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Saturday, April 30, 2005

What a strange morning. GF and the SV spent some quality time in the garden massacring defenseless weeds and putting them into the new compost container. Being as close to the coast as we are there was a peculiar weather phenomenon where a sea mist drifted across the back garden making it a little chilly, misty and grey. In the front garden, however, the sun was shining and it was very warm. There was a tangible temperature gradient as we walked between the front and back... Now, if we had a large seaside estate that may not be remarkable. We do not. It's just a normal(-ish) sized plot.

Came rushing in for lunch thinking it would be a good time to check on the Spurs' score. Wrong. The game's tomorrow!

Strange Brew

Excellent evening on BBC4 last night... dedicated to Eric Clapton's music. Great blues, and footage from Cream's farewell concert back in Nov '68. A word of thanks to cousin Mary who introduced the Gorse Fox to Cream and to The Doors and thus was the spark to his musical taste, which lasts to this day.

Cream are doing a reunion concert this month. Tickets sold out in about a nanosecond. GF just hopes that it is being recorded and transmitted on TV.

(Playing in the background at this moment is White Room from The Very Best of Cream)

Friday, April 29, 2005

Quiet day back in the home office. Messages coming in from last night's party confirm the Gorse Fox's assessment. Mighty fine do! Some people still feeling "tired and emotional" this morning.

Esteemed Client called. Had a rethink regarding one the current contracts, so GF had to do some neat footwork to help re-cast the terms of reference. All was agreed and everything is back on an even keel.

Silver Vixen has made the most of the dry (slightly muggy) afternoon and spent some time pottering in the garden.

Auntie's party

So there was the Gorse Fox, checked-in. Hair** brushed, shirt tucked in, ready to go. He made his way to the private club where he joined colleagues being checked-in by name.

The event was well run with an open bar all evening, and snacks being circulated throughout. There must have been about 100 guests.

A comedian had been hired to act as MC, and a band had been formed to perform on the night... and did a superb job.

GF was thanked by a couple of the auntie's execs. His design had stood the test of time and the systems exceed their availabilty targets and deliver with performance to spare, even when fully loaded. GF never doubted it, but it is nice to be vindicated.

As the evening wore on, the free bar began to take its toll. Upright colleagues and clients started to adopt leaning positions. As they weaved between the clusters of people GF observed acts of intense concentration, and every deviation from the route became exaggerated. Clients became incoherent. Colleagues became emotional.
There were plenty of speeches; only two officially, but guests started to wax lyrical when encouraged by the free flow of alcoholic lubricant.

All was done and dusted by about 1:30, and GF headed back to the hotel. There were invites to the hotel bar, but GF declined. That way lies headaches.

**Greying, and become sparse in places.

Auntie's party... check-in

As the party was going on into the early hours, GF had booked a hotel room at The Strand Palace. This huge edifice has some 700+ rooms. It seemed that every one of them was being checked-into at the same time.
GF joined the queue and marvelled at the way that three receptionists could take so long over every check-in. Eventually GF arrived near the head of the queue. A receptionist opened a new check-in around the corner from main reception and beckoned the GF hither. The chap in front of GF went, and so did GF.
The receptionist told the chap in front not to push-in and rejoin the queue. GF, being a fine upstanding citizen, intervened and explained that he had indeed been at the head of the queue. She relented and started to check him in... and obviously there was a problem with his registration so GF stood there for another 25 minutes.
This extended delay was made more interesting by the arrival of a small band of inebriated Norwegian football supporters (in London for the Fulham-Everton game, obviously), intent on making friends... and insisting that GF used to play for Liverpool Football Club. Now, GF has been known to kick the odd football around in his youth... but would like to put it on record that he has never played for Liverpool... just in case there was any doubt.

Auntie's party... the journey

Gorse Fox went to auntie's party last night. This meant taking the train up to London early evening. In general these journeys are uneventful and unremarkable. Yesterday, however, the journey was lightened by a dishevelled chap boarding the train at Croydon (but too scruffy to be a Croy-magnon). As he processed through the train his patter went something like this...
"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry to interrupt your journey. I wouldn't be so crass as to ask for any loose change that you might have spare. So, could anyone lend me fifty quid until next Tuesday. I promise I'll pay you back when i get my pension"

Inventive thought the GF... no mention of interest on the loan, and said individual looked 30 years from pensionable age. Didn't seem like a good investment, but did raise a chuckle.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Gorse Fox is still awaiting the return of his car. The car doctor is awaiting a specialist tool from VW and that won't turn up until Tuesday at the earliest.

