Thursday, November 30, 2017

On duty

Today sees the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox on G-Force duty. Urban-cub turned up soon after 0800 with Ellie and then headed off to work late morning. Ellie will be with us until Friday morning. This keeps us on our toes but is an absolute pleasure as she is such a cheerful little soul.

Late morning saw Old Bill and Lady Penelope come over to have a look at our blinds. They used a local chap to provide their blinds but the quality wasn't really adequate. They now need to replace some blinds (after three years) and asked about our supplier. We recommended Trevor without hesitation and now they have been across to see ours, they can see the difference in quality. We are not surprised. We felt, from the start, that the chap that had been recommended to them was a bit of a chancer as the blinds were a just a sideline, whereas Trevor had invested in his business and it was his primary job... and he cared.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Joy drain

It's depressing how negative people can suck the pleasure and joy out of anything. The Silver Vixen went out to lunch with two friends. They spent the whole time complaining about their surroundings, the temperature, the service, the menu and heaven's knows what else. As usual they sucked every morsel of joy from the event. Then they got the bill and trie to work out, to the penny, exactly who owed what. People like that (even friends) need to grow up.

The Silver Vixen is home now and tucked up in front of the TV with a cup of tea. It must be so wearing and depressing for these friends to spend their lives always complaining about something and always finding fault. They must have such a joyless existence.

Meanwhile, the Gorse Fox was spreading the joy of football to the orange bibs. Unfortunately he was playing for the yellow bibs. We had a lovely game in autumn frost and bright sunshine. The final score was 6-3 and the Gorse Fox managed to concede an own goal in that total... but made up for it by forcing the oranges to concede and own goal later in the game. Our new chap joined in today. He'll take a couple of games to find his feet - he kept slipping over today (wrong sort of footwear) - but it'll be nice to have him along. (No doubt we'll start to get some good old gossip from his days with QPR).

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


It was time to say goodbye to the Silver Vixen's once Charlie. He was the sweetest of men and loved the extended family, though never had one of his own.  He was 93 and had spent the last few years in a home. His release was a blessed relief.

We left at 0900 and headed up through Sussex and Kent then through the Dartford tunnel into bandit country and on up to Cambridgeshire. We had a trouble-free run and arrived at a little pub, The Plough, in Croton just before midday. We thought some lunch would be sensible before everyone met up at 1330. We chose the pub from Google, just looking for those nearby to the crematorium. We chose well. We were greeted warmly at the door and shown to a table. The menu was good without being extensive. We both chose the fish and chips and it turned out to be excellent. Having been the first into the restaurant we were ahead of the rush. By the time we left the place was packed. It's a shame the pub is so far from home. If it was near to us, we would use it frequently.

The family all met up at the Crematorium and there was a lovely little service to say goodbye to Charlie. We then headed back to Willingham for some tea and to catch up with all the news from round the family.

We left late in the afternoon and headed back onto the highway. Despite the time of day, we had a pretty good run and were home by 2030... where a small glass of Ballantyne's seemed like the perfect way celebrate a long day.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Just stuff

Monday hasn't been particularly notable. The Silver Vixen was meeting up with a friend at Hobbycraft then going on to Haskins. The Gorse Fox didn't have firm plans.

He started with a n hour on the running machine. he knew he would be missing out on football tomorrow, so had to make up some time exercise-wise. Then showered and enjoying a coffee he decided to head for Chichester. Traffic was heavy and the car park outside John Lewis's was rammed. He was patient and found a spot that the line of cars in front of him had obviously not noticed.

He started in PC World/Currys. He has been looking to replace the old iPad which has become unbearably slow. The Silver Vixen had been asking what he wanted for Christmas and this seemed like an opportunity to scout for an appropriate device. He's decided that this time round he'll go for an Android tablet - but which one? After scouting around he decided that an 8 inch model was all that was required - ideal for its portability and powerful enough to do all that he is likely to want. Model and price filed away he moved on to John Lewis to see what they had.  They had an earlier model of the same device but not one of the new ones. Never mind, he wasn't planning on picking it up today anyway. The Gorse Fox returned home and did a bit more research on the model and has now got a firm idea what he would like.

