Thursday, April 30, 2015

Floored

The flooring is down, at last.

Skirtings will be fitted at the end of next week and GF will have to finish the lighting over the weekend.

Progress

Windscreen chip has been fixed.

Blinds have been ordered for the Orangery.

Ocado have delivered.

Flooring is being laid.

Satisfactory start to the day.

Noon Image: 30 Apr 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Busy tomorrow

Have a busy day coming up... flooring being laid, blinds being measured up, windscreen chip being fixed, and (of course) Ocado bringing the shopping. Busy, busy, busy.... how did the Gorse Fox ever have time to work?

Quote

First of the landscaping quotes has arrived. It is well presented and within the budget that GF had at the back of his mind. Now it would be nice to have the other quotes back so that we have something against which to compare.

Was expecting a wet game of footie this morning but the rain held off. GF realised that though he plays outdoors at least twice a week, he hasn't played in the rain since January. As a team we seem to be picking up some injuries. A couple of the squad are suffering from pulled hamstrings, one seems to have aggravated his hernia, and guess that we are lucky nobody has suffered a blowout in their walker.

Noon Image: 29 Apr 2015

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Per Ardua ad Astroturf

In praise of astroturf - GF must admit it has several advantages, primary one being that it doesn't need mowing(*). After today's football, a shower, and some lunch GF went out to mow the lawns. The eternal nature of real grass means that it has started to break through the mess left by the builders and is beginning to look a bit too long. Hopefully, if and when we actually get any quotes from the landscapers - this will be a thing of the past... but for now, it still requires attention. So it was that GF wandered back and forth pushing his little mower for the early part of the afternoon.

(*) Astroturf also withstands heavy rain without getting waterlogged, it has a slight spring in the surface which is kind on the joints and it is very forgiving when you get clattered to the deck.

Todays football comprised 8 matches of 10 minutes a piece. Teams were made up on the fly at the beginning of the session, and it all ended pretty even (though GF has no idea what the scores were).

Noon Image: 28 Apr 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Third

The tournament was fun, but we only managed 3rd place today. In six games we only conceded one goal... but, we only scored two. Drew 4, Won 1, Lost 1.

This particular tournament will be run monthly, going forward. Should be fun, and the competition helps us improve our skills.

Noon Image: 27 Apr 2015

Chilly

Beautiful blue sky this morning, but quite cold overnight. Jasper wasn't impressed when he went out, and was soon back in to warm up.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Winners

So, Arun Amblers emerged as the winners of the Littlehampton Tournament. It wasn't a big event, but it was fun. We had a good ref who enforced the rules consistently throughout the games. That is always a good start.

Our first games was against Littlehampton FC's old boys. All ex-Sussex County League players. The game was a bit cagey, but we held them to a 0-0 draw. We probably should have been more assertive, but decided that it wasn't worth taking chances.

The second game was against Worthing. These are players we know well, and were expecting a hard game. We were right, but we were also very disciplined. We emerged 2-0 winners.

Finally, we played our own B-team. This was easier for us as we were well acquainted with all of them and their strengths and weaknesses. By half time we were 4-0 ahead. In the second half we continued to pass the ball well and make full use of the space. GF even managed to stride forward and play a one-two with Barry before putting the ball in the back of the net. This was the only time GF crossed the halfway line, but was somewhat satisfying.

The cup is now being engraved and should be ours by the end of the week.

Tomorrow, we field an almost identical team at the BHA tournament.

Noon Image: 26 Apr 2015

Tournaments

Today sees the Littlehampton Walking Football Tournament, and just to keep us on our toes, tomorrow sees a further tournament at Brighton & Hove Albion's Elite Training Centre. We have entered teams for both.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Batteries

The great advantage of cordless drills and saws is the flexibility they give. The great disadvantage (if you don't have spare batteries) is that they run out just as you get 40 minutes into a project.

So it is that GF is sitting, writing this, whilst waiting for his drill battery to recharge. The project? Well, he has this picture in his head of some hidden lighting in the lantern of the Orangery. He has finally worked out how to do it, and started fixing an ogee moulding around the bottom rim of the lantern. When finished, he will fix an LED ribbon along to top (hidden) edge.

