

We carried on to the town centre to get some last Christmas presents. this proved to be a lot quicker than expected - so we made use of the extra time with a nice lunch at Trents. It was busy, but they found us a table almost immediately. The menu had light bites as well as some Christmas specials. We both settled for a Christmas club Sandwich - with turkey, stuffing, lettuce, apple chutney, and french fries. This, though simple, was both delicious and very satisfying.

Whilst out the Gorse Fox also managed to find and purchase some goal-keeping gloves. Whilst he doesn't want to play in goal week after week - he doesn't mind doing it occasionally, and doesn't want to hurt his hands again as he did a few weeks ago.

Noon Image: 18 Dec 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Discontinued

The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox have been looking for a set of glass side tables. We have looked in local stores and major stores in Southampton but have not seen anything we really liked. Finally, the Gorse Fox found a range at an online retailer which exactly fitted the bill. The website, however, had some errors so Gorse Fox phoned them to place the order.

They were out of stock.

The Gorse Fox said he would place an order for when they re-stocked. The lady said that first she would check on when they would be coming in. Ten minutes later they phoned - the supplier had discontinued the range.

Stumped.

We headed to our local furniture store and reviewed all of their ranges... but there was nothing that suited us.

Back to searching the internet.

Noon Image: 17 Dec 2014

In charge

The Silver Vixen is out at Pilates and the Gorse Fox has no football today. GF is at home under the command of Jasper the Cat (GF knows his place). A few early chores are complete - feeding him, watering him, letting him out, letting him back in. Jasper has now gone for a nap, so GF awaits his next command. In the meantime he's trying to contact Cousteau-cub online to see how she is... fruitlessly, so far.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winter

The low but bright winter sun made it difficult to see other players in the football. You could make out their silhouettes, but not who they were or what colour they were wearing. This made for some interesting mistakes but GF is not complaining. It was nice to have such a bright day.

Noon Image: 16 Dec 2014

Better

The Apple mouse provided with the Gorse Fox's iMac is a frustrating device and can be very unforgiving on certain websites or spreadsheets as it jogs up or across from the target link or cell if you are not careful. This drives the Gorse Fox mad. Yesterday, yet again, the batteries ran out in the mouse and he didn't have any spares. He plugged in his little Logitech mouse and receiver - et voila, he has a mouse that works and is far more usable. This may become a permanent fixture.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Parcels

Many inches of newsprint and many reports on the broadcast news have been dedicated to scaring the public regarding their online purchases not arriving in time for Christmas. The Online retailers are overloaded, the parcel companies are overloaded, there is a huge backlog... and so forth.

So it was, with a degree of surprise, the Gorse Fox answered the door three times today to deliveries of online purchases - none of which was even scheduled for delivery before tomorrow. Now he doesn't advocate leaving things too late, but suggests taking notice of the delivery projections when shopping online.

He notices that his first purchase from Amazon in the UK was in 1998, so GF has been at it for quite a while; he does think, however, that he had purchased from Amazon US even earlier.

Noon Image: 15 Dec 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Noon Image: 14 Dec 2014

Stupid

Some things drive the Gorse Fox ape.

There is no football this morning, so the Gorse Fox got on with some admin. Most of his admin he has down to a fine art, this however was something different.

This was a letter from a US investment organisation who manage the GF's Starfleet investments requesting that he update his US Tax information. Somehow he knew this would not be straightforward. Somehow he knew they would not be as sophisticated as the UK systems. And so it proved to be true.

Once he found the form he was told he could print it out and fill it in or fill it in online. The latter seemed sensible, until he completed the form and found he still had to print it, sign it, and then post or fax it. Evidently the use of electronic forms is still a bit of mystery to the US IRS... and so the form will be received in some fax machine somewhere and then probably transcribed by a human.

Please accept the Gorse Fox's scorn, by proxy (fax), as a slap round the head can sometimes offend.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Home Alone

The Silver Vixen is out with her coven. The skies of Durrington are probably darkened by the arrivals and departures of the broomsticks laden with fabrics and spells.

The Gorse Fox is sheltering at home with Jasper the Cat (the Silver Vixen's Familiar). He's not taking any chances. With such a gathering only a few miles away there is the real prospect of a rip in the fabric of the universe... and even they won't have enough cotton to sew that up.


