Monday, March 31, 2014

Finishing the job

As the Gorse Fox was enjoying another pre-retirement practice day, he pottered. The first serious action of the day was to put the doors on the shelving unit he had put assembled a few weeks ago. The Silver Vixen's unit is now complete.

An inordinate amount of time was also spent trying to get all the photos from the trip into Picasa. This all used to be so easy on the Windows machine, but somehow the MAC conspires to make life difficult if you do not choose to use the Apple applications. It's all done now, but was unnecessarily time-consuming.

Here's a glimpse of Sao Paulo looking north east from the Starfleet building


This second panorama is looking south west.


As you can see it is just a forest of high-rise apartment and office blocks as far as the eye can see. (In the bottom photo the road disappears into the Ayrton Senna tunnel, which carries the traffic under the park).

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mother's Day

It was Mother's Day.

Urban-cub and Pistol Pete came round and collaborated on preparing lunch. It was a lovely day, though GF could feel himself fading a bit, towards the end of the afternoon.

Urban-cub was very pleased with herself as she had picked up a new car during the week, but kept it quiet as a surprise to show the Gorse Fox. She has a Peugot 207, in white. It seems like a super little car and it should make life a lot easier now they have two cars.

Home

Eleven hours seems like a long time to hang in the air.

The young lad in the next seat was on his way home after six weeks travelling with friends. His friends had budgeted day by day, but 33B had decided to have fun. As a result he had blown £9500 in six weeks and was now going home to get a job and earn some more money - his friends were still in South America enjoying their travels. GF suspects there is a message there somewhere.

GF's UK taxi driver was waiting for him as he emerged from immigration and customs, and we were soon on our way on the highways and byways of Surrey and Sussex and GF couldn't help but contrast the driving styles he had experienced over the previous 24 hours. And for that matter, the density of the traffic. M25 early on Sunday is quite a contrast to Sao Paulo early on a Saturday afternoon.

GF got in just after nine in the morning and after a good cup of tea and a shower was soon feeling human.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Taxi

The Gorse Fox requested a taxi to take him to the airport. A few minutes later a medium sized Fiat lurched to a stop and a tall, slim, swarthy driver, wearing dark glasses and a moustache modelled on on countless Hollywood westerns stepped out and invited GF to place his bag in the boot.

It was 32c and that car was hot - he muttered something about the air conditioning - turned a dial, kicked the footwell and hammered on the dashboard. A few moment later a breath of cool air, as if from an asthmatic butterfly, wafted into the back. The Gorse Fox felt this was likely to be a long drive. As it happens it was drive divided in three distinct phases: housekeeping, football, and music.

In phase one, Marco decided that some housekeeping was necessary so as we entered the dodgem arena (or road system as we would call it) he started to tidy the car. Moving CDs and placing them into their sleeves and then into a zip-up bag. Then moving the bag to a cubby hole in front of him. Then he moved a remote control from the there to seat, and started to shuffle papers - sorting them into piles and putting clips on them before placing them in the glove compartment. All the while the car was lurch through the traffic, screeching to an abrupt halt a few millimetres behind the car in front, or swinging wildly across lanes as gaps opened up. Gorse Fox was concerned that March was not devoting his full attention to his primary task.

In phase two GF broached the subject of football - a fairly safe topic in Brazil. He then got a lecture on the magnificence that was Palmeiras - Marco's team. GF could offer no comment, having never seen them nor really being aware of them beyond their name. This however, had loosened his tongue and given him the opportunity to practice his English. By now, also the traffic was opening up. This was not, necessarily a good thing as we moved into...

Phase three where Marco, stimulated by a Boy George track on the radio explained that he was a classical guitarist and played classical music (Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi) on electric and acoustic guitars. In Hoffnung's words "at this point I must have lost my presence of mind", for the Gorse Fox made the fateful mistake of replying that he too loved good guitar music. There followed a litany of great guitarists and bands. Somewhat more worryingly he bent almost double to rummage for his zip-up bag of CDs and started to page through them. Out came a CD and, at volume that could be heard on the International Space Station, Toccata and Fugue blasted out of the car, followed by Beethoven's Fifth. This was troubling enough as GF was concerned as passers-by covered their ear and screamed in pain - more worryingly, however, was Marco's insistence on demonstrating the fingering (by both hands) on his air guitar. As the music changed and keyboards took over - the air guitar was discarded for a air-keyboards, and as the music changed to Santana, the dashboard became a substitute for the tablas and congo drums. During this stage of the journey, the Gorse Fox doubts that Marco touch the steering wheel for more than a minute or two in the 40 minutes it lasted. GF was caught between the emotions of utter terror, and total amusement.

