Sunday, August 19, 2018

Great start

It's a lovely sunny start to the day as the Gorse Fox enjoys a coffee on our balcony and looks out over the harbour at the new cruise ship that has appeared over night.

It was 45 years ago today that the Silver Vixen was crazy enough to marry the Gorse Fox. These 45 years have been wonderful and he could not have wished or hoped for anyone better to spend his life with. She is an inspiration, a friend, a partner, a mum, a grandmum, and a saint. The Gorse Fox loves her to bits... and hopes we can manage the next 45 years with just as much success.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


We dressed up a bit and headed down to The Curry Room. This is an intimate little restaurant within the hotel, There are only five tables so it is quiet and refined. It is decorated in heavy red damask and has paintings and displays from the time of the English rule in India.

The menu was different. The usual litany of dishes you expect in an Indian restaurant was nowhere to be seen. There was a single choice of starters (the choice being whether or not to have a starter). This was poppadoms and samosas with various chutneys. It was a very good start. The samosas were delicately spiced and wrapped in the thinnest and crispiest of pastries that the Gorse Fox has ever tried.

For the main dish we both had the Natal Lamb Curry. This was based on a South African recipe from the Indian ex-pats living in and around Durban. It was delicious. Even the Silver Vixen waxed lyrical about how good it was and that if curries were like this back home she would really enjoy them. Not to put to fine a point on it, it was quite possibly the best curry the Gorse Fox has ever tried.

We finished the meal with coconut ice cream. What can you say - it was creamy and had lashings of coconut. Heavenly. Over all a brilliant meal.

After dinner we returned to the room to grab some jackets and then headed out for a walk down into the town and along the harbour front. A meal like that needs to be settled by a stroll. We were out for about and hour then returned to the room where the Silver Vixen went through some brochures we had collected at the Tourist Information Office, and the Gorse Fox watched Match of the Day.

Out and about

The Gorse Fox was awake at his normal time and snuck out of bed to read. It was too early to disturb the Silver Vixen. When she did waken, the Gorse Fox fired up the kettle for her tea and then headed off for a shower. Breakfast was a very nice affair down in the Brasserie.  There was a wide selection of "Continental" delicacies or a menu of proper breakfasts. We both started with some yoghurt, but then splashed out and had Eggs Royale or Benedict. The Gorse Fox added a couple of sausages to his Eggs Benedict to cut through the richness and was glad he did.

After breakfast we headed down into town.Though early it was already heaving. A cruise ship had anchored overnight and was disgorging thousands of passengers into the town. They have virtually convinced the Gorse Fox that cruising is not for him. They were loud, they were oblivious to the people round them, and they completely blocked the roads as they stood and gawped, and they dawdled. Now the Gorse Fox has discussed the bus company Perry Mortem tours in the past. It is clear that P&O have adopted the cruising side of the company and become Perry Mortem Cruises. (This is a subject to which the Gorse Fox may return).

We explored a little. The Silver Vixen had worn a hole in her shoe and needed an urgent replacement. This was finally accommodated in Next. (Shoe shops seem very hard to find in St Peter Port). As we walked out of the shop she pointed out that she had saved several pounds on the price because of the local tax regime. This got the Gorse Fox thinking. He checked the receipt for the Silver Vixen's watch and headed for the Apple shop. Sure enough a similar watch would be nearly 60GBP cheaper here. He checked they had the one in which he was interested and resolved to return later. Further down the street we managed to pick up an adapter to allow the Gorse Fox to backup his camera to the tablet. All was now well with the world.

We stopped for a coffee and decided that we would take the bus to The Little Chapel. A 7 day bus pass gives us unlimited travel for the week, so armed with that we climbed aboard and headed into the interior. It's 45 years since we were last there. It was strange how little yet how much it had changed.

The Gorse Fox was hoping to recreate a photo taken all those years ago, but the actual spot is no longer there as they have been doing a lot of renovation. Clearly this was a victim of progress (much like the Gorse Fox himself... and in his defence he would point out that long hair was all the rage in the 70s - but his would only grow out, not long).

We took the bus back to St Peter Port (all buses start and stop there so you can get on any bus with the certainty it will return you to SPP). We had a thirst. Coffee would not do. This required a beer and therefore a stop in a pub. It's a hard job, but someone has to do it.

We popped back into the Apple shop and the Gorse Fox bought the Apple Watch then eventually we headed back to the hotel and spent a lovely hour or so sitting in the sun on the terrace. A wedding was in full swing in another part of the hotel, children were playing by the pool, and people were enjoying their "Afternoon Tea" (with lashings of scones, cakes, sandwiches and heaven's knows what). We managed a tea and glass of wine between us.

Tonight we are booked in to The Curry Room. This is an Indian Restaurant which occupies the Governor's Rooms of the hotel. Looks very good so we are looking forward to it.

Play misty for me

This morning is a little grey and it's slightly misty. A big cruise ship has parked just outside the harbour and the tenders are shuttling back and forth with passengers for their excursions.

No specific plans for the day at this point but we'll probably decide over breakfast. The Gorse Fox does want to try and get an adapter so that he can download his photos from the camera (but won't lose to much sleep if he doesn't).

Friday, August 17, 2018


The hotel knocked on the door. In walked a girl with a bottle of bubbly in an ice bucket with a single red carnation. They really are making this a very good start to the week.

We decided to leave the bubbly and go out for a stroll. It was still clear and not too chilly. We wandered through the back streets to the commercial arcade. There was a restaurant there called Dix Neuf. We examined the menu and saw that the place was clearly popular. It had a real buzz about it, so we took our seat and ordered. The waiting staff were scuttling around from table to table trying to keep on top of things but despite how busy they were the were cheerful and chatty and we didn't have to wait long for our food. The SIlver Vixen went for a chocolate brownie and the Gorse Fox had a chicken caesar salad. Both were excellent and good value for money.

We carried on with our stroll. Down to the harbour and along past the bus terminus towards Castle Cornet. Then we headed out along the breakwater toward the Castle and then on to the small lighthouse at the end, marking one of the entrances to the harbour. There was a slight nip in the air as we turned to head back. The sun had gone down and the lights of St Peter Port beckoned. It really was quite magical.

When we got back to the room the staff had decorated the bed with some towel sculpture, petals and so forth. It really was very kind of them and very romantic.


It was an early (but not too early) start. We loaded the car and set off for the airport. Having allowed extra time because of expected traffic we were surprised by how clear and quick the run to Southampton was. In fact we stopped at Hedge End to kill some time so that we didn't incur additional charges at the airport car park. (As it happens we wouldn't have incurred the extra charges as the SatNav on the phone took us to the wrong place and by the time we found the right location we had burned the extra minutes we tried to lose).

As usual, the airport was very quiet and a pleasure to use. We were bussed out to the plane and took. off at 1100, on time. Thirty five minutes later we were pulling up at the stand at Guernsey Airport. The bags arrived a minute or so after we got to the baggage hall and we strolled through to the meet and greet area. Our driver was there and quickly decorated us to a nice Mercedes and whisked us away to the hotel. We chatted on the way and explained this was where we had had our honeymoon and he showed us the hotel in which we had stayed. (It's closed now and he thinks that it has been bought by developers who are trying to get permission to build on the site).

We were soon at the Old Government House hotel and quickly checked in. Our room wasn't quite ready so we were escorted to the terrace and offered a glass of bubbly while we waited. It was clearly a lovely spot, sitting in and elevated position in St Peter Port and looking across the town to the harbour and the other Channel Islands in the distance. We didn't have to wait long and were escorted to. our room. This too has a wonderful view across the rooftops to the port and beyond.

Anniversary cards were waiting in our room (thanks J&T) and a big bunch of flowers which had been arranged by the Gorse Fox in advance. We made ourselves comfortable and then headed back downstairs. The concierge gave us a tour of the hotel, it's restaurants, the pool area, the gym, and the spa. It really is very nice indeed and the Gorse Fox thinks that he has chosen well.

It was time to take a look around. We wandered down into the town and strolled through the streets to the harbour front. We looked in several restaurants before choosing to have lunch in the Crow's Nest Brasserie. Again, we chose well. It had panoramic views over the harbour and the staff were charming. We both had a steak, mushroom, and onion downstairs. This was a bit more than a snack, but was certainly delicious. The restaurant itself is worth a revisit before we return home.
We stopped off to look round the M&S as we strolled back and the Gorse Fox remembered that he had bought a Seiko watch at a jeweller nearby when we were here 45 years ago. (The watch is long gone - not sure about the jeweller).

Back at the room he's having troubles linking to this blog, possibly because he's on an open WiFi. Not too sure when this will actually get posted. The Gorse Fox has also forgotten the little adapter that allows him to download photos from his camera. Pah! This may be a matter of relying on photos from the phone until we get home.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

On your marks

Ellie had a restless night, though it didn't really result in any loss of sleep. She started to stir around six, but didn't actually require attention until nearly half past seven. She had woken with a degree of mischief in her and required a lot of watching through the morning.