Noon Image: 25 Apr 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

Assembler

No, GF is not talking about the underlying machine language for IBM Mainframes (though would love to wax lyrical on the subject or, perhaps, write an epic poem about it). No today GF was assembling the chairs that were brought back from IKEA yesterday. It didn't take too long, and it has now helped us get a better idea of the room we have spare in the Orangery. We are still debating whether to get some side tables or get one central coffee table.

We also contacted the man who fixed all our blinds and shutters. It seems only fair to give him a chance to quote before we default to Outside Interests, who supplied the Orangery.

Best news of the day (and this harks back to a discussion held last Friday) is that Urban-cub has now been offered a cracking new job at Gatwick Airport. It will mean leaving the prison service after some ten years - but she has learned much and now has the opportunity to put it into practice - an opportunity that was often promised but never fulfilled at HMPS. Well done Urban-cub; we are very proud of you.

Noon Image: 24 Apr 2015

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cloudless Evening in the Orangery

I always wanted a yacht- view from IKEA

Raid

The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox were feeling adventurous. A road trip and heist were planned. As soon as the man from Ocado had left we climbed aboard SV's trusty broomstick and headed west. An hour later we sidled into Ikea and began to case the joint.

Several hours, and a lot of meatballs (and salmon) later, we left pushing a trolley with a mountain of loot. All we had to do, to get away with it, was to swipe a credit card at the tills. Simple.

The rear seats of the broomstick were collapsed down and all of the swag loaded into the back. Without so much as a look back we swung out into the traffic and made our escape.

Noon Image: 23 Apr 2015

Schedule slip

It seems as if someone else's misfortune may help us. A large contract in London is behind schedule. This may free up some vinyl layers who could come and lay our floor. We won't know until tomorrow, but without wishing problems on the person in London, if they are delayed - we would be happy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Last of the Landscapers

Well we have now met the last of the landscapers. We gave him the same brief as the others, the same specification and same diagrams. He seemed totally at ease with what we had planned; made some suggestions, and left us to go and start on the quotation.

Over the next week or so, we are hoping to get the quotes from each of the landscapers - and some idea as to when they can do the work.

On other matters, GF's football was very mediocre this morning. This could be because his stiff neck was reaching an acute phase - and he was in a great deal of discomfort. Since then, the neck seems to have eased slightly. Hopefully, it is on the mend.

Noon Image: 22 Apr 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fibre

Neighbours were telling us that BT have installed a new wiring cabinet at last. Hopefully that means we should get fibre before too long (though midsummer is the latest schedule we have heard).

Stuff

Football was a mixed bag. The first hour saw three games where GF was on the losing side. The second hour saw three further games where GF was on the winning team. The stiff neck is not improving, and it makes balance slightly iffy when kicking as he could counterbalance the way he normally did.

News of yet another tournament. GF will be putting in a team for next Monday to play at Brighton & Hove Albion's Elite Training Centre against a number of teams from across the south coast.

Chap came from the flooring company to look at the Orangery and check it was ready for the vinyl to be laid. No doubt we will hear in the next day or so when they can do the work.

Noon Image: 21 Apr 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

Focus

We had another of the landscapers meet with us this morning. She seemed very nice and very thorough (though GF had provided detailed designs and a document explaining the brief). We just need to wait for her quotes to come through.

The stiff neck is problematic. GF has almost no rotation to left or right. The problem is made more ridiculous by his varifocal glasses. These, of course, have a sweet spot in the middle of the lens and in order for things to be in focus you need to look through this sweet spot. This means that GF relies on head rotation to see things clearly. Today he has to do complete body rotation.

Noon Image: 20 Apr 2015

Stiff

The Gorse Fox has a dreadfully stiff neck. He's not sure of the cause but has almost no rotation, and even forward/backward motion is painful. He is wearing a warm neck-roll at present, trying to ease the discomfort.

