Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Tapped up, again

Another cold night left beautifully abstract frost patterns on the roof of the Orangery. Jasper was not interested in venturing out - clearly he's smarter than he appears.

The Gorse Fox had football scheduled, and the Silver Vixen was meeting up with her Pilates crowd to say goodbye to a long term member who is moving away. She dropped Cousteau-Cub off to spend the day with Urban-Cub on the way through.

The Gorse Fox was approached by a chap at the Sport Centre. He's putting together an 11-a-side veteran's football team to play in a big charity match next Spring. He said he was trying to get a really strong team so was approaching the best local players as early as possible. Would the Gorse Fox play? The Gorse Fox was flattered. Where? When? he asked. Late April or early May were the possible dates, and the location was Storrington. "Is it a 3G pitch?" asked the Gorse Fox. "No, just ordinary grass" came the reply. That was the decider. The Gorse Fox declined the offer, explaining that the slight bounce you get from a good 3G surface is much kinder on the joints and he wouldn't play on real grass. If they move to one of the newly laid 3G pitches, like at Sussex FA HQ or Worthing United, then he'd change his mind... but for now, no.

The football today was hard work. The teams seemed very lopsided - and not in favour of the yellows, for whom the Gorse Fox was playing. We were 2-0 down within a few minutes, but then managed to gain some control and stop the leaks. By half time we had clawed it back to 2-2 (one assist and one goal from the Gorse Fox). The second half saw the Orange bibs gain an extra player and then it became really hard. Eventually we lost 6-3, but the game had been really quite enjoyable.

This afternoon the Gorse Fox has been doing a bit of admin and both he and the Silver Vixen headed in to Sainsbury's... the car needed diesel and the Silver Vixen needed to get some id photos taken. It didn't take too long, which is just as well because the temperature seems to be dropping quite rapidly now the sun is setting.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Budget

The Gorse Fox was thinking about the Chancellor's Budget announcements, yesterday. His conclusion is that it is a really good Budget. More money for schools and roads, money for the Universal Credit roll-out, higher tax thresholds, frozen fuel duty... yes, pretty good.

Cover up

It wasn't quite so cold overnight but even still, the Gorse Fox decided he would be wearing his tracksuit at football.

We were all up and about early. The Silver Vixen had to get off to her workshop in Angmering and the Gorse Fox had arranged to drop Cousteau-Cub at Urban-Cub's  on the way through to football. Jasper was left at home to take messages and guard the place. Being National Cat day, he just went up and curled himself at the bottom of the bed.

The Gorse Fox dropped Cousteau-Cub and waited to check that all was ok. Ellie came out and wanted a quick cuddle with Grandpa before he headed off. We had a good turnout at football and managed to field four teams of seven. The Gorse Fox played for the orange bibs. We had a fairly good team and managed to draw one, lose one, and win one. In fact the game we won was a thumping win over a team that, on paper, should really have beaten us - fortunately we were playing on grass not paper!

In the second hour we were down to two teams of six. Again the Gorse Fox was playing in orange and again we managed to do better than you would expect looking at the teams. In the second hour we won two games and drew one. The Gorse Fox didn't score any goals today but had several good shots saved. He did, however, play a very good game at centre back and made several interceptions and saves of his own.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Frost

There was quite an air frost last night and the patterns on the Orangery roof when the Gorse Fox came down this morning. It didn't last long, the sun was up and everything melted away within 30 minutes.

The morning was moderately quiet with a few domestic chores to get through. We have a a bit of a "do" planned in a couple of weeks so the Gorse Fox started to look at the various platters and dishes that could be ordered from M&S and Sainsbury's. He was in the middle of this when Urban-Cub arrived with Ellie. Ellie was in a fractious mood so Grandpa tried to keep her amused for an hour or so while Urban-Cub finished some work tasks and Cousteau-Cub did some of her social media for The Adventure Club.

Eventually Urban-Cub and Cousteau-Cub were finished and they went off back home with Ellie for the afternoon. The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen had some lunch then got on with some shopping lists before settling down for a quiet afternoon and, in the case of the Gorse Fox, going to for a walk.

Plans for tomorrow are under way. Looks like the Gorse Fox should get some football, Cousteau-Cub should be at Urban-Cub's, and the Silver Vixen is at a workshop.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Family day

Clocks went back for an extra hour in bed. It had clearly been a cold night as the underfloor heating was on when the Gorse Fox came down this morning. Jasper was snuggled up in the lounge and had no intention of moving. Coffee kickstarted the day but breakfast would have to wait.

We had arranged to meet up with Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete at Haskins for breakfast. We timed it to perfection, pulling into the car park just as they were getting Ellie out of the car. We wandered in together and queued fo our breakfast. Ellie tucked in to scrambled eggs and baked beans while the rest of us went for bacon, sausage and eggs. She was finished first so Grandpa took her for a roam around the store while everyone else finished their breakfast.

