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Wednesday, September 22, 2021


 The Gorse Fox started the day with a stroll round to Urban-Cub so that he could walk with her and Ellie to school. Ellie was in a bit of a strop when he arrived but soon calmed down. Urban-Cub was reporting a bit of a tickly cough. "Get tested" said the Gorse Fox. So it is that, at lunchtime, she pulled into the Tangmere testing centre and took a PCR test. Now we await the results.

The Gorse Fox had football this morning. It was a fairly close game during the first half, with a 4-4 scoreline as we changed ends. Unfortunately, the Gorse Fox's yellow team then seemed to let everything slip. Time and again the goalie rolled the ball out to the opposition, and time and again the other full-back allowed people to get round behind him without challenge. Goodness knows what the final score was... but yellows were soundly thrashed.

Back home, showered, and fed the Gorse Fox loaded the car with the first part of the trug that he had built for Cousteau-Cub's birthday. He whizzed it ip to Chichester and the Coventry Hobbit helped him unload it into the garden. He then returned home to get the second part - the frame and legs. Back again to Chichester we soon had it unloaded and assembled. The final screws we put in to secure it and it now sits happily at the bottom of their garden. Cousteau-Cub seemed delighted - so job done!

We are meeting Cousteau-Cub and the Coventry Hobbit for dinner this evening at a new Thai restaurant in Chichester.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


 We dropped Ellie at school and then the Gorse Fox headed off for football and the Silver Vixen sat down to review the possible excursions available thus on next year's cruise. By the time the Gorse Fox got back - having drawn one game and lost two - she had a shortlist.

During the afternoon we went through our list and compared it that of J&T. There was a fair bit of overlap, as you would expect. We had a Zoom call and went through the lists. A few minor changes were made, but in essence we have an itinerary now. This should cover:

  • Skudeneshavn
  • Glaciers and Views
  • Land of the Trolls
  • Alesund Highlights
  • Trondheim Heritage Trail
  • Lysefjord Cruise and Pulpit Rock
  • Kristiansand and its Fish Market

Now we just have to wait for 275 days before we embark.

We've just taken Ellie home in time for Urban-Cub to arrive back from work.

Monday, September 20, 2021


 It was a lovely, though somewhat cool, start to the day. Urban-Cub dropped Ellie off and then headed to Southampton for a training day. Ellie was in a very good mood and was most eager to get to school. We were dragged out the door early, but then had to wait until the school gates were opened before she could rush into the classroom. This was her first full day 8:50-15:15. It will be interesting to see how she is managing by the end of the week.

Back home, we had some breakfast and the Silver Vixen settled down for one of her regular phone calls with a friend. The Gorse Fox headed off to Chichester. We needed some more tester pots. The chap was most apologetic; they did not do a tester pot in one of the colours - but he gave me a 1 litre pot for the price of tester. Back home, another piece of lining paper was cut and painted - would this do the trick? NO! the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox returned to the online colour palettes. Further shades were selected and, after lunch, we headed back to Chichester. The chap in Dulux was most helpful, but asked if we would stop coming in for tester pots - his stock was getting dangerously low, the paint mixer was requiring servicing, and his apprentice had had a nervous breakdown. The Gorse Fox supposes that after 794(*) separate test pots we were pushing our luck a bit.

The Gorse Fox also took some time out to go and get his hair cut. The barber was obviously in an expansive mood as his requested "short back and sides" turned into a haircut, blowtorched ears, trimmed eyebrows, shaped beard, hair wash, facial steam massages, and shave. Who was the Gorse Fox to complain? It was quite delightful.

(*) That may be an exaggeration.

Sunday, September 19, 2021


 It was very grey to start with today. Rain was forecast, but not until late morning.

As mentioned yesterday, the Gorse Fox was back playing indoor football this morning. Clearly, the opening of the centre had created a lot of interest. Five youth games kicked off at 10:00 on the outdoor pitches. This was all very fine, but it did make parking and absolute nightmare. The Gorse Fox did manage to find a spot nea a shipping container in an area that is usually blocked off.

We had a god 5-v-5 game. The sides were pretty well balanced, but in the end the yellow team triumphed 7-5(or 8-6). The Gorse Fox (on the Orange team) was pleased to score a couple of goals in our haul. He was also pleased to get a good workout. It was the first time that he broken a proper sweat for months. Why? We ditched the 3-touch rule and just got on with the game. This, quite literally, doubled the amount of exercise crammed into the hour (according to his Apple Watch).

