Saturday, May 31, 2014

Check

We went to check on the new house. The agents had told us the hoardings had been moved and the scaffolding was down. The builders still will not allow us anywhere near the house, but there is a vantage point from which GF can take his long distance photos.

We arrived at the vantage point. Some of the hoardings were indeed down - but not those which obscured the ground floor of our house. From what we could see, the tiled sections of the walls was complete and everything was looking fairly clear.

Reality check.

The Gorse Fox had another reality check this morning. An official-looking letter dropped through the letter box. He opened it with a certain degree of trepidation, wondering if there had been some problem with his taxes or NI payments.

No.

It was an invitation from the DWP to apply for the Winter Fuel Payment for 2014/15. Pah!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Err, you know you...

The Gorse Fox got a call at lunch time.
"Hello, it's Captain Jean-Luc Picard here, how are you?"
"Fine thanks. How can I help?" GF replied.
"Well. It's just a thought but...."
"Yes. Go on." GF's warning antennae started to twitch
"You know you are retiring on 4th July."
"Yes."
"Well, you wouldn't fancy coming back on contract for 6 months or so. would you? We'll make it worth your while."
He then went on to quote the contract rates for someone like the Gorse Fox. And it would probably mean spending a fair bit of time in Madrid, which is an attractive thought (if the Silver Vixen could come along - but then what about the Jasper the cat). It was hard not to be tempted, but then the Gorse Fox isn't driven by money. He promised he would think about it, but in the next breath suggested that Deep Blue would be another very capable candidate.

Thinking about it, Jasper the Cat could probably take on one of the Project Management roles. Based on recent experiences he would be just as effective.

GF and Deep Blue had a long chat over Facetime. GF felt he should brief him, in case the call came in. In doing so he found out that the Scottish Project is worried they don't have a particular strategy defined - and here they are 12 months into the programme. GF pointed out they do - because GF wrote it, and pointed Deep Blue at the document. A few minutes reading and it was clear this addressed just the sort of things they wanted - but because they never listened to a word GF said - they didn't know they had it. If only Jasper the Cat had been there!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Middle Earth

The Gorse Fox had an early start. He had a meeting in Starfleet's offices in Middle Earth. He was delighted by how quiet the traffic seemed - forgetting that it was half term and therefore many people were on holiday.

Once he had arrived in Middle Earth, breakfast was the first priority and whilst heading for the restaurant he bumped into the Mighty Atom. It was nice to see him, though we didn't have long to chat. Maybe next week we will get longer as GF is teaching in Middle Earth for much of the week.

The meeting that GF was there to attend went well and it is clear that the work he has been doing was well appreciated. We went through the outstanding items, and agreed a policy for each of them and also prioritised the key documents.

The journey home was less successful - a broken down lorry on the slip road from the M40 to A34 causing a 90 minute delay.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Progress

An email just arrived from the house builders. The email carries a photo which is a view of the chappie laying the floor in the hallway of the new house. The photo is a little dark, but it looks good so far. Clearly the plastering, painting, and second fix electrics are done in the hallway - though the photo doesn't show any other parts of the house.

It's nice to see progress.

Re-certify

One of the great things about Starfleet's "Architecture" profession is the rigour which is applied in the process of advancing through the various grades. This is further enhanced by the requirement to re-certify every three years - and this means showing that you have attended relevant education, showing that you are using and extending yours skills, and showing that you are giving something back to the profession.

The Gorse Fox is at the highest level of certification, and this morning has received an email reminding him that he needs to re-certify before November to retain his qualification. (Yes, you can drop back down through the ranks as well).

He chuckles to himself as he deletes the email. Another hoop through which he no longer has to jump!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Benefits

One of the benefits of the Gorse Fox's advanced age is that he is now eligible for a Senior Railcard. This affords him a significant discount on railway travel (off-peak). Examining this for a trip to London next month, GF was pleased to see that with tube and bus travel included it was only £15.50 return, and if GF wanted to tie himself to a specific train, he could get to London for £5.30 and get home for £3.30.