The early part of the afternoon was spent upgrading the iMac to High Sierra. Not that the Gorse Fox really had to do anything other that sign back in when the process completed. It's all so quick and civilised compared with Windows!

Sunday, November 26, 2017


To finish off the celebrations for the Silver Vixen's birthday the Sonning Crew headed out for breakfast. It was cold and frosty but things were already getting busy. We arrived at the garden centre where we had a table booked, but already the car parks were almost full and this was before 10:00. What we hadn't realised was that there was a Christmas event organised also. Santa's grotto had long queues snaking round the store and there were assistants dressed as elves everywhere. To add to the festive spirit there were several singers belting out winter themed classics.

We snuck into the restaurant and ordered coffee and then the full breakfast works. The restaurant quickly filled up and the staff were run off their feet. Everything was slow. Indeed slow and cold. By the time that Old Bill's eggs Benedict arrived the sauce had congealed. They were sent back. Eventually everything was fine and we had a good breakfast. We then took a stroll round the garden centre but left empty handed.

There had been a plan to go on down to the Witterings for a walk along the beach but the consensus was that it was too cold. We headed home and spent a quiet afternoon in front of the TV.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


After a night out with the Sonning Crew, which may have involved a curry, and may have involved a splash of something liquid to ensure we did not dehydrate, the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen had a lazy start to the day. We had plans to go to Chichester, but there was no hurry.

Well actually, there probably should have been. Chichester was seething. Some of the car parks were full and there were people everywhere. In the end we had to park up near the Festival Theatre and wander down North Street to get to shops. First stop was the travel agency to ask a few questions, then on to Vodafone. The billing anomaly has been sorted out. Well, that is to say it has been explained. It turned out to be the up-front cost for the Silver Vixen's phone and they have only just got round to billing for it - 14 months after we got the phone. Doh!

After a bit more shopping we went back to the Gallery. Our picture was ready and had been signed by Danielle. In addition she had written a dedication in the book we had reserved. The Gorse Fox got out his wallet to pay for the book... and the young lady who has been looking after us insisted that we take it as a gift for being such good patrons. The Gorse Fox could hardly refuse, it wouldn't be polite... and after all it was saving him £60.

We graciously accepted her gift and then left the shop. The Silver Vixen was carrying the book and the Gorse Fox was carrying the painting (not the easiest of things to carry because of its size). We avoided the crowds and cut along the back streets up to the car.

Back home the Gorse Fox has diligently set work and the painting is already hanging over the bed. We're very pleased.

Friday, November 24, 2017


The Silver Vixen was expecting Betty Rubble so the Gorse Fox spent much of the day in the study. It is a few weeks (again) since he's caught up with the accounts so that took much of the morning. He's glad he checked because it flagged up quite an anomaly in the mobile phone bill. This will need to be checked in the Vodafone store tomorrow.

Once all that was done he started on the budget preparations for next year. The existing spreadsheet needed to be cloned, cleaned, and adapted. The various budget items needed to be considered and that has thrown up a need for a bit of a rationalisation of some the accounts. There are items that are coming out of the wrong accounts and this needs to be sorted out. The Gorse Fox likes to keep these ship shape.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Thursday has been a game of two halves. The first half progressed much as usual with the addition of having Ellie as company. She woke with a smile on her face and she spent the whole day chuckling, playing, and sleeping... much like her Grandad. Urban Cub finished her shift at the airport and collected Ellie, mid afternoon.

The second half of the day switched. We got changed and headed in to Chichester. We had an appointment at the art gallery. Chichester, however, had other ideas. It was the day of the big turn-on of the Christmas lights, dedication of the Christmas tree and fireworks display. None of this stopped us, but it did slow us down. The original plan had been to stop at ASK for a meal, then pop along two doors to the gallery. ASK explained they had no tables available until at least 20:00... and it was only 17:15. We declined and headed off into the throng, but cut down a side street to bypass the bulk of humanity that had gathered by the Cross. We looked at various restaurants (there are plenty from which to choose in South Street), but ended up at the Chantry. Not exactly fine dining, but reliable good food, friendly staff, and far enough from the 'goings on' that it wasn't rammed with diners.