Feeling stupid.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lotus

We heard from Cousteau-cub this morning. She is about to start her yoga teacher's course. This is 200 hours of intense study and practice over the next few weeks - 10 hours a day. At the end, GF guesses she gets her certificate, or a refund of her enlightenment. She has no plan to teach yoga, but enjoys it so much that she wanted to delve deeper.

Slope

The pitch at LA was on a slight slop and wasn't marked out for small-sided football. On top of this there was a cruel wind blowing across the wide open spaces and it was strong enough to move the ball around quite a lot. We started with a "first team" against the rest and were soon 6-0 up. We rebalanced the teams and played another 40 minutes. To be honest GF had absolute mare of a game. He just couldn't get under way., and his passing was not as accurate as he would like (or expect).

Probably time to draw a veil over this match. Next Sunday we have a tournament, so let's hope GF has got his act together by then.

Noon Image: 19 Apr 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Landscaping

Another potential landscaper came round. He was given the same brief and diagrams as the first. Like the first, he seemed quite enthusiastic about our design and offered various suggestions as to approaches that could be used to achieve the end result. We look forward to hearing his proposal, as we know him and his team; they were, after all, the guys that built our Orangery.

When he had gone, we took a drive up to Chi and looked around the landscape section of Covers. They had some great ideas and we came home clutching an armful of brochures. (GF knew that Covers was big - he has visited before - but he discovered it spreads across 16 acres. Most impressive.)

Noon Image: 18 Apr 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Send off

The funeral was a typical event, for our family, i.e. it was a glorious event. We gathered at the Crematorium along with a large contingent of serving and retired Police Officers. As we milled about we introduced ourselves to each other - it is, after all, decades since some of us have met. The police formed up into an honour guard and lining the route to the chapel. It was, clearly, a very proud and poignant moment for the family.

The ceremony was brief. A few words from the Police chaplain, a time for reflection, a eulogy from Mark's son and a flurry of tissues all round.

We gathered in the courtyard to remember a fine man who was clearly very highly respected. This where it morphed into our typical funeral as we, respectfully started to chuckle and joke as we reminisced.

Leaving the courtyard we drove to the Herts Police Sports & Social Club where there was tea laid on. (Though being a Police Social Club, there was also a bar, of course). It was nice to chat with cousins and a thoughtful touch was added when the Police came round with A5 cards for us to write our stories of Mark so that they all be bound into a book of remembrance.

GF said his goodbyes, and took leave at about 1500. It had only taken 2 hours to get there, so he should be home around 1700. Of course the phenomenon that is the M25 and Friday stepped in at this point. He queued in traffic from Rickmansworth round to Guildford, and then, south of Petworth, the road was closed with a long diversion. Two hours had become three and three-quarters. Pah! Still, GF wouldn't have missed the funeral even if had known.

Once home, Urban-cub was visiting, as was GF's sister and Trevor. We had a lovely supper and chance to chat (and perhaps we will reveal more about the subject in forthcoming posts) before they all disappeared leaving GF with the weary but gorgeous Silver Vixen. Say what you will, he is a lucky man.

Noon Image: 17 Apr 2015

Weeds

The Gorse Fox is going to the funeral of his cousin today. Interestingly, this cousin and his siblings have had little contact with GF over the years - except through Facebook. He hope he recognises them!

Donning his funeral weeds was a challenge. The jacket he had planned to wear has evidently grown whilst hanging in the wardrobe. When he put it on, it was clear that there was room for him and a guest in its capacious measurements. This rather brought home to GF, just how big he had become prior to retirement and how much weight he has managed to lose since.

He'll be off soon, to spend some quality time on Her Majesty's highways and bye-ways.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thank you, HMRC

The Gorse Fox has commented before that he has been allocated a tax rebate. This is still sitting in his HMRC account, but today seemed like a good day to re-allocate the funds. He has mentioned before that his Samsung Notebook was defunct as a mobile device. It works fine with a cable, but no longer functions off the battery (and new batteries seem impossible to source).