Jasper had clearly been looking at Google Calendar and hid beneath the bed as the time approached for us to take him to the cattery. Needless to say it was a bit of fight to dig him out and get him in his carrier. We loaded him into the car then got Ellie into her seat and headed for the cattery. The rain was very heavy the whole way and when we got to the cattery the sound of the rain on the roof was quite loud and probably unsettling for the cats. Jasper quickly calmed down as Mark the cat whisperer took charge and helped him acclimatise. The Gorse Fox is sure he'll enjoy his week's holiday with Mark looking after him.

Back home it was time for a quick lunch and then Ellie went down for a sleep.  Urban Cub was here after her early shift but not feeling brilliant so had gone up for a nap herself. The Silver Vixen had to pop into Chichester, so the Gorse Fox was briefly in charge. He watched Match of Day which had been recorded at the weekend and soon he could hear Ellie stirring. Urban Cub came down soon after and then Silver Vixen got home. The natural order had been restored.

Urban Cub and Ellie headed home and the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox went upstairs to pack. All set and ready for the morning. We have time to get excited now.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Off the bench

As the Gorse Fox mentioned yesterday, his plan included football today. With a certain spring in his step he headed for Worthing. The lads turned up and we quickly picked sides and got under way. The Gorse Fox thought the teams were fairly evenly balance but it soon became clear that it was duck shoot. The Gorse Fox, playing for the yellows were 5-0 up in the first 15 minutes so we had a quick switch of personnel. By half time it 7-0 and there was a further switch of personnel. The Gorse Fox open the scoring in the second half (keeping his one a week goal in tact) and the team then went on to score another 7 or 8 goals with no reply.

Once home we had a quick lunch before Urban Cub turned up with Ellie. We played around for a while then the Gorse Fox took her for a walk to see the ducks on the lake. He had taken a bag of bird seed, which was just as well. When we arrived there were no ducks to be seen, but one cast of a handful of seed brought them quickly out from hiding. Ellie seemed captivated though wasn't really contributing to the feeding as she was only throwing the odd seed or two, and they often landed on the path rather than the lake.

New battery charger turned up this afternoon. Both the lithium batteries for the Gorse Fox's Ryobi tools are now fully charged and ready for action again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


The Gorse Fox decided that there was still too much to do to spare time for football this morning. He does plan to play tomorrow, though.

After sleeping on it, the Gorse Fox decided he would replace and refit the doors for the window seat. He decided on solid plywood doors which will be "dressed" with some mouldings. New hinges were purchased (they needed to be stronger for the solid doors) and while he was at the DIY store the Gorse Fox picked up two piano hinges for the lid.

Fitting the new doors was a bit fiddly and the hinges were vicious little beasts - they have a very strong spring and it took great care to open them up for fitting without catching a finger in the mechanism. Now the doors are hung, the spring isn't so much of a problem. After that it was matter of sorting out the piano hinges and fitting the lid. Again it was a little fiddly but after a couple of false starts, it's all done now.

The Gorse Fox still has to trim the lid to size, but that will have to wait. The battery charger for his Ryobi saw(s) has packed up. The nice man at Amazon is rushing round his warehouse at the moment looking for a replacement that he can send for tomorrow. Once the lid is trimmed it will just be a matter of fitting some mouldings, sanding, and preparing for paint... the box itself is complete.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Making progress again

Well the battery is back up to full charge and the various cuts have been made. The back panel is fitted and the lid and its surround are positioned (if not fixed). The Gorse Fox still needs to select the right hinge(s) for the lid and also find some suitable soft-close struts to take the weight of the lid when open.

The Gorse Fox isn't really very satisfied with the doors that he has made. The wood was evidently slightly twisted and though he has mounted the doors, he thinks he will replace them. He's currently in two (or three) minds over the doors... fielded panels again with wider plywood stiles and rails; a solid plywood door with mouldings; or and MDF door with mouldings. Something to sleep on he thinks and there are considerations for each.


It is so frustrating when you are in the middle of cutting some sheets of plywood and the battery runs out on the circular saw. Never mind, the Gorse Fox has a spare. Click, spare is installed. Saw starts and the Gorse Fox just another two inches. Spare battery runs out.

The Gorse Fox is now passing the time until the battery is recharged.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Do Not Disturb

Sunday has been a very quiet day. It was grey and there were periods of rain so we essentially stayed put.

The Gorse Fox needed to get the right contour pattern for Urban-Cub's skirting boards to scribe the wedges of the window seat to fit. He had meant to do it yesterday, but though he remembered, he couldn't find his contour gauge. Today, in desperation, he went out and bought a new one. Clearly, some people don't 'play the game' (which reminds him, there was no football today again). He went to Toolstation which operates like Argos or Screwfix inasmuch as you enter, look up your item in the catalogue then go to the counter with the product number. Oh no, not this morning. The two neanderthals in front of the Gorse Fox were too lazy and went up to the counter and asked for their items which the assistant then had to find in the catalogue based on the vague descriptions she was being given.... and then they debated whether their chosen item would really fit. What should have been a two minute visit for the Gorse Fox ended up as about fifteen.

During the afternoon we popped across to see Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete so that the Gorse Fox could get the contour profile of their skirting board and transfer it to a cardboard template. We weren't there for long but did enjoy a further slice of her birthday cake before heading home.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Much Ado about something

It's time to celebrate. With Urban Cub reaching a milestone birthday, she had arranged a bit of a "do". We headed over to LA so that we would be there early and could help out as necessary. There wasn't much to do as most things were well under control or time dependant... and the time hadn't come.

Around midday the first guests arrived with Beck's train getting in to the local station. She was  soon followed by Jane (the Gorse Fox's tiny sister) and Trevor. Slowly but surely the others arrived... friends of Pistol Pete, the Silver Vixen's brother, sister, and brother-in-law, the Gorse Fox's cousin and aunt. The house was filling nicely.

Meanwhile, out in the garden Pistol Pete was managing the BBQ. Yesterday's torrential rain had passed and the weather was dry. Sunny spells were welcomed as they passed, but it was mostly cloudy and there was a cool breeze. The meat was brought through in batches and we all tucked in. Urban Cub had asked her local butcher for sufficient meat for a BBQ for "x" people and he had done a good job preparing two boxes full of ribs, chicken, kebabs, burgers, and sausages. It was delicious.

The day was spent just chatting with everyone and catching up on their news. What was particularly nice was that Cousteau Cub managed to get through for a video call and was on the phone with us for quite some time. Her video presence quite completed the gathering.

We cut the cake late in the afternoon and people started to drift away early evening. There was a flurry of tidying up and then the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed home. It has been a lovely day.

Friday, August 10, 2018


Today is a milestone birthday for Urban-Cub. It was forty years ago that the Silver Vixen, Gorse Fox, and Cousteau-Cub were blessed with her arrival to complete our family quartet. The Gorse Fox hopes she has a wonderful birthday weekend.

As part of the celebrations, we looked after Ellie over night, but Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete collected her at lunchtime today after staying at a Spa in Brockenhurst last night. They have a busy afternoon scheduled as they prepare for a bit of a "do" tomorrow and their first guests arrive.

The weather today has been a mixture of short sunny periods separated by rain. As the Gorse Fox writes, the rain is hammering down and is quite deafening against the Orangery roof. Gusty winds are blowing it in all directions so he has had to close the roof vents for the first time in a couple of months.

Thursday, August 09, 2018


A lot of heavy rain overnight and it was still raining throughout the morning. It's dried up now and the sun is back where it belongs.

It was a quiet morning. The Gorse Fox had some admin to complete and then had to try and find the right hinges for the window seat. He knew what he wanted but trying to find a source was an unexpectedly long process. He eventually found a supplier but then realised they were "trade only" and would only deal through their distributors. He searched the web for a local distributor but though some were found, none carried this hinge. Eventually he found a company in Milford Haven and ordered the hinges. They will cost more to post than the items themselves are worth!

At lunchtime Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete arrived with Ellie. They are going away for the night and we are in charge! Well, actually, as the Silver Vixen had to go to the dentist this afternoon, the Gorse Fox was in charge. She was no trouble and we sat and read her books and watched a bit of CBeebies while she tried to create chaos in the lounge. When the Silver Vixen arrived home she continued to play for a bit, then went down for a nap (Ellie, that is).

Wednesday, August 08, 2018


As mentioned yesterday, the Gorse Fox had decided not to play football this week. As yesterday was dedicated to shopping, today was dedicated to creating piles of sawdust in the garage. The windows eat project has got to the stage where the Gorse Fox needs to build the front frame which will contain the doors so that the void can be accessed for storage.

It all started well enough but the Gorse Fox had decided on using a simplistic approach and exploiting the pocket hole jig to screw thing together. Actually it proved to screw things up. The Gorse Fox had forgotten that there is a minimum thickness to accommodate the pocket holes... and the wood he had set aside was too thin. Off he trudged to B&Q. New wood was loaded into the car and he started again. This worked a lot better - well it actually worked!