We had a nice light supper and then headed back towards the gallery. Outside The Fountain was Santa, spaying snow onto the kids below, and Rotary collecting for charity. The kids were so excited and jumping about as the snow floated down.

We headed back up South Street toward the Cross. The crowd became more dense. As we turned into East Street it became a seething melee of humanity jostling for the best views of the impending event. Trying to get through was quite an effort - the Gorse Fox is not known for his patience in huge crowds and kept fantasising about donning a helmet and body  armour and just charging, head-down, at the dithering carbon life-forms.

He resisted.

We arrived at the gallery. In fact we arrived before the artist, who had also been delayed by the crowds. We were there to meet Danielle O'Connor Akiyama who created the triptych that we purchased earlier in the year, and the painting that we had bought for the Silver Vixen's birthday. The idea was to get a dedication on the new painting before we brought it home. In the end we also bought her book which we also left to have dedicated. The Gorse Fox will return on Saturday to pick them both up.

Danielle was such a lovely lady. Absolutely charming and so interesting to chat with. We must have spent 10 to 15 minutes with her as she told us about the triptych (Attainment) and the new painting (Refuge). They had a copy of the latter in the gallery so she took us over and explained all the different techniques and the symbolism that she included in the paintings. Very inspiring. (Unfortunately there another triptych there that caught the eye, and it's part of the same series.... must resist).

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

On duty

The Gorse Fox had football today. It was interesting as we had a new potential player who came to watch. If he joins, he will be the third ex-professional playing with us. No names, but he used to play for QPR.

The game itself was heavily skewed in favour of the orange bibs. Unfortunately, the Gorse Fox was playing for the yellow bibs. We lost about 7-2 but it could have been worse. One of the strikers on the orange team commented that it made no difference where he went and what they did - the Gorse Fox was always there to intercept. He made a rude gesture and suggested that the Gorse Fox went and sat on the sidelines.

When he got home he was pleased to see the new cot had been delivered. After a bite to eat he set about assembling it. This was just in time as we are looking after Ellie overnight tonight and she was getting a bit too mobile for the travel cot we had been using. This new cot is much more robust and solid.

Another day, another release of the CoastWatch app... we seem to be about there now. Any further changes will be cosmetic.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


It is the Silver Vixen's birthday. We have various plans through the week, but today she was meeting up with her coven for their regularly scheduled get-together.

The Gorse Fox was left at home - we were awaiting a delivery from Amazon and weren't sure when it would arrive. The Gorse Fox stayed home and as he wasn't playing football spent an hour of the running machine to get his exercise.

A lot of the rest of the day was spent in the study working on adaptations for the Coastwatch App. He should know by now that if something isn't working he should not assume he is at fault. He spent hours trying to track down a bug in some code only to find that it is a problem endemic in Excel on the MAC. He was not amused.

Cousteau-cub managed to make contact with the Silver Vixen and they had a long chat. She is off to Penang with the Coventry Hobbit at the end of the week to get their visas renewed. It's good that the Silver Vixen has mastered Viber at last.

As the Gorse Fox writes this, he is still waiting for the Amazon delivery. There have been two deliveries already, but the last (and most important) bit still hasn't arrived.

Monday, November 20, 2017


Wet and miserable start to the day - but at least we were no disturbed by Jasper and were allowed to emerge at a sensible hour. It may have been a good start for us, but Urban-cub wasn't so lucky. Due at work first thing she couldn't get her car started. Oops. Peugot, no doubt, had a proverbial flea in their collective ear.

The day was spent doing bits and pieces but most of it was spent creating and refining the Excel version of the Coastwatch app. First version released and tested, feedback received, and corrections and adaptations made. Second version distributed for further testing.

The Silver Vixen popped out for a few hours so while she was out, the Gorse Fox made use of the running machine to get some exercise.

Not much else to report today.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


There was no football this morning. We could only gather 7 players and that isn't enough. As it happens, this wasn't a problem. Pistol Pete, Urban-cub and Ellie were due to come to lunch so this gave the Gorse Fox a chance to get things under way.

