Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nothing here

Nothing to see here.

A glorious dawn saw the Gorse Fox heading back up to Worcester... once there it's been a bit of a slog today... very few high spots worth discussing.

Once work was over, the Abbot and Gorse Fox had a beer with Mother Superior before joining up with the troops for a curry.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Being Helpful

The Gorse Fox is always impressed when people go out of their way to keep you informed. However, there are times when its value seems obscure.

Last Thursday when driving back from Worcester, the Gorse Fox passed a road gantry near Winchester (on the southbound carriageway) announcing "Severe Delays approaching Felixstowe".

For those of you not familiar with the basic geography of England, Felixstowe is marked on the upper right section of the map, Winchester on the lower left. There is some 167 miles of separation between Winchester and Felixstowe... and certainly not in a southerly direction.

Rave on

In his alter ego as a Councillor, the Gorse Fox occasionally receives emails from the local constabulary. In the latest the Gorse Fox is reminded that "Rave Season" is upon us and we should be wary of groups gathering with sound equipment...

But this is Sussex!

A Rave in Sussex is probably a string quartet setting up in a field and an audience turning up in their Range Rovers bringing tables, chairs, wine coolers, candelabra, and a Fortnum's hamper... how bad can that be?

Sunday, July 29, 2007


With Cousteau-cub moving back in for a few months, mobility will be a problem. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen do live in a rather remote spot and C-c will need to be able to get about and travel to and from the railway station.

After munching his way through his muesli, and reading the Sunday papers, GF set about restoring one of the three bikes that occupy the garage to full working order. Tyre pressure set, rear light working, front light working, hi-vis vest available, and security chain available.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Noah (Tewkesbury 2007)

Old Father Time passed on this wisdom:

In the year 2007, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in Tewkesbury and
said, "Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans. " He gave Noah the CAD drawings, saying, "You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights."

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard - but no Ark.

"Noah!" He roared, "I'm about to start the rain! Where is the Ark ?"

"Forgive me, Lord," begged Noah, "but things have changed. I needed Building Regulations Approval. I've been arguing with the Fire Brigade about the need for a sprinkler system.

My neighbours claim that I should have obtained planning permission for building the Ark in my garden because it is development of the site even though in my view it is a temporary structure.

We had to go to appeal to the Secretary of State for a decision.

Then the Department of Transport demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark's move to the sea.

I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.

Getting the wood was another problem. All the decent trees have Tree Preservation Orders on them and we live in a Site of Special Scientific Interest set up in order to protect the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls - but no go!

When I started gathering the animals, the RSPCA sued me. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodation was too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.
Then the County Council, the Environment Agency and the Rivers Authority ruled that I could not build the Ark until they'd conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood.

I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission on how many BMEs I'm supposed to hire for my building team.

The trades unions say I can't use my sons. They insist I have to hire only CSCS accredited workers with Ark-building experience.

To make matters worse, Customs and Excise seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species. So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark."

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky.

Noah looked up in wonder and asked, "You mean you're not going to destroy the world?"

"No," said the Lord. "The government beat me to it."
Acknowledgements to the original author.


We dropped Agent Mulder and his family at Heathrow. Maybe it's his secret agent status, but somehow he seems to get lucky. The queues in T2 were crazy, but we wheeled the luggage towards the Alitalia line.

Mulder spotted a rapid check-in and went over to claim the e-tickets... only to find he needed a separate credit card for each of the family - but got the one ticket anyway. He then marched over to the baggage drop-off and explained his dilemma "My children don't have their own credit cards"... the clerk looked up - "I shouldn't do this, but bring them over".

Mulder was checked-in with all his baggage in about 3 minutes, instead of standing in the queue that would have taken and hour or so to reach the desk.


Agent Mulder and his family need to get to Heathrow for a flight to Rome. The Gorse Fox is up and ready... the lovely (but very quiet) Laura is up and ready... other than that it's pretty quiet. GF foresees a hurricane of activity about to hit us as the deadline approaches!

