Saturday, January 31, 2015

Noon Image: 31 Jan 2015

Oooh, snow!

Well, that's not quite true. The Gorse Fox can see snow lying on the South Downs, from his study window, but there is no sign of anything here. Traffic reports talk of trouble between Worthing and Arundel on the A27, caused by the snow; and the Silver Vixen sent a message to say they have had snow in Odiham - though it is now melting. The Gorse Fox will leave it a while before venturing out to collect the Silver Vixen. No sense in taking unnecessary risks, as much as he misses her.

Talking of which, it is clear that the Gorse Fox is no substitute for the Silver Vixen, as far as Jasper the Cat is concerned. GF is roundly ignored, except at meal times or when access to the garden is required. Last evening, with the SV away, Jasper either slept (as usual) or sat in the doorway with his back to GF, clearly watching for the Silver Vixen.

GF knows his place.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Road trip

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen had a road trip. The SV is staying with Betty Rubble overnight so the Gorse Fox drove her up to the wilder parts of Hampshire. It was the longest drive we have had for a while, and was a pleasure in the morning sunshine. Having dropped her off, the GF headed back and managed to get the car up to 59mpg on the way back.

Was disappointed that the new sports glasses still hadn't arrived. Hopefully, they'll arrive tomorrow.

Noon Image: 30 Jan 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Quiet Thursday

Very quiet day today. A bit of admin and a bit of shopping and a lot of web surfing. The Silver Vixen caught up on some recorded TV programmes during the afternoon. The Gorse Fox did chase down the supplier of his new glasses to find out where they were in the process... and apparently they had just been shipped. Gorse Fox awaits with interest.

On another front, the Gorse Fox had to advise the Urban-cub to pull out of her flat sale. Things have been going on for ages and it is just not getting anywhere

Noon Image: 29 Jan 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Brightening up

It was a pretty foul morning. The rain, though fine droplets, was being driven almost horizontally across the football pitches. Despite wearing a peaked cap, the Gorse Fox was in serious need of windscreen wipers on his glasses. The rain was also fine enough to penetrate the various layers of clothing and get right through to the skin. This was not too bad whilst playing, but became particularly unpleasant during the drive home. GF had a good workman-like game, without actually feeling as if he's played well. GF is not saying some of the players run, but one seems to refer to Mo Farrah as his coach!

Weather has brightened up now and we have a few scattered clouds punctuating a lovely blue sky.

Noon Image: 28 Jan 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Matched

Football was good this morning... two draws and a loss, but all were hard fought games and the Gorse Fox did have to stamp some authority over one of the opponents who was getting a bit physical.  GF failed to score any goals today, but felt as if he'd had a good game.

It looks as if there will be a tournament next week - where teams will be chosen at random to represent the various clubs in the South. GF has put his name in the hat, and if chosen would represent Brighton & Hove Albion against teams from Wimbledon, Crystal Palace, Portsmouth and a couple of others. Could be fun - but the random "pulling names from a hat" may mean that he is not selected, given that quite a few of us entered.

Was pleased when another chap commented on the weight GF had lost. Again, he was not monitoring his weight, but is pleased to hear the exercise is paying off.

Noon Image: 27 Jan 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

Drops

It is pleasantly mild, but looks like rain could set in later. The Gorse Fox made the most of it and headed out for a quick walk. Slowly, he is becoming able to join up all the cartographical dots as he becomes familiar with the back roads, footpaths and cut-throughs. He was only out for about 30 minutes, but briskly covered a couple of miles and explored some areas he hadn't previously visited. He managed to get back before the rain, though it was looking touch and go.

Fixings

A package dropped through the letter box. It was the missing fixings for the third of the glass end tables we had ordered before Christmas. At last. Gorse Fox set about putting the unit together and ten minutes later we were set.

Talking of construction. The latest we have heard is that our builders will start in the second week of Feb because there has been a delay in getting the bricks, but that they are due to be delivered next week.