We had a 7kg joint of beef. Guidance on the packaging suggested it would cook in 2 hours. The Gorse Fox felt this was a bit quick. He decided to check on the internet. The advice there suggested 20 minutes for every 500g then an additional 20 minutes. This made more sense and this was what he did. The results were excellent. (One online site asked you to enter the weight, the cut of meat, and whether you like it rare, medium, or well done. The Gorse Fox entered the details and it came back with the suggested cooking time of 6 hours 28 minutes. Probably ok if trying to create lumps of carbon).

With Ellie crawling properly now, we had to remain on our toes as she scuttled around the house. We have put silicon bumpers on the corners of the glass tables to protect her but she stayed clear of the living room. Jasper was not happy that she could now chase him. He stayed well clear or snuck round under the tables.

We tried to call Cousteau-cub as we had planned, but we couldn't get through. It's a shame as we wanted to see how she was and also include her (at least as a telepresence) in the family gathering.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sucked up

It's a miserable day... grey, damp, and drizzly. It's a good day to stay in at home.

So we did.

The chap from DPD arrived early with the new Dyson. It didn't take long to assemble it and fortunately, though it needs a new charger rack, the holes were in the same place as the old one. It's now had plenty of time to charge and the Silver Vixen has tried it out. First impressions are very good - the charge lasts a lot longer and the suction is noticeable better.

The Gorse Fox considered the improvements he had worked on yesterday. He refined them and implemented them in a new copy of the app. Having done that he returned to his idea of creating a dynamic URL which would open a map showing the target and a direct line from the point of observation. Google Maps proved to be inadequate for this so the Gorse Fox resorted to Bing Maps. This has a very useful set of URL parameters which allow the Gorse Fox to carve out a map just as he  had envisaged.

Code is back with Barney Rubble for review.

Had a long chat with Cousteau-cub. She's clearly unwell again. Will have to talk to her again tomorrow to see if there's any improvement.

Friday, November 17, 2017


Another leisurely start. The Gorse Fox wonders if we can now get Jasper to prepare our breakfast and coffee. It's the least he could do after all the early starts we have had with him.

There were some domestic tasks to complete first thing but whilst ironing the Gorse Fox had an idea for an improvement to the Coastwatch app. He headed for the study and an hour later it was done. Now the problem is that he's not sure it really is an improvement. In general it would make the operation easier - but he doesn't think it would be as robust at the current code. The reason for this is that inbuilt field validation becomes impossible. This needs further thought before he sends it Barney.

Talking of domestic bliss - our Dyson packed up today. Luckily it's Black Friday so we were able to order a new one at a vastly discounted price.

The afternoon was spent with the Silver Vixen looking through the offers that the chappie from Virgin Holidays had sent through. In the end we think we know which of the options we prefer - but that doesn't mean that we have made up our minds.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Today was predominantly spent in Chichester. We had an appointment mid-morning and that was followed up with lunch with Old Bill and Lady Penelope in Prezzo. We had been chatting to the rep at Virgin Holidays while trying to decide about about a break in the sun some time in the New Year. No decisions have been made but the Gorse Fox has challenged the rep to find something suitable - having provided him with our parameters.

Once home the Gorse Fox returned to the Coastwatch App. Barney Rubble had come up with some additional thoughts which were moderately easy (if lengthy) to develop. Code has been turned round and is back with Barney.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


A bit of a grey start but it wasn't cold.

The Gorse Fox headed across to Worthing for football. The game itself was a strange. In the first half Krakatoa Jack played in goal and just didn't seem interested at all. Four goals were conceded in quick succession. Out on the pitch Runaldo and the Gorse Fox were trying to stem the tide and attack occasionally as our other two players were pretty static.

