Thursday, December 31, 2015

SlowPad

For some reason the Silver Vixen's iPad is unbelievably slow; much slower than that belonging to the Gorse Fox. Now, it has less memory, but even still that doesn't really account for the difference. The Silver Vixen doesn't have a lot on the iPad, and doesn't overload it with running apps. It's the same generation of hardware, and uses the same network to communicate. The Gorse Fox has tried to clean it up and re-install but it has no impact.

He has decided there is only one thing for it - he is replacing the iPad with a Macbook Air. The nice man at John Lewis is busy locating the right box in order to ship it down to Chichester for the Gorse Fox to collect on Saturday. That should sort out the problem.

Storms

After the devastating floods that have hit the North, and the storm force winds that have swept the country, we have been very lucky down here on the south coast. We did not, however, get off completely unscathed.

We are resilient folk. We will clean up and restore everything.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Skin

One of the gifts that Gorse Fox received for Christmas was a new skin-tight base-layer long sleeved vest. Jasper the cat dug the Gorse Fox out of bed soon after seven and as it was a little cool, Gorse Fox decided to don his football gear. He stood in the kitchen and pulled the vest over his head. He slipped his arms into the sleeves and that was where he got stuck. It was so tight that he couldn't pull the vest down, it was stuck round his chest and the slightly rubberised texture was making it difficult to go any further. He stood there giggling, with his arms in the air, seemingly trapped in that position until the Silver Vixen came down. In the end, a little patience and some careful wriggling and rolling provided enough movement for the vest to be pulled down. (He would add that once on, it was immensely comfortable).

Later the Gorse Fox headed off for the football. There was a good turn out and we had a good game, though Gorse Fox's team lost this week. More satisfying, however, was the fact that the pulls and strains of previous weeks seem to have eased.



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Family

What a lovely day we have had today. The Gorse Fox's sister, Trevor, and Mask all visited. We had a Christmas-styled lunch which, of course, meant tables groaning under the weight of roast pork, roast potatoes, braised carrots, pigs in blankets, stuffing balls wrapped in bacon, brussel sprouts, peas and anything else that would fit.

After lunch, we retired to the lounge and spent the rest of the day chatting and catching up with all our family news.

Things start to return to normal tomorrow, though it make several weeks to clear the fridge!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Left-overs

It has been a quiet day. A very lazy start (even though the Gorse Fox was up at the usual time with Jasper-the-cat). There were still some pots and pans to clean up from yesterday but allowing them soak over night meant that they cleaned up in no time.

A spot of shopping in Sainsbury's punctuated the morning then cold ham and turkey for lunch.

Afternoon in front of the TV watching football (think of it as exercise by proxy).

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Late Christmas

We celebrated our Christmas a couple of days late. Urban Cub, Pistol Pete and the kids came to spend the day with us today. (Urban Cub and Pistole Pete were scheduled to work on the 25th and 26th). Needless to say there was huge feast at lunchtime, washed down with copious amounts of champagne, wine, beer, and so forth.

Whilst the potatoes were roasting, we opened the presents.  It was clear that everyone had been very generous, and very lucky. We has so much for which we should be thankful.

After lunch and the clean up, we retired to the lounge and had a quiet afternoon watching the TV and chatting - predominantly about Urban Cub's job at Gatwick. (It's so interesting to hear what goes on behind the scenes).

It was a lovely day, and could only have been improved if Cousteau-Cub and the Coventry Hobbit had been with us, too.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Sales

The day after Christmas is used by any to queue up outside stores and wait for sales to start. This has never been something that 'floats or boat'. There has to be better ways of enjoying the day. In our case it was a quiet day, some mulled wine, and then cook the ham for tomorrow. 

So, how do you get a highlight to such a day? Easy, you wait for the football scores and find that Spurs have wine 3-0 and that Arsenal have lost 4-0. It is a perfect day.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Old Friends

One of the highlights of the morning so far has been the phone call to one the the Gorse Fox's oldest friends. Maurice & Eileen live in the wilds of (bandit country) Norfolk and we haven't seen each other for about 25 years... and it's certainly many years since we last spoke, Within a few seconds of making the call we picked up the conversation as if it was only last week since the last call.

Warm glow all round.

Merry Christmas

The Gorse Fox would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a splendid New Year. He wishes you Peace, Health, Happiness and the love of family and friends.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Curry

The Gorse Fox spent some time looking at flights and hotels for a Spring trip to Toronto. Still more research to do, but currently homing in on the weeks after Easter when the kids are back at school.

Plans for today include a drink with the neighbours at the Pink Pub and then a stroll along to Zeera Lounge for a curry. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Gribble

The Gorse Fox played football again this morning. Again, he was not playing well as he was still suffering from the injury sustained on Sunday. Despite this, his team won quite convincingly, and he managed to assist several goals.

It seems only right that we have some beer to accompany Christmas. The great advantage of having a local micro-brewery is that one can get something that is just a little different. So it was that the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox were joined by neighbours Chris and Maureen as we headed for The Gribble Inn. We enjoyed a delicious late lunch and then the Gorse Fox ordered his beer-box of Gribble Ale. The beer is now nestling in the cool of the Orangery waiting to be breached.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Soft Reset

We have a history of TV's failing at Christmas time. The Gorse Fox just got a call from The Silver Vixen (who is downstairs) saying the TV had frozen.

