Monday, April 30, 2018

Lifting

The rain settled in overnight. There was an amber weather warning for heavy rain and it set to stay in place until midnight tonight (Monday). We have clearly been on the very edge of this. The rain has been incessant but not too heavy throughout the morning. Now, mid-afternoon, it has stopped.

The Gorse Fox's shoulder seems to be easing, at last. He still can't lift his arm above about 45 degrees, but the acute discomfort has all but gone. Hopefully a bit more care and support and it may resolve itself entirely.  He's decided to forego football again tomorrow. It would be silly to risk a fall or a clash with some other player  that triggered it all off again. He hasn't yet decided about Wednesday, but suspects it would be sensible to cancel that also.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sore

Shoulder was still playing up so the Gorse Fox had to duck out of football this morning. Subsequent emails have revealed that it was probably a smart move as traffic was at a virtual standstill all round the area.

Felling sorry for himself. the Gorse Fox didn't really do much during the morning and by lunchtime had installed himself in front of the TV. The Silver Vixen had popped across to see Old Bill and Lady Penelope to see if they could provide cover for Jasper when we head off to bandit country for a family do in several weeks time.

Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete had invited us over for lunch so, mid-afternoon we zipped across to LA. Traffic was till gridlocked eastbound - but we were ok westbound. We had a lovely few hours and a delicious Sunday lunch... Lovely afternoon.

When we got home we found that Jasper had been sick on the carpets in four separate locations on the stairs and upstairs. Not quite the way we had intended to spend the early evening - but we set about the mess with tissue, water, bicarbonate of soda and a bit of elbow grease. Will have to leave this until tomorrow before vacuuming up - but hopefully it will do the trick.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Dry run

It has been a fairly relaxed day. The Silver Vixen has been catching up on some washing and getting some of her things ironed. The Gorse Fox will iron his stuff when it is dry. (He has a slight problem with his shoulder at present and couldn't lift his arm to use the iron anyway. He's sure it will settle in a day or so).

We have also been having a run through of the checklists for our next trip. (These trips are beginning to stack up rather). Recently we had two new suitcases delivered. Today was an occasion to have a bit of a dry run in terms of packing. Was there sufficient space? Can we make do with the one case each? What would go in hand luggage? What would be needed for overnight? All questions that are best answered well in advance. What it did throw up was the fact that the Gorse Fox's old shorts were not going to be serviceable - they are huge! He recently bought a new pair from M&S think the two pairs would be ample. Not so, there's only the one pair... so he logged on to M&S and ordered a second pair.

Talking of orders, the Gorse Fox ordered some accessories for the pressure washer last week. They were dispatched on Monday and should have arrived on Thursday. Still no sight of them. The Gorse Fox wrote to the company and pointed out the delay and the fact that they had not provided a tracking number. They quickly got back and said the Gorse Fox should leave it the full 7 days - but by the way here's the tracking number. The Gorse Fox logged on to the Royal Mail site and entered the tracking number. It would be interesting to see what had happened to the accessories. Oh no, this is really useful - it will only give you tracking details once they have tried to deliver it (by which time you probably don't care about the tracking details). Someone hasn't really thought through the use case!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Bubbles

It was a slow start. The Gorse Fox was up first and had quite a while to himself before he heard Ellie stirring upstairs. That was the trigger for everything to begin. The Silver Vixen swung into action and alongside the usual breakfast preparation she had to consider swimming. Friday morning involves a swimming session for Ellie. As Urban-Cub was working it fell on G-force to step in.

We headed across to Worthing, Ellie and the Silver Vixen dropped into the waters of the hydrotherapy pool and the Gorse Fox sat and watched. The host for the session took each of the children through a series of simple games so that they felt perfectly at ease in the water. Ellie clearly loved it and the Silver Vixen enjoyed the warmth of the water. Once the session was over and Ellie was dressed, the Gorse Fox took over  while the Silver Vixen got dressed. By now Ellie was getting hungry so he sat and fed her while we waited.

What a good job we had the presence of mind to feed her before heading home. The traffic was horrendous and it took 75 minutes to get back - a journey that should only have taken 30. The rest of the day was spent on patrol as Ellie wandered round. The Gorse Fox was very proud that she had found the duck tape and was clutching that like a well-loved toy. If he could just get her to play with the cable ties, her education would be complete.

Pistol Pete collected Ellie on his way back from work, The evening seemed remarkably quiet.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Mischief

The Silver Vixen was scheduled to be out with her coven at some workshop (How to sew batwings onto a blind newt or caring for your black cat, or something similar). She needed to leave early so Ellie decided to have a lie-in. This pushed the Silver Vixen's time frame a little - but the Gorse Fox was happy to step in.

