Saturday, December 31, 2016

Armed and Dangerous

The nice man from Amazon came. He was clutching a new toy for the Gorse Fox.

Needing to shift the shelves in the oven housing, the Gorse Fox realised he would need to be able to cut through the dowels that are almost certainly supporting the existing shelves. This requires a tool that can slide up and cut close to edge.

Hopefully this will do the trick (though he may need to find the right blade if the dowels are steel!).

Just stuff

Jasper was not popular this morning. It was about 6:45 when he dragged the Gorse Fox downstairs. It wasn't as if we had a great deal planned.

After breakfast the Gorse Fox spent some time fiddling with a spare router and hard-wiring the TV in the family room to the network. Previously it had been WiFi connected but it was a fairly weak signal in that corner of the room. Now there is a Gigabit router handling the connection (though the TV seems limited to 100Mbps). As usual all was achieved with a bit of magic and some cable-ties (which are, as you know, the answer to everything).

Then the was a brief bit of exercise on the running machine before the Gorse Fox retired to the study. He started by transcribing the diary entries for our trip to Epcot in 1989... then the mood overtook him and he got the urge to write code. So it is that the last hour or two has been focussed on writing some code to extract and format blog entries from the private blog so that they can be compiled into some printed form or other. The extract side of the conundrum is sorted and coded - now the Gorse Fox needs to think about the formatting and printing/filing. That can wait for another day.

Tonight we have a NYE get-together with the Sonning Crew which should be fun.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Doh!

The phone rang just after 7:00. It was John Lewis on their way to install the new oven and combo-oven. This was good - everything would be sorted nice and early.

Wrong

The chap walked in and asked to see the existing set-up and whether everything had been explained in the store. The Gorse Fox said that he had taken all the existing measurements and power rating with him to the store to check. The conclusion had been it was ok.

"The oven requires 16A circuit", he explained. We have a dedicated 32A the Gorse Fox responded. "No it has to be exactly 16A as the lead is not fused".

The Gorse Fox said "No problem, will go to Travis Perkins and get 16A MCB".

"You also need a 16A fused circuit for the Combo-Oven". That should be ok - the existing combi uses 15-20A circuit according to the installation instructions. He checked the circuit... it was 13A. That too needs changing but that's not a simple matter. That one requires an electrician.

Finally he measured the housing and concluded the shelf needed moving by 5mm.

At this point the whole installation was aborted. The Gorse Fox told him to go away and we would call them when ready to proceed as it was clear he wasn't going to do anything to help solve the problems.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Domestic bliss

Very little going on today. Urban-cub, having been sent home from work yesterday, was off-sick. Whilst feeling a little brighter than yesterday - she is still full of cold. The nice man from Ocado turned up with our shopping. He commented on how foggy it had been on his way down from the Weybridge depot - and how he had been drifting on the ice. It seemed strange as we had a crystal clear, cloudless blue sky (though it was very cold).

The Gorse Fox caught up with the accounts and then spent some time looking at options for a brief holiday in the Spring. Several possibilities arise, but there is no perfect fit so far.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Last ~Game

Very frosty start to the morning was not helped by Jasper's insistence that the Gorse Fox was up about soon after 6:30. He had to be up early-ish, but that was taking it to unnecessary extremes.

Urban Cub emerged at some pint - she had not slept well and her cold was in full flood. She retired to the living room and sat in front of the fire. She wasn't due at work until mid-afternoon so she have a quiet morning.

The Gorse Fox headed out for his last football game of the year. Again we had some youthful ringers joining us. It was a lovely game - lots of fun and banter but no aggression or silliness. This is how it should always be played. The Gorse Fox played well but isn't sure how the final scores worked out. It may well have been a draw, but frankly we had lost count.

Back home Urban Cub headed off to Gatwick and the Silver Vixen finished the chores that she had been working through. We had a quiet hour or two in front of the TV. Urban Cub called. She had been sent home and was now on her way back. The cold was self-evident and fairly extreme so he boss had taken the position that she should not be at work. Right decision.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Santa Run

Tuesday dawned early, thanks to Jasper. (The Gorse Fox uses the word "thanks" in its loosest form). After a moderately gentle start we all set off for the distant wilderness known as Berkshire. It was time for a Santa Run and to catch up with family.