She was intrigued by the various displays, but most of all by the other little children who were around. Despite staring ant them and smiling, she wouldn't say hello even when prompted. The Gorse Fox did manage to coax her onto Santa's chair - briefly.

Eventually she tired of the dipoles and headed back to see Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete.  We finished up and then together roamed round some more. The Silver Vixen had a present and car to find and Urban-Cub and Cousteau-Cub were just interested in what was on display.

From Haskins we moved on to another store where Urban-Cub had some curtains to collect, then back to their house so that the Silver Vixen could help her get the pleats right as the curtain were hung. This turned out to be a bit more fiddly than expected, but the finished result looks very nice.

We left Cousteau-Cub with Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete for the rest of the afternoon and the Gorse Fox will collect her later.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Jabbed

The Gorse Fox had to be up and about first thing this morning. He had an appointment at the surgery before nine and had decided to walk there and back. Google assure him that it was a 34 minute walk, so he allowed 45 in case he took a wrong turning. There had been a slight air frost overnight and it was bright and cold as he strode out into the sun.

As it turns out, Google was wrong. It only took 20 minutes to get there and the Gorse Fox logged in at reception some twenty minutes early. As it happens this worked in his favour as he was called immediately, filled with this years flu vaccine and sent on his way.

The walk home took another 20 minutes and within an hour of leaving home to start with, he was settling down for a bowl of porridge and cup of coffee.

A good start to the day.

(P.S. The Gorse Fox is writing this with an old Bluetooth keyboard connected to his phone. It’s just an experiment as he has recently been discussing the fact that for many people their primary - if not only - computing device is their Smartphone.)

Friday, October 26, 2018

Just more stuff

Lazy start to the day. It was cloudy, bright, and there was a chilly wind.

The morning was spent on various domestic duties, but though boring they have to be done. The Gorse Fox has alway backed up his phone using the iTunes app on his main computer - but this has been fairly infrequent. As both he and the Silver Vixen now use the Health App to keep track of health data he thought it sensible to switch to the iCloud backup option. For the grand sum of £0.79 per month he can store up to 50GB of data - which is more than enough. He set this up for both the Silver Vixen and himself and triggered the first backup. Now it should happen automatically on a regular (daily) basis.

Cousteau-Cub had various admin things to complete including a decision regarding her return flight - the actual flight she had booked has been cancelled so she needs to move to a different time (or maybe day). The choice then becomes Gatwick or Heathrow and how long the various layover would be. She can't actually finalise anything until the agency re-opens on Monday (in Thailand).

We raided Sainsbury's again. There were several bits that the Gorse Fox wanted and Cousteau-Cub made the most of the time to look through the clothing section.

The nice man from Amazon turned up mid-afternoon. We have ordered a blood pressure monitor. Not that either of us has any concerns regarding blood pressure - but it's another data point that we can measure and monitor over time. The little unit is busy charging at the moment.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Just stuff

Nothing of huge import today. Weather was bright but a lot cooler then yesterday.

The morning was spent occupying Ellie who was full of beans (but not as mischievous as she sometimes is). She was happy to have Aunty Cousteau-Cub back and played with her as much as she could. Ellie was clearly tiring by lunchtime but we kept her going knowing that we'd be taking her out in the car later - that was bound to lull her to sleep.

Cousteau-Cub needed a few bits and pieces and the Silver Vixen had determined that Ellie needed some new slippers. This meant a trip across to Ferring and a tour round ASDA before we headed back to LA to see Urban-Cub and drop Ellie off. After some tea and a chat we needed to get to the Post Office for Cousteau-Cub. She was sending off passports and so forth to the Thai Embassy for new Visas. Like all of these things there were photos, forms, and funds that had to be sorted and sent off (special delivery).

Now back home a quiet evening beckons (after some fish and chips).

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Semblance of normality

There was just the tiniest semblance of normality today. The day was relatively warm and bright and the Gorse Fox had football to play. Cousteau Cub had slept pretty well, considering, and seemed quite bright. Sh end the Silver Vixen had arranged to go along and pick up Ellie from Pistol Pete mid morning, so the Gorse Fox was able to sneak off for a game of football.

For whatever reason it fell on the Gorse Fox to select the teams today. He tried very hard to match player against player and keep the teams well balanced. In the end he concluded that he had probably got it wrong and was about to be on the receiving end of sound thrashing. Not so,  it turns out. Our yellow-bibs played much better as a team and though the orange team had some better individual players the teamwork paid off. In the end we ran out 10-1 winners (with two assists from the Gorse Fox, but no goals).

Back home we had some lunch then filled a bag with some bird seed and headed off to feed the ducks at the lake. It was great fun as Ellie still hasn't grasped the fact that she has to throw the seeds rather than just sprinkling them down by her feet.

From there we headed along the road to the playground where she had great fun going round and round on the slide - with Grandpa lifting her to the top of the ladder each time, (a good work out!) and Cousteau Cub or the Silver Vixen catching her as she slid down.

We then headed off to Sainsbury's. With Cousteau Cub home, there were various gluten-free comestibles needed. The trip didn't take too long, but it is always interesting to have a look around at the specialist foods to see what's available.