In the second half KJ came out onto the pitch and one of the statues went in goal. This made a lot of difference. No further goals were conceded... and bit by bit we started to claw our way back. The Gorse Fox scored two goals and Runaldo scored another. We were trying to get to 4-4 when the Gorse Fox chased a long ball (walking was not part of this equation). He was running and just got to the ball before the charging goalkeeper and the fullback. The Gorse Fox now knows what it must feel like to be stuck between tectonic plates. He was meat in sandwich and totally crushed between the two. He lay on the ground for a while just trying to work out if he was damaged. Though shaken, he decided he was ok. The game ticked through to the final whistle. We couldn't even the score. It had been a good run out... if somewhat painful.

The Gorse Fox spent the afternoon responding to the second set of test results from the Coastwatch application. All the items raised were cleared and the new version sent back for the next round of testing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Tuesday morning followed a familiar pattern. The Gorse Fox headed across to Worthing and played his two hours of football. In the first hour he played for the 'blue-bibs' and after loosing the first game we went on to win the rest and came first in the end of match rankings. In the second hour he played for the 'red-bibs' - again three games - two draws and loss. The Gorse Fox was pleased, however, that he got one of the red goals.

Back home the Gorse Fox received a note from Barney Rubble. Barney had spent some time testing the app and now had a page full of feedback. This meant that the Gorse Fox could spend the afternoon refine the code. Most of the points raised were about formatting and validation. None of the points identified any errors in the mathematics, which was good news. (Barney did think there was an endemic error of one degree, but it turned out to be a problem with the parallax on his equipment). Updates are complete and back with him. He will be presenting the code to the organisation once we have a final stable version.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Top and Tail

It was very cold out overnight. There was a hard frost and clear skies when the Gorse Fox ventured downstairs. (Again, Jasper sorted out his own breakfast so the Gorse Fox woke naturally).

The first task today was to convert the spreadsheet that he developed (the Gorse Fox, not Jasper) into a Google Sheet. This proved moderately simple but some of the formatting and data validation options are not as comprehensive as those in Calc. This gives Barney the opportunity to try out the application in two different formats and decide which is preferable.

Next the Gorse Fox headed in to Chichester. He had an appointment at the dentist. This went well. He was in and out in about 10 minutes with a clean bill of dental health. Next, he had an appointment at the podiatrist. The Gorse Fox goes to the chiropodist every couple of months - all of the historical mashing of his toes and removal and regrowth of toenails has taken its toll. It's far easier to get an expert to  maintain the appendages than mess it up himself. Agin, the appointment was over fairly quickly with a further clean bill of health. Topped and tailed, the Gorse Fox marched on into Chichester with a spring in his step.

The Festival Theatre was the first stop. The Moscow City Ballet is doing a performance of The Sleeping Beauty in January and the Sonning Sirens have expressed an interest in going. The Gorse Fox queued at the box office an managed to get some good tickets. He marched back into the town centre - bought some additional football socks, and then headed along to Pizza Express. The Silver Vixen was out to lunch with her coven so the GF had agreed to eat at lunchtime and then all we would need in the evening was a snack. A Caesar salad and classic American pizza fitted the bill nicely... and the Gorse Fox managed to use his Gourmet Society card to knock 25% off the bill.

It was nice walk round the town and he left early enough that he didn't get snarled up in the traffic.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

G and T

The Gorse Fox had another lie in. The robot cat feeder came to Jasper's aid early enough that he didn't trouble us. It was eight o'clock before the Gorse Fox emerged. This is a habit to which he could become accustomed.

There was football to play this morning. The Gorse Fox needed up on the 'orange' team. First look seemed to show good balance between the teams, but in the end we ended up 7-2 (or was is it 8-2?) winners. It was a good work out and great fun.

Back home and showered we had been invited to meet up with the Sonning Crew. Having returned from Jamaica, Old Bill and Lady Penelope wanted to show their appreciation for us looking after the house in their absence. Several drinks were consumed along with a large number of sausage rolls and some mince pies. All the while we were regaled with tales of Sandals, The Gorse Fox must say that it sounds like an idyllic (if somewhat expensive) holiday. Maybe this is something to consider for the New Year.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


The day started later than usual. Jasper fed himself and the Gorse Fox stayed in bed until seven forty. That, by any measure, is a result. It was grey and wet when the shutters and blinds were opened. Not a day for wandering along the beach. This was just as well as the Gorse Fox had other things in mind.