Noon Image: 26 Jan 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Better

That's better. With the ankle strapped up, the Gorse Fox was able to play pretty normally today. It was a good, though fairly intense game, and we won by a whisker. It was turning quickly that was the challenge, but by nursing the ankle a bit through the turns GF played a pretty good game as sweeper, striding forward to score a couple of good long-range goals.

GF also has a new best friend. Dave Tumbledown(*) turned up for the first time in a while. In fact it is early December since GF last saw him. His first comment was to observe how much weight the Gorse Fox had lost. This may or may not be true (GF never weighs himself), but it was an endearing observation... Now, where's the Ryvita?

(*) Not his real name, but he does seem to be rather a victim of gravitational anomalies, which drag him to the floor and seem to hold him there much longer than you would expect.

Noon Image: 25 Jan 2015

3G Onion seeds

The trouble with 3G Astroturf is that your boots tnd to pick up the tiny plastic granules that form the substrate. Trying on his boots early, Gorse Fox has now managed to leave trails of these granules - that look like onion seeds or mustard seeds - all over the floor. An unplanned circuit with the Dyson was necessary before heading out to the game.

Friction

The Gorse Fox has noticed that when there is a hard frost, the pavement outside the house becomes lethal. Absolutely no grip whatsoever. So it was that he gingerly crept out to the Silver Vixen's car to de-ice it ready for her annual trip to the quilt show at Ardingly. He did manage to remain upright, but it was touch and go at times.

Talking of remaining upright, he has just donned the ankle brace ready for football. Just hope that he can get the boots on!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Address

A redirected item of mail dropped through the letter box. This triggered the realisation that we had yet to formally change our address with the Bank. So it was that, at lunchtime, we pottered in to Chi and wandered in to the Bank. It has clearly been refurbished. Though the outside is still a lovely historic building, the inside is very modern with various zones satisfying the different needs of the customers. GF was impressed. A few minutes later a very nice lady had waved her magic wand and our address had been updated - and passed on to the credit card issuer. Done!

In turn this triggered  the realisation that GF still had to inform N7SI (The Premium Bonds) of our new address. After lunch, the relevant forms were completed and dropped in an envelope, giving the Gorse Fox an incentive to go out for a short walk to keep strengthening the weak ankle and to get a bit of exercise.

Noon Image: 24 Jan 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Support

The Gorse Fox ordered some ankle supports. These have arrived so, with luck, he should be able to play football on Sunday. He is still awaiting his protective glasses, though. This despite chasing them.

Noon Image: 23 Jan 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Err, that wasn't the plan

The service engineers turned up. We had a couple of minor problems with the combi-oven and it was still under warranty. Though the Gorse Fox had explained the problems when booking the visit, it was clear the engineers had only sketchy information. One problem, however, was covered by a recent bulletin from the manufacturer and they had the spare parts with them. Gorse Fox talked them through all of the various issues and they set to wrk.

The front was removed, and the door dismantled. They fitted two new seals and set about putting the door back together. One gasket kept falling off - in the the end GF had to intervene and suggest they held it in place with some sticky tape. Then they couldn't fathom out how the door component fitted together. The Gorse Fox suggested the newly fitted panel was upside down - this proved to be the case. Then it was just a matter of clipping all the components back together. Again, this proved too much for them until the Gorse Fox suggested the way in which the panels clicked together was partly mechanical and partly friction. This, again, proved to be the case - but in putting it together they managed to break the panel. It appears that they will return for further coaching next week, when the complete replacement door comes in.

Shakes head. Slaps forehead. Tuts. Wanders off.  

Noon Image: 22 Jan 2015

Walking Football JAN 2015





The Gorse Fox, watching from the sidelines whilst his ankle improves.... A few cold moments from early in yesterday's game.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cold comfort

It was cold, damp, and at times downright wet. The Gorse Fox gave comfort to his tender ankle by not playing football - but decided to go an watch the lads anyway. Standing by the side of the 5-a-side cages was frustrating - he so wanted to join in, but had to give the ankle time to heal. GF if home now, and trying to warm up.

