Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Spreading out

Ellie didn't wake until gone eight and the Gorse Fox went to fetch her and she played on our bed for a good twenty minutes before getting fidgety for some breakfast. This is what the Gorse Fox considers a very relaxed start to the day.

Because G-Force were on duty, the Gorse Fox didn't play football today. It was a shame because it looked like a lovely day for a game - bright sunshine and clear skies.

The Gorse Fox spent most of his spare moments converting the childcare spreadsheet from Excel to Google Sheets. The child minder uses Google docs, so it makes it a lot easier to share with her going forward. The work isn't finished, but it is almost there... only a few summarisations to finish off.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Well the forecast was wrong. It had warned of high winds and showers across the south coast and had shown rain rattling through between 10:00 and 13:00 - just when the Gorse Fox was meant to be playing football.

It was wrong. It was bright sunshine and it stayed that way until the sun went down. The Gorse Fox played for the orange-bibs today. In the first hour he lost two and won one game. He had expected worse and had had to be very disciplined in defence. Despite that, he did manage to cross the halfway line a couple of time and rattled the crossbar each time.

In the second hour it was a bit better with one draw and two wins - the last one come as a result of a goal from the Gorse Fox.

The Silver Vixen was out with her coven for the day, so the Gorse Fox got on with lunch then retired to the study to spend some quality time with some Excel spreadsheets. Late afternoon the Silver Vixen arrived home with Ellie. Ellie's childminder's son has an hospital appointment in the morning so G-Force are stepping in and Ellie is staying with us overnight.

Monday, January 15, 2018


The Gorse Fox and Old Bill headed off into the wilds of the Manhood Peninsula, towards Wittering. Throughout this area there seem to be tiny hamlets. It turns out that the place we were heading was only a mile or so from the cattery we had visited on Saturday.

The furniture maker was based in the outhouses of a nice house at the end of a lane. The outhouses comprised several old curved shelters (circa 1940) and a large wooden shed that was set up as a carpentry shop. The equipment was old and the whole place was a complete mess. The furniture, however, was well made and looked well-finished. The chap himself looked like a carpenter's version of Einstein, with a shock of white hair and a slight vagueness when trying to communicate.


What a could start to the day. It's 10:00, it's dark, and its thrashing down with rain. This is what living in Wales must be like.

The Silver Vixen's friend, who was due to visit, sent a message to say she had woken up with a heavy cold, so that has been cancelled. The Gorse Fox has prepared the car to help Old Bill collect some bespoke bedside cabinets. Let's hope the varnish or paint is waterproof!

Sunday, January 14, 2018


Sunday started with a leisurely breakfast before the Gorse Fox headed off for football. He played for the yellow-bibs and though we looked like the underdogs, we were 3-1 up at half time. Unfortunately two of our players fade in the second half... and the score started to change. In the end we lost 6-5 but nearly managed to claw it back.

Back home, showered and with some chores under the belt, we headed out to Chichester. The old Homebase store has been taken over by the Australian "Bunnings". We thought it was a good opportunity to go and see what they have on offer. Well, it was an Aladdin's Cave of tools and wood and general homeware and DIY. The Gorse Fox was very impressed by the breadth of the choice of makes and types of tools available. Prices were keen, and the Gorse Fox could see this becoming his 'go to' store for the future (not that he has any particular plans at present - and certainly doesn't need any new tools just now).

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Today was about Jasper. With a holiday booked for later in the Spring had to find a cattery that would take Jasper and in which he would be well cared for and happy. We have a cattery that we usually use is fine, but it's nice to have an alternative. Old Bill and Lady Penelope had found a place down near Sidlesham and were very happy with the set-up and with the care shown by the proprietor.

We set off, and were soon in the general area. The SatNav, however, was not at its most helpful. The Gorse Fox is very pleased that he spent some time with Google Maps before leaving. We eventually found the place and were shown in. The proprietor, Mark, seemed like a lovely chap who genuinely seems to care for each of his charges. There were only about half a dozen cats in residence this morning but he was able to give a complete history of every one of them. The place was spotless. This has just moved from being the alternative to being the first choice.

Friday, January 12, 2018

On duty

We are on duty again today. This means that most of the day has been spent on hands and knees chasing Ellie round the kitchen or gathering her scattered toys. While she had her morning sleep the Gorse Fox managed to finish the refinement started on the Excel budget sheet yesterday. It's not as elegant as it should be, but the Gorse Fox concludes (based on research and empirical evidence) that you just can't do what he wanted the way he wanted to do it. Never mind, plan b was adequate.

We popped in to Chichester after lunch. It was grey and a bit damp, but it was nice to get Ellie out in the fresh air and nice to have a stroll. We stopped off a Turner's Pies on the way back to car in order to pick up a chicken and ham pie for supper. The Gorse Fox should explain. He's not a pie person, never has been. Having said that, we had a couple of their pies at Christmas and the Gorse Fox thoroughly enjoyed them. So maybe you can teach and old dog new tricks (if the quality is right).

