Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sometimes...

Sometimes, only an Indian take-away will do the trick. Better still, the restaurant insisted on delivering it. The Gorse Fox doesn't even have to collect it.

Wet, oh so wet

The storms that have ravaged the continent these last few days decided that they wanted a trip to Sussex. So it was that, just as the Gorse Fox left for football, the heavens opened and rain that would have startled Noah started to fall. Fortunately, the Gorse Fox had been forewarned and had brought suitable attire and a change of clothes.

The football went remarkable well. The usual 30-odd players were whittled down to 10 of the hardier sort. The Gorse Fox was on the winning side for all 5 matches. Indeed he scored several goals, two of which were commented on at the break.

The first goal was a mazy run from the halfway line with a cut inside to the edge of the area and a goal buried in the bottom corner. The comment for this likened the Gorse Fox to George Best (though Ricky Villa may have been more appropriate). The second was, again, a short burst followed by a drag-back with the right foot, switch to the left and then drill it. The comment for this was that Gorse Fox was just like Cruyf. Now, at first he was deeply flattered by these comparisons. Then he realised that both of these players are dead. "Precisely" said little Phil. Deflated.

Back home it was clear that the rain had not hit as hard, nor lasted as long. It was nice to get back and have a hot shower, though.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Do not disturb

It has been a quiet day. The weather was nice enough (if a little breezy), but we decided to spend time sorting out bits and pieces.

The Gorse Fox spent time pouring through websites looking for holidays. It took most of the morning  and the afternoon. It was so engrossing that the Silver Vixen also got involved and both laptops were glowing warm with the effort. More on this in future days.

The Gorse Fox also spent time with one of the Raspberry Pis, but whilst he converted it to the new network map, and updated the basic software, he didn't really get much more done. He has, however, had a bright idea that he will roll out over the next few "Pi sessions" (whenever they should be).

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Taxi

Another gorgeous day - the Gorse Fox could get used to this global warming lark, though anyone with even a short term memory will acknowledge that this weather is quite common in May.

The morning was occupied with football at the Arun Sports Arena. A good game was had by all, and the Gorse Fox was pleased to end up on the winning side. It was hard work as is was quite warm inside but that just added to the efficacy of the work-out.

After lunch we had volunteered to run Chris and Maureen to Gatwick. The traffic was light and conditions were perfect so we had a quick run through. They are staying at the airport overnight before jetting off to the Caribbean for the 40th wedding anniversary. Sounds like a great resort and may be worth try ourselves at some point.

Looks like supper will be taken on the deck, as it has most evenings this week. The Gorse Fox thinks we have spent more time outside (pro rata) than in any previous garden. It just seems so tranquil and warm that it would be silly not to eat out there.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Disko

The Gorse Fox has been enjoying rationalising his lil, network, and backup systems. This is now complete and working as required. Next, the Gorse Fox will start on the Raspberry Pis and reconfigure them to fit the new scheme (not that any of them are actually in use at present).

The afternoon has brightened up nicely so the Gorse Fox will stop this keyboard activity and go outside to enjoy the sun.

On another topic. The England football over the last few days (against Turkey and then Australia) has been very average. As usual we are getting media hype about have a "real chance", but the Gorse Fox would observe that is not the case unless the team learns: a) to pass the ball; b) to stop the long speculative passes; c) to retain possession of the ball; d) to recover possession when its lost; e) to defend. Other than that, they'll do just fine.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Rid

The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox are doing a little jig. Nothing too strenuous, but there are times when joy overtakes the spirit.

It may be a bit prosaic, but the phone has just rung and we have received confirmation that we have finally rid ourselves of the albatross that was known as "our Timeshare". Don't get us wrong. For years it was a welcome bolt-hole and we loved the location (in Tenerife)... but as the annual maintenance fees soared and our travel plans looked farther afield to visit Cousteau-cub or Beloved Aunt, the relevance of the timeshare waned. It was time to get rid of it. We started the process in January and it has cost us some money, but it is finally gone. The money will be recouped in about 3 years of not paying maintenance (even at the current rates).

