Thursday, May 31, 2018

On duty

G-Force were on duty today. Fortunately, Ellie didn't stir until 7:45 so we had a gentle start to the day. Once she was up, though, she was her usual "whirlwind" self. As usual we took it in turns to monitor her games and explorations. The Silver Vixen took her out with her when she had to go and collect a prescription, but they weren't gone for long.

She did have a sleep late in the morning but then she was ready for lunch and to start all over again. We had a couple of cards to get ion the post and as rain was threatening we set up the push chair with all its rain-proof covers. Off we went and fortunately the rain stayed off. We looped back from the post box via the lake so that Ellie could see the ducks but frankly she seemed more interested in the other little girl who was there with her grandparents.

As we got in the phone rang, it was Cousteau-Cub. We had a lovely long chat with her. It is clear that she is still feeling very upset over the loss of Bruno, but hopefully some time on the phone with mum helped.

On other matters the Gorse Fox has restarted his network hub for the first time in ages. He's not sure if the electrical storms of the past few days have interfered with it, but the Gorse Fox was getting some strange behaviours - Gmail starting very slowly, WiFi printing not working, some websites just hanging... The Gorse Fox decided that a restart was probably the first thing to try. So far it seems to be a little better.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

That didn't last long

Well the return to normal football didn't last long. We couldn't muster sufficient players to get a game organised today. It's a good job that the Gorse Fox managed to score yesterday and keep up his on-a-week target for the year.  As a result of the football cancellation, the Silver Vixen headed off to Pilates leaving the Gorse Fox at home and he spent some quality time on the running machine. It did seem particularly onerous today, but he stuck with it.

Once the exercise was out of the way the Gorse Fox got on with some domestic chores and some financial account transfers and re-balancing. At lunchtime Ellie's child-minder dropped her off and left Jasper in charge, with the Gorse Fox there to help. The Silver Vixen soon arrived home and the normal hierarchy was restored.

The afternoon had a quiet hour while Ellie had a sleep, but other than that we have been on duty throughout. As the Gorse Fox writes, the Silver Vixen is just preparing Ellie's bath. Then it will be bottle and bed (for Ellie - as tempting as it sounds for us).

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Back in boots

Plans had changed. Betty and Barney Rubble were due to visit, but Barney had got the call-up to try-out or play for the local competition bowls team. Obviously the Gorse Fox understood and it meant that in turn he could get along to Worthing and play football for the first time in a over a month.

The Gorse Fox set off and in the first hour, playing for the yellow bibs, found that though plenty fit enough he had lost some of his match-awareness. Passes were going astray, tackles were missed, and generally he was not up to the standard he expects. The yellow-bibs lost all three games.

Not giving up, the Gorse Fox stayed on for the second hour. This was a much smaller game - in one of the 5-a-side cages. Again he was playing in yellow. It started to click a bit better in this second hour. Overall we lost 2 games and one 1, but the Gorse Fox did manage to score two goals so felt that things were looking up.

Meanwhile, back home, Betty Rubble had come down and she and the Silver Vixen headed off to The Gribble for lunch. When they got back the Gorse Fox caught up with the basic news and then headed for his study.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Travels over

Our travels are over. We had a clear plan and followed it through. We got up and had breakfast then packed and loaded the car. By 9:30 we were on the road. The logic was that being Bank Holiday Monday people would be heading home, but trying to make the most of the last few hours. By heading out early we hoped to get well ahead of them.

That is how it turned out. We sailed through Cardiff and up to the motorway then set the cruise control and hardly had to adjust it until we approached Winchester. There was a bit of a tailback at the junction with the M3 and another where the M3 splits for the M27.  They probably added 15 minutes to the trip, but despite that we were home in three hours and six minutes. The Gorse Fox likes it when a plan comes together.

A chicken is roasting in the oven as we enjoy a quiet afternoon. At first, the Gorse Fox went and sat in the garden but a storm came over and blasted some impressive thunder overhead as it dumped a lot of rain on us. He had seen it approach on the weather radar so was well prepared (and inside) by the time it started. According to the local news it brought down a tree on the A27 and there's flash flooding round LA and on the A259. All in all we appear to have got off lightly.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Family, Foraging, and Faffing

It was a slow start to the day, as befits a late night . We grabbed some breakfast and the went into the shopping centre for a stroll around. We hadn't appreciated yesterday the fact that behind the shop fronts we saw yesterday lies a huge indoor shopping mall. This deserved exploring. So it was that we spent and hour or so browing through the various outlets. It was really quite impressive.

We hailed a taxi and made our way to cousin (as opposed to granddaughter) Ellie's house. She was holding a surprise family get together for the Silver Vixen's auntie Jean who was celebrating her birthday. Unfortunately chunks of the family couldn't make it, but we were very happy to represent our bit. We had a wonderful day. Ellie had prepared a feast that we enjoyed out on the deck then we sat around chatting for a while. The sun was out and it was really quite warm and pleasant, (Clarification here - yes we definitely are in Wales).

Mid afternoon we all took a stroll to the local park. Cousin Jon's partner Caroline had her boys with her and the park was a good place to let off steam. It also provided Ellie's Kevin the opportunity for some foraging for wood. Bit by bit a pile of dead branches, logs, twigs and small trees seemed to pile up. Other people in the park looked on with a degree of amazement - in fact the Gorse Fox looked on in amazement. Somehow this huge pile of wood was scooped up and ferried back to the house. It would be used in their new fire pit and some saved for their fire.

Back at the house there was a lot of faffing about as Jon, Kevin and the boys tried to ready the firepit for use... meanwhile Ellie rolled out the next feast. We tucked in to food that had been prepared and washed it down with tea or wine as the mood dictated.

Once finished the firepit faffing restarted... by the time we left it still was not alight. We called a taxi and headed back to the hotel

Late night

We grabbed a taxi to take us to the house of Gorse Fox's cousin. Like with many families we only usually meet at funerals. It seemed an ideal opportunity to break the hoodoo and have a nice evening. Cousin Pete had cooked and we made ourselves at home with some wine in the garden. So began a long and very enjoyable evening.

Time seemed to slip by and bottles of wine seemed to disappear as we sat and chatted about education in rural Ireland, Myanmar, Ethiopia, family, school, and heavens knows what else. Bottles seemed to appear and empty at an alarming rate. We retired to the sitting room and continued. Before we knew it it was a quarter to two in the morning. A taxi was summoned and we found our way back to the hotel. AT two-thirty we had collapsed into bed and were out for the count.

Last time we were up that late it was because we were in a different timezone!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Bandit Country

A more leisurely start today. We had left an internal door slightly ajar so that Jasper could roam and get to a view of the garden if he wished. This seemed to work.

Of  course our first thoughts today were for Cousteau-cub who had to say goodbye to Bruno. It is such a shame, and also a shame that she is so far away and we can't give her a hug.