Pistol Pete arrived soon after five to collect Ellie. She was fast asleep in the cot and became a little grizzly when when woken (but we can all associate with that). She was soon ready to go and the car packed with all her paraphernalia.

Now that she has gone, Jasper has started to wander round again. He's very cautious when she is around and scuttles around trying to avoid her. He's a lot braver when she's gone - wimp.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

G-Force duty

The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen have been on G-force duty all day today. This has been the focus of the day as she has scuttled about on all fours or in her walker.

While Ellie was having her afternoon nap, the Gorse Fox spent some time with Excel. The annual budget spreadsheet is getting its annual spring clean and refinement. This time the refinement was based on the Gorse Fox thinking that there must be a better way of making one of the calculations. He knew exactly what he wanted to do and could have coded it in an instant in EXEC2 or Rexx, but couldn't find a way of making the simplification in Excel. It's not a problem as he already has the correct answer... but just feels that there is (or should be) a better way to get there. He may return to this conundrum at a later date.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Play Misty

It was a fine start but when the Gorse Fox headed inland to zip across to Worthing he was surprised to find it was quite foggy. Back at the coast however it was clear and sunny for our football.

The Gorse Fox was playing for the orange-bibs and whilst the game was close, we did manage to win 5-4. The Gorse Fox was having a few problems with his hips and it took a long time to loosen up. Even now, many hours later he is having some discomfort and hopes that it won't keep him awake as it did last night.

The Silver Vixen collected Ellie from the childminder, on her way back from Pilates. She will be staying with us for a couple of days due to the way in which Urban-Cub's and Pistol Pete's shifts work out this week. So far she has been her usual happy self but seems to have developed a fetish for tissues and has been emptying the boxes of tissues, one tissue at a time.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018


Oh what a grey day. It has remained dark all day, but at least it stayed dry and wasn't too cold.

The Silver Vixen was upend about early and headed off to Urban-Cub's to help young Jake look after Ellie for the day.

The Gorse Fox headed off to football. The turn out wasn't as big as usual, but there was a tournament yesterday. when the teams were selected the Gorse Fox found himself play for the blue-bibs and looking at the make-up of the teams was expecting to be on the receiving end of three severe beatings. In the end, we did ok. We drew one, lost one, and won one. This put us 2nd in the overall stack and the Gorse Fox was pleased to have tucked two goals away.

In the second hour he was playing for the red-bibs. Somewhat less successful in this hour with two losses and a win.

Monday, January 08, 2018


The Gorse Fox received an offer from his energy company. As we approach the end of our current contract they were offering a new fixed price contract for the next 24 months. It's more than he currently pays, but is it competitive? The Gorse Fox spent an hour or so going through the details and the various comparison websites. In the end he decided it was not the cheapest, but was perfectly acceptable. He uses Bristol Energy and they are a community based supplier ploughing some of their profits back in to local charities and schemes. He likes this idea so signed up for a further couple of years.

Lunchtime saw the Gorse Fox making a couple of omelettes - not particularly significant, other than the fact that they finished off the last of the Christmas ham. That turned out to be good value having been used, at least for snacks, ever since Boxing Day.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Another win

First Sunday football of the New Year included two players who only play on Wednesday usually. It was nice to have some fresh blood. It was quite even and it was a long time before the first goal went in. Unfortunately it was agains the Orange bibs... and the Gorse Fox was playing in Orange. We pulled one back, but by half time were losing 3-1.

In the second half we rejigged our positions a bit and that allowed the Gorse Fox to roam a bit. In the end we started to make an impact and include two goals from the Gorse Fox we ended up 5-3 winners.

Most satisfactory.

Fall of the robots

The Gorse Fox went to Sainsbury's and, only having a single item, headed for the self-service checkouts. He followed the instructions - he'd be through in no time. It went something like this:

Start transaction;
No bags;
Scan item;
Finished; Total £4.50
Choose payment type - Cash
Insert notes - £10 inserted
Change given; £5 note delivered and..... Nothing!
Screen says it owes the Gorse Fox 3p...

Robot cannot do maths, and cannot deliver change. Human arrives, scratches head, calls another human. Second human rolls eyes. Somewhere behind the Gorse Fox another robot was failing, another human was being called. The Gorse Fox's human opened up the robot and slid out the intestines. He started rotating wheels... bit by bit the Gorse Fox's change emerged. Not a single 50p coin but 2 x 20p, 1 x 5p, and 2 x 2p... the wheel kept turning but nothing else happened. The robot had stiffed the Gorse Fox of 1p. There was no "deus ex machina". The Gorse Fox chuckled and told the human to keep the change.

Well they tell us that the robots will replace people, but at the moment they seem to require multiple humans to hold their hands.

Saturday, January 06, 2018


Epiphany - the Twelfth Night and traditionally the day on which the Christmas decorations are taken down and stowed away for another year.