One is beginning to lose one's equanimity !
Tonight the GF is going to a party. Auntie is holding a party to celebrate the end of the last big project.
The following note was sent to GF by Old Father Time. The Gorse Fox couldn't help but reflect on its pertinence to the project prevention trolls he has been dealing with until recently.
(GF doesn't know who the original source was, but would like to acknowledge his/her perspicacity anyway)


COTKU (DC) — RESEARCHERS have just announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Governmentium." Governmentium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311. These 311 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to complete, when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 4 years; it does not decay, but, instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass."

When catalyzed with money Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element which radiates just as much energy, since it has 1/2 as many peons but twice as many morons.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A very good day. Esteemed Client was in "stream of consciousness" mode this morning. As a result the Gorse Fox had a very long meeting! Progress being made on several fronts, and everywhere you squeeze, more opportunity squirts out.

C-c turned up just before four, and we headed back south... arriving in plenty of time to see the football (Chelsea-Liverpool). The Silver Vixen was trapped on the phone when we arrived, talking to listening to her paternal aunt.
Nice bright morningand trouble free drive across from malvern to Worcester.

Spent a nice evening last night. Met up with two colleagues. We headed off from the hotel to a pub where we had a quiet drink. Well it was quiet until we cgot onto the subject of cider. At that point the village drunk decided he wished to share the benefit of his experience and research with us. We listened poloutely as he slurred his comments and started to get aggressive. Making our excuses we left and made our way to the local Indian Restaurant.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Trouble free journey, though GF observes that traffic in the other direction was horrendous today.... smiles smugly and thinks to self "It could be you!".

Busy day at client's site, though Esteemed Client was away at a meeting.
Gorse Fox is making his weekly trip to Worcester. Today he has Cousteau-cub for company, as she is hitching a lift to see a diving friend who has just returned to the UK from Thailand. He was dreadfully injured in the Tsunami, and airlifted to a hospital without anyone knowing who he was. C-c managed to track him down through persistence, detective work, and an infinite number of calls to Thai hospitals. (Fortunately she speak sufficient Thai to be understood). Then she contacted his family to let them know he was ok, and stayed in touch with him throughout his recovery.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Not impressed

GF is NOT IMPRESSED with his car doctor - an official VW distributor and service centre. Had to phone them yet again for an update. They are now putting the engine back together, but are waiting on a specialist tool from VW which is due in the next couple of days. Now it seems to the GF that:
  • He should not have to chase them for information
  • If you are going to take something apart, you should know which tools you need to put it back together (particularly when you are an authorised service centre)

Last time the problem occurred, as reported here they didn't have the right fluids to flush the system and had to wait for them to be delivered.

GF has spoken to the salesman who sold him the last two cars and has expressed his displeasure (in an utterly reasonable way).
The Silver Vixen's Colt has been taken away for MOT and servicing today. We are left with just the rental Fiat Stilo... which we both dislike immensely. SV commented on Saturday after a short trip to Brighton and back that she couldn't travel any distance in it as it was so uncomfortable. GF concurrs.
I wish the car doctor would hurry up and return the Golf.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Quiet day continued. Still no catastrophes reported by the offspring.
After an intitial trip to the temple of DIY, the Gorse Fox returned to the garden to put a coat of oil the wooden furniture. The weather was bright and sunny and it was a pleasure to be out in the open. It always surprises the GF how long this takes. After all it is only four chairs and a table, but it still takes a couple of hours.
A full day has gone by without (report of) further incident or catastrophe from the girls. Could the SV+GF be moving into a lull?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Gorse Fox never ceases to be thankful for the area in which he lives.

The earlier inclement was obviously an aberration. Normal service was resumed late afternoon when the clouds cleared and the sun burst through. The Gorse Fox felt this was reason enough to make the most of it and went for a brief 3.8 mile walk around the hallowed byways of East Preston. The place was deserted. GF saw three dog walkers (and their respective dogs), and that was that.