Noon Image: 21 Jan 2015

Blast

Ankle/foot is still much too tender and stiff for football. GF is definitely side-lined today. The Gorse Fox is not amused.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Get set...

Well the electrician turned up to isolate the external power, ready for the builders to get started. It was a bit of a nightmare as the external power turned out not to be a spur from the obvious socket... oh no! It turned out to be a spur from the back bedroom. Anyway, all got sorted.

Football was fun, though chilly. Gorse Fox is now nursing a twisted ankle, however. He hopes it doesn't come to anything and is keeping it gently mobile at present - he will be most annoyed if it isn't better by morning - he doesn't want to miss a game.

Noon Image: 20 Jan 2015

Brrr!

There's a cold start to the day. Not cold compared to Scotland and the North - but cold for the southern coast. It'll take a while to get the joints and muscles working for today's football.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Getting by

Oxfam have produced a report stating that the richest 1% of the World's population will have more wealth the other 99% by some time next year.

This sounds incredible - and you start to think of the extravagant lifestyles of the Oil-rich Arabs, the Russian Oligarchs, the Landed Gentry, the Software Billionaires, the talentless Celebrities, the great Sporting Legends... but you should read on.

If you have assets in excess of £526,000 - then you are in that 1%. So, if you own a decent house and have paid off your mortgage in or around London, or in the more affluent parts of many of our cities or regions - then you are probably part of the 1%.

Makes you think!

Gas

That went well.

A letter arrived. Our gas supplier was asking for a reading, claiming they couldn't get access to the house. The letter was addressed correctly - but the address of the house to which they were trying to gain access was completely different. A long phone call ensured.

They have acknowledged their error... and taken the Gorse Fox's reading as an opening reading. That means that all of the gas consumed to date has been free-of-charge. Errors like this may be a problem to sort out - but as long as he gets results like this, the Gorse Fox is not complaining.

Noon Image: 19 Jan 2015

Coconut

The Gorse Fox, whilst working in Edinburgh, became somewhat partial to the Beef Rendang served at Nanyang (a brilliant Asian restaurant). He noticed, in Sainsbury's, a paste for rendang and so last night we tried a Chicken Rendang. This worked out beautifully. The chicken pieces were fried up in the rendang paste, then some mushrooms were added, and then some coconut milk. It simmered away for about 30 minutes and then was served on a bed of fine rice noodles. It was not as dry as that served in Nanyang, but it was certainly delicious (and not too spicy).

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bake off

The Gorse Fox headed off to football. The Silver Vixen hit the kitchen. The slow cooker was prepared and loaded and left to do its thing, then the baking equipment emerged from the cupboards. A gluten-free bake was scheduled. Following the recipe to letter the SV waved her magic wand and a dozen blueberry muffins appeared through a cloud of flour. Delicious.

The football was well-attended. We ended up playing 7-a-side, which on a 5-a-side pitch is not ideal. All in all it was a good work out - GF playing sweeper, goal-keeper, and midfield at various parts of the game. As we approached the end it was all square , so we decided on a "golden goal" to settle things. GF managed to duck and dodge a few tackles before letting loose and scoring the decider. Very pleased with GF's outfield play - but his goal-keeping was mediocre today.

Noon Image: 18 Jan 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lies

The Gorse Fox watched a segment on the local news last night. It was featuring the waiting times at A&E in local hospitals. This is obviously a concern for all. However, the BBC (political wing of the Labour Party) seems to have taken Ed Miliband's request to "weaponise the NHS" to heart. To that end they completed the the segment with an interview with the local union rep who said, without blinking or embarrassment "this is a result of the Government's £20Billion in cuts". The BBC allowed this statement to go through unchallenged - as they would! This is a blatant lie. Examining the figures from the treasury we find that, since 2010 the budget for health has continued to rise each year and now stands at £133Bn; not only that, but with inflation at 1.5% the 2 latest figures are well above inflation (also don't forget the Government pledged an extra 2Bn for this year):

2010116.9
2011119.8
2012121.2
2013124.3
2014129.5
2015133

If you pay tax, 35% of all your tax goes on Health and Welfare, 23.6% on Health.

