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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Motoring home

A long day filled with meeting finally wound to a close. Climbing into his personal transportation capsule, the Gorse Fox slotted into the traffic and cruised south. All the while, he was listening to tales of woe from other motorways, and swept onwards past a 12 mile queue in the opposite direction. He couldn't help but think how lucky he was doing this trip week after week, on roads that are rarely troubled by incident or jam.

170 miles later and now back on the South Coast he can relax.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Lesson for Today

Another valuable lesson has been sent by Old Father Time
A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me,can you help me ? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago but I don't know where I am."

The woman below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be in Information Technology," said the balloonist.

"I am," replied the woman, "how did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip."

The woman below responded, "You must be in Management."

"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my bloody fault."
Acknowledgements to the original author (and respect to his perspicacity)!
The fine weather of yesterday has reverted to foul weather today. It's cold, wet and grey in Worcester and the office heating has now been turned off. (GF seems to remember last May was much the same).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Honoured Guest

The Gorse Fox spent the early evening driving up to Worcester to save an early start in the morning. GF knows he is a regular customer, but felt honoured to be greeted by a red carpet.

Now that's customer appreciation.


As GF sits here, the Silver Vixen is photocopying her swimsuit.

No, don't ask.

Ironic Weather

With the supreme irony that can only be appreciated by the British, we wake on the Tuesday after a holiday weekend (which saw gales and several inches of rain sweep across the country), to cloudless blue skies and blazing sunshine.

Monday, May 28, 2007


GF has just spent and hour trying to remember the root password for his Linux system (Xubuntu). Thinking he'd forgotten it, he tried every password he might have used with the su command.

he's now decided that as there wasn't too much (anything) on that machine that isn't copied on this one, it's easier to re-install. So the CD was retrieved and spun up, the install process started, the disk partitioned and off it went.

He then returned to this machine and started searching Google... low and behold Xubuntu doesn't provide a root user. He hadn't forgotten the password. There wasn't one. That's not how you do it with Xubuntu.

Day off

Gorse Fox has enjoyed his day... ferreting away on the computers again. Outside the rain is still blasting through on the back of near gale force winds. Inside surrounded by the gentle glow of computer screens seems so much more cosy!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sun set

Well after a few more experiments GF decided to try and download the errant software to his Linux machine. This proved interesting as it revealed that Sun's download server was down for maintenance... as opposed to just providing a "Fatal Exception". (Well being a Sun machine you have to expect it to need a lot of maintenance).

Giving up, GF went back to Source Forge and looked for another software stack. He chose vTiger, downloaded it, et voila - it worked. GF has now spent several hours playing with this and configuring it to meet the Silver Vixen's requirements. Greay fun... and it seems quite impressive! It is a CRM system built on Apache and mySQL. It uses a browser interface and seems to be very configurable... of course, being Open Source you can always change the base code if you wish.

Whilst on the subject of Software, GF had to chuckle on reading a report on the new AIX release. It claims that IBM was copying Sun Microsystems in its use of Virtualisation (LPARS)... Splutter!!! Excuse moi!!! IBM have been using virtualisation of machine environments since CP67 was developed in (would you believe) 1967. When will these journalists do some basic research?

Quote of the day

GF would love to be able to attribute this quote to the original author, but unfortunately he is unknown:
A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Crossing from the Right

So McLaren has swallowed his pride and included Beckham in the England squad for Brazil and Estonia....

About time too. He may have a flash life-style, and be the focus of attention, but he's also (still) the best crosser of a ball in the game today, and he still has a real passion for the game. Let's hope he gets to play.

Fatal Exception in the Shade

The weather was a little dull and wet first thing. The Silver Vixen wanted to get some gardening done, and GF thought it more gallant to help than to set out on his planned walk.

Much of the afternoon has been spent on the computer. GF has been looking at some Open Source software that may be of use for the Silver Vixen as she expands her quilting hobby. The software looks quite impressive, but depends on a software stack that includes:
  • PostgreSQL
  • Tomcat
  • Ant
  • SUN's latest JDK
This has ended up a slight problem because try as he may, he cannot download the SDK... or indeed anything from SUN. As soon as he hits the key (on Firefox or IE) it displays a page saying Fatal Exception. GF has read their various Forum entries, but found no sensible cure. He concludes that SUN have lost the plot... or are using one of their own servers (and it's down as you would expect).