Resumes jig.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Gallows

Lovely start to the day, if a little chilly. By the time the Gorse Fox had completed his ablutions, started to copy his photo folder, and done the weekly accounts, Ocado were at the door. This certainly is the most convenient way to shop!

We had commented, in the last few days, that what was missing from the garden was something to emphasise the pergola. Hanging baskets were the obvious choice, but the Silver Vixen wanted baskets filled with fuchsias. A trip round to Manor Nurseries was needed. This is a pretty unassuming Nursery, tucked off the main road from Chichester to Pagham, but once discovered is a bit of a treasure trove.

We took a look at the baskets they had for sale. None really caught the eye. The simple solution was to create our own. The Gorse Fox went searching for brackets whilst the Silver Vixen went searching for her fuchsias. Twenty minutes later we were paying the bill and heading home. A very successful trip, made more so by the discount the chap gave us as went to pay.

The baskets are now planted up and hanging on the pergola. It won't take long for it all to fill out and provide a riot of colour.

Now for a quiet afternoon before we go out to dinner with the Sonning Crew.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fish and Disks

It was a bit cloudy today, and several degrees cooler than earlier in the week.

The Gorse Fox joined up with the lads for football. Because we take more care mixing the teams than is taken on Tuesdays, we had a very close game with only one goal difference at the end of an hour's play. The Gorse Fox was pleased to be on the winning side (for a change).

Back home, the Silver Vixen had a visit from a couple of members of her coven and they went out for lunch. This meant that Jasper was in charge when the Gorse Fox got home. After a shower and a quick bite to eat, the Gorse Fox tried to do a complete factory reset of the disk that had been giving him trouble. Even the factory reset failed, showing just how flakey it was. He'll try again tomorrow.

We tried some of the cod loin that we had purchased from Tom the Fishman a couple of weeks ago.

The fish was marinated in orange, garlic, de-seeded chilli, salt and pepper - then baked in the oven. This was served on a layer of stir-fried vegetables and rice noodles on a bed of lettuce.

It was delicious. The Gorse Fox will make this again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Plant and paint

If its Tuesday it must be football. Well, one has to have a routine.

The Gorse Fox headed across to Worthing for today's two-hour session. Six games were played and the Gorse Fox, though playing well, only won one game. The problem that we have with these sessions is the pure randomness of the team makeup. This is the second or third week running that the Gorse Fox has been selected for a team with no strikers and no goalie. This makes things a little difficult. Oh well, the Gorse Fox did manage to score a goal make two further goals in the single match that we won.

Back home the Silver Vixen had started planting the tubs in the front of the house. They are looking good, though she does want to add some further plants that will give a bit more height. The Gorse Fox retrieved the paint pot and put a second coat on the "door" panel that he built for the little hanging planter. That should dry off nicely and just add a nice pastel shade of blue to the corner by the garage.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Garden Centre

Another lovely day with, initially, wall to wall blue skies. Fluffy clouds bubbled up later, but they only served to punctuate the deep blue.

Checking the overnight backups, everything still seems to be on track. The Gorse Fox triggered a backup of the music libraries to run during the morning whilst he was reviewing other files and folders and updating the PC. (It was the first time the PC had been switched on for months, so there was a huge Windows update to apply).

We went across to Haskins (at Roundstone) to look for the plants that the Silver Vixen had in mind for the tubs out the front. We had a wander about and somehow managed to find several other items that were needed. We now have an new Acer, some paint, some shears in addition to the cordylines for which we had been shopping.
Urban-Cub met up with us at the garden centre and once everything was paid for and stowed in the car we headed off to The Worlds End at Patcham.

We had a lovely lunch and chat, sitting outside to make the most of the weather.

Back home we spent a peaceful afternoon in the garden, listening to the water as it runs down into the rill.

