Monday, June 26, 2017

Just a Family Day

It's Cousteau-Cub's last day before going back to Thailand. It seemed appropriate to just spend a quiet day with Urban-Cub and Ellie and us. There was lots of chat, lots of reminiscing and lots of discussion about the future and the various options that are open as life changes. There certainly seem to be opportunities for some significant changes... but no doubt this will become clearer over the next few months.

Lunchtime saw a quick raid on the shops for some last minute items and to drop some stuff at the Post Office, but the afternoon brought us back to the random discussions that only make sense to the family.

It was a lovely day (and the weather stayed warm and sunny for us).

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Roast

It's Sunday. It was meant to be a slow start to the day. Jasper, however, had different ideas. At 0515 he was using the Gorse Fox as a trampoline and practising for his audition for a Gospel choir. By 0620, the Gorse Fox gave up and got up.

Spool forward several hours. The Gorse Fox had his usual football. It was a simple affair, though his side were 3-0 down by half time. Fortunately, after a lot of hard work and slight change in personnel we had clawed things back to 6-6 by the end of the match. The Gorse Fox didn't score, but had about 5 or 6 shots saved.

Back at home Mr and Mrs Pistol Pete, Amber, and Ellie arrived. As Pistol Pete is due back at work tomorrow, it was his last opportunity to see Cousteau-Cub before she heads back to Thailand.

We had a lovely afternoon while Urban-Cub prepared us a huge roast dinner.

Ellie slept through much of it. She did, however, wake just before we sat down to eat.

By the end of the day, we had also collected all the photos from the wedding and loaded them into a shared Google photos album. They may not be "professional" photos - but by having several photographers all taking pictures gave us a really good spread across the day and it seemed far more informal.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Aftermath

After the excitement of yesterday, today was deliberately quiet. Having baby Ellie with us overnight was a novelty. At twelve weeks old, she hasn't grasped the concept of looking at the clock to see when it's time to eat. As a result, we were up at 01:30. The Silver Vixen took care of the feed and so forth, the Gorse Fox lent his assistance by managing the complexities of the microwave oven for the formula.

Aft the feed she settled fairly well and pretty much slept through until after eight. (there were a few brief stirrings, but again, the Silver Vixen managed to soothe her straight back off to sleep.

At lunchtime, Urban-Cub, Pistol Pete, and Cousteau-Cub arrived. There was a customary exchange of items... we handed back Ellie, and they returned the glasses and table that had been borrowed for yesterday's celebrations.

They didn't stay long. Urban-Cub wanted to sooth an incipient hangover with some greasy food. Pistol Pete was not being too sympathetic, but didn't seem too upset by the idea of the food!

The Gorse Fox has spent the afternoon working on his photo library and chatting various things through with Cousteau-Cub.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Day to Remember

Well the big day came.

The Gorse Fox ferried Cousteau-Cub across to Urban-Cub's and they disappeared off to get their hair done. Meanwhile the Gorse Fox brought baby Ellie back to the relative calm of our house. (At Urban-Cub's the kids were there, some overnight guests, and two dogs were charging around and barking).

Ellie was an absolute joy. Cuddles, chuckles, and sleep throughout the morning. The Gorse Fox's sister and b-i-l arrived for lunch and then we all got changed and ready for the wedding.

It was an informal and intimate affair in the Registry Office in Chichester. We gathered outside whilst Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete went through the paperwork with the Registrar. Then the Gorse Fox was called and given his instructions, as father of the bride. Everyone was ushered in to the Oak Room and the proud dad escorted his daughter in. Asked if he would be giving his daughter away, he replied that he'd "be delighted to". The formalities didn't take long, but were conducted with joy and sparkle. Shortly, Urban Cub was officially Mrs Pistol Pete.

We had a few photos on the steps outside, but kept the rest for back home.

The journey back seemed interminable. Friday traffic round Chichester and Arundel being at it's most malignant. By the time we got to Urban-Cub, Ellie was just beginning to get a bit fractious. We had sent a message ahead to make sure that there was a bottle waiting (for the baby).

The reception was more like a small gathering of friends and family. It really was lovely. We had the rest of the photos and then started on the buffet. People sat and chatted and laughed and told tales. it was an afternoon and evening filled with laughter and joy.

Eventually it was time to go. We packed up and brought Ellie back with us so that Urban-Cub could relax and have a drink if she wanted.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Getting ready

It's the day before Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete get married. A degree of panic is setting in. The Silver Vixen headed to the hairdresser, Cousteau-Cub completed the preparation of the decorations, and the Gorse Fox got on with some domestic chores before settling down to finish his speech.

His tried, yet again, to get into the flow of a poem... staring with rhyming couplets and failing to get inspiration. Then he tried to emulate Lord Macauley and his epic "How Horatius Held the Bridge"... he managed three verses and gave up. (It makes you appreciate just what an extraordinary piece of literature that poem is). Anyway, resorting to simple prose he finished his task and gave it to the Silver Vixen for approval.

Meanwhile, Cousteau-Cub had been at Urban-Cub's. She was putting up those decorations that would survive overnight. The rest will have to await the morning.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Blistering

Another blisteringly hot day (for the UK), with temperatures hovering around the 30 mark down here by the coast, and obviously higher inland.

The Gorse Fox had football again this morning (what is they say about mad dogs and Englishmen?). The teams were quite evenly balance and as we approached half time it was still 1-1. The Gorse Fox managed to intervene at that point and, striding forward, got non the end of a loose ball before controlling it and slotting it under the goal keeper. Half time was called, we were 2-1 up and everyone needed to take on fluids. The second half was a little less even. The orange bibs (as worn by the Gorse Fox) got another there or four goals before finally conceding a second. It had been a hot game but a good win.

Back home, Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete popped in. They had been to The Gribble to pick up some beer for the wedding and needed to collect some of the stuff left here last night. We loaded the car with a collapsible table, the baby's bath, and the shelf that was now ready to hand over. The Gorse Fox had even handed over a template to make it easier to drill the mounting holes in the wall with more accuracy.

9001 and counting!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

9K - Hot again

This is the Gorse Fox's 9,000 blog post.

It's another cracking day. Temperature is up around 30C and there's only the faintest of breezes. The Silver Vixen headed off early to meet with her coven, but took Cousteau-Cub with her, the aim being to drop her at Urban-Cub's.

The Gorse Fox left soon after. It's Tuesday so there must be football. It was sweltering out there. We split into our usual random assortment of teams and had a round robin. The Gorse Fox's team were hampered by a lack of goalkeeper, so the Gorse Fox volunteered for one of the three matches. We lost 2-0, then 2-1, and finally won the last game 2-1. It was fun, but it was very important to take on water at every opportunity. (How they are going to play a World Cup in Qatar defeats logic).

In the second hour we were down to two teams. We played three games and lost 3-0, then won 2-0 and 2-1. By the end, some were visibly struggling. The Gorse Fox wasn't affected so much as he's a great believer in letting the ball do the work and optimising his position at all times so as to avoid too much rushing about.

Back home, a light lunch was followed by a short session in the workshop. The Gorse Fox had to apply the first top coat of paint. Now, while writing this, he is waiting for it to dry so that he can apply a second coat. In this heat, that shouldn't take too long.

Meanwhile, news from paradise indicates that Cousteau-Cub and the Coventry Hobbit may be set to change their jobs. We await developments with bated breath.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Cracking day

It's been another cracking day, made all the better by the fact the Gorse Fox has not had to commute, use the Tube, or sit in an office listening to inane excuses from clients as to why something should be done the wrong way. Did the Gorse Fox ever comment on how much he enjoys retirement?

The morning started with some more painting. This was now looking quite good, but just needed some black to pick out the shapes and transitions. That could wait until later.

After lunch the Gorse Fox had an appointment in Chichester and, having checked, needed to get a new shirt and tie for the wedding. He pottered in and headed for M&S. It didn't take long to sort out his apparel, so he moved on to Rymans's (the Stationer's). He had decided a black Sharpie was the right solution to his painting dilemma.

Back home, some time later, he returned to the task in hand and virtually finished the painting of the characters. He did a test fit of the shelf then added the hooks for coat hangers.

There's still a lot of finish painting to do (a lot of the areas have only been primed so far). Having said that, the whole thing is coming together nicely.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day

Father's Day is meant to be a special day for, you guessed it, fathers. Today is very special for the Gorse Fox. It is the first Father's Day for many years that Cousteau-Cub has been home; it is also the first time he has been a grandfather.