This was a taxi drive that GF will long remember. Scared out of his wits, but wouldn't have missed it for the world. The car lurched to a halt and as GF grabbed his bags a sour faced woman barked an order at Marco, and climbed into the back of the taxi - GF suspects that one of the two of them was in for a very different ride back to the City.

Twiddling continues

Gosh thumb twiddling for hours on end can be boring.

Twiddling thumbs

The Gorse Fox is twiddling his thumbs in the hotel. It's just gone nine in the morning and he needs to get the taxi at at one-thirty for the five o'clock flight. He would love to go out for a walk to the nearby park (visible from the hotel) - but colleagues have warned him to stay put. Shame to visit such a vast and vibrant city but not able to actually to wander about, safely.

Just irritate the Gorse Fox this power adapter seems to have given up the ghost so he is relying on what residual battery power he has in the iPad, and his phones.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Office

The morning was spent in the office up on the nineteenth floor. Slowly the revisions began to take place and the presentation deck summarising the week's review came together. We went through slide by slide and in the end we were happy.

Lunch called. The Gorse Fox does like the fact that the Brazillians take time to go to lunch - and to be fair the Starfleet canteen serves a good selection of salads, hot food, grills and sweets. To give a sense of scale - in the Starfleet restaurant in London the are 4 cashier stations and usually only 1 or 2 cashiers. Here in São Paulo there are 14 and all are manned.
The view from 19th floor

Fabio headed to the client site and would call with details of when we would be required. The Gorse Fox returned to the 19th floor and got on with other work. Finally the message came through. They were happy with what the Gorse Fox said yesterday and he wouldn't be required. Great... just too ate to switch back to his original flight. Now he has 24 hours to twiddle his thumbs.

Back in the hotel the Gorse Fox took the opportunity to phone the Silver Vixen as it was still early enough. Must say that he is looking forward to getting home.

Refinement

The Gorse Fox has spent the morning in the Starfleet offices in Sao Paulo refining the findings of his trip. Some of it was basic word-smithing, some was providing greater detail. Must say that he feels fairly happy with the outcome.

Now to wait and find out what is on the agenda for this afternoon.
#

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Plans change

There you are - the rest of the week planned out and an an email drops on the metaphorical doormat inviting you to the client's HQ for a 1-2-1 with the CIO. A planned eight hours of revisions and preparation get cut to to three... and one colleague has a bee (or is it a parrot) in his bonnet about one aspect of the review.

In the midst of all this prepaprtion the Gorse Fox finally got throuh to Starfleet's travel advisors and managed to slip his return flight to Saturday - accommodating a Friday afternoon board meeting.

We headed down town at breakneck speed, driven by an American colleague here on assignment. He seems to have picked up their road protocols without any difficulty. He was explaining that being here as a resident, rather than a visitor was very different. In particular with a wife and two kids he has to be very careful over security.

We arrived at the bank HQ and the Gorse Fox could only contrast it with those he has visited in the UK. It was exquisite, and the owning families of the bank are great art collectors. They have thick books listing their collections - which are on display all over the bank for all to see and admire.


Back at the hotel another plan changed. The Gorse Fox had planned to eat in the hotel restaurant, but when he got there he found it didn't open for a further 45 minutes. Worse still, there was no pizza on the menu and the Gorse Fox really fancied a pizza. He returned to his room - pizza was available on the room service menu. He now awaits a knock on the door.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Traffic

The Gorse Fox was collected from his hotel about 0830 and stopping to pick up some colleagues we headed out to a suburb called Campinas. Traffic was unbelievable, and the Gorse Fox suspects that the rods were planned by droping a bowl of spaghetti onto a map. He is convinced that some of the road networks probably end in knots. There seems to be no way to get around using logic or dead reckoning. Gorse Fox suspects that a London cabbie would actually explode in the face of such a network.