Most of the day was spent working on the spreadsheet for Barney Rubble. The problematic algorithms of yesterday were quickly solved. The problem lay in the positive or negative settings of longitude... all confused by a single parenthesis in the wrong place in a formula. Once done the Gorse Fox got stuck in to some testing - all of which seems ok so far. This then provided the trigger for protecting the various fields to make sure no accidental damage could be applied. Once that was done, there was data validation and help text to apply. The Gorse Fox has just sent off the beta code to Barney Rubble for testing and comments. The whole application has been written in LibreOffice Calc - a free, open source spreadsheet engine similar to Excel. The key here is that it's both free and open source and thus ideal for the voluntary organisation to which Barney belongs.

Meanwhile, Old Bill and Lady Penelope have just got back from Jamaica. The cold, wet, damp of these November days must be a real pleasure after the warmth of of the Caribbean.

Friday, November 10, 2017


Well G-force were in control - Ellie stayed overnight. As things go it wasn't bad, though a three a.m. call from the "nursery" was not part of the plan. She took a bottle from the Silver Vixen and then the Gorse Fox took over and reprised his 40-year skills of walking up and down with a baby on his shoulder until she finally gave in and went back to sleep.

Jasper was excited by al this activity. Or at least he was until the Gorse Fox threw him off the bed as he turned over. Jasper sulked off and went downstairs. He started to prowl again at six, but releasing his breakfast meant that we had a lie-in until seven-thirty. That was a result.

The day has revolved around the needs of Ellie, but the Gorse Fox has had a chance to do some work on his spreadsheet for Coast Watch. There are several websites giving algorithms that should do what is required... but so far the Gorse Fox has been spectacularly unsuccessful in applying them. He has managed to replicate and online algorithm and got the same answer - but when applied to his data the answers were clearly incorrect. This is most frustrating and really needs a concerted chunk of time to sort out.

Thursday, November 09, 2017


The Gorse Fox has spent the day on the spreadsheets working on yesterday's challenge. Finding the official calculations was moderately easy, but getting them to work has been a nightmare. An ongoing nightmare. The Gorse Fox selected two point which were 6km apart... used the algorithm and it told him they were 15 nautical miles apart. Wrong! This is going to take further analysis. It's clear that the Gorse Fox's recollection of trigonometry and the use of radians in mapping distances on the surface of a sphere is a bit rusty.

Mid-afternoon, Urban-Cub arrived with Ellie. As Urban-Cub returns to work in the morning, we said we would take care of Ellie overnight and through tomorrow. Urban-Cub will come an collect her when she finishes.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Maths Challenge

The day started much the same as any Wednesday (if a bit colder). The Silver Vixen got ready for Pilates and headed off a bit early to drop some stuff in to Urban-Cub that had been forgotten yesterday. The Gorse Fox left soon after to go across for football.

The football was a close run thing with a final score of 2-2. The Gorse Fox scored the first goal for his team and felt that he had played a lot better than yesterday. He was happy.

Back home and showered he was interrupted by the phone. It was Barney Rubble. Barney is a volunteer for the Coast Guard watch. This group mans the old Coast Guard stations and provides local eyes and ears to augment the centralised, official, Coast Guard organisations. It seems they have a problem. A lot of the volunteers cannot calculate the bearing of a reported distress call from the local station - particularly as the locations can be given in different formats (Degrees/Minutes/Seconds, Degrees/Decimal minutes, or Degrees/Decimals). He asked if the Gorse Fox could help.

Needless to say, this got the little grey cells firing and the afternoon was spent playing with ideas, with code, and with spreadsheets. This will keep the Gorse Fox out of mischief for a few days.

We were scheduled to go to the John Lewis Christmas Preview this evening. Rather than worry about getting dinner prepared in time, we decided to eat out at lunchtime. We tried a recently owned restaurant in Shripney called The Charlie Purley. Considering it was mid-week it was very busy but we found a table and indulged in their carvery. It was not what you would call "fine dining" but it was  very good and exceptional value of money. It is certainly worth a return visit.