Not at all impressed!

Friday, May 25, 2007

15-Year-Old Outsmarts U.N. Climate Panel, Predicts End of Australia's Drought |

Brilliant! GF has long suspected that El Nino was involved in much of the hype. Now he isn't saying this analysis is correct... he is saying that it is very interesting and actaully seems a more reasonable anlaysis than those based on pure opinion and incomplete or discredited models

15-Year-Old Outsmarts U.N. Climate Panel, Predicts End of Australia's Drought

Sales Patter

Old Father Time has forwarded the Gorse Fox another gem:

Last year I replaced all the windows in my house with those expensive, double-pane energy-efficient kind. Yesterday, I got a call from the contractor who installed them. He was complaining that the windows had been installed a whole year ago and I had not paid for them yet.

He...lloooo? Now just because I'm blonde doesn't mean that I am automatically stupid. So I told him just exactly what his fast-talking sales guy had told ME last year... namely, that in just ONE YEAR these windows would pay for themselves!

"He..llooooo" I said. "It's been a year"! There was only silence at the other end of the line, so I finally just hung up.... He hasn't called back, probably too embarrassed about forgetting the guarantee they gave me.

GF must remember this... and would make sure that Urban-cub notes this as she is having her windows done!

Acknowledgements to original author

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Unusually, the Gorse Fox has been working at home today (Thursday). This has meant huge amounts of work have been achieved, with almost no interruptions.

Evidentally, Thursday is the day that members of the Silver Vixen's coven sweep in to meet up and stitch things up. As a result GF has had to be on his best behaviour all afternoon. Anyone that knows him will realise what a strain that must have been.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

No meetings. Bliss.
Headphones on... and real work in progress.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Plan A was to go to the Cardinal's Hat, but that was closed on Monday. Plan B was to eat at Amigo's, but that was closed on Monday, Plan C was to eat at Singapore's, but Clare doesn't like Chinese, Plan D was to eat at Puccini's, but that was closed on Monday.

So we went for Plan E and eat at Saffron's last night... concluding that Worcester was pretty much shut on Monday's.


So the Gorse Fox was just lying there. Asleep.

It was the middle of the night... what else would he be doing?

All of a sudden he was awake. Heart pounding, he'd heard something. Well, he is in a hotel, he should expect to hear things.

This was different, however.

This was someone talking quietly in the sitting room of his suite. He leapt catlike to his feet and strode into the sitting room (catching his foot on the door frame on the way). Ready for a confrontation he switched on the light. There in front of him was... nothing.

The TV had switched itself on and the quite voices were those of some TV night show.

Cursing quietly he switched off the TV and limped back to bed. Is there no end to the excitement in Worcester?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Musical muscles

Gorse Fox has woken and stimbled from his bed to find that his calf muscles are stretched like violin strings this morning. Obviously Saturday's hills are going to take some revenge on the silly old bloke who had the temerity to assault them.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Overcome with a modicum of sense (not something for which the Gorse Fox is known) it was agreed that the Silver Vixen would make her way home with Sue. (Sue is another member of the Worthing Coven who attended the Quilt Show yesterday, at Malvern). Gorse Fox has to be back here it Worcester first thing on Monday, and this arrangement means that he doesn't need to start at the crack of dawn to come back up here.

The hotel kindly extended the GF's room and so all is sorted. Well, not quite. GF needs clothes for work for the next few days... and so Gf and the Silver Vixen went off to await the opening of Marks & Spencer and a wander through the men's department. That done, it was back to the room to dump the shopping and plan the trip to drop SV in Cheltenham to meet Sue.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Malvern profile

This was the route profile for the journey according to Tracklogs.

Distance: 9.7 miles (10.4 according to the GPS)
Higest Point: 1375 feet
Lowest point: 196 feet
Total Ascent: 2033 feet (3477 according to GPS - and the GF's legs).


The final stretch took the Gorse Fox through the grounds of Bromesberrow Place, across some fields and along a country lane.