Solitude without the wilderness.

Returning from his walk, the Gorse Fox approaches home. Note that normal service has been resumed - the sky is blue, the sun is shining. All is well on the Gorse. Posted by Hello

One of the quaint cottages in East Preston which caught the eye of the Gorse Fox Posted by Hello
Took C-c back to Brighton. She was going to head up to London to meet with some friends. She is concerned that she will have to pass near Highbury. After some discussion we concluded that by taking a Bible, a bell, a crucifix, some Holy Water, some garlic, a silver bullet and a wooden stake, she should be safe enough despite her proximity to the Forces of Darkness.

After dropping her we diverted to Shoreham to revisit the Hampshire Tile Warehouse and order the tiles that we will need for the bathroom refit. They should be delivered on Thursday, all things being equal.
Cousteau-cub came back to us after her ordeal. GF lives in a bungalow, so it reduces the risk of her falling up or down stairs... though she could, of course, still fall out of bed.
The operation went well. The surgeon had explained that she would feel "floaty" and it wouldn't hurt. When she came round in the recovery room she was apparently quite vocal, expressing her view that they were "Liars" and casting doubt on the legitimacy of their respective parents' union. [Sentiments that the GF has often expressed regarding our recent government - difference being that C-c's surgeons were actuall trying to do good, and help her].

Well the day has started wet for a change. This is a suprise as we don't do wet on the Sussex coast. Rain is something that falls inland, in Manchester**, or Wales.

**Manchester is some form of connurbation in the northern reaches of the country. I can't confirm exactly where as the accuracy of maps diminishes the further north you go. GF has actually met people who claim to have been there, or even come from there and so can confim its existence beyond just legend.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Meanwhile, the soap opera that passes as life continues. Silver Vixen left just as we returned from Winchester. She went and collected Cousteau-cub to take her on to the hospital. C-c was first on the M-F surgeon's list and the Volvo-bumper that had been stitched through her gums was removed. She was soon back in her room with the Silver Vixen keeping a close eye on her.

She has had some fluids, but blood pressure is a bit low still (as is always the case for C-c and the SV). Apparently she is craving fish and chips.
So, Urban-cub and Gorse Fox spent some quality daddy-daughter time whizzing over to Winchester to visit C2BAX. After reviewing the MRI and the X-rays it is clear that intervention is required. Fortunately, things have moved on since SV and C-c were "intervened upon" and the expectation is that a disc replacement will be necessary. Only doubt remaining is whether it will be 1 or 2 levels.

U-c saw this as positive - the problem wasn't structural, and the intervention was less radical allowing a shorter recovery time. Still some diagnostics to be performed... but things are starting to move. (Rather lop-sidedly and stiffly!!!)
Early start. GF has to take Urban-cub across to the hospital for her appointment with C2BAX.

Meanwhile SV will be heading back to Brighton to take Cousteau-cub back to the Maxilo-Facial specialist. His assessment after yesterday's fall was that no real damage had been done, and everything looked ok (other than the bruising and cuts). It seems that whilst carrying the vacuum clean downstairs, she tripped on a trailing phone cable and used her face as a brake with a door frame providing the resistance. She was pretty shaken up.

You couldn't make it up.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Update - Cousteau-cub has fallen down the stairs. Jaw took the brunt of it. Silver Vixen is heading to Brighton to take her back to the specialist...
Silver Vixen is at a meeting of her coven this afternoon. Gorse Fox is working in his study with the sun pouring through the slits in the blinds... and Albert King playing in the background (he doesn't take up too much space... but his backing band are a bit troublesome)... and GF suspects Ten Years After are lurking in the wings. TYA were the first band that GF went to see play live (around the time of Cricklewood Green) at the De Montfort Hall...

GF can feel a list coming on... who else did he see (in no particular order):
  • Black Widow
  • Osibisa
  • Argent
  • Vinegar Joe
  • The Strawbs
  • The Who
  • Led Zeppelin (instead of going to the Silver Vixen's 18th birthday party!!!!)
  • Santana
  • Eric Clapton
  • Rick Wakemen
  • Pink Floyd
  • Grand Funk Railroad
  • Mott the Hoople
  • Deep Purple
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Joe Cocker
  • The Beach Boys
  • Stone the Crows

GF's sure there were others but this list stands out.
Back in God's own County today. Lots of admin and stuff to do, but at least GF has the advantage of fast links from home.

