Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer is back

Another lovely day. It seems as if summer has returned (though it may not be for long).

Football was a busy affair this morning. The Gorse Fox ended up playing for the blue-bibs in both sessions. It didn't start well. He was in goal and we managed to lose 4-0. After that he played out on the pitch and we won the next two games 4-1 and 2-0. The first hour had gone by quickly, but we ended up second in the round-robin.

The second hour saw a change of personnel but the Gorse Fox was still in blue. This was a little more emphatic with a 4-0, 5-0, and 2-1 win. In these the Gorse Fox was please to contribute two of the goals and provide assists for another couple. Very satisfying.

As the Silver Vixen is out with her coven, the Gorse Fox has spent the afternoon on the family tree.

Monday, August 14, 2017


The results of the DNA tests that the Gorse Fox had commissioned have arrived. There are no huge surprises in the analysis though he was a little disappointed that there were no immediate big obvious matches with anyone else.

So it looks as if his roots are predominantly from the northern parts of Ireland, and the southern parts of England. Clearly there is some Scandinavian input though he would guess that could be Viking input. All of the remaining "trace" ethnicity is scattered around Europe (with 1% Western Asia!)

Now he needs to try and make links with those distant cousins that were signalled in the results to see if we can work out where the links are. It's quite exciting really and the Gorse Fox has just ordered a DNA kit for the Silver Vixen.


Chichester is a genteel sort of place. As we wandered the streets we came across a string trio who were busking. This wasn't just ordinary busking, this was M&S busking!

After we had stopped for lunch we had a bit of time to kill so wandered round the Bishop's Palace Gardens. They provide a se of tranquility in the centre of the City.


It was a lovely day but the Gorse Fox has been suffering for a few days with a problematic tooth. He had called ob Friday and had an appointment with the fang farrier this morning. So it was that he and the Silver Vixen made our way into Chichester for the day.

He was not looking forward to this. All previous dentist have, at this point, constructed a drilling rig and started fracking in his mouth.

Not this dentist. She had a close look and fiddled about with the compressed air and a pick and declared that she could see nothing wrong. She would coat the offending tooth in resin and see if the problem diminished over the next few days. This seemed like a good result to the Gorse Fox.

We spent much of the rest of the day in Chichester and stopped off in Wagamama's for lunch. Their menu has changed significantly since we last visited and we were most impressed.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


It has been a glorious day. Lots of sunshine and a slight breeze to keep it from getting too hot. There was no football again this morning (other than the rerun of last night's Match of the Day). We could only muster 9 players and the minimum is really 10.

The Gorse Fox made the most of the time with a few domestic chores and a concentrated attack on the blanket weed that has been forming in the rill. It didn't't take too long to clear it, but there must have been several kilos of the green tendrils. A splash of bleach has been added to try and keep things clear. It certainly looks ok at present.

Good win for Spurs on the opening day of the season at Newcastle. The Gorse Fox is not sure what it is but he's never liked Newcastle United. Some teams you like, some you are indifferent to, and there's always a few you dislike. They fall into the latter category (for no rational reason).

Had a very interesting chat with someone on Facebook today. She has had her DNA done and has had some excellent results in that she not only has a better view of her ethnicity (it wasn't exactly what she had thought) she has also made contact with a cousin she didn't previously know of. The Gorse Fox is really looking forward to getting his results... and will get the Silver Vixen's done.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

So quiet

Saturday has been a very quiet day. We had a lazy start, moderate middle, and quiet end.

Much of the day has been spent working on the family tree, particularly of the Roe family in the Luton area. This opened up an interesting avenue as one cousin married a chap called Bunyan. He and his family all came from the Luton area. Cousteau-Cub has a close friend who's family name was Bunyan and came from the outskirts of Bedford. It would be such a nice thing to find that there was a link between the families - however tenuous.

Whilst at it the Gorse Fox also started to look at the tree for the Coventry Hobbit. He needs to confirm a few things before he gets too much further, but again it looks like there could be an interesting link

Friday, August 11, 2017


So we provided grandparents bed and breakfast for Miss Ellie. She was an absolute joy. But what about karma? Why is it that she slept from 7 yesterday evening to 7:30 this morning... yet Urban-Cub and Cousteau-Cub (in concert with British Aerospace) managed to wake us every night for seven years between them.
Don't misunderstand, the Gorse Fox hopes this continues - at least when she stays with us, but she certainly seems content.

We met up with Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete for lunch at The Old Stables. It was a celebration for her birthday. The restaurant was busier than usual and understaffed due to sickness but the two staff that were there tried their best to keep everyone happy and did a pretty good job. Needless to say there were a few elderly people who made a fuss - but there are always some people who are so self-absorbed that they don't realise the constraints within which others have to operate.

We had a good meal and the Gorse Fox tried some Wagyu beef in a burger. He would love to wax lyrical about the flavour and texture, but frankly it just tasted like a good home made burger.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Important day

It's an important day. Many moons ago on the 10th of August, the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox were blessed with the arrival of Urban-Cub to complete the family unit that we had started with Cousteau-Cub.

Happy Birthday.

The morning followed a typical Thursday pattern. The Silver Vixen popped out for a while while the Gorse Fox took in the Ocado order and did the weekly admin. Once that was done, he settled down to the family tree research. This proved very interesting as he followed a previously unexplored brother of his Gt-grandfather. This turned out to be intriguing as the family moved from St Pancras to Loughborough (where the Gorse Fox's mother went to school) and then down to Luton. We lived in Harpenden when young, and then the Gorse Fox lived just outside Dunstable for three years. There was a completely unknown branch of the family within 5 miles. So far the Gorse Fox hasn't tracked them forward to his generation but hopefully that's just a matter of time.

The G-force are on duty overnight tonight. Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete are taking the kids out for dinner to celebrate her Birthday and we are meeting up for lunch tomorrow. So far Ellie has been very well behaved and very chatty; though now she has given in and is in bed.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

On target

The forecast was for rain but we were lucky enough that it held off until after the football was over. The Gorse Fox had a good game but a frustrating one. His team won 2-1, but the Gorse Fox had six or seven really good shots saved by big Brian, who was on inspired form today.

It was quiet afternoon. Pistol Pete and Urban-Cub dropped in on their way back from Southampton. They had been shopping for a travel cot and travel bath for Ellie. Whilst the Silver Vixen was feeding said bundle of joy, Pistol Pete and the Gorse Fox put the travel cot together. It's really very sturdy and rather impressive. We're hanging on to it at the moment as Ellie will probably being staying with us over night tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Quiet day

The forecast was for rain later in the day. The Gorse Fox wondered if he would get a dry game of football. As it came to pass the rain stayed away until the last ten minutes or so of the second hour, and even then wasn't too heavy (though there was absolute cloud burst as he was driving home).