The first meetings were in an older data centre which, whilst in a rather dangerous area, was highly secure and really rather interesting. It was a series of concrete buildings surrounded by walkways and ramps leading through tropical gardens to the offices. All of the walkways were covered at a very high level to provide shade from the hot sun and protection from the tropical rains.


Gorse Fox and his colleagues completed our interviews then headed for a very plush shopping centre for lunch. The Gorse Fox had assumed this would be nearby, but it was about 45 minutes drive through some rather dodgy areas before reaching the expensive part of the suburb. It was a reall nice shopping centre, very similar to many the Gorse Fox has seen in the US.

AFter lunch we burrowed back into the traffic in order to get back to office we visited yesterday. Again the traffic was incredible but Arnaldo had a knack of zigging and zagging acoss lanes, and using bus lanes, and pushing his way across the traffic to make the one and three quarter hors both terrifying and memorable.

final interview was fun. We had expected a tough time. Gorse Fox believes that you should always try and make contact at the human level before the business connection clicks. He spent a few minutes making that connection and actualy got the chap to the point he was joking with us. From then on, the meeting went very smoothly.

a good day

Brazillian Philosopy

There were two items of Brazillian Philosopy that caught the Gorse Fox's imagination today.

"When God created the World he gave The Carribean hurricanes, He gave America tornadoes, he gave Japan typhoons - but he gave Brazil politicians."

That made the Gorse Fox chuckle and showed the high regard the citizens have for their leaders.

The second saying was "better lose a friend than miss an opportunity to make a joke" - this seemed to gel with the Gorse Fox (who has been ticked off for joking at a funeral before now).

Another day

It is another bright start to the day in São Paulo. The Gorse Fox is suited and booted and ready to prosecute several further interviews today, before spending tomorrow preparing his findings. First thing on today's agenda is to see if the flights can be changed. The Gorse Fox has decided to try, and then take an extra day off next week to make up for the lost weekend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Less than amused

It has been a good day. The Gorse Fox has been interviewing various managers and directors at the Bank. What comes across is how nice they all seem and how dedicated they are to the success of their programme.

What has irritated slightly is the fact the Gorse Fox has been asked to change his travel arrangements so that he can attend a Board meeting on Friday afternoon and present his findings. This means a 24 hour delay as there is only one direct flight a day.

Back in his hotel he has ordered room service and plans a quiet evening.

Up and about

The Gorse Fox is up and about and waiting for the restaurant to open for breakfast - he has a 7 am pickup and interviews scheduled throughout the day. 


Monday, March 24, 2014

That's better

 A solid 9 hours sleep make a significant difference to you opeartional capacity. The Gorse Fox is feeling keyed up and ready to rock - unfortunately his host has phoned to delay things by an hour. So he's stuck in the starting blocks at present, waiting for the metaphorical gun.

Gorse Fox can see the Starfleet bulding from the hotel, but has been warned about walking in the area. He will await his host as the teleportation devices aren't working.

As an aside, this hotel seems very popular with flight crew. There seems to be a daily influx of crew from at least a couple of airlines.

...

Well it's 13 hours later and it has been a long day in the office (and the Gorse Fox would say how nice the Starfleet offices are in São Paulo). Must say that the day was quite stimulating and tomorrow look interesting too. However the Gorse Fox is being picked up at 07:00 which seems a little excessive.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

That's better

The Gorse Fox finally got into his room, and dropped onto the bed for two hours shut-eye. It probably wasn't enough but it certainly helped. A long hot shower was next on the agenda before the Gorse Fox  sat down at the laptop to review documents in preparation for tomorrow.

I suspect it will be an early night tonight (currently it's 19:43)

That sinking feeling

Batteries beginning to run low on phones... and still the Gorse Fox has to wait for a room to be available (check-in is officially 3pm - that's another three and a quarter hours). He wants to get in, shower, rest and then review files he has been sent, ready for tomorrow.

By now, he's high on strong Brazillian coffee, but delving into his pack he withdraws his universal charger. He fiddles for a bit and then gets that sinking feeling. He can't see the appropriate setting for local power socket.

He starts to play with the plug like a Rubik's cube. He was getting worried that he would have to buy yet another power adapter. Finally he recognises a setting he hadn't tried. Voila! One of the phones is now on charge. 