The morning was spent on a few domestic chores and some packing for the latest trip. We set off around midday and headed for Bandit Country. We were expecting a journey of 3 hours plus... and so it turned out. We avoided the first bottleneck round Chichester by zipping through the outskirts but we could find no alternative to the dreadful traffic on the way in to Cardiff.

We checked-in to our hotel and grabbed a cup of tea before heading out for a look around. Cardiff certainly is a vibrant and lively place on a Saturday afternoon. On a lovely warm sunny aftrenoon like today the bars, restaurants, and cafes had spilled out onto the pavements and were all packed. We were surprised to see bouncers controlling entrance to all the venues - somehow it seemed incongruous on a lovely sunny afternoon. Knowing, however, how alcohol can affect some people and the fact that the natives tend to have such a short fuse (most perfectly able to start an argument or fight in a totally empty room), perhaps it does make sense.

As we returned to the hotel we passed several "hen parties" arriving for their festivities. The Gorse Fox hopes they are staying somewhere else!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Ambulance chasers

Twice in the last 10 days the Gorse Fox has received emails from a company who claim to be putting a group legal action in place against Starfleet regarding their handling of the pension changes which were imposed on the employees. The Gorse Fox was invited to register on a no win, no fee basis. The Gorse Fox doesn't exactly smell a rat, but he is suspicious. He wrote to a handful of fellow retirees from Starfleet. Had they been approached? Did they have any views?

It would appear that the consensus is that they are a bunch of ambulance chasers and none of the colleagues he contacted are going to proceed. Interestingly one colleague commented how much he likes leading these people on:
"Depending on my mood and the time available I often engage with the callers. The most outlandish conversation to date is ‘when I claimed that I had killed 37 people by driving a coach off a cliff edge on the Jurassic Coast’. When they asked me for the registration details and make of the coach I got bored and hung up. Does anyone else take part in this pastime (or is it sport)?"
Clearly the Gorse Fox is not the only person with a mischievous side.

Calm before

The Gorse Fox was not amused when Jasper decided that he wanted everyone up and about just after 6 a.m. - we know he missed us, but really! The Gorse Fox creaked down the stairs and opened the back door so he could roam and that seemed to satisfy him. The Gorse Fox went back to bed.

At a more convenient hour we wandered down for the morning coffees and teas and then the Gorse Fox got on the running machine while the Silver Vixen got ready for a quick shopping trip to Chichester. We have a dinner arrangement with friends on Saturday and she wanted something suitable to wear that fitted her svelte, slimmed down figure. The Gorse Fox meanwhile finished his exercise, showered, grabbed some breakfast and then tried to address the mess Jasper had deposited on the bedroom carpet.

Jasper has the occasional habit of eating grass then finding the most visible and inconvenient place on the light beige carpets to deposit the contents of his stomach. This, if not dealt with quickly, leaves stains. We have learnt to scoop up the mess, then damp down the area and cover it in bicarbonate of soda. This is exactly what the Gorse Fox did yesterday - so now, 24 hours on it was a case of cleaning it all up. Unfortunately this time the trick with the bicarb doesn't seem to have worked so well. A bit of carpet cleaner has been tried and then the bicarb re-applied. We'll see if this does the trick.

After lunch we had a quick trip to Sainsbury's. There were a few small gifts to get and the car needed diesel. Talk about YOLO (you only live once)!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Chirping

It was about 7:15 this morning when Ellie woke. She lay in her cot playing with her toys and chatting to herself. It was a lovely sound first think in the morning - like birdsong, it made the spirit soar. The Gorse Fox gave it about 30 minutes before going in to get her and kick-start the day.

The morning revolved round Ellie and the weekly Ocado delivery. One was all about getting things out and the other about putting things away. Either way it kept us busy.

Urban-Cub arrived early afternoon. She had been on duty since the early hours, but now has a few days rest. Ellie and her things were scooped up and the car was loaded. Suddenly there was silence! G-Force could stand down.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Visitors

The Gorse Fox started the morning on the running machine as there was no football scheduled for today. Once that was out of the way and he was showered he finished some editing of the holiday posts, and finished adding a few more photos then ran the program that copies them to his private blog. Then he ran a separate helper program which handles the labels on blog posts and transfers them to the private blog. Everything is up to date now.

The Silver Vixen collected Ellie on her way back from Pilates. As usual she kept its on our toes throughout the afternoon.

Lady Penelope popped in for a while to discuss care of Jasper when we take a brief trip soon. As she left, the Gorse Fox's little sister, Jane, and husband, Trevor, turned up. We had been expecting them as Trevor had some business just along the coast and we try to meet when he has an appointment in the area. Because Ellie was with us we couldn't go out for dinner so we had agreed to get fish and chips. This was a great success as it was quick, easy, filling, and the gluten-free batter was very popular.

We managed to have a chat with Cousteau-Cub during the afternoon, which was nice. Hopefully we will get a chance to chat some more in the next few days.

Blogging on the move

The Gorse Fox thought you might be interested in the device that he took for all his blog activity on our recent holiday.

This is it - just a small 8 inch Lenovo tablet (64GB) with a Bluetooth keyboard. Along with a small adapter for his camera he was able to do everything he wanted. He had deliberately stuck to WiFi only connections for the Internet (3G/4G seems overkill for the rare occasions when WiFi isn't available).

Blog entries were written offline in a notebook application. This meant they could be written whether or not there was a connection. Then when a connection was available, the Gorse Fox would cut and paste the entries into a new blog post and add any photos.

He used to use his iPad but found it was getting slower and slower and the WiFi connectivity didn't seem as stable.

(The headphones and TV remote are there to provide some concept of scale.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Fangs

A very domestic day today though it did start early. Jasper, clearly pleased to see us, decided we should be awake around 5 a.m.. This started with a bit of prowling, some snuggling down on the Silver Vixen's pillow, some meowing, and eventually morning calisthenics on the Gorse Fox. We ignored him until after 7, but then the Gorse Fox gave up and brought him down.

Once the door was open Jasper was happy and the Gorse Fox hopped up onto the running machine for some exercise of his own. Satisfied he had started the day well he showered while a tray full of sausages cooked in the oven - soon to be accompanied by some egg and bacon.

The bulk of the morning was taken up by a trip to Chichester. The Gorse Fox had his 6-monthly appointment at the Dentist. Fortunately, he was again given a clean bill of health - and a bill for the news. The Silver Vixen had skipped into town and we met up at Costa for a coffee before picking up some Turner's Pies as we returned to the car.

The afternoon has been spent working on the accounts. The Gorse Fox had a stack of receipts from the past few weeks that needed to be recorded - some of which needed hunting down. The he gets a few spare hours he will go through and cross-check them against the actual accounts. At least they are logged, for now.

Talking of accounts, and being paranoid, the Gorse Fox got a very impressive email from Nationwide today. It said he should update his mobile banking App - today. A genuine-looking link was provided in the email to assist with the upgrade. He's very cautious and not totally convinced this is genuine; particularly as the App Store has not got an updated version of the App. He will leave it a few days and see what transpires. His rule of self preservation is NOT to follow links in emails, however genuine they look.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Pets

The Gorse Fox was up early and on the running machine before he's even sniffed a coffee this morning. There's 10 days of excess to be undone.

