Wednesday, April 26, 2017


It was very cold over night. Even Jasper decided that his early morning stroll should be cut short. The weather is due to warm up again for the rest of the week.

It was still a bit chilly when we started our football, but things soon warmed up as we got into the game. It was only 5-a-side today on the bigger pitches - so it was hard work. Indeed, by the end it was 5-v-4 as one of our team came over dizzy and had to leave the pitch. Despite this we managed to win 7-5, and the Gorse Fox was pleased to get on the score sheet.

The Gorse Fox got a call from Cousteau-cub while driving home. It was only a short chat, but it's always nice to hear from her. Hopefully we'll get time for a longer chat tomorrow.

Back home he headed off to B&Q and bought the wood for the floating shelves he has been planning.  (First thing, he also ordered a pocket-hole jig from At the nice man from the Amazon - that should arrive tomorrow). With the car loaded he dropped into Pizza Hut for their take-away lunchtime buffet. £5 saw deal that allowed the Gorse Fox to load up a box of salad from the salad bar, and select 4 slices of pizza. Seemed like a deal!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


The morning started cold but bright. It was only just above freezing, but the sun soon took charge and by the time the Gorse Fox started his football, it was really quite pleasant.

Today's games were fun but success was limited. Six games played, two wins, one draw and three losses. Despite that the Gorse Fox felt that he played well and certainly stopped a lot of certain goals. Checking his step count for the two hours he had exceeded his usual count by over a 1000 steps so must have been covering a lot of ground.

Back home the Silver Vixen was taking care of domestic stuff so that she's free for Pilates tomorrow and to babysit on Thursday. Meanwhile the Gorse Fox has been drawing on Sketchup and now has  the design for some floating shelves filed away. These will have to wait for a few days as the Gorse Fox keeps thinking of small refinements that can be made to improve the design. As usual, these might be considered over-engineered, but the GF believes that things should be built to last! (Note, we already have several IKEA floating shelves but the Gorse Fox thinks they are too flimsy and that they do not sit properly - they maybe simple, but the design is poor - which is unusual for IKEA; these will all be replaced).

Monday, April 24, 2017

So quiet

Another lovely start to the day, though it had clouded over by later in the day.

The Silver Vixen had an appointment at the local hospital so the Gorse Fox went along with her. We are always so impressed by the local cottage hospital. They seem to deal with most things other than A&E, but always seem to have time to provide the care that's needed and the staff all seem so incredibly friendly. The Consultant we saw was a charming man who reminded us of a neighbour we had when living back in Broom. Softly spoken, oozing charm and humour, yet still attentive and concerned with the patient. 10 out of 10 from us.

Leaving there we popped in to B&Q as the Gorse Fox wanted to check on some wood supplies for a small project he has in mind. With that sorted Costa beckoned for a late morning coffee.

Back home this afternoon, the Silver Vixen has had a long chat with Urban-Cub on the phone and the Gorse Fox has spent some time on the family tree. This was quite successful as he has managed to find some additional information for the Silver Vixen's cousin and that should help her with her family research. Additionally he has managed to find the Silver Vixen's 7th and 8th great grandparents on her maternal side.

Now that we have baby Ellie in the family, the Gorse Fox needs to start considering Pistol Pete's family and fold them into the tree. A complete new avenue of research is always fun!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

In the Pink

It was a bright and sunny start to Sunday.

The Gorse Fox had football so made his way across to meet up with "the lads". We split into two random teams and got under way. It was hard works as the other team was made up predominantly of strikers The Gorse Fox did his best in defence but we were 4-2 down by half time. The Gorse Fox did score one of the goals but it wasn't enough - by the end we had lost 7-3. It was a good run out and the Gorse Fox was quite pleased with the way he had played.

Back home the message came in from the Sonning Crew... should we meet up. It would have been churlish to refuse, so we all set off and headed down to the Pink Pub. We spent a couple of hours chatting and joking. Some drink may have been taken. It was a lovely way to spend Sunday lunchtime.

Back home we watched the Cup Semi-final and had a generally quiet afternoon and evening.

Saturday, April 22, 2017


It was a bright start, though the forecast is for a drop in temperatures over the next few days. The Silver Vixen took the Jasper shift this morning so the Gorse Fox had a lie-in until eight... most refreshing.

The Gorse Fox spent the morning on a major conversion. He was converting what had been his workshop for the past few weeks, back into a garage for his car. It took a few hours and several trips to the local tip. The local tip had clearly become  the place to be. The Gorse Fox was queued back onto the dual carriageway trying to gain access. Never mind, he didn't have to wait too long and once the car was empty it was clear that progress was really being made.

As planned, the temporary work bench stacked up against the wall and much of the other accumulated detritus from the garage found its way into the second car load for the tip. The car, emptied, has now been vacuumed and put away.

Feeling rather smug; though perfectly aware it will all have to be converted back when he starts on the next project.

Friday, April 21, 2017


The Silver Vixen wants a corner unit for the living room. This needs to nestle in the corner behind the TV and fit it with the rest of the furniture. We have asked in places such as Oak Furnitureland, but have found nothing that fits the bill.

The Gorse Fox fired up Sketchup and started his design with a list of what features are required and what would be nice. Then the drawing started... and stalled, and restarted, and stalled. The basic outline and dimensions of the finished unit are easy enough, but much of the construction is dependent on the widths of the wood, and the depths of the shelves.

The Gorse Fox started researching suppliers of (solid) light oak boards. This took longer than expected, and when the prices became clear, it also became imperative that the design was spot-on. There was no room for mistakes when the underlying fabric is so expensive. Having found potential suppliers of the boards, the Gorse Fox then spent some time researching the best wood glue for edge-joining boards to create the full width of the unit.

There is further research needed, namely a supplier of suitable glass for the shelves, and a suitable source for some internal lighting.

He will then ready to return to drawing the construction plans.

What more photos?

The Gorse Fox has just found another crate of photos tucked in the corner beneath his desk. Looking at the contents, these have not yet been scanned! Clearly he still has thousands of photos to scan and file.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Domestic God

The Gorse Fox is clearly a domestic god.

Eschewing the early morning TV (at least until after the election) he got started earlier. First there was some ironing to wade through, then as he was about to start on the week's accounts, Ocado turned up with the shopping.

Shopping packed away, the Gorse Fox downloaded all the previous week's transactions ready to do the accounts... but the Silver Vixen wanted to hit Chichester for some pet food, some cat litter, and some new bedding. We pottered in and sorted out the cat's stuff before wandering in to John Lewis for the bedding. Once sorted, we each had a voucher for coffee and a cake, so made our way to the restaurant before wandering off to browse.

On the way home we stopped at the Pet Food Warehouse. We looked for the recommended cat food and found something we thought might match the vet's suggestion. We decided to ask advice at the counter and were lucky to find a woman hovering nearby who happened to be a rep for the company. She was able to answer our questions and to give us some good clear advice. Serendipitous, eh?

Finally back home, the Gorse Fox has now completed the accounts. Normality has resumed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


It was a cold but bright start to the day. Barely a cloud littered the sky - though some hight cloud formed by late afternoon. The Gorse Fox started the day in a clumsy frame of mind. Clumsiness is one of his pet hates - and particularly when it his own. He managed to drop the glass cover for his big sauté pan, while cooking breakfast. It hit the floor and though the toughened glass survived, the handle was broken. This seems like a job for some superglue... or failing that, a replacement lid. Doh!

Football was on the agenda. As usual we all met up at Worthing and formed into the oranges or the yellows. This week saw the Gorse Fox playing for the oranges. Cruncher John was back for a few days - if the Gorse Fox had known, he might have worn body armour. As it was, it was another player that got crunched this week and had to sit out the last 10 minutes or so, nursing a bruised rib. Overall, and despite Cruncher, it was enjoyable as usual, and though we lost 3-1, the Gorse Fox feels that he played particularly well, so isn't too disappointed.

Back home the Silver Vixen was getting ready to go out with her Pilates group for afternoon tea. They are celebrating the 60th birthday of their instructor. The Gorse Fox isn't sure whether Worthing is quite ready for this... but he did see some police riot vans heading that way along the A259.

Meanwhile the Gorse Fox did a bit of shopping then spent the afternoon listening to music. One of the pleasures of Amazon Music (like Spotify or Deezer) is the availability of a wide selection of playlists across all genres and featuring music that you may not otherwise have heard.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

That's a Turn Up

Tuesday after a Bank Holiday saw a surprisingly good turn out at football. The Gorse Fox was expecting some to cry-off with sore heads having celebrated Brighton & Hove Albion's promotion to the Premiership. Yet no, all the usual crew were there and we had three games followed by a change or personnel and then three further games. The first hour saw the Gorse Fox (in Red this week) draw two games and win one. It was nice to play at the back with another experienced defender and we almost managed a complete shut out. In the second hour, again playing in red, we weren't so good. Two of the five players in the team were not very mobile and not very able on the ball. We lost all three of those games, but the Gorse Fox can at least console himself that he scored a lovely goal in the last game.

Back in the car he heard that the PM had called for a General Election. This was a surprise, but will no doubt trigger eight weeks of vitriol, bile, and intolerance as all and sundry decide to engage in "reasoned debate" by insulting each other and each other's followers. The Gorse Fox suspects he will have to stop watching TV News coverage until its all over (for the sake of his sanity).