The rest of the afternoon has been focused on keeping Ellie going so that she would sleep well once we put her to bed. She and Cousteau Cub are having a "sleep over"... so the Gorse Fox hopes they behave and there are no pillow fights or squealing from either of them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Together

The important thing today is that the Gorse Fox has seen all his girls together - the Silver Vixen, Cousteau-Cub, Urban-Cub, and Ellie. He is a happy man.

Urban-Cub met Cousteau-Cub at Gatwick and brought her back down to LA where we met up with them. We spent several hours there but it was clear that Cousteau-Cub was tiring and Urban-Cub had things to do before getting an early night for her early shift in the morning. We headed home and once the Gorse Fox had started to roast tonight's chicken, he went out for a walk leaving the Silver Vixen and Cousteau-Cub time to rest.

The Gorse Fox is feeling very content.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Homeward Bound

Well it's an important day - Cousteau-Cub is finally homeward bound (at least she will be by late afternoon). As he writes, the Gorse Fox checks and sees she is 2 hours into her flight, over the Bay of Bengal, at a height of 40000 feet and travelling at 508 knots. She lands at Doha in just under 5 hours, has a brief layover then catches the inbound flight to Gatwick where Urban-Cub, who is on early shift there, will meet her and bring her home.

Meanwhile back here, the Silver Vixen's car was scheduled for a service today. The Gorse Fox drove it to the dealership and give them their instructions. He also commented on the age of the data in the SatNav - as a result the assistant went to his desk and produced a new SD Card with updated software and maps. Result.

The Gorse Fox walked back home. It's only a couple of miles and it was a lovely (if rather cool) morning. Once home there was coffee to be drunk, some admin to clear, and the Silver Vixen was preparing the spare room for Cousteau-Cub. The afternoon was quiet until the Gorse Fox had to take Lady Penelope and the Silver Vixen to their regular meeting. (Usually, Old Bill provides the chauffeuring service, but he was at the dentist).

Once back home, the Gorse Fox gathered his things. Nissan had been on the phone and the car should be ready soon after 4 p.m. The Gorse Fox set off for the return walk. Agin it was bright and sunny and a lot warmer than this morning. The car was soon ready and handed over. It will have to go back for a couple of items, when it is convenient, but they were under instructions that it must be ready today and they didn't want to risk getting it stripped down and not back together by the end of the day.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

High Pressure

The beauty of being in a high pressure system is that, in general, they are slow moving and bring lovely clear days and nights. At this time of year that means chilly nights, but can mean lovely days. So it is today. Temperatures are still 18C and there isn't a cloud in the sky. Gorgeous.

We were up and about a little earlier than usual. Ellie had woken early and was clearly not ready to play quietly in her cot. That wasn't a problem as we brought her into bed with us for 15 minutes and then got under way. We had an hour or two to kill as we had arranged to meet with Urban-Cub at Haskins for breakfast. Ellie had some cereal and then played while we got ready and packed all her stuff.

Haskins have got all their Christmas decorations and displays on show and this intrigued Ellie as she ran from one display to the next. Strangely the thing that seemed to interest her most was the display of plastic boxes containing lights. Not the lights themselves, just the plastic boxes! Urban-Cub arrived with Jake (the birthday boy) in tow. He wasn't on duty until lunchtime so had come out for a birthday breakfast.

As usual the breakfast was hearty and good value and we all tucked in. Ellie made short work of Urban-Cub's baked beans and toast... fortunately leaving her with the hash browns. She started to get fidgety so when the Gorse Fox had finished his breakfast he took her for a walk round the store while everyone else finished their breakfast in peace. Urban-Cub told us that she had been chatting with Cousteau-Cub online and that she was now on the first stage of her trip home. She would be staying in Phuket overnight, then seeing her doctor before flying home.

After breakfast we wandered around the store for a while then, handing Ellie over to Urban-Cub, we went our separate ways. This afternoon we have been making the most of the sun. The Silver Vixen has been in the garden and the Gorse Fox went out for a walk to explore an area of the village he hadn't been through before.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

G-Force

G-Force have been on duty today. Urban Cub arrived with Ellie as we were finishing breakfast. Urban Cub was on a late duty at the airport, so was able to drop her off and then make her way directly to work.

Ellie was her usual joyous self throughout the morning and the Gorse Fox took her round to the lake to feed the ducks. She has almost got the route fixed in her mind now and can lead the way.  We had the feeding station to ourselves and Ellie made the most of the time to sprinkle the seed onto the ducks below, rather than scatter it in the water to allow them to forage.

From the ducks we headed to one of the new playgrounds. She didn't seem too impressed. She was happy to push the swings but hadn't yet realised that they would swing back and hit her (if grandpa hadn't been there to stop it). She did like the slide, though couldn't climb the ladder. Grandpa had to lift her to the top and then hold her as he walked round the side to allow her to plummet down the other side.