By the time he left to head home, the rain had started and was making up for lost time. Many of the roads were partly flooded where the drains were blocked or could keep up. It only lasted for about and hour, then dried up and left us with the odd burst of sunshine.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Hue and Cry

 The weather has been gorgeous today. September always seems so much more reliable than August, down here on the south coast. We started the day with a quick trip to the surgery. We both had our annual flu jabs booked. It appears that, as of next birthday, the Gorse Fox can also have a vaccination against shingles. He'll certainly line up for that one.

Leaving the surgery we stopped at B&Q for some lining paper and picked up a couple of further tester pots. Back home, after a lovely fried breakfast and some more coffee, we started to paint sheets of lining paper so that we could move them round the house and check whether they were suitable or not. It turns out that in most cases they was not! They all seemed to come up a bit too dark.

Some further study of the paint charts allowed us to select some new alternatives. Hopefully these would be less dark. Another trip to B&Q (the infamous B&Q bounce) saw use choose some further tester pots, and once we were home we cut some more test sheets and painted them up. We now think that we have colour that should do the trick but the Gorse Fox will have to go and get the trade equivalent of the retail product to check the colour is the same.

Indoor football is back on tomorrow morning. The Gorse Fox has drawn the short straw in that he had to pre-select the teams. He has started by creating a rating for each of the players and then using the ratings, he tried to create evenly matched teams. This will have to be refined over time, but it seemed as good a start as any.

Friday, September 17, 2021


 It's been a funny old day. We were up soon after 7:00 and the Gorse Fox popped round to Urban-Cub to walk to school with Ellie. Then home and recaffeinated, he sat down with the Silver Vixen to look at paint colours. It may be a first world problem, but the range from which we could choose was huge. Over the space of an hour or so we finally down-selected to three colours. Only some samples would help finalise the choice. The Gorse Fox hopped in the car and popped along to the Dulux Decorator Centre in Chichester. It only took a few minutes for them to mix the three tester pots and the Gorse Fox headed back home (clutching a couple of colour charts and three small tins). The new colour charts meant that we had another hour of colour searching, but decided we had probably already got the best colours. Tomorrow we'll get some lining paper and try the samples in different places in the hall, on the stairs, and on the landing to see which we prefer.

Mid afternoon the doorbell rang. The man from DPD was clutching a box. The Silver Vixen had ordered a metal sculpture for the garden. We soon had it unpacked and assembled. We can't really site it until the garden is done next month, but for the moment we have a bronze crane trying to take flight in the Orangery.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Measure for measure

 Though Ellie hadn't been with us overnight, we still had to get up early. Urban-Cub would be dropping her off at 7:15 and the chap from the company that built the Orangery was due soon after to measure the window pane that needed to be replaced.

The window measurements didn't take too long, but he said that he would cross-check against the original specification and order. Our new unit should be on order by the end of the week, but could take anything between 2 and 4 weeks to arrive.

The rest of the morning went very much to type... Ocado delivery followed by top-up at Sainsbury's.

Back home we got chatting to the neighbours and as the time ticked by, a car drew up behind us. The Gorse Fox glanced over his shoulder. It was a Peugeot.  He carried on with his conversation but suddenly a light flashed on in his addled mind. Cousteau-Cub and the Coventry Hobbit have a Peugeot and Cousteau-Cub is on holiday for a few days. He looked back and, sure enough, it was them. They had arrived just in time to come and collect Ellie from school. She was very pleased to see them and we all trudged home whilst under a barrage of excitement from Ellie.

Cousteau-Cub and the Coventry Hobbit stayed with us for an hour or so, then, saying their goodbyes, drove into the mid-afternoon sun. They are planning to go to the Goodwood Revival this weekend. That will be quite a fun experience. The rest of the afternoon was spent keeping Ellie amused, out of trouble, and fed. (Ellie may not be one for breakfast, but after school she eats incessantly).

We had a call this evening from the decorators that we have commissioned to do our hall/stairs/landing. They are ahead of schedule and can now come to us a couple of weeks earlier than planned. This is excellent news. The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox just have to agree on the colour, now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Daft as it sounds

 Ellie was awake soon after 6:00. This was not part of the plan for the day. We  (i.e. the Silver Vixen) explained to her that it was much too early and she should return to her bedroom and watch her tablet. There was no argument. She toddled off and other than occasional laugh, we heard no more until we got up. We got her up, gave her breakfast, got her washed and dressed and then took her to school. The Gorse Fox loves her enthusiasm for school and just hopes that it continues.