Sure enough, the Sky box was not responding to any commands and the image on the screen had frozen. Fortunately it was clear that the TV was ok, and that the problem was isolated to the Sky box. The Gorse Fox has seen this problem before and remembered Googling it for an answer. Once again Google cam u trumps. A soft reset was all that was needed. Ten minutes later, The Silver Vixen was back in business.

Note to self: When unplugging & re-plugging the Sky box, make sure you pick up the right plug. It saves a lot of panic when no lights come on because you have plugged in the DVD player instead of the Sky box. Doh!

90 Minutes

The Gorse Fox only managed 90 minutes of the two hours of football today. Whilst the strain which developed on Sunday was less acute, he was still having trouble and still couldn't kick with his right foot. It was incredibly windy and very wet when we first started, but it soon dried up and the sun came out for a while. Oh well, lets see how he feels in the morning and see if he can play tomorrow.

The traffic on the way back from Worthing was dreadful so the Gorse Fox diverted to the A27 and pottered home the long way. Apparently they are going to dual the carriageways on the A259 between Angmering and Littlehampton. It'll be chaos while they do the work, but the finished job should be a huge improvement.

Urban Cub popped in with some Xmas bits. We won't actually see her until Sunday as she is on duty on Christmas day.

Ian, from next door, has just popped in with some home made sausages. The Gorse Fox looks forward to trying them. They look excellent. Meanwhile, the bread maker is preparing a loaf of us - it's obviously time to start on some recipes and prep.

Monday, December 21, 2015

First Load

Christmas menus have been developed and the shopping lists written. The first load of Christmas shopping has been done. Most will be delivered by Mr Ocado, but there were some things that the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen wanted to select ourselves. Fortunately, the Nectar points that have accumulated through the year paid for at least half of the trolley-load. We were expecting the store to be rammed, but actually it was quite civilised and once finished, we went straight to the checkout without any queue.

After some very heavy rain during the night, it is a fairly grey, wet, and miserable day - must be like living in the North. Talking of the North. The rail link between Gatwick and London will be closed for 10 days over the holiday period... that effectively cuts off the North, except by car!

Hotel booked in the Cotswolds for late January; it's Beck's birthday and seems like a sensible occasion for an overnight stay.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cider with Trudy

The Gorse Fox had been looking forward to the football. There were 9 of us, so it would be 5-v-4, but no matter. We started to warm up. That was where it started to go wrong. The Gorse Fox tweaked a muscle in his groin. This, not only hurt, it also prevented him from kicking with his right leg. The game hadn't even started! Determined to make the most of game, the Gorse Fox played in goal. That way he could hobble back and forth and clear the ball with his left foot. In the end he ended up on the winning side.

Back home a text message arrived. Beer at the Pink Pub. Seemed like a good idea. We joined with the neighbours and headed off for a pint. The Silver Vixen tried the warm cider, and the Gorse Fox the Rockin' Rudolf bitter. Several pints later we wandered home. It had been a lovely, if unexpected, diversion from the normal Sunday agenda.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Nailed it

The Gorse Fox had an appointment. He had problem with his big toe nail. It got mashed on Tuesday whilst playing football. It was beginning to give trouble. The Gorse Fox was booked to see the podiatrist. Thirty minutes later he leapt from the chair, relieved that she had dug out various spikes of nail that had embedded themselves in his toe. Good job. Now the Gorse Fox is ready and raring to play again, tomorrow.

Whilst out we also managed to sort out some outstanding Christmas presents. Being now a regular customer at our little jeweller in Chichester we even managed a discount.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Budget

The Gorse Fox is obviously getting better at estimating. He has just returned to the spreadsheet that he generated when planning the recent holiday. Going back and applying the "actuals" he finds that he was within £100 of the planned budget, and even that is accounted for by the late decision to stay at Heathrow the night before we flew out.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Admin

It was about time to catch up on some admin. Betty Rubble was visiting the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox thought it best to bury himself in the study. It should have gone smoothly. The nexus of Microsoft and Apple, however, were conspiring to make Gorse Fox's life difficult.
After about an hour, Excel crashed.
It was restarted... and the Gorse Fox started to hit the Save key after each entry.
Excel crashed.
It was restarted...
Excel crashed.

So it continued... and so the Gorse Fox had to start Googling for solutions. Eventually some system files were located and deleted. The Mac was restarted. Excel was restarted and finally it started to work as required.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Recovery time

Evidently 24 hours was insufficient recovery time. The Gorse Fox was like a zombie at today's football. His legs felt like lead, and he only managed one pass on target in the hour. How can fitness levels deteriorate so quickly? Never mind, he has a few days before the next game (Sunday) and will hopefully be better then.

The Silver Vixen is out to lunch with some of her coven, so Jasper is in charge, with the Gorse Fox providing whatever services the cat demands. The Gorse Fox has the football club Christmas meal this evening. It will, of course, be a sober affair as he has to drive, but he's certain it will be fun.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Not bad

Well the football went pretty well. The Gorse Fox seemed fit enough, but his timing was a little off. What professionals refer to as being match fit. Gorse Fox played six games, won two, drew three, lost one.  His defensive duties seemed ok, and he made several assists. His legs feel like lead now, but hopefully tomorrow's game will help loosen him up.