The day started with a trip to B&Q with Cousteau-Cub. The Gorse Fox needed some paints to illustrate the backing for the shelf he is building.

We ended up leaving with ten tester-pots of various colours. The Gorse Fox got straight down to work and made a start on the painting. By the time it was time to leave, he had a background and some of the blocks of colour on the figures.

He's pleased with the outcome, so far.

Cousteau-Cub, meanwhile had been preparing maps and instructions for the wedding, this Friday. It's strange having a venue with no parking, so she had to explain to people where the nearest car parks are and the best walking route to the venue.

We all headed of to Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete's. We had a BBQ booked! We sat and chatted in the garden most of the afternoon before Urban-Cub fired up the BBQ and started to cook a mountain of meat and some mackerel that Pistol Pete had caught. It was an absolute feast and better still, the whole family were together.

While there we agreed with Amber & Jake that they would look after Jasper for a week at the beginning of September. We would join Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete and Ellie for a week up in the Lake District. Pistol Pete had already selected some candidate cottages, so we confirmed and booked one, there and then. We look forward to that.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Family

In years gone by we used to have an annual "family do" where all the Silver Vixen's side of the family would get together at one of our houses, or some venue. This was always great fun and an opportunity for everyone to catch up with all the latest news. As time went on, these became slightly less regular, skipping the odd year or two. This year, the Silver Vixen decided that with Cousteau-Cub home and the addition of baby Ellie to the family, we should resurrect the event.

The Gorse Fox sent out some "keep the day" emails several months ago, and sent further emails with directions last week. Today some 35-odd family members descended on The Savill Gardens near Egham.

The addition this year was that we had also included the Gorse Fox's sister, b-i-l, and nephews to the fold.

The traffic had been dreadful for most people (though the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen had been lucky and after hearing a traffic update on the radio, decided to ignore the SatNav and  use local knowledge from when they lived in Hook).  We had visitors from Wokingham, Buckingham, Clapham, Brentford, Brighton, Rayleigh, Shoeburyness, Littlehampton, Oxford, and Cardiff.

It was lovely day with temperatures hovering around the 30C mark. We had chosen a spot beneath the canopy of a huge cedar tree. This gave us shade all day as the sun moved round(*).

The picnic blankets and chairs started to fill the space as the circle got ever bigger - then eventually split into smaller satellite groups. The children ran around and played and the adults circulated and chatted.

It was good to hear about what everyone was up to - a new job that would involve travel to Toronto, Houston, Seattle, New York and LA; a new flat in Norwich and probably job relocation; a retirement; a house move from London to Bicester; a couple of extensions to existing houses; holiday plans; a change of career and so forth.


We remarked that when we first started these events most of the adults were actually bees in arms (if they were even born) - now they are there with their own young children and we have moved on a generation.

We had picked a good spot. It was only a short walk along to the visitor's centre where there was a supply of ice creams and conveniences. The shade of the tree kept us pretty well protected, and we were only a very short walk from the car park which was handy for loading and unloading the cars. We had started to gather at about midday, By five-thirty those with the longest journey started to drift away.

Brilliant day over all, and so lovely to see so much of the family - particularly as Cousteau-Cub was home and it was a chance for the cousins to catch up for the first time in many years.

(*)It's ok. The Gorse Fox knows that it's the Earth that moves round the sun. This was merely a figure of speech... not a declaration of membership of the flat earth society.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Pooh

Another glorious start to the day (other than Jasper slapping the Gorse Fox at about 06:00 - and continuing to paw at him until the Gorse Fox pushed him away).

After breakfast the Gorse Fox retreated to the workshop. The sleeve unit for the floating shelf was sanded and primed. While that was drying, he printed several line drawings of characters from Winnie the Pooh. These would be featured on the back of the shelf. Once the right size was chosen he  checked his offcuts and realised none was big enough. Wickes was the DIY store of the day. Their plywood seems so much better quality than that provided in B&Q.

He arrived home just as Urban-Cub turned up with baby Ellie. They were just stopping off for a while to collect Cousteau-Cub and go off shopping.

It gave an opportunity for Ellie to try the new "activity mat" that the Silver Vixen had ordered. The Gorse Fox isn't sure who got the most fun from it, Ellie or Cousteau-Cub.

It also gave the Gorse Fox an opportunity to show Urban-Cub some of the ideas he had had for the shelf and get a decision on the type of hangers that she wanted. That done, he cut out the printed figures and placed them on the new sheet of ply. Using them as templates he drew a background then the figures. Finally he fired up the jigsaw and cut round the drawing. He must say, that he is very pleased with the result. It has now been painted (primed) and is drying in the garage.

The Silver Vixen spent the afternoon at the hairdresser in Chichester. With Cousteau-Cub and the Silver Vixen out for the afternoon, the place seems quite hollow and quiet.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Floating by

The Silver Vixen was spending the day looking after baby Ellie at Urban-Cub's while she got her hair done. Cousteau-Cub stayed put with the Gorse Fox. Cousteau-Cub had a quiet day with her yoga, catching up on admin, and enjoying some old Pointless episodes (she hadn't seen Pointless before!).

The Gorse Fox retired to the workshop. There was a floating shelf to work on. He started by milling the dovetails on the spars and fixing them in place (having cut them to length). Then it was time to get the bandsaw out and change the blade. He had found the instructions, but it was still a bit fiddly. The new blade makes such a difference - slicing through off-cuts so much easier than the old blade.

Next on the agenda was trip to Wickes to get the mdd for the top and bottom of the shelf. The Gorse Fox explained to the assistant that one trip is never enough and headed home with his purchases. First he built a tracking jig for the circular saw, then started on the front and sides of the shelf. Measure twice and cut once is the woodworker's maxim. The Gorse Fox followed this to the nth degree. It would, however, have helped if he had red the correct measurement from his cutlets. So it was that he trimmed the wood to 54mm instead of 56mm. This exhausted his supply. In turn, this triggered the predicted return trip to Wickes.

Everything went smoothly from then on. The sleeve is now complete and the Gorse Fox is waiting for the glue to set up overnight.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Thrilled by the Rill

It was another cracking day. Wall to wall sunshine and not the slightest hint of cloud to break the blue of the sky. The Silver Vixen was out early for an appointment and the Gorse Fox soon followed for his football.

Football was better today. The Gorse Fox played in goal for the first half and on the pitch for the second. The score ended up 2-1 to us, which was good, but better still was the fact that the Gorse Fox felt as if he had played well. It was hot though. It was also a little worrying that Rangers Ronnie, who has just finished a course of chemo, got clattered from behind and hurt his shoulder. He was attended to by the First Aider and taken away. Given the state of his immune system, he probably went to hospital... but we don't know. No news so far.

When the Gorse Fox got home Urban-Cub and baby Ellie were there. The Gorse Fox was on a mission, however, and after polite hellos went straight to the garden to continue cleaning the rill (as started by Cousteau-Cub yesterday). A workflow was established - filthy cobbles retrieved from rill and put in bowl. Small batches were moved into a deep bucket and attacked with the jet spray. Dirty water was transferred to second bucket and the clean stones returned to the rill. This worked well and it didn't take too long to get the job finished. It's all looking nice and clean again now.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the garden with the whole family... and life doesn't really get much better than that!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Peaking at Mediocre

It was a glorious, sunny, warm day. The Gorse Fox had football, the Silver Vixen and Cousteau-Cub were staying behind as Urban-Cub was coming over with baby Ellie.

The Gorse Fox got stuck into the football, and like Arsenal, managed to peak at barely mediocre. He's not sure if it was the heat, or just a bad day, but whatever it was, he just couldn't raise his game to the normal level. Having said that, he was on the winning side for the first three games. Then, in the second hour, we dropped a game 2-1, but then won and drew the last two games.

Back home we had a nice family lunch - finishing just as Ellie started to get fractious. Timed to perfection!

Late afternoon Cousteau-Cub started clearing the rill. The stones have become coated in algae and the blanket weed keeps recurring. She started with a scrubbing brush, but realised that was never going to be practical. In the end we resorted to hydrogen peroxide and the jet spray. It's about half done, but we can get back to it tomorrow. The Gorse Fox also used his new jig to cut the dovetail slots in the next set of floating shelves. Then adjusted the settings to cut the dovetails themselves - sneaking up on a good fit with some offcuts. Leaving everything set, he will return to the task later in the week.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Another lunch

Well today involved another trip to Chichester. We had seen a table and chairs in a shop in Chichester last week and on asking for a quote were told there would be a significant sale starting this week. We went home and measured up. This made us realise the table would not fit in our kitchen - hence the Gorse Fox starting on a design of his own. The chairs, however, would be ideal.