Noon Image: 13 Dec 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Noon Image: 12 Dec 2014

For the avoidance of doubt

The Gorse Fox notices that there is a great deal of speculation regrading transfer dealings in the upcoming football transfer window. He would like to make it quite clear that it doesn't matter how much they offer, he will not be tempted by any offers from Arsenal. One has to maintain some level of loyalty, decorum, self-worth, and self respect.

Shelter

Well that was meant to be a very stormy night. The Gorse Fox notes that in the old house this would have been very noisy as the winds slammed into the dwelling and drafts made their way round the from room to room. Here, however, the only noise was the gentle snoring of the Silver Vixen and Jasper the Cat. Obviously, the house is in a more sheltered position, but also it is well insulated and virtually air-tight. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Noon Image: 11 Dec 2014

Elite

The Gorse Fox took a couple of pictures at the Brighton & Hove Albion training centre yesterday.
 The facilities are very modern and sponsored by American Express.
We were not using the "Elite" indoor facilities though.
GF is not complaining. The outdoor all-weather pitches were excellent. All third generation astro-turf and kept in perfect condition.

Six-weekly tournament here will be quite nice, particularly when the new changing room block is completed alongside.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Phew!

Well the tournament was fun and we ended up playing 6 matches. The Gorse Fox is suitably tired and aches in places he had forgotten he had. Not quite sure how it worked out as it was a bit informal but pretty certain we came 2nd in the overall tournament. GF's team winning 1-0, drawing, 0-0, losing 2-1, winning 2-0, drawing 1-1, and losing 2-1.

Brighton & Hove Albion plan to host these tournaments every six weeks, so it should be fun moving forward. 

Noon Image: 10 Dec 2014

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Practice

Football was at Worthing today. Good turn out so we had 4 teams and played a round-robin tournament in preparation for tomorrow. The Gorse Fox made sure he was teamed up with Captain Jack (as we usually end up on opposing sides - and that doesn't help prepare us to play together).

First game went well with a 6-2 win. Second game was 3-0 to us and final game was also 3-0 to us. Let's hope we can be as successful tomorrow.

Noon Image: 9 Dec 2014

Monday, December 08, 2014

Chuffed

As the Gorse Fox mentioned last week - he had been hit in the face by the football. This had seriously bent his glasses, so he has been wearing a spare pair since. Today he had a chance to head into Chi and see if anything could be done.

In the manner of a local handyman, the technician at Vision Express shook her head a few times and sucked on her teeth. GF could almost hear a soto voce "dear oh, dear-oh, dear!" followed by a "tut". The Gorse Fox was instructed to sit down - and she disappeared off with the misshapen glasses.

A few minutes later she was back - it wasn't just the arms that were bent, the nose bridge was also bent and the glass chipped. Some more sucking of teeth ensued and spun on her heel and disappeared back up to the lab. Ten or fifteen minutes later she was back. A new bridge had been installed, the arm had been straightened and GF had his glasses back. He thanked her profusely and headed home.

Satisfactory outcome really, particularly as they have an offer of free varifocals at present so GF may return to get a spare pair just for the football.

Noon Image: 8 Dec 2014

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Warnings

As the Gorse Fox left, the Silver Vixen instructed "no injuries". He agreed and headed for the football arena.

It was a good game - one of our last chances to practice before the tournament on Wednesday. The Gorse Fox's team lost, but it was close. He scored a couple of goals but dropped back as goalkeeper after a while, when our other goalies let several goals in. At half time we swapped ends and all was going well until the Gorse Fox rolled his ankle which left him hobbling slightly. More frustrating, however, was his final save in a batch of sustained pressure. Gazza hit the ball hard and the Gorse Fox realised a moment or two later that his thumb was not meant to bend back quite like that... as the ball caught him on the end of the thumb.

That was it. The Gorse Fox couldn't continue in goal and had to go back out into the field as he couldn't move his thumb.

Several hours and a lot of arnica cream later the bruising is coming out - it can move, but the thumb is still very sore. One advantage of this is that the Gorse Fox has an excuse not to play in goal during the tournament.

