Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Three today

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 16, 2018


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

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

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

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


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

Sunday, July 15, 2018


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

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

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

Saturday, July 14, 2018


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

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

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

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

Venta Fusion

That was a nice day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoroughly enjoyable.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Round and about

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

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

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

Squids In

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


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

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

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

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

Monday, July 09, 2018

Changing Rooms - Plan B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Another hot one

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Mr Shifter

Well that didn't quite work as planned.

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

Today was the day to take delivery.

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

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

Ah! not looking good. Quite a bit bigger.

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

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

Friday, July 06, 2018


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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Security Cam

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

Who's in charge?

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Senior moments

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


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Pi again

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

Full day

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

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

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

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

No, they are not coffins.

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 02, 2018

Problems with Pi

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



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


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

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

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Good mix

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

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

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

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

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

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