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Tuesday, May 17, 2022


 what a stunning day! It has been bright sunshine and but skies until late afternoon when some high cloud crept in. Now, as the Gorse Fox writes, there are some rain clouds gathering, but it is not clear whether it will come to anything.

Ellie was dropped off at the usual time. She hadn't really woken up and it was a few minutes before she sparked into life.Fed, washed, and dressed we took her to school and watched her charge into class as soon as the door opened.

The Gorse Fox had football. He took a leisurely drive across to Worthing, signed in, and changed into his boots. He was on team "Blue-2", one of two teams of 6, whereas the 2 other teams had 7 players. The first game (against 7) started well and though we had to work hard, we managed a 0-0 draw. Our attack were moving around well and passing well. As long as the Gorse Fox and Mo, at the back, did their job, we had a chance. The second game (against the other team of 6) was more open. Again it was hard but we managed a 2-2 draw. The last game was back against 7. This team looked the most potent and scored quite early on. Our attack kept probing and trying to overload the left wing. This left the right wing deserted. The Gorse Fox snuck up and waved at Jamaica-Mark. He pumped the ball across the pitch and the Gorse Fox trapped it then planted it firmly into the goal. We were level. From then on, our passing and recycling of the ball made the difference and we managed 3 further goals without reply. A very satisfactory morning.

The journey home was a bit of a pain. There are roadworks on the A29/Shripney Road. These caused a tailback right back along the Bognor Regis Relief Road - this took 25 minutes to traverse (it would normally take 2 minutes). Never mind.

We collected Ellie from school. She wanted to play for a while in the park. It was such a nice afternoon that it made sense to let her run off some steam.

We stood and chatted to another grandparent as Ellie charged about from one bit of apparatus to the next. She is very sure footed and very confident on all the different frames, rope bridges, parallel bars and so forth. 

We gave her dinner after we got home and then worked with her on identifying triangles, cones, pentagons and hexagons. The Silver Vixen also read with her (even though there is no homework this week).

Urban-Cub has just been along to collect her.

Monday, May 16, 2022


 The started with a few showers but it soon brightened up and we had a sunny and warm afternoon. Urban-Cub dropped Ellie off, as usual. She had only just woken up and still hadn't quite switched into gear. It didn't take long, however, until she war usual sparkly self.

It was a fairly quiet day. The Silver Vixen had to collect some prescriptions from the pharmacy and then got on with some ironing. The Gorse Fox had to catch up on a few chores then check the meters. This was the first time since the switch to Smart Metering. The numbers were plugged into the spreadsheet and, with the adaptations he made last week, showed the consumption in the required manner. The Gorse Fox didn't want to start from scratch with the new meters as he had nearly 8 years of data. One comparison the spreadsheet handles is the current month's consumption in comparison to the same month in the previous year. It was good to see that both the consumption of both gas and electricity was down on last year.

We collected Ellie from school and had a couple of hours with her before Urban-Cub collected her. The Silver Vixen helped her with some more reading while the Gorse Fox prepared her dinner. She is making good progress and beginning to sound out words that she has never encountered before.

Sunday, May 15, 2022


 The beautiful weather of yesterday collapsed into rain today. Having said that, by late afternoon we were beginning to see some sun poking through the clouds.

The Gorse Fox started the day with football. He was eager to play but once on the pitch, he felt a bit stiff and lethargic. For the first time in ages, he failed to score during the Sunday game. Today was a 6-vs-5 game. The Gorse Fox and the Coventry Hobbit were both on the same team in the first half and as the 5-man team had our work cut out for us. We went in 4-3 ahead at half time. We changed the team around so that we had the man advantage in the second half. It became clear immediately that we were unbalanced as we scored a handful of goals without reply. We changed personnel again. They started to score a few goal, but we kept pace. The real difference was our passing and mobility. The Gorse Fox has no idea of the final score. We were so far ahead that we stopped counting.

