Saturday, April 30, 2016

Smoke Signals

It HAS been a lovely day... though only about 13C.

Some neighbour has obviously suffered a temporary aberration and forgotten the cussedness of our weather. Smoke is rising from his barbecue... as heavy rain falls, dousing his efforts.

Game, set, and match Mother Nature.

Serendipity

Lovely start to the day again. We had decided to proceed with the garden furniture we had seen on Thursday. The Gorse Fox had called the manufacturers to check on some technical details regarding the material and its ability to stay outside during all weathers. Satisfied, we headed back to Hillier's and, with the aid of a small piece of plastic, handed over coins of the realm. Delivery should be in the next week.

On the way back we saw the sign to Dell Quay, and having heard it was a nice spot, decided to take a look. It was delightful.

We stopped in the car park of The Crown and Anchor and went in for a coffee. That was when it occurred to us that it was lunchtime. It would have been churlish to eschew such an opportunity, so grabbed a table and sat down to enjoy both coffee and eats.

The menu, whilst varied, was not huge. It was, however, very inviting. We both selected their burger (unusual for the Silver Vixen), and thoroughly enjoyed it. We will certainly return.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Design

The Silver Vixen has various ideas for the garden. This got the Gorse Fox thinking. As a result he has now come up with an idea for a new feature which occupied his little grey cells this morning. The screens that he made last year are quite a nice feature and he could create something similar to cover part of the fence. This would be a visual improvement and also provide a feature upon which the Silver Vixen could hang planters. Measuring was done this morning and vertical posts fixed in place. The horizontal slats will need to be ordered as none are left over from last year.

Whilst looking at the garden, the Gorse Fox also measured the top of the bistro table (which was broken during the winter storms). A few minutes with Google and a phone call later, and we have a local company ready to pitch in with a new toughened glass top - in exchange for a few coins of the realm.

It seems that Beloved Aunt managed to finish the set-up of her Kindle. She wrote overnight that she is reading the first chapter of her first e-book. Excellent news, and so much easier for her.

Considerations continue regarding a holiday later in the year. The Gorse Fox has spoken to his travel agent chappie. (This is the chap that the Gorse Fox has dealt with since 2010 for the various Thai holidays - nice bloke and seems to know what's what). He's off doing research and going to come back with some suggestions.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cold start

Another cold start to the day, but it was bright and sunny, so soon warmed up. her the nice man from Ocado had delivered our shopping the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox went for a walk and had a mosey round the recently re-opened local Post Office/Convenience Store. Whilst it remained chilly in the shade, it was lovely and warm in the sun.

The Silver Vixen wants some inspiration for the garden planting. We made the most of the nice weather and popped across to Hillier's Garden Centre near Fishbourne. This opened up a number of opportunities for covering the pergola, though no decision is yet made. Whilst there we grabbed a coffee and panini and then went on to look at the other displays. We were particularly impressed with one set of garden furniture. Not what we had originally had in mind, but probably more practical and certainly more comfortable. A bit more research is required, but the Gorse Fox suspects we will order this set.

Afternoon was spent lapping up the sun in the Orangery and discussing the garden furniture. The Gorse Fox also had a FaceTime chat with Beloved Aunt, but the session failed mid-chat. However, by then he had managed to help her start the registration process for her Kindle. He will call back later to see how she got on.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Coolio

Another bright, sunny, but cool day. The Gorse Fox had football, as usual for Wednesday. It was a pleasant hour with some good chaps, plenty of banter, and some good football all round.

The Silver Vixen had an appointment for afternoon tea with some of her friends so she has left the Gorse Fox and Jasper to their own devices for the afternoon. Whilst she is being all posh and hoity-toity at some swanky hotel in Worthing, the Gorse Fox is enjoying a quiet afternoon listening to almost limitless supply of music available from Amazon Prime(*). What is nice is that there are some nicely curated playlists of smooth jazz and blues that you can select and then sit back and enjoy. One very good list featured the music used in the TV series Bosch and set the bar quite hight for all the others. So far, the Gorse Fox has not been disappointed.

A quick trip to Sainsbury's saw the Gorse Fox stock up on lentils. He enjoys lentil curry, and as the Silver Vixen said she was unlikely to want anything when she gets in, it seems like an ideal opportunity to experiment.

