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Friday, August 23, 2019

It had to happen

Yes, it had to happen. Ellie is just so good at night that we almost take it for granted. Last night, however, she actually woke and the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen had to go into her. She eventually dropped back off to sleep after about 90 minutes and, fortunately, didn't wake until 8 o'clock.

Urban-cub arrived to collect Ellie and take Cousteau-cub into work. This left the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox a couple of hours before we met up with the Sonning Crew. We had arranged to go into Chichester by bus and grab lunch at The Giggling Squid. It had been arranged as a "thank you" for the Gorse Fox taking Old Bill along to the hospital last week. It was a very generous and highly appreciated gesture.

As usual, the Giggle Squid provided a lovely setting for our lunch. Some tucked into the tapas platters, but the Gorse Fox went for the Chicken Gra Pao - asking for a "hot" version. It was delicious and it is unlikely any of us will need to eat again today. As usual, when we go out with the Sonning Crew, we had a lovely time.

Back home, the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox took a stroll along to the far end of the Crescent where the builder's hoardings have just been taken down. This gave us an opportunity to see the layout of the latest phase of houses that have been built and get our bearings regarding the area where the next houses will soon rise from the dirt.

Thursday, August 22, 2019


The theory is that Ocado will turn up sometime between 09:30 and 10:30 with our weekly shop. At 10:30 last night we received a message to inform us that they had operational problems and our delivery had been cancelled. They were kind enough to give us a voucher for the inconvenience caused.

This morning dawned and the Gorse Fox headed across to LA to collect Ellie. Urban-cub had an early meeting at the airport and a diversion to us didn't make sense. We were soon home and Ellie was tucking into egg and bacon with toast and marmite. So far so good.

We printed off the list of items we had planned to get from Ocado and headed off to Sainsbury's. AN hour or so later we staggered home with the shopping. The list was all very fine, but it was based on Ocado's categorisation which is "cupboard", "fridge", or "freezer". This bears no resemblance to the way in which goods are organised in the supermarket. We zigged, we zagged, we doubled back, we looped and at times, we gave up. Eventually, we were done and everything was stowed away. Ellie had been very good and patient throughout the trip, which was a bonus.

There was a very quick turnaround. We headed back to the car, this time with Cousteau-cub in tow. We parked up in Chichester and Cousteau-cub hobbled into work while the Silver Vixen headed off with Ellie and the Gorse Fox went along to get his regular chiropody appointment. When we met up again we decided to grab some lunch so headed into "Crispin's". It's always so friendly in there and the Silver Vixen was able to share her jacket potato, bacon, and beans with Ellie. The Gorse Fox went for a Caesar salad.

Ellie fell asleep before we had even left the car park, but woke with vengeance as soon as we got home. We spent the afternoon in the garden with her playing in the sandpit. Hopefully, we have wor her out and she will go down quietly at bedtime.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


It's been a lovely day. There's wall-to-wall sunshine, and the temperatures are in the low 20s. Very comfortable. The Gorse Fox had cried off football again today, Cousteau-Cub still needs help getting to and from work - and while she is improving, we are happy to do our bit.

The Silver Vixen was out at Pilates for the morning and the Gorse Fox spent the time fiddling with this blog. He had received several comments from Google regarding some of the settings and some old posts which it deemed to be sub-optimal for mobile consumption. This triggered a bit of fiddling about and some experimentation. Thus we have a new theme, some widgets have been removed, and a couple of very old posts have been updated.

All Change

The Gorse Fox thought it was about time for a change of themes for the blog, and time to remove some of the redundant widgets. Please let him know if this causes any problems.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


The Gorse Fox was up early this morning. He had to get Cousteau-Cub into work and planned to leave a little earlier than usual for football.

He arrived at the sports centre just after half-nine, got changed and headed out onto the running track. He had to make up for yesterday's indulgence! So it was that before the football started he had already tucked 9 laps of the track under his belt.