Back home the Gorse Fox was expecting a message. An ex-neighbour had made an offer for our running machine (treadmill). As we rarely use it any more, it seemed like a no-brainer. Her husband turned up and the Gorse Fox game hime a quick demo before helping him shift it to the door and bury it in the back of his car. The latter task being a real challenge! We did manage it in the end and he drove off into the afternoon rain with the treadmill on board. This has freed up a chunk of space in the Orangery, which is nice. For now it seems to have become a parking garage for Ellie's scooter, pram, and buggy.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Gathering of the Clans

 It was a gorgeous day. The sun was shining, one or two white fluffy clouds punctuated the sky and we had a day-out planned.

We got going early and popped along to Bognor Regis station. It was a good job that the Gorse Fox had allowed extra time. The car park used yet another parking app for payment. This needed to be downloaded and the he needed to register. Every question in the registration was asked twice to verify the answer. Finally, everything was ready and we paid for the car park. In the confusion, however, the Gorse Fox did end up leaving his man-bag in the car,

We met up with some neighbours on the platform. They were off for a celebratory meal at Marco Pierre White's. We went and found a set and settled down for the journey to Victoria. The train ran to time and we dropped down to the tube. The platform was packed and so was the first train to arrive. We let it go. The next train was only 90 seconds behind and was quiet enough that we got a seat for the few stops to Kings Cross. 

Alighting from the train we followed the signs and wandered underground to St Pancras. The ST Pancras terminus has undergone a vast regeneration over the past decade as it became home to the Eurostar. The concourse is fabulous and lined with really nice shops and restaurants.

It took us a few minutes to find our meeting place. It was right in the corner of the upper concourse. The Betjeman Arms turned out to be a good pub with some excellent restaurant facilities. As we arrived we were greeted by "the cousins". This was a planned gathering of the clan Empson and Law (who are all first cousins to each other), and the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen were invited (even though he is a second cousin). We had cousins from Derbyshire, Wiltshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Kent, Switzerland, and Australia. It was a good turn out. Even though the Silver Vixen had never met any of them before she was absorbed into the bosom of the family and made to feel immensely welcome.

We enjoyed an excellent meal washed down with copious amounts of beer and wine and though we had met at noon, it was about 4 hours later that we actually parted ways. A similar event is already in plan for next year.

We went back onto the concourse and had a leisurely stroll around before dropping back into the tube for the trip home. Like last week, the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen arrived on Victoria Station and stepped onto our train home just as the doors closed. We couldn't have timed it better.

It was a wonderful day.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Working again

 It has been a lovely day again. Urban-Cub dropped Ellie off, first thing and we went through the usual process before getting her to school.

The Silver Vixen had an appointment at the hairdresser this morning, leaving the Gorse Fox to his own devices. The first of these being the cousins' call. This was brought forward from Saturday as we plan to meet up in person tomorrow. The Gorse Fox was a little late joining the call but explained the cook was ill and we had to tech one of the parlourmaids how to make our toast for breakfast. The excuse was accepted with grace by the cousins.

The remainder of the morning was spent pottering about. Early in the afternoon the engineer, Tom, arrived to have another go at sorting out the dishwasher. He came up with several possible scenarios that could be  causing the problem. He also explained that a particular part might provide the solution. However, he did make several further suggestions that would be worth trying first. We agreed to hang fire. Needless to say, this evening the dishwasher has worked flawlessly.

Pistol Pete popped around to collect Ellie for the weekend. We now have a quiet evening but moderately busy weekend.

Thursday, May 12, 2022


 It has been a gorgeous day, sunny and pleasantly warm, without being hot. The Gorse Fox would rate it as the perfect temperature.

Ellie charged into our bedroom at 6:45 and asked if she could watch her tablet until it was time to get up. This gave us 15 more minutes of relative peace! We went through the usual morning ritual though, today, the Gorse Fox had to play schoolteachers with her once she was washed and dressed. This involved him taking the register for a room full of imaginary friends and then conducting a maths class for them. Fortunately, Ellie was quick to help these imaginary friends with the correct answers.