(*) The Gorse Fox subscribes to Amazon Prime and the music has been available for quite a while. It is only in the last few days, however, that it has been fully released to work on the SONOS sound system. There are other streaming services, such as Spotify or Deezer, but the Gorse Fox already pays for Amazon Prime and wasn't willing to subscribe to the others (though free versions do exist but again do not work with the SONOS, except for introductory periods).

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kindle

Glad to hear that Beloved Aunt's Kindle has arrived. Let's hope she can get it set up soon and enjoy the lower price of books and ability to change font size to something that is comfortable for her.

April Showers

The feline alarm had the Gorse Fox up and about at 6:30 this morning. He was not, however, fed until his usual time at 8:00; that'll teach him!

Talking of food, the Gorse Fox fancied something different and prepared bacon and eggs for breakfast. This is a rare treat, but most satisfying. He would observe that the new pan he bought recently has revolutionised the preparation of the eggs. No fat at all, and perfect eggs every time by adding a small piece of wet paper towel and allowing the steam to finish the eggs off. It may have been expensive but this pan is used daily and has superseded all others.

It was brilliant sunshine, but a bitter wind as the Gorse Fox set off for football. So it remained throughout the six games (D-W-W-W-L-W). Though the Gorse Fox didn't score in any of the games, he was in goal for two of them and was pleased with his overall contribution. Games over, he retired the changing rooms and then headed for the car. It had clouded over whilst he was getting ready and by the time he walked across the car park it had started to snow! Whilst it snowed quite heavily, it was not settling and it soon turned to heavy rain. So it has continued for the rest of the day.

The Gorse Fox was thinking more about the upcoming referendum on EU membership. There is so much misinformation and so many worst-case hypotheses being pronounced by both sides that it is making it very difficult to make a rational, informed decision. (Just looked out window, snowing again). The Gorse Fox saw an interesting article last week regarding the amount of mutual ownership that exists between the UK and the US and how many jobs on both sides of the Atlantic depend on the other side (US on UK business, and UK of US business). The trouble is, the Gorse Fox cannot find the details now. This is significant in the debate, because of the statement made by Obama last week threatening that UK would be at the back of the queue for renegotiation. As he won't even be in power by then it seems like an empty threat that would damage the US even more than the UK.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Restock

The morning started with our usual feline alarm call. Fortunately it wasn't quite as early as it has been lately, and we had to get up anyway.

The Silver Vixen had an appointment with the physioterrorist at the local cottage hospital. To avoid problems parking the Gorse Fox took her and then went back home to await her call. All was done by about 10:30 and the Gorse Fox was pleased to find that she was quite positive about the physio and whilst not convinced it would provide log term improvement, was happy that she had been listened to and tested and given sound advice and guidance.

There were items that needed re-stocking and so, after a coffee, we headed back out to the shops. Sainsbury's was, as usual, relatives deserted and we were soon done.

Leicester City FC continue to stretch their lead in the Premiership with a convincing 0-4 win at Swansea yesterday. Spurs play this evening. Hopefully they can beat West Brom and remain in touching distance so that if Leicester slip up, they are ready to pounce.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lost

This morning saw the Gorse Fox heading across to Littlehampton Town FC. We had a 5-way walking football tournament scheduled and based on the complete lack of organisation, the Gorse Fox thought he's go early to see what was going on. At least the pitches were marked out, but the groundsman still had to put up the goals.

The teams all arrived and finally the ref turned up. The Gorse Fox went to brief the ref on the rules, but he was convinced he knew it all - and it was basically just football. This raised warning flags, which were well-founded.

We had a large squad, but only a couple of our A-team players. This meant that we had to mix in less mobile and less able players into the team. Th games started, and there was a lot of hanging around as each of the 5 teams played each of the other teams. The referee was consistent in his non-application of the walking football rules. This was a problem because the idea is that the proper application of the rules should even out the differences between young teams and the older players.