Kick-off

The Gorse Fox is back in boots. Well, football boots, anyway. Today will be the first time he has played for a couple of months, so he is expecting to feel quite tired at the end of the morning.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Torture

The Gorse Fox sees from Cousteau-Cub's Facebook page that she has had the rest of her toenail removed. WITHOUT ANAESTHETIC.

Apparently it took two people to hold her down. Barbaric!

We ar thinking of her and wishing her a speedy recovery.

Finally

Finally, the Gorse Fox has managed to get some code working. All it does is authenticate against this blog and then read the various blog posts. Even then, the Gorse Fox did not write the code. He found an example, which didn't immediately work, but after some faffing about the Gorse Fox managed to find all its prerequisites and get it to run.

Now that he has a working example, he can move forward... he can now read this blog, but next he has to work out how best to write to the target blog (which uses Wordpress, rather than blogger).

One step at a time.

(Chappy came this morning to look at running data cables for the Gorse Fox. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as originally thought. Having said that, the Gorse Fox thinks he has found a Plan B, which should mean easier routing.)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Metamorphosis

The house metamorphosis has begun. The decorations are escaping from their summer storage and finding their way onto every surface in the house. This will continue for another day or two, before the Silver Vixen is happy with what she has done. 

At lunchtime we realised that the Orangery needs a tree. This meant a trip to John Lewis, but they had sold out of the type that we wanted. We tried British Home Stores; nothing. Then Homebase; nothing we liked. Then it dawned on us that Haskins in Angmering had always been a great place for Christmas decorations. We zipped across and took a look. 17 minutes later we were loading the tree into the car. Job done.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Digging out the decs

The Silver Vixen was out at a "do" with her coven. Jasper and the Gorse Fox were left to their own devices. After a trip to Sainsbury's (the Gorse Fox, not Jasper), the Christmas decorations were retrieved from their various hiding places... and the Christmas tree placed in the window. The Gorse Fox will await the Silver Vixen before getting stuck in, but at least everything is ready to hand.

Managed to have a brief exchange with Cousteau-Cub online, and long chat with Barney Rubble on the phone.

Urban-Cub had her Christmas do this evening so sent us some photos of her outfit. The conclusion is that she scrubs up very nicely. Let's hope she has a good evening.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Good Evening and Good Day

We joined with the neighbours at the Development's Christmas drinks and carols event. This was fun and gave us all a chance to drink some mulled wine, eat some sausage rolls and mince pies, and have a chat. In the background, there was the general cacophony of Christmas music. When we had finished there, we formed a splinter group and made our way first to the pub, then on to Indian. It was lovely evening... and all within easy walking distance.

Today has been spent fiddling with the computers, without making huge strides forward. The Gorse Fox also spent a chunk of time talking to Vodafone. He was trying to negotiate a deal whereby he replaced his phone with anew phone but maintained a sensible monthly payment. His idea was to increase the upfront charge for the handset to offset the reduction of monthly tariff. He did manage to get a decent deal, but not a great deal... so he declined. It isn't something that is urgent.

The Gorse Fox is also having some internal network problems at home. This is primarily related to power line network he uses to distribute the fabric around the house. In a fit of pique he has phoned a chappy to see about getting some proper cabling installed from the "man-cave" to the study. Hopefully he will be along on Monday to quote for the work.

The Silver Vixen was out for lunch with some friends today, so the Gorse Fox and Jasper the Cat have been left in charge. As Jasper is asleep on the bed, the Gorse Fox assumes he is now in charge until Jasper gets up again.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Authentication

The conundrum faced by the Gorse Fox is how does he write his code when the very first aspect of the program is to get the correct authentication in place and despite following a number of online examples - all of which fail when tried.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

API

The Gorse Fox has been struggling with setting up a decent development environment which actually works for the development of Python on the Macs. Xcode is the obvious choice, but following all the instructions works up to a point and then things cease to do what the instructions imply they should. Then the Gorse Fox tried PyCharm which seems to work ok.

Now that the environment is there, it's a matter of trying some code with the Google APIs. Again, Gorse Fox has it working up to a point, but not entirely. More time needed on this tomorrow.

Meanwhile the Silver Vixen has been out for Christmas tea with her coven. (Heaven help the folk of Worthing).

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Tools & Shops

The Gorse Fox continued his research for the peregrine project. This included installing the development tools (Xcode) on the Macbook(harrier) and Mac(condor). With these installed, the latest version of Python was downloaded and the Gorse Fox went through some basic "Hello World" tests.

Since going to Thailand, Marks & Spencer and Next have both opened new stores nearby. It seemed like a good opportunity to go an see what they had to offer.  They are both nice additions to the area, but it would be better if they were larger.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Research

As the Gorse Fox was unable to play football in this month's tournament, and the the Silver Vixen with out with a friend, the Gorse Fox spent much of the day researching options for the continued development of the Raspberry Pi known as peregrine.

There is a growing list of things that the Gorse Fox want to achieve with this little machine, but (being an architect) he wants to think them all through first and make sure that the complete design is understood before he starts doing anything that may cause problems down the line. He suspects that there a fair amount of programming on the horizon... but that seems like a good project for the winter.

Urban-Cub dropped in to see us late in the afternoon. She had been across to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth for some shopping and to meet up with the Princess, and as we are on the route home she stopped in for an hour or so.