Democratisation

The democratisation of travel has resuted in some great benefits for the world, but has also thrown up some disadvantages. Some cases in point make you wonder if some travellers should be out without supervision. As we queued in the interminable immigration line at São Paulo (2 747s full of passengers and only 3 immigration staff on duty for non-Brazillian visitors), the Gorse Fox overheard a discussion.

A "sweet young man", probably in his late twenties (clearly a Civil Servant judging by some of his other comments) admitted that he had gone to a a corner shop and asked the proprietor to get him a cabbage - admitting that while he had eaten cabbage he didn't know what they looked like. He then went on to explain to a nearby middle-aged couple how a cabbage is like a really dense lettuce.

Eventually the Gorse Fox was through and marched out into the arrivals hall. Mr. Pedro was there waiting and Gorse Fox slipped into the back of his car and headed off for the hotel. Unfortunately, it so early that there were no rooms ready, so Gorse Fox is waiting in the lounge to get a key, a shower, and some (additional) sleep having only managed a few fitfull hours on the plane.

Weather has been a bit overcast so far, and there have been a couple of light showers. Temperature is pleasant at 21c... and the Gorse Fox can see some blue patches in the sky to the west.

Stretch

07:52 (GMT) Flying over Belo Horizonte at prresent.

The Gorse Fox really needs a good stretch. Trapped in this seat for the past 9 or 10 hours is making him fidgety. At this point we are only an hour from landing and the plane is getting noisy again as the breakfasts are distributed and consumed.

Fairly naff choice of films and TV shows. The Gorse Fox chose Elysium which was a fairly interesting view of dystopian future where the rich live on an orbiting space station and the poor stay on the earth and are kept in line by robots. In the end, Gorse Fox would admit he enjoyed it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Herding cats

The Gorse Fox made his way to the gate, along with half the population of Brazil. The instruction said to take a seat and await the announcement of your row. Only a few complied and the gate crew were loosing control. It was clear that herding cats would be infinitely more simple. Gorse Fox's fellow passengers were an elemental force and were as excitable as school kids on additives. Careful analysis told the Gorse Fox that the staff should have been issued with megaphones, whips, and cattle prods.

When finally it was time to board the chaos got worse. Travellers seemed to wander to the vicinity of their seat and then stand chatting in aisle rather than let people through. Gorse Fox finally got to his seat and found that he could just get a sheet of paper between his knees and the seat in front, and anyone who has ever had a sqaure meal would find the seat width tight. Oh yes, and person in front has just reclined her seat and in doing so thrust the ipad up the Gorse Fox's nose.

Go

A very nice taxi driver kept me entertained the whole way to Heathrow. Security was a little slow, but nothing too inconvenient. Now the Gorse Fox is waiting for the allocation of the correct gate number, and may partake of some medicinal liquids to stave off any dehydration - in advance.

Ready.... steady....

Gorse Fox is packed and virtually read to go. Any one that knows him will know this is his usual approach as he hates leaving stuff to the last minute. Travelling can impose enough stress, without artificially increasing it with procrastination.

Preparations

Gorse Fox is up and about. There is lots to prepare and some errands to run before he heads off to Brazil tonight.

Friday, March 21, 2014

In the swing

The last day of the course went very well. By this point, the Gorse Fox was in the swing of it and thoroughly enjoying himself - possible more to the point, the students seemed to be enjoying it also. Certainly the feedback sheets were very very positive.

At lunchtime, GF was pleased to see an old colleague - who had retired several years ago - sitting in the Starfleet restaurant. We had a brief chat about the meaning of life, the Universe, and the cost of fish - and generally put the world back on its axis.

The course closed down by mid-afternoon and GF was soon on the road. Despite the Friday traffic on the M40, round Oxford, round Winchester, and round Chichester, he still managed to get home before the early evening news.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Course Day 2

Well that was the second day of the course over and done with. Again the Gorse Fox only had two modules to deliver (out of 6 today) but even still he found it both stimulating and remarkably draining (if you can have both of these at once).

The Gorse Fox has been asked to teach this course again after Easter - so that is now 3 more courses; one in the UK, one in Spain, and one on Germany.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Course Day 1

A leisurrely breakfast before heading to the Starfleet offices and the start of the course, The Gorse Fox was nervous. It is a long time since he has taught a class, and particularly one that he had not written. 