It took the rest of the day to get the frame diminished and the doors built. The still need to be trimmed to fit properly and the right hinges need to be fitted. That's a step for another day.

The Gorse Fox ordered a new watch strap for the Silver Vixen's new watch. This turned up at lunchtime. The sea has tiny wrists so the Gorse Fox spent half an hour with the supplied extraction tool, removing unnecessary links and fitting it to her petit frame. Must say that it's very nice and definitely elevates the watch from technology to jewellery.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Saints alive

The Gorse Fox has things to achieve this week. This meant that he had decided against football today. As there had been a tournament yesterday, it was likely to be poorly attended anyway, so the Gorse Fox wouldn't be missed. Tuesday was, instead,  set aside for shopping with the Silver Vixen. The question was where should we go? Chichester is too easy and holds no surprises as we visit so often. Gunwharf was a possibility, but again we know what to expect. What we haven't done recently is visit West Quays in Southampton.

We had been warned, by the nice man at Google, how bad the traffic would be round the Chichester bypass. Heeding his warning we cut straight through the middle of the town and out the west side. We were quickly en route and were parked in the multi storey car park at West Quays well within the hour.

John Lewis was the first stop (somewhat predictably) - but we didn't find anything that we wanted at this stage. We made a note to return at the end of the "spree" to pick up some new bedding before returning to the car. We pottered this way and that and visited several stores. Some new clothes were acquired and various watch straps examined for the Silver Vixen's new watch. (All of the watch straps were rejected).

At lunchtime we dropped in for "a cheeky Nando's". The Gorse Fox likes Nando's and sees it as predictable fast food outlet with a good choice of fair quality grilled chicken dishes prepared and served well. Oh no... not the one in West Quays. This was the worst Nando's the Gorse Fox has ever had. The service was very, very slow (the Gorse Fox acknowledges they were busy , but he has been in much busier branches before) and the chicken had all the flavour and texture of boot leather. We both had char-grilled vegetables as a side dish and they were fine. The sweet potato wedges, however, were an indistinct tasteless mush. Dreadful.

We finished our shopping mid-afternoon and headed home. We clearly timed it well as we shot through in about 45 minutes.

Rain. Yes, rain is forecast for this evening.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Watch out

The Silver Vixen has a watch that monitors her activity and heartbeat etc. It is the second such watch she has had. Neither was expensive, both proved to be very unreliable. We decided it was time to upgrade. A weekend of research and a long chat with Tinkerbell helped us settle on the Apple Watch. So it was that we found ourselves heading to John Lewis in Chichester so that we could examine the goods and make a final decision. It may not be the most elegant of watches and could hardly be considered "dress-jewellery" but it was nice enough and fits into the Silver Vixen's Apple eco-system. We left Chichester clutching the new watch.

We were meeting up with Betty and Barney Rubble for lunch. We had chosen The Thomas Lord at West Meon as a good half-way point. The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen had been there before when meeting up with friends and the food had been excellent. We arrived early and sat out in the garden until the Rubbles arrived. It was idyllic. A beautiful little pub with a charming garden tucked down a small road in a picturesque village.

Once we were all gathered we went in to eat; the few wasps that were about would have been irritating if we had stayed outside. The menu wasn't extensive but was adequate. Unfortunately there had been no fish deliveries so the menu went from "not extensive" to "limited". We eventually found dishes that we all wanted and, to be fair, the food was very good. We had a lovely time chatting over lunch and catching up with their recent holiday in Switzerland and all the family news.

We finished the meal with teas and coffees. The Silver Vixen asked for Earl Grey, Barney Rubble wanted English Breakfast tea... ten minutes later a single pot arrived. "That's your tea - Earl Grey and English breakfast," said the youth. Looks were shared. Jaws dropped. "No, no, no" we cried and then explained how tea worked and how it should be served. Several minutes later the tea arrived properly.

Lovely day, but not a great advert for The Thomas Lord.

Back home the Gorse Fox spent a few minutes setting up the Silver Vixen's new watch. Very impressed with the way it all links to phone and "just works". Obviously there's lots to learn but as far as getting things started it's working brilliantly.

Sunday, August 05, 2018


One of the advantages of living by the coast is that, at the drop of a hat, you can stroll along the promenade and enjoy the seaside experience.

It was another fabulous day with temperatures in the mid-20s. The note went out among the Sonning Crew - walk along the prom and breakfast at the Lobster Pot? It would have been silly to say no - particularly as there was no football this morning. We had a quick coffee at home then headed out to meet with the others at the car park.

We took a leisurely stroll along the prom. Even before 10 there were plenty of families on the beach and children playing in the sea. As we strolled towards the restaurant we bumped into more neighbours heading in the same direction.

We had a bit of faffing about when we arrived at The Lobster Pot - it was so popular (even at that time) that most of the tables were taken. Eventually we sorted it out and managed a table for 8.

We ordered our various breakfasts, teas, and coffees and settled down to wait. We were early enough that it didn't take too long. (Later in the morning the wait would have stretched to 45 minutes or an hour). The coffee was delicious and the breakfast (bacon, sausage, egg, toast, tomato, and beans) was excellent and great value for money.

The view from the table was a little obscured, but it did mean that we could sit in the shade.

After breakfast we stopped for another coffee and continued to chat about all and sundry... Smart watches, kitchen fittings, LED lights, sausages and heaven's knows what else.

Eventually we had to leave as the stay in the car park would soon expire, otherwise the Gorse Fox is sure we would still be there.

Saturday, August 04, 2018


The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen headed up through West Sussex into bandit country. We were meeting with the Gorse Fox's little sister and Trevor. We had chosen The Crown at Chiddingfold as a good halfway point, and it was quite a while since we had been there.

It was another stunning day with temperatures up in the very high 20s. Our journey had been trouble free but it was clear that the traffic heading for the races at Goodwood was finding life tedious in the other direction.

We arrived a bit before the others and sat and waited for them out the front so we could direct them to the only remaining car parking spot.

We settled in for lunch. It was a good and varied menu and we all tried different offerings. The Gorse Fox tried some Korean BBQ chicken as a starter and then a very tasty burger with bacon, stilton, a fried egg and salad. Everything was beautifully presented and tasted wonderful. The waitresses were charming, helpful, and had a good sense of humour which made the whole experience really quite special.
As you might guess we chatted about the family, about holidays, about health, about Ellie and also  what we had all been up to. Clearly J&T make the most of being in easy striking distance of London and seem to get up there to the theatre and various events quite frequently. They resolved to set up a matinee and take the Silver Vixen to see "Motown The Musical" in early September. (The Gorse Fox is not really into that sort of thing so he'll probably find something else to do for a couple of hours before we all meet up afterwards for dinner).

It was well after four before we paid the bill and said our goodbyes. As a rule we then try to set a date for the next meet, but knowing we will see them next weekend at Urban-Cub's, we left it for today.

Lovely quick run home - and then frantic rush to open up the windows and get a through draft in the house. Orangery was registering well into the 40s, and whilst the house wasn't too warm, it was a bit stuffy.

Quiet evening ahead.


What is it about the "simple" tasks that somehow turns them into epics.

The water filter on the fridge needed changing. New filters were acquired from the nice man at Amazon and the Gorse Fox decided that he would swap the filter this morning. He remembered from past experience that there is a knack to uncoupling and coupling the hoses to the inlet and outlet ports. He used this experience to ensure everything was done quickly and smoothly.

Voila. Done.

He turned the water back on. It spayed everywhere. Water off. Coupling retried. Water on. Spray. Coupling retried. Water on. Spray... and repeat.

Eventually he decided to nip off the last two millimetres of the inlet pipe as it had a slight limescale mark. Recoupled. Water on. Momentary success... then it sprayed from the outlet pipe - all over the Gorse Fox.

Dripping, he repeated the nip and couple technique. All is now well other than the Gorse Fox sitting here in wet chinos and polo shirt.

Friday, August 03, 2018


The Gorse Fox popped across to see Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete. He wanted to double-check the plinth size for the window seat. The plinth was loaded into the car and off he went. Traffic was light and he was there in about 10 minutes.

The plinth was carried in and slotted into position. Two pieces of scrap plywood were inserted either side to simulate the actual frame. The Gorse Fox stood back and smiled. There was about half a millimetre clearance either side. Perfect.

Plinth was loaded back into the car. The Gorse Fox can now continue with the construction with a degree of confidence.

Tyre tracks

The Silver Vixen open the shutters and called out to the Gorse Fox. Someone had clearly driven across the green outside the house. Was this recent or had it shown up as a result of the recent dry weather. The Gorse Fox was determined to investigate.

He downloaded the security images from the server. Overnight last night? Nope. Yesterday? Nope the tracks were there on Thursday morning. Wednesday? Nope, the tracks were there on Wednesday morning.

Ok this would take a more methodical all approach. He returned to the start of July.
Were they there? No, the grass was pristine. Move forward one week, were they there? No, still perfect.
Move forward another week. Any signs? No.