Wet

Still quite mild, but very wet start to the day.

Seeing the dreadful pictures from Cumbria, the Gorse Fox feels so sorry for those whose houses have been flooded. Such extreme weather events shouldn't come as a complete surprise during a year with such an intense El Nino, but this last storm did seem to dump record amounts of rain.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Cards

The Silver Vixen is finishing off the last few Christmas Cards. The Gorse Fox will wade in and help out and we should get them finished today.

Plans - dashed

Well the Gorse Fox had been looking forward to playing football this morning. It would have been the first time for a couple of months, what with the knee injury in October and the holiday. There were only 6 takers this weekend so the game was cancelled.

There's a tournament tomorrow - so the Gorse Fox would not have long to wait. Well, he wouldn't if it hadn't been for the fact that he seems to have developed a problem which is giving him a great deal of discomfort when he moves or coughs. An appointment with the doctor is the new Plan A for Monday... football will have to wait.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Prep

The Gorse Fox was awake and up early again today.

As the lights get switched on at houses around the neighbourhood, we have spent some time with the Christmas card list... checking the database was correct, the addresses were correct, new people were added, and some dropped off. Then the Gorse Fox pressed the computer into action to print off the address labels.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Do Not Disturb

After an early night last night, the Gorse Fox was less than amused to be wide awake at 0600. He gave it a few minutes to see if he was going to doze, but it was not going to happen. He got up. Hopefully the time zones will settle in his brain and this won't become a habit.

Most of the day has been spent filing, geo-tagging and face-tagging all of the photos taken over the past few weeks. As you would expect, that also finished up with backing up all the photos here at home, and in Google.

It's coming up for 1900, and the Gorse Fox is beginning to flag.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Noon Image?

You may notice that there is no noon image. Indeed there will be no further noon images. Neighbours have now moved in, across the road, and the Gorse Fox has no wish to invade their privacy. It has been an interesting exercise watching the transition from open fields, through the construction of the houses, to the point of having new neighbours.

News, Parting and Travelling

We had been woken yesterday by Urban-Cub calling to say the the interview had gone well and she has got the promotion. Not bad eh? Five or six months into the new job and already promoted.

We grabbed breakfast at the hotel and then Cousteau-Cub turned up to spend the morning with us. We just sat and chatted and made the most of our last few hours. There's no doubt we will miss her (and the Coventry Hobbit) dreadfully when we go. We had a last much with them at Drunken Sailor, where they no have added a Leo Lassi to the special menu to go along with the Jon-burger. (Perhaps you had to be there).

The journey started for real at about 1300 with the trip to the first ferry. Having hear of people taking over3 hours to get off the island recently, we were quite pleased that we managed to get to the mainland in under 90 minutes.

The flight to BKK went without incident, and at BKK we checked in to one of the Lounges. Unfortunately it wasn't the VIP one we used last time (Gorse Fox couldn't remember exactly where that was). This lounge (the same brand) was a lot smaller, a lot busier, and allowed children in to disturb the general ambience.

The Silver Vixen has been using a walking stick while travelling. This has proved a great aid for her, but also a boon when it comes to boarding the aircraft. For each of our flights we were ushered onto the plane before general boarding started. This meant we could settle without any of the usual hustle and bustle.

It's a long flight from BKK to LHR (12 hours, plus) but the A380 was a sumptuous carriage and the journey was immensely comfortable. We landed more or less on time, and again the Silver Vixen was offered a buggy to take from the aircraft, through immigration, and on to the baggage hall. (The Gorse Fox had to walk with the hand luggage, but that was no problem - indeed he got there first). Urban-Cub was waiting for us as we came out of the baggage hall and we were soon on our way home. By the time we opened the door we had been travelling for 27 hours, but it had been worth it to spend some time on Koh Lanta with Cousteau-Cub and the Coventry Hobbit.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Noon Image: 2 Dec 2015

Travelling

The journey home starts soon.
Drive to ferry, wait in queue, take ferry.
Drive to next ferry, wait in queue, take ferry.
Drive to Krabi Airport, check-in, fly to Bangkok.
Shop in airport, wait in VIP Lounge.
Board flight to London... sit back and let the pilot do the work.
Disembark at Heathrow... wait for hours for luggage, meet with Urban-cub.
Sit on M25.

What could be finer?

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Last Chapter

Today was the last full day of the holiday. The weather was in the high 20s but it was overcast. Not a bad thing as it will help get us acclimatised to the grey winter skies of Europe. The Gorse Fox did his session in the gym and had a swim. Then we settled down to await Cousteau-cub.

We had thought of going to Lanta Old Town, but Cousteau-cub had loads of work emails to clear and wouldn't be able to join us so we decided to stay put, that way she could work here at the hotel and we could all be together.

We wandered down to Kantiang for lunch. 

There is a little thatched shack that does super meals and we managed to eat our fill for 300 Baht (£6) for te three of us. Cousteau-cub and the Silver Vixen then embarked on a tour of the shops (there are only about 4 or 5) so the Gorse Fox headed back to the hotel, leaving them to it.

The Coventry Hobbit turned up late afternoon and we had nice couple of hours chatting about all and sundry whilst watching the sun go down and before deciding to head for Otto's for dinner. 