It was not one of our finest days as we lost all of games. It was good fun, though and the Gorse Fox felt that he had played very well.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cancellation

There's something irritating about getting a reminder to pay an invoice. This is particularly true if it an invoice for a service that you cancelled 6 weeks back. So it was that the Gorse Fox spent an inordinate amount of the morning checking that a) he had cancelled, and b) how to sort things out. Eventually it was quite simple. He used online chat to talk to their customer services staff and they found the cancellation... and realised they hadn't sent the the email that allows the completion of the process. This was done immediately and the cancellation notification came within moments.

The Gorse Fox then spent some time looking at various flight and hotel options for a potential break later in the year. Nothing arranged, no destination agreed, just looking!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Budget

A day floating around in the adminisphere. Firstly the Gorse Fox had to sort out some arrangements for the weekend's football tournament. LTFC (who are hosting it) seem to expect everyone to know what's going on through osmosis.

Then after some household chores, the Gorse Fox got down to the budget-vs-actuals for the Toronto trip and also this month's domestic expenditure. That really took longer than expected as the Gorse Fox kept getting distracted.

Finally he spent time with the trip photos, ensuring they were all geo-tagged and all the people in the photos were correctly identified and filed.

After tonight's backups - ensuring the security of the soft-copies - all the paperwork can be shredded and all will be back to normal.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Jet lag

The trouble with jet-lag is that it doesn't affect the cat that you left at home in the cattery. Yesterday, Jasper was walking all over us at five in the morning, though the Gorse Fox did manage to wait until seven before getting up. Today Jasper started around six. By seven The Silver Vixen had had enough and got up. The Gorse Fox got up a while later and the jet-lagged Silver Vixen went back to bed for a while; the week away having really caught up with her.

We met up with Urban-cub at The Old Stables for lunch. She had already done her household chores and been to the pool for a swim. She was feeling very righteous. It was nice to just sit and chat without any specific agenda. Urban-cub showed us brochures for a couple of houses that she and Pistol Pete had been viewing. Both are nice, and both have pros and cons. If they decide to proceed it will be hard to select between them. First thing first, however. They still need to complete the sale of Urban-cub's flat.

In the evening we met with the Sonning Crew. It was time for one our curry-nights and we had to celebrate a wedding anniversary. As usual, the food was excellent and the company even better. We really have struck lucky with neighbours.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Normality

There was a partial return to normality today. Unfortunately, the Silver Vixen seems to have a cold or some hey-faver which is a bit of a shame - particularly as it seemed to develop in the last hour of our flight home.

The Gorse Fox headed out for football. The game was great fun as the weather was very kind to us and we had a good turn-out. The team that Gorse Fox played on won convincingly and our 7-goal tally included a lovely long range shot from the Gorse Fox. The normal game was followed by a friendly against a local team who asked for some practice games before they head out to Portugal for a tournament. We lost that game 1-0, but will get our chance for revenge on Sunday.

The afternoon was spent drinking tea with the neighbours in their back garden. Most refined. Most sophisticated. Not a french fancy in sight.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What?

Wandering round the store yesterday, before leaving, the Gorse Fox was amused by some of the items on display.

The picture shows one of the breakfast foods available to our Commonwealth cousins.

Home Sweet Home

As much as we love to travel and particularly travel to see family - there is no place quite like home. We had a pretty uneventful flight - though it was a bit late arriving back in the UK. Urban-Cub was waiting for us and swept us to the car and before we knew it, we were back home.

The early afternoon was, let's say, quiet, as we sat down to enjoy the warm sun in the Orangery. We did, however, have to go and collect Jasper later on. He had obviously had a good time at the cattery and insisted on telling us about it all the way home. He's now roaming the house checking that everything is as he left it.

Finale

Last day in "Tronno" started with breakfast in a small concession on The Path. It was inexpensive, but the yoghurt and granola was "craggy" and the coffee was rather insipid. Never mind, based on the the last week it would only be a couple of hours before we would eat again.

We checked out of the hotel and headed up to Bayview Village and met up with Beloved Aunt and Claire. For the third time in the last few days we settled down to eat at Il Fornello's. Lugging, the manager, recognises us now as regular customers and shows us to our "usual table".

The afternoon was spent discussing the benefits of the Amazon Kindle and the eventual purchase of one for BA. The debate was long, but the outcome sensible. Finally we had to say our goodbyes and head for the airport. The journey was trouble-free but the Gorse Fox had trouble at the gas station trying to get the pumps to work. In the end he hit the right combination and ended up using the most expensive blend of fuel they had.