The Gorse Fox concludes that he could really get used to this retirement lark.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Quiet day

Sunday has been quiet. It was a nice bright warm day and the Gorse Fox had his usual Sunday morning football. It was a bit busy with 13 of us in a small 5-a-sie cage. It was good fun as usual and, playing inside, was a good warm work-out.

Back home much of the rest of the day was spent continuing the configuration and seeding of the new backups. This has benefitted from a rethink and a change in some naming conventions. It makes things much easier to understand and the timing of the backup jobs makes a bit more sense. It will take until the end of the week before the whole cycle completes, but the Gorse Fox is optimistic that there will be no further problems. When everything is complete, the flakey disk will be given a complete factory reset and rebuild to see if it returns to useful active life.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Backups

Yes, yes, you have heard it all before. The Gorse Fox makes no apology. The flakey drive was just one part of his backup strategy. The new, replacement drive arrived early and triggered the Gorse Fox to review his network map and decide how best to introduce the new drive into the home network. A little bit of thought and some minor reconfiguring and renaming and the Gorse Fox had a nice new sensible map with a more coherent naming convention.

The old drives (including one that had given trouble about a year back) were moved into the loft and connected to the network switch up there. Then the new disk was installed and configured. The Mac was modified to pick up the new disks on startup and then the Gorse Fox started on the backup system.

Bit by bit new target folders were created and backups reconfigured. One by one they were run and got things back on an even keel. There are still many folders to copy, but these will have to run overnight for the next few nights. The only major outstanding task is to update the documentation for the backup strategy.

The Silver Vixen spent most of the day going through vacuum bags of clothes that had been stored away. She was delighted to find that she now fits into clothes that she thought would not see the light of day again.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Meeting up and Backing up

Lovely day again.

During the morning we met up with Urban-Cub to look at some new-build houses. She is interested in a couple of the designs and needed to decided whether one was more practical than the other. The first house was a very nice design and clearly a practical model for her and her family. The second, though impressive and larger, was clearly far less practical. Once we had, collectively, discussed all this she was convinced and the decision was made. Now she just has to wait for the builder to release this phase of the build so that she can put down her reservation. She is on the early-bird list.

The Gorse Fox's little sister and Trevor arrived mid-afternoon. We had a lovely couple of hours drinking tea and chatting through the family news before all (Urban-Cub was still with us)  heading out to the The Gribble Inn for dinner. As usual, the food was excellent and the Gorse Fox found their fish platter too much to finish. Lovely evening all round.

Meanwhile, in the background, the Gorse Fox has been having problems with one of his NAS drives. To be fair it is a drive that has been running non-stop for five or six years. Quick diagnostics were, again, run and showed up clear. Deep diagnostics will not run through to completion. Some files seem to be missing, others seem to be nothing more than stubs, and the drive seems to revert to read-only mode every so often. Fortunately, as you know, the Gorse Fox is paranoid about data. As a result he has a second and third backup and, checking these, it is clear that the files are still available and accessible. A new drive has been ordered and the Gorse Fox expects that he will spend chunks of the weekend installing this and getting all the data transferred.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pipes

The day started quietly enough. Bright blue sky, pleasant breeze, and no sign off rain. Jasper was eager to get started and commenced his use of the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox for trampoline practice at about six. The Gorse Fox gave in at seven and headed down to make the first coffee of the day.

First event was the window-cleaner's arrival. He has missed a few weeks due to injury. Not and window cleaning injury, a mountain biking injury. (It's probably carry all those window cleaning ladders on the bike that caused him to fall off).

Next the delivery van arrived.

The driver looked at the Gorse Fox quizzically, as he unloaded the pipe.

"Dare I ask"? he said.

The Gorse Fox responded he was going to make a plant pot, and left the driver scratching his head (His own head, not that of the Gorse Fox).