After a quiet start we headed out to the Cattery where Jasper has been enjoying himself while we were away. It's a lovely spot in the middle of nowhere with and absolutely charming proprietor who really bonds with the cats and even sends you emails to tell you how they are getting on. Jasper was very chilled out when we arrived, but we coaxed him into the carrier and brought him home. He had a quick sniff around and marched round to check everything was how he'd left it and then dropped straight back in to his normal behaviour.

We grabbed some lunch then the Gorse Fox had to wander round to Sainsbury's as we had to stock up  with some of the basics - vegetables, eggs, spices, milk, cake, chocolate, ice cream and so forth. We can now survive until Ocado deliver on Thursday.

When the Gorse Fox got home he saw he's missed a message from Cousteau-Cub. She was obviously very upset. Her big bear of dog - Bruno, who had been suffering from diabetes and had gone blind, had to be put down at the weekend. We are so sorry for her as she was so fond of him and his lovely temperament.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Home for a bit

It was another gorgeous morning. We hadn't been too late last night and we allowed ourselves to wake when we woke naturally. We wandered across the little courtyard (obviously once the stable yard for the Inn) and settled down for breakfast.

Once packed and loaded we checked-out and headed to Denise & Dom's. We had been invited for coffee followed by a BBQ. We decided to accept the coffee but get on the road rather than stay for the BBQ. As it was we were there chatting for several hours. Clearly everyone had enjoyed yesterday's celebrations - and better yet, everyone had survived without any hangovers. (Though some had still been at it at midnight).

We said our goodbyes and hit the road. It was a great time to travel and we swept along at a steady speed all the way to Chichester. Two hours was a lot better than the journey up.

With nothing in the fridge yet, having just got back from holiday, we diverted to Fontwell and stopped at the Old Stables for a late lunch. We were tired and hungry so tucked in to the roast pork loin. It was not good. The gravy was burnt, and the pork dry. Possibly the worst meal we have ever had there, (The Old Stables is usually very reliable and is one of our "go to" restaurants). Very disappointing. Maybe the chef (or microwave) was having an off day.

Anyway, we are home now and can put our feet up.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Wedding of the Year

You may have noticed that there has been wall-to-wall TV coverage of the Wedding. The Gorse Fox thinks that the couple were deeply flattered by the interest, but glad that decoy event in Windsor kept the hordes away from Buckingham.

We started the day with a good breakfast at the hotel and then had a quiet stroll around the town and the Saturday market before heading back to get changed for the big event. This was well timed as we could watch the build-up on TV while quietly primping and preening out of the public gaze. We stayed put until the decoy couple's service started and then took a leisurely stroll the couple of hundred yards to the Church where the real event was taking place.

Because so many of the rich and famous had been diverted to Windsor our small gathering was able to fit within the choir stalls of the Church. The Groom was looking smart and the Bride shimmered into the Church and up the aisle. It was a lovely little service - absolutely fitting for the occasion.

We milled about outside while photos were being arranged and then headed back for the reception at the Bride & Groom's Palace. So that no unauthorised photos were taken, the staff had been given the day off and the guests were able to all muck in.

There was a wonderful spread  (worthy of one of the Summer Garden Parties at that other Buckingham Palace ). Wines flowed, tea was poured, and everyone sat and chatted. So it continued through the afternoon and well into the evening. It really was a lovely event.

We called for a carriage as it got dark and were whisked away back to our hotel. It certainly will be a day that we will long remember.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ah ha

Well the WiFi had to be reset, but at last it has exploded into life. Well much like a very weary sloth pretending to be lazy.

While the WiFi was busy trying to outstrip geological change we walked in to the town and settled down in the Chinese Restaurant. We ate at Cheng Du back in 2010 and remembered how good it was then. It seemed like an opportunity to see if it was still as good. The Gorse Fox is delighted to report that it is. We had a lovely meal and a drop of wine.

Reality Check

Reality has returned (albeit after a good night's sleep). We had to spin into Chichester first thing. The Silver Vixen had an hair appointment and the Gorse Fox needed to see the travel agent. Next year's return trip is booked and appears to be sorted out.

Back home we finished packing (or should we say re-packing) and cleared a few domestic chores before heading off for the wedding of the Silver Vixen's sister, in Buckingham.

Traffic round Chichester was got us off to a bad start but then things cleared and we made fairly steady progress until we approached Oxford. There we got stuck in a 6 mile tailback caused by a broken down lorry. It took us an hour to get through to clear roads again. Reality, eh!

Now we are checked-in to our hotel. No offer of taking our bags to the room. Though WiFi is advertised it clearly doesn't work. You can sit on a beach in Jamaica and conduct video calls over WiFi, but in the middle of Buckingham, in an expensive hotel, you can't even log in to it. Reality, eh!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Back

It was a good flight and it landed a few minutes early. We had both managed to rest during the journey which was good. We were told to wait until the plane had offloaded so that the buggy would be available to take the Silver Vixen through to Baggage Reclaim. This delayed us as the offload took forever and then there were insufficient wheelchairs, porters, and buggies for the people requiring them. It was clear that the Silver Vixen would be taken care of and that the Gorse Fox would have to find his own way so the Gorse Fox headed off while the Silver Vixen waited for a buggy.

Passport Control was very slick and then it onwards to Baggage Reclaim. This, as always at Gatwick, took forever but there was no hurry - the Silver Vixen still hadn't arrived. Eventually the bags arrived and eventually the Silver Vixen arrived. As we walked through Customs and into the arrivals hall we kept an eye out for our driver. As it turns out Urban-Cub had cancelled the driver (hence the peculiar email the other morning)... and was standing there with Ellie, waiting for us to come through.

We were soon on the roads and despite a diversion due to an accident were soon home. Urban-Cub and Ellie stayed for a while but the rest of the day has revolved around unpacking and get the laundry under way. Meanwhile we did have a quick diversion while booking a return trip this time next year... and a quick chat with Old Bill and Lady Penelope.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Going Home

As we finished packing we got a video-call from Urban-cub and Ellie. As we were all done, it was nice to sit and chat - even though Ellie was clearly under the weather.

We checked-out of the Resort but stayed on site to await our VIP transfer. We met the guy who we believe is the new General Manager and chatted with him for a while before going for lunch. After lunch we changed ready for the journey and said our goodbyes to the staff. It has been a lovely week and you somehow feel that many of the staff have become good friends in the short time we have known them.

Our driver turned up a couple of minutes late. The car was loaded and we headed  out into the traffic. The driver was a much older man than the chap who brought us from the airport last week. Older, but clearly not as good. The journey was luxurious but a little jumpy as he kept changing speed and making slight adjustment in the steering. Though it was a new BMW the rear seat was quite hard and by the end of the journey it was nice to get out for a stretch.