Busy 36 hours coming up with Urban-cub heading west for hospital appointment regarding her back, and Cousteau-cub heading east for her appointments regarding her jaw. We'll be zigging and zagging all over the place.

Car is still at the car doctors. They hope to have it back to the GF tomorrow. Somehow, I suspect the GF should not hold his breath.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Grey morning in Worcester. Managed to meet with Esteemed Client first thing with Stoker. This helped clarify the Esteemed Client's expectations in one rather ambiguous area of the project. Hymn sheet has now been passed round... now we are starting to sing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

An excellent day with Esteemed Client. New consultant has started and is in full swing aleady. Progress and agreement on all fronts.

Gorse Fox headed for the genteel town of Gt Malvern to stay at the Abbey again. Checked in and settled down only to hear a deisel engine chugging outside. GF had to assume it was a coach delivering some tourists. It was, however, far more sinister than that... it was the Labour Party battlebus on the election trail. GF had to chuckle... where are the ASBOs when you need them? Could they have picked a less appropriate place to stop?
What glorious morning in Sussex. As Gorse Fox headed away from God's own County, he couldn't help but reflect on the stunning site that reveals itself as you drive towards Arundel from the east. A light mist softened the flood plain by the river and the sun picked out the magnificent castle which dominates the town and the neo-Gothic Cathedral which overlooks everything. GF always wants to stop and take a photo, but the traffic is such that it never gives the opportunity.

The journey to Worcester was pleasant enough until Gorse Fox arrived at the M5. The sun had disappeared, and the rain was falling in torrents.

Monday, April 18, 2005

There are good days, ordinary days, and bad days.

Today was definitely a good day. The commute was painless and on time, the overnight rain had stopped and the walk to Westmister was pleasant (though still overcast). The first meeting turned out to be with an old friend. The GF had not associated the name with an old ex-colleague, but there he was emerging from the elevator. This made the meeting very smooth, as we spoke the same language and had a very similar vision of what we were trying to achieve.

There was a gap between the meetings. Gorse Fox strolled down to Millbank and sat on the embankment overlooking the Thames whilst finishing off his book and awaiting the call for the next meeting.

Met with Esteemed Client and a new consultant and went to a coffee house for lunch. Then back to the office where we ploughed back through the contract to determine if we need to make an adjustments. Nothing major showed up, but some opportunities to extend some of my team.

I knew I should have taken my camera. The quality of the camera on the phone isn't too hot! This photo was taken on Millbank at lunchtime. Posted by Hello
Gorse Fox has the joys of a commute to London today. Several meetings planned in the environs of Westminster.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Nice day, so Silver Vixen spent much of the day in the garden. It was really pleasant in the sun, but the was a cool edge to the breeze. Gorse Fox also made use of the weather and with a pot of teak oil and a brush set to work on the steamer chairs. It's amazing how a coat of the oil can resurrect the wooden furniture after a winter in the elements. It almost makes the wood glow.

Late in afternoon the rain set in. It had been forecast, so we were not suprised... but it did turn chilly.
Heard on Football First:
"9 out of 10 referees would blow-up at this point"

I had never realised the job was so hazardous. That's obviously why there are so many St John's Ambulance volunteers at each game.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Adam Smith Institute Blog - Joke of the day

Adam Smith Institute Blog - Joke of the day. Gorse Fox doesn't immediately think of the Adam Smith institute as the vehicle for humour.... but he likes this.
C-c had a sleep on the sofa. GF went off for a walk, westwards along the coast. A nice afternoon with the sun poking through between fluffy clouds. Didn't go far, only about 2.5 miles, and nothing special to report. Though the camera was on hand there was nothing that really leapt out and said "photgraph me".

Silver Vixen has returned from her coven's meeting. It was a workshop at the museum, and she has brought home the results of the work. As usual it looks superb. She says she's always slower than the rest, but the quality is always excellent.
The GF doesn't like the Fiat Stilo that he has on loan. Seats have little or no lumbar support, visibility is impaired with several blind spots, wing mirrors are small and give limited visibility, and despite the 6 speed gerabox it seems sluggish.
'Twas a long morning. Gorse Fox delivered C-c to the hospital 30 minutes before here appointment. Unfortunately everything was running 45 minutes late. So we sat and chatted, and read, and chatted some more. Eventually she was seen and the Dr. was very pleased with her progress. All the connecting bands were removed, and she was asked to wait outside to see how things settled.