As usual the food was excellent and Otto seemed completely stoned (but that is pretty normal). The Coventry Hobbit managed to get sucked into a game of pool and whilst managing to sink 4 balls off the break, his partner, the eponymous Otto, managed to hit the wrong ball and handed the advantage and eventually the game to the other pair. There's never a dull moment at Otto's.

Managed to get a Skype session with Urban-cub before she headed into work for an interview... we all have our fingers crossed.

Noon Image: 1 Dec 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

Pool time

Last night's deluge continued until dawn. The rain was epic, but everything was drying up by the time we wandered out for breakfast. The Gorse Fox was feeling lazy and skipped the gym today. At least he was feeling lazy, physically, but mentally he was charged up. He wishes he had brought one of the Raspberry Pis with him as he spent several hours on the web looking for ideas and answers to some of the outstanding aspects of his Pi Blog project back home.

Meanwhile it was getting hotter and hotter. The cool 27C worked its way up to 31C by lunchtime. By early afternoon it started to cloud over a bit. This held the heat in and threatened a drop of rain, but nothing really came of it. It did make for a fairly angry looking sunset, though.


Cousteau-cub joined us early evening and we decided to eat at Cookai. Again, a restaurant we had visited on a previous trip, and one we had liked. We were not disappointed, all three of us having whole deep fried white snapper in various herbs and spices. Absolutely delicious, and good value for money.

Noon Image: 30 Nov 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Awash

Another hot day, though there was some cloud by mid-afternoon and a brief shower. We had spent the day by the pool. Books don't read theselves, you know. Cousteau-cub joined us as she wasn't required on the boat or in the shop and the emails could be handled from anywhere. (Obtusely the internet link at the hotel dropped, but she had a 3G and just paired with her phone).

The Gorse Fox spent some time crafting Tripadvisor reviews during the morning and got those sent off before strolling down into Kantiang to raid the ATM and pick up some odds and ends at the 7-11.

As he writes, the internet is still down, frustratingly. No doubt it will soon be sorted, but it does become part of the fabric of general communication when roaming charges and text messages are so extortionate here. The gf did put a Thai SIM in his spare Android phone, but the phone seems to have died. 

We settled on a restaurant for dinner, then Cousteau-cub booked a table and headed off home before the next downpour. The Gorse Fox suspects that she didn't make it and got thorough soaked. The rain didn't last for long, it didn't seem to lower the temperature, but it was very, very heavy. We remained on our verandah throughout (not something we would have done back home). As the internet is still down, the Gorse Fox can't check the temperature but would guess it's about 28c... maybe even as cold as 27! We suspect that our return to the UK this coming week may be quite a shock.

Come evening we drove through the rain to Cousteau-cub and Coventry Hobbit's house and we all went up towards SalaDan for dinner at Red Snapper. It is a restaurant we have visited before and is always excellent quality and an interesting menu. Lovely evening had by all... followed by a slow drive back through the heavy rain.

Noon Image: 29 Nov 2015

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Swamped

It was another cracking day. Wall to wall blue sky with a few puffy punctuation marks of white cloud. Temperature well up into the low 30s again. The Gorse Fox did his session in the gym; he really wasn't in the mood, but it had to be done. He was delighted, however, that the owner of the hotel came and sought him out to say goodbye. He is off to Phuket for a few days and unlikley to return before we leave... so he came to say goodbye and wish us a safe trip. The Gorse Fox must say that this is a fabulous hotel and we really feel like part of the family.

Later we popped in to see Cousteau-cub. She was manning dive shop at Narima. She was still pretty sore from yesterday's rather brutal toe-nail removal. After checking on her we headed north and stopped at a supermarket for a few bits Cousteau-cub had requested, then headed on round to the east of the island.

This time we found the road down to the village by the mangrove swamp. We left the car and after decline a trip through the swamp on a longtail, we paid a few baht to wander around the paths that had be laid. 

After several hundred yards, it becomes clear that if you've seen one bit of mangrove forest, you've seen it all. It was an homogenouscollection of tortured and twisted mangroves for as far as the eye could see.

Back at the car, and very grateful for the air conditioning, we headed back through Klong Nin and again met up with Cousteau-cub to give her the shopping and grab some lunch. AFter that, a quiet afternoon was spent with the books before heading down to Drunken Sailor for dinner after today's dramatic sunset.

Noon Image: 28 Nov 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

Toe-ing the line

It was another glorious start to the day. It was clearly going to be hot again, having not dropped below 26c overnight. We had breakfast and then went to the gym. The Gorse Fox is determined to be fit for football when he returns.

We dropped off some laundry with Tukta, then popped in to see Cousteau-cub at Narima. She was cracking through some emails after her yoga class, first thing. At lunch time she had to go to the hospital. She had dropped a scuba tank on her foot last weekend and though the bruise had come out, she looked as if a toe was broken and the nail was damaged and infected. We offered to take her, but she was convinced she'd be ok.

We carried on to SalaDan to, again, visit the market we had seen before and was closed on ur last visit. Guess what? It was closed agian today! Oh Well, we parked up and walked through another mark area, giving the Silver Vixen a chance to rummage and select the odd bits and pieces.


We looped (as is our habit, now) back round the east coast of the Island. We we intending to see a local village set among the mangrove and banyans... that didn't work either. We clearly missed the turning somewhere and ended up headed down toward Old Town.