Monday, April 17, 2017


The Gorse Fox had a considerable amount of wood left over when he built the deck. It has been stacked by the garage for the past 18 months. Pistol Pete, meanwhile, is in need of some wood to brace (or rebuild) his shed. Now that they have the bigger car, it seemed like a good opportunity for the Gorse Fox's surplus to become Pistol Pete's timber trove.

So it was that Pistol Pete and Urban Cub came to visit with baby Ellie. Ellie was duly paraded round to see Tinkerbell and Two Hats, while Pistol Pete and the Gorse Fox cut the wood to manageable lengths and loaded his car. It didn't take too long, but the Gorse Fox was pleased he had recharged the batteries for the circular saw the other day.

We also took the opportunity to carry the desk tidy up to the Gorse Fox's study.

He must say, he's rather pleased with the finished result and will, no doubt, load the various cubby holes in the next few days. You'd think it was designed to fit!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Out and About

We popped across to see Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete. It was a lovely day, though there was a nip in the breeze. After Elli had been fed, we headed down to the front in LA.

There were plenty of people about, making the most of the long weekend and strolling in the sunshine.

We had parked near the iconic cafe to the east end of the promenade and walked towards the mouth of the River Arun and in towards town.

Some hardy individuals were actually playing in the sea. With the chilly wind, that took some real nerve... though the Gorse Fox suspects he would have done it when he was a young boy.

The funfair was busy and the tinkle of children's laughter and screams as they plunged down the log flume filled the air.

Turning up the side of the River, we headed towards town and admired the boats moored along the river banks. One huge cruiser was in a dreadful state of repair - it was such a shame as it  had clearly been a significant vessel in the past... and was, no doubt, costing a lot to keep moored in a prime spot on the river.

We stopped at the 'Look and Sea Centre'. It was time for a hot drink and a slice of cake. We found a sheltered corner out on the patio and sat and watched the world go by.

Eventually, we stirred and made our way back to the car. Ellie had woken by this point and was clearly ready for another feed. Fortunately, it only took a few minutes to get back to the house and settle her down. Whilst Pistol Pete and the Gorse Fox watched the Sunday afternoon football, Urban-Cub and the Silver Vixen prepared a fine roast dinner.

A perfect day, again.

Mr Shifter

The Gorse Fox has just ventured in to the garage to move the finished desk tidy indoors and up to the study. This is when he realised he can't lift it. He will have to wait until he can get some help as it is too large (though not excessively heavy) to be lifted by a single person.


Happy Easter

Liturgically, Easter is a time of renewal and, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the first major holiday of Spring. At this time of geo-political tension, of division, and of so much hatred - the Gorse Fox extends his wishes and prayers for all; he wishes you contentment, understanding, patience and tolerance.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Getting on with things

The last couple of DIY projects have interrupted the Gorse Fox's normal schedule. Knowing today would involve some long waits whilst paint was drying the Gorse Fox resolved to catch up on some admin.

First on the agenda was to get the first top coat on the desk tidy. This didn't go very smoothly as the sprayer seemed to splatter whenever he started it up. This would all require sanding back once dry and then re-coating.

Back indoors, whilst waiting for the paint to dry, the Gorse Fox got stuck in to the last few weeks accounts. Clearly there has been a change to the Money Dashboard aggregator that he uses and this meant that he had some fiddling about to do before everything was correctly accounted for. Once downloaded and cross-referenced in the spreadsheet, the Gorse Fox could start work on the small pile of documents that, whilst dealt with, had not been scanned and filed yet. Once that was done, and the backups triggered, the shredder could go into overdrive and dispose of all the paper.

The Silver Vixen spent the morning Spring cleaning the Orangery - which is now looking spic and span. We had a light lunch then the Gorse Fox headed out to the garage. The splattered paint spots were sanded back and the sprayer test fired to clear any blobs... and then the final coat was applied to the desk tidy.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Nearly Done

That's another little project nearly done.

The desk tidy is assembled and the Gorse Fox has made up some edging strips to cover the raw ends of the MDF carcase. Edging has been cut and attached, sanded, filled, re-sanded, and primed.

There's nothing else the Gorse Fox can do today - he must wait for everything to dry before putting on the finishing coat(s).

(He would point out that this photo is taken from the side that will be hidden and flush to the wall).

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Old Designs

The Gorse Fox decided to make the most of the fact the garage was empty and his tools were easily available.

A couple of years ago he designed what he called a "desk tidy". It isn't really for the desk though. This unit is designed to sit on a feature in the corner of the study that squares off the diagonal that would be caused by the staircase below. The unit is designed to contain a number of cubby-holes that are designed to house "Really Useful Boxes".

The wood was purchased a couple of years ago and was even had a coat of primer applied. All the Gorse Fox had to do was mark up the various cuts and the rebates and get started. It was fairly easy and with glue and the nailer was soon prepared and assembled. A coat of undercoat was applied with the spray-gun and then the Gorse Fox cleared up and left it all to dry overnight. Very satisfactory.

Meanwhile, the Silver Vixen has been filling up the new cabinet in the family room.

The Gorse Fox isn't quite sure what has come over him!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

More Exercise

A bit cooler and greyer this morning, but at least it was dry. The Silver Vixen didn't have Pilates today because of the Easter break; the Gorse Fox, however, had football as usual.

It seemed a very evenly matched game, but the Gorse Fox ended up on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline. Our team seemed to have most of the chances, but squandered the opportunities. The other team managed to capitalise on the few dances they had. Never mind, it was a good game and the Gorse Fox was pleased with the way he played.

Back home he has been filing the rapidly expanding collection of photos that has formed over the past two weeks, since Ellie was born. If he doesn't get on top of this early on, it will become a huge chore later. He's also been looking a PhotoBox as a possible way of getting some digital prints and having them dispatched to Beloved Aunt in Canada.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


A gorgeous start to the day filled the Gorse Fox with anticipation for the morning's football. He arrived at the sports centre early - and that was a good job. There is a limit of 32 players - and we had reached that limit with time to spare. Several late-comers had to just stand and watch.

The games were enjoyable - though the Gorse Fox lost 5 out of 6 games, and only managed a draw in the other game. He was pleased, however, to score a very fine goal.

After showering (in stone cold water) he headed back to Urban-Cub's to see Ellie. Along with the Silver Vixen we were on baby-sitting duty whilst Urban-Cub went to pick up her new car. The Peugeot 308 (coupe) that she had was clearly impractical when transporting Ellie, her stuff, and Scrumpy the dog. She has now switched cars and got a Peugeot 5008 which was very impressive. It is a 5/7 seater and will provide plenty of room for the family.

Monday, April 10, 2017

What a Perfect Day

Again, the weather was gorgeous.

The Gorse Fox started the morning with some serious tidying up in the garage. Then, some last checking of the paintwork on the cabinet. Satisfied, he made another coffee and with the Silver Vixen sat out on the patio to enjoy the warm sun and the general feeling of contentment.

Finally stirring there were a few adjustments to be considered and one meant that he needed some different screws - the ones currently in use were too big and were causing the cabinet doors not to close properly. A quick trip to B&Q and a box of 3mm x 25mm screws and all was well.

Granddaughter Ellie turned up late in the morning with Urban-Cub in tow.

It was lovely to see them as it had been over a week since the last time, due to the Silver Vixen's cold. Miss Ellie was her usual gorgeous self, and after the Silver Vixen had fed her, the Gorse Fox took over and walked her up and down for and hour or so... just proving that the experience gained with Cousteau-Cub and Urban-Cub has come back into use and Miss Ellie was soon asleep.

Late in the afternoon we took Ellie across to meet Old Bill and Lady Penelope (unfortunately Tinkerbell and Two Hats were out). It gave the Gorse Fox an opportunity to ask Old Bill for a hand carrying the (heavy new) cabinet into the family room.

By tea time the cabinet was installed in the family room and ready to be loaded.

The Gorse Fox is pleased with the final product - though may make a few final tweaks.

Sunday, April 09, 2017


The Gorse Fox is not known for his use of the telephone. He finds telephones interesting, but always has trouble thinking of things to say or questions to ask. It's probably a man-thing, or maybe a by product of the endless hours spent on teleconference calls achieving absolutely nothing when he was still working.

Despite this, the afternoon has been punctuated with joy as Cousteau-Cub phoned for a chat and the Gorse Fox noted it is only 60 days until she is back here for a visit. After that he called Beloved Aunt in Canada. She has been quite unwell, but is clearly rallying. We had a lovely chat and it was a chance for her to catch up on all of the news regarding Urban-Cub and Ellie.


No it's not cold. In fact it's gorgeous today.

After the frustration of this morning, the Gorse Fox has sanded back the paint runs (again) and adjusted the spray once more. This time the finish was satisfactory. The Gorse Fox went round touch up the odd spot with a brush and now is sitting watching paint dry. (Well, strictly speaking he's not watching it... but he is waiting for it).

Paint Frustration

It has been a frustrating morning. The football was cancelled as we couldn't gather enough players. Then the Gorse Fox decided to return to the painting of the cabinet. Carefully he sanded down the blemishes and runs from yesterday. He poured the paint into the reservoir and watered it down (as instructed in the accompanying manual) and he was ready to go.