The class turned up and were split into their four teams ready for their case study and their exercises. The lesson began with Capt. Picard leading the first session before the Gorse Fox took over and ran his first modue. He overran somewhat, but it did go well. Another session in the afternoon also went very well, the Gorse Fox was back in the swing of it.

Back at the hotel, Gorse Fox is preparing for tomorrow's sessions.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Away

Another day working on course preparation and now that widened out to include reading background information regarding the Brazil project. And yes, finally the information is through so that Gorse Fox has got his authority to travel. Flights and hotel are booked, and the Gorse Fox is heading to Latin America on Saturday.

The Gorse Fox's pre-retirement world tour seems to extend further. Yesterday it was a request to teach in Madrid, today there is another request, this time for Frankfurt. The Gorse Fox has asked if any courses were required in Hawaii or Australia, but it seems they don't feature in the plans.

The Gorse Fox left late afternoon to head up to Warwick ready for the morning.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Manic Monday

No not really.

It was a busy day, but far from manic. The Gorse Fox was spending another day preparing for this week's course. It is moderately easy to deliver a course, if you have written it yourself. You understand the flow of the lessons, and you know what to expect next. When the course was written by someone else, you have to try and learn that flow, and work out the links from one slide to the nest. So it was that Monday was spent wading through slides and writing new notes and transitions.

Other highlights were a request to go to Madrid next month to deliver the course again, and an hour on the phone with a colleague getting the background on the Brazil project - on the assumption that they get their collective finger out and send me the codes to get the authorisations in place.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Visitors

We had visitors.

Betty and Barney Rubble came to visit. After all the trials and tribulations we suffered whilst trying to sell our house, you would have thought they would have learnt a lesson; but no. They have decided to put their house on the market so they are going through the process of redecoration and tidying up ready to call in the agents.

We had lunch down at the Old Stables. It will never set the culinary world alight (short of a kitchen fire), but it is dependably good and friendly.

Back home, it was an afternoon of chat and family news over tea and scones, before they made their way home, early evening.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Unbelievable

Did you know that the grass that GF had cut so assiduously last year has started to grow again?

It seems that this is not a one-off consequence of last summer's weather (or global warming), but is happening again. GF has spent the last hour or so walking back and forth with the mower, trimming the grass to its optimum length. Now that's down, he trusts he won't need to do it again.

Friday, March 14, 2014

PRPD

Today is another Pre-Retirement Practice Day. This meant a leisurely start and breakfast with the Silver Vixen. After that the day just ticked over nicely. Early fog meant the lawns were very wet, and though GF had planned to give them the first cut of the year, it was clear that would not be practical. He will have to try again tomorrow.

GF was waiting for some information to send to the guys in Brazil, but in the end it took a mid-afternoon call to elicit the facts and get them sent off.

This didn't stop us from going out and taking a stroll round the local John Lewis store... GF had ordered a further component for the Sonos system, and had been informed it was now waiting in the store.

Back home the new speaker was installed in the Silver Vixen's refurbished hobby room, and before long was streaming radio to her whilst she continued the big sort-out that had been in progress since the new furniture was built last Saturday.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Back in Surrey

It was a foggy start, which made the drive up to the wastelands of Surrey a little more interesting. Gorse Fox's current audiobook drew to an end, and a new one began.

The Surrey project was expecting an influx of new (contractor) architects and GF was there to meet them. In the end a meet-and-greet turned in to an all workshop (rather unexpectedly). Seems like we have a good bunch, and they seem to have been chosen well. We spent time talking about what was expected, working for Starfleet, the Gorse Fox described the process by which such projects are run. A German colleague then provided a briefing on the client and the project itself, at which point we brought in the project managers that the newbies will work with.

Overall - a good day.

Was please to see an old colleague as GF prepared to leave the building. GF stopped and had a chat about the good old days and various colleagues with whom we had worked twenty or so years ago. It was funny since he had been re-reading an old diary, at the weekend, discussing a business trip he had taken to New York and Chicago with some of those very people.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On Course

Well, strictly speaking, not on a course but the Gorse Fox is working at home preparing to give a course next week. He's on course to give a course. As he is not the author of the material, he is going through, slide by slide, writing up notes on each and making reference to particular examples. It's time-consuming, but necessary.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Travel - really?