Once at the airport we quickly checked-in and were met by the special assistance chap who escorted to the priority security check and then on to the VIP lounge. The airport was a bit of a surprise as Arrivals (last week) had seemed quite small. Departures turned out to be quite impressive with plenty of  shops and things to do. We skimmed past and went straight to the lounge.

As the Gorse Fox writes we are whizzing along at 600 mph, are some 222 miles from Montego Bay and we are cruising at 34000 feet.

Packing

Dinner last night was very good. We both selected the same items from the menu as last week. This time we were sitting on the elevated terrace looking down over the evening's entertainment. Romeo was our "one and only" (his words) waiter and attended to us closely. Wine glasses never emptied and the food was exactly what we have come to expect.

The band were playing some lounge music up until nine, then a singer came on to liven things up. Keisha certainly had some go about her and managed to fill the floor with what can only be described as reggae line-dancers. Readers may not be surprised to learn that the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen were not among the troupe.

Today is check-out and travel. This did not stop the Gorse Fox from hitting the gym. Depressingly the only coverage on the TV in there was about the upcoming Royal wedding - the Gorse Fox was glad he had his headphones tuned in to a podcast to relieve the schmaltz.

We don't need to vacate our room until midday, and our transport is scheduled for 14:30. One suspects there will a lot of time to kill at the airport. For now, however, we need to complete the packing and hope the laundry-fairy is on the flight and does all our washing for us before we get home.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Perfection

The Silver Vixen has spent the last couple of hours in the Spa. It's hard to improve on perfection but, just in case, the Gorse Fox went to meet her at the end of the session - just make sure he recognised her.

The rest of the afternoon has been sent with the Kindle and in the Loyalty Office. The Gorse Fox thought it may be worth getting a quote for a return visit next year. The initial quote seemed good and appears to undercut our UK Agent fairly significantly. Now he has set our UK agent the challenge to narrow the difference to something more palatable.

This evening we have a reservation at Papillon (the French Restaurant)

King of the Beach

We had met up with Paul and Lori from Toronto. They are frequent visitors to Sandals. Paul is clearly King of the Beach. His cabana is reserved for him every morning while he goes off to play golf. He the returns and takes up residence on his throne. He's a lovely man and so friendly. It was he who invited us out on the boat the other night and today there was a tour of the beach villa and we were again invited to join in. (The Silver Vixen went along for a nosey around).

The beach butler turned up and King of the Beach summoned him. A few minutes later another butler arrived clutching a bottle of Glenlivet and some glasses. Again the Gorse Fox was invited to join them but 11:00 in the morning seems a little early for him. The Gorse Fox thanked them and stuck with water.

The banter continued throughout the morning but, with timing to perfection, the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed up for lunch as the skies clouded over and the rain started.

Dawn's Early Light

Another couple we met up with have bee Dave and Dawn. Like the Gorse Fox, Dawn used to work for Starfleet. Initially she was a Systems Engineer and then moved into Information Development. Our time with Starfleet had clearly overlapped, though we had never met. Now she was working with Dave managing his contracts but had also been teaching technical writing.

Dave runs a large server farm, or at least he used to. Now he has moved all his clients up into the cloud. Their objective is to travel and spend one month at a time in different locations. They can manage the cloud based servers and the client base as long as they have internet access. Sensibly he even runs his own VPN.

Now that seems like a good work-life balance.

Lightning

It was a lovely warm, if a little humid, evening. We opted for dinner on the Terrace. By now we are so full of fine food that we skip starters and go straight for the main course. The Silver Vixen chose the ribe-eye steak and the Gorse Fox went for Mahi Mahi again. As we waited the Gorse Fox had a chance to people-watch.

Enter Botox Betty. She sits nearby with her partner. Her head is too big for her shoulders. Speech seems slurred and her mouth reminds one of The Joker (with a little less makeup).

Then there's One Show Christine - She turned up with Tattoo-man. She sat down wearing a pair of grandma's curtains up-cycled into a dress.Very elegant.

Next to us set preppy girl with the classic up and down tune to her voice but with all of the up inflections on the wrong syllables. The whiney squeak to her voice was most pronounced when trying to get her mouth round the simple "thank you". This morphed into an elongated "thin kyowww".

Right - character assassination finished for now.

We went and sat out under the stars and listened to the house band while sipping on some re-hydrating fluids. The band, who we had seen last week, were much better this week. The Gorse Fox is unclear whether they were just 'in the groove' or whether it was a different set. Whatever it was, they were excellent.

As the band played, lightning danced across the skies to the north of us. It was really quite spectacular - though we heard no thunder.

The morning started at about 6:30. There was a shock to start with  when the Gorse Fox received an email saying our airport pick-up had been cancelled. A quick exchange of emails cleared things up - an IT problem had screwed up the system back home. Everything was still in place!

The Gorse Fox headed for the gym. He had the place to himself and enjoyed the solitude as he pounded along on the treadmill. Then it was back for a shower a good breakfast and back to the beach. Just perfect.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Silicone Valley

We have spent another day on the beach. There was a little high cloud at first but that burnt off and if it hadn't been for the pleasant breeze it would have been very hot indeed. Kindles were broken out and books devoured. The beach butlers wandered back and forth ensuring that we were well hydrated.

One of the new guests bounced  onto the beach with her beau in tow. She, unusually for an American girl, had tattoos. She also appeared to be an advert for silicone. Indeed one suspects the sand on the beach was muttering to itself "that's where the rest of the beach went". One suspects that she needs neither a lifejacket on water or an airbag in a car.

Audell, our butler came and joined us for a chat and we heard all about his family and what it is like working at Sandals. It's clear they are a good employer and that is clearly evident from the cheerful and helpful staff - you can't fake the genuine friendship and joy they demonstrate on a daily basis. Audell reminded us that we had a $250 credit at the Spa so we had a look through their menu of treatments and then the Silver Vixen went along to book herself in for tomorrow. The girl from the Spa took one look at the Gorse Fox and realised he was beyond help so the Silver Vixen will use the whole session herself.

There was a brief but heavy shower while we were in the Spa but it had all blown over by the time we headed back to the beach. The afternoon followed the now familiar pattern - reading, and swimming.

This evening will just be a simple dinner on the terrace and some live entertainment (hopefully not involving the Silver Vixen and fire).

Quiet evening - stick to Plan A

We decided that you can only have so many rich meals before you need a rest. Last night we decided on the pub. We sat a listened to jazz while drinking in the atmosphere and eating a light meal. It was lovely - the rain had cleared and the evening was warm.

We stayed until the entertainment finished; some then headed in for some karaoke but we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and snuck back to the room.

It was 7 before the Gorse Fox started on the teas and coffees.He wasn't really in the mood for the gym, but did force himself. He had the place to himself and the TV screens were tuned to a channel that was showing football highlights. This made the exercise a lot more tolerable.