So it went on until he got to July 31st... this Tuesday. Then clear as a bell he could see the white van just swing round and drive straight across the green. The only problem was that he could see the number plate clearly. He has a number of stills of the action and video, but nothing that shows the number plate. Two Hats has also looked at his security camera footage. It shows much the same... and again fails to see the number plate clearly.

It may be time to fire up another security camera to get more coverage.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

G-Force today

Thursday has been a G-Force day. Ellie didn't wake until after eight so we had a leisurely start. The sun was already warm and the skies clear. It was going to be a nice day.

Most of the day was spent pottering around Ellie's schedule. Breakfast, play, wash, play, nap, and tidy. Then a good lunch followed by a walk with Grandpa round to see the ducks on the lake. There she met up with Daisy, a neighbour's great granddaughter (and only a couple of weeks difference in age). They seemed to spend their whole meeting eyeing each other up up and being shy. (We'll have to see what happens next time they meet).

Tinkerbell and Two Hats are having some new carpets laid tomorrow so the Gorse Fox and Old Bill went in to help Two Hats shift the furniture. The Gorse Fox has concluded that removal men certainly have a knack and make it look so easy. We were really quite clumsy in comparison (though did no damage).

Back home it was time to get Ellie's supper so that she was ready when Pistol Pete came to collect her.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

No goal

Lovely day again today. Temps in the mid 20s.

The Silver Vixen had her Pilates this morning and collected Ellie from the child minder on her way back through.

The Gorse Fox had football. There was a bit of a delay starting due to a group of lads swearing blind they had the pitch booked until 1100. They may have done, but they had the wrong pitch! We got started. The Gorse Fox was playing for the yellow bibs. It was very close today. AT half-time we had fought a 3-3 stalemate. The ref was being a little more rigid with the rules than he usually is. This curtailed some of the more expansive play. The second half kicked off and we all continued where we had left off. In the end there was just the single goal in it - our yellow-bibs had won the day 6-5. The Gorse Fox failed to score today, but did hit the crossbar twice ( and missed an open goal on one his few forays up the pitch).

Back home we were on duty. Ellie was here and we double-teamed her. As each of us had something to do, the other would take control, and vice versa. It seems to work well. What it doesn't really afford is time for big things like working on the window-seat. Progress will have to wait a few days.

As we now have Ellie in a couple of weeks, the Gorse Fox popped down to the pub to cancel our booking and order for their monthly steak-night. Well, it was an excuse for pint

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


After a few iffy days, the sun was back out today. Only managed the low 20s, but it's better than rain and storms.

The Gorse Fox had football this morning. He thought about it long and hard. Should he play or should he stay at home and work on the window seat for Urban-Cub. Football won. We had a good turn-out and the Gorse Fox played for the blue-bibs. Our team was adequate but wasn't likely to win the day. So it proved to be. With a draw in the first game 0-0, a loss 4-1 in the second game, and a draw 2-2 in the last game.  At least the Gorse Fox scored his goal for the week and nearly managed a second.

The second hour had insufficient players to form two teams so we packed our things and went home.

The Gorse Fox spent the afternoon in the garage working on the window seat. The main framework is now complete and the sides have been fitted. Next on the agenda will be the creation of the face frame, but that can wait until tomorrow.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Sawdust flies

Well the nice chap from Travis Perkins arrived soon after lunch - just after the Gorse Fox had settled down to do some work in the study. The wood was unloaded and the study forgotten. There was sawdust to create.

So the Gorse Fox has made good progress in the last few hours. The plinth is made and is acting as a workbench as the front and back parts of the frame are made and assembled. There are still some cross members to cut and fit but that can wait until tomorrow. The pocket-hole jig and the associated screws have proved to be an absolute godsend. They made construction so much quicker.

Very satisfying afternoon.


Still a bit grey and damp this morning.

The Gorse Fox was up early just in case Travis Perkins delivered his wood first thing. He's all geared up to get started, but other than a couple of cuts in the plywood he bought last week, he is dependent on the delivery from TP. Here he is at lunchtime still awaiting the delivery.


(On another matter, he did manage to get the Apple TV set up on the new TV in the lounge. This means that he can use Airplay to mirror stuff from his phone on the screen).

Sunday, July 29, 2018


The rain had clearly set in for most of the day. Squally winds made it look quite unpleasant outside and the Gorse Fox had to retrieve the garden chairs a couple of times after they had been thrown across the garden. It was a day to stay put.

Ellie had a long sleep in the morning. This gave the Gorse Fox some time in the study. He was confused. The flickering lights of the network switch were showing 100Mbps and 1000Mbps links with the yellow or green indicators. The NAS devices were showing 1000 as was the Mac, but when the Gorse Fox looked at the network details reported by the router, it said the Mac was only 100. What was going on? He started his diagnosis at the switch and went through checking each connection. Sure enough there was one missing. The Gorse Fox had forgotten to reconnect the "uplink" that connects the network switch for the study segment to the rest off the network. That was soon remedied and everything went back to normal.

The question that arose then was "How on earth had the Mac been talking to the web?" The Gorse Fox had a long think and examined the possibilities. The Mac's WiFi? No - not switched on. Magic? possibly the most likely solution. In the end he concluded that one of the Raspberry Pis was acting as bridge between the isolated LAN segment in the study and the house WiFi and as they only run at 100, this explained how the Mac was being reported as connected at 100. Everything is back to normal now, but it was an interesting hour or two.

Urban-Cub's shift finished soon after lunch and she collected Ellie mid afternoon. She's with the child minder for the next couple of days and we will look after her again later in the week

It's Raining Again

We woke to the sound of the rain. It was nearly eight and Ellie was just stirring. Looking out the window it was clear that it had been raining fairly heavily for quite a while. Blustery winds were driving the rain this way and that. The skies were leaden and we had to switch on lights in the house to prepare breakfast.

Clearly not a day for shorts and a t-shirt and a stroll along the Bognor promenade.

Saturday, July 28, 2018


We had a fairly good run up to Buckingham... just over two and half hours. Most of the traffic was going towards the coast, not away from it like us.

We had a lovely time with the family and cousins. Ellie and little Louis played really well together and having so may adults around meant they were well watched and looked after. Dom and Denise laid on a great BBQ with sardines, prawns, sausages, chicken, burgers, pork and heavens knows what else. It was a real feast. We drifted in and out of the house throughout the day. Though it was windy and clouds scudded across the sky, the rain held off.

Urban-Cub headed off mid afternoon so that she could get home and get to bed ready for her early shift. Ellie stayed behind with us. We didn't leave until early evening and Ellie fell asleep almost as soon as we got moving. We had a much quicker run home, travelling the 125 miles in just under two hours. The roads were almost deserted.

Once home, we let Ellie run about for a bit and gave her a bottle. Then she went up to bed about nine-ish. Though a little unsettled at first, she was soon asleep.


There are holes in the sky where the rain gets in;
The holes are very small, that's why the rain is thin.
(Spike Milligan).

Well the holes seemed to get a bit bigger overnight. The rain hit at about five o'clock this morning and was very heavy for a while. It was accompanied by some squally winds which got the blinds swinging and tapping against a vase on the windowsill. The Gorse Fox had to get up to investigate and it took a few minutes to find the culprit window. Window closed, the Gorse Fox returned to bed... but that was it really.

Family 'do' today up in Buckingham, so let's hope the rain clears and the journey isn't too bad. Urban-Cub is going up early with Ellie, but she will be leaving early. We will bring Ellie back with us as Urban-Cub is on an early shift in the morning.

Friday, July 27, 2018


The day started with the sky painted blue from corner to corner. The temperature was soon rising and we got the windows and doors open and the shades closed. There were a few domestic chores in plan for the morning, but nothing too strenuous.

The nice man from Amazon turned up with the new ethernet cable that the Gorse Fox required. This has enabled him to complete the recabling in his study and everything is now back up and running. It is also looking remarkably tidy (for him).

As the afternoon wore on the skies darkened and there was some significant thunder. We brought the washing in from the line and as we closed the doors the heavens opened. The rain didn't last for long - maybe 10 minutes of heavy downpour, then some respite before a further pulse of really heavy (and deafening) rain. Looking at the radar map, the Gorse Fox suspects we will get a few more downpours in the next hour or so, but should be ok after that.

Thursday, July 26, 2018


The Gorse Fox has spent the last few hours re-jigging his study. The floating shelves that have sat in the corner for a couple of weeks are now performing "shelfies" on the wall.  With the shelves up, the 24 port switch was moved and one-by-one each of the devices was re-connected and labelled with the device name and IP address. The only problem that has occurred is that he doesn't have a patch lead long enough for Ubuntu (Linux) server "Eagle". New patch lead now on order.


After the Gorse Fox had devoured his porridge he lowered the backseats of the car and headed for Chichester. On the outskirts is the Bunnings store. It is by far the best DIY store in the area and it's a shame they have been sold and will revert back to the Homebase brand.