Friday, July 27, 2007


After the tour of the town, a fine drizzle started so we returned to the car and headed out into the surrounding countryside to show some of quaint thatched villages of the Downs. The Gorse Fox managed to keep up a steady drivel of useless information which lulled most of his guests off to sleep.

Returning to Arundel we took our table at "Butler's" and settled down for dinner. GF hasn't been to Butler's in the evening before, but was very pleasantly surprised by their superb menu, friendliness, and excellent service. Definitely worth a return visit (soon).


The neo-Gothic Cathedral (founded in 1873) dominates the top of the hill. The Rose window seems to explode like a firework above the huge organ.

There's something very cosy about Arundel Cathedral. It not huge, like Winchester or Westminster - but rather it's almost intimate, a miniature Cathedral, but still inspiring.


(Have you any idea how hard it is to come up with all these titles beginning with X?)

Climbing the hill can't see the castle, which is hidden by the shops and houses that hug the castle walls. Once near the top, however, the size of the Castle keep becomes apparent.

Later, when we went for a drive, we followed the walls for miles - giving some idea of the sheer size of the Castle's grounds.

It's a shame they are not staying for longer as it would be nice to show them round inside.


It would appear that it is important to have photographic evidence of that fact that England has telephones. It was suggested that we all crammed in and got a passer-by to take the shot, but that was not deemed sensible.

Since when has sense been a serious criterion?


So after filling up at lunchtime, Agent Mulder and his family were escorted to Arundel for a look around.

The Castle was closed by the time we arrived, so we had to make do with walking through the town.

The ruins of the old Dominican Priory formed a good start point.


Agent Mulder runs in his own timezone. Unfortunately this is slightly out of sync with British Summer Time and the normally accepted way in which railway timetables operate. As a result the of arrival of said Agent and his family has been delayed by the necessity to catch a later train.


Gorse Fox has a days vacation. We are expecting Agent Mulder and his family later in the day and plan to take them to Arundel.

In the meantime, we have a bit of sorting-out to complete. With Cousteau-cub moving back, the house has suddenly filled up again - and we have to find homes for her stuff as well as some of ours!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Worcester on Sea

The rain is falling again in Worcester. They said it shouldn't case too many problems as it was moving across quickly, but GF notes that it has been raining incessantly for about 4 hours now.

There are rumourse that Worcestershire is changing its county flower to the water-lilly, and its symbol to Neptune with crossed flippers.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


The Mighty Atom came up with a good idea. What about allowing peoe to select nicknames for people they believe might get featured in this blog.

GF invites regular readers to send him emails at the address shown stating the name and possible nickname for likely candidates. GF will endeavour to use any good or clever suggestions... But will not reveal the source of the name or target for it.

Product placement

Gorse Fox finds himself in the strange situation that must face film producers - that of product placement. In films the question is what drink, or watch, or laptop should be used and how clearly should the logo be seen.

For the Gorse Fox it is a case of people vying to be featured in this blog, and suggesting possible pseudonyms! GF will, of course, resist such pressures and only feature people as appropriate - and they only get a pseuodonym when GF believes it meets his creative criteria.


It appears that the Gorse Fox has some new readers. He extends a warm welcome but must explain that the purpose of the various pseudonyms and nicknames is to maintain a gegree of anonymity for the people he writes about.

In other words... you'll have to guess who they are.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Just Ask

Dinner was taken with a number of elderely and crusty companions including The Abbot, Mr Magnet, Hitman and others. The original plan had been Immo's, but after the appalling service last time, GF suggested we went to Ask.

The meal was ok and as we headed off several of the more recidivist reprobates decided to ignore the clear signage, and entered a local hostelry.

GF decided the day had been long enough... and being a law-abiding citizen he headed back to the hotel.

Worcester Cathedral in the floods

From the main bridge in Worcester looking down river an almost tranquil setting belies the drama that must have unfolded as the water surged down the river.

It looks as if the water levels have dropped by about a metre since their peak.

The Quay is still submerged, Brown's Restaurant is an island and The Kleve is a playground for fish!