After breakfast we signed up for the Sandals loyalty programme. It's not quite clear exactly what we will get out of it, but it seemed silly not to join (as it was free of charge).

As the Gorse Fox writes this we are sitting on the beach with our new friends Rachel and Tommy from Dallas and await the arrival of a further round of champagne cocktails from Daniello the beach butler.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Timing is Everything

We have spent the day on the beach sharing jokes, anecdotes, and music with the couple from Dallas and a couple from Toronto. It has been great fun and included something akin to Petanque called Bocce Ball. The Gorse Fox thought to himself that Barney Rubble should have been there as he would have been far more accomplished than the Gorse Fox.

We stopped for lunch and had a nice snack and a chat with the couple from Hartley Wintney before returning to the sand. By now a small American football had appeared and was being tossed around in the sea. The Gorse Fox joined in to demonstrate that he was quite incompetent in more than one sport.

Our new friends had booked a boat to take them out for a late afternoon cruise. We were invited to join them but we declined.

As the title says, timing is everything. The boat disappeared across the bay and we packed up to return to our room. As we got to the top of the stairs the heavens opened and it just poured down. Now some 30 minutes later it is still falling in huge sheets. Declining the boat trip was a wise decision.

Fire Dance

Yesterday evening saw us head for the Royal Grill. This was a restaurant overlooking the beach and specialising in seafood. We  settled down and watched as other guests drifted in. Down on the small pier a just-married couple had a romantic dinner for two in the little pavillion. The off lantern drifted up into the sky. It was quite magical.

The dinner was excellent. The Silver Vixen had a Surf 'n' turf which featured shrimp and beef tenderloin. The Gorse Fox had the special - snapper, salmon, and mahi mahi. This was washed down with suitable wines and a coconut rum. This latter drink had a punch like a sledgehammer, but was very nice.

We went up to the terrace where the entertainment was about to start. A steel band had been playing but had just packed up to make room for the Fire Dance. First up was a chap who balanced things on his nose or his head. That may not sound special, but the things included a big cast iron table and separately a young girl sitting on a chair. It was quite impressive.

When he had finished a limbo dancer came on and slithered his way lower and lower as he worked his way under the ever-lower pole. This culminated with him setting fire to the pole and sliding through underneath. (The Gorse Fox would point out at this juncture that he won a limbo competition in his youth but suspects those days are over).

The first performer returned. He did some fire eating and set some spinning wheels on fire. That's when it really got interesting as he started to involve some of the audience. He headed for the Silver Vixen - there was nowhere to hide. Next thing we knew she was up and dancing with a flaming wheel on her head. There may have been video, but the Gorse Fox is not brave enough to post it here. (Note to self - keep her away from the rum). What a night.

This morning started early but the Gorse Fox did not leave for the gym until just after 7. He had the place to himself for the first 40 minutes or so, but then there seemed to be a rush. He had clearly timed it well.

After breakfast we headed for the beach. It seems to us that if a plan works, why change it. The Gorse Fox notes that the lady to his right (from Dallas) is the absolute image of his Aunt Gillia when she was a little younger. Uncanny. Even the Silver Vixen spotted it immediately.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Showered

Another exhausting day on the beach. The beach butlers, Cleon and Daniello, have traipsed back and forth delivering various cocktails to keep us hydrated whilst flipping the pages of our KIndles.

After Cousteau-cubs text-chat this morning, we had a long video chat with Urban-cub and Ellie. That was lovely as she started to use her first words (Ellie, that is, not Urban-cub). "Mama", and "Nana" are there so far but there is still no signs of the times-tables.

When it all became too much we packed our stuff and headed up for some lunch. Needless to say Coconut Shrimp featured heavily and the Gorse Fox also had some fish and chips based on a thick fillet of snapper. Delicious.

The afternoon followed the same pattern as the morning. Reading, drinking water occasionally, and swimming. There is a strong temptation not to go home at the end of this.

The Gorse Fox is now showered and preparing for this evening's events... but more on that later.

Fruit juice

Jamaica Night was fun. We met up with Colin and Angela from Cumbria and shared dinner. Wines lubricated the local delicacies. After a salad starter the Gorse Fox had goat curry, jerk chicken and fried plantains. The Silver Vixen had jerk pork which, whilst a little fatty, she enjoyed (Clarification - the pork was a little fatty, not the Silver Vixen).

After dinner we sat and enjoyed a singer. She had a good voice but it was essentially karaoke as the backing was just a pre-record (no live band). She was a particularly pneumatic shape and the Gorse Fox was intrigued by how she remained upright. She had spindly little legs, a derriere the size of a small county and comparatively slim waist and a bust that could probably kill. The whole ensemble defied the laws of physics.

The Gorse Fox was up a little Later this morning. It was probably 7:30 before he got to the gym. The exercise seemed like particularly hard work today. He persevered and did his full session and is pleased that he has still managed to keep it up every morning.

We had breakfast on the terrace and while there got a WhatsApp chat with Cousteau-cub. She's 12 hours ahead of us and was already in bed at the end of her day. It was nice to hear from her.

Now we are back down on the beach. There's some high cloud cover and it's quite humid but still lovely and warm. A fruit juice laced with champagne is providing the incentive to endure these horrendous conditions.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Locals

While we've been here we have met a number of other couples, some from closer to home than you might expect. There's a lovely couple from Cockermouth in Cumbria. We met initially in the gym but have sat and chatted several times. Then there was a couple from Hartley Wintney who used to run the New Inn on the Reading Road.

Today we spent the day on the beach with a lovely couple from Fareham and their friends from Indiana. Huge quantities of alcohol were poured down various necks and the conversation flowed just as freely. (The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen were mere peripherals when it came to the drink, making no attempt to keep up).

For lunch we wandered up to the bar and indulged in Coconut Shrimp and Spare Ribs - a perfect combination for a lunchtime snack. Then the couple from/Indiana went their own way (incidentally, she is the doppelganger of cousin Agent Mulder's wife). We headed back to the beach with our new friends. A lot of talking was interrupted by the odd swim and a number of deliveries from the beach butlers. (In this heat hydration is imperative, you understand).

Now as the Gorse Fox writes this he is supping a restorative glass of rum while waiting to go down to "Jamaica on the Terrace" for this evening's meal and entertainment. Sounds fun, as long as it's not "Death in Paradise".

Jammin (no G)

Yesterday evening we say Italian Night at the resort. This was a simple affair - a buffet for the antipasto, the entrees were A la Carte, and the sweet course was again buffet-style. The starters provided a wonderful range of salads, shellfish, cheeses and vegetables. The Silver Vixen followed this with lasagne, the Gorse Fox went for some fettuccine with snapper, mussels, prawns, clams, and so forth. The portions were huge but absolutely delicious. All of this was washed down with some lovely wines.

With dinner over we headed for the terrace where a reggae band was just beginning its set. We found a spot with a couple from Cumbria and chatted while we listened to the music and tried some more of the local rum. The Gorse Fox is getting a real taste for this.