Needless to say, it was not quite as straightforward as we might have hoped. There was a wall full of fabrics from which we had to select the right covers for our kitchen. This should have been easy - but when the fabric selection can more that double the price of each chair, making the wrong choice could be very expensive. In the end we chose a nice fabric that we both liked and didn't break the bank. Deposit paid, we now have to wait for a few weeks for delivery.

While we were choosing the fabrics, Cousteau-Cub was roaming the clothes shops looking for a suitable outfit for the wedding. When we had finished, the Silver Vixen joined in to offer guidance and advice. The Gorse Fox, knowing his limitations, stayed outside and watched the world go by (several times). Eventually, dress selected, we headed to Prezzo for some lunch.

After lunch we discussed what would be on the menu for supper. Cousteau-Cub volunteered to prepare a stir-fry so we dropped in to Waitrose to pick up the necessary ingredients. By late afternoon, back home, we concluded that we were still full from lunch and supper was not needed. The Gorse Fox suspects we will have the stir-fry tomorrow!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Warm one

Though not particularly sunny - it was a nice warm morning. This became particularly noticeable when the Gorse Fox headed off to football. He left extra early today. The local bypass is closed for maintenance so there's a traffic diversion. We had also been told there was bit tournament at the sports centre and that parking would be difficult.

Well, the diversion was traffic free and the Gorse Fox arrived quicker than expected. He then had the choice of parking spaces. His informant had got the dates wrong and there very little scheduled. Oh well, it gave him a chance to sit and chat before having to get changed.

The game was warm, very warm. It was also close... finishing 8-7. (Unfortunately, the Gorse Fox was on side only scoring 7). After his high scoring feats of last week, he only managed one goal today.

The afternoon was quiet. Cousteau-Cub spent some time trying sort out her flight cancellations using the various online chat facilities. She was impressed by the service she received even though she didn't manage to get a refund. (They offered the chance to reschedule - but she isn't sure when she can get back to use them).

The Silver Vixen was cutting out some fabric for her latest project. The Gorse Fox measure up his router table for a jig that he plans to make. Then he broke out Sketchup and started designing the new kitchen table top and the mechanism that will allow it to use the existing table stand.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

BBQ

It was a very nice start to the day and it promised to remain sunny and warm. Urban-Cub had invited us over to spend the day with them and have a BBQ. That seemed like a perfect idea.

While Cousteau-Cub and the Silver Vixen were getting ready, the Gorse Fox headed out to the garage. His latest modification to the floating shelf design needed to be tested out. How difficult would it be to create sliding dovetail joints and would they be strong enough. The router table was set up and some scrap wood prepared. The slot was machined and then the sloping shoulders were carefully cut on the spar. The first attempt showed promise, but was too loose. The second attempt was so tight that it had to be "encouraged" home with a hammer. This, however, proved the point and proposed modification will be added to the next shelf that needs to be made.

We stopped at Sainsbury''s on the way to Urban-Cub's. Alco-free sparkling wine was needed and they had a an excellent selection. We were soon back on our way and pulling up out Urban-Cub's house.

Pistol Pete was doing some work on their shed, so the Gorse Fox lent a hand where appropriate and it was soon complete. Cousteau-Cub helped out with baby Ellie as the Silver Vixen and Urban-Cub discussed the garden and kept an eye on proceedings.

Then Cousteau-Cub and Urban-Cub got out paint brushes and painted the fence. (Not the smartest of moves for Cousteau-Cub who suffered the rest of the afternoon from the after effects).

Late afternoon the BBQ was fired up and a mountain of burgers, sausages, kebabs, ribs, and chicken pieces were heaped over the burners. Meanwhile Pistol Pete was preparing a salad to accompanying the protein blow-out. It was a lovely meal and there was plenty left when we finished.

We finished the afternoon by watching the last 20 minutes of the Scotland-England match... then, relieved at the 2-2 finish, packed our stuff up and headed home. It had been a wonderful day.


Friday, June 09, 2017

Spare Ribs

Cousteau-cub woke after a good night's sleep. She felt much more human but clearly the pain from her ribs had not subsided. The pharmacist, yesterday, had recommended we got things checked out and in the cold light of day, after a good night's sleep, this seemed like sensible advice.

The Gorse Fox and Cousteau-cub headed for A&E at St Richard's in Chichester. We booked in and the triage nurse saw her very quickly - then we had to wait for the doctor. It wasn't too bad - about an hour before she was seen. X-ray taken, examination, then advice. She left - still sore - but feeling a lot happier that it had been checked. It does mean, however, that she has cancelled her planned hop across to Gran Canaria for a few days.

At lunchtime we headed out to The Gribble Inn and met up with Urban-Cub, Pistol Pete, Amber, and Miss Ellie. As always, we had a good lunch there.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Early start

Cousteau-Cub was landing at 05:25. This meant an early start. Not for the Gorse Fox, you understand, but for Urban-Cub, Pistol Pete and Miss Ellie. We had jointly agreed that it would be a nice surprise for Cousteau-Cub to be greeted by her new niece. Despite this, the Gorse Fox was up at 05:00 so that he could field any text messages from an unsuspecting Cousteau-Cub if she made contact on landing. The idea was that he could reply, but pass them on to Urban-Cub. In the end, it wasn't necessary.

They were back here soon after 07:00 - obviously travelling just in front of the real traffic build up.

We had a quiet morning as Cousteau-Cub was tired from the flight and still sore from her cracked rib. Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete went home to catch up on some sleep and walk the dog, whilst we looked after Miss Ellie. We managed to get out for a walk with her this afternoon and stopped off at the Poling Station on our way round. (Miss Ellie wasn't allowed to vote as she had no Poling Card and couldn't reach the desk or hold the pencil).

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Family

We heard from Cousteau-Cub. She was at the airport ready to fly down to Kuala Lumpur from whence she will pick up a flight home. It's a long day travelling, but she should be back here in the UK tomorrow morning. She warned us that she's feeling sore, having come off here motorbike yesterday and suspects she has a cracked rib or two. She said she didn't have time for x-rays and wasn't going to risk being told not to fly!

We had a quiet morning. The Gorse Fox spent some time examine the dimensions of a new kitchen table we had considered. When mapped out on the floor, however, it was clear that it would be a non-starter. This got him back to the original plan which had been to use the base of the existing table, and replace to top with a new one that he would build. Measurement were taken and a degree of head scratching performed. Full design activity is needed, but that can wait a bit. The chairs that we had seen, however, look to be ideal for our needs so we will probably go ahead and buy them anyway.

We had an appointment. We were meeting the Gorse Fox's cousin for lunch. We pottered across to Bosham and followed them into the car park. Excellent timing.

Lunch was at Anchor Bleu. As usual it was excellent quality and it was clear we all had similar tastes as we all selected the same "Fish and Chips" and the the same "Billionaire's Cheesecake". It was a lovely chance to catch up, having not seen her since her birthday in March. After lunch we took a stroll around Bosham Quay. It was warm but the wind was cool and gusting quite hard so we didn't go too far.

Main topic for this evening is tracking BA34 and checking that Cousteau-Cub will land on time so she can be met without fuss and brought home from the airport.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Dodging Drops

We woke up to heavy rain. It had clearly been a very wet night and the rain was lingering into the morning. Jasper was disgusted - he refuses to go out when it's wet and sulks. As he sits there shooting accusing looks at the Gorse Fox he begins an ongoing diatribe of cat curses. The Gorse Fox takes it in good heart and tries to stop the rain - but finds it isn't in his control, strangely.

Slowly the rain blew on through. By the time the Gorse Fox left for football, it had stopped. The winds hadn't died down - just the rain.  The football was a bit sparse. Only 16 instead players of the usual 28-30. Teams were formed and the Gorse Fox knew immediately he was in for a hard day. In fact we were 5-0 down within the first five or ten minutes. The goalie was not having a good day as he let three balls through his legs - and threw another over the line by accident. Slowly the Gorse Fox got a grip and we steed the flow.