It was a fairly quiet afternoon and tsp is currently helping Ellie with her bath (and probably getting absolutely soaked in the process).

Friday, October 19, 2018

Early Start

We were up and about early. We had to get across to Urban-Cub's where we were scheduled to look after Ellie until Pistol Pete got in from work at lunchtime. As it was only a few hours it was probably easier to go there than one of them bring her across to us.

Once we arrived we managed to catch up with Urban-Cub for all the news before she had to head off to work. Then the Silver Vixen got Ellie washed and dressed and we spent a while playing until the sun had been working long enough to warm things up. Actually it had been chilly overnight but the skies were almost cloudless. Once things had warmed up it was really quite pleasant. We strapped Elli into her tricycle and headed off through the estate to a little play area on the edge of the development. She was delighted and ran from one piece of apparatus to the next - though didn't actually play much on any of them. In fact she seemed more interested in the gravel on the path than she was on the swings.

By the time we got her home, big sister Amber was home so we chatted with her and played with Ellie until it was time for lunch. It wasn't long after Ellie finished her lunch that Pistol Pete returned and we handed over to him and returned home. We had, however, managed to chat online with Cousteau-Cub during this time. Finally she seems to have turned the corner and her bloodworm seems to be returning to normal - though he liver is still a bit compromised. She's back at the doctor's on Monday before getting the flight back here where we can give her some tlc.

We've had a quiet afternoon. After a spot of lunch the Silver Vixen went to pick up her prescription and the Gorse Fox spend some time on the running machine. As he writes, the sun is dropping behind the neighbouring houses so the temperatures will start to fall. In the meantime he must decide what delights he will cook for dinner. He has some chicken thighs that he roasted the other day; they need to be finished today. The question is how will he prepare them? Living on the edge, eh?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Pots

It's been another fabulous day with temperatures in the high teens and hardly a cloud in the sky.

We had our usual shopping order delivered then the Gorse Fox strolled into the village to get his hair cut and order a cake for the Silver Vixen's forthcoming birthday. The biggest difficulty was deciding on a design and a suitable size. Eventually he came up with a cunning plan and left a deposit.

We headed into Chichester. A coffee and cake at John Lewis preceded a browse through the new iPhones (only for interest - no for purchase) and then we headed downstairs to the kitchen department. We have had a set of stainless steel saucepans for many years. They were beginning to show wear with rust marks bleeding through and the hard plastic handles beginning to crack. We debated replacing them and in the end the "ayes" had it, with an unanimous vote. We replaced all of the standard saucepans and also invested in a steamer that we hadn't had before. This meant that when we got home there was a lot of reorganisation required but eventually everything was squared away.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Unremarkable

Not much to report today. It was another mild, if slightly overcast, day.

The Silver Vixen headed off to Pilates and the Gorse Fox soon set off for football. It was a pretty good turnout and the Gorse Fox ended up playing for the yellow-bibs. It was, at best, a moderate game. Not as enjoyable as usual for some reason. For the Gorse Fox the whole thing was rather marred by the continuous whingeing and whining we got from some of the number. How the ref manages to maintain his equanimity is quite miraculous. We lost 5-2, but the score was hardly relevant.

Back home it was a quiet afternoon. We heard from Cousteau-Cub that her platelets are finally on the increase, even if her liver is still giving trouble. Hopefully she has turned the corner.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Stiff

Very mild again today - sun was out and the it was warm playing football.

There was a great turn out today. In fact both hours of football saw 8-v-8 games and the first hour was full (maximum number of players - 4 teams of 8). The Gorse Fox played for the green bibs in the first hour and we started well with a 3-0 win. Unfortunately we lost the second game and drew the last game.

In the second hour he played for the blue bibs. We won the first and last game, but lost the middle game. It was very competitive, in fact it got a little "tasty" for a while when two of the lads squared up to each other - the Gorse Fox stepped in and held them apart until the ref arrived and settled them down. The reality of the incident is that Macbeth doesn't like to get treated the way he treats everyone else and he picked the wrong bloke to get angry with. His opponent was twice his size, quite mild mannered, but not the type to back down, nor put up with Macbeth's nonsense.

Overall it was a good couple of hours, but the Gorse Fox is now feeling a bit stiff. He ran over 5 miles in the matches and is beginning to regret it!

The Silver Vixen went into Chichester in afternoon for her hair appointment. So the Gorse Fox is having a quiet hour or so.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Just ticking over

There had been a lot of rain overnight but it had stopped by the time the Gorse Fox got up and about. Temperature was a bit lower than last week, but it was still comfortable.

The Silver Vixen had arranged to meet up with a girlfriend for lunch, so the Gorse Fox was left to his own devices. Devices, in his case, means computers! The morning was spent on some admin - scanning, filing, and doing the accounts. After a snack at lunchtime he went out for a walk. By this time the sun was breaking through and it really was quite pleasant.