The football was fun as usual. In the first hour we lost 2-1, drew 2-2, and lost 4-2. The Gorse Fox contributed one goal to the tally and provided two assists. In the second hour it was a little better with a 4-2 win, a 2-2 draw, and a 3-1 win. During this spell the Gorse Fox provided 5 assists and had a goal ruled out. All in all a very successful day.

After lunch we were presented with a bird by Jasper. Fortunately it didn't seem injured - merely shocked. The Silver Vixen gave Jasper a good talking to while the Gorse Fox captured the bird and took him out to the garden to allow him to fly away. We can do without gifts like that.

We had to pop into Chichester this afternoon, but again managed to dodge the rain.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Great start

It was a great start to the (non) working week. Jasper gave us a lie in, not starting his usual attack until seven. Then once sorted out, the Gorse Fox had a spreadsheet to sort out for Urban-Cub. That may seem like a strange definition of a great start, but to the Gorse Fox it was a lovely bit of mental exercise.

Once that was done and sent off, the Gorse Fox returned to his Family Tree research. It was a frustrating day in that very little progress was made. Hours were spent searching indexes and registers but very little found that made significant inroads into the tree. There were the odd records that filled in some gaps and eventually the family name of the Gorse Fox's 3rd great grandmother emerged... but little else.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Well maybe not

The Gorse Fox explained yesterday how he had been contacted by a 5th cousin through the Roe family. This morning he started working through to try and understand how it all fits together. Unfortunately it turns out that it doesn't.

As the Gorse Fox traces back from his mother, grandfather, gt-grandfather and onwards he worked with fact that he knew to be correct and had clear evidence for each. As he dropped further back he checked every relationship and every source. There was 100% confidence in his data. Unfortunately the new "cousin" had clearly made a wrong assumption regarding one family. It was this assumption that linked his family to ours. The Gorse Fox has written to him to explain and will have to see what transpires.

There was no football today. We couldn't muster sufficient players to create two teams. Shame really, the Gorse Fox could really do with the work out.

As Pistol Pete was working today, Urban-Cub brought Ellie round to keep us all amused. She's a chirpy little soul.

Saturday, August 05, 2017


One of the obvious by-products of genealogical research is the discovery of new relations. The Gorse Fox uses Family Tree Maker as his desktop tool for research and recording, and has this linked to ancestry.com

A feature of ancestry.com is that when you are working on the details of a particular person it can flag u "hints". In the background it notices who you are looking at and searches for any relevant information. Today the Gorse Fox was looking at a record for his grandfather.  A hint was flagged so the Gorse Fox looked to see what it was. It was a photo. Someone had submitted a photo of him, someone that the Gorse Fox didn't recognise from his research. A few minutes later, he sent a message asking for some background.

It didn't take long to get a response. It turns out that this chap from Camberley is the Gorse Fox's 5th cousin. That is our family trees converge at our 5th great grandfather. It's a shame we didn't know this years ago when we lived just down the road from Camberley at Hook.

On this very subject, a second cousin of the Silver Vixen has made contact and still lives in Exeter where the Silver Vixen's family lived at the end of the 1800s and first half of the 1900s.

This is all quite exciting really. The Gorse Fox is eager to see if anything develops from the DNA testing he has submitted.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Hands that do dishes

There are few things more annoying than intermittent faults. We have been suffering for several months with occasional failures of the dishwasher. It seems totally random, but about once a week or ten days it will fail mid-cycle and start bleeping. A check in the manual defines several error scenarios - none display the acoustic signal we get in combination with the various lights.

Having had to wash up by hand (yes, a first world problem) twice this week, the Gorse Fox decided enough was enough. He called a man. Not just any man you understand, but a man who fixes appliances. This afternoon the man came knocking with his toolbox in hand.

He dived in and tried a number of things, dismantling several components. Eventually he found the water level sensor which appeared to be clogged up. With this functioning incorrectly, the machine would think there is water there when there isn't or vice versa. A bit of digging about cleared the blockage and the part was re-installed. Now we will have to wait and see.

What impressed the Gorse Fox was the fact that he wrote an invoice but told the Gorse Fox not to pay  it until he had run the dishwasher for a few days without any problems - then he can either pay or contact the chap to come and fix things if they didn't work.

Meanwhile, the Silver Vixen spent some time over with Urban-Cub as Ellie was due for her latest set of inoculations. A little bit of moral support is always welcome at such times.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Not much to report

It's been quiet. The weather was mixed, varying from warm sunshine to torrential rain and back again. A stiff wind has battered the house all day.

The Silver Vixen was out for much of the morning, so the Gorse Fox was left to handle the weekly Ocado delivery before he retired to the study to do the accounts. While there he also selected a restaurant for our anniversary lunch, later this month. We have decided to go abroad to celebrate and this meant we had some research to do. The Gorse Fox isn't sure what this foreign food is like and how good the particular restaurant might be. In the end he selected one and booked. It seems to have a super outlook over the Channel and the menu seemed to suit our tastes. It's a long tome since we've crossed the water, but it should make a change. The Gorse Fox will have to brush up on his local phrases and accent for when he orders the food. he always thinks it's nice to make an effort when visiting some foreign land. Having said that, the isle of Wight isn't really that far geographically.

Urban-Cub turned up with Ellie at lunchtime. Pistol Pete was at home, but had an important telephone interview scheduled and Urban-Cub said she's have been on tenterhooks in case Ellie got noisy during the call. It was easier to escape entirely and leave him to it. As usual, Ellie was a joy an we had a lovely couple of hours.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Where is Noah

It did not look promising and by the time the Gorse Fox was driving across to Worthing, the rain had started. It looked as if it would be a very wet game of football (again).

The Gorse Fox was picked for the yellow team this week and we kicked off into the wind with the rain driving at our faces. By half time, it had been a tight and competitive game, but we were 2-1 down. The rain was dripping off us as it got more and more intense. By the end of the game we had conceded a further goal and we all left the pitch completely drenched. Fortunately, the Gorse Fox had brought a complete range of clothes so it wasn't long before he was warm and cozy.

The rain had brought out the cars. Clearly any journey that would normally have been done on foot or by bike, was taken in a car and the usual 25 minute drive home took well over 45 minutes today. The rain has just increased in intensity throughout the afternoon and the Gorse Fox has started to design an Ark on Sketchup (now, how big is a cubit?)

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Second wind

A lovely day today. Lots of sunshine and an occasional breeze to keep you comfortable.

The Gorse Fox had his usual football. The first hour went well. This saw a 5-1 win and two draws. The "blues" played well and clearly had some good ball players who pushed the ball around well.

The second hour was also good. A win, a draw, and a loss. The only problem was that the Gorse Fox never really got his second wind so felt very weary at the end of the games.