Finally. Chase End. This is where GF had agreed to meet the Silver Vixen. He sat down for the first time since the start of the walk, and relished the peace and stillness.

A great walk... well worth the effort. It was not as long as many that he has done, but it was quite hard because of all the ascents and descents

Chase End Hill

The final ascent to Chase End Hill was hard. GF assessed hi route-planning and realised he was luck to have one from north to south, so that the end of the walk had the lowere hills. As he gaxed up at the trig. point a few tens of feet above him he thought it was actually receding.

Crossing those last few feet felt like a huge achievement.

It was all downhill (so to speak) from her on.

Looking west from Chase End Hill, Eastnor Castle could be seen in the distance. It looked well worth a detour one day to have a look around


At the next cutting ay a smal hamlet called Hollybush. It was small ribbon settlement straddling the road (A438) between Midsummer Hill and Ragged Stone Hill. GF had to wander about for a bit to find where the path led south up to Ragged Stone Hill. Eventually he found it, signposted "Three Choirs Way". He paused, listened carefully, but could hear not a sound. They were all evidently resting.

The Three Choirs Way led up and over the hill, but was deep in woodland throughout. This was all very fine and pretty, but the views were somewhat limited.


Pounding onwards, Gorse Fox was becomng aware of a further threat from Wales. Again a huge cloud was sweeping in from the western horizon, obliterating the landscape as it approached.

It was time to protect the camera again, and to snuggle back into the jacket. So no more photos to record the descent into the Gullet (another cutting) nor the traverse of Midsummer Hill and its fort.

At least this time it was just rain, not hail, and the wind was leass fearsome. This allowed GF to stay moderately dry.


This climb hurt. It had been fairly steep and GF found it hard going. As the view opened out, however, the sheer scale of the endeavour became clear. Huge defensive ditches stretching for many hundreds of yards had been dug in concentric rings around the hill.

This ditch is, perhaps, the most startling and probably shows the size that they all reached before they were eroded.

From the top the view was magnificent. There were still people about, but not as many as on the north hills. From here, however, those north hills looked deserted and GF was pleased with the progress he had made.

Well, pleased except for the worry that there were still 5 more summits to reach before the southern end.


Blimey. To think what he's just walked through, and within minutes of the rain stopping the sun was it and it was all clear again.

Gorse Fox phoned the Silver Vixen to see how she had fared. She, however, was sheltered in the main hall at the showground and untroubled by the storm.

GF turned and dripped onwards... wet underpants are definately not conducive to an elegant gait, he concluded. Fortunately the wind was still blowing hard and he was quickly drying off.

He was heading for the next natural cutting in the hills, where the A449 cuts through from east to west at British Camp.

Arriving at British Camp, GF decided he was not presentable enough to venture into the pub. He looked like a mongrel that had been hoiked out of a canal.

Walking over to a booth by the road he was tempted by some fresh pasties that had just been brough from the oven. Shelling out his £2.50 he stood by the roadside and muched his way through one of the best looking and worst tasting pasties he's ever had. Glad of his trusty supply of sparkling water he washed away the taste, girded his damp loins and headed over the road to start the climb to the Herefordshre Beacon.


From Jubilee Hill there was (with aid of the telphoto lense) a good profile of British Camp (The Herefordshire Beacon), with its sculpted sides carved out by the defensive ditches of ancient man.

It was whilst looking at this the GF became conscious of the impending weather that was sweeping in from Wales. Just dark in this view, but slightly off to the right the rain could be clearly seen as it erased the landscape.

No time to hang around, Gorse Fox continued towards Pinnacle Hill and Black Hill.

Now this is where the photos dry up for a bit, because this is more or less where Gf was when theat Welsh weather hit. The camera was squirreled away in the rucksack, and the jacket zipped and button, and the hood raised. At that moment the first drops hit, and a squall blew in the wind was strong enough that it made it hard to walk, the rain turned to hail and visiblity plunged to a few tens of metres. Like many others, GF was caught in the open, and found the easiest approach was to hunker down with his back to the wind until the worst had passed.