The Gorse Fox can't complain about that! To make things even cheaper, if GF books through Starfleet's Rewards program, he can get a further discount.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Now that's a Relief

Gorse Fox has problem with the web server on his MAC. This means that he cannot use his private blog until it gets resolved. However, he has written a number of programs over the last few years that can access the underlying database. Checking these out during the morning, he realises he can still place entries in his private blog, even if he currently can't see them.

He concludes that the sooner he moves this function off the MAC and onto a dedicated Raspberry Pi, the better. Having said that - while he might dabble a bit - he doesn't plan to get too far into that until he retires and has lots of time.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

ADF

Well the cat got the Gorse Fox up and out of bed at six-thirty this morning. It was a gorgeous morning so he wasn't too troubled by the unearthly hour. He has spent much of the morning going though old files and scanning documents that have some inherent long-term interest or value. He must say that he is glad of the "automatic document feed" feature of his device as he has been able to load it up and let chug away in the corner.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Paper reduction therapy

Let's start by stating quite clearly: "the lawns need mowing".

But it had been wet overnight, so GF had to wait for it to dry out (hoping that we would not get more rain). He retired to his study and a little paper reduction therapy. Papers were examined and either discarded, shredded, or scanned-filed-and-shredded. Several hours later the computer's hard drives were many tens of megabytes more full, the shredder had been emptied several times, and the waste bin was overflowing.

Most therapeutic.

Knowing how long it takes us to select furniture and furnishings, we headed out to start the selection process for a new living room suite for the new house. Not easy as we have not yet got the feel of it and thought about how we would use it - in practise. It was worth starting the process though. It has enabled us to determine what we don't want, even if it hasn't helped find what we do want.

We got back home. It still hadn't rained. In fact the sun was shining. Out came the power cable and the lawn mower. Gorse Fox wandered up and down, and finally got the lawns back to a presentable length.

Less therapeutic, but satisfying none-the-less.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Bile

The Gorse Fox worries about the effect of social media. It has so many positive aspects, but it does seem to draw some desperately unpleasant behaviours out of people.

The Election on Thursday was a case in point. Reading through some of the comment on the social media it was depressing that so much vitriol and bile could be spewed at anyone who took a differing view from that of the commentator.

GF believes his views are fairly middle-of-the-road and balanced, but is interested to see reasoned debate on alternative views. All he actually saw was demonstrations of filthy language and bullying.

The empirical evidence of these outpourings show the total intolerance that those on left seem to have, and their ability to ignore or deny facts whilst spreading disinformation. Gorse Fox is sure it is not limited to those supporters of the left... but they were by far the majority involved yesterday. It always worries the Gorse Fox that there is a group in society who seem to base their ideology on sharing the wealth of others, without the aspiration of working to achieve wealth of their own. This destructive "politics of envy" is divisive and self-defeating, and like the emotion of hate it feeds on its followers.

Tick

That's another week done. Only six to go. Three of those GF was meant to be teaching, but Starfleet's accountants have deemed education to to be superfluous - so now there will be only one week of teaching.

Gorse Fox has also "announced" his retirement to his circle of friends within Starfleet (hoping he hasn't missed anyone). He is now trying to arrange an opportunity to meet with them all for a farewell drink.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sssh

Quiet day working at home. Only a few teleconference calls to break the silence - well, that and the hail and thunder that has punctuated the periods of sunshine.

We heard from Cousteau-cub, who is - of course - in Thailand. She was writing to tell us not to worry about the military coup; but that she may have limitations to her internet access. As she said, it is the third or fourth such incident since she first went out there - and it doesn't really affect them too much on the islands (though TV goes off at 7pm). Also there is a curfew in place - but it doesn't really have any impact on them as they are tucked up at home by the time it comes into force (and there's probably no military on the island to enforce it, anyway).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Result

Well that was a result.

Firstly, despite having to be at Starfleet by ten, the Gorse Fox had a terrific run through and had time for a coffee before the workshop started.

Secondly, the workshop went really well. It makes such a difference when the sales drones shut up and let the technical staff talk and discuss what needs to be done. As a result we seem to have closed the deal in terms of the client's due diligence - now the commercial functionaries have to release the prices.

(Meanwhile GF is resisting getting sucked in to a meeting next week to cover the same material again).