The neighbours were equally confused... but all would become clear. Before he could get started, there was the Ocado shopping to put away, floors to wash, floors to vacuum, and various domestic chores to complete. on top of all this, the Gorse Fox was having an intermittent problem with one of his external hard drives and that too would need attention.

The saw horse was led out of its stable and the power saw pressed into action. Ten minutes later this 3m pipe was cut down into 3 pipes of 50cm and the remaining 1.5m was squirrelled away in to corner of the garage.

This afternoon the plant tub plot came to fruition. The existing pots were emptied. The 50cm pipes were inserted into the middle and the tubs were refilled.

This effectively game us two zones in each tub. A central zone in which the Silver Vixen could plant evergreens, and an outer zone where she can plant and replant annuals. The separation keeps the roots of the permanent central plants from weaving round the annuals and making them hard to change. It also means that, if required, we could have a different type of soil in the central zone, from that in the outer zone.

Now it is up to the Silver Vixen to select the plants that she wants.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dripping

It was dry when the Gorse Fox got up. That didn't last. Within fifteen minutes the rain had started. The Gorse Fox knew he was destined to get wet.

Breakfast and coffee got the day off to decent start, and it actually started to dry up outside.

The Silver Vixen headed off for Pilates and the Gorse Fox soon followed. The drive across to Worthing took him through light showers. When he arrived, however, the heavens opened. The rain persisted throughout the game. We were all soaked through and as we moved across the pitch you could hear the sloshing of water in our boots. Despite the discomfort, the game was great fun and ended up all square at 2-2. The Gorse Fox was pleased he had thought to bring a change of clothes with him or it would have been a very cold an miserable drive home.

It dried up for a while and the sun came out. This made the Orangery a very cozy and comfortable spot for the afternoon. The rain has just started again now and the forecast is for a very wet evening.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Pipes

Football occupied the morning and we were blessed with another lovely day.

Once home, showered and fed, the Gorse Fox started on the plan hatched yesterday to sort out the plant tubs. A trip to Travis Perkins was called for.

"Hello young man I wish to purchase a length of 225mm drainage pipe." opened the Gorse Fox.
"I'm sorry, sir, but we do not stock that size. We can offer you 100mm pipe" replied the man.
"Your catalogue clearly shows the pipe, in 3m lengths. Can it be ordered?"
"You will have to order it online, yourself" said the main, unhelpfully "and it only comes in 6m lengths.
The Gorse Fox bade his adieu and left.

He went to Jewson. They are reputed to "have the Jewson lot".
They didn't.
They did, however, phone round their other local branches to see if any of them could help.
They couldn't.

The Gorse Fox left and drove to Plumb Centre. They couldn't help, but could order it in, in 6m lengths.

This left the Gorse Fox with one option: the internet (which is probably where he should have started). After the first few searches he had found the product - though it was going to cost £87 plus delivery. This would require further searching. Eventually, a supplier was found who did 3m lengths and it would only cost £40 including delivery. Order was placed. The Gorse Fox awaits delivery over the next few days. The overall plan will be revealed when the next stage is complete!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Garden Centres

The day was bright and sunny and opening the blinds in the Orangery this morning was an absolute delight.  Most of the morning was taken up with domestic chores culminating in a trip to the local recycling centre. This cleared the detritus that had accumulated over the last week from the garage and has allowed the Gorse Fox to put his car away again.

This afternoon the Silver Vixen was on a mission. She wanted some flowers that would occupy the tubs we have in the front of the house. They needed to be tall, robust enough to withstand the wind, but not too invasive so that companion plants could be removed at the end of the season. We visited two garden centres and didn't really find anything that fitted the brief. The question occurred to the Gorse Fox whether the brief could be changed and cam up with an idea that would allow a more invasive species to be used without the hassle of locking in the companion plants. (The Gorse Fox should point out that it took him with the help of a neighbour to sort out last summer's plants an removed them at the end of the season).