The Silver Vixen spent some time in the afternoon chatting with Urban-Cub regarding her plans for return to work and the care of baby Ellie. It sounds as if she has found a really good carer and will go in to see them and ask questions on Friday. It will be good to have some certainty over the plans and an understanding of what we may have to do to help.

The Gorse Fox spent several hours back at the family tree. He again observed some bizarre online anomalies. His advice for anyone using the online trees that have been submitted to Ancestry is DON'T. The vast majority seem to be seriously flawed.

Monday, July 31, 2017

More of the same

A lovely day today - bright sun and a few clouds scudding across the sky. The morning started when Jasper dragged the Gorse Fox from bed at 06:15. This wasn't too much a problem as he was already awake.

The Gorse Fox did some research and was filling in some new family tree details when the software crashed.
He restarted it. It crashed.
He restored his full backup. It crashed.
He restarted the computer.
He restarted the software. It crashed.

Not a good start. The Gorse Fox contacted the developers using their Live Chat service. Thirty seconds later he was explaining the problem to Linda. A minute or so later, she had a solution. It took the Gorse Fox about ten minutes to follow through and voila, the problem was solved.

The rest of them morning was spent catching up on a few bits of housekeeping, then this afternoon he returned to his research. This was slow but successful. He has driven another part of the Silver Vixen's family back to her 9th great parents. In doing this he found another researcher had driven the same family back beyond 1303!!! The Gorse Fox does not accept this as fact - but will certainly examine what sources are available to see how far he can get.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hornet's Nest

The Gorse Fox followed up on some of his blog comments regarding genealogical research. He put a post onto Facebook:

Insert Tongue in cheek 
Is it possible to erase other people's trees from Ancestry? I am finding so many bits of research that have no sources or don't pass basic sense checks. As I said in answer to a post the other day I found one woman in my wife's line who was so sturdy she had 10 children after she died. Today I have found, according to another researcher, that her 6th Gt grandfather was born in 1692 and died in 1950. Now, I know she is from sturdy stock - but 258 years seems a good age to die. Is there some way to nuke these trees? 
Remove tongue from cheek
Well this stirred up a hornet's nest with 193 comments so far. These vary from serious responses (which he didn't really need), indignant and angry comments, and some humorous anecdotes (which is what he was expecting).

First observation is that there are some very miserable and angry small-minded people out there. The Gorse Fox's advice to them is to crawl back into a hole and fester by yourselves.

Secondly he thought he'd repeat some of the anecdotes that made him smile:

  • I love the trees where the mother has 32-34 kids....starting when she was 11-12 y.o. all the way to her 160th birthday !!!!
  • My favorite is the 4yo who gave birth, the tree owner adamantly insisted (sprinkled with cuss words) there was no mistake!
  • One humongous tree I saw went back all the way to God. This "faithful" genealogist was nearly giggling with glee over his extensive research. I tried to avoid being rude and did so with the exception of commenting on his ancestor, the famed Helen of Troy. I learned from his tree that she was born in British Columbia, Canada. 
  • I know exactly who my parents are, and when they were married. I have them on my tree, along with a copy of their marriage certificate. Someone copied them from my tree to hers, but has my father married to a different woman entirely, getting married in a different state entirely, and she even attached a marriage certificate that has different names on it as her "source" and "proof." I sent a message to her via the Ancestry message and she wrote back that she has the name Bruno in her family and when she saw Bruno on my tree she thought they belonged to her. She even said (and I quote) " I had no idea there were two sets of Bruno." REALLY? Only one Bruno family in all of Italy?!?
  • Mine involved a nun who never left the convent - they had married her into their family and given her a lot of children.
  • I have found my own grandmother listed on someone else's tree, because apparently her father, James Anderson, was the only James Anderson the tree owner could find. 
  • I've seen children's births after both parents deaths among other mistake
  • I had one that insisted my great uncle had a child 2 years after died and no amount of proof would change her mind. 
  • I had a DNA match with hint that liked to an ancestor but when I looked at their tree the kids were born before the father.
And just add another anecdote from today, the Gorse Fox found an nth Gt-grandmother of the Silver Vixen who, according to one researcher, had 23 children from three marriages - several of the children were born in the same years as other from the other (apparently simultaneous) marriages.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

All quiet

Bright start but the weather deteriorated and now it's pouring with rain.

This is the sort of day that means you don't really need to make excuses to sit in front of the computer  working on the family tree. The Gorse Fox has made lots of progress - and whilst he has only added a few new people to the tree he has found a significant amount of corroborative data.

Two Hats knocked on the door. We had taken in a delivery for them. The Gorse Fox challenged hime "Was that a router humming away last weekend?" He had to admit it was. The package we had taken in was a router table. The Gorse Fox suspects that Tinkerbell will not be too happy with him... evidently he's a bad influence! Two Hats admitted that he can't understand how he's got through without a router in the past.

Friday, July 28, 2017

For goodness sake

It is getting near time to hand out some hefty slaps.

The Gorse Fox has just found a researcher who has recorded for one of the Silver Vixen's 6th Gt grandfathers that he was for in 1692 and died in 1950. Now, one can acknowledge that she is from sturdy stock - but a 258 year lifespan should raise a few warning bells!

The Gorse Fox wonders if it is possible to go onto Ancestry.com and erase the trees that have been submitted by people who are evidently too stupid do genealogy.


There was post that needed to be sorted. The Gorse Fox has decided to get his DNA tested and filed in with the Family Tree. The sample package arrived on Tuesday and it was time to take the sample, stabilise it, package it up and get it sent away.

On the subject of post, Cousteau-cub had ordered some special leads for he dogs. Again, these arrived on Tuesday. The Gorse Fox got them wrapped and took them to the Post Office to send off. Hopefully, they won't take too long to get to Phi Phi.

Much of the rest of the day has been spent in the metaphorically dusty old Parish Registers (though one suspect that digital images give off very little dust). Finally, the Gorse Fox seems to be making some progress in the verification of the Silver Vixen's "Boult" line... though one or two names are still proving elusive or unreadable.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Urban-Cub wasn't feeling well so the G-signal flashed across the sky. The Gorse Fox got into the Silver Vixen's broom-mobile and went across to pick up baby Ellie. (The Silver Vixen's broom-mobile is the only car with the car seat fixture).

The G-force took over and Ellie was a joy for the rest of the day - while Urban-Cub stayed at home to rest.

The Gorse Fox had to pop in to the shops. There is a lesson here. Don't shop on Thursday morning... it's the time that they let all of the Zombies out as they shuffle pointlessly up and down the aisles blocking access for everyone else.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Well the forecast was correct. The rain started about an hour before the Gorse Fox left for football and it continued until about an hour after he finished. He was soaked. In fact it was so wet he didn't even try to wear his protective glasses - they'd have been a positive handicap today.