We turned back westwards and headed over the mountain, stopping a View Point restaurant for some lunch. This is and excellent spot near the top of the mountain with views over the whole of the east coast of the Island. As we ate we sta and watched a sea eagle soaring on the thermals and lazily keeping eye on his domain.


We returned to the hotel where we heard from Cousteau-cub. It seems that the Thai hospital decided the toe nail had to come off. Unlike the UK, however, they don't provide a local anaesthetic. They just tug it out. By the time Cousteau-cub was calling us she was self-anaesthetising with several glasses of red wine at a friend's bar.

Not much of a sunset today as heavy clouds obscured the setting sun and lightning played back and forth through the clouds for several hours. Despite the amount of lightning, there was no thunder and no rain.... just the light show!

Noon Image: 27 Nov 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Down

As the Gorse Fox reflects on the day, the Internet is down - not clear when it will be restored, so the Gorse Fox is writing this with the intention of retro-blogging when everything returns to normal.

The weather was far more settled today - very little cloud and a peak of about 32c, very pleasant. The Gorse Fox skipped the gym this morning as his knee was a little sore and he didn't want to stir things up. The morning, therefore, was consumed by reading and catching up on the news. The Gorse Fox left messages for Urban-cub to see how she was getting on hoping to catch up with her later.

After lunch (taken by the pool) Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit joined us for a while. The Coventry Hobbit had to leave to look after the dogs, but Cousteau-cub stayed on into the evening.

Late afternoon the ringer went to tell the Gorse Fox he had a Skype call. He didn't get there quickly enough but saw it was from Urban-cub.  He video-called her back on what he though was her Skype address. It turned out to be the Skype for her smart TV at home. Skype rang, and rang... then suddenly it was answered and the Gorse Fox was staring into her living room at Jake who went into blind panic as the TV said "Hello, Jake" and he ran out the room. At this point the Gorse Fox hung up, realising the mistake, and re-dialled Urban-cub. Even now, several hours later the Gorse Fox is chuckling at Jake's reaction. Anyway, all seems well with Urban-cub and Pistol Pete - his knee is obviously settling down, and despite the problems they have had a nice break.

Sunset was a cracker tonight.

We strolled down to the Bay and had dinner at Baan Lanta. Fresh White Snapper for the Silver Vixen, 500g of tiger prawns for Cousteau-cub, and a tuna for the Gorse Fox. The food was exquisite. (It seems to the Gorse Fox that it is very hard not to eat well in this part of Thailand - wherever you go, the food is just wonderful). While we ate, the manager of the bar went down onto the beach and performed a fire dance with flailing bowls of burning oil spinning and looping round him on the sand. Very atmospheric... and not something we see often in The Crescent!

Noon Image: 26 Nov 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Loy Krathong

It is a public holiday in Thailand and is held over a couple of days to celebrate the 12th full moon of the year. 

The Thai women (not sure whether men do it also) make these little vessels from banana leaves and flowers. These Krathons are delightful. The Silver Vixen sat down with several of the hotel staff and spent several hours work on her Krathongs. 

The hotel is planning a special meal this evening and then will launch the Krathongs across the infinity pool. We will miss this as Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit have suggested we all go across to Lanta Old Town where the biggest festival takes place. Resorts compete with each other to make the best offering, and all the street food vendors and restaurants are open. It sounds like fun, so we headed across there after sunset.


The drive across was a bit of a nightmare as every motorbike, taxi, and vehicle on the Island seemed to heading for the Old Town. The Gorse Fox needs eyes in the back of his head, and both sides of his head just to have a chance to see where the next nutcase is coming from. Despite everything, we arrived without incident. Not only that, we got the last parking space in the parking lot.



We met up with some of Cousteau-cub's friends and had a drink then moved on through the street vendors and past the shops and restaurants to the main square where there was a a night market, a stage with Thai dancing, and displays of the Krathongs from all of the big resorts. 



After wandering through the square we made our way to the beach where Cousteau-cub launched the Silver Vixen's Krathong into the sea. (Strictly, this should be done at high tide - but as that is not until midnight we - and hundreds of others - decided to launch early).

We strolled around and watched the world go by for a while then went to meet up with the Coventry Hobbit and grab a meal. As usual, the food was delicious and it was nice that the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox actually introduced Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit to a new restaurant.

Super day.

Noon Image: 25 Nov 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

winter

The thing is, you see, that this is Thailand's high season. This is so defined because the Europeans find the temperature most comfortable - it being Thailand's winter. So it is that today we have had a wintery day. It has been a bit overcast, it has rained, it has been windy and the temperature has plummeted to 27C. The locals are wearing coats and everyone is commenting on the cold. Pah! Wimps.

We have had a gentle day - breakfast, gym, swim, and then a drive up to SalaDan and back round the Island. The whole point of the trip to SalaDan was to visit a market we had seen yesterday. Didn't quite work out... market was closed today for the Loy Kratong holiday/festival (more of which tomorrow). So we circled back round the Island towards Old Town then back to Klong Nin and headed south. We stopped at Diamond Cliff for lunch then stopped off to see Cousteau-cub on our way back to the hotel.

A quiet afternoon was spent with our books and knitting and then we grabbed supper at the hotel, where Cousteau-cub joined us for a glass of wine and some Belgian fries.