Anyway, the Gorse Fox needed to get the plywood sheets that will be used in the carcass of the window seat he's building for Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete. Full sheets of 18mm ply weigh a significant amount so he got some help from one of the assistants. We went through the stack and selected the two best sheets. Then we headed for the panel saw. Each sheet was cut in such a way that a) it would fit in the car, and b) it was just a bit bigger than the finished size he actually requires. A few minutes later it was all done. The car was loaded and the Gorse Fox headed home.

The garage has been turned back into a workshop and the cars will have to sit on the driveway for a while. The Gorse Fox can't actually start on the work yet as he is still awaiting the rest of the wood from Travis Perkins. The Gorse Fox phoned them up to chase the order/quotation. It's just as well that he did as they clearly had lost his order and had to start again. This time the whole transaction was sorted out there and then. Unfortunately some of the wood is not stocked at their local depot so it is likely to be Monday before we get a delivery.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Berkeley Homes, the developers of our houses, hold a couple of events each year. The idea is to help build the community and get people to mix and get to know each other. This has worked really well.

Tonight was 2018's summer event. (They also hold one in the winter). Berkeley laid on a hog roast, provided beers, Pimms, mojitos, and soft drinks, and even arranged for an ice cream van to be on site to provide free ice creams and lollies in the heat.

It was a lovely event as people milled around and chatted. The hog roast was the perfect accompaniment with lashings of pork, crackling, and stuffing. Berkeley execs were on hand to field any issues and help orient some of the newer householders. The only thing that marred the evening was that Tinkerbell got stung by a wasp and had to go home as she was not feeling so well.

More mad dogs...

Another cracking day. Wall to wall sunshine and temperature hovering around the 30c mark. The Gorse Fox almost feels sorry (note quite, but almost) for people who have gone abroad for their summer holiday.

The Silver Vixen had a busy day scheduled so skipped her normal Pilates. The Gorse Fox headed off to Worthing for his football. We had a good turn out and managed a 6-v-7 game with the odd number transferring between the teams at half time. The Gorse Fox was playing for the yellow bibs today and, for a change, the sides looked pretty equal. It was going to be a good hour.

Well so it turned out. There were a few niggles as people got a little fractious in the heat, but essentially it was played in good spirit. Our yellow team were 3-0 by half time. As the second half began, the orange bibs score with a long range shot that caught our goalie napping. Even though the Gorse Fox was playing sweeper he couldn't stop it as we are not allowed to head the ball. As we kicked off the ball came back to the Gorse Fox and he ranged forward through the middle. He crossed the halfway line and saw the pitch open up. Head down he hit the ball, it crashed into the goalie who fumbled it over his shoulder and into the net. It was now 4-1. By the end of the game the score had inched forward. Oranges had scored 2 more, and so had we. 6-3 seemed like a good result in the heat.

Back home the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox had some lunch before she had to head into Chichester. The Gorse Fox has spent much of the afternoon sorting out the order for the timber needed for the window seat for Urban-Cub. The order has been submitted and he is awaiting a call back to confirm the price and when it can be delivered.

He's also been chasing some information from a supplier of glass shelf illuminated clips. The company seems to have a huge range and they explain that with the clips you need a driver unit and switch and some cable. Unfortunately they don't provide the part numbers for these units and their website shows a very wide choice. We'll see what they recommend.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Mad Dogs...

It will come no surprise that the sky is clear, the sun is shining, and the temperature is again in the high 20s. The Gorse Fox has decided that he could get used to summers like this (particularly now that commuting is no longer part of his daily agenda).

He headed off to Worthing for the football. We had a surprisingly good turn out. He thought that the heat may keep the numbers down, but we managed to collect 26 players before splitting into teams. The Gorse Fox played for the yellow-bibs today. Looking at his team he thought they looked pretty strong and was expecting to do well. It didn't quite go to plan. The first game ended up as 1-1 draw. The second game was a disaster, with us losing 4-1. The only consolation was that the Gorse Fox scored the goal for our side. Finally we managed to win the last game 1-0. Not a great set of results considering the personnel, but it was fun playing.

The second  hour was less successful. In fact, with only 7 players, it was cancelled. Very frustrating as the Gorse Fox had been pacing himself on the assumption he would be playing for two hours. If he'd know it was just an hour he would have covered more ground.

Back home the Silver Vixen was pottering in the garden. We had a nice tuna salad for lunch and she returned to the garden and the Gorse Fox headed round to the local shops to visit the barber's shop. A quiet afternoon is in store... some lamb steaks are marinating in the fridge and the Gorse Fox is about to start prepping some vegetables to flash fry and add to some bulgar wheat to make a couscous-like accompaniment.

Monday, July 23, 2018


A fantastic day. Wall to wall sunshine and temperatures hovering around the 30C mark. The house has been opened up front and back and the blinds drawn to keep it cool. This has worked well and it's quite comfortable inside.

The morning was focused on domestic chores. The most important one of these was to take a car load of boxes and things down to the dump. As he was in the right area of the town he stopped in to Wickes to look at the timber that he needed for Urban-Cub's window seat. That's where it all went a bit wrong. The sizes (dimensions) of the timber advertised on the web are not available in our local store and the Gorse Fox would have to go to Havant to get them (but their stock was insufficient for his requirement).

Plan B kicked in. The Gorse Fox headed to Travis Perkins and looked at what they had. Returning home he headed for the study. This required a bit of a rethink. It happens that in most cases there was only a millimetre different - that would not be a problem. Having determined that swapping supplier was feasible the Gorse Fox priced it all up. He won't order it until tomorrow or Wednesday as he has to be around when it is delivered.

Sunday, July 22, 2018


Another very warm day - high clouds make it very bright and slightly humid. Not the slightest hint of the rain that the garden would welcome.

We were short handed today. Not enough players for the usual football game. As we had some notice, the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen went across to Haskins for breakfast.  It wasn't as busy as usual, but that could be a factor of the good weather and the start of the school holidays. It's always a good breakfast and a reasonable price, and it sets us up for the day.

From Haskins we headed to Chichester. We needed to go to John Lewis for a table lamp that matched one we bought a week or so back. This is a match, colour-wise, but quite deliberately a different size. One will stand either end of the lounge. The size difference will achieve a degree of balance without it being symmetrical. Technology done, it's over to the Silver Vixen for the creative finishing touches (technically known as faffing).

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Hanging Around

The Gorse Fox was up first. Ellie was just stirring, and the Silver Vixen seemed to be deeply asleep. The Gorse Fox went down and opened up. Jasper's bowl was refreshed and Ellie's breakfast made ready for her appearance. Kettle was filled, coffee maker primed. The Gorse Fox then snuck back to his study and read the paper on the computer. It was about an hour later that everyone else sprung to life.

Pistol Pete would be coming to collect Ellie late morning, but we still had time to feed her and play with her and even put her down for a nap.

While Ellie was napping the Gorse Fox went back to the various changes in the lounge. There was still the Sky-Q box to re-home. The drawer beneath the media held was removed and a large hole drilled through the back of the draw and the cabinet. Cables and wires were fed through and the box was slotted into the drawer. Everything was now hidden away. The plan has finally come to fruition. Bright, uncluttered, and clean lines with now wires or control boxes showing, the room now looks very tidy.

During the afternoon (with Ellie back home with Pistol Pete) the Silver Vixen dug out a collection of frames and prints that she wanted hanging. We planned the layout on the wall (of the upstairs landing) and the Gorse Fox attached the picture rings to each of the frames and using picture wire strung the frames. With everything measured the first five pictures are up... the last three await intervention form the Silver Vixen as they will contain some of her projects.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Wired for Sound

Urban-Cub arrived early this morning with Ellie. G-Force were on duty for the day and tonight. This meant that the day was really focused on Ellie and anything else was achieved when she was napping.

The Gorse Fox headed into Chichester. We decided that we would add another Sonos to the stable. This allows the new Sonos soundbar (Sonos Beam) to work in conjunction with two further Sonos speakers to provide a rich surround sound for the lounge.

Once home it didn't take long to configure the sound system, but the Gorse Fox couldn't finish placing everything until the new cables arrived from the nice man at Amazon. It was mid afternoon before everything was delivered. Old cables were removed and replaced. These were fixed in place and the soundbar was positioned under the TV. It's all looking very good now and the beauty is that the various cables that drive the system are hidden, or blend in to the background so they are not noticeable.

There's still some tidying up to do. The Gorse Fox wants to repurpose a drawer to hold the Sky-Q control box. That will require some holes being drilled through the back of the unit and the drawer itself. He decided this was best done when Ellie wasn't around. Too many opportunities for splinters otherwise.

After lunch the Gorse Fox took Ellie for a walk round the block. She was very good and held grandpa's hand whenever we had a road to cross. She was intrigued by the ducks and swans on the lake and kept going back for a further look. She is having her evening bath as the Gorse Fox writes this.