As he said before, the journey to airport was trouble-free but on arrival the girl from Google directed us to the wrong place for Avis car return... Then, when we got out of the wrong car park, we went to the wrong terminal, but fortunately the Avis chap there redirected us to the correct terminal and drop off point. Pah!

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen are now enjoying a quiet hour or two in one of the lounges before we head for the flight. Home in the morning and a chance to catch up on the news from Urban-cub, who has been on holiday this last week.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cracking day

Sunday was a cracking day. The weather was bright and sunny and the temperatures were lovely and comfortable. After breakfast at the hotel, we went for a stroll around Downtown Toronto. Early on a Sunday morning it was quiet and looked marvellous in the bright sunshine.

We grabbed the car and headed north. There is a craft shop that needed a visit. This turned out to be one of our less successful trips as the outlet in question was clearly one of their smallest stores. It didn't take us long to complete an inventory of the store and realise there was little of interest. We headed to Bayview VIllage to grab a bite and kill some time before meeting Beloved Aunt. The afternoon with BA was uneventful, but did involve a teach-in on the the use of FaceTime, which she then used to call Agent Mulder who was down in Princeton with Andrew (who was rowing in a regatta).

Late afternoon we took BA with us as we had all been invited to Casa Ross for dinner. We were made most welcome wit hor d'oevres on the deck. (It was still warm enough to to sit out in the afternoon sun). Mark managed the preparation of the steaks and the ribs which turned out beautifully. We had a wonderful meal with warm friendly conversation and lots of teasing and fun (as we would expect). It was a lovely evening and nice to feel such hospitality.

We dropped BA back at her complex, then headed back to the hotel. There was packing to be done and at a suitable hour, boarding passes to arrange for Monday. Needless to say the hotel computer and printer were not talking to each other (still, as Trevor had discovered a similar problem on Friday). The receptionist was most helpful and we soon got everything sorted.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Chillin'

Saturday was quiet. We left the hotel mid morning and headed out of town towards Bayview Shopping Village. We had been there the night before for dinner, and thought it would be nice to have a look round before meeting up with the family for lunch. The weather was glorious and this was keeping the locals outside rather than visiting their mall, so we had the place to ourselves. We started with a coffee. The Gorse Fox clearly misjudged the portions as it arrived in a cup the size of a small swimming pool. He was unsure whether to drink it or do laps across it. Suitable refreshed, we moved on. The Silver Vixen saw some things that she liked and resolved to return after we had had lunch.

We met with Beloved Aunt, cousin Claire, Sis and Trevor and had a lovely lunch before returning mob-handed to the store where the Silver Vixen had seen her bargain. Some while later, after every item in the store had been examined, we left. The Silver Vixen clutching a bag, the Gorse Fox a molten credit card ;)

Afternoon was spent with the family until Sis and Trevor had to leave for the airport. After the long goodbyes we headed for the dining room in BA's residential facility and were treated to a very nice dinner.

Marathon

The Gorse Fox has just realised he's stuck here in Toronto, and tomorrow is the Brighton Marathon. Shucks, he's not going to be able to participate.

Oh well, better grab a beer and try hard not to be too disappointed.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Feeding Frenzy

Friday was a bit of a feeding frenzy.

The day had started quietly enough: some breakfast, a leisurely shower, a stroll to the shops and rummage through the menswear for a new jumper. Then we met up with cousins Ross and Beloved Aunt at Beer Bistro for lunch. This is an immensely popular restaurant and bar about 1 block from our hotel. The menu listed hundreds of beers, and an impressive choice of food. The Gorse Fox had to drive later to limited himself to an Alco-free weissbier, but must say the other choices looked very tempting. To accompany this there was a portion of pulled pork and mountain of rustic fries (which was shared across the table). The food was superb and the company even better. Eventually we had worked through the huge portions and went our separate ways - making arrangement for Sunday.

For the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox it was time to return to the shops. The Silver Vixen was looking for something specific, but just couldn't track it down. The Gorse Fox suspects that it just the wrong time to be looking for chunky-knit as the Canadian Spring is in its full glory.