As usual the Gorse Fox was awake around 1 a.m. but managed to turn over and go back off until about 6:00 - this  was a major result. After preparing tea and coffee he headed off to the gym. For the second day running he had the place to himself. As he finished his workout he got a message from Urban-cub to say that Ellie's hospital appointment had gone well and she had been given the all clear. This was great news with which to start the day.

We've ow had our breakfast and have settled down on the beach. Lazy? Perhaps. Do we care? Not a bit.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

What a strain

It's been a stressful morning. Discisions needed to be made. Where should we sit on the beach? What should we drink when the butler asks? Should the Gorse Fox read some more or take a swim? Will that cloud dump any rain or just scoot by?

We had a visitor at one point. He snuck in behind us and hunted through the vegetation at  the base of the gnarled old tree by our loungers.

So it went on. It was a lovely morning but soon after two the clouds looked a little threatening. We packed our things and headed to the restaurant. As we sat down the heavens opened and beat out a paradiddle on the canopy. We had timed it to perfection. The Silver Vixen enjoyed a Waldorf salad while the Gorse Fox wrapped his body round a short rack of ribs washed down with a glass of the local rum. Once finished, the skies had cleared and we returned to the beach. We had it to ourselves... the Silver Vixen sitting in the sun, and the Gorse Fox skulking in the shade.

We spent another hour or so at the beach before returning to our room for a shower. Tonight, apparently, is Italian Night on the terrace.

Just another day

Last night we had dinner in the French restaurant on the resort. La Papillon was a refined, subtly lit, restaurant. It was the only restaurant on site with a dress code and we were escorted to the venue, signed in, and taken to our table by our butler, Chadworth.

The menu wasn't huge - maybe 8 or 10 starters and a similar number of Entrees. Whilst not extensive, what they did, they did well. After our starters we both opted for the Chateaubriand. Usually you need a mortgage to order this back home and it's usually for two. Here it was all included in the price of the holiday - as was the wine and, indeed, everything else we have had while here. The meal was excellent and the Gorse Fox suspects that we will return before we leave.

After dinner we retired to the terrace and indulged in their chocolate buffet while watching a band take us through many reggae standards. Great fun... but as they closed the act for the evening, we returned to the room for some well deserved sleep.

Needless to say the Gorse Fox was awake early again. After making the various life giving morning elixirs (tea and coffee) he headed off to the gym. Maybe last night took its toll on many of the regulars because the Gorse Fox had the place to himself. He increased the speed slightly and also raised the incline. By the end of his 50 minutes he was dripping. A good start to the day.

Showered we headed down to breakfast then debated the plan for the day. The beach won the debate. We changed and headed down. Being a little earlier than previous days we had the choice of loungers and were early enough to book on the glass-bottomed boat tour. As the Gorse Fox writes this we have just returned.

The tour was only about 40 minutes but it was great fun. We had a running commentary pointing out both the surface views and landmarks and the underwater sites. There was a coral reef that we crossed and were able to see the various coral formations and the fish that lived and hunted there. It was a lovely little diversion but now we are back slogging away at our books, some champagne cocktails and a beer.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Sand

That last entry was written on the beach several hours ago. It's nice having a WiFi signal almost everywhere on the resort. You don't have to use it, but it's there if you want it.

Much of the day has been spent on the beach, like yesterday. Again we picked a spot where the Gorse Fox could remain in the shade, but the Silver Vixen could make the most of the sun. The morning was quiet and though there were plenty of guests around, everyone was preoccupied with their books or their tans. The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox focussed on our books.

Around lunchtime a few clouds scudded over and there were a few raindrops. It never amounted to anything but we used it as an excuse to get some lunch. Coconut shrimp, some fries, and a shrimp BLT to follow seemed appropriate - particularly when washed down with some local rum and house Merlot.

While we were eating we managed to have a video call with Urban-cub. It was well timed as it gave us a chance to say goodnight to Ellie (who seemed genuinely pleased to see us).

The afternoon was back at the beach. The Gorse Fox played some football with the staff for a minutes, but there really wasn't the room to have a proper kick about. He then went for a swim. He's not sure if he's mentioned it before, but the sea seems incredibly salty here, but it is nice and warm and makes swimming a pleasure. As before, he had the sea to himself which made it very enjoyable. (Choosing the east beach was definitely the right selection).

(Very pleased to see the 1-0 win for Spurs against Newcastle tonight. That guarantees Champions League football next season).

And the beach goes on

Yesterday evening we caught the shuttle to the sister resort. It was only a couple of minutes away but you are expected to use the official transport for safety. We had reservations at a Japanese restaurant called Kimonos. We were ushered to our station and took our place amid 6 other couples. The chef arrived and the show began. We have seen the knife skills, the juggling and the cooking before but it is always fun to watch. The people with whom we sat were a charisma-free zone and nobody really interacted, thought the Gorse Fox did manage to get a conversation going with a US Navy air mechanic. The food arrived and was tasty but to be truthful we have had better and seen better.

Back in our resort we took a seat on the terrace and sipped at our drinks while enjoying the band who were playing some background chill-out music. A pleasant end to the day.

This morning started, the first time at 01:18. The Gorse Fox muttered something meaning "don't be so silly", turned over and stayed put until about 06:00 when he plonked himself on a chair with his book and waited to hear the Silver Vixen stir. Then it was time for some life giving fluids - tea and coffee before the Gorse Fox headed across to the gym. He trusts that you are impressed that he is keeping it up so far.

A shower then we headed for breakfast. Nothing too special there but the Gorse Fox did have some coconut-poached snapper instead of eggs. Well it makes a change and was certainly tasty. We got chatting to a nice couple from Cumbria who the Gorse Fox had seen in the gym earlier. No doubt we will see more of them during the week.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Beach Life

We had a good breakfast on the terrace. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and sea glistened like a million sapphires. It was magical.

Once back in our we prepared for a beach day and headed down to the east beach. The resort has two beaches. The west beach looked a bit crowded for us so we bypassed it. We picked some loungers under the shade of a tree - no sense in getting too much sun at the beginning of the holiday.

After a suitable delay for the sun gel to bond with the skin, the Gorse Fox headed into the sea for a leisurely swim. It was lovely and he had the bay to himself. When he had had enough he went to the booth and ask for a paddle board.

Paddle boards alway look like fun so it was time to give it a try. He had to strap the tether too his leg, then don a life jacket. He was on his knees on the board in no time and once he had the feel of it, he tried to stand. He was surprised - he was up first time. Balance was a little dicey to start with, but he seemed to get the hang of it. That's when it started to go wrong. He slightly unbalanced the board and  it took a moment to stabilise himself, then he lost it again and fell off. Now, the purpose of a life jacket is to provide buoyancy. As he hit the water, the life jacket rode up and knocked him in the face send his new glasses flying. The glasses might be light, but they still sank. The Gorse Fox was stuck.. He plunged the paddle into the sand at the bottom so that he had a spot to start his search... but he had to keep the paddle board and life-jacket so couldn't dive and search the bottom. He trod water until he caught the lifeguard's attention . He explained his dilemma and the lifeguard returned with a mask and snorkel. The Gorse Fox was instructed to leave it to him and returned to the beach. Five minutes later the lifeguard emerged from the sea clutching the missing glasses. What a hero!