Avoiding all of the shopping conurbations we had a quick and trouble-free run through. We were plied with teas and coffees whilst we caught up on the family news and the Gorse Fox's little sister finished lunch preparations. The Gorse Fox's nephew, Mask, was already there and soon afterwards, Blade turned up with Soph.

As always lunch was a huge feast with mountains of food and lakes of drink available. It was great fun with chat and witty repartee bouncing round the table. After lunch there were presents to share and a lot more chat. It was a lovely day.

We headed home early in the evening - the Qashqai SatNave deciding that the 57 mile journey taken when we came would be better as an 87 mile journey returning home. Stupid. Once the Gorse Fox realised this his overrode the route and spent much of the journey thinking about how stupid the routing can be and fretting that it doesn't offer a route overview or options.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Sun, sea, and sky

Boxing Day has been quiet. Urban-cub has a heavy cold and is struggling a bit. We discussed a walk - and though we left it until lunchtime, we decided to wander along the promenade.

Parking up, Bognor looked deserted. The car parks were almost empty and the on-street parking was almost unused. (Probably because everyone was parked in the roads of the Bersted estates). We wandered down to the promenade. On the corner was pile of rubble that had, until recently been an hotel and a fish and chip shop. This burned down a few weeks ago and has now been attacked by the demolition crew. The Gorse Fox can only comment that anything that is put in replace it will be a huge improvement.

The promenade was quite busy with walkers, cyclists, rollerbladers, skaters and dog-walkers. It was a little surprising as there had been so few cars around, but it was a pleasant afternoon for a stroll. We wandered along past Butlins and round the bend to the Lobster Pot where we did an about face and strolled back.

On the way back we were walking into what little wind there was - but it did have a cool edge to it. The sea was calm and with the watery sunlight marching across the glass-like surface towards us, made a lovely tranquil scene.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Feasting

We had a lovely long chat with Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit at lunchtime. It was good to hear from them as, somehow, it makes them seem a lot closer. We were instructed to send photos of the Christmas decorations and the Christmas lunch - which we duly did.

Lunch was fairly restrained compared to previous years - we didn't bother with a starter, had a normal plate of turkey and the trimmings, and didn't bother with a sweet. Indeed it was about eight in the evening before we returned to the kitchen and broke into the sweet course.

Overall, it was quiet Christmas Day, but it was very enjoyable.

In play

(Courtesy of Andrena McMenemy)
Well yesterday's Open House for the Sonning Crew seemed to go well and (surprise, surprise) there was plenty of food left over.

It's always fun getting everyone together. The Gorse Fox saw this photo on Andrena McMenemy's Facebook, and thought it appropriate.

Christmas Day started with Jasper the cat having a bit of a sleep-in and not disturbing the Gorse Fox until gone seven. This was a bonus.

Once up it was important to get the lunch preparations under way. There may only be three of us (the Silver Vixen, Urban Cub, and the Gorse Fox), but it still has to be done properly. Turkey was retrieved from the fridge and allowed to come up to room temperature as the oven was warming. As he writes, the Gorse Fox notes it has been nearly three hours since it was put in the oven and the smells emanating from that corner of the kitchen are wonderful.

We have to meet with Old Bill and Lady Penelope for a drink at noon - then we will return to complete the cooking - potatoes, stuffing, pigs-in-blankets, parsnips, brussel sprouts, peas, and carrots. Tradition is tradition!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Peek

We've just had a peek at the video the Gorse Fox edited yesterday. We are all very impressed by the quality of both picture and sound when played on the big TV. That has given him the impetus to do more in the near future.

Talking of battening down

Talking of battening down - the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen are expecting the Sonning Crew to invade later for coffee, mince pies, a buffet lunch, a drink or two and heaven's knows what else. It should be fun.

Batten down

Yesterday the Gorse Fox was foresighted enough to check the garden prior to the forecast winds. He refastened the tie-downs on the garden furniture covers.

Fat lot of use that was! Trouble is that the winds are due to increase over the next 48 hours - so the question is: does he ignore it, or does he try again?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Organised

The Gorse Fox is not really one for being too organised. Well, perhaps that's a little unfair. He tends to have a strategic view of things, then as time passes the focus starts to become more intense. Yesterday he wrote a list of headline tasks... and today he focused on those tasks and ticked them off one by one.