Back home the Gorse Fox measured the tubs and consulted his Travis Perkins catalogue. The idea looks sound and the problem could be solved. We will see over the next few days.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Back at Ford

Sunday morning - bright but a chill wind. It was nice to think that we would be playing football in indoor Arena. We had an even 5-a-side and the game kicked off with some lovely passing and decent football from both teams. The Gorse Fox was playing sweeper and keeper so was kept pretty busy for the hour. It was high scoring non-stop game, but in the end we were pipped at the post by a couple of goals. It was great to be back at the indoor arena. Very much the Gorse Fox's favourite venue.

Back home the house was empty as the Silver Vixen had made her way to the garden centre to get some more bedding plants and compost. She spent the afternoon siting and planting these as, slowly, the garden takes she for the summer.

The Gorse Fox spent some time on the computer. (He has and almost pathological dislike for getting his hands dirty). The travel agent had sent us a batch of emails with various offers regarding a Far East trip and the Gorse Fox thought that it would make sense to combine all the info into one spreadsheet and make comparison easier. Reviewing them all, he is not sure there is a striking difference between them, other than price. The question is really whether we proceed with this option, stick to Thailand, or do something completely different. As Cousteau-Cub and the Coventry Hobbit could only join us for a part of the time, it might be better to find something else.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Spreader

Another productive start to the day. It was, again, bright and sunny though there was a cooler feel to the air this morning.

We have a small bistro table and a couple of chairs that sit on the patio. During the winter the bistro table blew over and the glass top smashed. The Gorse Fox has now got its replacement but it was a very tight fit in a couple of spot. Clearly the table wasn't perfectly round and you can't really force glass to fit! The Gorse Fox slept on it and had a potential solution: spreader clamps. Once sustained with coffee and a bacon sandwich he raided the local Screwfix, returning with a 36 inch clamp/spreader. Locating the right spot on the table a bit of pressure was exerted et voila the glass dropped perfectly into place.

The Silver Vixen arrived home at lunchtime having had a good couple of days with Betty Rubble and found an excellent restaurant in Odiham.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Michelin?

Now and then you try something that turned out to be very successful. So it was that the Gorse Fox started on supper.

A piece of red mullet, some chips, and some peas (after all, it is Friday). The Gorse Fox has never cooked red mullet before and gave it some thought during the afternoon. He decided it was firm enough and strong enough to hold its own with some savoury companions. Butter and oil were melted in the pan, finely chopped spring onions were added with sliced garlic, a finely chopped green chilli, and some cashews.

The red mullet, meanwhile, had be sprinkled with salt and pepper and dusted with flour. The fish was added to the pan and allowed to fry for about 5 minuets (skin side down), then it was flipped. By this time the onions and other ingredients were starting to caramelise. A dash of red wine and some small chopped tomatoes were added and allowed to reduce. Three or four minutes later the fish was ready and tasted absolutely superb.

The Gorse Fox will take a Michelin tyre star for that.

Up and at 'em

The Gorse Fox was up and about and raring to go. By 9 a.m. he had made the bed, cooked bacon and eggs for his breakfast, finished his first coffee, fed the cat, emptied the dishwasher, cleared away, and finished painting the planters in garden. Most productive start to the day.

Next on the agenda was a bit of dowling that would fill a plastic sleeve that supported the solar panel that came with the new lights the Silver Vixen had bought this week. A trip to B&Q (via Sainsbury's) provided a perfect fit. Back home the dowling was inserted and the resulting post drilled and and affixed to the top of the pergola. The lights were stapled in place, continuing the run that we installed last week. Hopefully it will look quite special - but that won't be revealed until it gets dark.

The Gorse Fox spent a while on the phone with Urban-Cub. The Excel code he had written was explained and the Gorse Fox talked her through the process of updating her calendar with an import of the data collected.

All-in-all quite a productive day, so far.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Just stuff

It's Thursday, it must be admin.

The Gorse Fox started on the weekly admin. No sooner had he started but Ocado turned up with the shopping. A boon, but an interrupt. As he started to put the shopping away, the laptop ping'd. It was Cousteau-Cub. The Silver Vixen took over the shopping management and the Gorse Fox sat down for an online chat with Cousteau-Cub.