The top of the unit was sprayed and looked perfect. Then he moved on to the insides and the sides, then finally the doors. Despite winding back the paint volume setting, and spraying from slightly further away, he has managed to develop some runs in the paint again. He is not happy as this means that he can't progress until this is dry, sanded back, then repainted.

Saturday, April 08, 2017


Well the Gorse Fox should have kept quiet.

He returned to the paint sprayer for one final coat. He had not realised he was almost at the end of the paint reservoir and the spray gun started to splutter, or to flood the surface. As he was spraying white onto white, this was not immediately obvious. He now has had to call it a day to allow the paint to dry overnight - then he can return to it and sand the various splutter-marks and slight runs that have formed.

On a positive note, the spray gun cleans up very easily (though that could be because the Gorse Fox is using water based paints).

Nearly finished

Foggy start soon gave way to lovely sunshine. The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed in to Chichester to select the finish-coat paint for the cabinet. B&Q , the Gorse Fox noticed, didn't have the "chalk paint" that we had wanted - Homebase, however, did. It didn't take took long to find, and there was a very helpful assistant who discussed the relative merits of using such a paint in a spray gun. Our collective conclusion was that it was worth a try, but would require some watering down.

Back home, the Gorse Fox set to work with the finest grit sandpaper to create a key in the primer/undercoat, then went through looking for any last blemishes that would require attention. Finally, a wipe down to remove any dust and he was ready to start painting. The paint turned out to be less viscous than he was expecting, but still he added a little water to ensure a good mist from the spray gun.

As he writes this, he is waiting for the first coat to dry and is very satisfied with the results so far. He will give a second coat later or tomorrow, depending how quickly this coat dries.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Let us Spray

The Gorse Fox has loaded the paint spray gun and laid down the first primer/undercoat. It is clear that there is a skill to this. A skill that the Gorse Fox has yet to acquire.

He was smart enough to switch to his old glasses so that if they got misted it wouldn't matter - he was also careful enough to get a face mask to protect him from airborne spray. He even created a protective tent by hanging dust sheets from the garage door runners creating a cocoon round the cabinet. All very clever, but when it cam to actually laying down the paint it has proved a bit challenging and blotchy so far. He had always planned for several coats so is not too concerned as yet... but of course there's a delay whilst each coat dries.

The Gorse Fox has made use of the delay to have some lunch and to book a restaurant for a Starfleet and customers VMUG Old Gits get together. Hopefully we should be able to get a quorum on the date selected and have a good old chin-wag.


Note to the Gorse Fox - when ordering from Mr Amazon, do check the quantities. The Gorse Fox wanted two magnetic catches... and looked them up on the aforementioned website. Catch was found, and quantity changed to 2.

A package was delivered. It seemed heavy. The Gorse Fox opened the package to find the two packets contains the magnetic catches... along with eleven further catches in each package. The Gorse Fox failed to notice that the packets contained 12 catches each. Doh!

Thursday, April 06, 2017


The whole day has been spent in the garage. The doors for the cabinet were finished and mounted. The knobs were fitted and the drawer fronts were cut to size and fitted. The Gorse Fox then went berserk with the sander and prepared all the surfaces for painting.

The rest of the time has been spent clearing up and vacuuming the sawdust from every surface. That took significantly longer than the Gorse Fox would have liked, but at least it's done and the room is relatively dust free. He suspects that there may be a requirement to go round with the vacuum again in the morning before he sets to work on the paint.

The plan is to use the spray gun that the nice Mr Amazon is meant to be delivering today. A couple of coats of primer/undercoat with appropriate sanding in between should provide a good background for the planned chalk paint to key into.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017


It was a chilly start to the day and Jasper had the Gorse Fox up and about before 06:30. Chilly it may have been, but it was crystal clear and as the sun took hold the temperatures rose and it remained cloudless most of the day.

Wednesday means football so the Gorse Fox headed across to Worthing for his usual game. Today he was playing for the yellows... and lost. He covered a lot of ground as the team were hampered by two players who are less mobile than most. The trouble is that his usual accurate passing had evaporated. He could not have hit a barn door from 10 yards. (Fortunately, there were no barn doors on the pitch). He defended well, but made little contribution to the team's attack. The Gorse Fox thinks the final score was 6-3 but may have missed a goal or two on one side or t'other.

Back home he sat down with the Silver Vixen for a bite of lunch then headed to Screwfix for some water based primer/undercoat and a rebate bit for the router. The rebate bit was used for the doors of the new cabinet and made a fine job of creating the rebate. A 6mm sheet of MDF was cut to size the corners rounded to fit the corners of the rebate (the Blessed Norm Abram tends to square off the corners of the rebate and use square panel, but the gorse Fox allowed pragmatism to overcome technique in this case). Glued and pinned it was soon in place and the Gorse Fox moved on to the second door. Similarly it was soon ready and the Gorse Fox cut the raised panels that would adorn the "fields" in the doors. A healthy coat of glue and some block to hold them in the right position and they were soon weighted down and left to cure. Nothing else could be done today - though there's some final fitting and sanding on the agenda for tomorrow.

You may observe there have been no staged photos of the cabinet as the Gorse Fox has progressed. This is because it looks rather naff at present and won't really come together for a decent shot until painted.

The Gorse Fox has been giving the final finish a lot of thought. He has decided that the only way he is likely to finish that matches the existing units is to use a spray gun. Several hours were spent reviewing spray gun techniques on YouTube and our friend Mr Amazon was pressed into service to deliver an electric spray gun tomorrow. Not much else can be done today... so it's time to take a glass of wine out on to the deck and soak up some rays. (Retirement can be such a chore).

Tuesday, April 04, 2017


Progress has continued and now the Gorse Fox has finished building the door rails and stile and constructing the main frame of each door. They now sit in the garage, clamped and waiting for the glue to set up. The interior panels for each door still need to be cut and fitted.

The Gorse Fox has also tried out the paint that the Silver Vixen had recommended. That has been tried out on some of the plywood and some of the strip wood. Let's see how the paint dries and whether it will be suitable for the finished unit (and whether it may need a primer coat - even though the instructions claim none is required).


Normally, being Tuesday morning, the Gorse Fox would be playing football. He has benched himself.

Having got the last components for the kitchen cabinet, however, he wants to crack on with that. So it is that he has spent the morning making and fitting the mouldings for the plinth. That done he's stopped for a coffee whilst preparing to start on making the doors.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Gentle Progress

Monday started with a trip. The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed across to Portsmouth, this was where the nearest Homebase was, which had the hinges in stock that Gorse Fox needed for the cabinet. We took the opportunity whilst there, to look in Babies R Us for the car seat fitting required for the baby's "travel system" - but they didn't have it. They were able, however, to show that it wasn't needed for occasional use and the particular seat that Urban Cub has can be fitted in the car as it is. That was good news as it took the pressure off for now.

Back home the Gorse Fox went back into the garage. A bit of sanding first, then some edging was cut for one of the shelves. Finally, the plinth was cut and fitted then the blemishes left by the nailer were filled. That was it for today - but progress was satisfactory. The Gorse Fox spent some time clearing up so that he has less clutter as he moves around in there. The pile of sawdust is becoming quite impressive.

There was still the problem of the moulding that crowns the plinth. The Gorse Fox returned to B&Q. They clearly didn't have one that matched, but sometimes these moulding can be created by matching up two mouldings that resemble different aspects of the finished item. No such luck. The Gorse Fox concluded he would have to try and form the moulding himself, so selected some suitable wood and some router bits that should (might) enable him to create the exact shape he's trying to copy. That's and exercise for another day, however.

Sunday, April 02, 2017


Sunday morning, so it must be football. The Gorse Fox joined up with the "lads" and we split into our usual yellows and oranges - the Gorse Fox being an orange for the day. By half time we were 4-1 down and needed a bit of a re-org for the second half. A few people were repositioned and slowly we fought back. By the end, we were 6-5 ahead. It had been a good game, though a bit busy with 7-a-side.

The Gorse Fox headed home, dropped his kit and collected the Silver Vixen, heading straight back out. We were meeting with J&T at The Gribble Inn for lunch. Though they were busy we managed to get a parking spot and our reserved table was ready for us as we arrived. Lunch was excellent as usual - everyone, except the Gorse Fox, had the roast dinner (beef or lamb) - the Gorse Fox went for the very excellent Gribble burger.

From The Gribble, we all headed across to see Urban-Cub, Pistol Pete, and baby Ellie. It was clearly time she met her great Aunt!

We spent a lovely couple of hours with them, though Ellie managed to sleep through the whole event, only waking long enough to say goodbye as we left.

It was good to hear that Urban-Cub had managed to have a video chat with Cousteau-Cub earlier. It's a shame, however, that Ellie still isn't talking and able to chat with her Aunt in Thailand.

Saturday, April 01, 2017


The weather was forecast to be showery. The forecast was wrong. It was really quite a lovely day. The Gorse Fox made the most of a clear schedule and disappeared into the garage. It had been a couple off weeks since he last did any work on the new unit for the family room.

He started by filling in some of the blemishes in the surface (caused by the nailer), then while that was setting up, he returned to the laptop to search for the hinges that he would need. Eventually he found a set in the Homebase website. Nothing goes smoothy, however, and there was only one pair at the local store. The nearest store with two set was in Portsmouth and the Gorse Fox didn't fancy going there on a Saturday morning. That could wait. The Gorse Fox did, however, manage to find the correct door knobs from Screwfix. By now, the filler had set up and the Gorse Fox was able to go and start sanding the unit. Once that was done the Gorse Fox used the band saw to rip the moulding to the correct width and formed the moulding round the top of the unit. Once fitted, there was a bit more filling to do and then the Gorse Fox was done for the day. There wasn't't a great deal more that could be done without the hinges... or without a significant clear up in the garage (and that can wait!)