The Gorse Fox headed off to Worthing for Wednesday's football. The teams were pretty unbalanced - again. Our "orange" team only had four mobile players and two who were limited in what they could do. The yellows, on the other hand, had a full complement of mobile players including four recognised attackers. The Gorse Fox can admit that it was a bit like the Alamo. As their goal clicked up, the Gorse Fox found himself defending against three or four people at a time as they carved their way up the field. We lost heavily. It was about 6-1,  but daft as it sounds, the Gorse Fox enjoyed it. He felt that he had played a particularly good game in face of silly odds.

We picked Ellie up from school and brought her home to us for a couple of hours, until Urban-Cub finished her shift. Irt was nice afternoon so we sat in garden and did sone phonics (with letter flash cards the Gorse Fox had printed off), some number games about adding, telling the time, and then some jigsaws. She has a quick little brain and is grasping these concepts without too many problems.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Not to bad

 There was a lot of heavy rain overnight. Ellie woke up just before 7:00 and came in to us. There was no hurry this morning as she had no school today - though she is there for the rest of the week and full time thereafter.

Despite her long, long day yesterday (some 21 hours), Urban-Cub came over to collect Ellie as we were finishing breakfast. She was in full flow as the Gorse Fox left to go across to Worthing for football. The rain was easing, but the Gorse Fox was still expecting to get quite wet. He was wrong. By the time he was changed and ran out onto the pitch, the rain had stopped. We had the usual three games. The first was a 1-0 win - thanks to our goalkeeper, who was there to cover any mistakes the Gorse Fox had made. The second game looked as if it would be harder, but we managed to run out 3-0 winners. By this time the Gorse Fox was beginning to get into his stride. In the third game, it was was very tight. We finally had a breakthrough and took the lead. Then the Gorse Fox hit a long range drive with his left foot and watched it snuggle into the bottom corner. We were 2-0 up. Then it all went a bit wrong.  We conceded a penalty (3 running offences), then the Gorse Fox was completely skinned and watched their second go in. Just before the final whistle they got a third. Oh well, hopefully it will all go more smoothly tomorrow.

We watched Boris Johnson's Covid-19 press conference this afternoon. It seems like a sensible approach that he is suggesting. No doubt the media and the talking-heads on social media will find ways to try and undermine him.

Ellie is back with us again overnight.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Change of Plan

 There was some overnight excitement(*). This meant that Urban-Cub was up and about by 3:00. Though she wasn't due at work until midday, she had to go in as early as possible. When the Gorse Fox woke up, there was a message waiting. "Please let me know when you are awake. I need to go in to work". Thus, Ellie started the week by coming to us to have breakfast and get ready for school. Urban-Cub went straight in to work and is not expected home until late tonight.

With Ellie deposited at school, we had a quiet morning. The Gorse Fox went to Wickes to scout out some piping through which he can run some cable in the garden. He could find plenty of pipe, but not the sort of flexible connections that would permit him to adjust the direction at anything other than 90 or 135 degrees.

Once home, he cancelled the outstanding contract with the original landscaper. He was clearly too busy to fit us in, and we are fed up waiting. The new landscaper is hoping he can start some time in October (though we are not too worried if it slips slightly).

We picked Ellie up from school and have had a moderately quiet afternoon. She was clearly tired after her morning at school, and consequently not too boisterous.

(*) Details to follow, at some point.

Sunday, September 12, 2021


 It was a quiet start to the day. The weather was bright and warm and it was forecast to be a dry day. Once we were both fed, washed, clothed and ready we headed for the garden. We hd some decisions to make before the chaps come to refresh or landscaping. 

The pacers weren't thriving in their pots. Which ones should be planted? Where should each one go? Is there anything that needed to be removed? On top of this we had the ongoing issue with the rill. Currently, if we switch it on, it blows the fuses in the house. The Gorse Fox asked Two Hats if he would have a look. We lifted the existing cable and found the joint where the cable had be accidentally cut last year when the deck was replaced. When we opened the waterproof joint, it was clear to see that it wasn't waterproof and water had leaked onto the cables and caused the short circuit. With the problem identified we made the decision to lift most of the existing cable. We will run a new cable, through some new trunking, when the landscapers start their work. Sorted.