Back home we were expecting the usual Ocado delivery and then planned to go to Sainsbury's. The Silver Vixen, however, was expecting a call from her dealer the pharmacist. She was scheduled for a regular review  and was very impressed with the discussion, the attention to detail, the comments, and the follow-up.

We hit Sainsbury's a bit later than usual. It was almost deserted so we whistled round in no time. Back home after a bite of lunch we went and sat in the grounds garden and spent most of the afternoon reading.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Outdoor Play

 Urban-Cub dropped Ellie round to us. She'll be here until tomorrow. She was a bit subdued this morning, but suspect that was the result of a late night. She soon perked up and was chomping at the bit to get to school. School today was much as usual, but after school Ellie was enrolled in the "Outdoor Play" Club. Nobody knew quite what to expect, but Ellie was up for it.

The Silver Vixen head off to Pilates and the Gorse Fox soon followed. He had football scheduled. The game was quite good with a couple of assists from the Gorse Fox and a 5-3 win. He didn't, however, feel that he was "in the zone". A few passes went astray and he was slow to spot openings. He supposes that not every game can be top form.

It has been a quiet afternoon, not having to collect Ellie until 16:00. Unfortunately, there was still some homework to do, so the Silver Vixen supervised that while the Gorse Fox prepared supper.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

New Plan

 It was a bit grey and cool when we got up this morning. Rain threatened but it never amounted to anything. By early afternoon the normal equilibrium of the Universe had returned and we had nice warm sunshine.

The Silver Vixen had a dental appointment this morning and was out until lunchtime. The Gorse Fox should have played football but a small backlog of chores had built up and needed clearing. The most pressing task was to return the garage to a state in which the car could again be parked. After everything was moved for the installation of our Smart Meters, the car has had to remain on the driveway. It didn't take too long to sort out but afforded an opportunity for the Gorse Fox to whip round to petrol station and fill up the tank before putting the car away.

Next on the agenda was a new plan. The Gorse Fox was rearranging the Band of Brother lunch that was wiped out in February by Storm Eunice. He finally has some dates when his contingent from France and from Australia will be in country. An email was sent to "hold the date" for those scheduled for the February lunch. A further email will go out to the wider audience before long but because of GDPR he has to manage that through the school.

After that it was a case of booking a boiler service, a dishwasher engineer (it's still kaput), booking train tickets for a forthcoming trip to London, and catching up on the accounts after an expensive weekend.

For dinner the Gorse Fox cooked a Thai red curry with chicken thighs, butternut squash, red peppers, and mushrooms. It was a bit "seat of the pants" but goodness gracious it was good.

Monday, May 09, 2022


 It was another lovely day, though we did have a little high cloud for a while early afternoon. It was scheduled to be a busy day. Ellie was set to go on her first school trip and the Silver Vixen had been volunteered to help out!

Urban-Cub dropped Ellie off just before 7:30.  Ellie was very excited. She had never been on a school trip before and as Nana was going she wasn't in the slightest bit apprehensive. In fact, as we went to the door to take her to school. She charged the door yelling "Hooray, it's a school day".

As you can see from the photograph, she was the epitome of cool. How long that would last, heavens knows. Their outing was taking them to a local Farm/Country Centre. There they have chickens, ducks, pigs, miniature horses, alpacas and plenty more. They have an outdoor play area; they have a maze; they have a soft play area, sand and water play areas; and a woodland walk. There was plenty to keep them busy all day.

The Silver Vixen commented on how well behaved they all were, but it clear that they were all very tired when the Gorse Fox went along for the pick-up at the end of the school day.

The Gorse Fox stayed at home. He had some admin to clear. Among the admin chores he had rest the face-id on his iPhone. When he got on to the accounts, all of the bank accounts needed to rectify with the new id. This was all very fine until he got to one account. This demanded a Pin that he had no record of setting up. In the end this meant resetting the Pin. In turn, this meant clearing out the data and re-registering. This was all very fine but though the Gorse Fox answered the questions correctly, he was told time and again that the data was wrong. In the end, he decided to phone. It was while he was waiting to select a menu option that he glanced down and realised the problem. He was trying to register a card from company A with and app from company B. Doh! A quick shuffle of the cards and all was fixed.