Gorse Fox is liking this new role. He has just been asked if he could free up some time to go to Brasil and conduct a complex project review before the end of the month. No doubt there are a few hurdles to leap, and it may not happen, but at least there is the offer. That wouldn't have happened in the old job.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Concentrate

The Gorse Fox has been working at home today - it enables him to concentrate on a single issue at a time rather than receiving external interrupts all the time.

Living in Fontwell has the advantage that we are only 5 miles from the public recycling centre. This meant that during his lunch break GF had plenty of time to finish disposing of the junk from yesterday.

Good day all round - but nothing too exciting.

Change / Catch up

The Starfleet systems have finally caught up. They now reflect the fact that GF has transferred to a different division... even though he has effectively been working for that Division since the beginning of December.

This will probably mean a whole new portfolio of junk mail arriving each day... and he bets that the old junk mail will not cease quickly. (Indeed he has just read some this morning that implies his utilisation targets for the year would have increased by several % had he stayed put).

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Deed is done

It may have taken all day, but the deed is done.

(A bit bright aren't they?)

Working, like yesterday, as a team, Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen have gutted the study, emptied the 10 remaining removal boxes, put up the new shelving units and moved the desks.

The old shelving has been taken to the recycling centre, and all of the cardboard boxes, and general junk has been loaded into the car ready for a quick trip to the tip tomorrow lunchtime.

Everything is plugged back in and the tested and everything has survived the upheaval.

Study

The Gorse Fox is about to rip his study apart and reorganise with new shelving units. This means a major shift around. Hopefully everything will go back together at the end of it!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Withdrawn

The Gorse Fox has had to inform Tim Sherwood that he's not available for the game against Chelsea this evening. The dismantling of the old furniture, the building of the new, and the disposal of the debris at the local recycling centre, has left the Gorse Fox with tight hamstrings and insufficient time to get to get to the ground.

Besides which, he fancies a curry.

Power

800W Sabre saw did the trick.... though it frightened the blazes out of Jasper the cat - particular as it ate through wood and screws.
All done now - just need to shift the debris out of the way and start taking the new units upstairs so that they can be assembled on site.

Engineered not built

The Gorse Fox is starting to dismantle the old furniture in the Silver Vixen's hobby room. It is clear the old book shelves came apart easily - the unit that the Gorse Fox constructed, however, looks likely to withstand a nuclear attack. No chance of dismantling. Only option is destruction!

Friday, March 07, 2014

An abundance of boxes

The men from IKEA arrived at eight o'clock this morning. Boxes emerged from the back of the truck and slowly the Gorse Fox's study has filled up with flatpack furniture for the Silver Vixen's hobby room and the Gorse Fox's future study.

He suspects this will be an industrious weekend.

Smirkle II

The Gorse Fox has contacted the team at the Scottish project to try an get an understanding of the challenges they are currently facing.

It is clear that they still have to deal with the general mendacity of those involved. It is clear that exec on all sides are making commitments without a full understanding of the impact (or even feasibility) of their statements. What amused the Gorse Fox most was the fact that it has finally dawned on them that GF was right (though they will never admit that). Regular readers may remember that last November GF likened their approach to a car manufacturer building and opening a showroom before working out where to build some cars (that they had yet designed). Well it turns out that is a fine analogy and they are now demanding the "car plant" be provisioned immediately.

Gorse Fox is so glad he is out of there.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Smirkle

That's a cross between a smirk and chuckle.

The Gorse Fox has been asked to look at a project and see if anything can be done to get it back on track. The reason for the smirkle is that the project in question is a certain Scottish project with which his is intimately acquainted - and who had steadfastly refused to take any of his advice when he worked on it!

GF better play the good Starfleet citizen and at least talk with the teams involved - but he has n intention of getting involved (at any depth) again.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Surrey again

The Gorse Fox was in Surrey again today. Interestingly the project has finally got a new Programme Director - and it is someone GF used to work with back in the late 90s. It was nice to see him again and will be nice to have someone at the helm who can distinguish between a large muscular area at the bottom of the spine and a hinged joint in the arm.