In the second hour there were only 8 of us. We moved to a five-a-side cage and played a variation of the usual game. We played 4-a-side with no goalkeepers - but you could only score from inside the goal area. This was a nice variation... and the Gorse Fox ended up on the winning side. Not sure what the score was, but we were so far ahead that we stopped counting.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Wedding Dress

With Urban-Cub getting married to Pistol Pete in a three weeks, it was time for the Gorse Fox to go and get his wedding dress. You would have though that he had plenty of decent suits - and he did. The problem is that he has lost so much weight over the past few years that none of them fit him. So it was that the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox headed into Chichester.

First stop was the trusty M&S, but despite wandering through the racks there was nothing that leapt out and said "by me". The Gorse Fox wasn't sure whether to go for a suit or just a jacket and trousers - both options were in the mix. From M&S we moved on to House of Fraser. In their menswear department they have an outlet for Skopes (men's tailoring). This was better. The choice and styling was more to the Gorse Fox's taste - and it turns out that it was the last day of their 20% discount sale. It didn't take long to find, try on, deliberate, and eventually buy a very nice ensemble.

We stopped to do some shopping for the Silver Vixen then dropped our purchases back at the car before heading down South Street for some lunch at The Chantry. As before, it was very quiet, very welcoming, and the food was excellent (and good value for money).

A last stop at M&S for a some casual slacks (even his trousers are too big) and then we headed home. As we arrived at the car it started to spit with rain. We had clearly timed things to perfection.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Play day

It was another lovely day. There was football to play, but first the Gorse Fox was intrigued by a possible change to his accounts spreadsheet. This got him thinking. Time whizzed by as he adapted some of the existing worksheets and some of the formulae. There are some things that really should be a little easier to do than they turn out to be. (There used to be an interpreter on the IBM VM system called Exec2 - not as good as Rexx but still very powerful - which allowed a huge degree of indirection, but whilst it's possible to do some indirection with Excel, it's not as powerful and is not recursive). Soon it was time to shut the laptop and head off.

Football was fun as usual. Though the Gorse Fox was on the loosing side (8-6) it was fairly close and he managed to score four of the team's goals. Very satisfactory!

Back home Old Bill had sent out a clarion call for the Sonning Crew. With a potential change in Government this coming week, this could be the last time that we can all afford to go to the pub. (Or at least, that was the excuse). We decided to head out for a lunchtime tipple... it seemed only right.

In practise, if there is a change in Government, it will probably not affect us too much. It might even work in our favour. It will, however, store up no end of debt and problems for our kids and their kids.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

In position

Gentle start to the day - Jasper didn't drag the Gorse Fox from bed until just after seven. That's acceptable. It was clearly going to be a lovely day again.

The Gorse Fox headed out to the workshop. There were three planters that needed oiling. It didn't take too long to get a couple of coats applied, though there were several stops for coffee and to chat with the neighbours. The last of these chats proved useful as, between us, Two Hats and the Gorse Fox came up with a modification to our respective garages that would allow greater weight to be stored in the roof space, and in the case of the Gorse Fox allow a fixing point for one of the pulleys. The best part is that the Gorse Fox already has sufficient timber to complete this for both garages.

Urban-Cub arrived late morning with Ellie. While she was feeding, the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox spent some time placing the new planters and moving the various plants around. In the end we are both very pleased with the results. (See photo)

After a light lunch out in the garden we sat and enjoyed the garden, bathed as it was in sunshine. There was a cool breeze, but it was delightful just to sit and soak it all in.
(This despite a neighbour cutting paving slabs with a big grinder... we were just far enough away that the noise wasn't too bad and the drifting dust was going in the opposite direction).

After a while we took Ellie out for a walk around the development.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Done

Well that was a very successful day. The glue set up fairly quickly in the heat and after a little bit of head scratching the Gorse Fox decide not to use any biscuits this time round. He relied solely on the pocket-hole screws. Each layer was glued up and the screws inserted to hold them tightly together and provide a mechanical alternative to the chemical adhesive.

Now that it's done the Gorse Fox will leave overnight and then apply the decking oil to finish all three.

Setting Up

The various rings that form the layers of the planter are now assembled and the Gorse Fox is waiting for the glue to set up.  It was a bit of a fiddle as several of the 50mm nails were slightly off target and had to be removed and re-fired.

He'll give it a little while longer then start creating the pocket holes and biscuit slots that will allow these rings to be assembled.

At the current rate of progress this should be finished today. Then the Gorse Fox will spend some time tomorrow coating all three planters in decking oil, to protect them and help them blend in with the existing deck.

Cuts

That's been a good start to the morning. Having built the two smaller planters, the Gorse Fox was more organised as he started on the larger model.

Everything was measured, marked and by 10:45 it was all cut to size and sanded ready for assembly. The Gorse Fox is taking a few moments to have a coffee before starting on the next stage.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

One week

Only one week to go before Cousteau-Cub is back home with us for a few weeks. It's really exciting and we are all looking forward to so seeing her. (Oh yes, and there's the Election!)

Lots of admin today - the weekly accounts kicked things off. Followed by the monthly check on the utility meter readings (electricity up slightly on same period last year, but gas and water down). Then we ha had the excitement of the Ocado delivery before the Gorse Fox went into town. One of the nice things about several of the local towns (but not Chichester) is that you can buy a parking badge for £1. This allows you up to 2 hours of free parking. It was time that the Gorse Fox renewed his permits so he went along to one of the outlets that sell them then, clutching the badges, headed for the post office. A parcel was waiting for collection. The Gorse Fox suspected he knew what it was, though wasn't expecting it until Friday. He left clutching a box containing some new pocket-hole screws and the appropriate screw-driver bit for them.

Next stop was B&Q. Five more decking boards were loaded into the car ready for the construction of the last of the planters. All very satisfying.

The Gorse Fox was also expecting the chap to come and fit new tyres on the Silver Vixen's broomstick. A message this morning suggested he would arrive between 16:00 and 18:00.  At 13:30 he phone and said he was running ahead of schedule could he come along early? By 14:00 he was there and soon after there were some shiny new boots on the broomstick. Excellent service.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Silence

Well, it won't come as a great surprise that so far the Gorse Fox hasn't received any further communication from his "so-called" cousin adrift in Manila.

This is the second time that a the Gorse Fox has received an email such as this. The first time was from and American "cousin" who had be stranded in identical circumstances in London. Again the Gorse Fox called their scammers bluff by pointing out he was working in London and would be happy to meet with her to sort things out. Again silence!

Now the Gorse Fox enjoys leading these scammers along - but what worries him is that many people must be taken in by these emails and even if they don't part with money they could be genuinely worried that a relation is in dire straits somewhere. These emails are vicious and nasty... but like so many things nowadays, the bottom-feeding scum who do this hide behind the anonymity of the web.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Scams

The Gorse Fox has received and emailed, purporting to be from his cousin.

I am writing this with tears in my eyes. My family and I came down here to Manila,Philippines on a short holiday unfortunately we got mugged at the hotel park where we stayed, all cash, wallet, credit cards and phones were taken away, but luckily for us we still have our passport back in our hotel room...We've been to the embassy and the Police here but they're not helping issues at all and our flight is leaving in a couple hours time from now but we're having problems settling our hotel bills.
We're very sorry if we're inconveniencing you, but we have only very few people to run to now. We'll be indeed very grateful if we can get a quick loan of (£2,450  GBP) from you... this will enable us sort our hotel bills and get our sorry self back home. We'll appreciate whatever you can afford in assisting us.We promise to refund it in full as soon as we return. Please, let me know if this is possible so i can send you my details.

Thank you in advance for your help. 
Now... he was immediately suspicious. She didn't address the Gorse Fox by name to start with, and why would she take her family to Manila? It's half term week... nobody in their right minds travels that far for a week.

The Gorse Fox checked with her sister that everything is ok and she is actually safe and sound in London. She is.

So the Gorse Fox decided to have some fun...
Dear Cousin,
As it happens I've spent the last couple of weeks diving at Cebu. I arrive in Manila this morning. I will be staying at the Manila Hotel on Bonifacio Drive. Come along, ask for me at reception and let's see if we can sort things out.
The Gorse Fox. 
He suspects he will hear no more - but will string it along for a while if he does.

On Fire

It was cooler today and fairly overcast until mid afternoon. This meant we had some very comfortable conditions on the football pitch.

It was a good turn out. We had 28 players overall so split into four teams. When the Gorse Fox saw they way the teams had been formed he was expecting a bad day at the office. Our team had one striker (with a bad knee) and all the rest of the team were defenders (and two of them were not very mobile). The Gorse Fox decided to work as an advanced midfielder. Surprisingly, this actually worked well. In the first hour we played three games... and won all three. 3-1, 3-0, and 2-1. Better still the Gorse Fox scored four of the goals.