To this end, a brief trip into Chi saw GF in John Lewis, and saw the JLP minions scurrying round trying to see if they had stock. They did. Gorse Fox now has a shiny new MacBook Air. Not a big one - he doesn't need the real estate any more, but a nice sparkly new one with an 11 inch screen. This entry is it's first foray into the wide world.

Noon Image: 16 Apr 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Close Shave

The Gorse Fox was driving home after the football. A large lorry was coming in the opposite direction. As it rounded the bend heading north, it ripped a branch from a tree and deposited it across the road in front of the GF's car. The lorry drove on. The road was completely blocked.

The traffic backed up and several of us south-bound drivers and a few of the north-bound drivers went to examine the obstacle. In the end we decided there were enough of us to manhandle the arborial roadblock out of the highway. Ten minutes of grunting and dragging later - the Gorse Fox was covered in pine resin, but the road was clear. GF headed home, thankful that he was not 10 yards further ahead than he had been. He suspects a branch like that would leave more that a scratch on the car's paintwork.

Noon Image: 15 Apr 2015

Mown down

The Gorse Fox has football this morning, but clearly needs to break out the lawn mower later, or tomorrow. The battlefield (garden) has started to recover from the pasting it received during the building works and the grass is beginning to reach out for a better view.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Double dose

The Gorse Fox doubled his dose of walking football today. He signed up for two back-to-back sessions. This meant he played six 15 minute matches over a couple of hours. He was expecting to find it hard, but in fact it wasn't too bad at all. Obviously his fitness levels are improving.

Ominous

There's something ominous about an email from HMRC. This, particularly so when Gorse Fox's last tax return resulted in HMRC owing him money.

He logged on to his account and went to the messages. There it was, glaring out of the screen, a message from the tax people. He clicked and opened the message, read it, and sighed with relief. It was just a reminder to fill in his self-assessment befor 31st Jan next year.

Noon Image: 14 Apr 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Good day, really

Despite the start at the dentist (clean bill of health), it has been a good day. GF headed into Chi and picked up some new football boots. Several of the upcoming tournaments are on grass rather than astroturf - so it is sensible to get some boots with proper studs.

Once back home GF returned to the challenge of the garden. This meant selection of a list of landscapers to0 approach, and more refinement of the design. This all went well and the design now exists as a 3D model in Sketchup and can be viewed from every angle.

A trip to Travis Perkins allowed us to look at some of the options we would have for gravels or slate and helped clarify some of the choices.

Noon Image: 13 Apr 2015

Reminders

Calendar reminded the Gorse Fox that he has to spend some quality time with the dentist this morning. Oh well, it could be worse. He could be having to go to work!

Ahhh, retirement; every day a Bank Holiday :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bullet bit

Sometimes you have to just bite the bullet. Gorse Fox's Mac has been offering a free upgrade to Yosemite for several months. He has been resisting. The old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" was firmly in mind. However, there were some security patches, and some newer apps available, and it has now had quite a while to bed down.

GF took the plunge and five and half GB of Yosemite downloaded during the afternoon. Then, after pressing a couple of buttons, the upgrade began. Thirty minutes or so later, a sparkly new system booted up. Voila, it works. Trouble free.

Meanwhile GF spent a pleasant hour on the phone to Agent Mulder. It appears that he will be off to Thailand in a few weeks, with the aim of meeting up with his daughter (who out there travelling). He wants to take some "beach time" and plans to head for Koh Lanta so he can meet up with Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit. Contact details have been exchanged... and hopefully it will all work out.

Noon Image: 12 Apr 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chelsea - Eat your heart out

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen have spent the morning with garden templates, tape measures, watercolour pencils and twenty-one thousand ideas. We need to get to a design for the garden - and are not, repeat NOT, going to fork out the £25k plus that the chap quoted a few weeks back.

After a lot of head scratching, we have come up with a plan that we both like. Now GF has to transfer it into a drawing on the computer so that we can provide copies to landscape gardeners in order for them to give us some sensible quotes.

Next stop - a show garden at Chelsea.

Noon Image: 11 Apr 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Quiet day

It has been a quiet day, much spent sorting out football-related stuff. There is another tournament to organise our response to, and also to invite further participation from our Worthing chums. They too have now formed a club, but don't seem to have quite the foowing we have.