Workshop

The Gorse Fox is heading back to the Starfleet Offices near Heathrow for all day workshop. He took a call last night from a sales drone who insisted on giving him lots of advice regarding the his document (which will be the subject of the workshop). GF has studiously ignored every word.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

London Calling

The Gorse Fox seems to have been on the end of a silly number of calls from colleagues in London. Evidently his intervention yesterday has triggered a flurry of "help" from some of Starfleet's commercial and sales troops. As a result he has spent most of the day explaining some basics to them, or slapping them down when they got silly.

GF will have to head back up there tomorrow.

Monday, May 19, 2014

At last

The Gorse Fox has finally received his confirmation from Starfleet that he can retire on 4th July as hoped.

Saved

Looks like Gorse Fox saved the day. The client meeting went well, and now Gorse Fox has a couple of days work to do, but looks like we have a deal.

All Change

Panic text message over the weekend changed the Gorse Fox's plan for the day. He would have to head up to Starfleet's centre near Heathrow. It was clear that several things had conflated to cause some concern at the end of last week - and GF was in the frame to try and sort it out.

Fortunately, he did not have to be there until mid morning, so left home towards the end of the rush hour. This made the journey far more palatable.

Having spent the morning debating and preparing GF now awaits the arrival of the client.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cross country

We had a hearty breakfast and then packed our things. We had decided to head home across country.
We drove through Bredon and down towards Pershore and from there across to Broadway.

At Broadway we took a detour to go and see the famous Broadway Tower. The views were immense.

Then it was on to Stow-in-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water, Cirencester, Marlborough, Hungerford, Winchester, Cheriton, Petersfield, South Harting. Lavant and home.

It was a beautiful drive, taking in some wonderful scenery and some beautiful villages and towns.

Over all, it was a great weekend.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Making a Meal of It

Evening was approaching. What would we do for dinner? A cream tea had punctuated the afternoon, but that would not see us through until morning. The Gorse Fox looked at various "apps" for advice and plumped for a restaurant call My Great Grandfathers.

He called and whilst they were fully booked, one table was available until eight-thirty. So if we were happy to eat early, they could accommodate us.
We like to eat early, so this was no hardship. We leapt into the car and headed to Tewkesbury. The restaurant was almost opposite the Abbey and we were the first patrons for the evening.

Well, GF knows Tewkesbury fairly well, and cannot believe he had not eaten here before, but had always assumed it was a tea room rather than restaurant.

What a find it turned out to be. The food was absolutely exquisite, and the service was attentive, yet discreet. GF highly recommends it, but advises you to book ahead.

After dinner we need to let the meal settle, so took a gentle walk round Tewkesbury.

Countryside 2

The walk continued down the Severn towards Tewkesbury and crossed to the Avon at The Mythe.

On the Avon side, the views were much more bucolic. Having said that, the Gorse Fox did divert his planned route at one point when an angry sheep started bellowing at him. He left the planned path and took an alternative for a few hundred yards before cutting back to the original route - way beyond the irritable ovine.
There were more people using the River than GF had seen on the walk. This view was taken, looking back towards Tewkesbury.
One of the advantages of a good zoom lens is the ability to pick out features of distant shapes. The Gorse Fox could see this church nestling between the trees, but could not really pick up any detail. Now he can look at the photo on the big screen, it is much clearer.

The hot weather was taking its toll. It had been a long tome since GF had been on a decent walk and he was out of practice. The route was heading inexorably towards Twyning, and the Gorse Fox has become acquainted with a good pub by the Rivera at Twyning.

A long cold cider was calling across the fields and GF quickened his pace; it would be rude to keep it waiting.

After a refreshing stop, GF carried on through the village and back up to Puckrup, where he had started.

Countryside 1

It was a stunning day. We went down to breakfast and watched a few golfers wandering aimlessly about the course under an unblemished canopy of blue. The sun was beating down and it was already getting quite warm.