There is something deeply unpleasant about being so wet that your trousers are stuck to you and there's a cold trickling sensation in your underwear (though on second thoughts, that might be preferable to a warm one). GF strode on through wind, strode on through the rain though, though his map was tossed and blown. But he walked on, walked on, with hope in his heart that their might be a pub at the next cutting!.

South of the Wyches

After a few miles comes the first break in the mountains, and your walker had to descend to the point where the road makes the most of a natural cutting and links east and west at Upper and Lower Wyche.

Climbing from road level the Gorse Fox started towards Perseverance Hill.

Nearing the top of Perseverence Hill there was another superb view back to the north, Summer Hill and the Worcestershire Beacon... with Lower Wyche nestling in the cutting

Back to Worcestershire Beacon

Striding on south, the Gorse Fox took one of many opportunities to pause and look around.

Dominating the view to the north, from whence he was heading, was the Worcestrshire Beacon, with Malvern just visible behind it, on the right.

To the south the Hills just seemed to keep marching on, one after another. They seemed close as two dimesional points on the map and even looked close as he peered south, but as the descents from one and ascents to the next continued GF was beginning to realise that the third dimension could be a bit of devil.

The Path

The path ahead looked pretty good but GF had noticed that most people seemed to follow the route round the peaks, rather than over them. This seemed a bit of a cheat so he determined he would go over the highest point of each (a decision that he would regret as the walk wore on).

This view showed the next few summits that he would have to conquer. Summer Hill was the next on the route.


The view from the Worcestershire Beacon was quite breath-taking (and that wasn't solely because of the strong wind).

South the rest of the hills stretched out before him and then panning clockwise there were views across the Mocca Hills and beyond to the Black Mountains. Hereford and the Radnor Forest beyond. The Vinnal Hills; and, looking north, North Hill at the start of the Malverns.

This view has been stitched together form eight photos into a single clockwise sweep from south to north.


Well GF may have peaked too soon. 10:47 and he was at the highest point of the Malvern Hills already. This (he thought) is a bit of a doddle.

The rain had stopped and the sun was out. GF was feeling rather pleased with progress.

It was clear that some evidence of this momentous climb should be available for posterity, and he realised he had forgotte to bring a flag to plant at the summit, so had to make do with a photo taken by some passing youngsters.

Peering west

GF go his first good views to the north west as he started up the next rise.

The great advantage that the Malvern Hills have is that you can see into Wales without having to go there! certainly as the walk progressed these views to the west became one of the defining features... for more reasons than just the panorama. It was also the direction from which the weather was piling in, so gave warning of the next shower.

Getting worse... feeling better

Arriving at the path that would take the Gorse Fox along the ridge, the rain started. This filled him with joy (not!) as he zipped up the waterproof and buried the camera in an inside pocket.

Now heading for south it was quite bright, so GF was optimistic that the shower wouldn't amount to much

Below the view opened out and there nestling at the foot of the hill was the town of Malvern, all but obscured by the rain.

Now GF was on the path and beginning to eat up the distance to the next hill, he was beginning to feel quite buoyant. This was going to be a good walk!

A bad start

GF had looked up the OS Grid reference fror the start point of the walk, then used a website to convert this to Lat/Long and programme this into the SatNav.

Something somewhere must have gone wrong, because as the Gorse Fox emerged from the trees having slogged up the hill from where Silver Vixen had dropped him, he realised he was on the col between North and St Ann's... and so he had missed the first hill of the planned walk.

He debated a detour to the top anyway, but decided that was a bit daft, and headed up for the path along the ridge.

The Malvern Hills

Gorse Fox made the most of his weekend in Worcester. The Silver Vixen was heading to the Three Counties Showground for a Quilt Show... but not before she dropped GF at the northern end for the Malvern Hills.

the plan was the GF was going climbe the hills and walk peak to peak all the way to Chase End at the southernmost end of the hills.

The forecast was fair with possible showers... so the waterproof jacket was within easy reach.

The route doesn't take much explaining - go to the top, walk southbound along the ridge all the way to the end.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Shameful day

What a shameful day for British Politics when the the House of Commons have the sheer effrontery to exempt themselves from the Freedom of Information Act. This seedy, shameful activity cannot be excused by anything other their fear at being "found out".