Meanwhile the saga of the person unhappy with the appraisal ticks on. GF has been archive emails from each of his former team... typically about 40 emails over the year. Not this person, though. 385 emails in six months! Rarely has he come across a more joyless, and cantankerous individual who seems to revel in confrontation and offence even when none is there. Said individual was born in the wrong time. Said individual would have been better suited to being a shop steward in the 1970s.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Out and about

So the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed for Brighton. The Silver Vixen had an appointment to fulfil and the Gorse Fox killed some time wandering around the shops. Once back together we settled down for a coffee and plotted out the rest of the day.

First stop was JB's American Diner where we planned a light lunch.

This didn't quite work out. To start with, we headed the wrong way along the front before realising we had missed it and turned back. Then we settled down with the menu. Something light. Maybe a club sandwich? Would that be enough? We decided to have a starter.

Mistake. The starter was big enough that GF left half of his. When the club sandwich turned up, GF marvelled that one waitress could carry it alone. It looked as if it would need at least two people - or one person with a trolley. Silver Vixen had ordered the same and was finding it difficult to see the Gorse Fox over the top of hers.

Needless to say, we did not finish.

Next stop was Bersted Park and an opportunity to touch base with the developers of the new house. Clearly all is still going well and it was nice to catch up on all the latest news. We now know who our neighbours will be. Indeed, it turns out that we met them on one of earlier and spent quite some time chatting with them.

Pre-retirement Practice

PrP continues today. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen plan to head across to Brighton.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Transfer

As you may remember, Gorse Fox is in the middle of a transfer. Whilst Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Spurs have shown no interest in his services, another Division within Starfleet has made him and offer. This is finally going through and within the next few days he should be part of the new organisation.

A by-product of the transfer is that he no longer has to worry about being a manager for a number of professionals. His access to the sensitive HR systems has been revoked, and his old team have been scattered to new managers. Some residual responsibilities will peter away over the next few weeks. As much as the Gorse Fox cared for his team, he is not sorry to lose the extra responsibilities.


Sunday, March 02, 2014

Controversy

Whilst the Gorse Fox and Jasper awaited yesterday's return of the Silver Vixen, the door bell rang. Jasper scurried to the top of the stairs and watched and GF opened the door to nice lady clutching a handful of car stickers.

There is to be a public meeting to consult on the development of new houses nearby. Would the Gorse Fox put a "NO" sticker in his window. The Gorse Fox paused, smiled and entered into a debate.

  • With the change in the make-up of the family and the migration of people to the South, and continued immigration - people have to live somewhere.
  • The Government have imposed house-building targets on the Regions, and the Councils have to comply.
  • Given these two imperatives - and the extensive building that is already under way elsewhere in the District, why should the houses not be built here?
  • Fontwell has the advantage of being on the intersection of the A27 and A29, and has a nearby railway station at Barnham
This caused an intake in breath. Well, she explained, there is an old Roman road, and have been historic finds in the area - and the Secretary of State declined permission 19 years ago. More pertinently the proposed development would radically change the nature of the village - doubling its current size... and what about the recent flooding?

The Gorse Fox discussed each of her points and commented that he wished her campaign well, and was encouraged by the community involvement that it engendered - but could not support the proposition. She then said that what was needed was someone like the Gorse Fox on the Planning Committee of the District Council.

The problem is that planning decisions are so emotive as they change the perceived quality of life of those affected. In practise GF suspects that in most cases this is really just a period of adjustment and adaptation - but people do not like change. They do have to realise, however, that people need homes and we have an ever growing population - and the fragmentation of families means that we need disproportionately more homes than the population growth would suggest, traditionally.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Quiet Saturday

The Silver Vixen was out with her coven (as she will be tomorrow, also). There was a regional event at Chichester - so they all headed off for their jamboree.

Gorse Fox made use of the time with a trip to Rustington and a look at the Mini garage. Once back, laden with the appropriate brochures, GF started to put together a comparison of the vehicles that have made it to the short list. As you so often find, when doing these comparisons, it can throw up some surprises. Ostensibly the Honda Jazz looks like a great little car, but seems to attract an insurance rating of 17, whereas the Toyota Yaris and Auris only attract a rating of 7 or 8.

Whilst there is a clear leader in the selection of the main family vehicle - the small run-about is proving a challenge.