The football went well. We were a well organised team and moved the ball around between us. In the first game we managed a 4-1 win. The second game (which looked a bit harder) ended up 4-0, with a goal contribution from the Gorse Fox. In the last game of the first hour we managed a 2-0 win. As usual there was a big change of personnel and teams at that point. In the second hour we managed a win 2-1, a loss of 2-0, and a draw. It was really nice to get a full two hours of football played with decent numbers of players for the first time in a while. The Gorse Fox managed to cover over 12kms over the sessions - so felt that he had made up for yesterday's indulgences.

Monday, August 19, 2019

That was good

Now that really was good.

The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen headed into Bognor Regis on the bus. We were deposited at the end of the road where "Mustard's Bar and Restaurant" is, a few seconds later were were walking in the door.

It was surprisingly busy for 7 o'clock on a Monday evening and we had to elbow our way through the bar area to the restaurant. We later found out that there a supper club from Aldwick meeting there this evening and they were busy getting their drinks in before going through to sit down.

By going through immediately we were able to be seated, get our drinks, and place our order before the restaurant filled up.

The food was simply superb. The Silver Vixen had a Terrine of Nutbourne Tomatoes and the Gorse Fox chose Seared Sesame Crusted Tuna Loin. He has eaten in restaurants far and wide, but he has never had such a wonderful piece of tuna. It's a shame really. The Gorse Fox can't see himself ever ordering anything else as a starter, yet there was so much from which to choose.

For our entrees, the Silver Vixen chose Half a Lobster and the Gorse Fox selected Beef Wellington. Again these were excellent. It may be just a small restaurant, but the standard of the food is off the traditional scale.

Finally, the Silver Vixen had Pear Poached in Sauternes, and the Gorse Fox had Triple Chocolate Brownie.

What a stunning meal. To cap it off, we left the restaurant and as we got to the end of the road, the bus turned up. Perfect meal, and perfect timing.


A day of sunshine and showers, but more importantly it is our 46th Wedding Anniversary. We have a quiet meal planned at a local restaurant tonight, but most of the rest of the day has been fairly typical. It started with running Cousteau-Cub into Chichester for work, then after some breakfast, we got on with various domestic chores. We stopped for some lunch and spent some time looking at hotel booking sites with a view to taking a few days away around the time of the Gorse Fox’s birthday, next year. We were looking at places in Devon and Cornwall, but haven’t decided on any particular location as yet.

The afternoon was spent with code again. Having had such a successful afternoon yesterday, the Gorse Fox thought he’d set up the same environment on the Mac in his office. No such luck. The base IDE installed with no problems, but the GUI extension failed to link in, whatever he tried. A frustrating couple of hours.

The Gorse Fox has just got back from collecting Cousteau-Cub from work and taking her to the chiropractor. Now we are just getting ready to go into Bognor Regis for dinner.

Sunday, August 18, 2019


The day started with torrential rain. This continued until mid-morning. Then the sky brightened up and the clouds were shredded by the ever-strengthening wind. Now, late in the afternoon, the sky is blue, the temperature is quite comfortable, but the wind is still fierce.

The Gorse Fox had football this morning. It was a simple 6-a-side game and, at first glance, looked well balanced. We had the two most mobile players, but they had a team that boasted all mobile players. We were under the cosh. By half time we were 4-0 down. Fortunately, we started to claw things back but never quite caught up. The final score was about 6-4. No goals from the Gorse Fox this week. He was too busy defending.

Back home it has been a quiet afternoon. The Silver Vixen has been reading and the Gorse Fox has drip-feeding some more aspects of coding in Python. He has now found a simple graphical user interface that he can use for simple dialogues, messages, and other displays. He doesn't need anything too fancy as he isn't trying to develop any complex systems. PySimpleGUI seems to fit the bill. Soon he will be ready to invent some application (or reinvent some utility) that will enable him to put all of this together.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

More code

Nothing really to report today. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen pottered around first thing, then settled down for a day with our hobbies.

The Silver Vixen was sewing in the Orangery, the Gorse Fox was watching YouTube and practising various coding techniques. Cousteau-cub managed to go out for a couple of short walks, but spent the day as quietly as possible.