Now that the Orangery floor is sealed, we were able to make a start cleaning up, and we have started to think about funiture. No decisions yet, but suspect a trip to Ikea is on the horizon.

Noon Image: 10 Apr 2015

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Committee

The Gorse Fox is part of the organising committee for the Arun Amblers Walking Football Club and we had a meeting scheduled. The car park was rammed full, but Gf was luck and found a slot for his car. He was surprised, therefore, when entering The Sportsman to find it was almost deserted. That's when he realised there was football match being played and so we sat by the picture windows, held our meeting, had a beer, and watched the local football team play one of their rivals.

GF must say that it is a very pleasant way to hold a committee meeting, and beats the old Parish Council meetings, hands down.

We have now been invited to play in another tournament... so we have a couple coming up in the next month.

Bits and bobs

The day started with the operative arriving to lay the latex on the concrete screed that forms the base of the Orangery. This is the last stage before the heated floor is laid next week. GF was surprised by how many sacks of latex were required - but he seems to have done a good job and at least the concrete is now sealed and the dust will no longer permeate everything.

We popped in to Chi at lunchtime. GF had some business at the bank, and there was a special offer at our favoured restaurant "Amelie and Friends". We settled down to try the new menu. Tempura Prawns for the GF's starter (SV skipped the starter) Then The Silver Vixen had a pork tenderloin for her main course, whilst GF had the catch of the day as fish and chips. Finally, the Silver Vixen enjoyed a rhubarb trifle. As usual, the service was wonderful and the food both delicious and beautifully presented. Well worth the trip.

Noon Image: 9 Apr 2015

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Hatch

We have been trying to coax Jasper to use the cat tunnel, now that the flap is in place. He seems reluctant, unless you stand there and hold the flap open. Also, he leaps through it so quickly that the reader can't register his microchip. This is something we will have to work on.

Football was fun today. The warm weather is making it hot work - heaven's knows how we will cope in the summer. Good win today, 5-3 with a goal from GF to help the tally.

Noon Image: 8 Apr 2015

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Clearing up

Walking football was disappointing. The fall of the dice meant that GF's team was not a strong mix this week and we lost all three games. GF was very weary at the end, and frustrated that whilst he seemed to be able to provide pinpoint passes to feet from anywhere on the pitch, he seemed spectacularly useless at placing a ball between the goalposts.

Back home there was a period of frustration as we tried to catch Jasper to take hime to the vet for his annual health check. He must have known something was up as he buried himself under the bedd and dug his claws into the carpet when we tried to coax him out. Eventually, we were successful - he had his check, and all is well.

Whilst he was at the vet, the Gorse Fox tidied the decorating detritus from the Orangery. Decorating is complete, everything is squared away and the rubbish has been consigned to the local recycling amenity. Once the floor is latex and seals the concrete dust in, it should be usable - and then next week the underfloor heating will be installed and we are on the home stretch.

Noon Image: 7 Apr 2015

Monday, April 06, 2015

Almost there

DIY - Part 6

Walls masked, and painted in Almond White. First coat took 4 hours to put on, but with a re-coat time of 2 hours, GF was able to do the second coat as well. Fortunately that only took three hours. Decorating is essentially done, though GF was less than pleased to find the low-tack masking tape still managed to strip a few bits of the painted ceiling. A bit of touching up needed in the morning.

Noon Image: 6 Apr 2015

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Wedding

Urban-cub and Pistol Pete came over and we all piled in to the Silver Vixen's car and headed off for the bandit country that is Wales. We had a superb run through and were sitting outside a restaurant near Cardiff by 1130. We went in a grabbed a table, and just as well we did as more and more people arrived and the place was heaving by 1230.

After lunch we made our way to Lisvane, where the wedding would be. It seems to be a tiny, sleepy little village with little more than a shop, a pub, and the church. We skipped the shop, but made use of the pub as we all gathered prior to going in to the church.
The service was a little unconventional - as you would expect from Ellie. It was, however, a lovely, friendly, inclusive service.

