Monday, August 21, 2017

Makes you think

We watched a TV show last week. The introductory voice over stated "each year 68 million Americans leave the safety of our shores to visit..."

This triggered a thought, so the Gorse Fox hit Google.

How many US citizens are killed each year whilst abroad? and How many US citizens are killed each year whilst in the USA?

The answers were interesting. US citizens killed whilst abroad seems to averages out at at about 850 (and the biggest cause is road traffic accidents) whilst those being killed in "safety of our shores" is about 31500 just from gun violence and about 32600 from traffic accidents.

So actually... it may be safer for US citizens to travel abroad than to stay at home.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

LA

It was a lovely summer's day, clouds bubbled up and painted blobs against the background blue of the sky. The forecast was good, though deteriorating towards the end of the day. The Gorse Fox had no football again. In fact he was the only confirmed player this weekend - so it may have been a bit one-sided.

We headed across to LA to meet up with Urban-Cub and Ellie and then made our way down to the seafront for a walk in the sunshine. It was a perfect day for a stroll.

Holidaymakers were playing on the beaches and in the sea. One group were sitting on the sea wall, playing bingo! (Not the sort of thing we wish to encourage here in Sussex - the Gorse Fox expects they came from afar; here in Sussex readings from Shakespeare or maybe Kipling would be much more appropriate).

As we got to the mouth of the River Arun we turned and walked along the river bank. All along the bank there were kids and adults with their lines and buckets fishing for crabs - and hauling them in by the bucket load. They were too small to eat, so the Gorse Fox assumes that at the end of the day they would have been thrown back.

We bumped in to one of the Gorse Fox's friends from football and stopped for a chat. He and his wife have a place at Norfolk Gardens and like to make the most of the promenade (when he's not playing football or golf). They are about to decamp to their house in Spain for a couple of weeks so he won't be around this coming week.

We headed on to the Look & Sea Centre where we stopped for a cup of tea.

Ellie was starting to get a little fidgety so we didn't stop long - and the Gorse Fox can only chase her sun hat, as it blows off in the wind, so many times!

We did an about turn and headed back the way we had come. Our timing was spot-on. We got all the way home to Urban-Cub's just as Ellie was due for her next bottle. It had been a lovely few hours.

Now, as the Gorse Fox writes this he has a nice pork joint roasting in the oven. The smell in the kitchen is wonderful.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Forty-four and counting

Well today marks forty-four year since the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox walked down the aisle in the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in New Southgate. It was a wonderful day (unusually a Sunday) with all our friends and family present and then afterwards we went along to The Apollo Suite in Cockfosters for an excellent meal and subsequent disco.

What a day.

After the celebrations we headed off to Heathrow where were staying overnight before and early flight Guernsey for our honeymoon.

The Gorse Fox cannot adequately express how thankful he is for those 44 years and looks forward to the next 44 with great excitement (though after that, she needs to stay on her toes).

We've had a quiet day today with Urban-Cub and baby Ellie for company.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Service

Today was punctuated with two trips to Chichester. The Gorse Fox was having his annual car service on his Fiesta. After three years he has racked up a jaw dropping 9500 miles! In the old days he's have done that in a couple of months or so.

Back home he had some emails to handle. These were regarding the recent DNA tests. They revealed three new cousins. Two were related through the same 3rd Great Grandfather on the Law side of the family. One of his sons married and then emigrated to Australia. His descendant line shows several matches and two of them have had their DNA done and clusters of the markers match cluster of the Gorse Fox's markers. The other link was through a different 3rd Gt-grandfather on the Roe side of the family. They have remained in the UK and my 72 year old cousin lives in Hillingdon. It's really quite exciting to find these distant relatives... but it would be so nice to find some links to the Gorse Fox's own family name.

Car was collected from the garage late afternoon. No problems at all (not that any were expected). It's always a relief, however.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

IoW Outing

We always try an do something a bit different for our wedding anniversary. This year we decided to go to the Isle of Wight for the day... it's a few days early, but probably a little less frantic than it might have been at the weekend.