Noon Image: 7 Dec 2014

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Ssshhh

A very quiet day after all of the excitement of the last week. We managed a quick raid on the Waitrose store in Chi, but then headed home, had some lunch and then settled down to watch the football, and some travel programmes on TV. Exhausting.

This evening we will be fun as we join our neighbours for a bit of a soiree.

Noon Image: 6 Dec 2014

Friday, December 05, 2014

Just Gassing

Nothing ever seems to go smoothly when it comes to dealing with the big utilities. The Gorse Fox was conscious that whilst he had heard from his electricity supplier, he had not had any contact from the same company regarding his gas consumption.

He phoned SSE, and was told categorically that they do no supply his gas. They gave him a number to call to allow him to find the identity of the supplier. First, however,  GF went back to the builder. The builder assured him that the supplier was SSE. He then checked with the national grid (SEPL) and they, similarly, assured him that the supplier was SSE.

The label on the meter says the supplier is SSE.

Everyone, except SSE, knows that SSE supplies our gas.

The Gorse Fox got back in touch - again they swore black was white that they do not provide gas to this address... but would transfer the account to themselves. 90 minutes of to-ing and fro-ing elapsed on the phone as he worked his way round SSE's 20,000 UK employees. In the end they said they would call him back.

Meanwhile, the builder had leapt on the case and found someone else at SSE. It appears SSE had transcribed the meter code incorrectly. It was now being rectified and the account would be set up. Better still, they will not be charging for the gas used to date! Now GF just has to wait for the first bunch to call back so he can tie up the loose ends.

Noon Image: 5 Dec 2014

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Psych

The Gorse Fox knows that it is partly pyschological, but even with a couple to go, the shutters do make the house seem more cosy. The chaps have worked solidly since 0900 installing the frames and shutters - the living room is complete, the Gorse Fox's study is complete, and the bedroom is half done. Another hour and it will be finished.

We are so pleased we took our time debating and deciding what we would install. We have certainly made the right choice. It looks good from both the inside and outside of the house.

The Gorse Fox also managed to get the shutters in his office offset far enough to allow the Raspberry Pi and its camera to be repositioned back to where it was and though he missed the 1300 and 1400 image, he manage to get everything back on track for 1500. (Whilst he only publishes the noon image on here, he does capture images on the hour, every hour from 0800 to 1700.)

Noon Image: 4 Dec 2014

Upheaval

Expecting a bit of upheaval today as the shutters are installed at the front of the house, and a plumber comes to check an occasional problem we are having with the heating. May also have to cancel the noon image for a day or two whilst the Gorse Fox works out where or how to mount the camera once the shatters are in place.

Have a great day

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Bent

Well, the worki football was fun - though played at Littlehampton instead of Angmering. The pitch was much better there - more solid, and much better maintained. The pitch was also bigger, which, playing 4-a-side as we did today, made it hard work when two of our players weren't very mobile.

As a result of the game, the Gorse Fox will have to go to Chi in the near future. He managed to stick his foot out to intercept a goal-line clearance but only diverted the ball into his own face. The problem is that this has bent the arms of his glasses - and as they are rimless, this needs a degree of skill to rectify. For now he is wearing the spare pair he acquired late last year.

Now for a quiet afternoon in warm.

Noon Image: 3 Dec 2014

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

During and After

It always seems a shock when they open up a hole. The Gorse Fox was surprised by how big the actual firebox was.
Several hours later the job was done. The fire was working, the lights installed, the fireplace cleaned and looking very smart.

Gorse Fox is very impressed with the standard of workmanship and attention to detail.

Now he'd better start getting ready for the neighbours' arrival and the consumption of vast quantities of mulled wine.

Noon Image: 2 Dec 2014

Chaos

The chaps have arrived and the chaos has started as they delicately smash holes in the wall, and prepare to run gas pipes and power cables. They seem to be very careful and conscientious - cleaning up as they go along. The Gorse Fox expects this will be a long day, however, as there is a lot to do.

Taking of long days. There is a Carol concert outside the house this evening, and we have invited the neighbours in for mulled wine and nibbles. (Let's hope the heating and the new fire are working by then as the gas will have to be switched off at some point).