Late afternoon we met up again with Trevor and Sis and we drove out of town to meet with cousin Claire (and briefly, Beloved Aunt again). We met at another shopping mall, and had a lovely dinner in an Italian Restaurant that she knew and frequented. It was nice to have some time with her as she is so quiet that she would be a bit swamped in some of the other gatherings. It is over 20 years since the Gorse Fox last saw her, and despite several health problems and injuries in the intervening years, she really hasn't changed, and hardly aged at all. Obviously has good genes.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Tower

Trevor had got us all a reservation at the 360 Restaurant. This is a rotating restaurant that sits atop the CN Tower looking out over Toronto and Lake Ontario. 

We were informed that it was so clear that we should be able to see to Niagara and Rochester N.Y., as we rocketed to the top in the glass-sided elevator.

We were shown to our table and settled down, trying to drink in the incredible view. The menu seemed irrelevant while we got used to the vast panorama. The camera started to click as we slowly rotated. 

The menu became relevant and we all selected various dishes. The Gorse Fox had a delicious shrimp cocktail to begin with, then followed this up with pork tenderloin. He chose well. The Silver Vixen also started with the shrimp, but she had a prime rib as her entree. 

We continued to rotate round toward the lake side, and then on to the west as the sun was setting.

At dusk the lights started to come on and the whole of Toronto became a fairyland of twinkling lights, tail lights, and buildings that were illuminated to make a statement. Wonderful. It was also different as it gave more definition and depth to the cityscape.

Finally, we had to go. We got to the bottom jus as the Toronto BlueJays baseball game was over so we joined the vast throng walking the streets of Toronto - clearly we would not be getting a cab! It only took about 20 minutes to get back to hotel, so it wasn't too much of a problem and it was nice to get some fresh air and walk off some of the superb dinner.

Shopping and Visiting

Yesterday we spent the morning wandering around the Eaton Centre. It is so large that it can be a tourist destination in its own right. The Silver Vixen eventually found what she had been looking for, and after a bit of searching the Gorse Fox also found a replacement tote bag for carry-on items on the plane.

In the afternoon we went to visit Beloved Aunt. This was the first time that the Gorse Fox had driven any distance and likely to be an adventure. The car does not have a SatNav, so we used Google map's navigation function and it did a superb job of getting us to our destination without getting snarled in any traffic. 

The time with Beloved Aunt was taken up with photos. She was eager to see photos of our house, the Oranger, the garden, Cousteau-cub, and Urban-cub. Fortunately they are all in Google Photos so the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen were able to dig out whatever she wanted. It was a lovely few hours culminating with her give us a guided tour of the facility and introducing us to staff and residents that we passed in the corridors and rooms.

By late afternoon they were getting ready to serve dinner, so we waved goodbye and headed downtown. Again Google Maps did a superb job, directing us down a different but trouble-free route to the hotel.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Decaf!

The Gorse Fox has just realised that all the coffee provided for the coffee maker in our hotel suite is decaf. What's the point? It's just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Pah!

Beloved Aunt

So we arrived at the home of Beloved Aunt. It is like a huge high-class hotel with suites as opposed to rooms. It provides common rooms where the residents can meet and have their meals or greet visitors and then the accommodation which includes a spa, a swimming pool, a gym and heaven's knows what else. It looks like the perfect "assisted living" set up. BA, tolerates it, but still hankers after her own total independence. Deep down, she knows that she is better off there, however.

Agent Mulder was there when we arrived. He had flown in from business on the west coast, en route to home in Connecticutt. We spent several hours just catching up with everybody's news and everybody's families. It was a lovely relaxed afternoon and the Gorse Fox took the opportunity to set up BA's iPad with FaceTime so that we could keep in touch.

Early evening we drove round to a little Italian restaurant a few block away. It had obviously become a firm family favourite and we were joined by Miss Ellie and her Ross-family. We had a lovely meal and at the end, BA had clearly had a very good time. It was lovely to all get together, and we have agreed to have lunch with the Ross contingent on Friday. Agent Mulder headed for the airport. Family-Ross headed home, Trevor took us and we dropped BA back at her place and then Trev, Sis, the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox headed back to the hotel.

Lovely day.