  • Gammon roasted
  • Oven Cleaned
  • Floors washed
  • Marinade prepared
  • Turkey out for defrosting
One by one they dropped off the list and the Gorse Fox managed to spend some time editing video from the trip he took with the family to Sea World in Florida in 1989.
(There is no sense in rushing things).

It was very much by way of an experiment with iMovie, but he is moderately satisfied with the results.

It was also wonderful to see the girls' faces as they watched the various shows, and this afforded their dad an opportunity to embarrass them.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Full

It had to happen.

We'd raided Sainsbury's, Ocado delivered, and we collected an order from M&S... the fridges are now full and the freezer is full. Food is overflowing into the Orangery. Hopefully it will be a cold night and that will act like a fridge.

The Gorse Fox has spent some time today with the iMovie tutorial. This gave him a good comparator for ShotCut. Frankly, he thinks there is very little in it. Both seem capable and both seem easy enough to use. He has even edited some old video today, just as a test.

Highlight of the day, however, was a brief online chat with Cousteau-Cub. It's good to hear that she is on the mend from her latest flare up of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It hasn't completely settled, but she has been able to dive and is likely to dive again over Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Youngsters

We had a couple of youngsters playing football with us this morning. One, the grandchild of a regular player, was about 11 and very talented; the other, the son of a regular, was about 18. This made the game quite good fun as they were struggling with the "walking" rule but had very quick feet and a some great skill. Without any of the trouble-makers, the game was great fun and an absolute joy. This was heightened by the fact that a) the Gorse Fox's team won 7-5, and b) the youngster was driving Renaldo (as we call him) absolutely to distraction.

Back home there was stuff to do to help the Silver Vixen with the ramp up to Christmas.. Once that was done though he retired to the study again to review the options for a non-liner editor for his videos. There is Apple's own iMovie (which the Gorse Fox already has) but he wanted to know what other options existed (with wider options for encoding the output). In the end he downloaded ShotCut. He watched a quick online tutorial and then had a go himself. It seems quite good and is abe to handle a very wide range of formats. Impressive so far and perhaps this adds the next line to list of projects the Gorse Fox will work on. (The private blog still sits at the top of the list, but there is huge backlog of diaries, letters, and journals still to transcribe).

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Motion

Tuesday morning saw the Gorse Fox in motion and Tuesday afternoon has seen motion pictures being shuffled.

The morning started with the car dance. This is the fandango we perform when each of the car is in the wrong relative position for our respective journeys. The Gorse Fox's car was in the garage, but the Silver Vixen was parked by the garage, and Urban-Cub was parked in front of her. Once we had finished the automotive-tango, the Gorse Fox head off of football.

It was the usual enjoyable two hour session. The Gorse Fox played adequately, though not really well. He managed to make some important interceptions and set up one of our goals. He was not, however, inspired. Maybe tomorrow!

Back home, Urban-Cub had gone to work and the Silver Vixen was out for a Birthday Lunch for one of her girl friends. The Gorse Fox had a quick shower and a snack then settled back down in front of the computer to finish the transcoding of video (motion pictures) that he started over the last couple of days. This is now complete, given the digital data that he has, but as mentioned yesterday the Gorse Fox suspects he will send some of the original tapes off to be re-processed.

Monday, December 19, 2016

More Video Transcoding

After a bit of discussion over menus and so forth, the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed for Sainsbury's to pick up those items that we wished to choose for ourselves rather than rely on the automated picking used by Ocado (which is fine for most of the shopping). Considering we are in the run up to Christmas, we were amazed at how quiet the shop was, and even more so to find there was no queue at the checkouts.

Back home the Gorse Fox returned to the video transcoding he started yesterday. This has revealed that some videos that he had digitised several years ago are suffering from poor colour quality. He suspects that he may have to send the tapes off for professional capture. That, however, can wait for the New Year.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Video

The Gorse Fox had no football today. With only 8 players we failed to reach a quorum. He used the time to look for some photos to add to the diary entries he had been transcribing. Now at the time these diary entries were made, the Gorse Fox was taking more video than ordinary photos. This meant looking through old vide and trying to capture suitable stills from the hours of coverage he had on file. This turned out to be more problematic than expected.

The LightWORKS software that he had used in the past wouldn't start at all. Apple's iMovie software would play the videos but despite following the online instructions, the Gorse Fox could not actually capture any still frames. In the end he used Quiktime. Not ideal.