We waited some more. She was relieved that she could actually move her mouth and not keep her mouth clenched. So we sat and chatted some more. The Dr. called her back and seeing that there had been no immediate sign od instability allowed her to come home untethered. She still has to return for further checks and ultimately to have the metal anchors removed... but this is progress.
Lovely bright start to the day.

GF is up early as he has to take Cousteau-cub to the hospital to have the wires, bands, and fixtures on her jaw adjusted.

Friday, April 15, 2005

That's it. Gorse Fox is done for the week.

Why does the first week back after vacation always seem so hard? Will have to a) stop taking vacations, or b) take more, vacations in order to get used to it. On reflection, GF likes the sound of option b.
Chap just turned up with Fiat Stilo... seems like I have the use of that until the car doctor finishes his work. It has a manual gearbox - how quaint; and uses petrol - how retro.
Urban-cub called from work. Her back is giving her a lot of discomfort today. Silver Vixen is going to collect U-c from work and take her home to Lancing (when she completes her shopping)... Meanwhile Cousteau-cub will make her way from Brighton to meet the SV there so she can stay with us ready for her hospital appointment tomorrow.

I seem to remember the TV comedy "Soap" completed its introductory recap each week with "Confused? You will be...". Somehow that seems appropriate.
GF has just heard from the car doctors. His comment was "This will take a lot of work and won't be finished today". Sounds a little ominous. GF's nice new Golf is obviously a sick bunny. It seems to have some form of fistula as oil is mixing with the coolant water.
The nice man at the car doctor is contacting VW and arranging for a hire car to be provided at their expense whilst the problem is being rectified.
Had to deliver car to car doctor. Problem with coolant warning light (discovered and fixed last year) has returned. Took car across to Goring first thing and then walked back across all of the paths and bridleways. Was amazed to find that actual route was only about 2.5 miles... somehow expected more.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

A bitty day... a bit of this, a bit of that; little that's substantial.

Weekly status call was fairly long as GF reviewed the structure of all documents intended for Esteemed Client. General concensus, but some refinement needed in certain areas. Need to set up meeting with EC to verfiy expectations in one area. There seems so much to do at present, but GF is having trouble getting a good grip on it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Urban-cub has been to C2BAX today... x-rays, MRI scans etc. Has to return in two weeks for a suggested action plan. We wait with fingers crossed.

She's staying the night with us tonight, which will be nice. It seems ages since we saw her - though actually it's only about three weeks.
The seemed to comprise end to end meetings (in fact one meeting interrupted another allowing the GF to return to the former after the latter - if that makes any sense at all!!!)

Tinkerbell turned up for an update... and the phone system at Esteemed Client's was so hosed that were onl;y managing to get about 7kbps throughput on the dial-up connections. Fortunately this pushed certain people over the edge and we now have the go ahead for an ADSL link.
Traffic around Worcester was heavy this morning, even at 07:30. The Gorse Fox left Malvern early hoping to be ahead of the traffic... but no such luck.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Abbey Hotel and the spire of the Priory Church in Great Malvern... early evening. Posted by Hello

Great Malvern Looking east towards the Cotswolds... early evening. Posted by Hello
GF had a busy day catching up with the team, and introducing new member to the happy band. In general, things are going well, but Esteemed Client is as busy as usual, and scheduling time is very hit and miss.

Hopefully new bathroom equipment should be delivered to the SV today... and should have rest of components by end of the week.

Quiet evening in Great Malvern.

Spoke to Silver Vixen. We now have a bath and basin in the front bedroom!

Gorse Fox left the hotel for a bite to eat, but was soon back to watch the football, and get some sleep after the day's early start.
Whizzed up to Worcester as dawn broke. Beautiful start in Sussex, but got progressively duller as the Gorse Fox headed north west.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Gorgeous day here in Sussex. Not as warm as Tenerife, but every bit as blue.

Silver Vixen has gone to Brighton, dropping Cousteau-cub off en route.