Thursday, July 19, 2018


Thursday started a little overcast, but that didn't last long. The sun soon broke through and it turned into a lovely warm day - if a little humid.

The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen were busy. Mr Wallpaper was due and we had to prepare the lounge for his ministrations. We didn't have long to wait. He was with us and getting underway long before nine. It took him all morning but the wallpaper is now up and it is looking very good.

Urban-Cub turned up with Ellie and they headed out with the Silver Vixen to spend much of the day in Chichester.

The Gorse Fox stayed behind to monitor the progress of the wallpapering and then to put the room back together.

Once everything was working he retrieved the TV bracket (taken down last week). A little bit of mining was required to find the drill holes under the paper, but once detected he was able to reinstall the TV bracket. The TV would have to wait for now - it's much too heavy to lift alone.

The afternoon was spent setting up the new soundbar (Sonos Beam) and then finding cables on Amazon that would allow it to connect to the control box once everything was actually in situ. Amazon Prime is having a busy day.

The Gorse Fox had a word with Two Hats. He soon popped round and we read and re-read the instructions for mounting the TV. Due to its size, weight (and cost) this was not something to get wrong.

We checked and cross-checked and in the end we went for it. It was a bit of a beast to get up to the correct height, but fortunately Two Hats is a fair bit taller than the Gorse Fox.

TV is now in place.

We still have to wait for the correct cables to arrive tomorrow in order to place the soundbar where we want it, but in essence the bulk of the work is now complete. More importantly, the Silver Vixen is very pleased with the results.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Golden boot

Cracking day again. Temperatures in the mid-20s and a cloudless sky this afternoon. As the Gorse Fox was driving across to Worthing this morning the sky ahead looked a bit threatening and there were some huge thunderheads forming to the east of us. By the time he arrived, the skies were clearing and the sun was exerting its control on the day.

Football was a 6-a-side event today. The Gorse Fox was playing for the Orange-bibs. It was a fairly tight game but the eventual 6-3 score belied how close it was. Several of the yellow goals were complete flukes. They all count however. The Gorse Fox added to his tally for the week with another goal. (That's 6 this week!)

Back home and just preparing lunch we got a call from Urban-Cub. She was out with friends near Portsmouth but Ellie didn't seem well and she was worried. She asked if she could swing by on her way through for a second opinion from the Silver Vixen (and a dose of Calpol). Ellie had slept in the car and by the time she got to us she was a lot better. They stayed for an hour or two and in that time Ellie showed no further symptoms so they headed on home.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Three today

It was a little cooler today. Still in the mid-20s and a clouds bubbling around. A breeze kept things comfortable.

The Silver Vixen went off to meet with her coven for the day, clasping about 4 metric tonnes of strawberries. They are clearly going to have a nice tea!

The Gorse Fox headed off to football. There was a fair turnout allowing 4 teams of 6 players. In the first hour the Gorse Fox played for the red bibs. The organisers looked at us and  suggested that the Gorse Fox move to another team because we looked too strong. The Gorse Fox looked around the teams and commented they looked pretty even and we decided to stick. The first game was a 0-0 draw, the second a 3-0 loss, and the third a 2-1 win. All in all his analysis had been about right.

In the second hour he it was just two teams of 5. The Gorse Fox played for the blue-bibs. This was a lot more open and expansive. The games worked out as a 3-0 win, a 2-0 loss, and a 2-1 win to us. The Gorse Fox managed to score 3 goals during this second hour.

Back home, having showered and munched on a salad sandwich, the Gorse Fox retired to the study. The rest of the design for the window/bench seat for Urban-Cub need to be completed. It took the whole afternoon, but he has now written the design statement and included the various diagrams showing how it will be constructed. He has now sent that off to Pistol Pete and Urban-Cub for their final approval.

Monday, July 16, 2018


Well it's another super day with a few high clouds and temperatures nudging 30. The Gorse Fox could get used to this.

The morning saw a quick run to B&Q. The Silver Vixen had bought some rustic trellis and the Gorse Fox needed to install it. He decided that, because of its rustic nature, he would not be able to just screw it to wall. He would get some stainless steel eyes and fix them. Then the trellis can be attached to the eyes using black cable ties - thus being almost invisible. B&Q had what was needed and the Gorse Fox got back home and started work. It was pretty quick really, though some of the brickwork started to flake if he over-tightened the eyes.

Next was a run into Chichester. The Gorse Fox had an appointment and despite leaving 45 minutes, he was getting a little twitchy as he crawled through the unusual mid morning traffic. The usual 10 minute run took over three times that. Never mind, the Gorse Fox always allows plenty of time and arrived with minutes to spare.

Back home the Silver Vixen went out with Lady Penelope for the afternoon so the Gorse Fox retired to study. Urban-Cub had sent through the measurements for the window seat that she wants. The Gorse Fox spent the afternoon coming up with the actual construction diagrams. They are not quite finished but they are well under way. Once the design is complete he can calculate the cutting lists and the material that is required.


Slightly better news from Toronto regarding Beloved Aunt overnight. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, July 15, 2018


It seems to go without saying that it was another stunning day. If summers were always like this there would be no need to travel abroad. Lovely and warm (high 20s or low 30s) and not a cloud in the sky. A slight breeze kept it comfortable.

The Silver Vixen had an appointment in Chichester so we both went out at about the same time. The Gorse Fox headed across to Ford for the football. It was quite lopsided today, and not in his favour. Though our yellow-bibs took a 2 goal lead we were soon overhauled and it was 6-3 against us by half time. Our goalie had to go off with a sore back, so we had a stand-in. In the second half the rout continued and the game finished 11-6. The Gorse Fox did manage to score 2 goals but generally couldn't have hit a barn door today.

We settled down this afternoon to watch the World Cup final. It's always so much easier to watch a game like this when you have no emotional investment in either team. As a neutral, the Gorse Fox would say that Croatia were the better team and were seriously disadvantaged by some dreadful refereeing decisions. In the end the France team won.

Saturday, July 14, 2018


We have been getting some worrying news regarding Beloved Aunt in Toronto. A situation that will require close monitoring.

The day was fairly laid back. The sun was shining and the day seemed perfect. There were domestic chores to complete in the morning and then the Gorse Fox retired to his study and Sketchup to work on plans for a garden tool store for the Silver Vixen (well not for her, for her tools). Time flashed by and it was time to go an watch the England v Belgium game for the 3rd, 4th place playoff. Sketchup will have to wait. We only managed to see the first half but the omens weren't good.

Just as the second half was due to begin, the Silver Vixen's cousins turned up. We retired to the garden with coffee and biscuits a sat an chatted until it was time to head off for a curry. They like our local Indian Restaurant (Zeera Lounge) and we had booked in plenty of time. As usual we were greeted like long lost friends and shown to our table. The meal was excellent... the Gorse Fox selecting a Chicken Shashlick this time, the Silver Vixen had a Chicken Tikka and her cousins had Lamb Aloo Panir and Lamb Dhansak.

Back home we broke out some more coffee and sat and chatted in the Orangery. It really was a lovely evening.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Venta Fusion

That was a nice day.

Ellie had woken a little earlier than usual, but that wasn't really a problem. She had her breakfast and the Silver Vixen got all her stuff ready. Urban-Cub would be round mid-morning to collect her (after collecting her new car).

The Gorse Fox had other things planned. He had arranged the second annual VM Old Gits lunch and was meeting up with old colleagues in Winchester. Knowing the Goodwood Festival of Speed was on and could well impact traffic, he headed off at 10, but had no issues at all and pulled into the Winchester Park & Ride at 11. His caution over the time turns out to have been wise. Soon after he came through there was 5 vehicle crash on the M3 which closed the road.

Knowing he had time to spare he deliberately got off the P&R Bus near the King Alfred statue so that he had time to wander up through the town at a leisurely pace and find the restaurant in plenty of time. There seemed to be a vibrant farmers' market with plenty of street food stalls. Tempting, but he resisted.

The Gorse Fox stopped off by the Great Hall and the ruins of the old castle. He still had some time to kill, so took a few photos and wandered over to the Hall. He had forgotten that there was a charge to go in, so decided that having seen it many times before he would skip it today.

He continued up to the restaurant and made himself comfortable. Tanoshii is a pan Asian fusion restaurant and had a wonderful menu. If we lived closer, we would certainly return to try a wider range of the dishes than was afforded by a single visit.

The old colleagues started to arrive - one having just returned from a trip to the States for a standards meeting to discuss floating point arithmetic.

Another arrived - he now lives in Boulder and was in the UK for a holiday to see the family. We met his new wife before she headed back out to tour Winchester (rather than get bored silly listening to our reminiscences).

Finally, Blambo arrived. He lives just down the road in Romsey but got caught by the closed M3.

We had a lovely meal - the Gorse Fox noticed a Thai green curry, a Kung Pao King Prawns, and he had the Chicken Katsu. All were superb... but there were so many other enticing dishes on the menu that it does deserve a revisit.