As it happens he was asked to play up front as two of our "yellow" players were nursing injuries. He gets a bit light headed when he crosses the halfway line, but decided to risk it. The game played out well. The Gorse Fox scored his first goal within a couple of minutes of the start and we managed to get a 2-1 lead by half time. In the second half, the Gorse Fox scored again and had a handful of shots stopped by the goalkeeper. In the end we rolled out 7-1 winners. A good, though wet, morning!

Back home the afternoon was spent reading through the Parish Registers for Colaton Raleigh in Devon for the years 1718 onwards. At this point the Gorse Fox has read through about 100 pages and extracted about 90 events that could feature members of the Silver Vixen's family. Now he needs to go back and cross reference them with his files. A further 40 pages of the register are available, but he's going boss-eyed at the moment.

The Silver Vixen had her usual Pilates session this morning but stopped off at Urban-Cub's on the way back. The intention was to mind Ellie while Urban-Cub went swimming, but in the end Urban-Cub wasn't feeling well so retired to bed once the Silver Vixen was there to take charge.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Making the most

The weather is forecast to to turn very wet over night, so the Gorse Fox was eager to make the most of the fine day and enjoy his football. This particularly so having missed a game on Sunday, when we didn't have sufficient players.

There was a good turn out and in the first hour the Gorse Fox played for the green bibs. This was not a resounding success as we drew the first game but lost the next two. The Gorse Fox did redeem things with a fine goal in the last game, but it wasn't enough to snatch a win.

In the second hour he played for the blue bibs. This was more successful with a 3-0 win, a 1-1 draw and a 2-1 loss. The Gorse Fox did however score another fine goal, so went away feeling quite satisfied. It looks likely that he will get very wet playing tomorrow.

The afternoon was spent back in the branches of the family tree. He has decided that the only way to sort out the anomaly in the Silver Vixen's part of the tree is tree surgery. He is now, carefully, unpicking details and deleting people. The idea is that he will then rebuild that part of the tree so that he can be confident in its accuracy.

Urban-Cub popped round for a while. She an Pistol Pete are looking to buy a house and came to show us the details and explain the deal they hope to strike as first time buyers, using the Government's "Help to Buy" scheme. It looks like a good deal and the house that they are focussed on, looks really nice (and is a mile or so closer to us than their current rental house).

Talking of houses, Cousteau-Cub is packing up her house on Koh Lanta ready to move over to Koh Phi Phi. As the Coventry Hobbit is working, the packing up is left to Cousteau-Cub. She hopes to have a little "sale" later in the week at a friend's hotel. This will get rid some unnecessary stuff and make her a little extra money.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Nice start

It was a nice start to the week. Jasper left the Gorse Fox alone until about 6:30-ish. This was a treat. Once we were up and about the Gorse Fox headed for the study. There was more research required on the Silver Vixen's part of the family tree. He thought he's make a start before Urban-Cub and baby Ellie arrived.

Urban-Cub turned up mid-morning and we had a nice few hours with her and our lovely granddaughter.

Her car-induced doze didn't last for too long and the Silver Vixen took control of the feed that was due. Once we were ready for our own food, the Gorse Fox took control whilst the girls finished their lunch. This meant that the Gorse Fox had an hour or so of one-on-one as she chirped, chuckled, and eventually slept.

They left mid-afternoon and the Gorse Fox returned to the family tree. He has an anomaly somewhere and he needs to resolve it. He suspects part of the problem lies with brother and sister marrying brother and sister but that doesn't explain it all away. He's wondering if he needs to delete a chunk of the tree and rebuild it.

Sunday, July 23, 2017


The Gorse Fox has spent another day working on the Family Tree and verifying some of the older, dustier information. This has revealed that he had an error and one of the Silver Vixen's nth great grandmothers - Mary Ewings - was in fact the wrong Mary Ewings. Both were in the tree, but he had made the connection wrongly. That is now sorted out.

The other thing he noticed was more clear evidence of the slapdash ways in which people have recorded their data. One example was Richard Ewings. One contributor shows his birth date as 1750... but then supports further information with data from the 1851 census. By then he would be 101. The census record clearly shows the Richard to which they refer as being 79. Dreadful research.

We then look at the twins John and George Hurved. George had a well documented life but the documents researchers propose for John are inconsistent. On examination of the registers, John only survived for two weeks. However, if you believe the researchers he then went on to live a long life after his death.

Another classic is Mary Levermore. She was probably born about 1670. Again one researcher shows her death in 1694... then goes on to record the births of 10 further children subsequent to her death. Don't you just want to hand out some good slaps?

Incidentally the Gorse Fox has not recorded any dates for either of these people. Until he has incontrovertible corroboration it does not get recorded. When it does, then the data sources are provided.

Saturday, July 22, 2017


The text message had said the delivery would arrive between 07:00 and 10:00. The Gorse Fox made sure he was up and dressed in plenty of time. As it happened, there was no panic. They didn't arrive until about 09:00. No problem, however. The delivery chaps were very nice and very helpful and we now have some nice new chairs in the family room.

Next task was get rid of the old chairs. Four of the six were useless. They had wobbly legs that just couldn't be fixed.  Those four found their way to the local recycling centre. The other two will be stored away somewhere (probably in the roof space of the garage) in case they are needed.

The rest of the day was spent buried in family tree research. This was very successful as he managed to push one branch of the Silver Vixen's family back as far as her 9 times great grandfather. He was a William Tucker born in about 1720. The Gorse Fox is certain that he can probably get further back but needs to get to the Parish registers at some point.

Friday, July 21, 2017


Friday - it was time to meet up with some old friends. We had arranged to meet earlier in the year, but  they were unwell and had to postpone. We headed out onto the Queen's highway - only to spend the first twenty minutes of the journey negotiating the traffic between home and the western side of Chichester. (The sooner they decide on the solution for the road improvements, the better). Once clear of Chichester the roads opened up and we had a very good run until we got to the outskirts of Salisbury. There, everything ground to a halt again. The delays did give us a chance to catch up with the Gorse Fox's little sister. We spent the last hour of the journey on the phone to her, hearing all about her recent trip to see Beloved Aunt in Canada.

Despite the delays we arrived at the Victoria & Albert in Netherhampton about 5 minutes before Mrs Tiggywinkle and Badger.

We had a lovely couple of hours catching up on the latest news from each family and discussing our joint interest in genealogy. The Gorse Fox did get an opportunity to get onto his hobby-horse regarding backups and strategies for protecting data.

The pub features in The Good Pub Guide. Obviously, as we had the car, the Gorse Fox didn't get a chance to try the beer, the food was good. The menu was quite varied and the food was mostly locally sourced (perhaps with the exception of the haddock - which he had).