It appears that she is acting as an "extra" in the diving sequences of a Chinese film being made at present. This appears to involve getting up very early, sitting around for hours on end, doing a bit of diving, and not finishing until mid-evening. For this she earns a few peanuts, but is having fun seeing how films are made.

After lunch the Silver Vixen left to go and stay with Betty Rubble for a couple of days. This left Jasper in charge and the Gorse Fox at home to serve him. Whilst Jasper is currently not demanding attention, the Gorse Fox is getting up to mischief in the garden.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wet

Yesterday's forecast rain evidently waited for the Gorse Fox to start playing football this morning. Fortunately, he had brought some wet weather gear and also a warm change of clothes. As it happened the rain stopped by half-time and by the end of the game the Gorse Fox was pretty warm and dry.

The afternoon was quiet but was interrupted by Tom the Fishman. This is a travelling fishmonger who provides a wide selection of fish, prepared fish, and even breaded fillets. You have to buy boxes full of your choice, and this makes it a little expensive, but the fish will last for a year in the freezer. We ended up with a box of red mullet, two types of fish cake, some salmon and some code loin.

The Gorse Fox also had a bit of fun writing some Excel code to convert Urban-Cub's duty roster into a format that can be input to her calendar. As the rosta covers from June through to 2019, it would have been a bit of a pain to  enter it manually.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Forecast

The weather forecast was predicting relentless rain. What we actually got was a couple of hours of rain in the morning and then it dried up and the sum broke through. The Gorse Fox had football and the Silver Vixen was meeting up with a friend for lunch.

The football was fun, though there weren't as many players as usual. This meant the games had a lot more space but we had to cover a lot more ground. It was intense but very enjoyable. Unfortunately, some functionary had decided to authorise roadworks near Littlehampton. The knock on effect was that it took the Gorse Fox 90 minutes to get across to Worthing, instead of the usual 25 minutes. This meant that he missed the first 30 minutes of football. Not pleased.

This afternoon the Gorse Fox headed over to Brewer's (the paint specialist) in Chichester. The colour has been selected for the planters... it was just a case of getting it mixed and collecting it. We need about 2L in all, but couldn't buy any less than 5L unfortunately. Because of the forecast, the Gorse Fox didn't make a start on the painting. It would be just his luck to start slapping the water-based paint on and the heavens open and wash it off the planters and all over the patio.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Sawdust Memories

Whilst overcast, today was still warm. Rain is forecast for later and for tomorrow.

The Gorse Fox made the most of the time, wishing to finish off the screen that he built on Saturday. In reality it was adequate, but  putting a edge round the central panel would give it a shadow line and make it look more like a door than simply a panel.

Big circular saw and big router were retrieved, the working area cleared, and measurements taken. Cutting down deck-boards to the right width was fairly straightforward, but milling a rebate to fit round the existing panel was more challenging. The Gorse Fox had forgotten just how much sawdust he can create with the router, and was soon wading through drifts of wood dust whilst being covered from head to foot in the shavings.

A couple of hours later all was done and the edging was fitted. The Gorse Fox is quite pleased with the results but was a lot less pleased when it came time to clear up. It took ages to sweep up all the sawdust and then to clean and re-stow the tools. Never mind. All done now.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Open Sesame

Today started with a short sharp shower that deposited Saharan sand on the cars. It only lasted about 5 minutes but left quite a mess. The sun broke through and remained in sole charge for the rest of the day. Even though we are close to the coast the thermometer read 24C this afternoon.

The morning saw the official opening of the Arun Sports Arena. There was an excellent turn out and we had teams representing  kids soccer, youth soccer, women's soccer, adult soccer, and, of course, old fogey's soccer. That was where we came in. After the meet-and-greet, some nibbles, and a glass of sparkling wine we sat and chatted until the allotted time. Changing into our strip, we prepared to meet Littlehampton. We knew it would be a hard game. They are all a decade younger than us, and several are ex-County players. We held our own for most of the first half but then their experience started to tell and in the end we were on the receiving end of a sound drubbing. Oh well, it's all good fun.

