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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Get off of my Cloud

Sussex seems to bee on the inside of a cloud. A fine but drenching drizzle has been falling since early morning - one of those that seems innocuous but soaks you to the core with moments of exposure. Yet GF suspects we are getting off lightly compared to the West and the Midlands.

He's been around to his friendly Ford and equally friendly Audi dealer today to look at their sparkly new offerings. With only a few months to go, GF needs to decide on his new chariot. He would point out that the Audi A6 was very nice, but he thinks the new Mondeo is a potential winner (and was equally as well appointed and about the same size). Both had huge boots (trunks) that GF suspected he could have parked his Golf in. He must get round to arranging a test drive.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Hot Ears

Gorse Fox is on a teleconference. It's been running now for 2 hours 33 minutes, and doesn't look as if its running to a conclusion. It's interesting, when it can be heard, but several participants have very quiet voices and seem to be sitting several hundred yards from the phone. This means GF is pushing the phone hard against his ear. A small indentation is forming in the side of his skull and grey matter is being displaced - something he can ill-afford.
The Gorse Fox would like to start the day by wishing a very Happy Birthday to his sister... speak to you later, titch.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


The Gorse Fox has been surrounded by project managers discussing various activities... and it occurs to him that project managers are actually just accountants who like colouring-in.

Calm before

Thursday has dawned bright and sunny.

It looks, however, to be the calm before the next storm. Forecasts predict further heavy rain starting tonight and extending through the weekend. The Gorse Fox will be back in Sussex by this evening, so whilst expecting to get rain, should not be under threat from the flooding that is so evident around Worcester.

(For those that insist this is unusual weather, I would just point out that Wimbledon has started)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


The wrath of the recent rain has subsided. A gentle sun drops towards the horizon, sheltering beyond the rooftops of Worcester and behind some lazy clouds that have not cleared the area.

(Updated with larger image)

More Worcester Floods

Reviewing the search paths that brought visitors to this blog, it is clear that the flooding in Worcester was of interest... so here's another image taken from the gardens of the Cathedral.

The row of trees about 4m from the wall on the right shows where the path known as the Kleve normally runs.
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The Gorse Fox is not staying at his normal hotel. It was full. His first reaction was to book in at Tewkesbury or Malvern, but ended up in Worcester town centre. This turned out to be a lucky decision. Colleagues who are staying 9 miles away in Malvern took over 2 hours to get to work because of the flooding, the diversions, and the traffic confusion.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Worcester floods

Just took a walk by the bridge... What can be seen of it

(Updated with slightly larger image)


The River continued to rise. The area around the old Quay, and Brown's Restaurant was lapped by the silt filled waters as they encroached on the surroundings.

A cameraman from a TV company stood nearby and some yound girls waded, waist-deep, along The Kleve.

(Updated with larger image)


This is the normal route the Gorse Fox would take down to the River. As you can see, it would be more appropriate to Cousteau-cub.

(Updated with larger image)


Ooops. Looks like we have upset "The Department".

We have made some decisions that are "right" for our project, but may not be playing the department's game. They are throwing their toys about... but given their track record, they'll probably drop them!

Monday, June 25, 2007

A fairly frantic day (as opposed to a totally frantic one) - the car was in the shop having an emissions check, the buyer turned up for the GF's old desk, there were documents to review, and one to write a new section for.
Now, as GF has sent his last email, he has to head off to a meeting with the parish worthies. Whilst it is important, he is finding it difficult to summon his usual enthusiasm.

Worcester in the morning... GF wonders if he should put an inflatable dinghy and life vests in the car


Well GF's eBay experience is now complete, and he's a very happy bunny. The buyer turned up on time and collected the old desk. The money is in the Paypal account. What more could one ask?

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Worryingly the search and rescue helicopter is patrolling slowly up and down the beach at present.

Global Warming

Just a reminder to readers about the dangers of Global Warming (as the Gorse Fox sits - 2 days after mid-summer - with the heating on and rain pouring outside).

Risking Cameras

Did you know that this coming week is "Scrap Speed Cameras Week"? No?, neither did the Gorse Fox.