Worcester Floods - reprise

The Gorse Fox is back in Worcester. After the horrendous troubles reported on Friday, GF was surprised to find that it was an uneventful journey.

Nobody is really interested in the working day, but once checked-in at the hotel GF went down to the river bank to see the extent of the flooding.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Twice in the last week the Gorse Fox has left a comment on the BBC Editor's Blog asking if the new regime of honesty, balance and probity would mean that we might look forward to seeing some reasoned debate and even exposure of the science that surrounds both sides of the Climate Change argument.

Neither comment has made it past their censor. He guesses that should not be surprised


The flooding in Worcestershire, and in Gloucestershire continue to make headlines. The Rivers are bursting their banks and according to the BBC are reaching a height last seen in 1947. Gorse Fox will have to check whether it is sensible to go up this week.

Meanwhile, the Gray Monk has photos and narrative here and here that illustrate the extent of the problem in Tewkesbury. It's strange how tranquil it all seems, yet the underlying devastation must be terrible for the locals.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Agent Mulder arrives here in England today with his family. At least the weather is looking a bit better today so they won't need a boat to get them from LHR to London!

They should be come down here to Sussex on Friday, so GF and the Silver Vixen are really looking forward to seeing them.

Some of the pictures of the flooding around Tewkesbury and Worcester are horrendous. GF is so glad he drove home on Thursday and wasn't caught in the problems of Fridays aftermath of the storm.


Gorse Fox is trying to get to grips with BitTorrents. he has heard the phrase and with respect to downloads and expects it is a bit like Starfleet's internal "Download Grid". Wandering about the web he has found Azureus and uTorrent that both seem to be clients, but he hasn't worked out how the former can identify anything other than its own content.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


After drooling over the boats for sale (sail?) in the marina (no, GF doesn't mean these pictures) the troop turned back towards the west beach.

Despite living down here for eight years now, this was the first time that GF or the Silver Vixen had been down the west bank of the Arun.

As we headed towards the mouth of the Arun there were several lagoons, fairly heavily silted up. One appeared to be a graveyard for old wrecks. (No comments will be accepted at this point).

It is interesting to see how the east bank of of the Arun has been rejuvenated over the recent years.

This was the most interesting of the wrecks. An old wreck that had rotted away and collapsed in on itself.

When we finally got to the beach we sat for a while (well actually Silver Vixen wanted a cup of tea). We chatted as the boats fought the tide to leave the harbour, and fishermen vied for the best spot on the sea wall.

Must go back at some point and have a walk along that stretch.

(GF apologizes for the quality of the photos - he had a fault on the memory card on the camera so had to rely on the mobile phone camera).


Betty and Barney joined us at The Arun View for lunch. As mentioned before, The Arun View is an excellent place to eat good fish. GF ordered the skate, but they had run out. That was when he made a mistake and ordered the Chicken Balti. He should have known better - curry is best cooked by Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis - not by a chef in an English pub.

After lunch we headed across the bridge to walk round the marina. To the south the clouds were still looking menacing, but we remained in sunshine.
Another wet start to the day.

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen are expecting Betty and Barney Rubble (assuming they can wade out of Hampshire).

Friday, July 20, 2007


It would appear that we have had rain of Biblical proportions slamming into the country today. Here on the coast we had several hours of incessant down-pours first thing, but by mid-morning it had cleared and the sun was out... a few more heavy showers rattled through briefly but it was not troublesome.

However, it would appear that Worthing Hospital was under 18" water, Littlehampton and Arundel were awash. We, evidently, got off lightly compared to many.


Gorse Fox has spent the day locked in the cells of his spreadsheet - and it will be of no interest to any of his readers... so he moves on.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Gorgeous day - weather wise; shame to be stuck inside.

It's nice to see that Boston responded to the Random 8 challenge. Gorse Fox knew he was secretive, but now he understands why.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


The evening was nice. We went to the Cardinal's Hat only to find that Ms Whiplash and her team were there. So we had a great deal of fun speculating on what Boston was going to write in response to the Random 8 challenge - he has lived such a varied life, crossing so much of the world, and so much is hidden in secrecy... time will tell.