Back home, the garden was beckoning and a cold bottle of wine was calling our names. We, again, spent the whole afternoon out on the deck making the most of the glorious weather and the tranquility of the garden.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Big Screen

The feline alarm dragged the Gorse Fox from bed at 6:50. This seemed a bit harsh, but the Gorse Fox had plans. The plans, however, involved power tools and that wouldn't be neighbourly at that hour of the morning. The Gorse Fox would bide his time.

The project, mentioned before, was to build an additional screen and then attach a panel to the screen. The panel would be used to hang the mirrored planter that the Silver Vixen had purchased a few weeks ago.

The work bench was set up the tools prepared and the wood selected and measured. More to the point, the clamps were selected (as Norm says, you can never have too many clamps). The cutting and construction started... and, an hour or so later, all was done.

This will be enhanced with an additional planter on the central panel over the next few days. The Gorse Fox will also frame the panel with a small architrave and jam to give it some shadow-lines.

It was a gorgeous day, so when finished, the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen sat down in the sunshine, and stayed there. Indeed we stayed throughout the afternoon, had dinner out there, and only came in when the sun dropped behind the houses to our west.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Tea

The morning saw the Silver Vixen at a workshop that was looking at dyeing techniques. The Gorse Fox had some errands to run and also some tidying-up.

With the Silver Vixen home, the afternoon was a bit different. The Sonning Crew (neighbours) came in for afternoon tea. Well, we say afternoon tea but it expanded.  First there was tea and biscuits (Canadian maple-syrup infused biscuits), then there was more tea and scones with clotted cream and jam. This was all very sociable. At this point, the tea morphed into wine and beer and the scones into nuts and crackers. The conversation ranged back and forth, the garden was filled with laughter and we were having a super time. Then it seemed sensible to think about dinner rather than all going our separate ways. The menu from our local Indian Restaurant was retrieved and an order placed. More wine was taken. The food arrived at the door and we all tucked in.

It was a lovely afternoon and evening with great company.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Toothpick

The Gorse Fox started this glorious Spring day with a trip to the dentist. One may not believe this to be a good start, but the Gorse Fox likes his dentist and has no problems at present. All was well, and it was nice to pop into Chichester early.

Back home, we took coffee in the garden. The Silver Vixen revealed that she had some solar-powered garden lights that she purchased several years ago. The question was "where could we put them"? After some debate, considerations of the cable length, and the possible locations of the solar panel, we decided that we would fit them in the bottom corner of the garden, on the screen. Not too long after all was fixed. Now we have to see if they work. This will only become obvious when the battery has charged. We wait and we will see.

Early afternoon the phone rang. The chap from Hillier's was nearby and ready to deliver the garden furniture. Directions were provided and the furniture was not only delivered, but it was assembled, and the packing was taken away. What an excellent service!

It seemed like a perfect afternoon to make the most of the new chairs, and whilst the Silver Vixen did some planting, the Gorse Fox sat and enjoyed the warm Spring sunshine.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Drumming up trade

It was another stunning Spring day. The Silver Vixen headed off for Pilates, and the Gorse Fox headed out for football.

The teams were pretty even today, and the game was hard fought. The Gorse Fox was pleased with his contribution, but a little perturbed by our audience. He looked pitch side and saw two chaps watching through the fence. Both were dressed in black and had the demeanour of undertakers. The Gorse Fox knows that we are getting on a bit, but felt that was a bit worrying. They seemed to be sizing us up. At least neither had a hooded cape and scythe. Perhaps there was an additional frisson as one of our number was playing his first game since open here surgery.