GF had a productive morning. it seems that all has been going well in his absence, and his team are proving their worth to Esteemed Client... and it looks like same is trying to establish a follow-on contract for the GF for the next 3.5 years !!!
Back at work after two lovely weeks. Only 117 emails to wade through. GF got off lightly.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

I think we feel a little more human today. A very lazy day yesterday... followed by a good night's sleep makes all the difference.

We spoke to the cubs yesterday. Urban-cub was tired but well, she was relieved that we were home and felt she could relax now. She does tend to worry when the old folk are away!

Cousteau-cub was feeling a little spaced out. Her new pain killers were pretty strong and she was having difficulty concentrating. She asked if she could come and stay for a day or two, so GF went over to Brighton to collect her. GF was most suprised when he arrived, to find her looking very well. Despite the half-ton of metal work sewn through her gums to immobilise her jaw, she looks perfectly normal.

I think today will be dedicated to chores... most important of which is to do some shopping, as we have nothing to eat in the house at present.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Home at last

Well that turned out to be a marathon journey home. However, to be fair to the airline they handled the delay very well. We were bussed back to the airport and only had about an hour to wait until boarding.

The plane delivered us to Gatwick without further delay or hitch.

As the plane settled on final approach. The Gorse Fox leaned across to peer out of the window. Below, all was dark except for clusters of orange lights defining the towns and villages... and then as I took in the scene, there was the unmistakable double flash of a speed camera, catching some motorist at 5 o'clock in the morning on an empty road.

We were soon home... and the Silver Vixen has gone to bed to (deservedly) catch up with some lost sleep.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Dawn breaking over Tenerife on the final day of our trip... at this stage we did not know quite how long the day would turn out to be !!! Posted by Hello

And so it was...

...that the wanderers had to return.

The day started early with dawn edging the light clouds with gold, before bursting through and washing the scenery.

The Gorse Fox had chores... the Silver Vixen supervised the retreat from the villa with a military precision. Rental Car: Fill with petrol; Main entrance: get a trolley for the cases; kitchen: help clear out the perishables; reception: check-out; store room: baggage; pool bar: tea, coffee and breakfast. The routine has been perfected over so many trips that it went with a hitch.

We spent a pleasant morning chatting with Xaron (sp?) before making for the the car which would take us to the airport. Arriving early, as usual, we found our way to the check-in and waited for it to open... checked-in and went through to departures.

And then it all started to unwind...

The 14:45 flight time moved to 16:30, and the gate changed so we moved. Soon after, the gate changed again... so we sat still (reasoning there was plenty of time, and no doubt things would change again!)

They did.

The 16:30 filight time became 01:30. We didn't get the joke!

After about an hour the carrier arranged to bus us all to a hotel in Los Christianos where we could get a room and a meal. They plan to pick us up at 23:00 to get us back to the airport and try again.

The hotel is large complex (Paradise Park) on the hill above LC. Evidently different people have different concepts of paradise. Having rubbed shoulders with some of the guests, I suspect Milton was closer to the mark and we were lost.

A family from hell (which judging by their accents, is not far from Manchester) were occupying the centre of the bar. They were a wedding party... and had been travelling since the early morning. They were waiting for their rooms to be allocated. Already they had embarked on the task of trying to drink Tenerife dry, and build a life size model of the Pyramid of Cheops from cigarette ash (participants in this latter adventure included young teenagers and a girls who was evidently pregnant). They were loud, aggressive, rude and gave the hotel staff an apalling time over the fact their rooms weren't ready. GF should point out that it was not yet four o'clock... the official check-in time.

In GF's experience, you achieve far more by being quiet, reasonable, and firm than obnoxious, loud and very stupid... but then without this level of stupidity new Labour couldn't get a majority in a phone box, let alone the Commons, and they've achieved that twice.

Updated Urban-cub with our situation... she does tend to worry. She phoned our taxi company to ensure they knew of the delay.

Cousteau-cub called also. She mumbled through her fixed jaw, explaining that here check-up had gone well, and she should be able to reduce the tension on the jaw after her next check-up. She was very excited as she had bought a liquidizer, and managed to cook mashed potato, sausages and cream of mushroom.... then blend it all to a liquid that she was able to drink. As she put it "My first real food in nearly two weeks".