All too soon we had to part company and head our separate ways. It had been a good place to meet as it worked out about 90 minutes drive for both couples. We had a very quick run back and a quiet end to the day.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


G-Force (Grandparents - the fifth emergency service) are on duty today along with Urban-Cub who is  enjoying a day with us.
The morning was taken up with the usual admin but once that was over we sat together and chatted for the rest of the day. (The Gorse Fox was working on the family tree in the background).

We heard from Cousteau-Cub with the latest update from Phi Phi. She and the Coventry Hobbit  have found accommodation that will accept the dogs, so she is moving over more permanently. He is able to get a work permit and she can get a married person permit that will allow her to stay. This means that they can do another high season out there and accumulate some savings that will allow them to make some more permanent decisions.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

More of the same

After a very loud storm last night, we woke to a fresher and slightly overcast day. The Silver Vixen headed out for Pilates and the Gorse Fox for football.

Football was quite well balanced and a lot easier with a referee to watch over us. (Usually we ref by consent!) The first half was very tight, ending 2-1 to the orange bibs. The second half stretched things a bit further with a 4-2 to the oranges... as the Gorse Fox was playing in orange it was a successful outcome.

The Silver Vixen had a hair appointment this afternoon, so the Gorse Fox spent the afternoon wandering around the oldest branches of the family tree. He suspect a visit to the Family History Centre in Wiltshire may be the only way to dig up more information. He is taking the opportunity, however, to fill in some of the gaps as he finds additional details of siblings or children of siblings.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


A scorcher today ( for England). Temperature was 29C as the Gorse Fox set off for football. Water would be needed at every opportunity (and sunscreen had been liberally applied).

The teams were picked for the first hour. The Gorse Fox was playing in red and the teams looked a bit skewed against us. Despite this, we were well organised in defence and only lost one goal over the three games... winning each game as we went. The Gorse Fox is a great believer in the conservation of energy and allowed the ball to do the work today - rarely venturing beyond the halfway line.

The second hour saw a change or personnel. Again, three games - and again, despite the odds being against us, we managed to draw two and win one. Overall a very satisfactory morning.

The Silver Vixen was out at a workshop so the Gorse Fox spent the afternoon climbing around among the branches of the family tree. Slowly he is unpicking the story of Pistol Pete's family and he has now discovered that Pistol Pete has some first cousins. What was so intriguing however was to find a family that had essentially lived in one village for over two hundred and fifty years. This made the research a lot easier but did raise some confusion here and there where names were reused.

It's clouded over and is getting quite muggy. Rain is forecast along with some thunder. The Gorse Fox wouldn't be at all surprised if we have a bit of a firecracker of a storm this evening.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Screen gems

Fabulous weather again today, but the Gorse Fox has been glued to the computer all day. The Silver Vixen went in to Chichester for a regular dental checkup, but the Gorse Fox stayed put.

All the computer time was spent working on the family tree, specifically Pistol Pete's ancestral line. This made a little more complex by a link that the Gorse Fox broke and then isolated a chunk of tree without realising. Thinking he had deleted these people by accident, he had to put them all back... then found they were there as duplicates and had to go through cleaning that up. Eventually, everything was crisp and clear, and the Gorse Fox concentrated on getting some fresh research. Several new people were identified, several generations added to the tree and Pistol Pete's earliest recorded person is now at about 1700.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

New Release

A car alarm split the silence of the night. By the time the Gorse Fox was conscious enough to check it - it stopped. Some time later it shrieked again. This time the Gorse Fox got up and made his way to the side window to see if it was one of our cars. As he opened the blinds the alarm stopped. Again he was unable to pinpoint the source. He went back to bed an waited for the next alarm. There was none, but he was awake and that's how it stayed for the rest of the night.

Football was fun this morning. Despite being on the wrong end of a big score, the Gorse Fox enjoyed himself as he covered every inch of the pitch attacking and defending. Very warm and very sweaty by the end of the game.

By the time he got home an email was waiting for him. It was inviting him to download the new release of the Family Tree Maker software. This was something he had been awaiting. He followed the instructions and was soon running the new release without any significant issues. The software is now installed on both laptop and desktop and the synchronisation of the information appears to be working without incident. Now he can get back to researching Pistol Pete's ancestors.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Wood and Trees

The morning started with a lie in! The Silver Vixen got up with Jasper and the Gorse Fox made the most of an extra 90 minutes in bed.

The morning was spent on hobbies. The Silver Vixen on her sewing projects and the Gorse Fox out in the workshop. The table top now has nicely rounded edges as does the under frame. A new pile of sawdust bears witness to the effectiveness of the router -vs- wood contest. Everything is now ready to test fit against the existing table's saddle... but is all a bit too heavy to do this without some help. Workshop was tidied up and locked up for the day.

The afternoon was spent deep in the branches of the family tree. For the first time in ages some progress has been made with the Silver Vixen's enigmatic (and dead) grandmother. The Gorse Fox has found her in the 1901 census, confirming much of what he knew. However, it still does not lead him to birth certificate, nor incontrovertible evidence of her parents' names. It was progress though.

Friday, July 14, 2017


Friday saw nothing in the schedule. The Gorse Fox decided he would retire to the workshop. He had to master the dovetail jig once and for all. It's not that it wasn't cutting the dovetails - it was more about how to ensure everything lined up correctly. After a number of test cuts, he decided that a small spacer was needed. This would ensure the correct offset from the guide pins. Sure enough once the spacer was brought into play, the tails and pins lined up beautifully and the joints were right every time.

The Gorse Fox returned to making the under frame for the table prototype. Now he could fashion the joints he wanted he could get on with the jon in hand. It didn't take long to get the tails and pins cut and then he had to measure up for the central supports. This took a little fiddling. He had originally thought of a sliding dovetail that only went halfway... but in the end made do with a half lapped mortise and tenon.  This latter joint isn't as tight as it could be, but as the whole thing will be disassembled once tried, it doesn't really matter.

Next up will be to try the under frame on the saddle of the existing table.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

People who lunch

Thursday started with the usual admin and household chores. Nothing particularly exciting to mention. Once the nice driver from Ocado had delivered the week's shopping we got ready to pop out. Urban-Cub had suggested we meet for lunch. That seemed like a very genteel idea.

We pulled up at The Old Stables in Fontwell just as Urban-Cub was getting baby Ellie out of her car. Exquisite timing.

The restaurant was quiet so we were able to pick a spot where the baby buggy would not get in anyone's way and we had a bit of room to spread out. We had lovely lunch and Ellie was very well behaved - only crying for a few moments as her bottle was being prepared.

We sat and chatted for a couple of hours the Urban-Cub headed home and the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox pottered on to one of the garden centres. The objective here was not to do with the garden, but rather to get the car cleaned. They do an excellent hand wash, dry, and wax for £6.