Let's hope the House of Lords still have the decency and honesty that is required to reject this disgraceful bit of legislation.

Early doors

After this rather distorted week (with a day a home sandwiched between two trips to Worcester) GF was finding it hard to remain focussed as the day drew on. The office was pretty quiet as most people were working from home, with only the locals, the Don, the Sprite and the Hobbit around. GF declared "early doors" and headed back to the hotel to catch up with the Silver Vixen's adventures in the retail playground that is Worcester town centre.

We are heading off for dinner at The Old Rectifying House with Mother Superior this evening.


The hotel have done us proud... and the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox have a nice sunny suite. (Though he isn't convinced that they had much to do with the sunny weather). The advantage is that we have a nice sitting room with pleanty of space, but the disadvantage is that the curtains a quite thin and light pours into the room soon after five in the morning.

SV is planning to hit the shops again today whilst GF is at work.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Busy, busy day... finished off by walking back to the hotel (which was pleasant).

Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox went to Cafe Rouge for dinner, but just as they were finishing the Don, Sprite (Mick the Plumber) and the Tunbridge Historian turned up and so we stayed on for a chat. Rather worringly, the GF's colleagues seemed interested in the various stories SV had to tell.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Gorse Fox is preparing to head back up to Worcester first thing in the morning.... accompanied this time by the Silver Vixen.

Double take

Gorse Fox saw a headline "Bolton: we must attack Iran before it gets the bomb" and thought, they'd never had said that when Sam Allardyce was there.

Golden Age

That nice man from Amazon had a good deal at the weekend with 3 CDs for £10. The selection had to be from a list... but the Gorse Fox managed to replace some old vinyl and now has shiny new versions of:
  • Free - Heartbreaker
  • Joe Cocker - Mad Dogs and Englishmen
  • Gary Moore - The Blues Collection
  • Steppenwolf - The Collection (not a copy of GF's original album... but contains some classics as well as some real dross).
and various others.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Programme Board just completed. Great quote:
"We need to understand moron resource profiles"

Now that's what the GF calls equal opportunites...

Monday, May 14, 2007

This week is a slight break from the usual pattern. Gorse Fox started the week with a trip to Reading to visit the flying horse people and have some "up front and personal" time with their software. This proved to be an interesting diversion and the schedule also allowed Gf to get away early and head up to Worcester during the late afternoon rather than at the crack of dawn tomorrow.

He's felt a little cut-off today as he's not managed to find anywhere where he has the time and the opportunity to access the ineternet... when he's had one he hasn't had the other... and now he's in his hotel room, he finds its one where the WiFi doesn't reach. (A trip down to reception will put him back in range to send this)

Looks like there's a slew of colleagues up here tonight so no doubt we'll grab a bite together (in a non-cannibalistic sense).

Sunday, May 13, 2007


The Gorse Fox has been reading "Honest John" in today's Telegraph. He was amused at the following exchange:
Using the Freedom of Information Act, I have discovered that more than 65 per cent of speeding tickets are issued to those aged over 35. Meanwhile, the under 35s are involved in 60 per cent of road accidents. Clearly, “safety” cameras are not hitting the target group most likely to suffer death and injury on our roads.
wrote the reader. And Honest John responded with
Someone has to pay for the upkeep of speed-camera partnerships and for some of our wonderful Government's mistakes. How else could it be done without obvious income-tax increases?
and more tellingly
There is evidence that speed-camera policy has increased the UK road death rate, but the Government refuses to sponsor independent research into this, or indeed carry out its own research in case a mole spills the beans before it can put a spin on the results.
Oooh, ooh, does GF detect a touch of cynicism in HJ's reply? Surely that couldn't be true, could it?
GF would lay money on it.


Gorse Fox was reading followed a trail of blog-links to this entry. What stood out most in the story was this quote:
Please note that when scientists oppose global warming - they point out their reasons and attach their names. I’ve yet to see names/credentials for the so called top scientists who hold positions in the high church of the environmental wackos.
What an interesting and thought-provoking observation. Perhaps not as interesting, however, as the assertion by the quoted professors that the:
Current method for determining climate temperature is political not scientific.
Apparently the original article was published by the scientists in "Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics", but Gorse Fox must have thrown his copy.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Grainy Sand

Gorse Fox mentioned a while back about the loss of sand on the beach, and reported on the conclusion of the local council. He thought that it might be of interest to see the evidence.