The evening was spent at the John Lewis event. We had a chance to wander round and look at the Christmas displays but ended up buying normal stuff - new towels, an omelette pan, some greetings cards, and so forth. Our basket was heaving (because of the towels) and one of the Partners came up and said we clearly had bought a lot and gave us a personal invitation to spend an hour in the store with one of the Partners as our personal shopper. Not sure we would use that, but it was nice to have the offer - and we have kept the invitation, just in case.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Strange day

It was a strange day. It was warmer than yesterday but a lot greyer. Rain was in the air, but never really came to much. Urban-Cub turned up early with Ellie. We were scheduled to look after her while Urban-Cub was at the hairdresser. So at 7:30 this morning the house was alive with laughter.

The Gorse Fox had football during the morning. It was strange. Though warmer, it felt colder. The Gorse Fox found it hard today. He just couldn't get going, and couldn't really get warm. There was cold northerly wind which, combined with the dampness in the air was chilling. In the first hour the Gorse Fox managed 3 wins, but with the usual change of personnel for the second hour the Gorse Fox lost a game and then drew the last two. Somehow he just couldn't get going and found the whole exercise hard work.

Back home Ellie was still lighting up the house with her smile and Urban-Cub arrived back early afternoon to collect her.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Tidy up

As it gets colder over night, it seemed like a good time to convert the workshop back into the garage.

As you can see from the photo, this was not going to be quick. There was stuff from the last projects, there was garden rubbish, and there were spare chairs from the kitchen.

Bit by bit, the Gorse Fox shuffled stuff around and slowly made a pile by the door. This was all the stuff that needed to be taken to the local tip.

The prototype kitchen table was disassembled (as was always the plan). The wood was sorted into keep and ditch. Fortunately most was good enough to keep. Then the Gorse Fox started on the tools and packed them all away and stacked them on their shelves. He also played "pickup" when he managed to drop a box of 200 screws all over the floor. He suspects that there will be plenty that were missed... and he hopes none of them are found by the tyres on the car.

Some large hooks were installed in the rafters and that allowed the Gorse Fox to hang the old kitchen chairs out of the way.
The car was loaded and the workshop detritus was taken to the tip.

A final bit of tidying up and then some vacuuming and all was ready. Gingerly the car was driven into the garage. A very fruitful morning's work.

Sunday, November 05, 2017


It was nice to have some football again this Sunday. A couple of weeks since we have played and the Gorse Fox misses it. He knows he has played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but Sundays is indoors and a lot faster and more intense.

Today's game went well. A 5-2 win for our team and the Gorse Fox was even mentioned in dispatches for his resolute defending. That suits him... happy to be the bass player, doesn't need to be the lead singer! (Metaphorically speaking).

A quiet afternoon only interrupted by a quick trip to Toolstation for some night-lights. Miss Ellie will occasionally be staying overnight, starting this Thursday. Some subtle night lights would make it easier if we have to get up to her. The Gorse Fox has also played with the Sugru and fixed (he hopes) the wire rack on the new airer. It takes 24 hours to cure, so will have to check tomorrow.

Saturday, November 04, 2017


The day started at a leisurely pace. Jasper's auto-feeder burst into life and that kept him quiet, allowing the Gorse Fox to lie in until nearly seven thirty. He can keep that up!

The rain was pouring down when we emerged. The Gorse Fox had to get across to Halfords to sort out the dash cam. The manager there didn't seem too pleased that a replacement was required and complained that he'd have to check with NextBase... and they probably wouldn't be open. The Gorse Fox stood his ground and waited while he phoned. His face was a picture when the phone was answered. Better still it was the same agent who helped the Gorse Fox that answered the phone. She remembered our conversation and instructed him to go ahead. The Gorse Fox left with the replacement clutched under his arm, he must say that Halford's didn't handle the exchange with grace!

It took a a little while to get the new unit installed and configured in the car, but then the Gorse Fox moved on to the oven. The self-cleaning feature had done its work yesterday, but we still had to get the shelves cleaned. They were inserted into the bag and flooded with toxic chemicals and left for the rest of the day.