In the second hour we had three more games with a different team make-up. Again this went pretty well with a loss and two wins 0-1, 3-0, 2-1. Again, the Gorse Fox was on the score sheet. Overall he scored 5 goals today... and was accused of being "on fire".

Back home, Urban-Cub and baby Ellie were visiting. Once Ellie was fed and clearly not ready for sleep, the Gorse Fox suggested that he take her for a walk. The pram was loaded (a parasol put in place - as the sun had finally shown its face) and the Gorse Fox set off for a stroll round the estate. Ellie was soon settling and finally gave in and slept... at least until we got back home.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Hex success

The Gorse Fox has made the most of the rather overcast (and sometimes wet) Bank Holiday by spending much of it in the workshop. Yesterday's preparation and planning had made today's assembly quite straightforward.

The top layer of the hexagonal planter was attached to the lip with glue and pocket-hole screws, then the two lower layers were attached with glue and more pocket-hole screws, one layer at a time. It didn't take too long and the first planter was finished.

There was sufficient wood to complete the second planter, and still have a few scraps left over. The timber was cut to size and each layer (ring) was glued and nailed then tied up and left to allow the glue to set. The Gorse Fox made a slight miscalculation on the lip and the mitres aren't quite closed, but as these are just garden planters, he isn't going to worry too much. He followed the same process as before except that when fitting the lower layers, he introduced some biscuits to lock the rings in position. This was nice improvement on the earlier process.

Now they just need some decking oil to protect them and they can go into service.

There's one large planter still on the project list. It's essentially the same design, but with a greater height and larger diameter.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

That went well

The Gorse Fox is feeling rather satisfied. He started the day with a trip to Wickes and B&Q. This was scouting for the boards from which he intended to build the planters designed yesterday. Wickes had nothing suitable (clearly they had run out)... but they did have some large bottles of Type D3 (Weatherproof) adhesive. Grabbing that, the Gorse Fox went on to B&Q. Their budget decking boards are only £4.50 each so the car was loaded up with enough for the first (prototype) planter, and the he headed home.

It only took a few minutes to set up the workshop and get under way. Boards were cut with 30 degree angles and once the pile was sufficient the hexagonal rings were assembled. A small jig was made, to ensure the angles were set correctly - then the edges were glued and pinned with the nailer. Once each ring was complete, the Gorse Fox wrapped some cord round it and tied it tightly to keep it under compression while the glue set.

The Gorse Fox has just been out to the garage to check the results and is very satisfied. Tomorrow he will sand the edges, drill some pocket holes, and then glue and screw each ring to the next. Should be finished by close of play tomorrow.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hex

Now and then you have a night's sleep that you look back upon and think "that was a good night". Not that the Gorse Fox has trouble sleeping, but some nights are worthy of comment!

The heat of the previous few days culminated in some overnight storms. Certainly it was the loudest thunder the Gorse Fox has ever heard - but he didn't actually notice and lightning. The day started overcast, warm, and still wet. It was late afternoon before the sun broke through. The Gorse Fox spent much of the day in the study.

The Silver Vixen wanted some planters for the garden. The Gorse Fox had some design work to do. The day was spent with Sketchup. Slowly, the Gorse Fox got to grips with a design that would work for these hexagonal planters and created the project cutting lists. Now all he has to do is get the wood and get started.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Tyred out

The Silver Vixen's broomstick needs some new front tyres. In the past you would just pop along to your nearest National Tyres or KwikFit and they would do the business. Now you have more options. The Gorse Fox decided to look around.

National Tyres quoted £319 per tyre. This seemed somewhat excessive... to say the least. (The Gorse Fox is, after all, a pensioner).

He then looked at eTyres (an outfit he had used in the past). eTyres were a little more reasonable at £225 per tyre and would come and fit the tyres here at home. Feeling that was reasonable he did another last check and trawl through the internet.

This was fruitful. The Gorse Fox found "TyresOnTheDrive" and they, like eTyres, fit the tyres at you home (or work or wherever you choose). They, however, had the same tyres at £191 each. This is what the Gorse Fox considers a result! Exactly the same tyres (Continentals) each £128 cheaper than the original quote. What's more the Gorse Fox can sit at home drinking coffee while it gets done.

Poet's Day

Well that's what it used to be called before the Gorse Fox worked from home and then finally retired. With a steaming hot day and a Bank Holiday weekend it seems a perfects day to P-off early. As it happens, for hime, everyday fits the bill. His thoughts go out, however, to those stuck in hot, sweaty trains or, worse still, in cars queued in long jams heading for the holiday destinations for half-term. This was often our week of choice when the girls were young and believe me we have endured some dreadful journeys to the West country. In this heat, however, it will be even worse.

We had a quiet, domestic, morning. At lunchtime we headed to The Gribble Inn where we were joined by the Sonning Crew for lunch. We started by sitting in a choice position in the garden - but the drifting smoke from the self-harmers eventually drove us inside. We had a lovely lunch with lots of general chit-chat. No world problems were solved, but we were able to decide, definitively, on the food choice from the menu.

Meanwhile, the Gorse Fox has managed to chat with Cousteau-Cub online. She'll be here in a couple of weeks but is also trying to arrange to see some friends - so we were trying to get the dates for that sorted.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Home again

The Gorse Fox didn't sleep well. It may have been because of the heat, or maybe it was the bed itself. Whatever the reason, he was restless throughout the night.

The hotel provided a good English breakfast with unlimited coffee. The Gorse Fox enjoyed breakfast in a sunny spot in the restaurant. Finally, fed and packed, he checked out but didn't leave immediately. He was hanging around to avoid the worst of the traffic - but also, he had noticed an old-fashioned style hardware store just round the corner from the hotel. A quick trip was required.

He waited for the shop to open then went in and chatted with the chap who ran it. We looked at his selection of pulleys and relevant hardware. There was nothing that would definitely satisfy the requirement, but there were some options that may be possibilities with some adaptation. Clutching his purchases he walked back to the hotel and made himself comfortable in the car.

The journey home was trouble-free and just as enjoyable as the journey up yesterday. Again, cruise-control was set at 70 and pretty much left alone for the whole journey. On the run up and back the little Fiesta managed to return about 52mpg... which was perfectly acceptable. (The Gorse Fox had been disappointed with the fuel consumption when he first got the car, but it seems to be settling down finally and he regularly gets the high 40s mpg... not bad for small petrol engine with an air conditioner and automatic gearbox).

The Gorse Fox got home at lunchtime and we had a quiet afternoon. The Gorse Fox went to the study to do the weekly admin.

Dinner was meant to be mince in some recipe or other. The Gorse Fox didn't fancy the usual chilli con carne or spaghetti bolognese... so he looked up some meatloaf recipes. He found quite a simple one which was referred to as "American-style". He adapted the recipe slightly - adding cumin, smoked paprika, and garlic - and a lot less milk (yes, milk!). Well, he must say that it turned out to be quite delicious and was definitely a recipe for keeping.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Old Gits

What wonderful weather today! Temperature was in the mid 20s and it made for a hot morning on the football pitch. That game was very close, ending 2-2, but it really was a joy to play.

The Gorse Fox headed home, showered, grabbed a bite to eat and headed back out. He was attending the first consecutive VMUG Old Gits dinner. This was to be held in Warwick so he headed north. Driving through the early afternoon was an absolute pleasure - traffic was light and he was able to set cruise-control to 70 and leave it alone for most of the journey.

Arriving at the venue, The Old Fourpenny Shop Hotel, he checked in and treated himself to pint of fine ale (just to hydrate, you understand, after all yo cannot take chances in such hot weather).

The Gorse Fox headed back out on foot. It was time to explore.

Though he has been to Warwick many hundreds of times during his career, he has never explored the town. He always lived close enough that he could drive home in a couple of hors or so, so rarely stayed. It turns out that it really is a a very charming little town. There are lots of ancient buildings, little alleyways, and inviting side streets. He took a number of photos as he made his way round, finishing off down by the Castle.

Considering what a small pub/hotel The Old Fourpenny is - it's certainly incredibly popular. This, it turns out, is no just because of the good food, but also it is used by race-goers. Warwick racecourse is quite literally at the bottom of the road... and tomorrow there is a race meeting. The Gorse Fox sat with another beer and watched as the race crowd filed in and settled down for the evening.

