Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ark required

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 27, 2017

Full Flood

Man flu, meh!

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

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

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

Sunday, February 26, 2017


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

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

Saturday, February 25, 2017


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

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

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tree climbing and other things

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

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017


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

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


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

It was.

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


Well that wasn't the plan.

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

Well, plans are there to be changed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Another surprisingly mild day.

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

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

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

Monday, February 20, 2017


Another mild day - though overcast throughout the morning.

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

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

Sunday, February 19, 2017


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

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

Lovely day.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pushing Back

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

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

Friday, February 17, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 16, 2017


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

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pause for thought

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Wipe Out

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

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

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

Monday, February 13, 2017


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


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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 12, 2017


Chilly start to the day - but at least the Gorse Fox got up in his own time - and wasn't dragged out of bed by Jasper.

There was football this morning. A hard game of 6-a-side that ended up 8-7 to the orange bibs. Unfortunately the Gorse Fox was playing for the yellow bibs. He did manage to score a goal - but really needed a couple more to ensure the win.

Back home for a shower and a snack then the Silver Vixen retired to her study to play on her new machine and the Gorse Fox retired to his study to transcribe some more old diary entries. Unfortunately he got distracted by a niggling problem with an excel file and that wasted some of the afternoon rather unproductively. He did, however, manage to complete the documentation for the program he wrote yesterday for managing bulk edits in the blog.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Out and about

There were some snow flurries this morning. Nothing significant, but it serves to remind us that February tends to be the coldest month of the year. It was also typical that the Gorse Fox had an appointment in Chichester first thing. As it happens, the Silver Vixen also wanted to pop in to a couple of shops so she wrapped up warmly and came along. The Gorse Fox dropped her and then headed on to his appointment.

You see, it all started with a phone call. "Is that the Gorse Fox? Do you still have your car?" said the voice, identifying himself as a salesman from Hendy Ford. The Gorse Fox responded in the affirmative. "Well we have a customer who really wants a car with you spec and we would be willing to give you a very good price for it - and could do a significant deal with discounts towards a replacement". So it was that the Gorse Fox thought he'd go and listen to the deal. To be fair, the price offered for his car was nearly 2K more than he was recently quoted at another dealer. They were also willing to provide a 500GBP test drive discount and an 1800GBP deposit... but the Gorse Fox would still need to replace the car (like for like). If this was going to cost a lot, this was not going to happen. The Gorse Fox made this clear. If, however, it's just a couple of K then he might consider it. He left the salesman to research and come up with a deal. He should hear early next week.

Returning to the town centre, the Gorse Fox caught up with the Silver Vixen as she raided Mothercare. Clutching various tiny clothes, we left and headed back to the sewing shop where she had started. A new sewing machine had been carefully boxed up for her. The Gorse Fox was there to pay and to carry the box to the car. (He knows his place).

Back home saw the ceremonial unboxing of the sewing machine. It also saw the realisation that they had forgotten to provide its power cable. A phone call was made. The Gorse Fox was dispatched back to Chichester to collect the cable.

The afternoon saw the Gorse Fox at the computer and the Silver Vixen at her new machine. This was interrupted by a visit from a neighbour to ask about the landscaping we had had done, and in the middle of this, the arrival of Urban-cub, Pistol Pete and the kids.

All is now quiet again, except for the distant thrumming of the sewing machine.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Another Change of Plan

Pistol Pete was due at the hospital. After putting up with a problematic knee for months, if not years, he was scheduled to have keyhole surgery to sort it out. Urban-cub duly dropped him at the hospital and then came on to spend the day with us.

An hour later,  the phone rang. It was Pistol Pete. There had been a major trauma and his operation had been cancelled. He would have to wait.

The very nature of plans is that they change.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Change of Plan

The Silver Vixen's broomstick was scheduled to be at the garage this morning. There was a slight noise that had been causing us concern and it was time they sorted it out. On top of this there is a recall on the vehicle for a check on the rear wheel arch covers to ensure they are not loose and wearing against the brake pipes. The Gorse Fox left the broomstick at the garage and walked home.