What should she have for breakfast, he asked himself? Egg, bacon, sausages, hash browns, mushrooms, and baked beans? Maybe not. She had to make do with scrambled eggs and yoghurt. (Not together, you understand - one after the other).Pistol Pete arrived soon after breakfast to pick her up.

The house seemed rather quiet once she had gone. The Gorse Fox grabbed some breakfast for himself and was just heading for the running machine when Ocado turned up. Once everything was packed away he went and did the accounts. That got him thinking about admin and reminded him that we have a pass for the airport lounges. When it was renewed last year, we were meant to re-register. Ooops. He dug out the paperwork and followed the process. Simple enough, except that it is a joint "account" with each of us having our own card... and the Silver Vixen needed to register separately. This required a code sent last August. The Gorse Fox picked up the phone and after a long chat with customer service, he managed to get the Silver Vixen registered.

He's also managed to book a room for our possible trip to Wales. It can be cancelled without penalty so there's no risk, but he felt it was important to get something reserved.

Afternoon, so far, has been spent watching a very heavy shower pass over while he was on the running machine.

That's the mischief he gets up to when the Silver Vixen is away. Talk about living on the edge.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

That was close

It was a bright start but the day was typical for April - sunshine and showers (some of which were quite heavy). The Gorse Fox had not been amused by an 04:30 attack by Jasper. A well placed flick of the leg put an end to that.

Once up we moved into DefCon 2. Urban-Cub was due with Ellie.  She was on a shift that allowed her to go in at a more sensible time, so she dropped Ellie off with us before heading to Gatwick. When the Gorse Fox refers to "us", it's a bit of a cheek as he was off to play football for the morning. The Silver Vixen was in charge!

The football was peculiar. We (the yellow-bibs) lost 5-2, but on paper you would not have expected us to lose at all. The Gorse Fox was pleased to score one of our two goal - keeping up the one-a-week average.

Back home we were in full Ellie support mode. This heightened as she waddled towards the stairs and, without hesitation, started to climb them. This was a warning to be careful, but the Gorse Fox was in close support. This is probably just as well. When she had decided she had gone high enough she just turned round and stepped into thin air. Granddad was there and caught her before she had even realised what was happening. The stair gate will have to get pressed into use.

There is a family party scheduled soon. The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox have resolved to go, on the assumption that we can get cover for Jasper. The Gorse Fox has spent the few odd moments available this afternoon to see if there is an hotel close by that has availability and is of a suitable standard. (This will, after all, be in the bandit lands of Wales).

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Who yer gonna call?

The Gorse Fox had just dragged himself downstairs. He hadn't even filled the coffee machine when the phone rang. It was Urban-Cub. She had received a call from her child-minder who's child was poorly and heading for hospital. G-force to the rescue. The Gorse Fox hopped in the car and headed for LA to pick up Ellie. Traffic was slow, but we were home within the hour and certainly before the roadworks on the A259 had any serious impact.

Coffee was the first thought. For the Gorse Fox, not Ellie. She had her breakfast under the watchful eye of the Silver Vixen. The Silver Vixen, however, was due at the hairdresser so the Gorse Fox would be in sole command. This meant that in the general hierarchy of things he had risen and was now only superseded by Jasper and Ellie.

There were no problems. She chuckled and chortled, then mid-morning demanded a bottle. Filled with warm milk, the Gorse Fox took her up to her cot where she slept for a while. Indeed she only woke when Pistol Pete arrived at midday to collect her. He had been at an interview and was fairly happy with the way it had panned out. Later we got a call from Urban-Cub to say that he had got the position and this was a huge relief to us all as it meant that he could transfer from Lewes to Ford (which is just round the corner from home).

The Silver Vixen arrived back just as the Gorse Fox finished an hour on the running machine. We grabbed a snack for lunch then the Gorse Fox headed out for a quick raid on Sainsbury's. Fresh salad is on the menu for tonight along with some grilled chicken.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Drain

COoler again today, but bright and sunny. Certainly nothing to complain about. The Gorse Fox observes that it is St George's day and as such social media is filled with those who celebrate England's patron Saint's day - and those who despise the English flag and everything that comes with it. Rather pathetic really.

The morning was spent catching up on the accounts. The Gorse Fox didn't get round to them last week as Ellie rather filled the usual "admin day". Not to worry - all done now. He also had a look for any deals that might be available for car parking at Southampton during our trip to Guernsey. It looks as if, by booking early, the Gorse Fox can get a deal for 48GBP instead of 102GBP. He has set up a reminder to get this done next month.