Now the mobility prevention nazis are probably sharpening their stingers already at the very implication that these sacred totems be removed from the roadside. Before you leap on the bandwagon, however, the Gorse Fox recommend you read today's Telegraph.

Quite rightly it points out that:
we learn to adjust our speed in order to remain safe in the prevailing road, weather and traffic conditions. The speed at which you choose to drive is an output from your own internal risk management system. Yet the DfT regards speed as an "input".
A point GF has often made.
Cameras give us legal compliance targets, not safety targets. And the divergence between the two is now very marked. We now have a nation of drivers concentrating on compliance rather than safety. The whole concept of speed cameras denies that we are capable of managing risk, yet road safety absolutely depends on individual risk management in real time.
Amen to that. Driving as much as he does each week, the Gorse Fox is amazed at the sights he sees. His observation is that speed cameras do nothing for road safety, but seeing a Police Traffic Control vehicle has a great effect on traffic in general. There is a place for speed cameras... and it's outside schools, and hospitals, not on urban freeways and good open roads.

Of course, Speed Cameras won't be scrapped. That is because they are nothing to do with road safety, but are just another way of raising money. Their negative effect on road safety is therefore not relevant to the debate.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Il Papa

So Tony Blair rushed from the EU Summit to the Vatican. Gorse Fox guesses that he went to bless the Pope, before he steps down as PM and becomes a deity.


The Gorse Fox is rather pleased.

His effort at e-cycling his old desk on eBay seems to have paid dividends. A last minute flurry of bidding pushed the price way beyond his best expectations. Now he just has to await payment and collection of the item. He would guess there are still things that could go wrong, but at present it looks good.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Several sustained troll-attacks have been underway. The GF's team are being pounded by questions and requests from trolls who forgot to identify that they had dependencies on the work that's in progress. they are asking for answers to questions that have not yet been through the design process.

The team is in a no-win situation:
  • If we answer them and the answer turns out to be wrong, it's our fault
  • If we don't answer them until we have sufficient info, then we are not being helpful
Now, the team is helpful (sometimes too helpful), and it's good under pressure... but it's also professional and is quite correctly beginning to dig its collective heels in.
  • Answers will not be given until there is a high probability they are right
  • The integrity of the design will not be compromised by artificial timescales.
GF has spoken.


GF is interested in the dynamics of eBay. The item he listed for sale did nothing until 36 hours before the end. Then he started to get some tentative questions and low bids and several people asking GF to end the auction early for them (thus, GF assumes, avoiding a last minute bidding war).

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Gorse Fox has been watching the News. He can't understand what he has just seen. The BBC have just done a piece on Afghanistan...


Well, it did a sympathetic, if not positive segment on the American presence - and their medical help.

How did this slip through the BBC censors?


He headed for the station. A quick stop, the Silver Vixen takes over the car, and GF slips into the station.

Trouble is, GF took the wrong turn and ended up spiralling up into the multi-story car park and couldn't find the escape route so had to pay for a ticket and then follow the shoppers to the exit. As a result he missed the train.

As the Gorse Fox drove into Basingstoke he saw the sign
Fire Fighters Exhibition

Immediately after was the sign

Some days you just wish there was a camera on the windscreen.

Powerpoint Karaoke

Done... now GF can relax, and drive across to Basingstoke to pick up the Reading train. The Silver Vixen is coming along for the ride, and will stop off with Betty and Barney Rubble whilst GF is in singing for his supper. (Now there's a thought - presenting karaoke-style)
Gorse Fox is giving a big presentation this afternoon... first he has to write it! Heads down. Fingers at the ready. Go!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Gorse Fox arrived at the main entrance. A sign was sellotaped to the door:
Wet paint in corridor

He thought about it briefly... but walked straight on

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


So the educationalists have finally admitted that Phonics is the best way of teaching children how tro read. It was a major subject on BBC News this morning.

Gorse Fox wonders if the educationalists who ditched phonics originally have any sense of guilt over the damage they have done to a generation of schoolchildren, just for the sake of their stupid ideas.