As we broke up the Gorse Fox resolved to set up a further event and as if to punctuate the offer there was a deafening clap of thunder and the heavens opened. The rain fell in monsoon proportions. Water was pouring down the streets several inches deep as the drains were overwhelmed. The Gorse Fox, despite his umbrella was soaked up to knees as he boarded the bus back to car. Google assured him the M3 was still a no-go area so he headed across country and got home soon after four o'clock.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Round and about

Ellie has been with us since first thing this morning. This means, obviously, that she has been the focus of the day. As usual she has been a cheerful little should - helped, no doubt, by a good morning nap.

After lunch we took her for a walk round to the Post Office, stopping on the way to chat with the guys from Zeera Lounge (our local Indian Restaurant) - reminding them that we had a table booked for Saturday. Ellie didn't actually walk the walk, she was very comfortable (and wide awake) in her pushchair.

She's having a bath at the moment so everything is winding down.

Squids In

A new restaurant has opened in Chichester. Some might say “What, another restuarant?”. Well yes, and one that is a cut above.

The experience starts as you enter The Giggling Squid. The decor is light and modern. A bar faces you and to the left is a comfortable sitting area where you meet up with friends for a few cocktails. We went as the Sonning Crew (a group of six) and picked a spot in the corner. We were belatedly celebrating Tinkerbell's birthday. The first comment was how comfortable the chairs were and how open it all seemed. We stayed by an open window so that we could hear the cheers from the local pub as the England-Croatia game kicked off.

After cocktails and beers (one of which was dropped and splashed all over the Gorse Fox) we went through to the other side where the restaurant tables and the kitchens were. We were greeted by a lovely Thai woman, Annie, who looked after us throughout the evening. She helped the novices with their food selection and generally charmed us throughout.

The food was just spectacular. The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen love Thai cuisine and have been lucky enough to eat in some wonderful restaurants and street-food cafes in Thailand. This did not disappoint. It had all the delicacy and the layers of flavour that you should expect with good Thai food. It has been adapted slightly for the English palate, inasmuch as the amount of chillies has been toned down - but this does not detract in any way from the dishes. In fact it probably makes the food more accessible to more people (and you could always ask for more chilli).

This is clearly going to become a regular haunt for us.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Late last night the Gorse Fox received notification that the new wallpaper would be delivered today. This meant he had to make a decision. Does he go and play football, and chance missing the delivery, or does he stay at home and miss football?

He decided, having scored 3 goals already this week, that he would skip football and ensure he was available when the delivery driver turned up. On some recent Wednesdays this would not have been an issue as the Silver Vixen was around, but her Pilates session was back on this week and she had arranged to meet with someone for coffee after.

The Gorse Fox spent the whole morning in the the study working on the accounts. It's not that they are difficult, it's just that, though he has recorded all expenditures, he hasn't cross-checked them against the various statements since the end of April. There were a lot of transactions to clear. As he neared the end, he realised that there were several payments that hadn't shown up. On examination it became clear that the account aggregator that he uses hadn't downloaded information from two of the accounts since May. This took a bit of sorting out, but now all the information is available again. The Gorse Fox will have to go back and do a second pass on the accounts to handle these items - but not today. Enough is enough.

The new wallpaper turned up soon after lunch. The Gorse Fox just has to arrange for Mr Wallpaper to return and hang it. He's offered Thursday or Friday next week, or if really urgent, this Saturday.

There is considerable hype regarding the World Cup Semi Final tonight between England and Croatia. Too much hype for it to sit easily with the Gorse Fox. He is very hopeful, but at the end of the day the Croatia team are very good and very experienced - they are not just going to roll over because the English press and media want an England win.

As it happens, we are recording the game. We won't be watching. We are going out with the Sonning Crew to celebrate (albeit belatedly) Tinkerbell's birthday. We're going to brand new restaurant in Chichester call The Giggling Squid... and will be travelling by bus again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


It was a little cooler today. It was still in the mid-20s, and very comfortable but we have some respite from the intensity of the recent 30 degree days. In fact today is the first time it's been cool enough to sit in the Orangery during the afternoon.

The day started with the alarm. The Silver Vixen had a dental appointment and needed to be out early. The Gorse Fox likes to get up early any way so it was just a gently nudge for him. After some breakfast the Silver Vixen headed off into Chichester. The Gorse Fox retired to the study for half an hour to craft some code that would take an exported "WhatsApp" conversation and convert it into an html-table that he could copy and paste into his private blog. This allows him to save some of the chats he has with Cousteau-Cub (or anyone else) in the family journal in a nicely formatted fashion.

That done he headed off for football. Today he was playing for the black bibs. In the first game we managed a 0-0 draw, in the second game we won 6-0 (and towards the end, the Gorse Fox swapped sides to help them stem the flow - and prevented any further goals); the final game, back in a black bib, ended up 2-2.

In the second hour he was playing for the blue bibs. It was good to have a second hour - having missed it last week. This was very tight. In the first game we lost 2-1, the second game was a 1-0 win (with a goal from the Gorse Fox), and the last game was a draw. In today's heat, it was a good workout and most enjoyable.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Changing Rooms - Plan B

We were up early. We had to prepare the living room for the decorator. He was scheduled to come and install the mural we had ordered from Belgium. Bit by bit everything was moved out of the way and units unplugged. All was prepared.

Mr Wallpaper arrived and examined everything and read the instructions. Along with the Gorse Fox he unrolled the paper and examined the sequence for installing it. The dust cloths were laid, the wall was marked up and sized. He was ready to go. The first roll went up without too much trouble.

The Gorse Fox headed off to run some errands in Chichester.

Arriving home, Mr Wallpaper grabbed the Gorse Fox and said he wasn't at all happy with the way in which the mural was going up and, frankly, he wouldn't accept it if it was for him. The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen examined the issue. It was clear that he was right. The rolls had to be overlapped by 15mm then cut with a straight edge to create the join. There was clearly insufficient overlap in 15mm to allow the paper to be put under pressure to allow for cutting without it slipping. The cuts were not crisp at all.

We debated what to do. The conclusion was to rip it all down and bin the idea entirely. We would replace it with a standard wallpaper.

This is where it all got a bit messy. The wallpaper adhesive had clearly been very good. When the rolls were stripped from the wall, the underlying paint came too.

Plan B is that Mr Wallpaper will return to put up the proper wallpaper once we have chosen a suitable design, and in the meantime will re-paint the wall, once it is dry enough so to do.

The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen quickly started looking for suitable paper and we have managed to find one on which we both agree. It's on order and should be here by the end of the week.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Another hot one

Well it's been another day in the 30s. Wonderful weather, but the Gorse Fox has to feel sorry for the hordes of people heading for the Witterings. The queues stretch all the way from A27 tailbacks, across the peninsula, down to the coast. Not a good day to be sat in traffic!

Some would argue that it wasn't really an ideal day for playing football either. The Gorse Fox disagrees. So it was that he headed across to Ford for this morning's game. The Gorse Fox was playing for the yellow team today. The personnel split looked troublesome and so it turned out. Though the Gorse Fox scored a goal in the first half, we were 6-2 down at half time and everyone was feeling the heat.

The second half started badly with two goals conceded almost immediately, but then we started to claw things back. The Gorse Fox scored a second goal and provided assist for a couple more. The Orange team were tiring, but we kept going. In the end there was only one goal in it. The trouble is it was Orange who managed to score 10, to Yellow's 9. Never mind it was great fun.

Back home it's been a quiet afternoon, though the Gorse Fox did manage to have a short online chat with Cousteau-Cub. We discussed, briefly, the rescue efforts for the Thai children trapped in the caves. Cousteau-Cub knows on of the rescue divers and confirms that it really is as dreadful as your imagination pictures. Some of the crawls, under water, in pitch black, are only 70cm wide. The Gorse Fox goes cold and shudders even at the thought of it.

Cousteau-Cub also explained that the tourist boat that went down in the storm off Phuket this week is lying in 48m of water and there are still numerous bodies that haven't been found. The Thai Navy are involved in the recovery.

Meanwhile, Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete went down to the beach, at Littlehampton, with Ellie. Clearly they had a wonderful time. Ellie enjoyed paddling and also had a ride on the road train. The photos and videos were just charming.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Mr Shifter

Well that didn't quite work as planned.

It all started when Urban-Cub moved home. With the upgraded kitchen she had a full set of integrated appliances. This left her old  (or should we say) nearly new, washing machine without a home. With here redesigned bedroom she had a nice Ottoman that was also surplus. Kindly, she offered them to us.

Today was the day to take delivery.

Our old Ottoman was consigned to the Orangery as a tool box. The new one was installed at the end of the bed. Perfect.

The Gorse Fox emptied the Utility cupboard and along with Pistol Pete we removed the tumble dryer and then uncoupled the old washing machine and carried (lugged) it out. We heaved the new washing machine out of their Peugot 5008 and as we approached the front door, the Gorse Fox said 'hold on'. He rushed inside, got a tape measure and measured the new machine and compare it to the old one.