Monday, December 01, 2014

Noon Image: 1 Dec 2014

Scaffolding

At eight o'clock the doorbell rang. The man from the scaffolders had arrived bang on schedule. No messing about, he got straight down to work and he and his mate started planning and erecting the scaffolding tower needed to provide access to our chimney.

An hour later, it was done.

Tomorrow we expect the fireplace installers to come and use the scaffolding to drop a liner down the chimney (to reduce the bore of the flue), and install our new gas fire.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lopside

Sides were unbalanced for today's football. It always make is hard for the team that is short a man. It was fun, though, and quite high-scoring. (Not sure what the final score was, but the GF score a goal from his own goal line with the last kick of the game).

Noon Image: 30 Nov 2014

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Noon Image: 29 Nov 2014

Stupid Apple

The Gorse Fox has a love/hate relationship with his Mac. Today it is verging on the hate.

For some reason, when GF had to rejig his network to accommodate the new BT hub, the behaviour of the backup routines changed. Some directories wouldn't get created, and the backup programs would confuse source and target. This has led to several weeks of minor fiddling to try and correct the errors. Alas, this has not been wholly successful. It was time for a more radical approach.

The Gorse Fox created a new "share" on his target NAS. This would be the new destination for backups. However, this meant that there were hundreds of gigabytes of data to worry about. No worries, he thought. OSX is UNIX-based. A "move" in UNIX merely means the relocation of an inode pointer between directories. This would take milliseconds.

Oh no it won't. For some reason OSX still performs a copy(*)... which took nearly 24 hours. What's worse, it gives every file a new "last modified" time. Thus when the backups restarted they noticed the huge time difference and decided they needed to overwrite the files with the older version - just to be sure. The NAS device has been rattling away solidly for nearly 48 hours now... but at least the backups seem to be functioning correctly.

Jasper-the-cat, is quite sensibly, staying out of the way.

(*) Purists might tell you that using the "mv" command from the command line will do the trick. GF can inform them that after many, many hours the command fails claiming there are too many files in the filesystem. They may also tell you that holding "cmd" during the drag'n'drop will do a move. GF would counter that whilst the message changes to say it is doing a move... a task that should take milliseconds rand for several hours... and "touched" every file.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Cull

The Gorse Fox's spies tell him that Starfleet is about to begin another cull. This is euphemistically referred to as a "period of Employee Consultation". What this actually means is that the numbers are significant enough that they cannot do the usual trick of slipping them in under the radar.

So what has gone wrong?

Well the Gorse Fox would think it is pretty clear. It has spent so much time being driven by a (now unachievable) share-price target that it has taken its focus away from those things that actually have an effect on the share price; i.e. customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction.

Indeed, as far as customer satisfaction is concerned, the problem lies with the lack of differentiation. Why would someone choose Starfleet over Klingon Partner Management Group, Huffing Pathetically, or any other services company. Starfleet tends to be more expensive - but they were at least brutally honest (which is why they lose some deals - where customer would rather hear what they want to hear, rather than the true facts surrounding their demands). However, in the corportae purchases of the past 10 years they have seriously watered down the ethos of the company, and many of those in high places were "imports" who may not have the same levels of rigour or conscience as the company once displayed.

As far as employees (cannon fodder) are concerned there is not one iota of respect from the company. They are expected to work anywhere in Western Europe, they must travel in their own time, they are contracted to work 37 hours a week, but measured on billing 44 hours or more. Many, if not most, work significantly more than the 48 hour EU directive allows, but are expected to have signed a waiver. On top of this they are expected to have done lots of "give-back" which is Starfleet-speak for free work. Meanwhile the accountant-defined distribution curve for the annual performance round penalises people by forcing them into an artificial ranking that determines exactly how top performers and unsatisfactory performers there must be (irrespective of whether they are).

The Gorse Fox is so glad he retired this year. It is a dreadful shame to see this corporate cancer eating away at the company to which he dedicated 30 years. He feels so sorry for those he has left behind on the Corporate battlefield.