There is a vast amount of misinformation being spread by all parties at present (particularly Labour); don't just believe what you are told - go and look up the numbers from the ONS, or the Treasury.

Noon Image: 17 Jan 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

Scanned

That's better. Feeling righteous now that the scanning is done and the documents digitally filed, mirrored, backed up offsite, and physically shredded.

Admin

A quiet day today, predominantly focussed on admin. GF has a pile of documents to scan, but is finding it difficult to motivate himself to do it. He suspects the bullet need biting.

Noon Image: 16 Jan 2015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

On your marks...

The Gorse Fox received a call. It was Darren, the builder. He's talking of starting work on our extension next week and wanted to come and assess the site. He was with us for about 30 minutes and then resolved to check with the builder regarding access to skips and so forth. Gorse Fox had made it clear that he did not want a skip sitting outside the house - in deference to our neighbours. Still waiting to get confirmation of his start dat, but it sounds like next week.

We headed for Chi. We were looking for kitchens fitments and it seemed like a good idea to have a look in Covers. ((Covers are the biggest local builders' mechant). We were unable to get what we wanted, but they did point us at a suitable website.

Noon Image: 15 Jan 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pah!

Pah! Despite a dreadful forecast of high winds and possible sleet - we all turned up for the football. It was cold, but the sun was shining and the winds were nothing to write home about. A very pleasant game - though we were a man down after about 10 minutes, with one chap going off with a pulled muscle.

There's still an alert for this evening regarding the winds and rain, but we'll worry about that when it hits.

Noon Image: 14 Jan 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Second

Well the weather didn't quite manage to remain clement for the football. Of the three matches played, two were in sunshine and one was in a torrential downpour. We are hardy souls, however, and carried on regardless.

GF was pleased that in the three match round-robin, his team won two games and lost one, ending up second. Very satisfying that after nearly 90 minutes of exercise (GF turned up early and made use of the empty nets) he wasn't tired or puffed out. Fitness is generally improving - even if the weight is not changing by much.

Noon Image: 13 Jan 2015

Improving

At 6:45 this morning (when Jasper, the cat, dragged the Gorse Fox from under the duvet) it was cold and very wet. It did not look promising for today's football. It may be played on an all-weather pitch, but it is still pretty exposed when the weather is bad. Fortunately, the clouds have gone and the sky is bright blue. It may still be cold, but at least it is no longer raining.

On a related subject - the special glasses GF (thought he) had ordered for football never actually hit the order system. GF has now re-ordered and this time has all the expected confirmations. Now, lets see how long they take to come through. If this works out, he may well order some new general purpose specs online - he seems to have worked out all the variables that are required to place these orders - Sphere, cyl, axis, prism, base, Dist, Int, Near, PD, width, arm, bridge, diameter and so forth.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Quotes

The weather outside is wet and miserable and does not entice one into its damp embrace. The Gorse Fox has been at the computer most of the day and the Silver Vixen has been re-organising things in her study. This has thrown up the requirement for some floating shelves. This, in turn, has thrown up the challenge of finding some that suit and are practical. (We had some at the old house and they were useless: they did not stay tight to the wall, nor were they able to support any appreciable weight). The Gorse Fox is waiting for a call back with a quote for some glass shelving, having received a benchmark quote already from another supplier. Whether we use glass, or go for a minimalist white is still open for discussion, but it is important to get the quotes in place.