Ah! not looking good. Quite a bit bigger.

Never mind, it may still fit in the Utility cupboard. He went and measured.

Doh! Not going to fit at all. All of the hugging and heaving had been to no avail. We put the new machine back in the car, and took the old one back to its original spot. Well, at least we had an opportunity to clean the floor beneath it. Everything is now back the way it was... and Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete still have a spare washing machine.

Friday, July 06, 2018


The day has revolved around Ellie. She first called us to attention at about 7:30 and gobbled down a hearty breakfast. Then she went into hyper-play mode until she wore herself out and went up for a nap. This gave us an hour or so to get things done.

The Gorse Fox has detected a spurious error between the Sky Q box and the new TV. Every now and again it seems to lose itself. Online research showed that this was not unique to the Gorse Fox. In fact there are 10 pages of discussion on the subject... and no definitive solution. The Gorse Fox decided to try one of the remedies. It wasn't needed. Everything was working fine again. He has decided that he follow a particular regime for switching the various units on and off in the hope that it may just be a timing issue. (There's nothing, in the world of technology, worse than an intermittent error with no obvious trigger).

We took Ellie for a walk around the Lake today. We stopped to see the ducks and the swan, but Ellie wasn't over impressed. She did pretty well walking though, but the Gorse Fox did have to carry her part of the way back.

Once home she settled into the cool of the living room where we had CBeebies on the TV, and toys all over the floor. The trouble was that the Uruguay-v-France quarter-final of the World Cup was about to start.

The Gorse Fox decided to try and use the PIP (picture-in-picture) feature on the TV. As you can see from the photo, this worked pretty well. He could watch the upper right quadrant while Ellie enjoyed the rest.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Security Cam

The Gorse Fox was playing around this morning and has managed to the video from the security camera to display on the Mac 'condor'. This is a bit of a breakthrough as the manufacturers only support it on Windows and said there were no alternatives. (The Gorse Fox had already cranked out one alternative by saving all the images to an FTP server, 'falcon'). He will explore some more on a spare camera at the weekend to see if he can actually control the camera settings from 'condor'

Who's in charge?

G-Force were back on duty today. Urban-Cub brought Ellie across to us for about 8:30 and then got ready for work. Once she had gone Ellie took charge of the agenda. There was play, then a brief nap. The nap was cut short by the arrival of Ocado. So then she helped unload and store the shopping. Then we were back to play. She is in no doubt of what she wants. When she wants to play she finds toys (or mischief) and settles down to it. When she's hungry she stands by the fridge or the store cupboard and yells "Cheese!".

The afternoon was a little quieter as the Gorse Fox showed her some photos and videos of herself on the TV. That had her intrigued and as she settled down on the Silver Vixen's lap we switched of to Cbeebies and she enjoyed a quiet half hour (even if she didn't sleep).

After supper there was a mad half hour in the garden as the Silver Vixen watered the plants and Ellie tried to help by moving parts of the garden into the birdbath. As the Gorse Fox writes all he can hear is cheering and splashing as she enjoys her bath.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Senior moments

It's Independence Day. For some this refers to the day on which the Colonies seceded from the British Crown. For those who really know their history they will remember that it is celebrated as the anniversary of the Gorse Fox retiring from Starfleet. Four years now. Four lovely years with no commuting, no teleconference calls, no assessments to write, no spending weeks away from home, no chasing targets that have no bearing on reality, no 60-70 hour working weeks, no tube trains, no customers or clients.


So what has the Gorse Fox been up to today. He started by listening to news to make sure he hadn't dreamt the England/Colombia result, and that we did indeed win on penalties to go through to quarter finals. After that it was off to football.

The sides were clearly unbalanced from the start. This time, though we held out for a while, there was no disguising the fact that the yellow-bibs were going to be trounced. Ian (an ex-pro) and the Gorse Fox did the best they could to stem the tide but in the end we went down 5-1. A game like that is hard work and the Gorse Fox had be very disciplined at the back. This does not afford him the opportunity to roam and help the attack, which is frustrating. Oh well, better luck next week. He wandered back to changing rooms, got ready, and headed home.

Halfway home the phone rang. It was Runaldo. Had the Gorse Fox left his glasses behind?
Doh! Yes. He was wearing his sunglasses, but, in a senior moment,  had left his ordinary glasses on the bench. Fortunately Runaldo had spotted them and we agreed to meet in the car park of The Roundstone, where he could return them.

Back home, after a bite of lunch, the Gorse Fox set about loading the car with the detritus from the furniture deliveries. This actually involved three trips to the top. The packing cases from the furniture were so big that he could only take one at a time. The last trip was to get rid of the old hostess trolley that we no longer require (and judging by e-Bay, nor does anyone else).

The Gorse Fox plans to take Two Hats and Old Bill to the pub for a pint. They have been so helpful over the last few days that the Silver Vixen suggested he buy them a pint. Well, thought the Gorse Fox, a pint between them isn't too over the top.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Pi again

You will be pleased to hear that the Gorse Fox has located 'tawny owl', the missing Raspberry Pi. It had fallen behind the desk, but was suspended in mid-air behind the modesty panel and only became visible when the Gorse Fox started pulling the network cables.

Full day

It's been a fairly full day. The Gorse Fox first woke at 5:45 and misread the time, think it was 6:45. He leapt out of bed, put on his glasses and then saw the real time. (Brain had clearly reset to GMT overnight).

An hour later he was up, again. This time he stayed upright and went down for coffee and breakfast. Being Tuesday there was football to play. The turnout wasn't as good as usual and we ended up with two teams of 9 rather than four teams of 5 or 6. The trouble with 9 is that the pitch is too crowded and the game can become like pinball. Anyway, we had three games. The Gorse Fox's team in black won the first, lost the second, and drew the third. Fairly well balanced, really. The second hour of football was cancelled as the Gorse Fox was the only player willing to stay on and play for another hour in the heat.

Back home the Silver Vixen had had a morning with her sewing but that was interrupted by an unexpected delivery.

Well, when we say unexpected we actually mean it was expected, but not until tomorrow. It was a good job she was in. The delivery drivers were in the area and hoped they could drop off our stuff today to save them having to stay overnight in an hotel and then deliver tomorrow.

No, they are not coffins.

We had ordered some new units for the living room.
The Gorse Fox looked at the weight stamped on the boxes and realised he would need help. He called on Old Bill who came over to lend some muscle.

The units went together quite easily and have both cupboards, a drawer, and a drop-down compartment for the various media units. (At least that was the plan). It didn't take too long to get them assembled and moved into position.

What did take a while was rerouting all of the wires and cables and then getting the TV and the Sky-Q all working again happily.

Finally it's done and everything is setup in readiness for the England football tonight.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Problems with Pi

As the reader may know, the Gorse Fox has several Raspberry Pi computers. There's 'redkite', 'peregrine', 'tawnyowl', and 'falcon'. At the moment 'redkite' is sitting on the desk waiting to be repurposed. The other three are all operating. The problem is that the Gorse Fox can't remember where, physically, he has put 'tawnyowl'. It's not a major issue at this moment, he was only going to slap a label on it, but that's a lot easier to do if you can find it!



The Gorse Fox has just made the first pass at tidying his study. Several more passes will be required, but there's no sense in hurrying things.


With some new furniture scheduled to arrive this week, the Gorse Fox started the day (or should he say re-started the day) with some photos of our existing consoles table. There will be no place for this is in the new living room design/layout. It is, however, such a nice piece that it would be wrong to ditch it. It is now nestling on eBay awaiting a new owner to fall in love with it.

As for restarting the day... it seems that Jasper was wide awake at 5 a.m. and determined that we should be also. In the end the Gorse Fox got up and triggered his breakfast timer and opened the back door to provide him the opportunity to eat and take a post-prandial stroll. The Gorse Fox went back to bed and Jasper left us alone.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Good mix

Today was a good mix. The sun was high. The temperatures were drifting around 29-30C and there was football to play. The Gorse Fox headed off to the arena and  ended up playing for the yellow-bibs. He had been instrumental in allocating the teams and through he had it about even.

At half-time it was 6-6. The Gorse Fox had actually diverted two goals into his own net. The goalie wasn't amused. In the second half we quickly gave away two more goals but then we hit our stride. Two goals from the Gorse Fox started the run and in the end we rolled off the court 14-10 winners. It had been hot but fitness had made the difference.

Home and showered, the Gorse Fox emptied his kit bag. The water bottle had leaked and everything was soaked. It was left out in the Orangery to dry. Meanwhile we headed out for the afternoon.

Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete had invited us round for a BBQ. We had a lovely afternoon playing with Ellie and enjoying the family company.

Ellie made the most of her little paddling pool (sited carefully in the shade). She was clearly dressed as a member of the French Foreign Legion on holiday in Brighton. She clearly loves the water.

We heard all about their holiday and the latest mischief (and tantrums) from Ellie. They clearly had a wonderful week for camping even if the temperature in the tent did soar into the mid 30s at times.