We stayed o the beach until mid-afternoon. We had received a call and had a  chat with Urban-cub and Ellie while there. Isn't WiFi and the internet incredible? Having bid Ellie goodnight we finished off our books and headed up for afternoon tea on the terrace. Then it was back to the room to prepare for this evening's treat... but more about that later.

Finish and Start

We finished yesterday with a cocktail party followed by dinner in one of the resort restaurants. The cocktail party was fairly low key, but rum cocktails circulated on the arms of the staff and a small and very elderly calypso band played in the background.



For dinner we chose well. A good house win accompanied our courses. The Gorse Fox had some smoked marlin to star with, followed by Mahi Mahi. The Silver Vixen started with goat's cheese with a glazed orange, followed by a beautiful rib-eye steak. All of this was finished off with a coconut confection that just melted in the mouth.

It was a good end to the day.

For the  Gorse Fox the new day started just before 2 a.m. - it was put on pause. In the end the Gorse Fox allowed himself to get up around 5 a.m. and he sat quietly in the corner of the room with his Kindle, reading. (Thank goodness he went for the back-lit "Paperwhite" and could thus read in the dark).

The Silver Vixen stirred - tea and coffee were made and the Gorse Fox headed across to the gym. A good 45 minutes on the treadmill helps get the day started and salves any guilt from the indulgences of the day to come.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Beach life

Life is pretty quiet at the beach. The Gorse Fox had the water to himself.

Just hanging

The first day of any holiday should be focused on relaxation. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen concluded this was a good rule by which to live. We wandered down to breakfast on the terrace. There was an 'a la carte' menu or a buffet. We both opted for the buffet. This offered a huge choice of breads, fruits, cooked items, cold items, yoghurts and cheeses. Perfect.

Strolling back from breakfast the Gorse Fox showed the Silver Vixen the equipment in the gym and we got talking to Jermaine. He works at the resort and was an avid football fan. This gave us a lot of common ground so we chatted for ages. Mid-morning we had a meeting with the Virgin Holidays rep. It didn't take long but was an introduction to the resort and the rep herself.



We returned to the room to get beach-ready. Heading down to sand took us past the restaurant and it seemed silly to just walk past without saying hello. Several coconut shrimp, pina coladas, beers, and a whole fresh coconut later  we finally continued our route to the beach. The Silver Vixen made herself comfortable on a lounger and the Gorse Fox went straight in to sea. It was warm. Not as warm as Thailand, but very very comfortable.

Clouds began to threaten and it was clear that rain was on its way. We packed up and just got back to our room before the heavy rain hit. It probably won't last long, but it's better to stay dry.

Early start

The 6 hour time difference played havoc with the sleep pattern. In fact the Gorse Fox woke up at his usual time - unfortunately that was about 1 a.m. He had some stern words with himself and settled back down.

By 6 a.m. it was all over. The SIlver Vixen was awake and so was the Gorse Fox. Coffee and tea were the first priorities and then the gorse Fox headed over to the gym. (It is his intention to use it daily whilst here, though he would note that a wise man once observed that hell is paved with good intentions). Despite the hour, there were several people in the gym when he arrived.

The wireless headphones that he had purchased at the airport were clamped in place and a podcast fired off. For the next 45 minutes or so he listened Frank Skinner while striding along on the treadmill.

There was some heavy rain last night after we returned to our room, but this morning it seems to have cleared and it's really quite bright and warm. Clouds and blue are vying for supremacy of the skies.It looks like it will be a nice day. Next on our agenda is breakfast.

Blogging note - the Gorse Fox will try to remember to set the times of these posts to the UK associated UK time... i.e. a post at 8:00 here is really 14:00 in the UK, but he will set the time as if it is 8:00 in the UK. (At least, that's the plan!)

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Done

Well the flight finished without incident. We were met by our VIP Guide at the exit from the plane and escorted through passport control and on to baggage collection, customs, and the Lounge. Very slick. The only delay was in collecting the suitcases, but you get used to that.

Our driver turned up in a brand new 5-Series BMW to provide us with personal VIP transfer to the resort - some two hours away. (The Gorse Fox noted  that the car had all of the optional extras fitted - even the indicators). The back seat was primed with some canapes, and he had a fridge with water, beers, juices, and wine. One could get used to travelling like this.

Arrival at the resort was just as slick. Porters emptied the car, glasses of champagne were pressed on us and we were introduced to our butler. He, in turn, took us to our room and gave us the run down on the features, how to call him, and where our in-room bar was. Seemed pretty comprehensive.


We set out to explore. By now it was dark so we were fairly limited. It is a small resort so it didn't take long. We wandered back to the bar known as The Wobbly Peacock and settled down with a rum, a steak baguette (between us) and enjoyed the warm evening and the gentle jazz. Perfect.

Go

The plane took off about 25 minutes late but the flight time was less than expected. As the Gorse Fox writes this we are still 5 hours and 30 minutes from Montego Bay over the mid Atlantic. We are whizzing along at 553 mph at 35000 feet with 2940 miles to go.

So far, the Gorse Fox has enjoyed lunch and watched the film "Kingsman The Golden Circle" which was a great little romp.

It's a little later. The Gorse Fox has just finished watching the Churchill biopic "Darkest Hour". He's a little gob smacked. What a fantastic film. The Gorse Fox is old enough to remember Churchill (though not as Prime Minister). He has always admired him, but this film has reinforced that admiration  no end. If only we had a leader like that now days - politically incorrect, decisive, and charismatic. Instead we have a fairly limp Prime Minister and an absolute weasel of a leader of the Opposition.

Steady

We went over to the airport and through security. It was all done and dusted in about 5 minutes. That includes the full body scan and pat down search to which the Gorse Fox was treated - he's sure that had been pre-arranged by Urban-cub.

We had breakfast in one of the lounges. This was a strange experience as there were a few people there at 8:30 in the morning who were already worse for drink. As the Gorse Fox went for coffee and platinum blonde of uncertain years struggled up to the coffee machine next to his. "Oh God,now I have to work out how to get coffee" she wailed. The Gorse Fox explained that you just press a button next to the type of coffee you want. "But there are no cups". The Gorse Fox pointed to the rack of clean cups. The cup was put in place and a button pushed. The machine started to dispense the life-giving fluid. "Oh why did I do that?" came the cry. "I've just poured me-self a Malibu and coke, I don't even want a coffee!". The Gorse Fox walked away.