Noon Image: 28 Nov 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Noon Image: 27 Nov 2014

Cables

The Gorse Fox recently purchased some extra charging cables for the iPhones. He researched them ( as you would expect) and was dismayed to see that the Apple cables really got a poor write-up and seemed to give people trouble after a a very short time. However, there was an Amazon-own-brand cable which got a very good write-up and claimed to be certified. GF selected the Amazon cables which have worked flawlessly. He was, nevertheless, amused by a message on the iPhone when he connected it this morning warning that this was not an Apple cable and may not, therefor, work properly.

Excuse me! the reason this cable was selected was because of the poor feed-back on the Apple cables.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Off

What a filthy day. It's grey, it's overcast, it's drizzling, and it's not very warm. In fact it's exactly how the Gorse Fox imagines it would be living in Wales.

The weather has a casualty. Today's walking football was cancelled. It was deemed that the pitch was unsafe, being waterlogged in some places and very slippery everywhere else. As most of the players don't have studs it becomes too dangerous. Indeed there were a couple of injuries at the earlier session (held in Littlehampton).

In other news the Tournament seems set for 10th December at the Amex Elite Training Centre with a TV company in attendance to film the proceedings. (Note to self: refresh fake tan, get yellow boots, and arrange for name to be highlighted in sequins on back of shirt).

Noon Image: 26 Nov 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Away game

The Gorse Fox thought he'd try another football session. There is an open session on Tuesday mornings at Worthing so he pottered across, met up with Captain Jack (from Angmering/Ford) and joined in with the throng. It was chilly and wet, but the pitches were "all-weather" surfaces and were no problem to play on.

There were sufficient players to have 4 5-a-side teams and as we had 2 pitches we played a round-robin. GF's team (yellow) drew the first game, lost the second, and (apparently) won the third - though that's not how GF remembers it. Then the whole tournament was finished off with penalties. As it worked out, GF's yellow-team came second overall.

The pitches were a bit bigger which made the game more open and hopefully had more impact on levels of fitness. GF is still nowhere near the level of fitness he would like to achieve but is certainly improving. Having said that, the most difficult thing is still restraining yourself from running (fit or otherwise).

GF may go back and play some more when  he has the odd Tuesday spare - but next week is out of the question.

Noon Image: 25 Nov 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Keep it coming

Well the post arrived - one envelope contained the rebate of the outstanding Road Fund license for the Silver Vixen's old car (incidentally that rebate is bigger than the cost of the road tax for next year).  The other envelope contained notification of the payment of our Winter Fuel Allowance.

This is an excellent start to the week.

It got better.

The phone rang. It was BT. The chap who has been handling the Gorse Fox's broadband issues was checking if the case can now be closed. GF agreed it could - it was clear there was nothing further that could be done until they lay some fibre. The BT chap then said that because of the inconvenience he would credit  our account with two months-worth of broadband fees. (This is on top of the credit they gave us last month for the disruptions to the phone).

A very good start to the week - keep it coming!

Meanwhile we have heard from our fireplace supplier. The fire and surround are now available and we plan to have them fitted next week. This is good because we should also have the shutters fitted next week. Once that is done we are all set until after Christmas.

Noon Image: 24 Nov 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lunch

It seemed appropriate to go back to "Amelie and Friends" which has rapidly become our favourite restaurant for special occasions.

When we arrived and announced ourselves the Silver Vixen was wished a Happy Birthday and, though early, we were shown to our table immediately.

We had a lovely leisurely lunch selected from their simple but choice menu. Starting with crab and prawn tian, halloumi tikka skewers on saffron risotto balls, we moved on to 6-hour roastes pork belly with spiced crackling and then finally a pear tarte tatin with which to round off the meal.

As expected, everything was just perfect... even to the point that they had written Happy Birthday on the Silver Vixen's plate in rich dark chocolate. Nice touch.

Offside

The Gorse Fox is back from Sunday morning's walking football. The Silver Vixen, as is now becoming the norm, came along to watch all of the creaking wrecks bumping into each other and falling over at the arena.

The Gorse Fox was goalkeeper for the first half - and was pleased with his performance. In the second half he went out to play midfield. Whilst happy with some of the "play-making", passing, and dribbling, he didn't score himself this week. Also it is clear that he needs to improve his fitness. Plan at the moment is to do an extra session on Tuesday and see if it is worth keeping on the calendar.

Noon Image: 23 Nov 2014