The rest of the morning was spent with the usual admin and domestic tasks. The plan was to have some soup at lunchtime, collect the car and then go over to see Urban-Cub. We had the soup (mushroom, ham, chicken, lentil, and butternut squash) and waited for the call...

Eventually we called the garage. We were informed that it was likely to be another couple of hours. The Silver Vixen was not amused. A plague of frogs was called down upon them then she called Urban-Cub to change the plans - we wouldn't be visiting after all.

Eventually the call came. There was a distinct sound of "ribbit, ribbit" in the background. The broomstick was ready. All was now well with the world (if you discount war, famine, terrorism, plague, pestilence, and the Labour Party) and before long the broomstick was parked next to the house.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017


It was a really nice day. The Gorse Fox started with an hour or two of genealogy, updating his software to the latest release and working through some recent changes. He always finds this to be very satisfying.

We met up with Old Bill and Lady Penelope and drove up to Woking. We grabbed a coffee and a snack before making our way to the theatre. (The theatre overlooks the Starfleet Offices so the Gorse Fox couldn't resist a peek through the windows to see if there was anyone there that he recognised - there wasn't). We had tickets for a matinee performance of "Not Dead Enough" - a play derived from a book by Peter James. The story was very good and worked pretty well as a play. As the Gorse Fox hadn't read the book, the denouement came as a surprise.

The Gorse Fox, though thoroughly enjoying the play, has concluded that he isn't a "theatre" person. The nature of acting on a stage requires voice projection and a degree of exaggeration of normal gestures. He understands this is necessary in order to make the play accessible to large audiences who may be some way from the stage. However, the Gorse Fox found it difficult to  switch off from this artifice. It wouldn't stop him from going to the theatre, but it would mean that the performance would need to be something that really interests us.

We had a good run back from Woking, stopping off for a bite to et at The Gribble Inn. A lovely day blessed with good company.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

King Alfred's Foot Soldiers

The Gorse Fox had a football match today. It was a friendly against a team from Winchester featuring "Chopper" Harris from Starfleet. We laid on a couple of pitches and ran two parallel matches - then after it was all over we laid on some bacon and sausage baps for all. It was a very sociable event and great fun. This was enhanced by the fact that Arun Amblers won 6-4 (though the game was a lot harder than expected). Great fun, though and all played in the spirit of the game.

The Gorse Fox was a little worried afterwards - "Chopper" seemed a bit unwell and was feeling faint. We kept an eye o him while he recovered and Gorse Fox has contacted him since and he confirms that he got home without incident.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Surprise Visit

It was a very cold start to the day, but pleasantly lazy. We had decided on a course of action but were in no hurry to get started. The Gorse Fox retired to his study and continued to work on his diaries.

The doorbell rang. We weren't expecting anything - though Gorse Fox thought it may be Amazon. Nope. It was Gorse Fox's brother-in-law. He had a client meeting near Southampton and was en route to another client meeting in Crowborough later in the day. We were a convenient stopping off point on the trek across country. It was nice to see him and sit and chat over a coffee. They are about to embark on an extension to their kitchen and were interested in our thoughts and what we have done. All very exciting - though not due to start until March.

After he had left, the Gorse Fox cleared some items from the garage that had been left over from the work last week. A trip to the tip saw the garage empty and the car carefully put to bed for the first time in a week.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Crew

It was a a fairly normal start to a Sunday, though the Gorse Fox's football game was 30 minutes earlier than usual. There a big junior football tournament scheduled and we needed to be out of the way before it all kicked off. Though on team of strikers, the Gorse Fox was on the losing side 7-3. Having said that, 2 of our goals were contributed by the Gorse Fox. He was pleased as they were both good goals... though disappointed that we had lost overall.