The Gorse Fox fired up the old Samsung netbook (Hawk). This has the new battery and has been sitting around doing nothing since the battery was fitted, drained, then fully charged. He was delighted to see that the battery has only lost 2% of its charge over the last 4 or 5 days.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Lightning

Well last night we had several hours of heavy rain and three or four hours of lightning - though very little thunder. This morning the Gorse Fox was surprised to find everything had dried up and the sun was shining. It wasn't as warm as it has been, but it was certainly a lovely day.

There was no football today as several of the regulars were unavailable. That seemed like a good excuse for the Gorse Fox to head out with the Silver Vixen to Haskin's for breakfast. It seems to be getting ever more popular as we joined the queue. There was no hurry so we waited our turn and loaded up with a "full English" with tea and coffee. We had a lovely couple of hours before heading home.

Back home, the Gorse Fox grabbed the jet-washer and made a start on the paths in the back garden. It took about an hour, but all the stains, mildew, and winter's detritus have been blasted away and it looks as good as new. The biggest problem is that the hose didn't quite stretch far enough. The Gorse Fox may have to get a short extension to reach the last few paving slabs.

We got a message from Urban-Cub. Pistol Pete had been called in to the Prison to help deal with some "unrest". She was at a loose end so brought Ellie across and spent the afternoon with us. This worked well because the Gorse Fox's little sister was visiting Beloved Aunt in Toronto. She called, using Facetime, and we had a nice long chat with Beloved Aunt and she had a chance to say hello to Ellie.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Plants

Another lovely day - though not quite as hot as the last two. Soon after lunch, some high cloud blocked the sun, but by late afternoon that had lifted.

It was a fairly uneventful day. The morning was spent preparing for a forthcoming trip. There was currency to order - and the Gorse Fox had just missed the week's peak exchange rates. It wasn't bad at $1.37 to the GBP.... but a few days ago he would have got $1.42.

On the off-chance, The Gorse Fox phoned the Barber's. She could just squeeze him in - it was either today or some time next week. The Gorse Fox decided it had to be today.

Late afternoon we had a game of chess with the pots in the garden. Acers needed to be moved, as did palms, and fuchsias. Plants had started to swamp each other and it was time to shuffle things around a bit. It didn't take too long, but it looks a lot better now.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Maxims

There is an old saying "a watched pot never boils". Well the Gorse Fox corollary to that is "an ignored pot burns".

The Gorse Fox has been making up the sauce for tonight's curry from scratch and got distracted at the stage that says "allow the mixture to reduce".

He fears it may be just slightly burnt (it does look rather good though). Just the fish to add when we are getting ready to eat.

Note to anyone that cares - this is based on the recipe known as BIR (British Indian Restaurant) curry sauce.

Quiet please

It's another fabulous day. The car registered the outside temperature as 25C and it has certainly ramped up a little since then.

Ellie slept through the night and in the end the Gorse Fox probably woke her when he made the coffee first thing. She was her usual chirpy self - even if her appetite was a little subdued, probably because of the heat. We did our usual tag-team as we all got ready and the Silver Vixen washed and dressed Ellie. We had to get her home to Urban-Cub as she had her weekly swimming session late morning.

Urban-Cub's was a hive of activity with Jake getting ready for work, Pistol Pete out walking the dog,  and a tiler busy in the bathroom. The family bathroom was only half tiled and as Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete want to put a proper shower in, they decided that the tiling had to be finished to the ceiling. The tiler from the developer was happy to do this and should be finished by lunchtime. Plumber is scheduled for next week to sort out the shower itself.

We left them to it and headed for Chichester. The Silver Vixen had ordered some "click and collect" trousers from one of the stores and had been informed they were ready. It's a good job she checked them. One pair was too small and the other pair turned out to be a cap! So much for automated warehousing.

Quiet afternoon in the Orangery but the Gorse Fox will make a start on this evening's fish curry soon.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Gravity

Fabulous weather all day today. Orangery opened up, rill was running, garden furniture covers removed and the furniture cleaned. The evening news says that it was the warmest April day for 70 years. You'll hear no complaints from here.

Urban-Cub turned up with Ellie first thing. We would be looking after Ellie until tomorrow morning. She's getting to grips with this walking lark. Urban-Cub had rung the doorbell and when the Gorse Fox answered, there was Ellie walking up the path by herself. She spent the next hour or two exploring the Orangery and the garden with the Gorse Fox in close escort. Despite his close ministrations she was overcome by the perilous forces of gravity and tripped. She banged her head on the corner of the skirting board and has a small cut and lump. Bizarre as it sounds, the Gorse Fox was glad that Urban-Cub was there to see it happen... it was so much easier than explaining later!

The day has basically revolved round Ellie, her meals, and her sleep. The rest of the time we tag teamed her. As the Gorse Fox writes this the Silver Vixen is making up her bed prior to taking her for a bath. As the Gorse Fox went in to check on her, he found her with one leg over the side of the cot (Ellie, that is, not the Silver Vixen). He will have to see if the base can be lowered further.