The automatic light on the porch has long been broken The Gorse Fox actually remembered to take it with him in the hope that he could get a replacement while out. Sure enough he found a suitable supplier in the village. The assistant rang up the transaction - £11.40. He took one look at the till and said "I'm not charging you that. That's stupid" and promptly overrode the barcode and charge a fiver. The Gorse Fox must remember to shop there again.

We hear from Cousteau Cub that she's back home on Phi Phi. Not better, but relatively stable. She has to rest up for the remainder of the week and go for a couple of blood tests. She's meant to be coming back here next week - let's hope she's well enough to travel.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Wet Sunday

Well it was a very wet start to the day, but despite the forecast it dried up a bit. It stayed grey, and there were some short sharp showers, but it wasn't as bad as we had expected.

The Gorse Fox headed off to football. As he parked the car and wandered past the outdoor pitches he smiled and thought back to the wet, muddy days he used to play in those conditions - fifty years ago! He went inside, donned his yellow bib and got on with a weather-proof game. The yellow bibs took and early lead, but soon fell behind and spent the rest of the morning trying to pay catch-up. In the end we lost 10-8, but the Gorse Fox consoles himself with the thought that two of the goals were his.

Back home we spent quite a while exchanging messages with Cousteau-Cub. She is still in hospital, and clearly quite unwell. The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen discussed it and offered for one of us to go out to be with her if needed. For now, she told us to hang fire, but the Gorse Fox has spent some time checking the flight options in case. The Gorse Fox also spent a long time on the phone to the Coventry Hobbit to check that he was managing ok without Cousteau-Cub. He's obviously finding things very hard and is quite frustrated with the situation. The Gorse Fox told him to call anytime he wants to have chat or just let off steam.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

On Show

It was a lovely warm day, with temperatures in the low 20s. We didn't have a great deal on the agenda so just pottered about. The Gorse Fox had to share some old photos with some of school friends he had met yesterday (and write the blog entry for the event).

We heard fro Cousteau-Cub. She's back in hospital as her platelet count has dropped. Hopefully they can keep a close eye on her and nurse her back to health more quickly, there.

During the afternoon we took a stroll around the recently opened areas of our development. New roads have been opened and a lot of new homes are now easily accessible. We took the opportunity to look around one of the show homes. The Gorse Fox must confess that it was very nice, but certainly wouldn't suit our way of living. Each time we look at a show home we pat ourselves on the back and realise that our place is by far the best on the development.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Schooldays

Now that has been an interesting day.

The Gorse Fox set off soon after 07:00 and took the train from Bognor to Brighton, there he had about 20 minutes to wait for the next train that took him up through the countryside, through London, and out to St Albans.

Firstly, the Gorse Fox should comment on the journey. Possibly because it was Friday, it was easy. Car parks were half empty, trains were quiet - ideal. The Thameslink train which took him to St Albans was smooth but had some of the most uncomfortable seats he's ever sat on. AN hour and 40 minutes of this was going to be most unpleasant. So it turned out! At least he had passengers' conversations to entertain him.

Behind him sat a businessman on his way to a group meeting. He phoned to ensure the sandwiches had been ordered. They had, but there was a problem paying for them on the card he had specified to his assistant. The Gorse Fox was delighted to learn that he had an alternative card, as he read out the card number, the name, the expiry date and the card verification code. That could well be our next night out paid for :) - Some people are so unaware of their surroundings that they don't realise the risks they are taking.

CroyMagnons joined the train at East Croydon. They volume immediately rose by tens of decibels as most of them were shouting down their phones. Slowly the volume settled. Two CroyMagnons were discussing the fact that we are are being controlled by aliens who are waiting for us to evolve sufficiently to serve them. "If you want proof, bruv, you just have to a ask yourself why the Antarctic isn't populated. They allow the odd expedition so they can keep an eye on it from under the ice. They don't allow anyone near their lair, though. That's why you can't go further south than the South Pole". The Gorse Fox nearly choked. These people are, not only allowed out without carers, they are probably allowed to vote as well.

The train pulled in to Start Albans City station on time. The Gorse Fox's taxi was waiting for him and gave him a very comfortable ride up to the school.

He signed in and met up with old school friends... Paul McNally, Richard Butt (Sir), Laurence Rossiter, Tom Brierly, Paul Vaillancort, Daniel St Jaques, to name but a few. The Deputy Head Boy and another 6th Former took us on a tour of the school. My word it has changed. They have clearly invested a great deal over they years with new buildings, extensions, and a lot of excellent equipment. We visited the Design and Technology block which also houses the science labs, then we wandered through the Sixth Form building.
As we walked across the playground passing the the Sports Centre, the Gorse Fox marvelled at the wonderful view that we had and how it really hasn't changed in the 50 years since he left.

We then made our way into the main block and toured the Art Studio, the RE classes, the Latin classes, the Maths centre, the Library, the canteen, and finally the Archive. Every class we entered immediately stopped and all the boys stood to greet us. It's good to see that basic manners are still very much instilled in the boys. Outside each of the classes was a board showing the GCSE success rate for that subject. There were also displays showing the charity work and the school does, with boys going out to Africa and South America to work with children there. The Gorse Fox was very impressed and wouldn't hesitate to send any boy (it's still boys only) to the school if he lived in the area.