This photo was taken this afternoon. The tide was on its way in, but here round the groynes it is clear to see the exposed rock where once there had been sand. Indeed, looking at the lower part of the groyne you can clearly see the level of recently exposed wood, which until this winter had been buried in the sand.

It may be coincidence, but a licence was granted for the extraction of 6M tonnes of gravel from the bay a couple of years back. Now the Gorse Fox just wonders what has happened to the hole left by the extraction, and whether it may now be filling with our sand; or whether this is a case of longshore drift, and the sand is being deposited further along the coast near Shoreham Habour.

eBay neophyte

The Gorse Fox has frequently (and very successfully) purchased products through eBay. He is now considering using it as a means of finding caring new owners for various items for which he no longer has a use. In return, it would appear, that the putative owners will part with some coins of the realm.

As he has never sold items through this medium he is carefully studying the tutorials and documents that describe the process.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sands of Time

As reported a few weeks ago, there has been a huge loss of sand at sections of the beach at Kingston. According to Roger Spencer, Principal Engineer for Arun District Council it would appear that the disappearing sands on our beach are not caused by dredging off the coast. Roger said the loss was due to the natural movement of the waves and could return at some time (as could glaciers).

The local Council had told Mr. Spencer that the beach had remained virtually unchanged over many years but had changed dramatically in the past two years which coincided with dredging out to sea.

But No! Roger says dredging has nothing to do with it.

In Praise of English

Gorse Fox was just considering his day and the impact of education. When he was at school, he really enjoyed the sciences and tolerated everything else. He was moderately adept at most of the sciences and assumed that his future lay in that direction.

Now after 35-odd years in computing he has to admit that the sciences have rarely contributed directly to his specific jobs - though perhaps the ability to think was shaped at that time. In practice, however, English has been the core of his job. Day in and day out he seems to spend his time writing and editing documents; documents that describe strategy, design, business, organisation and just about anything in which the client may be interested. Today GF has been working on a strategy for mobile working in one document, and a comparison of competing document and records management technologies.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It was indeed too late for GF to go to the council meeting, by the time he got home and had had dinner. Let's just say that he was there in spirit!

Plans change

It's beginning to look as if GF will be leaving Worcester a little later than planned... and thus miss tonight's council meeting.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Gorse Fox seemed to get a lot of exercise during the day running back and forth between his desk and the various meetings that at first punctuated, but eventuall took over the day.

After work eight of us met up for some fine Austrian beer at the Cardinal's Hat, and then on to dinner at the "Singapore". This was the first time we had tried this restuarant, and were delighted with the experience.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Currying favour

GF joined up with a cluster of colleagues to invade the local curry house for dinner. The "Table for six, please" soon became seven, then nine and finally ten.

For some reason the Gorse Fox was unmercifully picked upon with a barrage of Saga jokes. Now, under recent legislation GF thought age discrimination was now outlawed, and that more respect should be shown to a man of his mature years. Apparently not. So the discussion moved to Saga Cruises going round the world to the sound of Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendix, and Led Zeppelin; at that point they were actually beginning to sound attractive.

As the evening ended Gf was invited to join a few of the team at 06:10 in the morning to go for a run. As explained before, GF believes it to be unseemly for a man of his maturity to be seen running, and he had other plans (related to sleep) for that time of the morning... and therefore politely declined.


Careless daubs of pink were splashed across the early morning sky like a naive attempt at moderne art as Gorse Fox climbed into the car for his weekly trip up to Worcester. The forecast wasn't great, but it was bright and dry on the South Coast.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Xu not Ku

Ok, ok, ok. Kubuntu was a bit top heavy for the 400MHz Pentium II. So GF installed Xubuntu over the previous system. This has proved to be much better and much faster.


No, it's not a new drug, nor some remote tribe (as far as the Gorse Fox knows). GF has been resurrecting an old 400Mhz Pentium II PC with this latest version of Linux.

