Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Silence

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Scams

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

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

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

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

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

On Fire

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 29, 2017

Hex success

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 28, 2017

That went well

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

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

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

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hex

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

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

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

Tyred out

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

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

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

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

Poet's Day

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

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

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Home again

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Old Gits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A super day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Out

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

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

We have the club's AGM tonight.

Sub human

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

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

Missing in Action

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

GE2017 - Some Observations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manifesto 

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

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

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


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

Leadership 

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

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

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

Legacy 

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Catching up

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Frustrating

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

The Gorse Fox tried the second store - no luck.

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

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

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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Enamel

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

G-Force

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Excellent day

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, May 15, 2017

There's Tidy

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Solved

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

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

The whole workbench is as solid as a rock.

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

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

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

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A good run at it

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 12, 2017

Under construction

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

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

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Jigging around

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Old Lags

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Lilac wine

The Gorse Fox has just hear an interview with Elkie Brooks. He first saw her when she was part of Vinegar Joe (along with Robert Palmer) back in about 1970. He has tried to see her again since, but she was taken ill and the concert (in Reading) was cancelled. She's on tour again now, and the interview prompted the Gorse Fox to get tickets. So it is that he has managed to get tickets for the Brighton concert in July.

Scored

What a glorious day. The sun has been up since first thing, and despite the forecast, there has hardly been a cloud to be seen. It's not hot (about 15-16C) but it's bright and that makes the spirits soar.

Being Tuesday, the Gorse Fox had his usual football session. There were fewer players than usual as many played in a tournament yesterday, and others are saving themselves for another tournament tomorrow. Instead of the usual round robing of 4 teams, we just had 2 teams and played 3 games in the first hour. The Gorse Fox is not sure how it finished up, but the sides were so close that it probably ended up a draw and one win for each team.

in the second hour we were down to 4-a-side. We changed the pitch size and then played 3 games on this slightly smaller format match. This ended up 1-1, 2-1, and 1-2. Again, very tight and great fun. The Gorse Fox managed to score three of his side's goals, hit the crossbar twice, and had a couple of shots saved. Pretty pleased over all.

We had a quiet afternoon in the Orangery. The Gorse Fox is trying to think through some of the design decisions for his workbench. In essence it should be easy, but he wants everything to foldaway into the smallest possible footprint... but be very solid and stable when opened out.

Monday, May 08, 2017

It's done

The final coat was applied to the floating shelves and they were left to dry. The Gorse Fox strolled into the village for a haircut, then wandered back and started clearing the garage ready for the next project or the car, depending on the way things play out this week.

After stopping for a quick bite to eat, the Gorse Fox invaded the Silver Vixen's projects room and replaced the old floating shelves with the new ones.

These are much more sturdy, and do the job nicely.

Back in the garage, he measured up the router  in order to build a jig for hinge cutting then returned to the task of clearing up and moving things about for the next project. Brackets needed to be moved so that a foldaway workbench could be constructed without getting in the way of the car door when the car is in the garage. The first wall brace has now been cut and installed and the Gorse Fox will return to his design drawings to complete the plans.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Plan B

We had a plan. Let's call it Plan A. We, as part of the Sonning Crew, were going the Goodwood Breakfast Club. We would leave home at 9:30 to miss the traffic and then waltz in at our convenience to see all the exhibits then grabs breakfast. Sorted.

But 8:30 there were traffic warnings.

At 9:30 we met and decided to have a Plan B, just in case. We left in convoy and by the time we got to Chichester it was clear that traffic was still going to be a nightmare. We did a U-turn and switched to Plan B. Cutting through Chichester we headed down towards Wittering and pulled in to the car park of Russel's Garden Centre. The six of us had a super breakfast, then wandered around the various displays that they scattered around the centre. These were predominantly of furniture and nick-knacks, though they did have some impressive fire-pits. It was a lovely change, though it did mean that the Gorse Fox did miss his football.

The Gorse Fox suspects we'll do this again some time.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Primer

Sleeves for the floating shelves now sanded and the first coats of primer/undercoat has been applied. The Gorse Fox will leave overnight and then put the finishing coats on during Sunday or Monday. He is very satisfied with the outcome.

On a side note the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen have had a build up of blanket weed in the rill. This is despite various regular chemical treatments. Today, while the Silver Vixen was pottering in the garden and working on the raised beds, the Gorse Fox spent some time with a net and his bare hands scooping the weed out. He managed to get several kilos of weed and the rill looks a lot better now. He has added some more chemicals and will have another 'filter session' in the next couple of days.

Feeling pleased

The Gorse Fox has had several hours in the garage. In this time he has rebated a channel for the tops and bottoms of the shelves. This done, he cut the tops and bottoms to fit and then glued and pinned them. The glue will take a while to set, but the addition of the pins will hold everything firm. He has also been round with the wood filler, touching up the marks left by the nailer, and any other slight imperfections that he may have noticed. He's now waiting for the filler to set... then he can sand it down and apply the primer/undercoat.

While he is waiting for the filler to set he has returned to the design diagram from which planned the first shelf. This has now been updated with all of the refinements he developed from the lessons learned making the prototype for the Orangery.