This has triggered him to try and import his videos into LightROOM and try from there. He left this running and will have to have a play during the week.

AT lunchtime the Sonning Crew marched down to the Pink Pub. It was time to try some of the "Rockin' Rudolph" guest beer or some mulled cider. Several hours of chat and laughter ensued.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Productive

That's been a productive start.

The Gorse Fox has managed to complete a number of tasks on his mental "to do" list. Christmas decoration boxes are all stowed away but easily accessible for 12th night. The blanket weed forming in the rill has been cleaned out. Various delivery boxes have ben cut down and added to the recycling. Paintwork out the front of the house has been washed down... and the ironing has been cleared. On top of this, the last of the emails from 1990 have been transcribed and filed in the private blog. (The GF has also just found another notebook full of diary entries for a holiday we took in Florida in 1989 - that will have to be transcribed next).

Such excitement!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Mulling it Over

Jasper was insistent and dragged the Gorse Fox from bed earlier than planned. The Gorse Fox got a degree of revenge by delaying putting out his breakfast until ten minutes later than usual.

It was a quiet morning - the Silver Vixen was preparing to meet up with friends for lunch so the Gorse Fox retired to the study and continued with the scanning and transcribing of old emails from 1990. The task is nearly finished - only about 5 pages to go. The task has taken the Gorse Fox right up to the weekend before the family flew out to meet him for a holiday in Arizona.

With Christmas fast approaching, the Gorse Fox spent a while wandering around the local supermarket. He wasn't looking for anything specific, more a case of seeking inspiration. He did make the most of the trip, however, to pick up a decent sized gammon joint and several bottles of mulled wine. Whilst the checkouts were almost empty, the aisles were fairly chaotic - though this is relative. In the old days, at Tesco in Chineham, you would be advised to wear shin pads and body armour. Here and now it is more appropriate to whisper the odd "excuse me" to pass a doddery shopper confused by the choice.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Simple approach

Sometimes the simple approach is all that's needed.

Two decent sized haddock loins, two slices of wholemeal multigrain bread (toasted), and some melted butter. The toasted bread was blitzed in the blender. The butter was melted. the haddock dipped in the melted butter and rolled in the breadcrumbs. The remaining breadcrumbs were used to smother the haddock in a ceramic dish. The whole lot went in the oven for 15 minutes at 210C... perfect.

Deck the Halls

The day has come.

Decorations have been retrieved from all of their hiding places and the Silver Vixen and the Urban-Cub are busy making the house look Christmassy. The Gorse Fox has put up and connected the tree, hung the cards, and fixed an external lamp (no sense in overdoing the external lighting).

The decorating frenzy will continue for many hours the The Gorse Fox will have to spend several days trying to find hiding places for all the empty boxes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Delivery

Wednesday football was really enjoyable.  The Gorse Fox was greeted by a teammate "How's your face this week, within the constraints of what you have to work with, of course?" It was nice that he was concerned whether the Gorse Fox's eye had healed... but it may have lacked a certain sensitivity!

We were down to 5-a-side, but played on the big pitch. This gave us plenty of space to play but meant we had to work harder. The Gorse Fox was playing for the "oranges" and we rolled out 6-3 winners and this included a goal from the Gorse Fox.

Back home the Silver Vixen finished off her Christmas Cards and the Gorse Fox finished scanning and filing some old cards sent to the family when she was born. Then he went to deliver the local cards and posted those that required the Royal Mail.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tight

Being Tuesday there was football to play. As a defender, the Gorse Fox believes in keeping things tight - though this should include his chest. Today he felt a teensy-teensy bit under the weather and his chest felt a bit tight. This did not stop him and over the six games played in two hours - only two goals were scored against his teams. Most satisfactory.

Strangely, we got a bit wet. We have often commented that the weather seems to take a break on Tuesdays and there are very few instances across the whole year when it has actually rained during our Tuesday games. This comment had obviously stirred the rain demons and today we had a fair bit of drizzle soaking the play.

Quiet afternoon back home readying ourselves for the Bersted Park Christmas social event which will (obviously) be followed by the Sonning Crew heading out for a curry.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Scans or photos

A quiet morning involved a bit of (unsuccessful) research into Urban-Cub's dash cam followed by a stroll into the village to post off some Christmas parcels and to get the Gorse Fox's hair cut.