We popped round to see Urban Cub, Pistol Pete, and baby Ellie during the afternoon. It is clear that they are all very relaxed and beginning to drop into a routine. This makes things a lot easier for them and there is an air of contentment in the home. Even Scrumpy, the dog, is settled and sees it as his job to protect the new addition to the family.

Friday, March 31, 2017


Friday has been fairly quiet - but filled with conversations. Though a bit grey this morning, it has turned into a gorgeous afternoon. The phone has been a constants companion throughout the morning and has kept the Silver Vixen fully occupied. Meanwhile the Gorse Fox has managed to have an online chat with Cousteau-cub and has caught up with the gossip from Thailand.

One of the NAS devices has gone into "scanning" mode. This is when it rattles (and the Gorse Fox does mean rattles) through the contents of the disk categorising the files and preparing for its media serving functions. This is immensely irritating as it rattles away for days and interferes with the harmonious running of the systems. The trouble is, the Gorse Fox fears he instigated this accidentally yesterday by trying to access some photos on the NAS from one of the TVs downstairs.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


The Sonning Crew arrived... corks were popped and sparkling wine flowed freely. We had to celebrate the arrival of baby Ellie with the neighbours after all! The Gorse Fox had set up the TV so that it could display photos of our new granddaughter - it is, after all, easier than passing round a mobile phone.

As more corks began to pop, and the nibbles started to vanish, the list was made and the local Chinese Takeaway was called. Forty minutes later, with the exchange of some monetary instruments, the various dishes started to emerge from the delivery box. It's always good value for money and though we all ate well, there was plenty left. Throughout the meal further bubbles were released and at the end we enjoyed a flaming Sambuca... that was when the "Kraken" dark rum was released. The general consensus seemed to support the contention that the Kraken is a very smooth and delicious way to end the evening. Just to be sure, however, we did have a second glass - to check you understand.

Lovely evening with really good friends.


The Gorse Fox promises that this blog will not become a minute-by-minute history of Ellie. Over the years he has found that listening the grandparents discuss their grandkids becomes excruciatingly boring after a few minutes.

He makes no excuse for mentioning her today as, once the morning admin was done, the Ocado delivery stacked away, and neighbours alerted that there would be bubbles later... the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox popped across to LA to see Urban-Cub, Pistol Pete, and baby Ellie.

Clearly they were settling in, but still had to develop a regime that suited them. Ellie waking throughout the night did not fit plan - and involved a degree of tag-teaming last night.

We only stopped in for an hour. (There is nothing worse than smothering visits when you are just trying to adapt). We allowed ourselves one hour - time for a cup of tea - and then left. We had had our fix and could see that whilst they were coping well, they were clearly tired. Doting was complete for the day.

This evening we have the Sonning Crew coming round for some bubbles and a take-away. It somehow seems appropriate! (Not that we really need an excuse).

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pecking Order

It was a long wait, being early afternoon before Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete were released from St Richard's and allowed to go home with Ellie.

We had a chat with Cousteau-Cub, who was very excited by the arrival of her niece. She had been talking to Pistol Pete and, at that time, was more up to date than we were. She had managed to find some champagne on the Island and celebrated in a way befitting her new "aunthood".

We did get the chance to meet with Ellie, Urban-Cub, and Pistol Pete yesterday afternoon.

The proud parents were very tired after the long and eventful night... but Ellie slept through most of our visit. She did wake, however, when the Silver Vixen held her. She clearly knew that Nana was someone to take note of. The Gorse Fox also had some quiet time with her and a chance to become best friends.

The Gorse Fox has had to explain to Jasper the cat that he has dropped down the pecking order. The arrival of baby Ellie brings a new dimension to our lives and pushes Jasper down the ladder of importance. He was not amused.

Family Additions

The phone rang. It was the middle of the night. In fact it was about 02:40-ish. Heart was pounding as the Gorse Fox removed his nails from the bedroom ceiling and lowered himself back onto the bed. The Silver Vixen answered. It was Pistol Pete phoning to tell us that Urban-Cub had just presented us with a granddaughter - Ellie. She was born at 02:29 and judging by the background noise, had a good set of lungs on her. Mother and daughter are doing well and should be released by lunchtime.

We went back to sleep with smiles firmly fixed on our faces. Since getting up we have spent much of the morning going through the list of people who asked to be informed... and now we await the opportunity to meet the new member of the family.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


We had a lovely evening with old friends. It was so nice to catch up after some 30 years or so. In the old days, when we first married, we used to see them fairly often and they came to stay with us. Then they moved away and we haven't seen them since.

The evening was filled with tales, news, and laughter. Possible the most troubling memory was that of a visit when they stayed with us in Hoddesdon. Apparently, because the Gorse Fox doesn't recall the incident, we were doing some painting and as the Gorse Fox didn't like doing the window frames, our old friend stepped in to help. Worried that he would spill something on his clothes, he stripped down to his underwear to help with the painting. (Clearly the Gorse Fox was so traumatised by this, he had wiped it from his memory - the problem is that now it has been resurrected he is worried he will never clear that image from his mind).

Still twiddling

Urban-Cub got some sleep overnight, but "lump" is still firmly clinging on. The Gorse Fox recommended that she took it easy if heading out for a morning jog, and to skip any weight-lifting today. (As always Gorse Fox demonstrates what a supportive Dad he can be).

The morning was filled with football today. The Gorse Fox felt a little slow and his passes were a little erratic, but at the end of session he was congratulated several times by people commenting what a good game he had played. He certainly managed a number of telling interceptions and also a number of long passes that were turned into the goal.

We're having a quiet afternoon - but expecting the Silver Vixen's cousin and husband to visit later. It should be fun because it is many years since we have met and we have arranged to go and have dinner at a local hostelry.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Thumb twiddling

The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen are distracted. Urban-Cub went into the Maternity ward at Chichester this morning. The plan is to induce labour - but that, of course, isn't an instantaneous process, so whilst everything is on track we are all still waiting for kick-off.

Meanwhile the Gorse Fox's sister can't stand the tension so has disappeared off to Spain for a few days (at least that is the assumed reason for the trip).

Covers are off. As the clocks have gone forward and the weather has been glorious (if a little chilly) today we decided it was time to take the covers off of the garden furniture. (Talk about living life on the edge). It took a while to clip all of the cable ties and release the covers but then it took even longer to try and fold these back up. The Gorse Fox had, optimistically, kept the pouches in which the cover had been sold. One look told the Gorse Fox that was a pointless exercise. Covers now folded and stowed in the garden store.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Changing Clocks

A night in the hotel - no Jasper to leap on us in the morning and no hurry to be anywhere specific. This was the recipe for a very leisurely morning. We pottered down to breakfast and found a quiet table in the corner before tucking into the buffet. Somehow the Gorse Fox felt it would be wrong not to make the most of it and enjoyed a huge "full English".

We left Brentwood late morning and headed South. Again the road were very benign (in our direction) and we had a very quick run - at least as far as Angmering where we were delayed 20 minutes trying to join the A259. We stopped off at Urban Cub's where we were expected for Mother's Day lunch. We had a lovely afternoon and the Silver Vixen got some nice little mementos. We also managed to get a long chat with Cousteau-Cub thanks to the magic of Viber.

Late afternoon we bid our goodbyes and wished Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete good luck for tomorrow. Next time we see them there should be a new addition to the family.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Speed Limit

The Gorse Fox's cousin has reached the national speed limit. This was a landmark birthday worth a celebration. So it was that the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen found themselves heading round to the bandit country of Essex on this Saturday morning.

The traffic was extraordinarily benign and the journey took less than two hours. We left the car at the hotel and met with Gorse Fox's sister and brother-in-law then headed round to Mason's Restaurant. Family had gathered from Devon, from Wales, Sussex, Berkshire and even Australia... Let's just hope we had the day right!

We had a lovely lunch, lubricated with some fine wines, and awash with great conversation and cheer. It really was a very good celebration, as was befitting such an elderly and respected cousin. (At this point the Gorse Fox ducks, half expecting her to sneak up behind him and cuff him for being cheeky).

When the meal was over we reconvened back at her house. The chat continued through the afternoon and into the evening. There was a cake, baked by the granddaughter, beautifully decorated and topped with what can only be described as a Roman candle. There was an evening buffet and there were several rounds of a game called Linkee. (Meanwhile the family dog was rushed to the vet, have eaten a load of fruitcake - several hundred pounds later emetics administered the dog was back, safe and sound). Linkee filled a couple of hours with fun and some tension as it became clear that granddaughter plays to win - at all costs. No prisoners are left alive.

Back at the hotel we were allocated our room - which after a cursory check, we rejected. It was clearly made up for 4 people and stank of stale smoke. A quick trip to reception rectified this and we were transferred to a huge room on the top floor.