Friday, May 05, 2017

En Pointe

The Gorse Fox received an email from the Royal Albert Hall to advertise some upcoming events. A few were of interest and would be very tempting if we lived in London. One, however, seemed like a definite opportunity for the girls of the Sonning Crew. Tinkerbell had commented before that she likes ballet rather than Rock (unbelievable though it is), and the Birmingham City Ballet are putting on the Nutcracker at the RAH over the Christmas period. The Gorse Fox knows that the Silver Vixen would be up for it so just had to check with Tinkerbell and Lady Penelope. They said yes, so first think this morning, using his pre-release promo code he logged in and selected tickets. The Gorse Fox has offered to drive them all up there and pick them up when it's over.

Meanwhile, back in the garage the Gorse Fox has finished milling the outer frame of the floating shelves, and has finished the outer frame assembly. He is just waiting for the glue to set up as the next  operation will involved routing a rebate for the top and bottom of each shelf and that will require the mitred corner joints to be fairly robust.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Voted and Mounted

Local Elections today. The Gorse Fox expects the turn-out will be low as people are focussed on the General Election. Nevertheless, the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen did their duty and wandered down to the Polling Station to make their mark.

Back home, Urban-cub had phoned. She was having a stressful day with baby Ellie and had a doctor's appointment scheduled for the afternoon. The Silver Vixen went across to lend a hand. The Gorse Fox stayed at home, expecting an unknown delivery from DPD. Soon after the Silver Vixen left, all was revealed. He got a phone call from Agent Mulder. The delivery was a gift for Ellie... being delivered to Urban-cub's house - but he had given the supplier the phone number of the Gorse Fox as it wouldn't accept US phone numbers.

The Gorse Fox spent much longer than seemed necessary mounting the router in the router table. Again, instructions were almost entirely absent and the process needed to be worked out from first principles. Finally done, the Gorse Fox could move forward with the assembly of the shelves for the Silver Vixen's hobby room. There's more to do... but at least we are moving forward again.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Boy's Toys

The doorbell rang. The Gorse Fox was upstairs working on the design of a foldaway workbench, but having hit Save he headed down to answer the door. The lady from DPD stood there, box in hand, waiting for the Gorse Fox to sign for the delivery. He was happy it had arrived, but confused by the fact there was only a single box when he would have expected more. She explained this was all there was in this consignment. The Gorse Fox signed and went to open up the box.

The doorbell rang. He hadn't even cut the sticky tape on the parcel. He answered the door. The same lady from DPD stood there with several more boxes. Clearly they were a separate consignment and she hadn't been alerted to them until she had delivered the first box. The Gorse Fox was now very happy.

An hour or two later he had the router table assembled and the router unpacked. He is awaiting one last part (scheduled for tomorrow) before he can mount the router in the table. He has to admit that the instructions were non-existent, but the exploded diagram showed enough detail that the Gorse Fox managed the assembly without too many problems.

Finally, a trip to the tip (as it's closed on Thursday and Friday) to get rid of the packaging... and that's it for the day.

Protoshelf

The Gorse Fox is waiting for a delivery this morning so has had to skip the usual football.

He has made use of the time to remove the old IKEA floating shelf in the Orangery and replace it with the prototype home-built shelf.

The new shelf fits nicely, is level, is much more sturdy and looks pretty good. It is a good model for the shelves being built for the Silver Vixen.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Restocking

There was the usual football this morning. The Gorse Fox will just pass over it. It was not a great success inasmuch as the Gorse Fox didn't really play well and only got warmed up and into some sort of form as the second hour was drawing to a close.

One of the realities of downsizing was that the Gorse Fox had to dispose of many of his larger woodworking boy's toys. Now he has found that some need to be replaced - but replaced in a way that can be accommodated in his small garage. Fortunately he has found a folding router table which should do the trick and can be stowed away when not in use. (His old router table was huge and had a large permanent footprint in the old garage). Separately, his hand-held router needs to be augmented by a router than can be mounted in the new table - his current router cannot be fixed into a table. A new model has been selected and is now on order.

Pistol Pete has an appointment in Chichester this afternoon so we are on grandparent duties.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Paint and sawdust

The Gorse Fox headed out to the DIY stores. He had several things on his list as the Silver Vixen wants the floating shelves in her hobby room to be replaced. Now that the Gorse Fox has nearly finished the first one for the Orangery, he is more confident about what will be needed. While he was out, however, he had one of those Eureka! moments. This meant a change in the design and construction and that he had to do a bit of mental arithmetic as he walked round. He couldn't find the particular size wood that he would prefer, but he managed to get something pretty close that he could rip down to the right size. (Sighs! That means getting the bandsaw out again - just as he had it stowed away nicely).

Back home the Silver Vixen was knee deep in her sewing, so the Gorse Fox shuffled out to the garage. He finished off the shelf for the Orangery with a bit more sanding and a final coat of paint. Then he started on the markup of the lumber he would use for the Silver Vixen's shelves. Work has now started on these, and the Gorse Fox is waiting for some glued components to cure before he continues.