We headed out for a stroll around the shops. There was lots to see, but other than a cheap pair of wireless headphones, we didn't spend any money. We then returned to the Lounges. This time we headed for the Virgin Lounge. It was very busy but started to empty out fairly quickly as flights were called. Eventually our flight opened. A buggy arrived to take the Silver Vixen to the plane and the Gorse Fox jogged along behind. We were escorted through the queues straight onto the plane. No hanging around for us.

Ready

We went to bed early - today is likely to be a long day, so it seemed the grow up thing to do. The Silver Vixen slept well despite what looks like the start of a cold. The Gorse Fox slept well until his mandatory plumbing check during the night. Thereafter he just dozed.

Plan is to get across to the airport and through security between eight and nine and then browse the shops before heading for the lounge. The Silver Vixen has her  stick with her, but Virgin have arranged a wheelchair to get her from the Lounge to the plane. A bit over the top, perhaps. All we requested was a buggy to get her to the plane.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

It Begins

Our latest adventure begins. The taxi arrived a liitle early but we were ready to leave anyway. As we swept up to the airport in luxury we weren't quite sure what to expect over the next couple of weeks. Whatever it will be, we will make the most of it.

The phone rang. It was Urban-cub. She had just got the details of tomorrow's expected loads at Gatwick. This meant that she could recommend the best time of the morning to get through security quickly. It's nice to have the inside track!


Once our suitcases were dropped off we checked-in to the hotel and set off to get something to eat. We wandered next door to the Sofitel and picked a restaurant for a leisurely dinner. Then it was back to our hotel for a quiet evening before tomoorrow's journey.

Typical.

Jasper has simple habits. He gets up, he goes out (when the Gorse Fox opens the door), he comes in and has breakfast, then goes back out. A few minutes later he comes in and sits on his throne in the lounge. Simple.

Today, he knew something was afoot. The Gorse Fox doesn't know how. Our morning rituals were unchanged. Somehow, he knew though. He went out, he came in for breakfast, he went out then came back in and went straight upstairs and curled up under the middle of the bed in the spare room. (As the Gorse Fox has said before, he is convinced Jasper checks in to the Gorse Fox's Google Calendar and that's how he knows he should hide).

We left him as long as possible and tried to trick him into emerging by dishing up his lunch. No, he was having none of it. We tried some treats. No good. In the end we had to move the cot and then move the bed in order to grab him and put him in his basket.

Once in his basket he started to yowl. He keeps this up until we release him at his destination. Today that was the cattery. Fortunately he seemed to take to it and settled quite quickly. Let's hope he enjoys his short holiday.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Start of the long weekend

It was glorious start to the day. The sun was out and the overnight chill was already burning off. It's the start of the long Bank Holiday weekend - a concept that means little to the retired Gorse Fox, other than the warning it creates regarding traffic. This BH looks as if it could be record-breaking, in terms of the weather.

The Gorse Fox started the day with some domestic chores and then spent some time on the running machine. With no football over the last week he has had to get his exercise in the Orangery. With the sun warming the room he was certainly in a good lather by the time he had done his miles.

The Silver Vixen had an appointment in Chichester during the morning and then, after lunch, popped over to see Urban-Cub. The Gorse Fox made use of the time to start assembling the clothes he may wish to take away when we head out. He's still a little concerned over the room available  in the suitcase - but at least he can take more than one if it is necessary.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Leave it to Beaver

The day dawned bright and sunny and managed to maintain that throughout the day. It was gorgeous. Despite a few coughs and calling out a few times in the night, Ellie slept through until about 0715. This was just fine as the Gorse Fox went in and chatted to her for a while before taking her back to see Nana and slowly getting the day started. For Ellie, it would be scrambled eggs, for the Silver Vixen a cup of tea!

The morning really revolved round Ellie as the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen tag-teamed her. When she went down for a nap, the Gorse Fox decided to upgrade "eagle" to the latest version of Ubuntu - namely "Bionic Beaver" (or more prosaically 18.04). The upgrade took about 30 minutes from start to finish and went without a hitch. Such a refreshing change from the old Windows upgrades - even the Mac updates are beginning to take longer, so Bionic Beaver is a hit with the Gorse Fox.

Pistol Pete had been working at Ford today and was able to get away early afternoon. He picked Ellie up and whisked her away leaving the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox to de-Elliefy the house. As the Gorse Fox writes this, he is preparing a fish curry for this evening's supper. At the moment the base gravy is simmering on the stove and in about 30 minutes it should be time to liquidise it and then use that as the base to which the cod loin and prawns will be added. Hopefully it should be good.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

On duty

The Gorse Fox had decided against football. Though his shoulder is almost back to normal he didn't want to chance being body-checked or falling on it. This was particularly relevant as the game would have been in the indoor arena at Ford because of the torrential rain.

The Silver Vixen headed off to Pilates and the Gorse Fox slipped on his trainers and set off on the running machine. He probably should have done longer, but enjoyed a good 45 minutes work-out.

When he was showered and had settled down to do some emails he noticed that his TimeMachine backup device had dropped offline. This was a surprise as it had run without incident for a couple of years. He checked everything and decided that first order of the day was to just try a simple reboot of the Mac "Condor". This worked and everything burst back into life. He'll have to keep a watchful eye on this in case the power supply or disk is failing.

The Gorse Fox did manage to chat with Cousteau-Cub on WhatsApp briefly. She's had some laryngitis but it has now evolved into a bit of a cold - with luck we'll get a chance to talk in the next couple of days.

At lunchtime the Silver Vixen arrived back home with Ellie. G-force would be on duty for the next 24 hours or so. Ellie was in a somewhat cantankerous mood and once fed and worn out a bit we put her down for a sleep. This worked wonders and she was much more chirpy when she got up. The rest of the day really revolved around Ellie - playing, running, eating, bathing, drinking and eventually sleeping.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Fiddly

The Gorse Fox was awake early and as he was getting fidgety, he got up. It had been cold overnight and it looked as if there was frost on the Orangery roof. The broke through and it quickly lifted and turned into a lovely day.

The morning had been set aside to clean the oven's glass doors. This may sound trivial, but reading the manuals, the Gorse Fox was under no illusions. It was clear this was going to be very fiddly. The Gorse Fox was right to be apprehensive - as he started with the top oven and managed to get the glass panels off he knew that the re-assembly was going to be a beast. The glass panels cleaned up well enough and the inner panel slipped back into place easily. The outer panel, however, must have taken nearly 30 minutes to re-fit.

With the top oven done, Gorse Fox started on the main oven. This had to start with locking the hinges in place. This would have been a lot easier if the locks had looked anything like the illustrations in the manual. Eventually, the Gorse Fox realised where these locks were and from there on it was moderately straightforward. All four glass panels were removed and cleaned (very slowly) then reassembled. All in it had probably taken about 90 minutes but at least they are all clean now. The oven itself will probably be cleaned tomorrow.

In parallel to this, the Silver Vixen has been writing Jasper's biography (or is it his C.V.). With an upcoming stay at the cattery, it was important to provide all the necessary background information for the owner.