The nice thing about Kubuntu is that you can download it for free, and try it out from a CD without damaging or installing anything on your computer. (Oh yes, and it's free).

All in all, it seems to have gone pretty well, though it sarcastically pointed out that the BIOS on this machine was blown in 1998 and advanced power control needed to be forced... and GF had to point out that the monitor was so old it needed to use steam to drive it... but voila, it worked.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

New Labour Scoresheet

Gorse Fox has been thinking about the last ten years of New Labour and the Sainted Tony (and best of all... his imminent departure), and decided that they should have some form of report card, or analysis.

What they did well:

The Good...

  • Labour government would be whiter than white
  • Giving control of interest rates to the Bank of England
  • Investment in Social Housing
  • Write-off of 3rd World Debt
  • We will help build strong families and strong communities, and lay the foundations of a modern welfare state in pensions and community care
  • There will be no increase in the basic or top rates of income tax
  • Investment in school and hospital buildings
  • Right to Roam - Access Land
  • "We will clean up politics, decentralise political power throughout the United Kingdom"

The Bad & the Ugly

  • Allowing Spin doctors to dictate the message to the electorate
  • Signing the Human Rights legislation
  • ID Cards
  • Capital Advance Tax: One of Gordon Brown's first acts was to remove a tax credit for dividends paid into pension funds
  • Not planning for the aftermath of the Iraq invasion
  • Reduction of Civil Liberties
  • Sold the UK Gold reserves at a price of $280 per ounce
  • There has been a massive increase in the regulatory and administrative burden imposed on, especially small, firms.
  • Increase in NI rates
  • Removal of married couple's allowance
  • Destruction of the independence of the Lords
  • Removal of tax relief on mortgages
  • Reduction in limits on tax-free savings
  • Income tax relief on health insurance abolished
  • Insurance Premium Tax extended to some health insurance
  • Road Fuel Tax escalator increased
  • Vehicle Excise Duty increased
  • Tax on company cars increased
  • Tax relief on foreign earnings abolished
  • Tax concessions for certain professions abolished
  • Capital gains tax imposed on certain non-residents
  • Restriction of Capital Gains Tax relief on reinvestment
  • Corporation tax payments on account brought forward
  • Stamp duty increased again
  • Certain hydrocarbon duties increased
  • Additional diesel duties introduced
  • Landfill Tax increased
  • NI Contributions for employers raised
  • NI Contributions for employees raised
  • NI Contributions for self-employed raised
  • VAT imposed on electronically supplied services
  • £35 added to all fines and £5 added to the cost of a home insurance policy
  • Airport Tax doubled
  • 40% extra Council Tax on second homes
  • A 'Victims Fund' surcharge fine on everyone who passes through the courts
  • Legal Aid for the middle classes abolished
  • The failure of the higher-rate tax threshold to increase at the same rate as earnings.
  • The failure of the nil-rate inheritance tax band to increase by the rate of inflation.
  • Tax credits fiasco
  • Presided over Single Farm Payment system at RPA which has cost the UK a 300M pound fine
  • "Allowed John Prescott to remain in post after significant and serial failure of his policies, and his proven moral turpitude."
  • Promoted Margaret Beckett despite her failure at Defra to implement EU Farm Subsidies.
  • Added over 3000 new criminal offences (over 1800 of which were not even debated in Parliament)
  • Restricted freedom of speech
  • Government watchdog
  • Money for peerages
  • Politicisation of the Civil Service
  • "According to the Office for National Statistics, there are around 5.9 million jobs in the public sector, accounting for just over 20 per cent of total UK employment."
  • Increase in Crime rates (
  • Lowest disposable income since 1981
  • Multiculturalism
  • Closure of local hospitals
  • NHS drug availability by postcode lottery
  • WMD dossier
  • Dr Kelly affair
  • Unelected Regional Assemblies
  • Early release of prisoners
  • Home inspections for council tax banding
  • Fortnighly rubbish collections (in some places)
  • Electoral chaos in Birmingham and Scotland
  • Surrender of border controls to Europe

What has the Gorse Fox missed? Well it looks like we can soon add:
  • NHS rationing of treatment
  • Renege on promise of Referendum for EU Constitution


One of those strange days where it is actally cooler in the house than outside. The heating has actually switched itself on.