Friday, March 24, 2017


The acronym TGIF always seemed so appropriate. It spawned the the TGI Friday's restaurant chain... and the Gorse Fox recently found a diary entry from a trip to Austin in 1990 when he first tried out the newly expanding chain. He digresses. He was thinking of what to write today and TGIF crossed his mind - then it occurred to him that TGINW is more appropriate. Being retired he can now wake up every day (not just Friday) and say Thank God its Not a Workday.

It's been a lazy day - a few cups of coffee, quick trip to the shops, a chat with the GF's tiny sister (who has also retired, now), and some web browsing. He has also had to make some decisions. What time should we leave home to meet with his very, very elderly cousin for her birthday lunch? Which rout would be best? Must say, retirement is so full of stress!

Thursday, March 23, 2017


The Gorse Fox received a notification that, having reached the age of 65, he was eligible to be screened for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Today was the day.

We wandered along to the local hospital and identified himself to reception and settled down in the waiting room. Clearly the staff were no too busy and had a somewhat flexible view of time. The Gorse Fox was in no hurry so it didn't bother him. Eventually he was called in and settled in the chair to answer the preliminary questions...

Any history of aneurysms in the family?
Have you ever smoked?

The Gorse Fox was able to answer both in the negative... then had the option whether or not to identify his ethnicity. He agreed.

"Shall I put you down a white, British, native English speaker?" asked the nurse.

"Mais Oui" he replied. She looked up, confused. Then she saw the smile on his face and burst out laughing.

Paperwork complete the ultrasound scan began. Five minutes later it was done. The Gorse Fox was give a clean bill. No sign of AAA... and healthy looking aorta with a cross section of 2cm.


The Gorse Fox tends to do his admin on Thursday mornings. This morning he detected an unknown transaction in one bank account. Someone had deposited a small amount of money into our account... thirty-odd quid - not a lot, but unexpected. Frustratingly he can find no further details of its origin and why it has hit the account. Now, do not misunderstand - if people wish to deposit funds into our accounts, we are just fine with that - but please help by identifying why it was deposited and by whom.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


News is breaking of a dreadful incident at Westminster today. It appears that an SUV has ploughed into a number of pedestrians crossing Westminster Bridge, and then smashed into the gates of Parliament. An attacker has then knifed a police officer and been shot dead.

This is not the sort of thing that the Gorse Fox would normally comment on, but in these troubled and divisive times he feels it important to stress his admiration and support for the police officers who protect us and our democracy. When everyone else runs for cover they run to confront the threat. God Bless Them and their families.


The artwork that arrived on Sunday needed to be mounted. The question was how? Being a triptych, all three units need to be equidistant, central to the wall and exactly the same height. The height might have been a challenge - each had strings from which to hang, but the tensions were different and they were fixed at slightly different relative positions on the frames. The Gorse Fox concluded that a variation of the French cleat was required.

A 2.4m baton was marked up with the relative position of the paintings and levelled, and fixed to the wall. It was then removed and cut to size such that each part fitted invisibly behind the painting.

A "lip" was fixed to each baton and they were screwed back onto the wall - in the knowledge that they were all exactly lined up, and perfectly horizontal.
A "lip" was then attached to the back of each of the frames. Then each painting was just lifted into place and dropped down so that the lips locked. Voila - paintings hung.

The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen are very pleased with the outcome.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Up for the Cup

The Silver Vixen's plans changed - she had been due to go to a workshop, but the leader was unwell so the event was cancelled. Instead, Silver Vixen headed off to meet with her usual coven for a day of spells and comparing their broomsticks.

The Gorse Fox had a football tournament against a local team. We were short of players, so were limited to two teams of 5-a-side whilst they were able to field three teams with substitutes. We had beaten them before but they were out for revenge. It was going to be a hard set of games. Arun Amblers did well - our yellow team lost their first game, but then drew the other two games. The Amblers orange team won all three of their games 4-1, 4-2, and 2-1. The Gorse Fox was pleased to have scored 4 of these goals - though it had been fairly intense.

At the end we showered and all met for tea and biscuits and Amblers were present with the  huge "Allstars Amblers Cup", shown in the picture to the left.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Old Friends - again

Today, the Gorse Fox met up with an old friend. We had been at college doing our A-levels last time we met. When we were there (46 years ago) we had been close friends and shared most of our lectures, most of our secrets, most of our concerts, and most of our pub crawls. They were interesting times! We had also played in the same football teams (and even had a trophy for our 5-a-side team's success).

We met up at the RHS gardens at Wisley. The weather was wet and windy, so we spent most of the time in the conservatory, the coffee shop, or the restaurant with only an occasional sortie into the grounds. That didn't really matter - the primary reason was to catch up on old times and old friends.

It was great fun and made the Gorse Fox realise how lucky he had been with his choices over the years. He had maintained full employment from the day he left college until the day he retired - with no breaks. His old friend had spent five more years getting his degree, his Masters, and his PhD, but had ended up swapping from job to job and spending several periods where he was unemployed. He is, however, moderately fit and healthy - and has a happy and stable family. It was fun catching up... and we have resolved to meet up again.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Sunday started with its usual football match. We managed to get 5-a-side and the Gorse Fox was playing in yellow. The game started slowly and by half time we were 4-2 down to the oranges. In the second half we started to claw things back and the game finished off 6-6. All was square and it had been a good game.

Back home the Silver Vixen was preparing lunch as Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete were due to join us. She has about a week to run and is finding the pregnancy increasingly uncomfortable. She's about the size of airship - let's just hope it's not all gas!

Mid afternoon, Annabelle arrived from the Galleries in Chichester. She had brought the triptych with her so that we could see it in situ. It didn't take more than a few nanoseconds to decide that it looked just right and we went ahead and completed the purchase. The Gorse Fox just has to hang it now, but that will have to wait for today.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Run at It

After a leisurely start the Gorse Fox managed to take a bit of a run at it. He headed out to the garage and continued to work on the cabinet. The second side was glued and pinned, the face frame attached, and the top was installed, glued and pinned. The unit is finally coming together. A quick trip to B&Q saw the acquisition of some mouldings and strip wood with which to edge the frame. Some careful cutting, a little glue and more pins - that was soon done. The drawer runners are installed and the rabbets that will allow the drawers to slide are cut.

There is still a fair way to go - drawer fronts, doors, and plinth mouldings - but progress is satisfactory.

The Silver Vixen's cousin, Rick Wakeman, his wife and mother, are due to visit this afternoon, so the Gorse Fox has stopped for now and cleaned himself up.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pfffft - again

The day started early. Jasper was roaming around on the bed by 6 am. This was not popular and by 06:15 the Gorse Fox had reached a level of consciousness that demanded he got up. He consoled himself with the though that at least he didn't have to catch a train or drive to some remote office somewhere.

Coffee was taken.

More coffee and breakfast was taken.

Once the hour had become sensible, the Gorse Fox headed out into the garage. An idea had formed. As the garage has to house the car (most of the time) he doesn't have room for a workbench. When working in the garage - the car sits in the driveway and the Gorse Fox relies on an old Black & Decker Workmate and a couple of saw horse trestles. That's it. Now, it dawned on him that he still has some spare decking boards... and carefully measured they could be formed into a worktop which could sit on the trestles. The measuring tape selected the right lengths, the circular saw removed the excess and the new nailer fired nails into the boards that had been selected to brace the worktop. In no time this idea had been turned into a credible (if slightly uneven) workbench. The Gorse Fox will probably finish this off with some hardboard to give it a smooth surface - but it's serviceable even now.

The new workbench was used immediately as the Gorse Fox started the assembly of the kitchen cabinet he's been working on. Shelves were glued into the left hand side and nailed with the nailer. Everything was squared up and clamped and held in place with a temporary back board. Now the Gorse Fox will wait until tomorrow - when the glue will have cured - before mounting the right hand side and the top.

After lunch there was a brief trip into Chichester for some shopping. The wind had changed by the time we left and it was getting a bit chilly - as forecast. The Gorse Fox has prepared a nice, comforting stew for this evening. It seems appropriate to counter the change in the weather.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Old Friends

The Gorse Fox had a chance to set up his new compressed air nailer and try it out. He's very impressed with the power and performance. He's less impressed, however, with the batch of 5000 nails he ordered separately - they are (apparently) the right spec - 35mm, 18 gauge, F-type collated nails - but they don't actually fit the nailer. Drat! The Gorse Fox went along to screw fix with the nailer in hand. He asked the operative for several sizes of nails and tried each of them in the gun. These all fitted... so he paid his money and walked away clutching the boxes of refills.

At lunchtime we headed off to Bosham. Old friends were in the area. Cathy used to work at Starfleet with the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox and we only get to see her and husband Roy every now and again. We strolled along the quay and enjoyed catching up with the latest news as we approached Anchor Bleu. Cathy has been retired now for a couple of years and is thoroughly enjoying it, and Roy has recently retired also.

We wandered in to Anchor Bleu. We had eaten there before and were happy to find a spare table and settle done for lunch.  The Gorse Fox chose the fish and chips, the Silver Vixen had scampi. As before, the food was superb. Simple, but excellent.

Time whizzed by, and before we knew it it was time to return to the cars. By this time the whole quay was well under water as the tide had come in. Bosham Quay is famous for people parking on the quay, and then returning to find their car under water. We weren't so stupid, having parked in the proper car park - well clear of the waters.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


The process of switching energy supplier is now reaching its conclusion - the Gorse Fox has today been asked for a set of meter readings from the new supplier. These will be used as closing reading for the old provider and opening readings for the new (according to a letter received last week).