It was a good job he had booked as the place was filling up. Merlin and Blambo arrived first. As it was so busy in the bar we went straight through to the restaurant where it was a bit quieter. Stuart was next to arrive, having come up by train and then, finally MFC wandered in. We had a full house.

The meal was really excellent. Certainly it was much better than you would expect from a small pub tucked away in a side street. The menu was varied, the service was cheerful and attentive, and the quality was very good. Conversation varied - Starfleet, marriage (Blambo had just got married again), retirement, cameras, drones, children, travel, and of course, VM and Rexx. It was probably not a conversation that would have interested or excited our nearest and dearest - but it was a great catch-up.

As Stuart and Blambo were both on duty at Starfleet first thing tomorrow they had to get back. So it was that after a couple of hours or so, Stuart headed for the train and Merlin and Blambo headed for the motorway. MFC made his way home and the Gorse Fox headed to his room. We resolved to meet up again - and hopefully expand the group in time for the next "do".

A super day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Out

The Silver Vixen met up with Urban-Cub and took baby Ellie up to Chiddingfold to have lunch out with the Gorse Fox's little sister. He's sure they had a good time and there are probably several donkeys dragging themselves around looking for the hind legs.

Meanwhile the Gorse Fox had his usual football. This went well. He wasn't quite as active as usual, but managed to win 4 games and draw 2. He was pleased with how it went as his defensive work meant that only 3 goals were conceded across all six games.

We have the club's AGM tonight.

Sub human

The Gorse Fox cannot adequately express the contempt and disgust he holds for these radicalised terrorists who perpetrate such horrors as the slaughter of innocents in Manchester last night.

Clearly these radicalised, cowardly sub-humans, acting in the name of their 'religion' and with hatred for any non-believers, are lost in an intellectual stone-age but supported with modern weapons. It is interesting that the condemnation is almost universal - but the silence from their countries is deafening, and yet they slaughter more of their own than people in the West.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Missing in Action

The Gorse Fox had a bit of a surprise whilst doing the accounts the other day. One bank account had gone missing. His aggregator hadn't picked up the balance or any transactions for a couple of weeks. He decided that it may not be a fault with the aggregator as everything else was working (including another account with the same bank).

He logged in to the online service. Not something he does regularly as this is effectively a savings account. He was greeted with the message that there was no account to view. A moment of panic set in. Surely the Labour party hadn't started stripping people's accounts before the election!

He noticed a red flag against the messages. It appears that a letter had been returned to them saying "Not at this address" so they had blocked the account. Heart rate was easing slightly. The Silver Vixen was able to elaborate and it appears they had the wrong house number on file and whilst our old postman sorted this out, we now have a new postman and he didn't know. The Silver Vixen has tried to correct this several times without success.

The Gorse Fox logged back on with view to correcting things. Oh no, not that easy. The features were not available on Sunday. This morning the Silver Vixen tried the telephone banking but no, again the computer says "no". So it was that we went in to Chichester to talk to someone in the branch. Finally we got some movement. The address is now correct, the bock has been lifted and the account should be fully available overnight.

A sigh of relief could be heard by most of West Sussex.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

GE2017 - Some Observations

Over the course of my voting life the Gorse Fox has seen a the ebb and flow of political parties and observed a number of interesting facts.

He tends to vote Conservative, but at each election looks at the alternative Labour option. (He doesn’t consider the Lib Dems to be a viable option - just harmless, well-meaning souls without a clue). He knows what the Conservatives are doing and have done, so spends his time re-evaluating the Labour alternative. Here are his deliberations for the 2017 General Election.

Each Labour Government has come in on a wave of optimism then spent vast amounts of money on public services. This is great news for the public services. There are several problems with this, however. One is that in most cases the Government didn’t have the funds to support this spending and ended up by either increasing taxes or increasing the national debt. Another problem is that they were held to ransom by their Union backers and usually backed down (The Gorse Fox believes the Unions to be little more than industrial terrorists nowadays). Finally they espouse the fact that everyone is ‘entitled’ but no one is ‘responsible’.

As each of these Labour Governments has eventually be superseded by a Conservative Government they tuck their tail between their legs and sit and snipe as the new Government tries to recover the broken finances. These periods of rebuilding, or austerity, allow them to claim the Conservatives are the nasty party. He doesn’t believe the Conservatives are the nasty party, but rather believe they are a party that wants everyone to have the incentive and opportunity to improve their lot, whilst supporting those with a genuine need, but not the lazy and feckless.

He would characterise the parties by saying that Tories look at success and say ‘we too can be like that’, whereas the Labour attitude seems to look at success and say ‘we want what they have, so take it from them and give it to us’. It’s all about creating a dependency culture by dragging people down to the lowest common denominator. Labour seems to be a party riddled with vitriol, with bullies, and protesters who only believe in free speech if it agrees with them.

A worrying trend is that the youngsters seem to be drawn to the hardline Labour rhetoric without any concept of what it was like before their policies were removed the first time. Inflation was out of control (take a look at current situation in Venezuela for an example), the Unions held us to ransom and unemployment soared.

There is an old saying - “If you're not a socialist when you're young you have no heart, if you're still a socialist when you're older you have no head”

Manifesto 

The Gorse Fox makes the following observations regarding the current Labour plans.

  • They wish to re-nationalise the railways, the water industry, energy, the mail, and so forth. Anybody who remembers what it was like in the 60s and 70s should realise what a dreadful prospect that presents. British Rail was unaccountable, dreadful, and subject to whims of the Unions. The Unions could hold the whole country to ransom for any perceived injustice or desire for more money. 

  • The "fully costed" Labour manifesto costings don't include a single penny for nationalising energy, rail, water and Royal Mail. Not a penny. (Let us remember that it is ordinary shareholders and pension funds that own the companies that currently provide these facilities). 
  • Indeed the current estimate is that there a £58 billion black hole. 
  • Labour announces it's to scrap hospital parking charges, paid for by new charge on private health insurance. So this means those people who (in addition to paying their tax and NI contributions) save the NHS money by paying additionally for health insurance also have to pick up the burden of paying the parking charges (many of which are written into the PFI contracts and cannot be scrapped). 
  • Question: How will they pay for their plans? They won’t…. We will and our children will and our children’s children. They are like an adolescent with a credit card that has no limit and doesn’t appreciate it all has to be paid for. 
  • On water privatisation the only way that they can bills is to stop the current level of investment in renewing and improving the infrastructure… at a time when they are promising to build 1 million new homes. 
The IFS and the papers have shown the black hole in their costings and concluded that a) their plans would bankrupt the Country, and b) we would have the highest level of taxation since 1949.


  • Labour have proposed an inheritance tax that kicks in when assets of the deceased exceed £420,000… this will affect about 3.9 million people. If you have paid off your mortgage and live in a moderate house in the South - then assume your children will be affected and the Government will take a chunk of what you spent your life working for… even after paying tax on it when you earned it originally. 
  • Despite all of the expectations, Labour intend to continue with the current proposed 7Bn cut in benefits. 
An interesting fact from the IFS: The 1.3m people Lab want to hit with new 45p and 50p rates already pay more than 40% of all income tax. Furthermore as the top rate was cut from 98% in the late 1970s to 40% in 1988, the richest percentile went from paying 14% of income tax to 27%. This is clearly evidence that the Labour plan is about envy not economics.

Leadership 

Additionally, he has serious concerns regarding the leadership of the party and the vitriolic boot-boy supporters that they seem to attract. Let’s examine some the facts and the rhetoric.

  • Corbyn supports a number of terrorist organisations: the IRA, and Hamas, to name but two. This shows a poor lack of judgement. Indeed he said “it was ‘my pleasure and my honour’ to host ‘our friends from Hezbollah and our friends from Hamas’ in the Commons”. 
  • Corbyn and McDonnell actively supported criminals who murdered British soldiers and civilians As the Belfast Telegraph reports on “Jeremy Corbyn's three decades of comfort and aid to the Provisionals”. Even today he has refused to condemn the IRA. 
  • Corbyn has allowed the growth of overt anti-semitism in the Labour Party and then whitewashed its existence with a dreadful review by Chakrabathi. 
  • He's a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which urges a boycott of Israeli goods in protest at the situation in Gaza. 
  • It has emerged now that he has been a closely associated with an organisation of Holocaust deniers for the past 10 years. 
  • He demands loyalty yet defied the Labour whip over 500 times 
It is worth considering that 172 Labour MPs voted no confidence in Corbyn as leader, but now they think his Government could run the rail, energy, mail and water industries?