Friday, August 16, 2019


Friday started earlier than planned. Jasper had decided he wanted to go out and, to reinforce the point, he used the Gorse Fox as a trampoline until he relented and opened up. Once up, there was little point in trying to go back to bed so the Gorse Fox had his first coffee of the day and settled down with YouTube.

The Gorse Fox has found a presenter on YouTube that has a clarity of style that makes learning quite easy. Though he has written Python code in the past, he never found that it flowed off keyboard the way some other languages did. The day, interrupted only by taking Cousteau-cub to Chichester, and lunch, has been spent buried in these YouTube videos as Corey Schaffer has patiently built up the Gorse Fox's understanding. In parallel,  he has upgraded the version of Python and the development tools on each of his computers.

The weather, as forecast, collapsed soon after lunch. It's quite dark and the rain has been pouring down for most of the afternoon.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

An arm full

Cousteau-Cub had to go to the chiropractor but the Gorse Fox was due at the surgery to get his bloods taken. The Silver Vixen stepped in. She ferried Cousteau-Cub across to Rustington and left the Gorse Fox to take his arm along to the surgery.

Perhaps he should explain. The NHS is currently providing free health checks for people between the ages of 40 and 74. As the Gorse Fox sneaks in to the lower end of the range he thought it would be sensible to have just such a check. He duly turned up at the surgery and presented his arm. The phlebotomist stuck her needle in and the vein started to express his very life-force. Unfortunately, the vein immediately shutdown. Perplexed, she grabbed another needle and stabbed him once again. There was a quick squirt of claret and, again, the vein shutdown. She decided to try the other arm. This was getting serious. The Gorse Fox only has the two arms and if this one didn't work there was no plan "c". The needle penetrated his limb and the process repeated itself; squirt, trickle, nothing. She decided the only solution was a different and much finer needle. She returned to the first arm. Blood finally squirted out and several vials were filled. She apologised for using the Gorse Fox as a dart board and he headed home. He will return in a couple of weeks or so to get the results.

The Silver Vixen arrived home with Cousteau-Cub who promptly went upstairs to lie down and get some relief before going in to work.

When the time had come, the Gorse Fox headed to Chichester with Cousteau-Cub. The usual 10 minute drive took well over 30 minutes today. It would appear that a van had overturned on the Fishbourne roundabout and the traffic was tailing back everywhere. As he fought through the back-doubles we heard that the A27 had been closed eastbound for recovery of the vehicle. Cousteau-Cub was duly dropped at work and the Gorse Fox, this time heading against the traffic, was home in few minutes.

We have received the quotation for the replacement of the decking. It is far more than we are willing to pay so we will look at other alternatives.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


We\re not talking about football. It's the weather. It's been a foul day with incessant rain and blustery winds. The few breaks that have occurred were enough to lull people out then trap them in the next downpour. The Gorse Fox was not silly enough to get caught by that old ploy.

The Silver Vixen went off to Pilates this morning. The Gorse Fox had dropped out of the football. He had to get Cousteau-Cub to work in Chichester and had volunteered to take Old Bill across to Shoreham for a hospital appointment. Knowing the various bottlenecks between here and Shoreham, the Gorse Fox kept an eye on the traffic throughout the morning. Three options were suggested, none looked too problematic. In the end the Gorse Fox plumped for the A27 and despite being caught by two trains at Westergate, we still managed to complete the journey in 45 minutes.

Leaving Two Hats and Lady Penelope at the hospital, the Gorse Fox headed to the nearby superstores and plugging his headset into his ears went for a stroll around M&S and Tesco while listening to his book. Once bored with that, he returned to the car and sat in peace while the narrator chatted in his ears. A couple of hours later, as he had gone to grab a coffee, the text arrived to say the hospital appointment was over.

The Gorse Fox picked up his charges and pottered home through the late afternoon traffic. It looked as if it would be dire, but we managed to keep moving and were home within the hour.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Stacked Deck

After yesterday‘s storm, today’s lovely weather came as a very pleasant surprise. The Gorse Fox had football scheduled for this morning. But first, he had to take Cousteau-cub into Chichester ready for work.