Beautiful weather today. Wall to wall blue sky and temperatures about 16C. It felt a lot warmer than that in the sun, playing football. We had a good game today with 6 vs 7... and the odd player switching sides at half time. The Gorse Fox played in yellow, and at half time we were 1-0 up... but then lost the extra man. As the second half began, the oranges scored to even things up. But, as they say, it's not over until the fat lady sings. After some fairly intense defending yellow-Keith received the ball on the right wing. The Gorse Fox broke through the middle to give him a target for a cross. The ball came over, the Gorse Fox shot and it was parried by the 'keeper. The Gorse Fox was first to the rebound and curled the ball round and into the goal. Final score remained 2-1, and the Gorse Fox was pleased with his performance.

Back home a box of spare 35mm collated nails has arrived and also some dowel centre points. The gorse Fox is eager to get back out into the garage.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Prodigal returns

There was football this morning. Krakatoa Jack has served his sentence and was back in the fold today. It was a little tense at first but the Gorse Fox had a quiet word with KJ and another with Ref the Argonaut and in the end they kissed and made up. The football itself wasn't't too special - six games where the Gorse Fox payed adequately but not well. Despite this we won 4 games and lost only two.

Back home we awaited delivery of the compressed air nailer, which turned up mid-afternoon, and the man to retrofit a part on the gas fire, who turned up late in the afternoon. The nailer looks like a nice bit of kit, but will have to wait for the Gorse Fox to have time to set it up and try it out. That's likely to be Friday. As for the gas fire - that took the fitter about 10 minutes to retrofit the part, test it, take photos, clean up and leave.

Meeting of Arun Amblers, to discuss the new Walking Football rules from the FA, is scheduled for this evening. At least it's at the football arena rather than the rather grotty club where we usually hold such events.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Plan B

Well 'Plan A' had us heading across to Salisbury to have lunch with Mrs Tiggywinkle and Badger. Unfortunately, Mrs Tiggywinkle phoned to say she wasn't well so we have agreed to postpone for now.

We came up with 'Plan B'. As we were going to have gone out for lunch - why not do it anyway? So it was that we pottered in to Chichester and had a wander around - then reviewed menus of various eateries until we came to The Chantry in South Street. Urban-Cub had recommended it in the past, so we thought we'd give it a try. It was a fairly typical diner-style menu - lots of burgers, a few steaks, some pies, some pizzas, some grills and so forth. Not exactly 'fine dining' but certainly plenty to choose from - and something for everyone. We had a light lunch of southern fried chicken in a ciabatta with salad, some sweet potato fries, and a coffee. Good quality grub, nice staff, and very good value for money. Certainly worth a return trip.

On a separate note - the Council Tax bill has arrived for the upcoming year. The Gorse Fox was pleased to see that it hasn't gone up by very much - in fact by far less than he had budgeted. These things tend to be swings and roundabouts, though. He's in the middle of changing energy suppliers - which should save about £10 per month compared with last year (though that bill was about to increase)... and as he put that in motion, he got a new estimate for the management of waste water(**) - and that has eaten up virtually all those savings.

(**) We get our water supply from Portsmouth Water, but our waste water is handled by Southern Water.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

And that's four

The Gorse Fox had his usual Sunday morning football. It was much better this week with a simple, uncrowded 5-a-side. The sides looked moderately well balanced to start with, but as the game progressed it was clear that the "yellows" were beginning to walk away with it. Fortunately, the Gorse Fox was playing in yellow and anchoring the defence. Despite his defensive role, he still managed to score 4 goals - 2 with each foot. Very satisfying but, in the end, one-sided with a final score of 16-3.


The Gorse Fox has succumbed to a long held desire.

He's just ordered a (compressed air) nail gun.

Reviewing what he has to do, he has determined such a tool will make the assembly so much easier. Why not use a hammer you may ask...? The issue is that when trying to hold something square and pin it with a hammer and nail, the hammer continually disturbs (tries to dislodge) the components (and its a two-handed operation). A nail gun, however, fires a nail in a single explosive shot, without dislodging anything.

There are some very expensive options available. The Gorse Fox went for an entry-level device and compressor as it's a tool that will only be used occasionally.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


Drawers are now assembled. Again the Gorse Fox has to wait until the glue sets up before routing the slots for the runners. (You might have assumed that would be done before assembly, but the Gorse Fox is trying to mimic the exact construction of the existing dresser, and that means the slots need to be done after construction).

That's all for today. The Gorse Fox is trying to take his time to ensure that the finished article is A-ok.


The Gorse Fox seems to remember the words of the great philosopher, Huey Lewis, "It's hip to be square". So it was that this morning was been spent trying to get the carcase to come together properly. At one stage the back was square - 110mm on each diagonal - but the front was way out and the top didn't fit.

The back was removed and carcase disassembled. Now it's been re-assembled and the front is perfectly square - and this time, the top fits perfectly. However, this is all dry-fit - no glue nor mechanical fixings - just friction and clamps. The Gorse Fox now has to decide how to move forward without messing it up.

It's clear he's really out of practise.

Friday, March 10, 2017


The blessed Norm Abram* (Praise be Upon Him) often says that you can't have too many clamps. The Gorse Fox, despite his huge collection, has just run out of clamps. He has had to stop until the glue sets up on various components. Only then can he free up clamps to start carcase assembly.

*If you have never seen The New Yankee Workshop and have any interest in carpentry then you are missing a treat. Track it down and watch every episode. You will learn from a master.


Progress is a lot slower today. The Gorse Fox needs to think about the sequence very carefully. The last thing he would want is to have to undo something because he has the build sequence wrong. The other problem at the moment is ensuring the carcase is square as it gets assembled...

Thursday, March 09, 2017


The weather was lovely today. The Gorse Fox spent the day in the garage - there was furniture to build. He got started by stripping down some of the wood to the right width using his band saw. This is the first time he's used it since moving from Foxearth - and whilst many of the other woodworking tools were sold, the Gorse Fox hung on to this. It's such a useful device.

By lunchtime the Gorse Fox had all of the main components cut to size. He was pleased with progress - everything cut and no mistakes!
After lunch the Gorse Fox started with the marking up for routing.

It didn't take too long, but unfortunately the penultimate cut went wrong. The router bit started to chatter and slipped such that it started digging deeper into the wood until it went right through to the other side. Blast!

The Gorse Fox looked at the damage and had a think. A quick bit of redesign solved the problem but it meant the back would be butted on rather than slotted in.

Redesign worked and the Gorse Fox dry-fitted the main components (all upside down for now). He's pleased with the results for day one.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Under the Sheets

The Gorse Fox was greeted with heavy rain this morning. Football was going to be rather wet. Never mind - at least he had time to have a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and chorizo and didn't have to go to work!

As it turned out, the rain stopped soon after we started our game so it wasn't too bad. It was a close run thing with a final score of 2-2. Again the Gorse Fox managed to get on the score sheet. It's been a good week (made even better by yesterday's result in the Arsenal-Bayern Munich game of 1-5 ending in an aggregate score of 10-2 to Bayern - not that there's any gloating coming from this contributor, nope, none at all).

As he was driving home, the Gorse Fox's phone rang  (hands free, of course). "Hello, it's Matt from Hendy Ford. Just thought I'd check if you've made up your mind about changing?" The Gorse Fox sighed. "As I remember it, Matt, you were going to get back to me with a list of possible models that met my spec, and were available before the change in road tax." There was silence. Then a clatter of keys at the keyboard "I'm just confirming what is available, now". Clatter, clatter, pause. "Ahh, there we go. We don't seem to have any available. I'll look for order cancellations..." pause, clatter, "Err, no". The Gorse Fox put him out of his misery. "Forget it, I'm not interested. My car has only done 8,000 miles and is pristine. Why would I bother." and with that we ended the call. (The Gorse Fox thinks that, at best, he could only award D+ for effort, though B+ for cheek).

Back home the Gorse Fox checked his lists and headed off to Screwfix and B&Q - there were several components he still needed for the upcoming project: 9mm router bit, 8mm dowels, size 0 beech biscuits, 2 x 6mm sheet of MDF, 2 x 9 mm sheet of MDF, and some PAR whitewood. Tomorrow should see delivery of the cabinet grade plywood and then the Gorse Fox can get started.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Run around

Lovely start to the day. Dry, mild, and bright. This looked like a perfect day for the football.

There was a good turnout and we had 4 teams of seven. The Gorse Fox was playing for "blues". A shaky start almost saw us conceding in the first minutes... but an immediate counter-attack saw us get the first goal. From then on we dominated in the first and second game. The Gorse Fox was pleased with his contribution - a surge from the back straight through the middle onto a loose ball and a very pleasing goal.

We lost the last game 1-0 but given the strength of the "yellows" we were pretty pleased it was only 1.

In the second hour it was a smaller 5-a-side competition with just the two teams. Again, we won the first two games - and agin the Gorse Fox scored... but again we lost the last game. It was hard work today, but good to get some exercise.

Monday, March 06, 2017


The Silver Vixen was out for the day at Standen House. This left the Gorse Fox and Jasper alone for the day. We debated what to do and Jasper suggested that the Gorse Fox got on with the furniture project that he was designing over the weekend.