We left them to it for 15 minutes and wandered through the plant displays. It all looks very lush at the moment and the colours were really striking. However, we weren't really in the market for bedding plants. We did, however, pick up a lovely rose that will take pride of place in one of our pots (that held an Acer which never really took).

News from Thailand is that Cousteau-Cub's dog Bruno is unwell and will have to have daily insulin. This is a great shame as he's a handsome beast, but evidently in decline. Lots of positive thoughts going across to Cousteau-Cub right now.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Still grey this morning, but the rain had stopped and the paths were drying up.

The Silver Vixen had her Pilates and the Gorse Fox had his football. We managed to split the teams quite evenly today. The game started and it soon became clear that it was going to be very close and very tight. A flukey goal from the yellow team saw them take the lead, but our orange team struck back within minutes. The Gorse Fox was in his usual defensive position, but having intercepted a pass, he pushed the ball through to his midfield and followed up with an overlap along the right wing. The ball was pinged back to him and fired it across the goalkeeper into the far corner of the net. It was 2-1, and that's how it stayed for a while before the yellows hauled things level. The second half was very much a case of cat and mouse... but there were no further goals.

Honours even.

Afternoon was spent on the family tree. Lots of general progress, though no further generations detected. The Gorse Fox's research was interrupted by a FaceTime call from Beloved Aunt (with help from his Sis). Sis comes home overnight, but it was nice to chat with BA before she left.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


A grey start to the day, though no rain to start with.

The Gorse Fox started the day with a wander through the deals available on Amazon Prime Day. Lots of deals, but nothing of interest.

Being Tuesday, the Gorse Fox had football. There was a good turn out. In fact we had a full house of 32 players so we ended up with 8 a-side. The Gorse Fox was lucky, he was in team of very good ball players and we played some very nice football. Our "yellow" team won the first game 1-0, the second 2-0 and drew the last game 2-2. The middle game was somewhat foreshortened when a mighty yell floated across the from the next pitch. Big John had crashed to the ground and all the nearby players had heard the load snap as his ankle broke. First aiders were soon there and he was eventually rolled away in a wheel chair and taken to A&E.

The second hour was a different bunch of lads. This time the Gorse Fox was playing in red. Again, the team was made up of good ball players and we won the first game 4-0, the second 1-0, but lost the last game 2-1. The Gorse Fox was very happy with his game today. He was very focussed and his timing was spot on. No goals for him today, but certainly some very good football all round.

As he writes this, the rain has set in. A Thai-style red curry is simmering on the stove.

Monday, July 10, 2017


Another early start, courtesy of Jasper. It's the Gorse Fox's own fault for not looking at the time, however. He 'felt' it was around seven-ish so got up when Jasper started wandering over the bed. In fact it was only just after six. Oh well, must learn to check the time (or teach Jasper to check the clock).

The Silver Vixen is out for the day with her friend Kathie. They are making the most of their membership of West Dean gardens. This gives them free entry and an opportunity to wander round taking photos, chatting, and stopping to drink tea.

The Gorse Fox used the time to play in the garage. He read the instructions (yes really) for the dovetail jig and finished putting it together and mounting it on a base. Then he tried the profile follower in his old router. This fitted, but the screws - though in the right place - were the wrong size and he didn't have any alternatives. This meant detaching the new router from the router table. He knew this would fit as it was made by the same company as the jig and mentioned in the instructions.

There were several interrupts as neighbours dropped by for a chat - but he was able to potter on once they had gone. It became clear that the jig is a little fiddly and will obviously become easier with practice.

Firstly you have to align the horizontal piece of wood through the top clamp. Then the vertical piece of wood through the front clamp. The latter has to align with the top of the horizontal wood... but needs to be offset from the left hand side. There are some guides to get the offset right - but they are only ok if the wood is the right size and exactly covers a fixed number of slots in the comb. The comb, which sits atop the two pieces of wood, acts a template which the router will follow. This too needs adjusting so the depth of the cut is exactly right. It felt a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy.

Fortunately, the Gorse Fox had several pieces of scrap wood. It was the fourth attempt before he got the process right. He suspects that this will be something that always needs practise and several attempts before trying on a project component itself.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Lazy day

Weather is gorgeous again today - clear blue skies and mid 20s. Perfect. Again, Jasper was keen to make the most of it, so the Gorse Fox was up before 06:30.

There was no football today. We could not get sufficient players for two teams so decided to have a Sunday off. As it happens, that was convenient as Pistol Pete was working and so Urban-Cub came round with Ellie to spend much of the day with us. This meant that much of the day revolved around feeds, nappy changes, cuddles and naps.

The Gorse Fox had decided early on that there would be no woodworking today, so he was able to sit and enjoy the family time. Mind you, he did spend much of that using his laptop to do further research on Pistol Pete's family tree. It was quite fruitful as he was able to push back a further generation in several families and was also able to fill in more gaps in the overall story. Very satisfying. (He also managed to put his dovetailing jig together, but resisted playing with it).

As an aside, the Gorse Fox's sister is currently visiting Beloved Aunt in Canada. She has been particularly poorly and Sis thought a visit was in order. It seems she has done well as Agent Mulder managed to get her an upgraded suite at the hotel where she is staying... though she'll spend most of the week with Beloved Aunt.

Saturday, July 08, 2017


Another lovely day. Jasper was determined to make the most of it, dragging the Gorse Fox from bed at 06:00. Never mind, there were YouTube videos to watch -  the Gorse Fox was planning to build the  table prototype. He wanted to look at examples of making a breadboard edge - that was the objective for the day.

The Gorse Fox headed for the garage.

The breadboards were cut. The mortise was milled into the edge, then slowly the tenons were formed in the boards that had been joined yesterday. Unfortunately the boards were somewhat bowed as the Gorse Fox no long has a planer/thicknesser but as this is only a prototype, he wasn't too worried. Slowly the breadboards were sized and fitted. This was a slow process, but it finally went together.

The Gorse Fox learnt several things. The first was that the tenons were a fraction too long and this left a tiny gap at the edge of the board. More importantly he learnt that the mortise was too wide and tenon too thick. This meant that the pressure of the bowed table top was enough to crack the side of the mortise. A useful lesson.

A text arrived mid-morning. Screwfix had his dovetail jig in store. He wandered round and as he walked in, Jenny (the manager) shouted to the back for Jo to go and get the Gorse Fox's order. Obviously he has been there so often she now knows him by name. The dovetail jig will come into its own tomorrow (he hopes).

Meanwhile, Urban-Cub and baby Ellie popped round. She left Ellie with us while she went and did her weekly shop. This is usually delivered, but ASDA at Ferring had an IT problem and couldn't make any deliveries today.