Now to see what today has to bring. It certainly looks like a lovely bright start.

Out and about

After an leisurely breakfast, the Gorse Fox and Trev wandered down to the car rental Del in one of the underground concessions along The Path. The Gorse Fox picked up a very nice, brand new, Hyundai Sonata and was soon heading back to the hotel parking lot where it was destined to stay for the day.

We grabbed a taxi and set off for a wander round the Distillary. This was once the centre for distilling in Toronto, but is now a chic collection of outlets, pubs, coffee shops and so forth. 

We were early so it was very quiet, but you can imagine it being a real magnet for the locals later in the day, and a Covent Garden-like feel. We wandered round various stores and stopped at a chocolate factory for some coffee whilst watching the staff making the confectionary.

Back Downtown we dropped down into The Path. We wanted some groceries and knew where there was a deli. We also took the opportunity to grab s snack for lunch as we watch the office workers rushing by.

The afternoon saw us heading out of town. We were finally getting to see Beloved Aunt.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bright Start

There's a lovel bright start to the day here in Toronto. Yesterday was all about getting here. Today is about getting set up. 

So, having had a very comfortable flight and trouble-free journey from the airport (despite arrive in rush-hour) we settled in to the hotel. 
Little Sis and Trev, who have been here for a few days met up and we headed off for dinner. Baton Rouge was an excellent restaurant with the usual selection of Canadian and American eats. 

The Gorse Fox went for a small rack of ribs (he was too tired to eat the large one), and the Silver Vixen a salad. Trevor and the Gorse Fox examined the local drought beer, then re-examined it after the first examination was complete. Finally we moved on, ducking into the pathways and subways that allow the locals to get about during the downtown during the winter without surfacing. This led us into the Eaton Centre and then through the Hudsons Bay Company back to our hotel.



Today's plan is to grab some breakfast the go and get the hire-car. Then we'll mooch around the shops for the rest of the morning before heading up to see Beloved Aunt this afternoon. Big family dinner planned at local restaurant this evening.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Long day

It's been a long day - as travelling usually is. We are happily checked-in to our hotel in downtown Toronto and preparing to join the Gorse Fox's little sister and Trev for dinner at a nearby restaurant. The Gorse Fox will consider a longer post later. (Don't hold your breath).

Monday, April 11, 2016

Jasper

Jasper woke early.

This meant that the Gorse Fox woke early. He dug in and refused to emerge before seven. This meant that was used as a trampoline for a hungry feline for longer than he felt necessary.

The morning was quiet. Thought there's a football tournament today, the Gorse Fox had declined his place due to the forthcoming trip. In fact the time was used packing and preparing the hand luggage for the journey. Then we went across to a neighbour for coffee and a chat.

The afternoon was slightly busier. We had to take Jasper to the cattery. This can be "tense" as Jasper does not like to change his schedule. He also doesn't like to get in his carrier or travel in the car. We got a lot of verbal abuse right up until we arrived at the cattery. Fortunately, he settled immediately when we arrived. He has, after all, stayed here several times before.

Back home we are ready to rock and already have several events scheduled for the rest of the week.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Start the Week

Cold but sunny start to the day. Though there is football this morning, the Gorse Fox has decided not to play as he doesn't want to risk injury before the forthcoming trip to see Beloved Aunt. He has to make sure that he maintains his boyish good looks.

The Gorse Fox has been trying to chat with Cousteau-Cub but is having trouble getting through... but will keep trying.

This week there has been a huge amount of outrage because our Prime Minister has been caught doing something entirely legal. The Gorse Fox was moved to post on Faceache:


  • Did you choose a car with a low Road Fund License? (The Gorse Fox did)
  • Have you done a booze cruise? (The Gorse Fox hasn't)
  • Do you claim the Married Couple’s Allowance? (The Gorse Fox does)
  • Did you negotiate the price of house down below a Stamp Duty threshold? (The Gorse Fox didn't... even he couldn't negotiate that far).

Well you have been avoiding Tax.

  • Do you have a company pension? (The Gorse Fox does)
  • Do you have a private pension? (The Gorse Fox doesn't)

You most probably have offshore investments, then… and must therefore be avoiding tax (according to the media).