So it was that most of the boring was spent building a spreadsheet with all of the components and their dimensions, and then a sheet cutting-sheet showing how a large sheet should be cut down, optimally, to provide all of the sub-components. (This used to be something the Gorse Fox would use Visio for, but no longer having a license he had to resort to Omnigraffle. This proved adequate but there is clearly a longer and steeper learning curve than Gorse Fox had reckoned with).

The afternoon was spent shuttling between possible suppliers. Travis Perkins has some adequate plywood, but don't provide a cutting service; B&Q provide a cutting service, but the quality of the plywood was very poor. Eventually, the Gorse Fox found himself at Covers in Chichester. There they had some lovely hardwood ply and provided a cutting service. They were a little pricey, but the quality was excellent and they were able to deliver.

There is still a short shopping list of required components, but they can be sourced from B&Q. The Gorse Fox is looking forward to getting started.

Sunday, March 05, 2017


There were fourteen of us at football this morning. Seven-a-side is really too crowded for the small cages in which we pay. This means that the game becomes more like pinball than football. It's good to see so many players, but it does take the gloss off the game slightly.

Back home the Gorse Fox had to get out the saw. There was a large offset from the old kitchen surfaces and Urban-Cub wanted part of it for a new worktop in her utility room. It didn't take too long and we were soon heading over to LA to have lunch with her and Pistol Pete. We had a lovely lunch and relaxing afternoon. Urban Cub only has about 4 weeks to go and is about the size of an airship at present. It will soon been a problem as her arms won't be long enough to allow her to sit at a table and reach the plate.

Saturday, March 04, 2017


The Silver Vixen wants a new dresser for the kitchen/family room. This is fine, in essence. We had taken a lot of time selecting the kitchen furniture and we like the simplicity of the New England style. The problem we have, however, is that the supplier has gone into liquidation. Wandering through the internet the Gorse Fox found nothing that really matched.

The Gorse Fox switched from hunter to gatherer. He took photos, he measured dimensions, and came up with a mental image of what we needed. A new version of Sketchup was downloaded (for 2017). Then the Gorse Fox set to work creating the exploded design diagram that will allow him to build the unit himself. This is the stage he finds very satisfying. This is the stage that leaves no mess. This is the stage that is still full of hope and good intentions.

Friday, March 03, 2017


There was a lot of heavy rain over night but it eased and stopped as the morning went on. We had a quiet start. The Gorse Fox spent some time looking to see if there were any savings accounts that would provide a better return than those currently in use. He didn't come to a conclusion as he became distracted by several other options which deserved research. It would appear that there is a Nigerian Prince who just needs our bank account details so that he can release some of the twenty million dollars he has tied up in a Swiss account and appears willing to share this windfall with us. But then the Gorse Fox asked himself, "What would you do with all that money?" and decided it probably would not bring happiness**

We took a drive across to the Hillier Garden Centre. We had a fairly significant voucher that would expire in a few weeks and it was time to see what we might purchase. Despite a long review and various discussions - there was nothing that we we needed. We had a coffee and then went and chatted to the manager. After a short call to HQ he managed to arrange for the soon-to-expire voucher to be commuted into a gift card, This in turn is valid for a further two years. Major result!

** Do not, under any circumstances believe that this crossed his consciousness for even a pica-second. Also, the Gorse Fox is not a trained Financial Advisor and this blog should not be thought of as an investment guide. The Gorse Fox has no personal relationship with said Nigerian Prince (but he writes a nice email).

Thursday, March 02, 2017


If it's Thursday it must be admin.

So it was that the Gorse Fox finished his breakfast and headed up to the study. There was a review of the energy suppliers and confirmation that the changes of supplier was under way. We have decided to move from one of the big suppliers to Bristol Energy. It looks as if this should save about £10 a month - not a lot, but worth doing.

The Gorse Fox did manage to have an online chat with Cousteau-Cub. It was nice to catch up and to hear that the Coventry Hobbit is finally back to his normal self after a few weeks of illness.

Most of the rest of the day was spent wandering through the branches of the family tree and extending the citations and sources for the information  already on file. Through 'Ancestry' you do get the chance to see parts of other people's trees (assuming they have permitted access). What this shows the Gorse Fox is that many researchers are not rigorous enough in their work. Time and again he finds leaves of family trees that appear to overlap our - then on investigation it becomes clear that these are, at best, speculative, at worst - just guesses. The Gorse Fox is very careful that he can source all of the information in his tree - birth, marriage, and death certificates (or at least the index entries), census entires, electoral roll, Kelly's directories, probate records, baptismal registers, military records, and so forth.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Brave Little Soldier

The Gorse Fox, despite the tail-end of his man flu, was a brave little soldier. He headed out for today's football. The centre had asked for as many of us as possible to turn up so that there would be plenty going on for the TV cameras. As it worked out, there was a small army of 35 players split into 5 groups and rotating round the pitches. Two games being played at a time and one team practising ball skills. It was great fun and the Gorse Fox really enjoyed it. He has come home with a splitting headache, however.

Rumour has it that the film will be featured on March 20th... but we will have to wait and see.

Quiet afternoon watching Time Team discuss Isambard Kingdom Brunel's "Great Eastern" and its build and launch from East London. Very interesting programme. It's a shame there aren't more intelligent shows like that on the TV

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ark required

The Gorse Fox's cold is still in full flood. He's wondering if he should build an ark.

It goes without saying that football was a no-no. That would have been stupid. The Gorse Fox was, however, in need of some fresh air and took a walk round to the shops during the morning to post some birthday cards and pick up some more medication and tissues.

Lunch was a simple affair of soup (he's really glad that he bought this soup maker - it's turning into a well-used appliance). Today's effort was made from red pepper, courgette, garlic, broccoli, potato and chicken. A meal in a bowl. Delicious.

Another quiet afternoon spent dripping in front of the TV. The Gorse Fox hopes he feels better overnight as he's meant to be playing football tomorrow and the ITV cameras will be there to record it.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Full Flood

Man flu, meh!

The Gorse Fox's cold is in full flood. Nothing seems to stop his nose or eyes from pouring as he moves or looks down. This makes the day a little uncomfortable, but he did manage to finish transcribing another 10-page letter this morning. What was interesting about this letter was that it covered the birthday treat he had arranged for the Silver Vixen in New York back in 1986.

After lunch he decided to vege out in front of the TV again... this saw several old episodes of Time Team tick past through flooded eyes.

At the moment the Gorse Fox doubts he will be playing football in the morning. He has, however, arranged to meet up with an old college friend (from 1969-71) in a few weeks time. That should be fun and stir a few memories.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


A bit grey and damp this morning. The Gorse Fox started with a proper breakfast then got on with some transcriptions of old letters until it was time to go to football. The Gorse Fox was feeling a little under the weather - and suspects a full blown cold is emerging. Despite this he headed out to football and enjoyed a very hard game. He played well and was very satisfied at the end - even though it ended up as a 6-6 draw.

Back home the cold started to come out so the Gorse Fox moved into vegetative mode. He sat in front of the TV and watched Spurs thrash Stoke 4-0. As the game was drawing to an end, the Silver Vixen arrived home. We settled down and watched the EFL (League) Cup between Man Utd and Southampton - which was an excellent game, though Southampton were unlucky to lose.

Saturday, February 25, 2017


The Silver Vixen is has gone to stay with Betty Rubble until tomorrow. This left Jasper in charge and the Gorse Fox there to pamper to his every need.

The morning was spent transcribing some more entries from the 1983 diaries. This has got hime up to the end of March. It is tedious work, but very satisfying when done. After lunch, the Gorse Fox returned to the keyboard. This time he decided to pick on some letters written from Poughkeepsie back in 1986. Again this was satisfying and dredged up some interesting memories and some scurrilous descriptions of some of the Gorse Fox's colleagues when working on that specific project (writing a book).

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tree climbing and other things

The Gorse Fox has spent most of the day in his study.

Part of this was climbing around the branches of the family tree - rather unsuccessfully - but at great length. The rest was triggered by the arrival of the post and a new missive from Starfleet regarding the changes to his pension now that he reached pension age. This latter missive proved to be confusing. It seems that his Starfleet pension will go down by X now that his state pension will contribute Y - but the Starfleet pension will also go up by Z. Oh, and by the way the State pension isn't taxed directly - that is taxed via the Starfleet pension. Can the Gorse Fox work out his budget based on these? Not on your nelly. He'll just have to wait until the next payments are made and see what happens.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


The Gorse Fox has spent much of the day indoors. Storm Doris wasn't too bad down here in the south, but the winds were very strong and gave the garden a bit of a battering. The covers on the garden furniture were blown clear of the tables and chairs. The Gorse Fox had to go and sort that out so that nothing was lost. When in doubt use cable-ties. He started by securing all the chairs to each other round the table. Then the covers were replaced and, in turn, they were tied down to the chairs. Hopefully that will last.

As he said, much of the day was indoors. This was spent working away on the family tree. The morning's work was frustrating and achieved nothing. The afternoon, however, was much more successful and both his own tree and that of the Silver Vixen have had a further direct ancestor located and filed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


The Gorse Fox had a wonderful evening. He and the Silver Vixen met up with the Sonning Crew for some nibbles and bubbles and then took the minibus into Chichester. We had a table booked at El Castizo. We have been there once before and enjoyed it immensely. We were hoping it would be as good.

It was.