Immo Immas Immat

Dinner last night was taken at Immo, and Italian-style restaurant in Worcester. Great decor, bright and pleasant - good company, of course - but the staff seemed to be there under sufference. It was evident that customers were a major inconvenience.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Gorse Fox has driven through some foul weather on his way to Worcester, but hearing the traffic report he is glad he set off early as it appears the A34 has now been closed north of Winchester.

Arriving at Worcester GF finds chairs and desks everywhere... it appears that the seal linking the new part of the bilding to the old failed on Friday during the storms and caused a flood. Ooops.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Today is Father's Day, and the Gorse Fox would like to share with you the esteem in which he is held by his offspring. The card, opened this morning, announced:
Dad, you're the best
when I'm old I want to do everything the way you do it,
except the way you eat.
the way you dance
and some of your opinions are, well, crap.
GF can feel his heart swell with pride.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Toe in Sales

GF has dipped his toe in the waters of online selling. He has finally got around to putting a fine old pedestal desk on eBay. No he just has to watch and see if there's any interest. He has several other items to pass on through this route if successful.
A day of domesticity... GF helping with the Silver Vixens spreadsheets and so forth. Nothing much to report... may have more to say later!

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Silver Vixen planned to go up to Jimmy's Place to visit Auntie P.

The car was loaded, the phone set, the bluetooth connected, and off she went. Unfortunately, someone has decided to do something silly on the A34, and thus the road is shut and the Silver Vixen was sitting in 12 miles of tailback.

Consulting the map, the most sensible approach was to do an about-turn at the next off-ramp and head back home.

Urban-cub is also having an exciting day... the chaps have turned up to replace the windows in her apartment so she was very excited, and by 9am, GF had received two phone calls from her just to say how excited she was!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Quote of the week

Quote of the week probably has to go to Hugh Edwards on the Ten o'clock news on Monday:
"Gordon Brown stated that Intelligence and Politics do not mix"

Says it all really.
The day was far les busy than expected. Meetings were (unusually) spaced across the day, and most were fairly prompt.

Heavy rain has been falling (as opposed to?), but seems to be taking a rest. Still looks quite threatening outside... should be a wet drive home later.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Last week's meeting was postponed.

Today's meeting has just been postponed.

Can the GF attend a meeting next Thursday at 16:30? No, he's in Reading explaining about the programme to a bunch od worthies.

Could he do it by telecon? Not really, he's talking to a bnch of worthies about the programme.

"Oh but it's very important" came the intervention...

Wel in that case, why has it been postponed twice?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A milk of magnesia sky hung across the country as the Gorse Fox headed for Worcester. It remained dull for most of the morning, but soon after lunch the sunbroke through.

Interesting day spent researching Docbook and DITA standards and tools. Of the two, GF suspects DITA is the more interesting and powerful, but needs to get some "play-time" to get to grips with it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sceptic Tank

Those who have had the misfortune to read this blog regularly will know that the Gorse Fox is fairly sceptical about the impact of CO2 on Climate Change.

Like many Starfleet is trying to measure its carbon footprint. (Indeed, it has a very good record on the reduction of pollutants generally, over the years). GF has been asked to track his travel and record it in a spreadsheet which uses government numbers to indicate how much CO2 GF is creating.

But... can you trust the Government numbers?
  • GF's car uses diesel.
  • Diesel weighs in at 850 grams per litre.
  • GF averages 52-56 mpg (lets say 50mpg for simplicity as he has never done less than that in the last 30 months)
  • Round trip to Worcester is 340 miles (6.8 gallons) which at 4.546 litres/gal = 30.9 litres (say 31)
  • So the total weight of diesel consumed is 31 * 0.85kg = 26.35 kg
  • yet the spreadsheet (based on Government estimates) says he's created 85.5 kg of CO2 (apparently creating 3.24 times as much CO2 as there was raw diesel in tank)
  • GF appears to be creating matter very efficiently (in contravention of Lavoisier's Law of the Conservation of Mass)
Makes one want to go "Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm"

An answer (never let it be said the GF is not willing to learn!!!),
The eight molecules of CO2 weigh about three times more than the one molecule of octane you started with. That doesn't mean you've violated the law of conservation of mass; instead, you've added the weight of the oxygen from the air to the weight of the carbon from the gasoline.