Meanwhile the day has been interspersed with deliveries. The Gorse Fox's new battery for the netbook, some new suitcases, and a new buggy for Ellie. White van man has been busy today.

Charging

New battery has arrived for the old netbook. It's installed and working and seems to be holding a good charge. The Gorse Fox is very pleased! This has resurrected a much-loved machine.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Now that's better

Wall to wall sunshine today. Temperature in low 20s. Perfect.

The morning was filled with the usual commitments. The Silver Vixen headed off to Pilates and soon after, the Gorse Fox headed off to football. Usually he heads off without a thought. Today, however, he thought to check on the traffic with Google. That turned out to be inspired. The routes he normally takes were a sea of red. He chose another route and arrived without delays or incidents.

Today was a 6-v-7 game. The 6, in orange, had two of the most mobile players (one, a firearms office from the Police - based at Gatwick). The Gorse Fox was on the 7 team playing in yellow. It was hard work at first and by half time we were 3-1 down. In the second half, the Gorse Fox decided to stop chasing them and make them chase him. This changed the game and took the pressure off. By the end of the hour we had clawed our way back and ended up as 4-3 winners - though the Gorse Fox didn't manage to score today.

Back home there were some chores to complete. We are meeting up with the Sonning Crew tonight and have invited them back here after our crew curry.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cousteau calling

Another lovely day. Warm sunshine from first thing through until mid afternoon when it clouded over.

It was a lovely day for football. This was the first time this season the Gorse Fox has allowed his legs out! Up until now he has worn a tracksuit, but it was warm enough to wear shorts today.  In the first hour, the Gorse Fox played for the red-bibs. We did well with two wins and a draw. The Gorse Fox was playing as a disciplined defender today - not straying or roaming from his position. This worked well and we only conceded one goal in the three games.

In the second hour, the Gorse Fox played for the blue-bibs. This was looking quite difficult and the first game was a 3-1 loss which the Gorse Fox was worried would set the pattern for the next two games. He needn't have worried. We drew the second game then won the last game.

Back home and showered the Gorse Fox headed out. There was stuff to take to the recycling centre (tip), the car needed filling up, and there were bits and pieces he wanted from Sainsbury's.

The afternoon was quiet with the Silver Vixen out with her coven, but Cousteau-Cub did phone for a chat. It was the first time we had heard from her since she returned to Thailand. She has shaken off the cold she had travelled back with and had been diving most days. It was funny to hear that, while with us, she had become hooked on Celebrity Bake Off and Masterchef since her trip and was working through them on YouTube. Even the Coventry Hobbit has succumbed to the shows. Cousteau-Cub is off to Phuket so we'll hopefully get to chat some more in the next couple of days.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Minty

Well it took several tries of several distros, but eventually the Gorse Fox managed to get the Sammy 'Hawk' to boot correctly. He's using a flavour of Linux called 'Mint' - and it seems ok so far. (Needless to say the Gorse Fox is using Hawk to write this blog entry).

Busy busy

Gorgeous day. Wall to wall sunshine.

We started with a trip to the vet. Not for us, you understand, but for Jasper. It was time for his annual inoculations. This seemed to go more smoothly than usual. Maybe we caught him unawares.

Once home the Gorse Fox refitted the dash cam in the Silver Vixen's car. This had fallen off and kept falling off. He thought that he's have one more go before resorting to something sticky! So far it has worked.

One of his favourite PCs is an old Samsung netbook (at least 8 years old). The problem is that its battery won't hold any charge. He found a supplier today where he can get a new battery (covered by warranty). This triggered him to plug the machine in and try to bring it up to date. This was not as successful as he had hoped... and as he write this a second installation is under way. The basic stuff seems to install, but the screen drivers don't! When you then try to boot the system you get rubbish across the screen. Will have to see what happens. It would be nice to get it working again after all this time.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mixed

The weather was mixed. In the morning it was bright but overcast. Soon after lunch we had some heavy rain, but by mid afternoon the sun was out and it was really warming up.

The Gorse Fox headed across to Ford for the football. Roadworks are plaguing the route so the Gorse Fox resolved to take the long way back after the game. This double the journey length but probably halved the time. The football was a 6-v-5 / 5-v-6 game. Our yellow bibs had the 6 players in the first half, then 5 in the second half. It worked well, but the Gorse Fox's yellow-bibs were 6-0 head by half time. One of those goals was from the Gorse Fox. In the second half it was harder being a man down, but we dug in. The Gorse Fox scored another goal and by the end we had stretched it 12-4.

During the afternoon we heard from Urban-Cub. She was meant to be at work, but had picked up some sickness-bug and wasn't risking it.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Along the Coast

I was a bit of a misty start but that soon burnt away to leave a lovely sunny day. Is Spring finally arriving? The Gorse Fox hopes so.