We had a wonderful evening as we selected various tapas and worked our way through some nice wines. There was a lot of laughter and banter and the food was as good as we remembered it. Charming little restaurant and well worth another return visit.


Well that wasn't the plan.

We headed in to Chichester to do a bit of shopping. The Gorse Fox wanted a new sweater and had a voucher to spend. Sounds simple. In essence it was. We did, however, walk past the Whitewall Gallery on our way to the target shop. We were drawn in by the displays... and somehow, after much discussion, ended up buying a very nice triptych. It will be several weeks until it arrives and has cost as much as our proposed cruise (which is no longer proposed!!!), but we have just the spot for it and are happy that we have finally found the right picture for the wall in question.

Well, plans are there to be changed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Another surprisingly mild day.

Roadworks at Comet Corner on the A259 delayed the Gorse Fox on his drive across to Worthing... but he still arrived in time for the football. Though half-term week for many, we had a good turn-out and the Gorse Fox enjoyed the run out. He provided 3 assists and scored one goal himself. The first few games were played on the big 7-a-side pitches, but the last ones were on the smaller 5-a-side cages. The Gorse Fox likes the smaller cages as the game never stops as the ball never goes out of play.

Back home for a shower and some soup then a message arrived from the Gorse Fox's sister to say they were on their way. The Silver Vixen was still out - she was attending the funeral of a friend's husband and would be a little while yet.

The Gorse Fox's sister and brother-in-law arrived. Tea was brewed and we spent quite a while discussing the kitchen and kitchen designs. They are about to embark on an extension at home and that involves a new kitchen. There was much to think about and much to debate. As the discussions continued, the Silver Vixen arrived home and more tea was brewed. Then the Gorse Fox started preparing supper. Some bubbles broke free from a bottle and we had a lovely evening. It's always nice to see them and there's always so much to talk about.

Monday, February 20, 2017


Another mild day - though overcast throughout the morning.

Quiet start to the day with some tidying up of recent genealogy research before the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed off to the medical centre. Because of our extreme age we are now eligible for pneumonia jabs. The practise nurse spent a few minutes telling us about the possible side effects and what to do if we experienced them. Then in the blink of an eye she buried the syringes into our respective arms and the vaccines were done.

Back home the Gorse Fox returned to the genealogy research whilst the Silver Vixen prepared this week's online shopping list. Then we fired up the pyrolytic cleansing function of the new oven to see how that would work out. Now that it has all cooled down the Gorse Fox has opened it up, wiped off the ash and is very impressed with the results.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


It was incredibly mild, though overcast. The Gorse Fox had football to play. It was the usual hard fought affair with 6 vs 5 and the extra player switching sides at half time. This kept the game flowing well and required a great deal of movement. In the end the game finished 7-7. The Gorse Fox managed to score one of his team's goals.

Back home lunch had been cooking and the Silver Vixen was preparing the vegetables. Urban-cub and Pistol Pete were coming for lunch. His knee was moving ok after the operation and he was quite chirpy. We had a lovely few hours as we demolished a shoulder of pork and had some alcohol-free sparkling wine.

Lovely day.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pushing Back

It's been a lovely day. Temperature was about 12C and the sun was pouring in through the Orangery. We had a few bits and pieces to sort out during the morning and had to pop along to the shops. We are not sure, at this stage, whether or not Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete will be over for lunch tomorrow. As he had his knee operation yesterday, he may not feel like venturing out. We had to go and get a joint that would be big enough for the family - just in case.

The Gorse Fox has spent much of the afternoon working on the family tree. As a result of a hint that was provided by the Ancestry software, he was able to push back another generation on his mother's side of the family. So that's his G-g-g-g-g-g-granparents identified. It's nice to make a little breakthrough like that. Having said that we still have the enigma that is the Silver Vixen's grandmother. The only primary source we have found for her was her marriage certificate. We have never tracked down a birth certificate and the death certificate cannot be trusted as it is based entirely on what the family have declared - and in this case different members of the family had totally different histories for her. Oh well... the Gorse Fox will not give up. It will remain on the back burner and will be investigated every now and then.

Friday, February 17, 2017


It was a long drive. It was time to say goodbye to the Silver Vixen's uncle. He had died at the age of 89 and today was the opportunity for the family to come together and celebrate his life.

It was a long trek up to Cambridge - but at least the rads were kind to us and we managed the trip in about two and half hours or so. We stopped in the car park and had a bit of a picnic while waiting for everyone else to arrive.

The committal was a short service for family only, but then we headed to the village where there was a separate service of thanksgiving for a wider group of friends and acquaintances. It was lovely service though the Gorse Fox didn't recognise a couple of the hymns. Also he had to chuckle as the reading was punctuated by somebody's mobile phone bursting into life. (The person in question nearly jumped out of her skin and was utterly mortified).

Afterwards we all got together for a buffet and and some tea. It was a chance to catch up with family news and show solidarity and support for the immediate family.

Friday afternoon is not the best time to be on the roads. We knew the journey home would take longer than the drive up... so made a start late afternoon. It was slow, but we did manage to keep moving most of the way. It took over three and a half hours in all - but that was less than the Gorse Fox had expected.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


It has been a quiet day. There was the usual admin during the morning and it was during this that the phone rang. The first time it was the Ocado driver who was lost again. The Gorse Fox put him right and the weekly shop arrived a few minutes later. The second call was from a friend of the Silver Vixen. She was having some bizarre problems with her MacBook and it was preventing her from getting through to Flickr. The Gorse Fox tried to access Flickr from his machine - without issue. What could be the problem? In the end the Gorse Fox wondered if she had a problem with her DNS setting and suggested she looked at that, though at this point he doesn't know if it solved the problem.

A wander round the M&S Food hall provided a welcome distraction during the afternoon, but then the Gorse Fox returned to his computer. He has a spark of an idea. This has blossomed into something much larger - but at this point the Gorse Fox is spending the time doing some research into the background architecture to see if it is a practical project. (At the moment it is destined to be tested out on the Raspberry Pi known as Falcon - but if everything works out, it might need a further RPI).

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pause for thought

There was football again this morning. A good turnout with a comfortable 6-a-side. The game was hard fought but very even, finishing 1-1 after an hour. The Gorse Fox's legs were a bit heavy after yesterday, but soon loosened up. Thoroughly enjoyable morning.

An email received late yesterday, however, gave us all pause. "Chopper" Harris had been in touch. He had looked decidedly unwell after our game against Winchester last week. It turns out that he was having a heart attack. He didn't realise at the time and it was only when he saw the doctor later that the blood tests showed the problem. He's only just been released from hospital but, though taking it easy, is feeling a lot better now.

There is a collection of friends and acquaintances from around the world that the Gorse Fox refers to as the VM Old Gits. These are people who were involved with the VM/370 operating system and the Rexx language through the years. The Gorse Fox has been trying to get some sort of reunion organised and has sent out some information to these "old lags" today to see who can make it and what sort of cuisine they prefer. Based on experiences throughout the 1970s and 1980s the Gorse Fox would be surprised if the answer is anything other than Indian!

Whilst in an organising mood, the Gorse Fox has also sorted out the plan for and evening in Chichester with the Sonning Crew. Restaurant is booked and taxi (minibus) is booked. The Gorse Fox is feeling very efficient.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Wipe Out

Jasper decided to wake us at some ridiculous hour by vomiting all over the landing. This disturbed the Silver Vixen who got up to deal with it (so it wouldn't stain the carpet) - and in turn, her ministrations woke he Gorse Fox. We did manage to settle back down for a while, but by 06:30 the Gorse Fox was getting fidgety and Jasper was becoming demanding. A good breakfast was needed all round.

The Gorse Fox was back at Worthing for football today. It was the first two-hour session for quite a few weeks. He lasted well and played well, and it was nice to see the lads from Sharks and Strikers. The first hour saw the Gorse Fox on the green team and managed two draws and a loss. The second hour saw him on the yellow team with a draw and two wins. A satisfactory morning.

The two hour session and early start clearly took it out of him as he was completely wiped out for the afternoon.

Monday, February 13, 2017


If the Gorse Fox remembers correctly, Cousteau-Cub is off to Bangkok for a week of yoga with various yogis starting tomorrow. He hopes she has a really good week and enjoys the break.


It's been a quiet day. The Silver Vixen had an appointment at the dentist, and Jasper had an appointment at the vet to get his claws clipped. The Gorse Fox, not wanting to feel left out, made an appointment to get his hair cut. That's what life is like, when you live right on the edge.

The warning light had appeared to tell us the water filter needed changing on the fridge. As the normal household water is never cold enough (without running it for ages) this was a task to be addressed. The nice man from the Amazon arrived mid-morning clutching two filters. The Gorse Fox proceeded to change it. The fridges was pulled away and the water switched off. The old filter was unclipped from the wall and the Gorse Fox tried to release the inlet and outflow pipes.

Could he do it? He pulled and he twisted and he use pliers to grip the pipes and pulled some more and twisted some more. Nothing would free the pipes. In the end he had to cut them. It was at that point that he had a thought...

There were two clips that had to be removed (and had been) they hold a collar away from the body of the filter. He wondered if these collars when pushed towards the filter may release the pipes. Voila - they did. Once pushed in the pipes slid free quite easily. Oh well, you live and learn. He will have to remember this lesson for when the filter next needs changing in six months time.