The Silver Vixen has been buried in quilting supplies catalogues all morning and now GF has set up a spreadsheet to help her with her analysis.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Crossing the Finishing Line

This was the route profile for this walk.

The total distance (2D-map) was 12.7 miles, but 13.46 miles according to the GPS.
The total ascent was 1473 feet
The highest point was 665 feet
The Lowest point was 65 feet

This was an excellent walk, with great views and easy paths.
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Rubber Gloves anyone?

Gorse Fox has walked this way before. This is Cow Bottom Hovel, at the lowest point of Cow Bottom. GF likes this spot, but remembers the stiff climbe up the far side.

Dead slow, and low gear. That was the plan fro the hill. GF slowed his pace to half his normal rate, and started the climb. The technique worked a treat and GF got to the top without a "photo stop".

This was the final stretch, just one field to go, and the Gorse Fox completed the route.
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Lancing College

The view across to Lancing College from the path towards Cow Bottom.

The chapel really is a splendid neo-gothic site, and is visible as a landmark the east, south and north.
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Above Coombes Copse

Above Coombes Copse (the easternmost point on the map) the view inland along the River Adur was superb.

All along this stretch it looked as if there were slalom gates for canoeing.

(Ahhh, checking back against the map, this may not actually be the Adur, it may be the stretches of water just south of Passies Pond)
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Winding Bottom

Gorse Fox stopped to chat with a couple from Shoreham who were were having their lunch during their walk. They seemed like a nice coouple and were interested in Gorse Fox's Southdowns Wiki as they like to walk, but needed some routes to try.

It was nice to stop for a few minutes and catch some breath, but GF soon had to move on... only a few miles to go.


The route turned south and skirted the top of the Steyning Bowl.

Nearby, the local model aircraft were filling the skies with buzzing aerobatics. It was very impressive to watch, but the noise was irritating.
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Views all Around

Heading east along the South Downs Way, there was a great view back (south-eastwards) towards Cissbury Ring on the horizon.

Looking the other way, Gorse Fox could see along the north scarp of the next section of Downs. Truliegh Hill is the first highpoint, and is identifiable by the masts. The next two are more difficult to identify, but one may be Newtimber Hill, and the other possibly Wolstonbury Hill.

Rusting cart

Having climbed up again from Buddingson Bottom, Gorse Fox joined the South Downs Way near Lions Bank.

Scattered at various points in the Downs are old agricultural vehicles, carts, and bit of rusting machinery. This could be viewed as an eyesore, but GF thinks they are quite interesting and remind the observer that the Downs have been agricultural land for thousands of years.

Bottom of a Glass

This is Boddingtons Buddingson Bottom and by this point Gorse Fox was getting a bit peckish. This little valley nestled below Middle Brow. It was just a matter of finding the right spot to sit down and raid the rucksack.

Gorse Fox liked this valley, and will have to return at some point
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The route diverted from the obvious track up above Stump Bottom and headed down towards Findon House. As GF wandered on Chanctonbury Ring was perched on the horizon. This wasn't actually on the route for today, but GF has visited it several times on previous walks.
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Around Cissbury

Once up around Cissbury is was good to look back the way the Gorse Fox had come. This is the view eastwards across Canada Bottom with Steep Down in the background.

One of the nice things about walks is seeing the distance that you've covered... as well as the sweeping distances that still have to be covered.

At the car park half way up the north side of Cissbury Ring, it was clear that this was a popular spot for the morning. The sun had broken through and it was getting quite warm. This was bringing out the hordes (well, about half a dozen people). GF had had to shed his jacket and was glowing gently as he strode on.

The route had turned north towards Chanctonbury and the views were expansive to both east and west.

Towards Cissbury

The Gorse Fox crossed the road that runs from Sompting to Steyning, and started to walk almost due west towards Cissbury Ring but, standing by Lychpole Bottom, his route ignored the high road (so to speak) and plunged into Canada Bottom.
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