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