We left early because of the traffic reports of a closed road between home and Chichester but once past the hold up made good time across to Portsmouth. We drove onto the ferry and headed out to sea (well, The Solent). As we left the harbour we got a misty view of the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth down at the Naval dockyards. It was very impressive and towered over everything else nearby.

The crossing was quick and smooth and we grabbed a coffee and a magazine to pass the time. The magazine was an interesting guide to the IoW, but the coffee was dreadful.

Once docked at Fishbourne, we set the SatNav to Colwell Bay and pottered out into the 1950s. It really does seem to be in a time warp, and you certainly couldn't hurry anywhere. We arrived at Colwell Bay, parked up and headed for The Hut. This is a quirky little restaurant, right on the shore between rows of beach huts. The tables are, effectively, in the open but there is a sliding roof that can be drawn across when necessary. They also provide blankets on every chair, so that you can cover up if the breeze gets chilly. When we first arrived the roof was drawn closed and wind breaks were up at the front, but as the morning cloud lifted and the sun broke through they opened it all up. It really was delightful. We had a sheltered table from which we could watch the goings on in the restaurant and out in the bay. It afforded views right across to Milford and up towards Lymington.

The food was superb. The Gorse Fox started with fish tacos and the Silver Vixen had a beetroot salad with romanesca, grapefruit and toasted almonds. This proved to a fitting start to the meal. We then moved on to the main course. For the Silver Vixen a grilled lobster, for the Gorse Fox a "surf 'n' turf" burger which was the traditional beef patty with bacon and cheese with half a lobster and lobster sauce. Delicious. Well, it is an anniversary celebration - it seemed only right to spoil ourselves.

We decided to have a bit of a tour on our way round to Osborne House (the next item on our agenda). The Gorse Fox head south and took the old military road along the south coast towards Chale and Niton. This afforded the most wonderful views of the coastline and out over the Channel. At Niton we looped north and stuck to roads that would filter up through the Island, but would avoid Newport. The Gorse Fox had already determined the Newport was clearly one huge traffic bottleneck and was worth avoiding.

We pulled in to Osborne House. We weren't quite sure what to expect but were really quite taken with  the whole place. We started by heading for the House itself. There we took the tour which filtered us through the various public rooms on the ground floor, then down to the servants area before taking us back up to the top of the building and the nursery and back to the first floor and Seen Victoria's apartments. Finally, back downstairs, we saw the formal dining room before heading out onto the terrace.

The terrace is beautifully laid out in an Italianate form with fountains and statuary. Perhaps the most striking aspect though was the view down to the beach and across the Solent to Portsmouth. It was getting late so we didn't have time to go down there on this visit, but would certainly do so if we come again.

It was time for a cream tea then another walk. This time we took in the walled garden with its fruit trees and huge specimens of normal garden plants. They must be so sheltered there that they can grow about 50% bigger than they would anywhere else.

Finally it was time to leave. We headed back to the ferry terminal and were lucky enough to be squeezed onto the ferry before the one for which we had booked. It seemed a very quick crossing and once back in Portsmouth, we were home in 30 minutes. A brilliant day.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tight game

It was overcast to start with, but it did brighten up later.

Football was very tight today. Both teams lined up and it was a bit cat and mouse to start with but eventually we got a breakthrough. Well that may not quite be the right word. The ball broke loose and the goalie looked distracted. The Gorse Fox was in his own half but hammered the ball on goal. The goalie reacted late but got his hand to it. He saved the goal but dislocated his fingers in the process. He had to leave the game and head off to hospital.

The game remained close but a little muted at first. Eventually the game ended up 1-1 which seemed like a fair result.

We had a nice long phone call with Cousteau-Cub this afternoon. She sounded quite chirpy and has been busy with her photography and diving and is just starting up her yoga sessions.

Urban-Cub and Ellie popped round for a while and we took the little bundle of joy out for a walk in he pram.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer is back

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

Roots

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

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

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

Genteel

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


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

Fracking

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Rill

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

So quiet

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

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

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

G-BnB

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

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

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Important day

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

Happy Birthday.

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

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

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

On target

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

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

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Quiet day

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 07, 2017

Great start

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

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

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Well maybe not

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Family

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 04, 2017

Hands that do dishes

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Not much to report

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Where is Noah

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Second wind

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

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

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

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

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