Friday, July 07, 2017

I see a blue floor...

and I want it painted white (to sort of paraphrase the Rolling Stones).

The Silver Vixen left early to go to see Urban-Cub and accompany her and Ellie to the surgery for her next set of immunisations. The Gorse Fox and Jasper were left to their own devices.

The Gorse Fox headed straight off to B&Q (leaving Jasper in charge). There was wood to acquire ready to build the prototype of the new dining table. Back home he got started and marked up the boards that would make the table top. Then he cut 90 biscuit slots into the boards and cut pocket holes with his jig. Slowly the boards were joined. The biscuit held them in place and level, the pocket screws held them together. No glue was involved as he want to be able to disassemble the whole thing when finished.

As he finished assembling the tabletop, Two Hats and Tinkerbell got back from their morning out. He enquired what the latest project was, and when we were going to fit the lateral joist in his garage. We agreed to do it immediately.

Moving tools and ladders into his garage we got started, having learnt our lessons last week. The first brace was up in no time and the joist was already quite firm. We started on the joist brace for the wall that separates our garages. The first hole was drilled without incident. The second was drilled without apparent incident. The third coincided exactly with the hole and bolts we had fitted last week - so needed to be moved. Soon everything was up and we started to clear away. It was then that we realised that as the drill penetrated the adjoining wall it had knocked some paint pots off a shelf. All but one survived. Unfortunately the one that didn't was almost full. Two litres of white paint spread themselves down the wall, across the floor and over some of the Gorse Fox's tools.

Not a good result. We cleaned up as best we could, but decided that the best bet was to allow it to set and then skim it off the floor.

Thursday, July 06, 2017


Another fabulous day with temperatures in the high 20s. The Gorse Fox is really enjoying this. Not so much because of the bright sunshine and hot weather (which he loves) but more so the clear blue skies. He finds this so much more uplifting than the grey and overcast weather we can get.

After the morning admin, the Gorse Fox adopted the view of YOLO (he believes the youth of today use this anagram for "you only live once" - though suspects that many Buddhists would argue this at length). The Gorse Fox was not looking at this from a philosophical point of view... but more a case of pushing life's boundaries. To this end he downloaded the latest software updates for Family Tree Maker (FTM) with utter abandon. Seeing that everything worked without any apparent hitch he decided that he should continue to live life on the edge.

With that in mind he swept the Silver Vixen up and took her to John Lewis's for a cup of coffee, and ice cream, and to replace some broken plates. (Yes, the Gorse Fox is known for his romantic gestures).

With that box ticked, he then swept her round to the new Aldi store in Chichester. This was the climax of the morning. It was unlikely that either of us could stand much more excitement. In truth Aldi was a disappointment. The prices may have been marginally lower and there were some interesting offers, but not enough to drag us back with any regularity. As an aside, it also seemed to be filled with zombies.

Back home the Gorse Fox returned to the family tree and the Silver Vixen went to potter in the garden. The new version of FTM has a slightly different licensing structure. This means that he can have a copy of the software on his main MAC and on his MacBook - with both linked to the same tree. This is a vast improvement as it gives him better portability when doing research. The software is now installed on the MacBook and everything appears to be hunky dory.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017


Another scorching day with temperatures up in the hight 20s. The Gorse Fox can put up with this!

Football was hard work today. The sides were a little unbalanced - at least that's how it turned out. The problem was that some of our players really couldn't move around in the heat. If the ball was more than two feet from their two feet, they just left it. At half time it was still pretty even, but in the second half (when we actually had a statue man advantage) things rather collapsed and we lost heavily.

Back home the Gorse Fox spent most of the afternoon working on the family tree. This proved to be very fruitful and several additional generations were identified in various branches of Pistol Pete's tree.

The early evening saw a summer hog roast for the residents. The is was held by Berkeley Homes and made good use of the Italian Gardens (which we overlook) in the centre of the development. It was a lovely relaxed affair and an opportunity to mix with neighbours from all over the estate. The Gorse Fox wonders how many developers run these sorts of events... Berkeley have held Christmas and summer events every year since we moved in.

The Coventry Hobbit and Cousteau-Cub moved over to Koh Phi Phi today. Cousteau-Cub will be shuttling back and forth, but the Coventry Hobbit is staying put for now in order to make the most of his new job there.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017


It was another fabulous summer's day on the South Coast. Jasper was eager  to make the most of it and was dragging the Gorse Fox down the stairs at 06:30. The Gorse Fox is naturally an early riser, so wasn't too troubled by this.

By eight Jasper was fed and watered and out patrolling the grounds. The Gorse Fox had bacon cooking in the pan and was  about ready for the eggs to join in. The kettle was boiling ready for the Silver Vixen.

There was no queueing at the station to trouble the day, no standing on the train, no fighting to get on to the tube, no traffic jams. Today is the third anniversary of the Gorse Fox retiring from Starfleet... and he still thanks the heavens every day for his good fortune.

There were no reports to submit. There were no teleconferences. There were no objectionable (or nice) clients.

There was, however, football. The Gorse Fox headed across to Worthing and joined in the weekly shenanigans. Today had a degree of balance to it. The Gorse Fox played for the yellow-bibs and lost the first three games (though we had played very well). Then, in the second hour, he played in yellow again, and won all three games. As he said, balanced.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Tidy up

After the work in the garage on Saturday, today was dedicated to a bit of a tidy up. Nothing too radical, you understand. After all, there's more work planned and it would be silly to stow everything away just as the Gorse Fox needs it. It was important, however, to get the shelves back up and move all of the items back off the floor. The Gorse Fox took the opportunity to rearrange a few things on the way (so no doubt he won't be able to find them when he needs them).

The Silver Vixen was out with one of her friends, so the Gorse Fox was left to his own devices. It was a shame she was out because we got a call from Cousteau-Cub and the Gorse Fox was able to have a good long chat with both her and the Coventry Hobbit. It looks as if he is starting a new job on Koh Phi Phi and Cousteau-Cub will shuttle back and forth as required. Plans aren't set in concrete but the suspicion is that they will stay in Thailand until October or next March.

Sunday, July 02, 2017


It was a glorious day again. Just a few iffy clouds to punctuate the blue sky. Temperatures were very comfortable in the mid-20s.

There was a tournament being played at the Arun Sports Arena and almost every pitch was in use. There were people everywhere. We managed to get our usual game in, though it did start 30 minutes later than usual. The Gorse Fox had used this delay to do some more family tree research on Pistol Pete's family. He's making good progress but suspects there's lots more to find.

Football was difficult as the sides were uneven, made more so by our striker deciding he wished to play in goal during the second half. He's not a great striker - but he's a worse goalie. Our half-time 3-2 winning position became about a 12-4 deficit by the end of the game. The Gorse Fox did manage to score a couple along the way, but found the whole thing rather irritating.