The first thing on the agenda was to take the Silver Vixen across to Malvern for the Quilt Show. We headed off and soon got stuck behind a silver Renault Clio who was so worried about exceeding a speed limit, that the hat that was driving reduced speed to 5 mph beneath the limit. As we entered a series of roadworks with and advisory 20mph limit, this became silly. The Gorse Fox had instantly assessed where this person was headed; and so it was that we followed her all the way to Quilt Show.



Having dropped off the Silver Vixen, GF headed back to the hotel and donned his walking boots. It was time to take a stroll.

He headed down Puckrup Lane towards the River Severn, turning south just after the old, disused railway bridge. The ground was still a bit squelchy here, where it had obvious flooded during the winter, but it soon firmed up as he headed across the fields.

Because of the routes of the Public Footpaths and Bridleways, GF was a bit further from the River than had hoped, but the views were lovely, and so quintessentially English.

Everything was so lush and the green was so fresh and vibrant. Being May, the trees were in blossom.
The GF had been going for some 30-40 minutes and had not seen another human being. This, somehow, makes you feel as if everything in view is yours - you do not have to share it.








Looking back they way he had come, the fields were dappled with drifts of buttercups, and in the background the Malvern Hills kept watch over the Worcestershire and Gloucestershire countryside.











As the Gorse Fox followed the paths, the route got more challenging. This section followed the old railway embankment and was quite overgrown. Nettles grew above waist height, and in a number of places there were trees or branches down across the path.

The Gorse Fox had to scramble across and balance upon a number of fallen trees, and managed to finally emerge at the far end with only a moderate number of stings and scratches.

Friday, May 16, 2014

This afternoon

We are staying in a lovely spot near Tewkesbury
and went to a nearby pub by the river for our evening meal.


More Practise

Another pre-retirement practise day today.

Right to forget

It seems that the Court has made a ruling regrading the people's right to be forgotten. That is they can ask to be removed from the search results on various search engines. Already there has been a flurry of requests to Google from all manner of knaves and ne'er do wells. Given that one such knave was an MP who has asked for unfavourable articles to be removed - its seems to me that it only a matter of time before Blair and Brown ask to be eradicated from history.

By the way - the ruling does demand that the articles which report or criticise are removed - only the links from the search engine. So this means:

  1. knaves, cads, perverts, and villains can ask to be removed from Google's search - but what about all the other search engines? Will they have to ask each separately.
  2. Should the requests be subject to freedom of information styled requests.
  3. The article is not removed, so you can write your own search to crawl the net for information (something we used to do a lot in the early days of the web). It may be slow, but it should still work.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Updates

One of the enduring challenges of working with computers, and this is very noticeable in Starfleet, is the need to keep them up to date to ensure that security is maintained and that you have the latest (ROFL) features available to allow you to complete your work.

To this end, Starfleet have started to roll-out the latest version of one of their more prevalent packages. This involves an 800MB download and the completion of several arcane rituals. Three hours later GF is still watching his laptop go through the process - for the second time as the first one didn't work. This is no great hardship as he doesn't feel disposed towards handling his email at present.

Talking of updates - something has changed on GF's Mac and in so doing has broken his private blogging software. This is a bit of a pain as he now has to start debugging that when he gets time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Funny Old Day

It's a funny old day - moments of intense activity, and periods of relative boredom. Contract writing is now finished, and GF has given some advice regarding presentation to the client. GF has now washed his hands of this work.

Urban-cub turned up. The Gorse Fox had bought tickets for the Silver Vixen and Urban-cub to go and see the dancers, Vincent and Flavia. The tickets have been stuck to the fridge for months - but the day has finally arrived. They headed off to Woking, late morning. GF got an email from U-c a few minutes ago to say what wonderful seats they had and they were getting quite excited.

U-c also returned the old Samsung Netbook she had been borrowing. She had warned the Gf a while back that some liquid had been spilled and the keyboard was not working. GF has found a local business that will refurbish it for him, so he'll drop the Netbook off on Friday. It will be nice to get it working fully again, now that he's got it back... and will have to return his work laptop soon.