With excitement reaching such an intense level, the Gorse Fox was almost overcome when the Silver Vixen found a few more photos and wedding favours that needed scanning. He disappeared up to his study. The photos were done first - without incident.

The Wedding favours (invitations, cards, etc) proved a little more problematic. The scanner kept dropping its connection, so the Gorse Fox resorted to using his camera. This proved ok - in terms of the quality of the images... but as they weren't being held in place by the scanner lid, he was getting distortion from the way in which some of the cards were folded. In the end he had a bright idea. Old Bill used to have a picture framing business... might he still have a sheet of non-reflective glass hanging around? A quick message confirmed that he had and 10 minutes later the Gorse Fox restarted the exercise and is very please with the results.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hammered

Young people might assume that this "Hammered" headline refers to the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox having a very heavy night out and suffering from the inevitable consequences. This would be wishful thinking (well, not that wishful). Actually it refers to the morning football. After several weeks of convincing wins, this week the Gorse Fox was on the losing team. It wasn't even close, ending at (about) 12-3. It was a good workout, however.

The rest of the day was quiet. The Silver Vixen was writing notes for some of the Christmas cards and the Gorse Fox was preparing dinner whilst watching various "foodie' programmes on the TV.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Labels

The thing about Christmas cards is writing legible addresses. Now, of course, technology has come up with various solutions to this: hot-type, John Bull print outfits, typewriters, and apparently, computers. Hot-type is always such a chore - melting the lead and making up the type blocks, John Bull uses rubber type and very messy ink, typewriters are so noisy, and that left the Gorse Fox with his computer.

As usual, it took a few goes at it before the Gorse Fox had managed to create a file that would accurately print onto labels. Needless to say, there was final incantation that eluded the Gorse Fox until he started digging through some obscure menu items. Finally the word processor squirted all the information to the printer and several pages of labels appeared.

Now, several hours later, all the envelopes have their address labels, and all the cards are written. The Gorse Fox is just awaiting the Silver Vixen to go through and add her comments to those cards that warrant intervention.

A successful few hours.

Friday, December 09, 2016

All that Jazz

A relatively quiet start to the day (despite Jasper insisting that the Gorse Fox should let him out before 07:00 this morning). Most of the morning was spent on domestic activities and a little online shopping.

After lunch the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed into Chichester. She had been quite taken by some glasswork on a stall in the Christmas Market when visiting on Tuesday. It was now up to the Gorse Fox to turn this into reality. The chap running stall was quite chatty and we heard all about the little enterprise that his wife runs and he helps out with down near Sherbourne in Dorset (and their problems with the website and their intended migration from iPad to Samsung tablet - as GF said, he was chatty).

We strolled into North Street. We had come to really like the restaurant "Amelie & Friends", but that had closed down in the summer. A new restaurant, called Purchases, has opened in the old premises do the Gorse Fox popped in to have a look and we both looked through the menu. It's a little pricey, but looks as if it would be great for special occasions. We''ll just have to try it and find out. Oh well!

Leaving the restaurant, the Silver Vixen spotted a shop that demanded further investigation.

The Gorse Fox left her to it and went to listen to a couple of buskers. They were really good and played some excellent numbers. The drummer was playing on what looked like a kiddies miniature drum-kit, and the huge saxophonist was playing an instrument the size of a 16-inch canon.
The perfect way to spend a few minutes whilst the Silver Vixen browsed. The Gorse Fox could have listened to them all day (but the car park ticket demanded his return).

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Domestic sorts

Thursday - so no football. The day started with an email informing the Gorse Fox that his parcel was out for delivery. By 08:30 his new Nowo Woll casserole pan had been delivered. This triggered two activities. The first was the usual administration of the accounts - the pan's purchase needed to be recorded. The second was a clean up of the cupboards that had contained all the old pots an pans. Many hadn't been used since we moved in, indeed probably not since we left Kingston Gorse. A pile of pans stands by the back door to await a trip to the recycling centre.

The Gorse Fox had to call the suppliers of the new work tops for which we had received quotes. The issue is that for either supplier to create the templates for the new tops, they need the old tops removed. This is not something that the Gorse Fox feels happy doing. One supplier expects it to be done, the other expects it to be done but for £150 will do it for you. Given the overall cost, this is not too much of an issue. We still need to decide whether to go ahead.