He popped in to Bognor first thing. There was the package to collect from the Post Office - and he wanted some new trainers. There is a large Sports Direct shop in Bognor (much bigger than the one in Chichester). This would have a much better selection from which to choose. He wasn't long - the shops were quiet at that time of the morning and he left clutching a nice new pair of bright blue trainers.

Back home the Silver Vixen was intent on cleaning the inside of her car so while she did that the Gorse Fox went and cleaned the rill. He must have collected 4 or 5 kilos of blanket weed before adding some light bleach to try and keep it clear. It certainly looks nice and clear now, so it was worth the effort. Whilst out there he also turned the jet-wash on the patio. This had developed some discoloration. Ten minutes under the water jets and it was as bright as when first laid.

The Gorse Fox had the bit between his teeth. He moved into the front. Both cars were given the shampoo and jet-wash treatment. It had been a busy morning.

Early afternoon we headed across to see Urban-Cub. It was a just a flying visit, but and excuse to say hello and see Ellie. Then we continued east along the Coast to Brighton. We had arranged to visit and go out for dinner with the Silver Vixen's cousins.

As usual, their hospitality was faultless and we enjoyed a lovely chat and some tea in their kitchen extension. Rick Wakeman has been working on this for quite a while. It's not quite finished, but is certainly looking good. We caught up on the lates news before heading out to dinner at Danny's. We have eaten there before, it is a Chinese restaurant where pay a single price and then order anything you like, as often as you like. It cooked "on demand" and brought to the table. The quality is superb and it is clearly very popular. The place was very busy, but with such good quality and good value for money it's not really surprising.

We went back to the house and sat and chatted for a couple more hours. All the latest on families, a bit of genealogy, holiday plans, and anecdotes about health and work were shared. It was getting late and we bade our goodbyes before heading home. It had been a lovely evening.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Retail therapy

There is a list of items that we need in preparation for the the forthcoming holiday and the family wedding that will immediately follow our return. Today seemed like a good opportunity to make a start. So it was that the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen made our way into Chichester for some "retail therapy".

We split up on arrival - often the most practical approach. the Silver Vixen headed off with her list and the Gorse Fox started on his. After an hour or so the Gorse Fox was mostly done and had shuttled his purchases back to the car. After a quick exchange of text messages we met up and headed off to get some lunch. We ended up, as we often do,  at The Chantry. Not exactly "fine dining" but good food and good value for money, with nice staff thrown in for good measure.

Fed, we returned to the shops. The Silver Vixen needed a dress for the family wedding so we set about the department store. Several were viewed and rejected, several more tried on and rejected, then we found the perfect candidate - and it fitted perfectly. Done.

Last stop was M&S for a few additional bit for the Gorse Fox. This turned out to be more difficult than planned as the sizes/colours that the Gorse Fox wanted were not available in store. This meant ordering online and a collection tomorrow. Sounds easy enough. Oh no! They had trouble logging on, they had trouble finding the articles, they couldn't select the colour, their internal iPad driven website looked almost unusable. In fact one item had to be ignored and the Gorse Fox ordered it when he got home.

Having stayed in yesterday for deliveries - there was clearly a delivery today whilst we were out. As this needed a signature it has gone back to the Royal Mail depot and the Gorse Fox will have to collect it. Oh well - it is Friday the 13th.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Deliveries

Thursday must mean administration.

We had a relaxed start to the day. It was a bit grey out, but at least it was not wet. The longest task for the day was the accounts. Whilst the daily spend was up to date, the spreadsheet had not been cross-checked against the various account statements for about a month. This always takes a while, but with all the stories you hear regarding credit card fraud and online scams it seems like an important self-protection measure.

In parallel with the accounts, the Gorse Fox had a row with British Gas. He pays for an annual maintenance of the boiler and it had been canceled in January with a promise they would rebook. So far they hadn't. The discussion went like this:
I'll book something in for you now. Just so we can make sure we give the engineer enough time, is everything working okay with your boiler and central heating system, as far as you’re aware?  
The Gorse Fox  (10:06:52 GMT) : Yes everything is working fine, but I'm paying for an annual service and want to keep everything in tip-top condition 
Shannon (10:07:29 GMT) : I understand. Are there any other gas appliances that you would like us to service whilst the engineer is there? 
The Gorse Fox (10:08:00 GMT) : No. The only other gas appliance is my hob and that is working just fine
Shannon (10:09:33 GMT) : We could attend on Tuesday 5th June? Would you prefer 8-10, 10-12, 12-2 or 2-4? 
The Gorse Fox  (10:10:48 GMT) : Well 2-4 would be best but I think that is rather taking the mickey. I'm paying for an "Annual" service not an 18-month service. 
Shannon (10:11:28 GMT) : I'm afraid the service can be conducted at any point in the contract year. This is the next available appointment I have for you. May I please take the best contact number for the engineer to call when they’re on their way? If it's a mobile, we'll also send a text confirming the appointment.
The Gorse Fox (10:13:11 GMT) : So with careful diary management you could actually perform my "annual" service every 23 months
It was clear that Shannon was in no position to do anything. The Gorse Fox signed off and resolved to cancel the contract when the service has been completed.