GF is finding it hard to "get stuck in" this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cutting

The Gorse Fox was buried in the contract. The first two calls of the day were over and it was time to tidy up the main parts of the contract. It drives the Gorse Fox mad to find, yet again, that the people who put the template together really have no idea how to use MS Word, its language locale, or its styles. This made the job tedious as the paragraphs switched form UK English to US English, and some headers were styles, whilst others were normal text that had been rendered bold and expanded. For goodness sake, this is a basic tool of our trade - Learn how to use it!

The doorbell rang. Gorse Fox opened it to a big chap in work overalls who introduced himself as Andy. It turns out that he is the brother of the landlord and had been dispatched to assess what needed to be down regrading the hedges and shrubs. We wandered round the grounds and the Silver Vixen passed on her recommendations. He nodded, he assessed, he measured and concluded there was a lot to do. (Well there would be, we have been asking the landlord to attend to this since July last year). Andy needs to check back with his brother, but expects to return over a weekend to get it done. At last.

Starfleet had another mandatory online training course. Gorse Fox had avoided it for too long. Finally he got round to completing it. It took a lot longer than expected, but as far as these courses go, it was one of the most practical and useful.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday, ahhh Monday

The Gorse Fox is beginning to savour Mondays. After all there are only a few more to go before they become part of his weekend. Today was no different - GF was committed to help out by writing up the contract for the bid he has been reviewing... and throughout the morning he was sent a number of previously used samples. This made life a lot easier as he didn't have to invent from scratch. He made good progress, but there is more to do tomorrow.

He finished the day responding to an email from Taiwan. It's funny how the problems we are dealing with here seem to translate all over the world. The issue to addressed was the same as that we are handling here in the UK, the same as that GF reviewed in Madrid, the same as that GF reviewed in Brazil... and now seems to be a challenge for Taiwan.

Talking of Brazil, Roy Hodgson named the England squad for the World Cup in Rio. I must say that I think he has made some good and brave decisions. There is a small cadre of experienced players to provide stability - but also a large contingent of new young players who have done well this season in the domestic game. I think it could be an interesting tournament... and can't wait for it to start.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Domestic Day

As we struggle on without any domestic staff (you just cannot get people of the right calibre any more), the day has been dedicated to chores.

There was no mechanic available, so GF took the larger wagon down to a nearbyMotor Garage in order to check the amount of air that was nestling within the tyres. Then we had to return and GF helped the Silver Vixen with some mail - as she no longer has a secretary to relied on. Having printed various forms regarding the sale of her mother's country residence, Gorse Fox left he to it.

Then without a housemaid, GF mucked-in to help with some ironing. He did this whilst watching the football, so it was no real hardship.

It is clear that this is unsustainable, however, and next time GF travels to the north, he will have to see if he can employ some more domestic staff.

Highlight of the day was a call from Beloved Aunt. Just a general chat and catch-up, but really must try to find an opportunity to head to the distant areas of the Commonwealth and visit her.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Out Visiting

It was day of changes - a strong south-westerly was sending the clouds scudding across the sky. With them cam short sharp showers, but in between it was bright and warm.

We headed out from Fontwell, crossing the Downs between Lavant and South Harting and onwards through Petersfiled and Alto to Old Basing. Betty and Barney Rubble have just sold their bungalow there, so it may be one of the last times we follow that particular route.

After an initial coffee and chat we headed off to "The Leather Bottle" at Mattingley for an early lunch. Over the years we have often eaten here, but the Gorse Fox would observe that recently it has really stepped up a gear and serves some fantastic dishes. Even several hours later he is savouring the pleasure of the bread and butter pudding with apricot sauce and clotted cream.

Back in Old Basing we spent an afternoon chatting and gossiping about all and sundry - new houses, flooring, family, laptops, sewing, friends, education, multi-culturalism and heaven's alone knows what else. Absolutely lovely day.

Had a very quick run home and during the evening GF saw a tweet from Clive Harris regarding a walk in Mohonk. GF used to walk in the Mohonks and nearby Minnewaska (Shawungunks) when he was working in Starfleet's Mid Hudson Valley offices. He tweeted back his recommended routes... but was appalled to find that he cannot track down any of the photos he took during those walks.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Non-productive

The Gorse Fox had not planned to achieve much today. He was expecting a very busy day handling calls and reviews related to bid he has been discussing.