The Archive was interesting, hold all of the records of every pupil since the school was formed in 1939, then it was bought by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in 1954 and became the school that the Gorse Fox attended. One of the founding Brothers is still there and manages the Archive. The Gorse Fox was flattered to find that he remembered him. He was also a little disconcerted when he looked at the board of famous ex-pupils and found that Simon Cowell was an ex-Columban!

We got back to Iona House in time for lunch for a beer and some lunch. The food was delightful, but more importantly, the company was also. We spoke of old times and old memories. The Gorse Fox was asked how he got on when he went for his try-out at Nottingham Forest. Clearly dementia is setting in for someone - the Gorse Fox was never that good. He was always an enthusiastic sportsman, but never a talented one! The guy had mis-remembered, it was our classmate Jim McCaffrey who went for a trial and ended up playing for Notts Forest. Another chap remembered how the Gorse Fox had taken him under his wing and helped him with the (3 bus) journey from Cockfosters to and from St Albans each day and how to conduct himself in school. The Gorse Fox regrets that he doesn't remember this clearly, but is pleased he is remembered that way.

Eventually it was time to drag ourselves away. One of the old friends who lives in Dunstable dropped the Gorse Fox at the station and he made his way back to the south coast. It really had been a wonderful day and he hopes to able to attend any future events of a similar nature.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Not much

It was a bright start to the day, but by mid afternoon the rain had set in. As the Gorse Fox writes this it's really quite dark and wet.

The first part of the morning was a matter of alternating between Ellie and trying to sort out the latest news regarding Cousteau-Cub. Clearly the hospital she had been in in Phuket was top notch as she had clearly improved overnight and was now checking out to go to a less expensive hospital (the Gorse Fox thinks we may have just bought a new Wing). Money needed to be transferred but some reason the process wasn't quite as quick and slick as it had been yesterday.

By lat morning the Silver Vixen had to pop round to Doctors' and took Ellie with her; the Gorse Fox had an appointment in Chichester so grabbed his bus pass and hopped on the bus at the end of the road. When you are not expecting to carry loads of shopping, this really is a most convenient and quick way to get there. In fact it would be hard to get there and park any quicker with a car.

We heard again from Cousteau-Cub. She had now been seen at a different hospital and was checking in to an hotel to save money (as the Doctor didn't think she needed to be admitted). She does need to return for further checks tomorrow. We are pleased there's progress but will feel a lot happier when she's fit and can travel home.

Urban-Cub collected Ellie late afternoon. The Silver Vixen settled down to watch this week's recorded episode of Holby and the Gorse Fox booked his car parking and his taxi for tomorrow's jaunt to his old school. He's not sure, but thinks he can hear a glass of wine calling from the wine rack. He'll have to go and check.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Plans - pah!

Woke up to another lovely morning. In fact it's been a fabulous day with temperatures up in the low 20s.

As the Gorse Fox took his first sip of coffee he saw an overnight message from Urban Cub. Ellie's childminder has sickness in the family and would not  be able to take Ellie this morning. The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen responded, as you would expect from G-Force. Pilates was cancelled and football was cancelled. Once we'd had some breakfast we headed round to LA and collected Ellie (she was being cared for by Jake, but he had work later in the day).

We decided to make the most of the weather and took Ellie across to Mewsbook Park. The Gorse Fox had brought some bird seed with him so that we could feed the ducks. AT first Ellie rode in her pushchair, but once we had got close to lake (and ducks) she was up and out and that's the way it stayed for the rest of the morning. She melted out the bird seed to the ducks, squealing with delight as they fought over each handful. It really was lovely to watch.

From there we carried on to the playground where Ellie made her way round the various items of apparatus. None seemed to hold her attention, but that didn't mean that she wasn't going to examine every single piece. Once done, we strolled back by the lake and down to car. By the time we got home it lunchtime.

The afternoon has been "interesting". Cousteau Cub is unwell and has been admitted to hospital in Phuket. Our most pressing need was to get updates and ensure that we were available to help in any way that was needed. The Gorse Fox suspects that this will be the foremost thought on our mind for a few days.

The rest of the afternoon was spent with Ellie playing in the garden while the Gorse Fox cleared the blanket weed from the rill and the Silver Vixen blew bubbles for her. The Gorse Fox also booked some tickets to go and see Bill Bailey in Southampton next May.

Finally, on a more serious note. The Gorse Fox has failed to score any goals this week - for the first time this year.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Wicked day

Another super day. The sun was up and the skies were clear. Temperatures were in the high teens.

The Gorse Fox had football this morning. There was a good turnout and the Gorse Fox was playing for the red-bibs. It did not start well. We were soundly thrashed - the other team seemingly scoring at will. After that we found our mojo and we won the following two matches. In the second hour, playing for a different team, we weren't much better. Again we lost the first game but then managed a couple of draws.