But to complete the picture:

  • Did you ever pay a tradesman “cash in hand”?

That’s probably encouraging tax evasion!

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Google Profiling

The Gorse Fox is flattered, but a little concerned that Google's profiling algorithms may have gone astray.

He sees that in the latest set of targeted advertisements he has an invitation to visit his local  H.R. Owen dealer for the latest Maserati offers.

Not sure that's his style or colour.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Oops

The phone rang.

"Hello, I'm phone from Windows Technical Support about the errors we have detected on your computer". said the voice.

The Gorse Fox chuckled to himself,

"Oh dear, that sounds worrying. Can you speak up a bit as you are quite difficult to hear"
"Sorry, is this better" she replied.
"Yes, now what were you saying?"
"We are detecting errors on your computer, are you near your computer?"
"Hold on" the Gorse Fox paused.... "Right, go ahead"
"Can you log in to your computer" she instructed.
"Which one?" asked the Gorse Fox.
"Your Windows computer" she was sounding a little nervous by now.
"Which one, I have nine computers" asked the Gorse Fox. (Not strictly truthfully as only a couple are Windows).

Click. She hung up! The Gorse Fox wonders why!

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Quiet

It was a quiet day. Being Thursday we were focussed on the weekly shopping (delivery) and the admin. Not very interesting, but has to be done.

Afternoon was spent in the Orangery reading the next part of "The Hut Six Story". This is becoming an absolutely riveting book. Not a thriller, but a history written by one of the people at the heart of Bletchley Park during the War. It is inspiring how these people were able to think so laterally that even when there were changes in the procedures used by the Enigma operators, the chaps at BP had got to know some of their foibles so well that they were able to guess what had happened and how to get round it. If the Gorse Fox wants a winter project he might build a software based Enigma on a pair of Raspberry Pis.... not sure why, but seems like an interesting exercise. (Why a pair? Well you need a sending and receiving station to make sure it works).

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Hung up

The Gorse Fox was not going to get hung up on the rain that was forecast, first thing. Indeed he drove through heavy, driving rain as he made his way to Worthing for football. It was so wet as he walked from the car that he took off his glasses (not something he does often). We gathered in reception and twenty minutes later went out to the pitch. By then the rain had stopped and we managed to have a good, dry, hour of football.

Back home there was currency to sort out and the Silver Vixen had bought several pictures whilst out with Urban-Cub yesterday. Lunch first, then the currency, and finally the pictures.

The Gorse Fox put the first one up without incident. The next, however, was triptych. The three panels were packed in portrait form and so the Gorse Fox fitted the various fastenings to the back. It was only when the Silver Vixen was helping the Gorse Fox place them tat she spotted that there was, indeed, a right way and that was to hang them in landscape form. The Gorse Fox removed the fastenings and relocated them all. Then he threaded the picture wire and realised that he only had enough for two of the three. A trip to B&Q rectified that and now, several hours after starting all is well, and the picture are hung up.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Running!

The call goes up time and time again. "Running, ref he's running!"
Well, it is more or less under control on Sunday and Wednesday - but Tuesday is a different kettle of fish. The Gorse Fox was moved to speak to the ref after today's games. He made no attempt to stop people running, and that takes the fun away from those who try to follow the rules. To be fair, he was very apologetic - but that butters no parsnips, particularly if you have just lost 5 out of 6 games to teams featuring Mo Farrah, Kipchoge Kyeno, Carl Lewis, Kelly Homes, and the roadrunner.

Once home, the Gorse Fox spent the afternoon in the Orangery reading the "The Hut Six Story". Absolutely riveting.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Communication overload

The Gorse Fox seems to have spent much of the day dealing with email and other admin.

The email all started with a note from the group that organises walking football across the country. It was a long mail and well considered. It was picking up on several of the issues that we had raised earlier in the year. Issues such as poor refereeing, running, excess physicality, and no rule standardisation. The Gorse Fox passed the note on to the team and that stirred things up and poked the hornet's nest. Then, we had confirmation of thednate for a forthcoming friendly. Again that stirred up a flurry of emails over the squad, the time and the location. Spreadsheets and discussion groups were updated and it all made up a very busy morning.