  • McDonnell supports the boot-boys and terrorists. 
  • He is quoted: “It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. The peace we have now is due to the action of the IRA” 
  • He also said how he would like to “go back to the 1980s and assassinate Thatcher”. Clearly the kinder face of politics. 
  • At a meeting regarding trying to sack Esther McVey the question was asked "Why are [we] sacking her? Why aren’t we lynching the bastard?” 
  • John McDonnell has described violent student riots as “the best of our movement”. 
  • He has also proclaimed the he is a Marxist. We should remember that Marxism espouses: 
    • High, punitive taxes 
    • Closing down business 
    • Removal of private property 
  • Diane Abbott is just incapable and seems to demonstrate it at every opportunity. 
  • She advocated the abolition of MI5 and the security services. 
  • She was so confused by the mathematics that she thought she could introduce 10,000 new police officers for a cost £300,000 before changing her mind and saying it would actually be closer to £80m. 
  • After the local elections When questioned during the ITN interview on the ‘net losses’, she answered: ‘At the time of us doing this interview I think the net losses are about 50.’ The interviewer quickly replied: ‘They’re actually about 125.’ She then attempted to cover the number gaffe by saying: ‘Well the last time I looked we had net losses of 100.” At the very least this is an admission she was tring to mislead. 
  • She blamed the Tories for increasing youth unemployment: “Since 2010 the Tories have…hugely increased youth unemployment.” However, figures from the Office for National Statistics show otherwise. From May-July 2010, 921,000 people aged 16-24 were unemployed, compared with the latest figures of 558,000 for December 2016-February 2017. Maybe facts and numbers were never her strong point. 
  • Abbott also has a dubious history regarding terrorists: she said (in an interview with The Times) in 1984 that Ireland “is our struggle - every defeat for the British state is a victory for all of us. A defeat in Northern ireland would be a defeat indeed”. 
The Gorse Fox would like to bring the following to your attention (again):
Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers. 
GF would like to acknowledge the originator of this, but he seems to be anonymous 

Legacy 

We should also remember their track record from previous terms in Government: 
  • They sold off the UK gold reserves when gold was at its lowest price 
  • They raided people’s pension pots to the tune of £10s of billions per year. The devastating impact of Labour's raid on pensions: The tax grab has cost workers £118bn since 1997. (Office for Budget Responsibility) 
  • They reneged on the promise to consult the electorate on the Lisbon Treaty 
  • They spent less, per capita, on the NHS than the current government. 
  • Only Sweden has spent more, per capita, on Health than the UK between 2010 and 2015.
  • They closed more of the mines than the Tory government (yet the Tory government get the blame). Harold Wilson closed 290 mines and Maggie thatcher closed 160. Just let that sink in. 
  • In fact they are very good at introducing policies that the Tories then get the blame for: 

  • They introduced the first private hospital in the NHS - and have still privatised more of the NHS than the Tories. (It's worth repeating that the Tories are spending MORE on the NHS than Labour promised to spend in their 2015 election manifesto.) 
  • Their attempt to rein in the Unions lead to the winter of discontent, and their inability to control the miners led to the three day week; rubbish piling up in the streets, and bodies remaining unburied. 
  • They are claiming to be the party for the many but I offer the following insight: 
    • In 2019/10, under Labour t
      • the minimum wage was £12,606 pa 
      • Tax allowance was £6,475 
      • Tax paid was £1,117.80 (9.27% of annual salary) 
      • Take home pay was £10,946.20
    • In 2017/18 under these vicious Tories 
      • the minimum wage is £15,600 pa 
      • Tax allowance is £11,500 
      • Tax payable is £820 (5.26% of annual salary) 
      • Take home pay is £14,780 
    • I would add that unemployment is at its lowest rate for 42 years 
  • They have attempted to weaponise the NHS and rolled out scare stories at EVERY election since the 60s… the Tories (even when they had a vast majority in the house) have never tried to privatise or destroy the NHS. What they have tried to do is control the waste and inefficiency that such a vast organisation engenders. 
  • This is nothing new as the image below reveals. Claims of NHS crises stretch back a long way. 

  • They introduced PFI which has saddled the NHS with an unsustainable level of debt. Labour left the NHS with a £300 billion PFI debt. Interestingly It was illegal to use PFI in the NHS until Tony Blair's National Health Service (Private Finance) Act 1997. 
  • PFI hospitals cost NHS £2bn pa and rising. Except for one, all PFI deals were signed by Labour governments between 1997 and 2010 

  • By the way did you know that in 2015 Labour ran a surplus of £4.3 million, but paid zero tax. The Conservative Party ran a surplus of just over a million and paid £238,000 in tax. 
  • John McDonnell was recently quoted saying: ‘Tax avoidance is a scourge on our society’. ( The Gorse Fox can only assume he will be sending a cheque to HMRC at some time soon). 
  • I have no particular axe to grind over immigration. Many do, however, and to them I point them to Peter Mandelson who admitted "We sent search parties out to get more people into the UK". 
  • Labour blocked a planned crackdown on tax avoidance that would have raised £8.6 billion for the Treasury.
But all in all facts tend to be a bit of a problem for the bully-boys and group-think acolytes of the Left. The Gorse Fox leaves you with the thought that we have the lowest unemployment numbers for years, industrial output is growing, our economy is one of the strongest in the world - and some people would risk this for a PM in which 172 of his own party had no confidence.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Catching up

We started the day with a trip down towards Selsey. Whilst in Chichester yesterday,  the Silver Vixen had seen some grasses that she wanted. She didn't, however, have the time to pick them up from the market so we headed down to the nursery. It was a bit muddy as there had been a lost of rain and the owner was having a huge house built near the entrance. The driveway was being churned up by the contractors. (It does look as if it will be superb when finished).

He took us along to the greenhouses and helped the Silver Vixen select the particular grasses that she wanted and did us a good deal on the transaction. From there we headed across to Hillier's at Fishbourne. Here she wanted some plants for the hanging baskets and also for a couple of pots that she wants to re-purpose. We made the most of the trip and stayed on for a coffee and cake before heading home.

Back home the Gorse Fox had some catching up to attend to. The last few weeks of DIY projects have meant that his usual Thursday morning accounts admin has been on hold. It was time to bring everything back up to date. So it was that the Gorse Fox has spent a chunk of the afternoon in front of the computer.

Talking of the DIY projects, the Gorse Fox thinks he has come up with a design and ultimately a solution for the pulley issue. New design only needs 2 pulleys and a ratchet winch. He will order these during the coming week.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Frustrating

The Gorse Fox has had a frustrating day. It started with a trip to Chichester where he found a newly recommended hardware store. Would they have pulleys? Well the answer was yes, but not the sort that the Gorse Fox needs. They recommended another hardware store in town and, failing that, a chandler in Emsworth.

The Gorse Fox tried the second store - no luck.

He headed across to Emsworth. "It's right in the town centre" said the chap in the first shop. The Gorse Fox parked in the town centre and asked a passer-by. No clue. He asked another. "Oh yes" he said "It's not here in the town centre. You'll have to walk up to the station then through the car park. It's in an industrial unit there". The Gorse Fox set off. He found it without too much difficulty and went straight to the extensive range of pulleys. The assistant came over to offer help and to inform the Gorse Fox that the range of pulleys was subject to 50% discount. That seemed like a result.

The Gorse Fox started to look at the various options available and work out what he would need. He noticed there were no prices displayed and called the assistant. "Can you help me, my good man?" the chap came back across the shop. "Can you tell me how much these are; there are no prices displayed". The Gorse Fox was pointing at one of the smallest pulley blocks. The chap scuttled off and then slunk back. "With the 50% discount it is £17.34" he said.

As the Gorse Fox needs about 6 pulleys he decided that a yacht chandlery is probably not going to be a practical source unless he wins the lottery. He left.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Enamel

Enamel is a very hard wearing substance. The Gorse Fox has seen a human tooth used in a drill to bore through masonry. Despite this human teeth seem susceptible to wear and tear and decay if not cared for. Today the Gorse Fox had his (now) regular check-up. This involved a the Dentist prodding a poking and taking some fresh X-rays (the last set were 3 years old). The Gorse Fox got a verbal pat on the head and a clean bill of health. "Whatever you are doing, keep doing it" she said. With that the Gorse Fox went out into Chichester with a satisfied grin.