Noon Image: 12 Jan 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Draw

Football was very good today. There were 14 of us playing initially, so 7-a-side to start with. One of the Gorse Fox's team pulled up after about 5 minutes so we ended up 1 man down. The Gorse Fox played central midfield as he often does when not in goal. This enabled him to snuff out many of the attacks but also to surge forward and score several goals. The Gorse Fox is fairly solid and was accused of battering his way through like a prop-forward - he makes no apology for that, having to ride  a number of hard tackles. Gorse Fox went in goal for the last 5 minutes in order to keep things tight. In the end, despite being a man down for most of the game we managed to win 6-5.

Noon Image: 11 Jan 2015

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Very quiet

Very, very quiet day and nothing that really warrants comment.

Noon Image: 10 Jan 2015

Friday, January 09, 2015

Domestic duties

Today has been focussed on domestic duties, but these were interspersed with periods of reading the local parish plan.

Yesterday we had a Parish meeting to discuss a number of items from a broad agenda. Rarely has the Gorse Fox sat through a worse-run meeting. The Chair had no control over the participants, and the participants were ill-disciplined in terms of the points they raised. This meant that almost every agenda item spread into other items and questions were being directed at people who had no knowledge or responsibility for them. It reinforced the Gorse Fox's determination NOT to return to Parish Council duties! The meeting did, however, refer to the new Parish Plan - and so, the GF thought he should read it (particularly as he was instrumental in the development of the plan for Kingston).

On another front - the Gorse Fox chased the order for his football-specs. It turns out they haven't got any record of the order, so he has agreed to chat with the chap on Monday and place the order again - he in turn will try to expedite it.

Noon Image: 9 Jan 2015

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Admin

Thursday is often the day that the Gorse Fox does his admin. So it was today that he went back through the bank transactions and checked everything was in order. One number caught his eye - the direct debit for BT seemed higher than expected, and so he went back through the BT Statements. It seems that, despite assurances to the contrary, he has been charged for equipment that BT sent to help resolve the problems with broadband - including one device that never turned up.

GF has written to his exec contact in BT and awaits her response.

Noon Image: 8 Jan 2015

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

That's better

The Gorse Fox was playing football again this morning. This is something we have arranged independently as we no longer need to attend the "taster sessions". We have had a taste and we like it. 

We met up at the Worthing leisure centre - some of the Angmering and Littlehampton groups and one guest from the Tuesday Worthing session. As the group was only 10, we took a 5-a-side pitch and used that. The Gorse Fox managed to avoid playing in goal until the last few minutes of the game so managed to get a good work out on the pitch.  His timing was much better today and he was very satisfied with his overall performance.

Back in the real world, we have had a call from the chaps who will be buiding the Orangery on the back of the house... but keep missing each other. Hopefully. we can meet up and get things under way.

On an entirely different subject, the Gorse Fox tried out the cordless Dyson. Very impressing performance, judging by the amount of detritus deposited in the bin. Also, it makes vacuuming the stairs an absolute doddle.

Noon Image: 7 Jan 2015

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Decks down

Well it is the 12th day of Christmas, and so it was time to take down the decortions and pack them away for another year. The Gorse Fox did the high items before leaving for football... leaaving the Silver Vixen to do the rest. By the time he got home it was done and all he had to do was pack the crates away in the garage and the tree in the loft.

We had a very good turn out at the football. We split into four teams and played a round-robin of games. The Gorse Fox was not amused at losing all three games and had to go in goal to stem the leaks. At least once in goal, he only conceded one but the damage had already been done.

New battery-powered Dyson turned up today. This was installed in the understairs cupboard and has been charging since. Should be very useful for the stairs and cleaning the cars.

Noon Image: 6 Jan 2015

Monday, January 05, 2015

Fiddling

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen have been fiddling with the under-stairs cupboard. Normally you would expect us to keep our domestic staff below stairs, but we are enlightened and use it for a mixture of household storage and as the network hub for the house.