After lunch the Silver Vixen headed back out to the local garden centre whilst the Gorse Fox went to Travis Perkins and Screwfix to order the wood and the screws for the garden project mentioned last week. Wood should arrive on Friday and that will allow the Gorse Fox to get it built on Saturday (if he hasn't finished it on Friday).

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Quiet

It has been a quiet day. The weather has been lovely, and this morning's football was great fun. Interesting to see that the first session was at its numerical limit, showing the increasing popularity of Walking Football. The Gorse Fox will skate over the results. Let's just say that in most games, his team came second. As usual, it was great fun.

Mid-afternoon we heard from Hillier's. They plan to deliver on Thursday, which will be great as the forecast for the end of the week and weekend is looking very promising.

The Gorse Fox had an online chat with Cousteau-Cub. We were debating whether it made sense to go and meet up with her and the Coventry Hobbit in Bali later in the year. The options are Bali, or perhaps a later trip to Thailand to see some other bits of the country that we haven't previously visited. The Gorse Fox is waiting to hear from his travel agent with some ideas and options. As it is a landmark birthday for Cousteau-Cub this year, it would be nice to see her.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Well Watson, what do you think?

The Gorse Fox was playing on the computer. He went to the IBM Watson site and saw a personality analysis tool therein.

This is what Watson has to say about the Gorse Fox, based on analysis of this blog for the year 2010:
You are heartfelt, tranquil and restrained. 
You are calm under pressure: you handle unexpected events calmly and effectively. You are self-assured: you tend to feel calm and self-assured. And you are calm-seeking: you prefer activities that are quiet, calm, and safe. 
Your choices are driven by a desire for efficiency. 
You are relatively unconcerned with tradition: you care more about making your own path than following what others have done. You consider independence to guide a large part of what you do: you like to set your own goals to decide how to best achieve them.
 Now, if Watson looks at the Gorse Fox's Twitter presence, he makes a slightly different analysis:
You are skeptical. 
You are energetic: you enjoy a fast-paced, busy schedule with many activities. You are modest: you are uncomfortable being the center of attention. And you are dutiful: you take rules and obligations seriously, even when they're inconvenient. 
Your choices are driven by a desire for organization. 
You consider both achieving success and tradition to guide a large part of what you do. You seek out opportunities to improve yourself and demonstrate that you are a capable person.
Well, all things being considered, the Gorse Fox wonders how close this really is. Obviously, he has a view of himself which may not be shared by others. Watson may just have provided some insights.

Stroller

After the lovely weather of Sunday, Monday (a Bank Holiday) broke with cloud cover and light rain. These are things that don't bother the Gorse Fox. For him, every day is Bank Holiday, now. He does, however, feel for those folk who had plans.

The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen had a quiet morning the, as it had dried up a bit, took the opportunity to go for a walk. It was only local, taking in the lake and the old village, but was an enjoyable 40-50 minutes.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Smells and Rills

It is a lovely day in Bersted.

The bifold doors of the Orangery are wide open and the sun is streaming in. The pump is circulating the water in the rill and the little blade/cascade is providing a background sound of gently falling water. Idyllic.

After the morning football (the Gorse Fox was, at best, average) he felt that something creative was needed. He called upon Delia and decided that some rock cakes would be nice. Now, there are several things that the Gorse Fox should explain. Firstly, he has never "baked" before. Secondly, he has an almost pathological aversion to getting his hands dirty.

It was time to man-up.

Ingredients were duly measured and mixed. The electric mixer came into its own. The Gorse Fox could avoid mucky hands by using the technology. A few minutes later his "dough" was more the consistency of cement.

There was only one thing for it. Mixture was transferred to a bowl. The Gorse Fox plunged in. Finally, portions were put on a baking tray and put in the oven. A wonderful smell permeated the kitchen.

The Gorse Fox has just taken the rock cakes out of the oven and is allowing them to cool. His skills with landscape design may be more appropriate than baking. The rock cakes are big enough to build an impressive rockery (and probably include a water feature).