While this was going on, the Silver Vixen had driven across to LA to collect Ellie. The Gorse Fox stayed put as he was expecting some deliveries from the nice Mr Amazon.

Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete had to empty their bedroom of all furniture ready for the chaps to come in and install fitted  units. The plan is that they will "camp" in their living room until the work is finished next week. So we looked after Ellie for a couple of hours while they finished and got some shopping done.

As usual she was full of joy and chuckles and kept us on our toes as she charged around. She seems to have mastered this walking lark!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Disallowed

Though there had been more heavy rain over night, the Gorse Fox woke up to bright sunshine. The Silver Vixen headed out for Pilates and the Gorse Fox made his way to Worthing for the football.

It was a relaxed affair with a fairly even spread of 6-a-side. One of the chaps brought his grandson along to keep us on our toes. The score ticked up very slowly - first us, then them, then us and so forth. The final score ended up 8-7 to the other team. The Gorse Fox had scored 3 goals but one had been disallowed. The ref "claimed" that the Gorse Fox had been running. He cannot believe such a thing could be true... so feels it a a moral draw of 8-8, even if it was an actual 8-7.

This afternoon, the Gorse Fox has been herding cats. He's been trying to arrange a lunch for the VM Old Gits. Attempting to get a date where we have a sensible quorum has been impossible - particularly if trying to factor in the dates when our US colleague is in the UK. In the end the Gorse Fox has made an executive decision. We will meet one Friday in July and people can take it or leave it. (There will be a further date in the autumn for stragglers).

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Only one hour

The forecast was not promising and it was raining heavily when the Gorse Fox came down. It did soon stop, however, and he was cautious enough to take a change of clothing when heading out for football.

The Silver Vixen also had plans. She was meeting up with a friend and attending a meeting of the Embroiderers' Guild. We headed off in our separate directions.

The Gorse Fox played for the yellow-bibs in the first hour. Again, he was lucky enough to play with some good ball players and as a result we won the session with a 3-1 win and two draws. The Gorse Fox was on the score sheet again with a sneaky little goal scored as he ghosted up, unnoticed as a free-kick was being taken. Unmarked, he just passed the ball straight into the net.

The second hour was less interesting. It was cancelled. There were only 4 of us there. There had been a tournament yesterday and the turnout today was affected. The Gorse Fox headed home. Despite the forecast, it had remained dry throughout.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Committee decision

The committee has made a decision. Guernsey it is.

Holidays

Why is it that selecting a holiday takes so long? The Silver Vixen suggested we book a further vacation for later in the year. As she was out for much of the day, the Gorse Fox started to look at various options.

The starting point was our wedding anniversary (45 years, Sapphire, this year)... which is in high summer. The location that cam to mind was Guernsey, where we had our Honeymoon. Seemed like a good idea. Then you start to select accommodation and transport... and filter by the dates. Suddenly the prices look a little startling and make you wonder if a trip further afield may actually work out better.

Hello Expedia, Thomas Cook, TUI, Secret Escapes, and all of the other reputable sites. The trouble is, where do you go? Gran Canaria, Madeira, Madrid, Lake Garda, the Amalfi coast, the list goes on. The Gorse Fox rejected Mexico and the US because they seem a bit far for one week. He rejected Turkey and Egypt because they seem a little unstable. He rejected France because it's France. He rejected Thailand because, again, it seems a little far for just one week.

This will have to go before the committee (i.e. the Silver Vixen) and we will narrow it down. The Gorse Fox suspects we will end up in Guernsey after all.

On a side note, the Gorse Fox heard from Cousteau-Cub today. She had a good trip back to Thailand but has a stinking cold (the pleasures of a cool and wet English spring). She has had to get a new nano-SIM for her phone and couldn't keep her old number so it's taken a while for her to get back on the grid.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Prep

The countdown to our trip has started. There's still a few weeks to go, but now it's time to get started on the preparation. This calls for a well thought-out list. The Gorse Fox has plans from previous trips all filed away. They provided the basis for the new plan. These cover documentation, currency, shopping, Jasper, shutting the house down, accommodations, transport and heavens knows what else.