So it was that the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen spent much of the day unravelling lights and winding them properly so that they are quickly accessible next year, wrapping ornaments, packing balls, and storing everything in dust-proof boxes. The boxes were stored away in the garage and the tree wrapped and stored in the loft.

It all took a lot longer than you would expect, but it is done for another year.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Ballet - encore

The main event for today was the ballet. Not, you understand, for the Gorse Fox but rather another event arranged for the the Sonning Sirens. (The Gorse Fox is becoming the default events coordinator for the Sonning Crew). With this on the schedule for the evening, we decided that we would go out for lunch so that we didn't need to squeeze supper into the mix.

The morning was spent pottering about. The Gorse Fox took down all the Christmas cards and went through them to update his database with any changes of address, new senders, and of course who had sent cards. (He has these records going back for years now). Tomorrow the more significant work begins - removing and stowing all the decorations.

We went out to The Old Stables at Fontwell for lunch. It is one of those places that can be relied on for friendly service and menu that will suit almost any taste. It can be chaotic on days when there is horse racing at the ground, but on days like to day it was just warm, welcoming and friendly.  We had a lovely lunch before pottering back home.

Old Bill had volunteered to chauffeur the Sonning Sirens to and from the ballet (at the Chichester Festival Theatre). The Gorse Fox stayed put nursing a cold that he has been fighting all week. He was glad he didn't have to go out. Some Lemsip tablets and a plate of cheese and biscuits gave him solace throughout the evening until the Silver Vixen returned. She had enjoyed the ballet immensely but commented that the dancers seemed older than those seen last week.

Thursday, January 04, 2018


A degree of normality has returned.

It's Thursday and the Gorse Fox has spent much of the day on the admin. There are still a few payments from last year to be registered, but the books for 2017 can nearly be closed. The new book (spreadsheet) for 2018 is now open and has had a few minor refinements over last year.

Meanwhile in the spare bedroom, the Silver Vixen has been having a bit of a potter and sort out.

Nothing that you would consider riveting today - just basic normality. However, the Gorse Fox can sit at the computer with a smug grin knowing that he hasn't had to worry about year-end targets and signings, nor has he returned to work with an inbox containing several hundred emails. Retirement is a source of endless pleasure.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018


The storm Eleanor hit the country overnight. We were lucky in that the only minor inconvenience was the noise of the wind. Others were less fortunate and saw flooding and power cuts.  By the time the Gorse Fox got up, the worst had blown through and we were just left with gusty winds.

The wind made our Wednesday football quite lively - but at least we were dry today. The Gorse Fox played for the orange-bibs and though the game was close, we managed to come out 4-3 winners, with the Gorse Fox scoring one of the goals.

Back home he taped up the legs of the spare table that we had used in the Orangery and managed to get it back to its normal storage place in the garage. Orangery now returned to normal layout. We'll take the decorations down in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018


The magic of Tuesday weather has evidently worn off. Last year we seemed to play football on Tuesdays with very few days where it rained. Well today the first Tuesday of 2018 ended that run. The Gorse Fox spent two hours playing in the pouring rain and was soaked to the skin. Fortunately he always has a warm, dry, set of clothes in a bag in anticipation of just such a day. When finished he changed into his dry clothes and felt a lot better. (It also helped that he had been on the side that had won 5 out 6 games and drawn the sixth one.)

The football transfer window is open and the Gorse Fox was flattered to be approached by the Brighton captain. He is trying to build a team to win the national "People's Cup" (Arun Amblers played in this two years back). He asked the Gorse Fox if he would join because though he had a good attack and midfield he needed a strong defence and reckoned that, looking across the Brighton, Lancing, and the Worthing teams, the Gorse Fox was his first choice. The Gorse Fox was quite chuffed by the approach, but politely declined. Experience has taught him that the quality of the refereeing and the degree of aggression that you see in these games takes the fun out of playing.

Monday, January 01, 2018

New start

Well that was a bit of a blast. We had a lovely New Year's Eve with the Sonning Crew.

We had set up the Orangery to use as a dining room and that gave us all plenty space and it worked really well. Even the Chinese food arrived spot on schedule. It appears that a number of empty bottles found their way into the house through the evening as the Gorse Fox found loads of them when he cleared up this morning. He cannot imagine from whence they came.

Much silliness was evident throughout the evening and it was filled with laughter. We stayed put in the Orangery until just before midnight when we went into the lounge to watch the fireworks on TV. The fireworks were certainly spectacular - possibly the best so far. The Crew dispersed and the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox did a cursory tidy-up before heading for bed.

The Gorse Fox was up for eight o'clock and set about the clearing up properly. It took a while and he still needs to find homes for some things, but essentially it's done. The table has been folded down and in the next day or so will be returned to its hiding place against the wall of the garage.

Much of the rest of the day has been spent back working on the family tree and looking for relevant entries in the UK 1939 Register (a sort of census conducted on 29th Sept 1939 at the outbreak of war). He's beginning to make progress but there is a long way to go... and there's lots of people that he has been unable to find so far... and many are still redacted.