As it happens, there were no significant calls and no reviews. Indeed the one call there was went something like this:
 "Hi Gorse Fox, can you be free to present to the client next week? We want to put the Programme Exec in front of them" was the opening gambit. 
"Well, the Gorse Fox could make time to present to the client, but not as the PE." came the counter. 
"Oh! Why is that?" the voice said, gearing up for an argument. 
"Well, the Programme is slated to start on 1st of July, right?" queried the Gorse Fox 
"Yes" came the reply 
"Well Gorse Fox retires on 4th July." Checkmate.
There was a stunned silence at the end of the phone. Then a sheepish "I can't really argue with that, can I?"

Anyway, being geared up for calls and discussions, GF has not really been mentally attuned to the continued development of his project asset portfolio. As a result he has only managed to add about 5 items to the "done" pile... leaving 128 to work through. Today, clearly, is not going to be the day.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Pfffft

Not such a productive day today. Whilst the Gorse Fox has finished off modifications to two key documents (so all was not lost), he has spent significant chunks of the day on teleconferences to discuss the bid he has been reviewing. This has not been helped by a change in direction from the customer which requires a lot of rework, and an expectation that he will still get the answer tomorrow.

In Starfleet, nothing is quite that simple... we need to discuss these things and get permission to release information.

So, talking of these teleconferences, it does amuse the Gorse Fox how much "help" is available from managers - who clearly have very little (if any) understanding of the problem being addressed, the variables involved, or the approach we take in solving such problems. To put this in perspective, it is like knowing you have £100 to spend on books; the problem we are trying to solve is how expensive the individual books are and how many we can buy for the price. The "help" we are getting is "why don't you work out how many £20, £10, and £5 notes you have - and how much loose change". Doh!

Gorse Fox got a message from his manager. All but one of the retirement authorisations have come through - the case now goes to HR and Starfleet Corporate. Expectation is that things are coming together. That brightened the day.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Busy

It was a very busy day. Several phone calls interrupted the progress on GF's portfolio of documents - and one document started a completely separate chain of thought. This latter diversion may cost a few hours, but GF believes it will eventually prove to be a significant enhancement.

The phone calls were part of Starfleet's bid release process. This is the governance that ensures the response is actually affordable and actually addresses the customer's request. (Surprising how often this isn't the case). This process demanded yet another document from GF - a "Centre of Excellence" review to be placed on file and demonstrate that we support the approach being taken.

Possibly the most frustrating call of the day was from our builders, yet again they are changing the date on us and it looks as if it may be September before we get the keys to the new house. We are not amused. It appears the new MD wants to change the way in which batches of houses are released, so GF would guess we are dependent on the schedule for the last house in the batch an thus we are delayed again.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Pumping keys

The Gorse Fox is back at work pumping the keys on his keyboard. It has been a very busy day. Friday's review and feedback, on GF's portfolio of documents, triggered a degree of rework - not too much, but it did mean revisiting every document created so far.

Having been at it since 0800, GF is now finished and he has updated 34 documents and spreadsheets through the day. As an aside, one of the big projects that's on the go at present has asked for early access to the material as they have nothing to seed their work. GF has offered to prioritise the sequence in which he addresses the outstanding documents, if it will help them.

Over all - a very successful day.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Bank Holiday

The English Bank Holiday is characterised by rain and by sitting in long queues of traffic try to get to or from some event or location.

This Bank Holiday strayed from the norm.

Firstly, the weather was lovely, sunny, and warm. This always brings out the song in one's heart and makes the spirit soar.

Secondly, other than a quick trip in the morning to the local tip to dispose of old and decaying garden furniture, we stayed firmly at home. (Having said that, that is our normal plan for Bank Holidays). The afternoon was spent enjoying the sun in the back garden.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Driving around

Three test drives were scheduled for today. The first was at the Ford garage, providing us with an opportunity to try out the Fiesta again - this time with an automatic gearbox. The Silver Vixen took the wheel and we swept off towards Bosham. She took to the car easily and though we had to fiddle with the seat position - she was very happy with the car. GF, in turn, took the wheel and found it to be a very solid ride, and the the gearbox to be smooth and balanced. It is easy to see why so many reviews recommend it, and why it has won so many "Car of the Year" plaudits.