Mid-morning, the Gorse Fox headed off for football. It was an easy 5-a-side today. That always allows a bit more room to move about. The Gorse Fox played for the yellow-bibs and we soon started to move ahead. The Gorse Fox scored a lovely curling shot into the top corner of the net... but it was only the one of our twelve goals. We conceded five, so it was a good win. The Gorse Fox was glad we had been playing indoors as it was a very wet and miserable day.

Back home it was back to the plans. The Silver Vixen was going through her clothes storage looking for stuff that's suitable for the trip. The Gorse Fox printed a number of the relevant documents and stored them in the travel pouch (as well as keeping electronic copies in Evernote).

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Gosh it's quiet

Gosh the house seems quiet without Cousteau-cub or Ellie. The day has really revolved around getting everything back to normal and catching up on the various little domestic chores that were necessary.

Floors cleaned and washed, ironing done, and the Silver Vixen has been moving stuff back out of her sewing room to the various default locations where they belong.

Meanwhile the Gorse Fox had a conversation with the "Fraud department" of the credit card company. They had intercepted a payment which was out of the ordinary. As it happens it was perfectly valid, but the Gorse Fox was glad they were alert. He phoned the number given in the text message. They asked for the card number and then started to ask some security questions. Now, the Gorse Fox can be a bit paranoid. What if the text message was scam? He was cautious.

We can't access your account without the security checks, she said. OK said the Gorse Fox, but I need to be certain you are the Fraud Department of Card Issuer. Can you confirm to the Gorse Fox what his initials are? Yes sir, she said... but first you must give me you full name. Doh!

The Gorse Fox changed tack, he would give the name, but nothing else until she could answer a question based on what was in the account. This proved successful and his paranoia proven to be misplaced in this case. The issue got resolved and the Gorse Fox returned to the afternoon's activity - filing and categorising photos.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Farewell

It is that day. We dread it every time. Cousteau-Cub was going back to Thailand and we would have to say goodbye again.

The day started brightly and it was a fairly relaxed morning as Cousteau-Cub packed and got her stuff together in preparation. Ellie toddled round trying to help - usually by removing things that had just been packed. There was a mid-morning trip round to Sainsbury's but then everything was ready and we set off for the airport.

The journey was pretty trouble-free until we got to the M25 (can the Gorse Fox hear you gasp in surprise?). That tuned out to be immensely slow as we edged our way round to Terminal 5.

At the airport we parked up and headed into the departure lounge. Ellie was intrigued by such a huge building and so many people wandering around. Cousteau-Cub completed her bag-drop and picked up her boarding pass... then we headed for a restaurant to grab something to eat and to feed Ellie.

She was so well behaved and, as usual, seemed to captivate all around her. Once she had finished her food she wanted to get up and walk around. We took it in turned to walk with her as we waited for and eventually ate our lunch.

By the time we had finished it was time for Cousteau-Cub to go through to the gate. Indeed by the time we had cleared away and were walking back to the car, she phoned to say she was in the queue to board.

That's it now until her next trip - but hopefully that won't be too long.

The journey home was dreadful and took nearly two and a half hours. Despite that, Ellie remained amusing and chirpy in the car for most of the journey - finally falling asleep as we got into Sussex. We took her straight home to Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete, then headed home for a quiet evening.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Out and about

It is Cousteau-Cub's last full day before she returns to Thailand. We had a slow start as there was little to be done before Ocado had delivered. Once everything had been put away we waited for Urban-Cub to turn up with Ellie. The plan was to head into Chichester.

It was a bright and sunny day, if a little cool. We made our way along East Street and Cousteau-Cub, Urban-Cub and the Silver Vixen made the most of the various fashion outlets along the road. The Gorse Fox dropped in to Turner's to buy some of their superb pies and get them to put them to one side until we returned.

We stopped along the way at Crispin's Cafe. This is a small and unassuming little place, but we have been in several times before. It is very welcoming and one table is set aside for families with a pushchair. We tucked ourselves into the corner and ordered lunch. Ellie was keeping the proprietor amused with her flirting.

With the main course complete, Cousteau-Cub tried Ellie with a little bit of hot chocolate (now cool). Clearly she liked this. We decided to experiment further. A small portion of chocolate ice cream was ordered.

Watching Ellie's face as she experienced ice cream for the first time was an absolute treat. She clearly loved it and kept coming back for more, but she made some wonderful faces as she swallowed the ice cream.

After we finished with lunch we carried on round the shops of Chichester before heading home. Urban-Cub stayed for a while, but had to leave so that she get supper prepared at home and get to bed as she is on an early shift in the morning. Ellie stayed with G-force (strengthened by Cousteau-Cub's presence). As the Gorse Fox writes this there is a huge amount of noise and splashing coming from a suds-filled bathroom.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Going swimming

The Gorse Fox skipped football this morning. Urban-cub had booked the hydrotherapy pool for us. This pool is where Ellie has been having here weekly pool sessions. By making a private booking, the Silver Vixen and Cousteau-cub could join i and we were allowed to take photos. (Photos are strictly forbidden in the open sessions).