As GF sits and writes this, the noise from the open spaces and balconies seems to increase by the moment. Voices vie with each other to relate the latest pilgrim's tale. Chaucer it's not. Bawdy it is. It sounds like Eastenders and Coronation Street having a reasoned debate row. It reminds us of why we stick to our normal resort.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Final full day of the holiday. Slight greyness to the dawn, but the sun soon broke through. Leaving lovely blue skies. We decided to stick close to the villa today, but that didn't mean that we couldn't go for a walk.

We walked around Golf del Sur and along the coastal path. The tide was high, and sea choppy. This mades for some exciting whorls and eddies in the rock pools and cliff edges where they met the water. Continuing round to San Blas it was clear that there were heavy clouds building over El Teide. The question that arose was would it actually rain before we got back?

As is so often the case here, the clouds continued to threaten but came to nothing. The onshore sea breeze broke the clouds just inland from us, and we continued to enjoy decent weather (though it looked as if the mountain was getting dumped on!)

The angry clouds over the mountain remind us that we are heading home tomorrow Posted by Hello

The sea crashing against a small rocky cove on Golf del Sur. Posted by Hello

The eddies and whorls of the rockpools as the tide comes in. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Dawn broke..

... and shards of multicoloured sunlight shattered across the villa floor. A slight haze diffused the early morning sun as fresh tea was prepared for the Silver Vixen.

No significant plan for the day, but a general potter around the area. We started by looking for Jardins del Atlantico, expecting them to be "gardens". They turned out to be a banana-themed tour of the banana platations. This was a disappointmnet as they had been so difficult to find to start with.

We peeled off from this idea and headed towards Palm Mar. This is a new development on the south-western most tip of the island, separated from Los Christianos by vertical cliffs and an a nature reserve. You can imagine that in a year or two this will be a busy and bustling resort, but now it is dominated by building works.

Heading up the east coast we stopped at El Medano. Walking along the boardwalk we watched the windsurfers make the most of the strong breeze. We walked through the small centarl area and stopped for lunch at a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the bay. The view was excellent, but the food and service were, at best, mediocre.

After lunch we continued our exploration of the area and the next bay along. As we strolled back, the tide was on its way out, and the beach was decorated with tiger-like striations of the black volcanic sand against the background of yellow imported Saharan sand.

As the tide receeded, the sands were striped with yellow and black, as the volcanic sands and normal sand separated. Quite an interesting effect. Posted by Hello

A stiff wind blew in from the south-east across El Medano. This seemed like a good plece to stop for lunch. Chose badly today - mediocre food and very poor service at Caballo Blanco. Posted by Hello

Huge cliffs separate Los Christianos (in the background) from Palm Mar, where we started today's adventures. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Arthropods of the world Unite...

...You have nothing to lose but your exo-skeleton.

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen stopped at Sabor Canario for lunch. This hostelry was accessed through the back of a shop, and occupied one of the courtyards we found so enchanting. Taking our seat and reviewing the menu we decided on a plate of prawns each and a mixed salad. (This was the special of the day).

The food soon arrived in a small mountain of prawns on each plate. We tucked in. It soon looked like a battle zone. Shell casings piling up, the Silver Vixen spattered with lemon juice, and the juice from the prawns. She had of course been wearing a new white blouse... GF is, at this point, accepting no blame for the prawn shrapnel but suspects this will hit the laundry basket pretty sharpish!!! (I'm sure it is nothing that cannot be removed by Hydrogen Peroxide and Washing liquid).

So we recommend the prawns - but remember they can be messy.

La Orotava

Today saw the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen head for the lush northern part of the island. Our destination was the picturesque town of La Orotava, just outside Puerto de la Cruz. La Orotava is one of the historic masterpieces of the island, having survived many changes of fortune caused by fluctuations in trade for sugar cane, wine, cochineal, and now bananas.

The past 200 years have seen some spectacular houses built to celebrate the wealth of their owners. Often palin from the outside, they conceal intricate courtyards where the family can reamin cool in the incessant sun. The courtyards are ringed by balconies connecting the rooms, which all open onto the centarl courtyard. The plain outsides of these houses are decorated with beautifully carved balconies draped in geraniums and trailing flowers of every hue.