Sunday, May 08, 2022

That went well

 What a thoroughly gorgeous day. We had wall-to-wall sunshine and it was deliciously warm.

The Gorse Fox was up and about first. He drove up to Chichester to collect the Coventry Hobbit. He was helping out by making up the numbers for football. The "lads" gathered and we greeted a new recruit. The teams looked fairly well balanced. The Coventry Hobbit was on the same team as the Gorse Fox and we seemed to link up well. While the Coventry Hobbit was tucking away several opportunities, the Gorse Fox only managed to hit both posts and the goalkeeper. At half-time it was 6-3 to us. The other team saw a change of goalie and thus strengthened their outfield. They were soon catching up, but we rallied and managed to stay just in front. Our new chap scored a couple, the Gorse Fox scored a couple, and the Coventry Hobbit added some more. The final score was 11-9 to our team and the Coventry Hobbit managed 7 of our goals. That went rather well.

The Silver Vixen had been out to a local nursery while the Gorse Fox was playing football. She then spent much of the afternoon pottering in the garden.

After getting the Silver Vixen's new phone up and running we realised that we hadn't got a simple headphone solution. None of the old wired headphones fit the phone. The choice was an adapter or some wire-free earbuds. We opted for the latter. The Gorse Fox headed off to John Lewis and picked up some Apple AirPods (like his own). Now fully charged, they should work out well.

Pistol Pete dropped Ellie back to us, late afternoon. Urban-Cub had an all-hands meeting between 17:00 and 18:00, but was soon back to collect her.

Saturday, May 07, 2022


 Whew! The Gorse Fox had a lie-in. He didn't stir until 7:50. This, to him, is sheer laziness luxury. We had the usual Cousins' call.

This call was taken in the family library, as you can clearly see from the background.

Socialist Ti claimed he could see a copy of the Daily Star in the background, but the Gorse Fox explained that, as unlikely as it was, it may be possible as he was unaware what the staff used as kindling material for the fires. The call was, of course, great fun and set us up for a face to face meeting next weekend, assuming the Gorse Fox can find a suitable Pullman carriage to attach to the train up to London.

The rest of the day has been relatively relaxed. The Gorse Fox had ordered a new iPhone 13 Pro for the Silver Vixen. This arrived as we sat down to lunch. The Gorse Fox has spent most of the afternoon getting her set up on the new phone. The main driver for this was the facial recognition for log-in. The Silver Vixen's arthritis is making the idea of fingerprint recognition completely useless. Facial recognition seems to work fine. The Gorse Fox has also set up Apple Pay for her. Hopefully this will work out well. The Gorse Fox was certainly impressed with the touch and feel of the new phone, and the speed of its response. It took a couple of attempts to get the Apple Watch connected correctly, but that is now sorted.

Friday, May 06, 2022


 Fairly usual start to the day. with Ellie coming in to snuggle up just before 7:00. The Gorse Fox was up first and then, once everything was done, we dropped Ellie at school.

The Gorse Fox had plans. The Silver Vixen dropped him at the railway station and he headed up to London. His lunch appointment was scheduled for 13:00 and he had some time to kill and decided to walk to the venue.

Swinging round past Buckingham Palace, he had planned to cut through Green Park. It was soon clear that Plan B was required. Huge areas around the Palace were blocked off as contractors worked on the preparation for the Queen's Jubilee. Green Park was inaccessible from the Place. The Gorse Fox had to divert down Constitution Hill and then enter Green Park from the far end. This must have added a kilometre or so to the walk, but there was plenty of time. 

He looped up along Piccadilly and then headed north towards Oxford Street, stopping just south, in D'Arblay Street. It had been a lovely walk.