Back home and showered the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox met up with the Sonning Crew to wander down to the Pink Pub for a small libation. It was a pleasant couple of hours as we caught up with all the recent comings and goings and the gossip from the families. The Gorse Fox did not partake of the fine ales at his disposal. He had decided that with the exception of Jan 4th (Old Bill's birthday) he would not drink any alcohol until his own birthday towards the end of February. So it was that he nursed a Beck's Blue as the others enjoyed a tipple.

Quiet afternoon followed, in front of the TV.

Saturday, February 04, 2017


Storm Doris finally got her act together and we had some very heavy rain overnight and first thing this morning. Now, however, the skies are clear and blue and, though cold, it looks lovely out.

The Gorse Fox has spent the day at the computer transcribing further diaries, journals, and letters. He's also been proof-reading some of the older transcriptions. It's time consuming, but fun. The highlight today has been the 26 page (A4) letter that the Gorse Fox wrote detailing his trip to Long Beach when he was Technical Support Manager for British Aerospace - back in 1983.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Not much

Storm Doris hasn't come to much so far. It's grey, a bit wet and a little breezy, but either she hasn't arrived yet or she took a very different track from that forecast. The morning was spent with some domestic chores.

The first was to re-attach the wire basket on the back of the under-sink cupboard. This wasn't hard, but the waste pipes for the new sink are much lower than the old ones and this means that things need to be carefully stowed away before the door can be closed. Next on the agenda was to clean the floors after all of the traipsing in and out that has gone on this week. Fortunately we have a machine for that - it lays down a film of water with a detergent in it and then rotating brushes clean the floor as the fluid is vacuumed back up into a waste tank. Simple, but effective.

The Gorse Fox can't remember if he's mentioned it before, but we recently invested in a Tefal soup maker. This has proved to be a very successful bit of kit. For lunch the Gorse Fox chucked a yellow pepper, a courgette, a sweet potato, some lentils, some ham, and some water into the device. Closed the top and pressed the button for creamed soup. Twenty five minutes later we had a delicious thick creamy soup ready for lunch. Very satisfying.

The afternoon has been spent upgrading the software the the Gorse Fox uses for managing his genealogical research. This proved 90% successful. It looks as if the final link won't work until next week because there is maintenance activity under way at Ancestry.com.

Thursday, February 02, 2017


Well DWP have finally made contact and confirmed to the Gorse Fox what State pension he will receive and when it will start. It revealed no surprises as he had already done the calculations and they agreed with the numbers. It's nice to know, however, when the whole thing kicks in.

Talking of pensions the Silver Vixen had a bit of a surprise when tax was deducted from her pension. A call to HMRC sorted this out and today she has confirmation from them that it was a cock-up and a correction has been applied to her pension this month. So all is now sorted.

It has been a day for admin. The Gorse Fox has extend his budget/accounts spreadsheet now that it was clear that the January sheet had worked well. This has now been rolled out through the year. It's nice to have things under control.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Spectacle - not

Well the plumber came early and the sink is all finished. We now have a fully working kitchen again. His early arrival meant that the the Gorse Fox was free to go and play football after all.

It was a miserable wet and misty morning. The rain was constant, though not heavy. It was so wet that the Gorse Fox dispensed with his shatter-proof glasses and played in a myopic miasma. The specs would have been useless as they would continually need cleaning. It was good game with the teams evenly matched. There was some debate over the final score with claims it was 5-5. The Gorse Fox believes it was actually 5-4 - but it doesn't really matter as we only play for fun.

The Gorse Fox has had contact from another local team wishing to play us in a friendly. He is busy trying to set that up for March.

So close

Well it was so close to being finished.

The hob was reconnected but the sink couldn't be plumbed in last night. The plumber is returning this morning to complete that job. Never mind, it gave us an excuse to go out to dinner last night as we had nowhere to wash up if we had cooked at home. The only question now is whether he will be finished in time for the Gorse Fox to go to football today.