See: The Slate
and Terrapass

Local tragedy

Apparently there was an incident off the coast, near Littlehampton last night. A toddler was rescued (but died later in hospital). Rescue services were still looking for a man. At 6:15 this morning a helicopter was moving slowly along our beach, obviously re-starting the search... but evidently found nothing. After about ten minutes it was eerily quiet.

Sad end to a fine weekend.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

GF felt a lot better about painting when a sea mist rolled in for an hour or two. The white undercoat was allowed to dry in a balmy 20C and the gloss was soon slapped on whilst the porch was still shaded by the house. It's all done now, so GF can enjoy a quiet hour in the garden before he attacks the masking tape.
Another glorious day on the coast. Wall to wall blue sky, and a gently breeze. Perfect.

This is the sort of weather that should drag the Gorse Fox onto the Downs with his rucksack and walking boots, but brushes and paint are demanding his presence... there's work to be done.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


What is it about Argentine footballers?

Gorse Fox has just watched Lionel Messi clearly punch a ball into the net (like Maradonna's famous episode of cheating)... the ref didn't spot it. The goal stands.

Cheating seems to be endemic in the Argentine game, and they seem to have no shame or embarrassment.


After a great deal of noxious chemicals were sloshed about, then scraping, sanding and brushing the Gorse Fox managed to re-cycle this old paint into an item of modern art worthy of Tracy Emin.

As there are no big awards up for grabs at present, GF decided save this work of genius for another day. It was duly filed away in a plastic bag, which in turn was filed in a large storage bin.

Brushing up

Now and again, reality has to impinge on the Gorse Fox. The latest reality so to do is the fact that the entrance porch is in need of a bit of care and attention. So GF expects to spend the day scraping down and painting.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Gorse Fox just noticed that The Simpsons is on HD-TV at present. This raises a question in his addled mind:

And then, hearing that there have been over 400 episodes he wonders

How do they learn their words so quickly?
How do they avoid the paparazzi - you never hear about them in the tabloid press?

Pass on through

Gorse Fox has been busy working from home today. Not much to report that would be of any interest to anyone with a brain.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Career enhancement

Gorse Fox received a phone call "Can you spare an hour to talk to a review team from Starfleet Command".

"Sure, either 13:00 or 16:00 (whilst driving)" he said.

"Oh, they're busy at 13:00... but think 16:00 will be ok. Can you delay your journey" came the reply.

GF thought about it. Three hours to drive home, chance of traffic, England kick-off at 19:30. No. He couldn't... so he told them.
"OK, We'll call you in the morning at 09:00".

Finished the day and headed to the South Coast, watched the game.

Dawn broke, GF was in the car and heading for Reading. At 09:00 the phone rang...

"Good morning this is Gorse Fox" he said

"Morning, GF..." and the questions started.

GF interrupted "Can I ask who I'm talking to?"

The list started... Vice President of x reporting to Admiral Archangel; Chief Engineer; Vice President; Chief Engineer, Chief Engineer.... etc.

"Oooops" thought the Gorse Fox, keeping them waiting over night was probably was not a career enhancing move! Hey Ho!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


A grey, pollen-laden morning greets the early riser in Worcester. Explosive charges startle the passer-by, by are soon isolated to the area around the Gorse Fox. He has woken with hay-fever and, as people shelter in doorways and beneath tables, he tries to curb the sneezing.

he gets to work to discover he is not the only one suffering and sneezing and spluttering create a symphony of sniff around the office.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Project Management

The participants would claim this to be a well-earned pint at the end of a hard day. The management team set the example and the Gorse Fox and many others in the team joined the throng, but as the evening wore on and the hay-fever got worse GF had to bail-out.
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100 Straws, please.

GF drove to Worcester by the dawn's early light... and then spent the morning in meetings. He has a few minutes respite before the next one.