Scattered intermittently around the town are pretty squares and gardens. The most astonishing of these is the "Jardins del Marquesada de la Quinta Rojo" at the centre of which lies the Mausoleum of the Marquess.

All in all it was a round trip of about 200km, but well worth the drive. And.... parking in the newer part of town the Gorse Fox used his GPS to record where he'd left the car, then had fun using it to track back to the car. Successfully, he might add.

The symmetry of Liceo de Taoro, orginally a private house but now a cultural centre for various acts and exhibitions. Posted by Hello

The gardens of Marquesado del la Quinta Roja, again with a backdrop of El Teide. Posted by Hello

The Ayuntamento of La Oratava... with Mount Teide dominating the skyline. You'll notice there is far more snow on these northern slopes than we normally see from the south. Posted by Hello

The courtyard where we stopped for lunch. The entrance to "Sabor Canario" was through a shop in Calle Carrera. The food was excellent and the service friendly. Recommended. Posted by Hello

Another quiet, secluded courtyard, providing shade from the hot sun. Posted by Hello

The internal courtyard of Case de los Balconies - cool and secluded, but intricately carved and surrounded by balconies leading from room to room. Posted by Hello

The intricately carved balconies for which La Orotava is so famous. Posted by Hello

The rooftops of La Orotava, withe the Basilica dome in the background. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 04, 2005

The sun shines horizontally through the palms as it sets. Posted by Hello

The glow of the sun setting. The wind has dropped, and it's a lovely warm evening. Posted by Hello
Another bright blue sky adorns the island. Strong easterly winds still blow across the south, but they are not a problem.

We had decided yesterday, that today would be a quiet day at the villa... and so it began.

Gorse Fox likes it when a plan comes together. The day was indeed quiet. Nothing really to report, we sat in the garden reading and catching some rays.

Called Cousteau-cub early evening. she is doing ok. She's realised that she can seive soup then drink it by tipping it between her lips... makes a terrible mess, but is more bearable than using a straw. One of the inconveniences she finds is with her tongue behind her cemented teeth, she can't lick her lips.

She stayed over with Urban-cub last night, so that U-c could get a good night's sleep and be off in time for work this morning. Will call U-c later to see how she's getting on. (At this rate our phone bill will cost more than the flights! - but, hey, at least we can keep in touch)

Fit club

Seeing all of the fit young people round the pool with their washboard stomachs has inspired the Gorse Fox. He's decided that at his age a washboard stomach is not possible. He has decided to adopt a fitness regime that will enable him to continue his development of washing machine stomach.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Despite the mixed forecast, Sunday dawned bright, though windy. A stiff, warm, breeze blew in from the east.

First action of the day was to try and make contact with the cubs. We had phone late last night, and got no answer... and assumed they had gone to bed early. On phoning again this morning there was still no answer. Seeds of concern started to grow.

Gorse Fox finally tried Urban-cub's mobile, and got through. All was ok. They had switched the ringer off on the phone, and forgotten to switch it back on! C-c was doing ok. A good night's sleep had helped her brighten up, but she was famished. She cannot eat anything, and has to rely on liquid food. This has proved to be unsatisfactory so far. The cubs were hoping to go out during the day to see if they could find something more appetizing.

After Silver Vixen had chatted for a while, we could relax and plan the day's adventures. After yesterday, we decided not to emark on anything too strenuous. We would attempt the walk acros to Los Abrigos again. (The one we abandonned last week due to inadequate footwear).

Setting off we found the stiff breeze quite pleasant for walking in. Making our way down to the water's edge we headed eastwards into the face of the wind and towards our target. The only tricky bit was in the area of Playa San Blas, where you traverse pebbles, then climb a bank before descending back down the other side and back onto a proper path.

Arriving in Los Abrigos we stopped at bar and sat overlooking the harbour whilst doing untold damage to a cold drink. When we set off again, we stopped at a shop that the Silver Vixen likes... and then headed back up to the villa. A nice 7k round trip.

Arriving at the pretty harbour we saught succour in a hostelry, before a spin round the shops and the walk home. Posted by Hello

Rising over the final obstacle, Los Abrigos was within easy range. Posted by Hello

FInally manged to complete our walk across to Los Abrigos today. Better footware and confidence arising from yesterday's exertions thrust us onwards... Posted by Hello