A new clothes are arrived and was assembled. One of the trays had a faulty weld and the grill hung loose. This was a case of either returning the unit or fixing it. The Gorse Fox decided that this looked like an opportunity to try Sugru - a mouldable glue. Several colleagues used to recommend it as the solution to all DIY problems. This seemed like an opportunity to try. A trip to B&Q was required, but the Sugru is now sitting waiting for the Gorse Fox to spring into action.

We heard from Cousteau-Cub during the day. She and the Coventry Hobbit are having a hard time at present because they are working so hard and Cousteau-Cub's health is not good at present. The Silver Vixen had a long chat with her. They clearly need a bit of a break and are off to Penang for a Visa run soon.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Out and about again

It was another lovely autumn day. The sun was shining across the South Coast and it seemed like a good time to go out. The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox hopped in the car and pootled across to Gunwharf Quays for a wander around.

We picked a good day for it. Not only was the autumn sunshine pleasantly warm, but Gunwharf was incredibly quiet.

We wandered from one outlet to another. There were no particular things on our list, but you never know what you might see. The Silver Vixen managed to find a bag she liked at a deeply discounted price - so she was very happy. The Gorse Fox found a knife sharpener tuned to Japanese knives (10 degrees instead of Western 15 degrees) and as he isn't very good at using the sharpening stones he got with his knives, this seemed like an ideal purchase.

We stopped at The Old Custom House for lunch. There are dozens of restaurants to choose from, but The Old Custom House had some tables outside in the sunshine - and on a day like today that seemed just perfect.

After a good lunch we made our way round the various walkways for a bit of a walk and make sure we had looked in all the latest stores.

The Gorse Fox went in to Adidas. He needed some additional football socks. He couldn't find them so asked an assistant who explained that they only had some with Bayern Munich or Man Utd logos. The Gorse Fox said that he would never stoop so low and went away without any.

We stood for a while, enjoying the warmth of the sun and watching the world go by. It really was a pleasant interlude in the exploration of the shops.

Back home late afternoon the Gorse Fox looked at the dash cam. It had "lit up" on the way home - and that was unusual.

Again he found there were some holes in the recording. He went online and spent 30 minutes with the NextBase support agent. It became clear that it wasn't anything he had done wrong, but was probably a fault with the unit. They asked him to return it Halfords for a replacement so that they can examine the faulty unit and get to the bottom of the problem. Receipts have been retrieved and Halfords is on the agenda for tomorrow!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Out and about

Fog was forecast for parts of the country this morning. The nice man from Ocado said how bad it had been over near Amesbury as he went in to work at Andover. Even Urban-Cub commented that it was evident in LA. Here, near Bognor, it was clear. The sky was bright and the day looked promising.

Urban-Cub arrived with Ellie just after we had finished breakfast. Nothing special was arranged, just a day together. The Gorse Fox disappeared off to get his hair cut late in the morning and then when he got back, we all headed down into Bognor. Urban-Cub, the Silver Vixen and Ellie started off along the seafront whilst The Gorse Fox headed to the Post Office to collect an undelivered parcel. He soon caught up with them. As usual there were quite a few people making the most of the promenade, but this quickly petered out as we strolled more than a few hundred yards from the car parking.

We carried on round to The Lobster Pot where we stopped for lunch. It was fairly busy, but looking along the beach towards Middleton and Elmer it seemed almost deserted.

We had a hot beverage and something to eat then heated up a bottle to feed Ellie before heading back to the car. Urban-Cub realised that here watch was missing while we were there, so we kept our eyes peeled on the way back in case it had dropped off as she was walking or as she removed her coat. Needless to say we didn't find it. Fortunately, though a fairly expensive watch at full price, she had purchased it at a very deep discount from Amazon so the actual value of the loss wasn't too big.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Good start

Just gone nine in the morning and the Gorse Fox has already sorted out the road fund licence for the Qashqai (couldn't do it yesterday as the garage hadn't updated the MOT database). He's also read the meters (as he does on the 1st every month). It's interesting looking at this year's consumption compared to that of last year. Electricity, gas, and water are all down on last year - which is a good thing. We're not too sure what we have done differently, but consuming less is always good!