In the afternoon we met with Old Bill and Lady Penelope and headed off to Southampton. We had tickets for "Wicked" at the recently refurbished Mayflower Theatre. We had a great run across the south coast, found somewhere to park then with a couple of hours to spare, found a pub. We sat and chatted over a beer and then wandered off to find something to eat. There seemed to be a wide selection of cuisines, but not many of the restaurants really appealed. In the end we decided to eat in the Theatre itself. This turned out to be a good choice. They had an excellent menu (if not extensive) and we all thoroughly enjoyed the meal and commented that we would certainly eat there again.

We took our seats in the auditorium, We had excellent view from Dress Circle - but to fair, it looked as if every seat had good views. The show started - the Gorse Fox's heart sank as the big opening number was so frantic and loud. The problem they had was the volume. It was so loud that you couldn't determine what was being sung. After that, things settled down a bit and it was really quite good. It was interesting how somebody had woven a backstory for the Wizard of Oz.

Overall it was a great show and the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen really enjoyed it. Old Bill wasn't quite so impressed (mainly because of the volume), but Lady Penelope enjoyed it.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Smug, again

A bit grey this morning and it was certainly cool overnight.

The objective for today was to clear the workshop and re-organise where necessary. This has taken several hours. The main problem isn't the mess but rather the amount of wood that has been left over. All of it is perfectly good, usable wood, but surplus to current requirements. All of it needs to be stored somehow in such a way that it leaves the main part of the workshop clear.

Tools have all been put away, detritus from the last wood-working project has been bagged up and, along with bags of garden rubbish, deposited at the local recycling point. Workbench has been stowed back against the wall and the trestle table dismantled and hung up. The floor has been cleared and cleaned. The workshop has morphed back into a garage.

Now complete, the garage is now home to the Gorse Fox's car again. He's feeling suitably smug.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Back in the swing

Well after yesterday's weather it was nice to see a bright, clear sky again today. It had been chilly overnight but it was nice enough once the sun climbed out of the east. In fact, it's about 26C in the Orangery this afternoon.

Sunday morning, recently, has been a case of breakfast on the beach or whatever. In fact everything other than football. Today we finally had sufficient players to get a game. We are back in the swing of it. The Gorse Fox headed across to Ford and met up with the lads. It was a 6-v-5 game today. Even though the Gorse Fox was on the yellow team (with 6 players) we ended up on the end of a sound thrashing. Gorse Fox isn't too sure what the final score was, but it was around 12-6-ish! Not good as far as a result, but great fun to be playing again.

Back home the Gorse Fox finished the last of major arrangements for the trip to Madeira. Ground transportation is now arranged, confirmed, and paid for in Madeira.

The Gorse Fox should really be clearing the garage, but frankly, he can't be bothered today. That will have to be a chore for the coming week.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Installed

Ellie woke at very civilised 07:30. We had a gentle start to the day as she enjoyed her breakfast and then played while we had ours.

Pistol Pete and Urban-Cub turned up while the Silver Vixen was upstairs getting Ellie washed. Urban-Cub went up to help and Pistol Pete and the Gorse Fox took the opportunity to load the window seat into their car, and some tools into our car in case there was any "adjustment" required. Soon everyone was ready and Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete headed home. Because of the windows seat there was no room for Ellie so we took her across to LA.

It took Pistol Pete and the Gorse Fox about 40 minutes to fit the window seat. It was a very tight fit and required a little fine adjustment with the belt sander to complete the installation. Now it's over to Pistol Pete to see if he wants to use some decorator's filler to seal the unit in place and potentially give it a further coat of paint. The Gorse Fox is very pleased with the finished result.

By the time we left the rain had just started and had set in for the duration. It's quite dark and chilly. In fact the Gorse Fox lit the fire this afternoon in order to take the chill off the lounge.

He has also been looking at some of the ancillary arrangements for the trip to Madeira. He's waiting to hear from the chauffeur regarding getting to and from the airport, but he has managed to book an hotel stay for the night before we fly. The other outstanding issue is airport transfers in Funchal, but he wants to research that a bit further before booking.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Travel

No not today.

It was, however, a glorious day right from the off. Wall to wall sunshine and comfortable warm.

The morning was spent doing bits of admin. The Gorse Fox updated the Silver Vixen's phone and watch. He has run for the best part of a week without problems so it seemed sensible to upgrade the Silver Vixen's. While that was going on he started checking things like health insurance forms for European travel - they needed renewing. He checked the bus pass eligibility for the Silver Vixen - and set a reminder for the correct date to apply. He checked his Euro currency account and saw the card had just expired - and renewed it. Lots of admin - but worth clearing. He also booked a car service for the Silver Vixen's car.

After lunch he went for a walk to get some exercise and then returned to the computer to start researching airport transfers and so forth. The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen have decided to have a week in Madeira later in the Autumn. It's a place we have often commented on and decided that it was a time we went to visit. Flights and hotel are booked and paid for, Jasper is booked in for his spa break while we are away, and the Gorse Fox just needs to sort out ground transportation.