Whole programme team meeting up for a pint after work... with a bit of luck we'll end up with one each, rather than one between us.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Just shuffling

A funny day. GF started by shuffling his diary to try an make more sense out of the week. This meant he had to find a hotel for Wednesday night (as well as Tuesday)... but Wednesday night is the England match against Estonia. This meant find a hotel with Sky Sports - no mean feat in the Worcester area.

Mission accomplished, room booked.

Then the phone rang. Can he attend a meeting in Reading on Thursday?

Diary re-shuffled again... hotel cancelled.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Don't get caught

So Barney Rubble was telling us about his recent trip to Cyprus, and in particular the taxis. His taxi, one evening, approached and went through a red light.

"You don't stop on red lights, then?"
he asked.

"No, we just slow down and take care"
responded the driver, and went on to explain "I did get caught once for going through. The policeman said 'Didn't you see the red light?' I told him, 'Yes, but I didn't see you''".
Cousteau-cub is on her way to the airport. A week in Sharm-el-Sheikh is in the agenda - courtesy of one of her diving friends. Trouble is, C-c is fighting off some flu-like symptoms.

GF and the Silver Vixen are off to see Betty and Barney Rubble in Old Basing. Should be a nice day.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


The walk came to an end after a final stretch through the woods and back to the car.

The total distance was 11.46 miles
The highest point reached was 436 feet
The lowest point was 0 feet
and the total ascent was 969 feet

This was a great walk, with a good mixture of woodland and open spaces... and even the climbs were fairly gentle.

Far Furlong

Gorse Fox liked the view across the Downs as he kept to his southbound route

This view took in the distant Long Furlong.


From the top of Wepham Down, the view opens out in all directions.

Perhaps the most notable landmark, however is the Isle of Wight, hovering against the horizon to the south-west.

Towards Wepham Down

The route continued eastwards, descending, then climbing before descending again and climbing finally to the horizon.

The low points of the track had filled with water and a family with mountain bikes were having great fun sweeping down the slope and ploughing into the mucky water. We stopped briefly to chat. They were covered in muddy spatter, and were just preparing to do it again.

In the field to the right were two horizontal bands that the GF had assumed to be an earthwork or ancient field system. It was not marked on the map, however, so may be something more recent.

Monet's for Nothin' and the Pics are Free

As the Gorse Fox climbed Camp Hill, towards Canada (no, not that one) an expanse of poppies gashed the hillside.

Gorse Fox couldn't help but think of Monet... and it became clear that his thought processes were in dire straits when the music started in the back of his brain.

North Stoke

Somehow, North Stoke lacked the immediate charm of South Stoke. That's not to say it's not pretty, but it seemed more utilitarian, somehow.

Even the church lacked the soaring spire of its neighbour across the river.

Colonel Bogey

No, the title does not refer to GF's hay-fever. But rather this Bridge of the River something-or-other.

Actually it's not a river at all, but another of the drainage ditches that attempt to control the Arun's flood plain.

Pretty little bridge though... and it led to a short climb (passing a lot more nervous sheep) to North Stoke.

South Stoke

South Stoke must be one of the most photogenic villages in the area.

The route followed the east bank of the Arun, affording splendid views across the water to South Stoke.

It looks so peaceful. Gorse Fox should explain, however, that he was tormented by hay fever during this walk, and the silence was broken by a concerto of sniffing and sneezing which quite alarmed a woman walking on the opposite bank. (GF avoided the West Bank, believing there's enough about that in the news at present).

Wepham and Burpham

Having plunged down though The Conyers to road level the going was a bit easier. The path spits the walker out by this lovely property.

The path across the field behind Wepham was pretty overgrown, but GF's trusty GPS kept him on track. The path drops in alongside this thatched cottage... but this is about the best view available from the path.

That last part of this section of the walk took the Gorse Fox round behind the cricket pitch at Burpham, out by the splendid George and Dragon (which he resisted), and on through the village.


Sheep are though of as pretty dumb creatures, but as the Gorse Fox climbed the path to Warningcamp Hill he observed that they were smart enough to stay in the shade whilst wearing their woolly jumpers on such a hot day.