The Silver Vixen continued to potter in the garden while the Gorse Fox went up to the study to do a little more research into the gamily tree. He was able to identify some new 2nd cousins and found some more information about the family of his grandfather's brother's family. There was, however, no startling breakthrough.

Saturday, September 11, 2021


 Ellie decided, at 6:15 this morning, that it was time to wake up and join Nana and Grandpa in bed. This would be less of a problem if she didn't a) watch, b) and listen to her tablet, and c) emulate a Mexican jumping bean. Further attempts to sleep were futile.

The Gorse Fox had the weekly cousins' call at 9:00 and that was fun as usual. Ellie put in an appearance for the cousins, but didn't try top show-ff, which was good. It was also interesting to hear about the attempts of one cousin to find a partner. It seems that some of her dating involves local tradesmen and the Gorse Fox pointed out that it was little unclear whether she was using Tindr or Check-a-trade as her dating app.

The rest of the morning was spent with Ellie. We had a return visit to her imaginary restaurant and her imaginary supermarket. The Gorse Fox seemed to spend a great deal of time carrying one of her dolls around the house. Eventually, she settled and we were able to spend some time on her phonics, then a lot more time on her numbers. (This "Numicon" set provides plenty of opportunities to play number games, which she happily plays).

Urban-Cub collected Ellie just after lunch and we had a quiet afternoon. The Silver Vixen enjoyed some reading and listening to the radio. The Gorse Fox spent the afternoon working (fruitlessly) on the family tree.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Old Columbans

 Ellie joined us again this morning. Urban-Cub had had to wake her to bringer round at 7:30 and she will be with us until midday tomorrow. She's been very good today.

We spent part of the morning working with phonic flash cards to help her with her alphabet and basic reading. When bored with that, the Gorse Fox had to return to her imaginary restaurant along with various dolls and cuddly toys. 

The postman arrived. He was delivering a Numicon Home Set. This is a collection of shapes which help a child get to grips with numbers and patterns. This was our next diversion. To be fair, she did quite well. After the first "game", however, she got bored and wandered away. This will have to be used in small bursts until she grows to love maths!

After lunch Ellie helped the Silver Vixen make a strawberry muffin and then asked to go to the park. The Gorse Fox took her. We struck lucky. As we approached the park we could see Ellie's friend Bonnie was playing there with her sister Ivy, under the watchful eye of mum. This changed the whole complexion of the interlude. Eventually, Bonnie had to leave. Ellie lasted about 5 minutes more and then asked to go home. Once we were home she helped the Gorse Fox prepare a curry for tonight's dinner... and then sat down to some sausages, rice, and sweet corn, herself.

The Gorse Fox recently noticed an advert for the Old Columban's over-65s lunch. He hadn't seen any email or invite so chased it up. Within minutes he had an invite and has now RSVPd and booked his train tickets.

Thursday, September 09, 2021


Ellie decided that 6:30 was long enough for a lie-in. She muscled her way into our bed, switched on the Kindle Fire Kids tablet and serenaded us with various nursery rhymes. At seven, the Gorse Fox decided it really was time to get up and the day started properly.

First order of the day was to send a Happy Birthday message to the Coventry Hobbit. Apparently, he was out walking the dogs, but at least he had the time off for his Birthday. 

Talking of the Coventry Hobbit, Cousteau-Cub made a video call to us to see that Ellie was getting ready for school. Was she ever! She was begging to put her uniform on and was ready with her bag at least 30 minutes before we needed to leave. (There is no real need to allow for traffic - the school is a 4-5 minute walk from home, if we walk slowly).

We walked her round to school and while greeting her teacher, Ellie dived into the classroom without a wave or a goodbye to Nana and Grandpa. As we walked home we saw another child having a fit of the screaming ab-dabs and simply refusing to entertain the idea of school! Thank heavens that Ellie isn't like that.

Back home we had some breakfast and waited for the Ocado delivery before heading to Sainsbury's for out top-up shop. By the time we got back it was nearly time for the Silver Vixen to meet with Urban-Cub and collect Ellie. She was finishing at midday today. Urban-Cub had to get back to work, but used her lunch-break to collect Ellie.

Ellie spent the afternoon with us. Somehow, the Gorse Fox got sucked into he imaginarium and found himself blowing bubbles in the garden before we went to an imaginary funfair. This latter task involved a lot of imaginary tickets, an aerial roundabout (the imaginary operator was very slow loading it up), a lot of queueing, and a surprise trip to an imaginary supermarket.