The Gorse Fox went along, but sat it out. He wanted to watch and to take some photos of the fun. Ellie was certainly very happy in the water,/just as Urban-cub and Cousteau-cub had been when they were small. They all clearly had a great time.

Back home the Gorse Fox has been trying to work out how to get the photos from his camera onto his Lenovo Tablet. It took a bit of fiddling about as it wasn't quite as obvious as you might expect. Anyway, they are there now, and this blog entry is being written on the tablet.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Sense

The weather has warmed up a bit and whilst overcast there was a definite improvement. Forecasts suggest it could be 16C by the end of the week.

The Gorse Fox did the car dance then, with Cousteau-cub on board headed across to LA.

Cousteau-cub was spending the morning with Urban-cub and Ellie. They had arranged to go to a "sensory room" somewhere in Worthing. These rooms are designed to both stimulate and calm young children with light and sound. Ellie was clearly impressed and Cousteau-cub took some lovely photos.

Meanwhile the Silver Vixen had set off for Chichester. There were clothes to get in preparation for our forthcoming trip... and she prefers to shop without the Gorse Fox hanging around.

The Gorse Fox went to football. The team selections for both hours worked kindly for him. In both cases he was in teams with good ball players and with at least one other good defender. This always makes the game more fun as it allows a degree of freedom for the Gorse Fox to roam when the opportunity arises. In the first hour, we drew two games and won one. In the second hour we drew one game, and one two. The Gorse Fox, while taking the opportunity to roam forward, scored one goal and hit the post twice. A very enjoyable couple of hours.

Back home Cousteau-cub, Urban-cub and Ellie got back early afternoon and all stayed for the rest of the afternoon and for supper. Pistol Pete was back at work and was likely to be late home so it made sense for them to stay until after Ellie's bath. Once they had gone, Cousteau-cub, the Silver ~Vixen and Gorse Fox had a quiet evening watching TV.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Calm

After the excitement of yesterday, today was calm and quiet. Cousteau-Cub was still with Urban-Cub so the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox had a very lazy morning. It was pouring with rain so there was little incentive to go out - even though the Silver Vixen did want to roam round Chichester.

The Gorse Fox spent the morning processing photos from the weekend and working on his private blog. There was news from Facebook that he had a new cousin - so she had to be registered in the family tree, but that didn't take long. By this time the Silver Vixen was on the phone to the Gorse Fox's little sister... time would go by, new rock sediments would form, and new fossils would develop before they had finished. The Gorse Fox helped himself to some lunch.

Urban-Cub and Cousteau-Cub turned up early in the the afternoon. Urban-Cub didn't stay long as she had things to do, but Cousteau-Cub was staying put with us.

It was soon after this that the Gorse Fox realised he hadn't retrieved anything from the freezer for supper. There was only one thing for it - a takeaway. We sat down to lovely selection from the Indian. The takeaway food from there has really improved over the last year.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Blow out

Urban-Cub had evidently been up and decorating her house early this morning. By mid morning we were getting photos sent across to show the progress.
The house looked lovely and she was so well organised that all of the platters were out and labelled to identify what they would contain by the time the guests started to arrive.

We got there early so that we could help out if required. She was so well organised that there was almost nothing left to do.

Around midday the first guests started to arrive for Ellie's first birthday "do". Friends from nearby and from Salisbury, the Silver Vixen's family from Brighton, the Gorse Fox's from Berkshire, and Pistol Pete's family from the New Forest. It was quite a house full. Ellie looked a little confused by so many people, but she soon adjusted and ran around chatting and chuckling. In fact she stayed awake and continued to play and run around well into the evening. The Gorse Fox suspects she will sleep well tonight.

It was a lovely day and gave us all a chance to catch up on the latest family news from across the various family groups. It was also nice for Cousteau-Cub and Urban-Cub to catch up with the cousin, The Mask.

Everyone was very impressed with Urban-Cub's and Pistol Pete's new house - which really was ideal for such a gathering. As you might expect the table was groaning under the weight of food (and there was still more  in the fridge, should it be needed). Lunch was a buffet-style selection and it remained available throughout the afternoon, allowing people to top up if they felt it necessary. Well taught by her parents, nobody leaves Urban-Cub's hungry.

Cousteau-Cub stayed on at Urban-Cub's, but the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox headed home mid-evening. We were, of course, the last to leave. We were clutching doggie-bags containing some of the surplus food as we said our goodbyes. It really had been a lovely day.