The afternoon saw us heading across to Brighton to meet up with the Silver Vixen's cousin, Trevor (Rick Wakeman) and his wife Sue. They have been doing some renovations in the kitchen, but despite the fact they are not finished, invited us for dinner. As ever, their hospitality was warm and the dinner was lovely. This, however, was just the prelude. We had tickets, you see.

We headed down into the town and parked behind the art college (free after 6pm). We strolled across to sit in one of the squares, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying a coffee before wandering along to the Theatre Royal. The Gorse Fox first saw Ellie Brookes when she sang with Robert Palmer in Vinegar Joe at a pub called The Salisbury, in Barnet. This must have been 1970-ish. He has little or no recollection of the event, but knows that he he was hooked on her voice ever since. Vinegar Joe broke up and Ellie Brookes now performs with her own backing band, and even at the age of 72 looks and sounds fantastic.

The show was simply spellbinding. The performed many of her past hits and blended in some new songs and covers.

We had tracks such as: Pearl's a Singer, Don't Cry Out Loud, Fool if You Think It's Over, Nights in White Satin, Lilac Wine, Roadhouse Blues, Night Moves, Purple Rain, Gasoline Alley, and many more.

The Gorse Fox knew he would enjoy the concert. What he wasn't expecting was a concert that turned out to be one of the very best he has ever been to. Simply stupendous.

Saturday, July 01, 2017


The Gorse Fox has been working in the workshop/garage all day. He has had the chance to work with Two Hats. We had come up with the idea of installing an additional joist across the garage. This would provide additional support in the middle of the existing (longitudinal) joists. These existing joists are so long that they are actually spliced to provide extra length. The additional lateral joist would lift and support these - and will give the Gorse Fox a fixing point for his pulley.

Yes, the Gorse Fox hadn't forgotten about the pulley. In fact, in order to do all this work, we had to fold away the workbench that Gorse Fox had built... for the first time.

It was nice to see that the whole thing worked as originally planned and the whole thing folded in to the 4 inches that had been allowed.

Actually we spent the whole day solving the problems and installing the lateral joist for the Gorse Fox. We ran out of time to install a similar joist for Two Hats, but we have now solved the problems and know what we need to do to repeat the process next week.

We did discover how hard the walls were... and finished off two drill bits in the process. Needless to say the whole thing took longer than expected, but these things always do!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Festival of Speed

It is the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. Ironically, this means that traffic around Chichester will be at virtual standstill so locals just stay at home.

We are loca, so we stayed at home.

As the Gorse Fox has been a little lazy in doing his admin, he spent the whole morning going through the accounts. It shouldn't have taken as long as it did, but the Gorse Fox had decided to record some transactions differently and as this has started in the middle of the year, it was a matter of massaging all of the figures so that everything balanced correctly.

Most of the afternoon has been spent on family tree research - particularly for the family of Pistol Pete. Progress is slow... but he is inching his way back through the generations.

The Gorse Fox has also had a lengthy online chat with Cousteau-cub. The job changes in Thailand are causing her and the Coventry Hobbit a lot of stress. For now it looks like the Coventry Hobbit will try his hand on Koh Phi Phi, but Cousteau-cub has to stay put to look after their dogs.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Thursday and the Gorse Fox has ignored the usual admin. Dreadful as that sounds - the admin can wait. The Gorse Fox is in design mode. His brain won't switch off to the various options and decisions that he must process before getting started on the prototype for the new dining table.

Some of the decisions would require some additional equipment (a dovetail jig) - but others may work just as well - but then, would they look as good?

How would the centre rails be attached to long rails? A through mortise and tenon? A blind mortise and tenon? or even a sliding dovetail? One may look better than the other, but will it provide sufficient structural integrity?

So it goes on.

The Gorse Fox has now been along to B&Q to look at the options regarding some inexpensive spruce from which the prototype can be built. The word "inexpensive" in this context is relative. Relative to the cost of the oak. It will still cost a fair bit, so the prototype must be built in such a way that it can later be disassembled and the wood reused.

Sketchup is burning hot on the computer and cut lists are being generated. The Gorse Fox is nearly ready.

Meanwhile the Silver Vixen has been in her workroom. It was Tinkerbell's birthday last week and we (The Sonning Crew) are all gathering to celebrate. The Silver Vixen has been making her a present. Even though it was meant as a tongue-in-cheek joke, based on an in-joke, she has actually made a very sweet soft toy giraffe. The Gorse Fox is sure she will both get the joke, and appreciate the amount of work that has gone in to making it.

It's also an auspicious day because the Gorse Fox's little sister celebrates her birthday. The Gorse Fox won't reveal her age (considerable as it is) but does hope she has a wonderful day.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


The morning was overcast and it had clearly been raining overnight. It was drying up, but would remain overcast. The Silver Vixen had Pilates and planned to stop off at Urban-Cub's on the way back.

The Gorse Fox had his football. Today he was playing in the yellow bibs and it was 5 vs 6. Despite being one man short we managed to hold our own during the first half and after 30 minutes it was 2 goals each. The Gorse Fox had hit both posts, the cross-bar, put one over the top and had two saved. We could have been a long way ahead!

The second half allowed us to inch into the lead and once ahead we started to stretch ahead. The Gorse Fox finally scored and quickly added another. In the end we rolled out 8-3 winners. Most satisfactory.

Back home the Gorse Fox had been working on the design of the new dining table. It was time to head to the timber suppliers and get an idea of the various types and colours of oak they had available - and get an estimate of the cost. He head up towards Petworth then turned along the A272 to stop off at West's at Selham. What an outfit! The selection of wood was exceptional and the services they can provide could allow the whole job to be offloaded onto them and their machines (for a price).

Now that the Gorse Fox has all the information he has returned to his spreadsheets and the design. The next step will be to get some cheap pine from Wickes or B&Q and make up a prototype. This will ensure that all the measurements are right and that nothing gets wasted. (With the price of European oak being what it is, mistakes could be very costly).

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

No matter how often

The weather reflected our mood. It was grey and wet. Cousteau-Cub was packed and ready and we loaded the car to take her up to Heathrow.

The drive up there was chirpy enough - there was still plenty to talk about, but as we got closer, the silences grew longer. We parked up at T5 and headed in to the departures hall. We were a bit too early for the bags to be dropped off, so we went along to Cafe Nero to grab a coffee.

Too soon it was time for her to complete the bag drop and head for security. No matter how often we do this it never gets any easier. Even when we know when the next visit will be (by us, or by her) it seems hard to watch her disappear through the gate. With everything a bit up in the air (so to speak) this time, it seemed harder. It also seemed like a the start of a possible new adventure - only time will tell.

Back home we found a lovely card that she had left us. Both a bit choked.

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


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


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


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


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


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!