Pistol Pete arrived soon after five o'clock with Ellie. We are looking after her overnight while they have dinner with some friends.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Taxi

Very grey and dull weather today. Cool, but not cold.

The Gorse Fox has spent much of the day acting as a taxi service. He took the Silver Vixen round for an appointment first thing this morning, but made use of the time and booked his annual flu jab while he was out. Back home there was time for a quick breakfast before Ocado turned up with the shopping, then it was back out to take Old Bill and Lady Penelope to the local station - they have a "do" up in town later so were going to make a day of it.

Back home again the Gorse Fox did a bit of online research before it was time to take the Silver Vixen out to LA for lunch with the girls.

While she was enjoying lunch the Gorse Fox went across to see Urban-Cub and Ellie. After a while playing and sorting things out indoors we drove down to LA and parked up near the swimming pool. We strolled into Mewsbrook Park and had a snack in the Cafe before taking Ellie to feed the ducks and walking along to the playground.

Ellie loved the playground and played on the swings and the slide and tried her hand at almost everything. Finally, she was done. Every piece of apparatus had been tried and exhausted. We carried on round the lake and back to the car.

Soon after we got back to Urban-Cub's, Ellie succumbed and went up for a nap and the Gorse Fox got the call from the Silver Vixen and headed off to pick her up. It had certainly been a different day from most Thursdays!

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Warmer

What a change from yesterday. Clear blue skies again and the temperature was nearly 20C.

The Silver Vixen went off for her Pilates session and the Gorse Fox headed out for football.

Football was another good session. Our guest from Worthing's club enjoys it so much that she has become a regular fixture and commented how much nicer our games were. Certainly it was good today. There was some lovely football played - particularly in the first half. Slick one touch passing, neat triangles and good skills on show all round. The game was tight, ending 7-6 in favour of the Gorse Fox's yellow team. He added two more goals to his tally, which pleased him. Very good game overall.

The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen are having a quiet sit down before we start on the afternoon activities. With the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the area, we didn't want to get too engrossed in anything in case they dropped in for a sandwich, a cup of tea, and to use the loo!

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Cooler

Very grey today and a lot cooler.

The Gorse Fox headed off for football as usual for Tuesday. There had been a tournament yesterday so the turnout wasn't huge and we only got one of the two sessions. Sides were chosen and the Gorse Fox played for the blue-bibs. He wasn't holding out a lot of hope, but actually we didn't do too badly. The first game was a sound 3-1 win. The second was hard fought draw 0-0. Then came the last game. This was clearly going to be the hardest of the lot, and so it turned out. We lost 2-0. Overall we came second out of the mini-league - so not too bad.

The phone had rung while the Gorse Fox was driving across to Worthing. It was P&O returning a call from yesterday. We had received a brochure regarding cruises and there was an opportunity to visit and tour some of their ships. That sounded like fun, so the Gorse Fox had called to make arrangements. As he was driving he couldn't really complete the booking but left it on hold for later. He has now had time to call them back and we have arranged to go and have a tour of "Aurora" and have lunch on board late in November. That should be fun.

The Gorse Fox had texted the Silver Vixen after the initial call from P&O this morning. She pointed out, when the Gorse Fox got home, that the phone number being displayed on the text was incorrect. Somehow the Gorse Fox's iPhone was sending texts and using the temporary SIM number that he had been using for 24 hours when he switched carriers last month. This turned out to be quite a fiddly conundrum. In the end he had to switch off messaging, switch off the phone, switch the SIM to another (fortunately he has an active GiffGaff SIM still); start the phone, re-register the message app's phone number and then go back round the loop and re-install his current SIM. What a faff!

Monday, October 01, 2018

Oil base

Well it was certainly a bit chilly first thing this morning. Jasper made a fuss to go out, but once he realised how cool it was, he stayed put in the Orangery until things had warmed up a bit. It never got truly warm, but it it was bright and sunny throughout the day and the temperature in the Orangery climbed into the high 20s in the afternoon.

Much of the morning was spent fiddling about on the computer. Looking up this, researching that, checking prices and so forth. Nothing too radical, but it had to be done. The Gorse Fox and tsp went out for a walk late morning. There were letters to post (quaint idea, eh?) and we wanted to pop into the Sales Suite here on the development to talk to the girls about the forthcoming open day.

The Gorse Fox raided B&Q after lunch and got some paint with a Satinwood finish. He has decided that the existing chalk paint has no character at all and needs to be covered before he hands the window seat over to Urban Cub. The painting itself went well and the unit looks better already. The Gorse Fox, however, failed to read the instructions regarding cleaning the brushes/rollers. He has got so used to everything being water-based and the cleanup using soap and water, that he just assumed the same was true here. Oh no! No this paint was an oil-based paint and needed proper brush cleaner. The problem was that he was smeared in white paint before he realised. Brushes and rollers have now been discarded and hands have been scrubbed raw to get the paint off. There's a lesson there somewhere!