The destination was Vasco and Piero's Pavillion Restaurant. This is a fine Italian Restaurant run by an Old Columban. The event was the Spring Old Columban Over-65's lunch. This was the first time for a few years that we were able to hold this, due to Covid.

As the Gorse Fox arrived another OC arrived and we stood outside chatting and getting to know each other. He was from the year below the Gorse Fox and had spent that last decade or two in Australia, but was now back in England. We made our way in and formed the advance party for the stragglers who were yet to come. There were about 12-15 of us all together.

The most important aspect of this particular get together was that the Gorse Fox's friends Michael N and Charlie W were both present.

Charlie was a couple of years ahead of the Gorse Fox at school, but we had studied together in the monastery and Charlie had ended up teaching at SCC and the at St Benedict's.

Michael (and his brother, Peter) was in the same class as the Gorse Fox and we had actually travelled to the USA together in '68 and studied there for year. Michael now lives in the South of France, but comes over to visit his mum every couple of months.

The lunch was excellent. The Gorse Fox enjoyed a meat platter to start with, then, after much deliberation, chose the tagliatelle as a main course. The meal was washed down with plenty of wine and the odd beer and finished off with a chocolate fudge brownie. Perfect. We carried on chatting until well after 16:00. Michael and Charlie decided to go on to the pub. The Gorse Fox ducked out at this point and headed for the tube back to Victoria.

The Silver Vixen collected the Gorse Fox from Bognor Regis railway station at about 18:30 and that was the end of a lovely day.

Thursday, May 05, 2022


 Typical start to the day, though it was lovely and bright and sunny. Ellie usually has PE on Thursday and has to go to school suitably attired. Not today. It was the class photos today, so she had to go to school in uniform and take her PE kit with her.

Once back from school we had our coffee and waited for Ocado before heading off to Sainsbury's. The Gorse Fox noticed how few people were wearing masks while shopping. Our local Covid numbers have dropped right back from the peak a few weeks ago, but people have clearly just given up.

We had to go into Chichester. We went a bit early and grabbed some lunch before the Silver Vixen got on with some shopping and the Gorse Fox had his appointment with the chiropodist. This was a new chap. Clearly very experienced, he used to work for (spit) Arsenal and then went in to private practice. He also spent time in the US soon after the Gorse Fox was out there studying. We had plenty to talk about! He was also very gentle, and the Gorse Fox's feet felt very good afterwards.

The phone rang. It was "Sir". He won't be able to attend tomorrow's Over 65's Lunch. His wife has just tested positive for Covid. Shame. Having been disappointed by that, the Gorse Fox also got a text message from Michael N.; he has arrived over from his home in France and was confirming that he will be there tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022


 We had the usual start to the day. Ellie was soon fed, washed and ready for school. Meanwhile, the Silver Vixen had to get ready for Pilates and the Gorse Fox (already ready for football) kept things ticking over downstairs. Once Ellie was dropped at school we finished our preparations and headed off to our morning destinations.

The Gorse Fox was playing on the yellow team today.  On paper, the teams looked pretty well balanced and, at the back, the Gorse Fox and fellow defender, John, were certainly under the cosh. Bit by bit our passing carved the oranges open and by half-time we were 2-0 up. In the second half the oranges came out with renewed vigour. We stood firm in defence. Nothing got through. The Gorse Fox started to pick out some long passes and managed to provide an outlet for the attackers when they were blocked. Slowly we started to rack up some more goals. Several were crossed off - not for any reason other than sportsmanship. For example, at one point the oranges were so sure the ref would blow for a high ball, that they stopped. The ref didn't blow, it wasn't a high ball, and we scored. The oranges started to whine, so we just discounted the goal, got on with the game, and scored again anyway. Final score was about 5-0 or 6-0. It was good fun.

We got a call from the school. Ellie's eyes were all puffy and she was a bit upset. There was nothing really that we could do - we were due to collect her within 30 minutes anyway. It was clearly hay-fever and we had forgotten to give her some anti-histamines this morning. She is fine now that she is home.