Stopping off at home for a coffee, we then headed into Worthing. The Nissan dealer had the Qashquai waiting for us and we took to the roads. Again, this was a test of the auto, having tested the car itself a few weeks ago. Despite the car's size the auto was seamless and responsive. It was ideal. The Silver Vixen took the wheel and it was clear she was completely at home. In fact she wanted to take the car there and then. The family car is effectively chosen now.

Finally, we test drove the Nissan Note. It was nice enough, and certainly more roomy than the Fiesta. We followed the same route that we had in the Qashqai, again swapping drivers half-way. Whilst we both found it easy enough to drive, it somehow didn't match up to the Fiesta.

Back home the spreadsheet was updated, then the brochures were re-examined over tea and cake in the garden. There isn't much else we can do now until the retirement date an pension details are finally confirmed.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Chatting

The Gorse Fox managed to pick a quiet time at the local tip. Several bags of garden detritus and several boxes were disposed of.

Back at home he logged on to see that Spurs were losing to West Ham (how low can you sink?) - but noticed that Cousteau-cub was online. A few seconds later he was chatting across the world.

The most important news is that whilst she isn't yet back at work, she is a lot better and no longer in severe pain. Intravenous morphine and handfuls of tramadol seem to have alleviated the flare-up she had suffered, and she's back home.


Saturday

The faffing about over the car has meant that Saturday is free - though we do have some extra test drives scheduled tomorrow.
It has been a lovely start to the day. The Gorse Fox has managed to mow the lawns and then settled down with the Silver Vixen to enjoy a coffee in the garden.

The sun was bringing out the best in the Acers, so GF had to take a photo. It will be nice when we get to the new house and find a permanent home for these (surviving) pots.


Friday, May 02, 2014

Legacy

With an ever diminishing amount of time to get things finished, the Gorse Fox was interested that his boss viewed GF's current project as his "legacy". This was nice, because it shows that it is regarded as a worthwhile contribution and got the Gorse Fox thinking about his oeuvre which he will probably summarise in another blog entry in the coming weeks.

Talking about the "legacy", he finally got some feedback on the material released so far. This was useful, and whilst it means GF has some minor changes to make, it is, in general, just what was required. There's still a lot of work to do over the coming weeks - but GF should manage to get the bulk of it done and out of the way.

Meanwhile the phone had rattled several times throughout the day - our scheduled test drives with Nissan were proving difficult to nail down. GF had to intervene and has made alternate arrangements with another branch of the same dealership.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Family

It is nice when you get a chance to meet up with family you rarely see. The Silver Vixen has a nephew who has been on holiday this week, staying in Bognor Regis. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss.

Having said we rarely see him or his family - we do stay in touch through the social media such as Twitter, Facebook and even Google+. It was nice to get a chance to meet up in real life (IRL).

We headed to The Oystercatcher. Matt, Katie and the boys were already there and the boys were busy colouring in their placemats. They were very quiet and shy at first - having never met us before, but soon emerged from their shells to reveal polite, well-behaved little boys.

We caught up on family news, plans and aspirations, and heard all about their "tots-week" holiday at Butlins. It was a lovely couple of hours and so nice to have some time with them.

Home office

It was a busy day in the home office.

It started with the Gorse Fox reviewing documents and spreadsheets prepared for a bid to new client, a bid which GF would be reviewing later in the morning. As usual the problem in a case like this is making sense of the mountains of data that have been provided. Fortunately, GF has the spreadsheet he developed in Brazil for just such an occasion, and pressed this into service. He was then able to review the data in any sequence and develop his questions for later, allowing the spreadsheet to pull the data into a sensible sequence.

The bid review started and it was clear that GF's homework had paid off. He was able to debate and contribute to the bid thinking from the outset. The team had done a good job, but there remained a few areas where GF recommended further discussions and clarifications with the client.

Most of the rest of the day was spent on GF's pet project - creating a full repository of assets for a large programme with the proper structure and common look and feel. This is becoming a "cause celebre" as news leaks out and people start to ask for copies, even if only a subset.