In parallel with this, the Gorse Fox was focussing on the admin around the forthcoming trip to Canada. Forex needed to be sorted out, e-tickets printed, details of car rental, details of hotel, and so forth. All in all, this was busy day.

Amazon delivered a new book, first thing. Yesterday, there was a documentary on the BBC regarding Welchman. He was an unsung hero of Bletchley Park. The documentary was so good, that the Gorse Fox immediately ordered his book. He's looking forward to devouring this as it is clearly going to be interesting.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Extending

The new Wireless Access Point was due to arrive on Monday, but in some freak of the postal service it actually turned up yesterday whilst we were out. This meant that once the Gorse Fox had finished his football today - there some set up and configuration to complete.

Unlike the old adsl modem/router, the set-up was pretty straightforward. The Gorse Fox used his linux laptop to connect directly to the WAP and set an initial configuration to test it, then once it was proven to work, he reset it to integrate with the existing house network, fired it up, et voila! the network had been extended. It was soon sited in the Orangery and appears to be working well.

Football was fun this morning. Though the Gorse Fox was on the losing side, tat was always expected when he saw the way the teams had been selected. As a defender, though, it made the game more interesting as he was under the cosh from the very start. He did manage to score one goal, a penalty for hand-ball. He also managed to stop a certain goal with his face, but you need not fear, it did nothing to impair his boyish good looks.

On yet another topic, the Gorse Fox has been struggling with keeping the Sonos library a) attached to the Sonos, and b) up to date. The former problem was solved by the data cabling work that we completed a couple of weeks ago - well that and realising there were some limitations in the way the Western Digital NAS actually shares music. The Gorse Fox does not connect directly to the iTunes master library on the iMAC, but rather a backup of the library on the NAS. This backup was placed in a folder that the inbuilt media server couldn't service. By moving it, that problem went away. The second problem was that once moved, the backup regime for iTunes wouldn't reliably back up to the new location. The Gorse Fox spent time yesterday and this morning fiddling with all this and thinks (he stresses Thinks) he has solved that problem too.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Buffet

The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox went to visit Sue and Trevor (Rick Wakeman). It was a remarkable quick trip across to Brighton and we soon settled down with cups of tea and all the latest news from the families. It's always fun as they are so hospitable and easy to chat with. Whilst there, Jon came home having just won a football match 4-1, but pulled a hamstring in the process. Soon after, Alan arrived - so we saw all of the local branch of the family.

Leaving the lads to their own plans, the "old" folk headed across to a Chinese restaurant in Hove that seems to be incredibly popular. As it is, you have to book weeks in advance.

It has an interesting take on the traditional buffet. In a normal restaurant buffet you have long tables where you go and help yourself to your chosen selection from whatever has been put on display. At Danny's, the selection is described in the menu - and you make your choice, it is cooked there and then and served. You can go back as often as you like, and seem to be able to select time and time again.

Very impressive, very tasty, and absolutely fresh. (Also, great value for money). We had a wonderful meal, and would recommend the establishment to any who may be in the area.

Blue

What a stunning start to the weekend. Not a cloud in the sky, and the temperature is beginning to rise. The Gorse Fox suspects it will be a cracker.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Old Friends


It is so nice to meet up with old friends. It is also nice to have a really good restaurant that isn't too far away and you can recommend without fear of disappointment. So it was that we headed north through Boxgrove, Duncton, and Petworth on the way towards Chiddingfold. The Gorse Fox had booked a table at The Mulberry Inn and was looking forward to a lovely few hours of good company and good food.

Pete (The Hobbit) and Lynda had arrived just before us, Dave and May arrived soon after.

We spent the following three hours catching up on news, discussing technology, relating anecdotes, debating BREXIT, and working out our plan from world domination.

The Gorse Fox introduced himself to Camilla Hansen (who runs The Mulberry Inn for Chris Evans) as one of her Twitter followers and long term, if irregular, patron. As usual the service was faultless and the food excellent. There was a large tapas platter and some pumpkin bread to start, then, as Friday is pie day, we chose chicken and leek or beef and mushroom pies. Finally there was selection of cheesecakes, sorbets, baked alaska, and ice creams followed by tea and coffee. Perfect.

It's a shame that Lynda and the Hobbit only get a chance to visit occasionally.