There had been a tournament yesterday consequently there were fewer players than normal today. We did, however, have sufficient players to have a decent seven-a-side match. GorseFox was playing for the team with blue bibs and in the first game, we had to fight hard to manage a 0-0 draw. In the second game, we actually managed to win one 1-0. In the third game, we lost 2-1. The Gorse Fox did not manage any of the goals today however he was very pleased that he put on a very creditable defensive display.

Back home, the Silver Vixen had gone out to have a wander around in Bognor Regis. Gorse Fox grabbed a bite to eat and waited for the Silver Vixen’s return. We had a man scheduled to meet us this afternoon and look at our deck with a view to possibly replacing it with a composite deck. Whilst we are happy with the deck itself unfortunately as it is wood it is liable to splinters and Ellie does insist on running around in bare feet. A composite deck would at least ensure that she could not do any damage to her feet. We will have to see what his quote comes back as.

Monday, August 12, 2019


The G-Force were on duty until mid-afternoon. It was a wet and blustery day so we didn't really get an opportunity to take Ellie out to play. The Gorse Fox took her with him when he drove Cousteau-cub into work, but that was just the start to the day. Once home we sorted out some breakfast and then spent the morning playing, drawing, listening to nursery rhymes, and running around in the Orangery. She was, mostly, a joy to be with, but she did have her moments of absolute defiance.

After Urban-cub had collected Ellie, the Gorse Fox had to get Cousteau-cub from work and take her across to Rustington to see the chiropractor. We saw some pretty spectacular lightning on the way across and were washed by some heavy rain. Fortunately, it had almost stopped by the time we had to leave the car. Cousteau-cub seems to be making some steady progress and seems a lot better this week. Clearly, she will need to be careful but it's good to see things improving.

Sunday, August 11, 2019


The wind had dropped overnight. There was the odd drop of rain, but nothing that would really constitute a shower. We had a quiet start to the day. Old Bill suggested a walk along the promenade to get some coffee, and despite the attractiveness of the idea, we declined. We had several minor tasks to clear before G-Foce started their shift.

Pistol Pete had problems. A couple of fence panels had blown down in the storm. The Gorse Fox had volunteered to help replace them. We headed across to LA. Urban-Cub was a fair bit better today and was certain that she would be back at work tomorrow. The Gorse Fox helped Pistol Pete as fence panels were shuffled and others were fixed. It didn't take too long. Soon the garden was fully enclosed again.

We brought Ellie back with us and, as usual, she is in the bath and the Gorse Fox writes this. The sound of laughter and of splashing water pervades the house. It is always such a joy to listen to this, and such a relief not to be part of it!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Candles - not in this wind

The forecast storm had hit overnight. There was some rain, but the real force was in the wind. Our heavy garden furniture was waltzing its way around the garden when we opened up the blinds. Several of our acers had toppled over in their pots. Several times throughout the day we went out to straighten things up.

Today was Urban-cub's birthday. She was meant to be at work but was still off sick. We planned to go across and see her. The Silver Vixen went across first so that she could watch Ellie while Pistol Pete took the dogs for a walk. The Gorse Fox and Cousteau-cub followed once Cousteau-cub was up and about and feeling able.

With Urban-cub still under the weather it was not really much of a celebration. We sat and chatted and looked after Ellie. Pistol Pete went out to do the big shop, and we sent Urban-cub back up to bed for an hour or so. We stayed on until late afternoon and then headed home. We'll see them again on Sunday as G-Force will be on duty overnight.

On a different note, the Gorse Fox has had problems with using his phone to play music or books while driving. He has never managed to get it working properly in either car. He decided he would have a concerted effort to solve the problem. Out came the manual for the Fiesta and he re-read the details. Doh! The problem was that he had not been unlocking his phone prior to connecting it to the car. He tried it out. It worked the first time. He then tried it in the Qashqai. It worked. All of this time he has silently cursed the fact it wasn't working, and the reason was he had not unlocked it! Oh well, he had the most of it and listened to part of a book on the way back from LA.