Another very relaxing day.

Noon Image: 24 Nov 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

Overcast

It was humid and overcast this morning - a steady 30c, but little sun. Breakfast was followed by about an hour in the gym, then we headed up the island to meet with Cousteau-cub at Narima. She and the Coventry Hobbit had concluded that their dog Tyson had gone blind and she was, clearly, concerned. We offered to provide transport to the vet, but she concluded that he would be more comfortable with them on the bike as he didn't know our car.

We headed on up to SalaDan at the northern tip of the Island. It's not exactly a thriving metropolis, but it is the closest that Koh Lanta has to to a shopping mecca (and given that the Island is 95% Muslim, that's probably the correct comparative adjective).

As we started to roam the streets, a gentle, warm rain started. This seemed like a cue for us to find a restaurant and shelter. We spotted a place and headed out back. Like Old Town, the restaurants sit on stilts to keep them clear of the channel between Koh Lanta Noi and Kog Lanta Yai... and all the while, ferry boats head out along or across that channel to keep the Islands connected with the rest of the country.
The Gorse Fox showed, several days ago, that a pineapple salad got served in a pineapple... well it is also clear that a coconut shake gets served in a coconut. (It is absolutely delicious and the Gorse Fox doesn't thingk he could ever eat a Bounty Bar again, now he has tried the real thing).

After SalaDan we headed clockwise round the top of the Island and back over the Elephant Road (so named because there is place at the top of the mountain where Elephant treks begin and there are several elephants by the side of the road - it is a great shame that they seem to be kept chained by one leg - but the Gorse Fox supposes it is better than them roaming into the road and getting hit).

The Gorse Fox should mention that the roads are awash with Thais and tourists on their motobikes. We are the exception, having a car. The problem is that it is like the Battle of Britain, traversing the roads. Fighters (scooters) come in from the left, from the right, from behind, and from straight ahead, They may have a single pilot, but he may have his mother, his aunt, his nan, his brother, his sister, his baby brother, his father and two uncles on the bike with him. If he's a tourist, he probably has a girlfriend or boyfriend on the back (or both). Whoever they are, they will have no protective clothing nor head gear. So it was that, as we headed back south, there head clearly been a nasty accident with a chap being attended to by locals and tourists. One suspects his holiday is at an end. It is such a shame that people take so few pecautions.

We spent a quiet afternoon back at the hotel. The clouds finally parted briefly to alow a sunset picture, but whereas some last for 30-45 minutes, this was quite fleeting.

We have now heard from Cousteau-cub and the dog, Tyson, is having some blood tests, but being treated on the assumption that he has some parasite in his blood. Let's hope thate he gets better soon.

We have also heard from Urban-cub and it seems that Pistol Pete is laid up. He has fluid on the knee and needs to keep it rested and elevated to see if it will settle. Here's wishing him the best.



Noon Image: 23 Nov 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cloudy

It was a lovely bright morning spent by (and in) the pool. We are both making significant progress in our books. We were sorry to see, ovrnight, that Pistol Pete has hurt his knee and may need a trip to A&E if it doesn't settle over night. This on the first full day of their holiday in the Lake District. The news was originally on Facebook, but Urban-cub phoned us with an update. Sleep, ice packs, pills, and so forth have not helped - trip the hospital is on the morning agenda. We now wait to hear the outcome.

We spent several hours chatting with the Belgian chap that owns the hotel. He spends several months at a time here, then goes back to Europe for a while and so forth. It appears his return trips are set to coincide with significant footbal matches in his team's season. We had a lot of common ground and he was charming.... he even introduced the Gorse Fox to a Trappist beer that had a kick like a mule!

Early afternoon, the clouds rolled in and it got very stormy. Still very hot, but the rain was heavy. We retreated under cover and continued our quiet time with our books. The Gorse Fox remembers when he would go on vacation with 10-14 books and work his way through the lot; now, all he needs is the Kindle and has an, almost, unlimited supply of reading material.... and that's to say nothig of the 30-odd audio books he still has untouched.

Those that know the Gorse Fox may wonder why no comments about diving. The fact is that he has a problem with one of his ears and it won't seem to clear up. This situation is untenable for diving - if you cannot equalise the pressure in your ears you just cannot dive. 

The storms of the day have obviously caused some problems somewhere as the electricity keeps cutting out. The Silver Vixen is in the shower with a torch in case the lights go out again.

Noon Image: 22 Nov 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Special Day

It's been quite a day. So it should be, it's the Silver Vixen's birthday. We started with a quick coffee at the hotel before meeting up with Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit. Whilst having our coffee the hotel staff had made up our room (as usual) but had decorated the foot of the bed with two little elephants fashioned from towels and a red cloth background to the words Happy Birthday, picked out in 148 white flowers picked from the garden. It was delightful. It was also unexpected as the Gorse Fox had only mention the Silver Vixen's birthday in passing, at the beginning of the week.