The groom, Kevin, looked as if he couldn't make up his mind between delight and fear. He seemed to take it in his stride, though.

After the service we all gathered in the church grounds for photos (and an Easter egg hunt, for the children). The weather was kind - in fact it was pleasantly warm and dry (for Wales).

The reception was a couple of minutes walk at the nearby Memorial Hall. Again, it was beautifully informal - everyone just mixed and chatted and had a good chance to catch up. It really was a lovely affair.

We had thought about staying overnight, but decided that it was easier to head back (rather than worry about Jasper, the cat, and what to do about him). So we headed off into the evening and drove back to civilisation.

A memorable day

Noon Image: 5 Apr 2015

Ready

Passports ready, phrase book, ready, inoculations are up to date, British Embassy has been informed, and armoured car is prepared, police outriders and SAS escort are on stand-by at the Severn Crossing. We're off to Cardiff for the day to attend Miss Ellie's wedding.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

DIY - Part 5

Another trip to B&Q. As expected the ceiling required a further coat of paint and GF did not quite have enough. Also, he needed some additional paint roller sleeves and another paint tray.

Back home the additional coat was soon applied and immediately it was clear that it had made a difference. Until the ceiling is properly dry, GF will have to wait to do the walls. He made use of the time masking the doors and windows in preparation. Practically, it will have to wait until Monday as the ceiling won't be dry and hard enough to be masked off today.

Never mind. Progress has been good, and there have been no surprises.

Noon Image: 4 Apr 2015

Friday, April 03, 2015

DIY - Part 4

Lantern and ceiling are now painted. The Gorse Fox just needs to wait and see whether a further coat will be necessary. He suspects it might.

DIY - Part 3

Ran out of the emulsion paint that GF was using to prime the plaster... a quick trip to B&Q saw a further 5L pot delivered and the painting continued. The whole Orangery has now been primed and GF is sitting down for a coffee before embarking on the adventure that is painting the lantern with eggshell white (to match the ceilings in the house).

Noon Image: 3 Apr 2015

Thursday, April 02, 2015

DIY - Part 2

The Gorse Fox has finished for the day. The Lantern is primed, the ceiling is primed, One wall is primed and the doors, windows and electrical sockets have been "cut-in". Three more walls to do tomorrow, and looks like GF may need another tub of paint. That will see they whole Orangery primed. Then, of course, he has to start all over with the finish coats.

GF has every expectation of aching all over tomorrow - but for now is retiring to a hot shower before getting ready to go with the Silver Vixen to meet up with GF's little sister and Trev.

Noon Image: 2 Apr 2015

DIY - Part 1

Well the Cat-tunnel has been prepared, fitted, and removed. It was a bit fiddly as the builders hadn't quite lined up the holes on the outer wall and inner wall, and the plasterers had made only a rudimentary attempt at leaving a hole in the plasterboard.

An hour of cutting, levelling, filing, and test-fitting ensued. There was a new pile of plaster dust, but eventually it all fitted. GF has now removed it, ready for the painting. That's next, after he finishes his coffee.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Boy's Games and Toys

The Gorse Fox started the day by making use of a drop-in health-check that was being provided at Worthing Leisure Centre. He has rarely been to the doctors and isn't a great one for measuring, weighing or worrying about things. As a result it seemed like an opportunity for an MOT.  Forty minutes later GF was measured, weighed, prodded, blooded, and questioned about most aspects of life and the universe. He wandered out clutching his certificate and a fairly clean bill of health... just the predictable warning about losing a bit of weight and keeping an eye on his blood pressure. Overall, he was well pleased.

The walking football followed, and though GF had been looking forward to it, he felt as if he was just off the pace and his timing wasn't quite right. Nevertheless, GF's team won 3-2, so it wasn't all bad.

During the afternoon GF had assessed what would be needed for the completion of the cat-tunnel and the painting of the Orangery. He and the Silver Vixen raided B&Q and GF returned with gallons of paint and a cordless jigsaw. Tomorrow has every chance of being busy.

Noon Image: 1 Apr 2015