He stopped off at Covers ( a local builders' merchant). They have vast selections of almost everything you could possibly need. The Gorse Fox was pleased to find some lovely American white oak which could prove a useful starter for the next project(s) - but his real purpose was to see if they had any suitable pulleys. It took some tracking down, but they did have two different types of pulley, neither of which was suitable for the workshop at home. Thwarted, he left.

It's been a quiet afternoon watching the rain as it drew patterns on the Orangery roof.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

G-Force

As grandparents we are an additional emergency service... like the AA, the Coastguard, or Fire Brigade. We have concluded we are G-Force. We got a call from Urban-Cub this morning. She had things to do and baby Ellie was in a demanding mood. So it was that after the Silver Vixen's appointment at the local hospital, we went across in G-Force One and picked up Ellie to bring her home with us for the afternoon. She fell asleep as soon as we were in the car and didn't wake for a couple of hours. After a change and feed, she again settled down for quiet afternoon watching the rain on the Orangery roof. She was delightful.

Urban-Cub came round and joined us for supper then bathed Ellie before taking her home.

Lovely quiet family day... and not long until Cousteau-Cub is home with us.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Excellent day

It was an excellent day. The weather was warm (20C) and sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky. This presented lovely conditions for the usual football.

The football was great fun. The Gorse Fox, who hasn't played since last Tuesday, played well. In the first three games he won, drew and lost a game but defended well, and had several good shots on goal (though they were saved). In the second three games, the teams were a little lop-sided. This made it very hard work at the back, particularly when the other defender walked off the pitch without telling anyone. The Gorse Fox did, however, manage to score a great goal volleying the ball in from the edge of the area.

The Silver Vixen was out with her coven, so the Gorse Fox and Jasper were left to their own devices for the afternoon.

The Gorse Fox sat and enjoyed the warm weather in the Orangery for a while then went for a stroll on the garden to look at how well the acers are thriving this year.

Only 22 days now before Cousteau-Cub comes home for a visit. We're really looking forward to this and getting quite excited.


Monday, May 15, 2017

There's Tidy

Though warm it was a very wet morning and thought the afternoon dried up, the cloud cover remained. What a grey day!

The Gorse Fox made the most of and empty schedule by heading out to the workshop to try and turn it back into a garage... at least in theory. It took most of the morning, but all of the tools are now packed away where they belong, the off-cuts were loaded into rubble sacks and the the shop vacuum went into overdrive to suck up all of the saw dust. By lunch time it was done and a small pile of things nestled by the door awaiting a break in the rain and a trip to the dump.

There was finally some respite from the rain. The Gorse Fox loaded up the car with the junk and headed out to the tip. There were a few raised eyebrows as he disposed of some 1.8m of 600mm drainage pipe, but this was not going to be re-used.

Overall, he's very pleased with how things have gone. The car cannot go in the garage yet... that will have to await whatever final solution gets invented to lift the workbench back against the wall.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Solved

Well the Gorse Fox has solved and implemented all but one of yesterday's outstanding problems. There was no football today, so he made use of the time out in the workshop.

The middle legs were braced in the vertical position by triangular brackets that can be inserted or removed with a simple bolt. The articulation of the end legs was locked by a wooden sleeve that drops over the hinged area on each leg. The position of the end legs was locked by the simple inclusion of a piece of wood that has a slot at the appropriate distance and allows the wood to just drop down over the braces that connect the two middle legs, and the two end legs. Sorted!

The whole workbench is as solid as a rock.

As intimated yesterday, it also the weight of a rock. In fact Gibraltar would be a fine similitude. This problem too has been solved, but not yet implemented. The Gorse Fox is going to construct a winch and pulley mechanism. Though he thinks he has found a suitable winch (hand cranked ratchet mechanism) - finding suitable pulleys is proving a challenge.

Despite this, the workbench is now usable... but clearly the car cannot be put away until the workbench can be stowed, and that depends on the winch and pulleys.

On the domestic front, Urban-Cub came round with baby Ellie. Pistol Pete is on duty so she was at a loose end and came round to us for company. Betty Rubble enjoyed the opportunity to feed her (Ellie, that is) and, of course, nanna Silver Vixen and grandpa Gorse Fox both had their opportunities to cuddle the little bundle of joy.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A good run at it

The Gorse Fox has had a good day in the garage (workshop). He has made a lot of progress and the foldaway work bench has come together pretty well
In essence, it hinges at the wall and at the centre. It will have a plywood top once all the mechanics and fitting has been completed. There have certainly been a few 'adjustments' that have been needed during the build to accommodate everything neatly into a small package.

There are still problems that have to be solved. Firstly, there needs to be a solution to allow the outer legs (which are articulated) to lock in the open position. Then there needs to be a solution to ensure all of the legs lock into the vertical position when the worktop is open. The Gorse Fox also has to try and think of some sort of counterbalance as the whole think is already quite heavy and by the time it has a plywood top it will be too heavy to raise and lower easily. Finally, he needs to come up with a latch system to keep the whole unit folded away neatly against the wall.

None of these problems present a show-stopper... but they do require a bit of thought.

Meanwhile, Betty Rubble has come down to see us and has spent the day with the Silver Vixen. She's staying overnight, but has been across to see Urban-Cub and baby Ellie this afternoon.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Under construction

After a wet start, it brightened up nicely and this afternoon has been lovely and warm. First thing saw a raft of domestic chores, but then the Gorse Fox pottered off to B&Q for the final items on his build list.

The build is going well. The Gorse Fox is really quite please with the way it's turning out. There are, however, still a number of design challenges to be met. For instance, the Gorse Fox has to develop a supporting leg that folds away into a space that's shorter than the leg is long. This means it needs to articulate in some fashion, or be telescopic. This is really the last of the big decisions that he needs to make, but whatever the choice the solution needs to be stable and support the weight of the tools and projects that will be built on the worktop. This one will have to filter through the little grey cells over night.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Jigging around

The Gorse Fox headed out to the garage. There was sawdust to make. He wanted to round over the end of some wood so that it could pivot without binding. The blessed Norm Abram used to have a jig for his bandsaw that he used to cut circles from sheet material. The Gorse Fox thought it would be possible to adapt this idea and use it.

A quick trip to B&Q, a little measuring, cutting, glueing and screwing later and the jig was done and nestled neatly on the band saw's cutting deck.

The dowel pin just this side of the blade acts as a pivot around which the wood could rotate and the blade then cuts at the required diameter. Simple really.

Well it that was the theory. In practise the Gorse Fox had to fiddle a bit. Don't get him wrong, the jig was fine. The problem was the stock to be rounded over required such a tight arc that the width of the bandsaw blade would bind in the cut. A quick 'adjustment' with the mitre saw allowed an initial rough cut so that there was less waste wood to bind against the blade. Then the bandsaw and jig finished the job without a hitch.

Now there were several of these 'spars' that needed the same treatment. Having mastered it on the first prototype the rest were easy. The photo on the left shows one of the finished articles. The Gorse Fox still needs to smooth them over a bit with the belt sander, but that can wait. There is still much design work to complete

As he finishes off this blog entry he is starting to think of the various items that need to go on the shopping list so that this can all be finished.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Old Lags

Today was a reunion. In the last couple of months the Gorse Fox had met up with two separate old college friends. Today was an opportunity for the three of us to get together and terrorise the streets of Brighton to recreate our year at Barnet College in the late 60's and early 70's.

It didn't start well. Andy was coming down from Bedford by train. The points failed at the entrance to  Brighton Station... Andy ended up having to return to Preston Park and eventually carry on by bus. An hour was wasted, but we finally linked up.


We made our way down to West Street where the Gorse Fox had heard of a Brazilian BBQ Restaurant. It seemed worth a try.

We settled down and took our plates to the salad bar to load up with various vegetables then settled back to the table. Our table had an indicator which we set to green. As long as it was green, servers would stop at the table and carve more meat of their fresh skewers of meat... steak, sirloin steak, pork loin, pork ribs, chicken, sausages... etc. It was a meat-lovers heaven and the meat was beautifully tender.

Eventually we turned our indicator over and the meat stopped coming. The Gorse Fox is not sure he will need any further protein this month.

We waddled out of the restaurant and down to the promenade. Some exercise was needed.

Normal reaction draws you towards the pier, but these Old Lags were always contrary so we wandered towards Hove. All along the front the local council are doing improvements and smartening up the whole promenade. Judging by the pictures on the hoardings, it will be very nice when it is finished and those parts that have been done certainly look very nice.

Next thing we knew it was approaching four o'clock. Andy needed to get his train so we did and about face and headed back. We said our goodbyes and resolved to meet up again soon.