Once Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit had arrived we headed up to the Pimalai Resort for breakfast. It is a fantastic place with breathtaking views across Kantiang Bay and across the vast grounds of the resort itself. We had a long and leisurely breakfast just chatting and consuming every sort of delicacy you could imagine.
The Seven Seasons at Pimalai

Across Kantiang Bay


That was only part of the Silver Vixen's treat. Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit had also arranged for a Spa treatment. The Gorse Fox should point out that the Pimalai Spa is regarded as one of the best in whole world... so this was something special. The Gorse Fox dropped her off and went back several hours later to collect her. She had had a wonderful time with oils and wraps, jacuzzis and massage.
The Spa grounds


Once back at the hotel, Cousteau-cub met up with us again for the afternoon and as the day drew on, Urban-cub called from her holiday in the Lake District. There it was 3C and there was snow on the hills. Quite a contrast to here. 
Sunset

Dinner tonight was with Tukta, Cousteau-cub's friend who cooked so beautifully for us on our last visit. Fabulous day and certainly one that we will remember.

Noon Image: 21 Nov 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Noon Image: 20 Nov 2015

Pool day

There's no doubt about it, one has to pace oneself. With this in mind we started the day with the usual breakfast and gym session. Then we spent the rest of the day by the pool. The Gorse Fox caught up on some TripAdvisor reviews and did some reading and swimming. The Silver Vixen concentrated on her knitting and then reading.

Cousteau-cub dropped in at lunchtime but was en-route to the print shop, so didn't stay for long. She dropped by at the end of the day, too, but again it was but a fleeting visit. With the Silver Vixen's birthday tomorrow, we should both Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit as they have a day off.

Not much of a sunset tonight; well actually it set quite adequately, it just forgot to give us a show.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Old Town

After breakfast, the gym, and a swim, the Gorse Fox spent a pleasant 30 minutes chatting with some fellow guests in the pool. As they were New Yorkers we had plenty of common ground and Gorse Fox was in a position to give them some hints and tips about the Island.

We headed off to Lanta Old Town. It's only about 15km across the spine of the Island. It's a charming little town and reminds the Gorse Fox of a TV set for a western! (Well, with the exception of the power cables and the motor scooters).
 We strolled through the main street examining all the shops and restaurants. It is much more alive this trip (being high season) than it was on our previous trips. All of the shops on the right side of the photo back on to the bay and stand partly on stilts. As you pass along the street there are teasing glimpses of the bay beyond.

There is also a Bhuddist shrine which quite draws the eye to the bay and the islands beyond.
After our lengthy exploration (ok, let's be honest, it took about 20 minutes), we stopped off at nice restaurant for a snack and to sit and admire the view across the bay. It turns out that the owners have another place on our side of the island, and we have been there; not only that but they know Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit. It was clear that, to the South, a storm was brewing  though it was still bright and sunny where we were. We decided to get back before the storm caught us if, indeed it was going to).

As we opened the door to our room, there was a clap of thunder and the heavens opened. We had timed it to perfection. We spent the afternoon reading and later Cousteau-cub came round. She had some errands to run, so the Gorse Fox took here round the island in the car, rather than her using the motorbike in this weather. Whilst the Gorse Fox ad Cousteau-cub were galivanting, the Silver Vixen managed to make contact with Urban-cub over Skype so we caught up on all the news.

This evening we went to a lovely restaurant called Yang (the Thai word for grill). The food was exquisite and demands a return trip at some point. The Gorse Fox had a wonderful piece of tuna, the Silver Vixen had ribs, the Coventry Hobbit had some steak, and Cousteau-cub had duck.

Sorry  no sunset photos today - the Gorse Fox was out running errands and the sunset wouldn't wait!

Noon Image: 19 Nov 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Round and About

The morning started in the familiar fashion. Breakfast, gym, and a swim. It was a bit overcast and whilst the Gorse Fox was swimming it did start to rain. He stayed in the pool for a few more minutes and then came in  after all he didn't want to get wet.

The rest of the morning was spent with our books, until Cousteau-cub arrived. We grabbed some lunch then helpd her take some yoga mats and other supplies up to Round House where they have built her a deck on which she will teach yoga in the mornings.
It should be lovely with the outlook straight over the beach, and the sound of the waves lapping against the shore. She's just waiting for her work permit to be updated and she should be able to start.

We stayed on for the rest of afternoon and met up with a number of Cousteau-cub's friends, chatting with them as the sun put on its farewell show for the day. Today it pulled out all the stops and gave us quite a show.
Finally as the last rays exploded into the sky, we wandered next door to Otto's Bar for dinner.




Noon Image: 18 Nov 2015

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Encore

Another day in this paradise. A light breakfast followed by some time in the gym and a swim seemed like a successful start for the last few days, so the Gorse Fox stuck with a winning formula. The Silver Vixen joined him in the gym for some gentlle exercise, which was nice and will, hopefully, help her.

Most of the rest of the morning was spent finishing one book and starting another - then dropping into the pool when the temperature so demanded. At lunch time we headed down to Kantiang Bay (voted one the top ten beaches in Asia)
As usual, it was almost deserted. We had a quick bite, which whilst not spectacular did manage to surprise us. The Silver Vixen ordered an Hawaiian Salad, whic we assumed would be chicken salad vegetables and bits of pineapple. Not quite. As you can see from the photo it was a pineapple, hollowed out and filled with some salad and bits of chicken.
Back at the hotel we sat a read, sipped the occasional cocktail and waited for Cousteau-cub to turn up. She had had a busy day, but was able to stay with us for dinner down at the Drunken Sailors.

Sunset wasn't quite as stunning today - but was still worth watching