The afternoon was spent pouring over Christmas food catalogues looking for ideas and suggestions for the various Christmas menus. In the end we placed an order with M&S for some of the items which we can collect just before Christmas. In another burst of activity, the Gorse Fox has even managed to dig out the Christmas cards.

It's all go, you know!

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Brush Strokes

If it's Wednesday it's football, again. The Gorse Fox headed off to meet up with the team and set up today's game. Teams were picked and the match went off without incident. The news of Krakatoa Jack's ban had a sobering effect on some of the more volatile players. The Gorse Fox was pleased to be on the right side of a 2-0 win.

Back home he received a call from the surgery. Seemed a little quick, given bloods were only taken on Monday. It was, however, nothing to do with that. It was confirmation that they were happy to give him a flu shot. (There had been some query as the Gorse Fox had been allergic to eggs as a child and had once had anaphylaxis after a de-sensitising jab). Discussion concluded the Gorse Fox would be ok so he pottered along and had the jab.

Going out for a short stroll later the Gorse Fox was amused to see that whoever had painted this afternoon's sky had left brush marks in the clouds when filling in between the houses and the darker part of the cloud cover.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Banned

Well that was not really a great surprise. The Gorse Fox had been intercepted as he checked in to the Sports Centre. The Centre manager grabbed him and asked him to accompany him to his office. He then went on to explain that after an incident at yesterday's tournament, they had decided to ban Krakatoa Jack for the premises for 3 months. (He explained  that it should be 12 months, but they were trying to be reasonable). He went on to say he hoped that Arun Amblers would not have a problem with this and wanted to maintain the relationship with the Centre. The Gorse Fox on hearing the details expressed his full support for the position being taken. The Gorse Fox has no sympathy for people who argue with the referees, and certainly none for those who lay hands on the ref.

The football started and the Gorse Fox enjoyed himself as usual, though seemed a little lethargic. By the second hour he had perked up and was back to his usual form. Unfortunately that got him into trouble. He moved in to cover a player moving down the right wing. The place received a huge cross-field lob which he volleyed. Unfortunately he volleyed it straight into the Gorse Fox's face at almost point blank range. The Gorse Fox's boyish good looks were again at risk of being compromised. His shatterproof glasses had been pushed against his eye socket and a some bruising was coming out. The  first aiders were called and an ice pack applied. There was only 15 minutes to go, so the Gorse Fox decided to sit it out for the rest of the game.

Had another nice long chat with Cousteau-Cub this afternoon. The Silver Vixen was at the hairdresser so the Gorse Fox was listening to some jazz and doing some reading on the internet when she called. She was obviously having trouble sleeping and decided a chat with dad was probably all that was needed to bore her to sleep.


Monday, December 05, 2016

Oil Change

A the Gorse Fox explained several weeks ago, his Doctor, concerned that the Gorse Fox had not been given an MOT since 1999, ordered up some blood tests. So it was that after a night of fasting, the Gorse Fox turned up at the surgery at 08:30 this morning for an old change. Sleeve was rolled up, tourniquet applied, and an armful of blood donated to the vampire phlebotomist.

(This, the Gorse Fox explains, was also a good excuse to miss this morning's football tournament. As mentioned before, he loves the football but finds the tournaments a little less fun as people get a bit to aggressive and angry over things that are really inconsequential).

Back home coffee was poured into the Gorse Fox to replace the armful of blood and then we made our plan for the day.

As we have explained before we find the existing cooker and combo-oven to be as user-hostile as a left-wing "peace" rally. We have selected some replacement models and our first stop was john Lewis. The nice man took our order and arranged disposal of the existing units and installation of the new ones. Sorted.

Another item that has irritated us since first moving in is the kitchen worktops. They are a distressed ash patterned laminate. We asked for different tops whilst the house was under construction - but told that was not possible. Today we took the opportunity to go round some local fabricators to see what they have available in quartz or granite - and more importantly, how much they would cost. We were certainly taken with some of the products and now await the quotes to see if it is viable.

Back home, we received a call from Cousteau-Cub. The Gorse Fox took the first lap, but when it moved on to health matters he passed the baton to the Silver Vixen. It was lovely to hear from her and good to know that she felt like a chat so thought of her ageing parents :)

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Plodding on

Chilly start to the day so the Gorse Fox was pleased that, being Sunday, football was in the indoor arena. A simple 5-a-side game which the Gorse Fox's team won 12-5. This included a hat trick from the Gorse Fox, so he was very pleased.