They seemed to watch him approach and then scamper off. Usually he ignores this behaviour, but it was at this point that he watched them as they ran off into a field and lined up, about 10 yards away, squatted slightly and in unison urinated.

The Gorse Fox is used to criticism, but he thought this coordinated display to be uncalled for.

Monarch's Way

The map does not reveal the name of this little valley, though it becomes Woodleighs Hanger further to the west.

Gorse Fox has walked through here many times over the years, and finds it just charming. The steep climb down from one side and back up the other keep it fairly remote, and it is rare that he has seen any other walkers on this stretch of the Monarch's Way.

the route was going to take the GF along the valley a little way, then he would clamber up the path on the opposite side.

Across to Arundel

looking across to the west, the land dips away down to the River Arun's flood plain, and there rising majestically on the far side is Arundel Castle, and behind it (to the left) Arundel Cathedral.

Hill Barn

Hill Barn nestled deep in the fields north of Blakehusrt Farm.

it looks as if the barn has lost much of its roof and is slowly being reclaimed by nature. When GF got closer, it was clear that there were several cars there and people were about... so hopefully it is being cared for and even restored.


James was unable to join the Gorse Fox for this walk so the only conversation was that going on was between the voices in his head.

Normal political musing had not yet invaded his consciousness, something made him think of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and David Milliband.

Can't think what it was!

Into the light

The Gorse Fox emerged from the trees near Blakehurst Farm, after about twenty-five minutes. The next section of the walk would be predominantly in the open, and the tunnel vision of the woodland would be replaced by the huge panorama of the Downs.

Safari so good

About half a mile further on the Gorse fox was alerted by this sign. It was clear that Health and Safety were at work, and care would be needed. Gorse Fox had never appreciated the danger from dead trees before. He stopped and took stock. Would his natural jungle craft (learnt from the Swift Annual 1958) see him through?

He approached the dangerous stack, Swiss army knife gripped in one hand. Slowly he edged passed. He was alert for any movement, ready to whittle any attacking log down to matchsticks. He need not have worried, this stack was evidently sleeping and GF's silent progress had failed to wake it.

You may scoff at this, but a little further on the Gorse Fox could hear volleys of gunfire. He concluded this must be some Sussex variation of a safari, hunting down these errant trees.

Tunneling the Green

Leaving the car, the route plunged straight in woodland along a bridleway. These woods stretch along the north side of the A27 between the Woodman's Arms and Crossbush. Though several hundred yards in from the road the distant hum of the traffic was still evident at this stage.

Whilst a glorious day today, the last week or so has been pretty wet, so the track was very muddy, and GF was seen to leap from one high spot to another to avoid the worst of the goo, and pirouette round trees bordering deep puddles.

(There's no doubt about it, ballet's loss was computing's gain, he mused).

Angmering Park

The walk for this lovely June day started in the bottom right quadrant of the map, by the "P". This is a small parking area at The Dover. The path led clockwise through the woods and out into the open at Warningcamp.

Skirting Burpham it followd one of the drainage ditches to where it mereged with the River Arun and then along its east bank to North Stoke where the route started a long (but gentle) climb to Canada and The Burgh. It carried on then turned south to cross Wepham Down, and then followed some of the farm tracks and bridleways south passing Upper Bargeham and the finally turned west back towards the car.

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A wee stretch

The Silver Vixen is off to a meeting of her coven leaving the Gorse Fox to his own devices. On this occasion those devices are likely to be his GPS, his camera, and his walking boots as it would be silly not to make the most of the glorious sunny day that was waiting outside as the curtains were opened this morning.

Stay tuned... more details later

Friday, June 01, 2007

Passing back the Passat

The car service is complete and GF has had to reurn the Passat. He didn't really get much of a chance to test drive it (other that the journey back and forth to the garage and a quick but short trip at lunchtime).

The Passat seemed nice, but GF wouldn't have the estate.

Undue Influence

Gorse Fox has his car in for a service today. Knowing that he is likely to change his car this year, the garage have loaned him a brand new Passat Estate for the day... hoping to influence his decision. The only trouble is he has tons of work to do, so will have little opportunity to test drive this shiny toy.