Expecting a new rechargeable gadget to arrive in the next day or so, the Gorse Fox had to reconfigure his control panel. He would need somewhere to mount and power the charging unit. The control panel, you may remember, was attached to the wall with magnets, and all the components on the panel were secured with cable ties. Reconfiguring was a snip. Quite literally. Scissors snipped the cable ties and GF moved everything about and re-sited it in landscape mode (at the Silver Vixen's suggestion).

This triggered an analysis of the other items stored in the cupboard and a review of their use and accessibility. In the end, several items were demoted to the garage whilst others were promoted to their own purpose-installed hooks. The only item that is leaving us in a quandary is the ironing board. No satisfactory storage solution has been found - so it remains propped against the wall of the cupboard.

Overall a pleasing outcome.

Noon Image: 5 Jan 2015

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Mediocre

First Walking Football game of the New Year. Gorse Fox started in goal, where he did pretty well; then he went out on the pitch where, at best, he was mediocre. He just didn't seem to have the timing right. Clearly he wasn't operating optimally, so he went back in goal. This seemed to be his most useful deployment today - and, indeed, he was congratulated at the end of the game for his shot-stopping.

Next game is Tuesday.

Meanwhile, he wishes that he had ordered the shatter-proof (sports) glasses a few days earlier. Though he didn't get hit to day, the corner of one lens has sheared away, and left his specs hanging by a proverbial thread. Good job he has a spare pair until the new ones arrive.

Noon Image: 4 Jan 2015

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Noon Image: 3 Jan 2015

Worry

Doing the annual self-assessment for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is always a chore - though, to be fair, a chore that takes a lot less time that you expect. The Gorse Fox has just completed the self-assessment. He is worried. The automatic calculations estimate that HMRC owes the Gorse Fox some money. This is unheard of. He has been back through the calculations and understands that mathematics - but not the source of the "over payment" that has evidently occurred.

Scratches head.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Enjoying the sunshine

Though there is a cool breeze, it is a lovely day. Certainly too nice for the Gorse Fox to stay indoors. The Silver Vixen is still under the weather, so she stayed in the warm.

The Gorse Fox left the state and headed through the old village of Bersted, following the route of the pre-14th Century road towards Shripney.

Previously when he had tried this route it was blocked off by the new by-pass. Now the by-pass is open the footpath has been re-opened and you can cut diagonally across country to Shripney.
Being part of the coastal plain, the whole area is very flat and criss-crossed by draining ditches, rivers (rifes), and ponds.

The Gorse Fox was surprised by how quickly he got to Shripney. By road it seems quite a way, but across country you realise it is less than 2 miles.

Shripney is an old village and used to boast Shripney Manor (though GF didn't see it and suspects it is no longer there). He did spot one old building with a date of 1699 and suspects it is by no means the oldest in the village.

Noon Image: 2 Jan 2015

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Not so good

The chicken concoction was not such a success. The lemon marinade somewhat over-powered the other flavours. Oh well, we live and learn.

Not a good start

Well the Silver Vixen has woken up with a very sore throat and is clearly under the weather. A cynic may say that should be expected on the morning of New Year's day, but the Gorse Fox would remind said cynic that the Silver Vixen doesn't drink so that unless one can get a hangover from tea, this is clearly a virus.

We managed to get a few minutes chat (online) with Cousteau-cub.  It appears that she too has lost her voice - so even if we could have established a Skype link we would not have been able to hear her.

Gorse Fox is experimenting for supper. He has got some chicken marinading in lemon juice, pepper, salt, garlic and oil. This will be cooked later and added to some stir-fried vegetables and rice noodles. No idea what it will taste like - but worth a try.

Mmmm.... Jasper the cat (who woke us at a ridiculous hour this morning - despite our exhortations not to, when we went to bed) has just sneezed a couple of times. GF may go and sit in the garage to stay clear of the bugs that seem to surround him.

Have a wonderful 2015 all of you. May peace and health fill your lives and that of your loved ones.

Noon Image: 1 Jan 2015