It's been a quiet afternoon. The chicken is cooking in the oven and the Gorse Fox has been transcribing more old emails into his private blog. The Silver Vixen is sewing in the living room.

Talking of the chicken - it is roasting in a new silicon roasting pan. One of three that we bought yesterday. It should wipe clean very easily when done... and being flexible, will store easily. The Gorse Fox also ordered his Christmas present - a 24cm square Woll Nowo casserole pan. Not exciting perhaps, but very useful and the Gorse Fox has no doubt, that despite its price, it be a great additional asset for the kitchen.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Winter Fair

The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox met up with the Sonning Crew over near Ardingly. The South of England Show Ground was hosting a large Winter's Fair. The trip across was quick and trouble free and parking was easy, even though it was clearly going to be popular.

We met up with the Crew (who set off half an hour earlier than us) in the food barn. They were just finishing their coffee as we settled down. The Silver Vixen had some fresh churros with chocolate dip, and a coffee. The Gorse Fox forced down a coffee and a "Spitfire Ale Sausage Bap". It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

After that we started to make our way through the various stands, tents, and stands. Outside was a small funfair for the kids and a Santa's grotto. There were some small reindeer in a pen for the children to look at and a sleigh for them to sit on and have their photos taken.

In the tents we fought our way through the crowds looking at the various stands and examining what was on show. Here and there we saw items that were tempted to pick-up, and in some places we succumbed to temptation. 

By late morning the place was heaving and it was chaotic in the marquis holding the gift stalls. This seems like a cue to head for the food marquis. This too was busy, but not quite as busy.

We spent several hours wandering around before deciding to return to the food barn. That, however, was heaving. It was clear that there would be no chance of sitting down so after a brief discussion, we decided to head off towards home and stop for tea and cakes at Old Barn Nurseries en route. After the tea we looked round the various displays, but left empty-handed.

It almost goes without say that we all met up again in the evening and went for a curry. Overall it was a lovely, sociable day.

Friday, December 02, 2016

At last

The Gorse Fox was sorting out some stuff in the study when it dawned on him what the date was. He called to Urban Cub "Hey, not wanting to say this out loud, but aren't you meant to complete on the sale of the fact in Porpoise Place today?" She responded that she wasn't holding her breath,

With that the phone rang. It was her solicitor confirming that completion had been achieved. What a relief! (And strange that it should all go through so early in the day).

The Gorse Fox spent the rest of the morning catching up on the household accounts. Though all of the usual expenditure was accounted for, he still needed to go through all the statements and check that everything was "ticked off".

The Silver Vixen went in to Chichester to the hairdresser. This took most of the afternoon, so the Gorse Fox had a bite of lunch then walked round to the Indian to book a table for the Sonning Crew for Tuesday-week then drop off some Nespresso pods for recycling. Finally he walked on round to Shripney to pick up some spicy chorizo at M&S. It was a nice walk and it got the blood pumping. The ret of the afternoon was spent working on a few more pages of the emails from 1990.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Wired

It was another chilly night and frosty morning. (Well, it is the start of meteorological winter today). The cold snap continues - but the days are gin-clear, still,  and crisp. They remind the Gorse Fox of winter in upper NY State. He loves this sort of weather.

After the usual slow start to a Thursday the first real order of the day was to get Urban-Cub's car round to the auto-electrician. The ads-cam that we fitted last week really needed to be wired into the car properly, rather than having wires draped round the passenger seat. It only took the chap a couple of hours and the job was done. All very neat and tidy and no sign of the wiring. The Gorse Fox will have to think about doing the same for the Silver Vixen.

Back home there were some of the usual Thursday domestic tasks to complete, then the Gorse Fox returned to the transcription of the old emails. He's now well over half way, and intrigued by the memories they evoke. These include the eventful flight down to Houston, en route to Austin; the first impressions of Austin; the Natural Bridge Caverns; San Antonio and The Alamo; the 1990 World Cup as shown on US and Mexican TV, and so forth. What is worrying is that (as evidenced by the emails) most of this business trip was spent working with a chap called Itzhak and, when not working, he accompanied the Gorse Fox on most of these outings and trips... but the Gorse Fox has absolutely NO recollection of the chap.