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!