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!