So having got to the point of completing a model against which we can forecast, GF was offered a new challenge. To construct a model of what the costs would be if we had designed everything differently.

Back to the spreadsheets.

Air Movement Device

GF is still embedded in spreadsheets trying to keep foul smelling products away from air movement devices.

Don't even ask him about the lost 90 minutes spent in a meeting

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The Gorse Fox met with some colleagues in the Cardinal's Hat. After ensuring that their beer was of an adequate standard we decided to move on and treat ourselves to a traditional English delicacy - curry.

Strolling along Friar Street, a tall and gorgeous blonde (a bit like Urban-cub) charged out of a bistro and grabbed one of the Gorse Fox's colleagues.

"Are you John Lennon?" she said. "You look just like John Lennon. I'm your greatest fan. I love your music" she gushed, flinging her arms round him.

Rob looked surprised. In fact he looked utterly shocked - particularly when we pointed out he was dead.



GF seems to have spent the whole day in spreadsheets, trying to unpick existing figures and create a "scientific method" that will help him explain his forecasts (when he gets to the point of making them).


Another day, another series of interesting challenges!

Today GF has to predict the future... it's an easy question: "How much will the rest of what we want to do cost?", but just to add a little spice to the projections, we only have headline requirements.... oh yes, and even though they are projections, GF will be held to them.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Gorse Fox is back in his hotel in Worcester having just finished dinner with the Abbot and Mr Magnet. We were all completely bushed... it has been a hard, hard day as we try to adapt the programme finances which had been developed elsewhere to fit the reality of what the programme is asking.

Looking back at slides the Gorse Fox delivered to the board in june 2005 - he is interested to note that his estimates (even then) looked to be pretty accurate.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Gorse Fox is making a cup of tea as he glances up a raven-haired girl of oriental origin is strolling past the window clutching a bit of paper.

"That's not something you see every day" he thinks as he goes to the door to see what she wants.

"Can I help you?"

"Yes, I am looking for Mr XXXX. It says his address is NNNNNNN but all of the houses have names, I have no number" she replies, pointing at the paper.

"Well, that's the house called NNNNNNN, but Mr XXXX does not live there. The owner's name is YYYY and he's been there for at least ten years" offered the Gorse Fox.

"So it's not Mr XXXX who used work at the Ritz Casino?" she checked.

"No" chuckled the GF as he imagined Mr YYYY as a croupier, or bouncer at a casino. "No, I'm sure it's not".

"Oh, ok then" she called as she turned and walked away.

GF likes the bizarre.

After Eight

The Gorse Fox has been "tagged" by the inestimable Gray Monk. It is now beholding on him to respond to the challenge... and to provide eight random things about his mysterious persona.

MMMmmmm, where to start?

  1. The Gorse Fox spent 4 of his formative years training to be a Brother (monk) in a teaching order.
  2. The last year of that training was spent very happily in Rhode Island, where among other things he learnt the pleasures of good pizza, the hard work of clearing logs in a forest, and how to skate, play ice hockey, play volleyball, and play American Football.
  3. Realising he did not have a vocation he returned to England, took A-Levels, went to College and met the Silver Vixen (who was working at a pub whilst waiting to start her nursing training). In an effort to get to know her GF took a job as assistant manager at the pub - just as she left.
  4. GF missed the Silver Vixen's 18th Birthday Party in order to go to a Led Zeppelin Concert
  5. GF wrote the software for the first computer-compiled English dictionary (and had his name in the credits on the fly-leaf of the first two editions).
  6. GF designed the computing infrastructure that delivers the BBC World Service
  7. GF can't watch any horror films - nor indeed any film where the family are used a victims. Family is too precious
  8. GF is one of the world's optimists, and can usually find humour in anything. He would like his obituary to say "Nice man, always smiling".
    However, he hates - with a passion - "isms". "isms" are a collective description that are used to label groups or group-thinking. Gorse Fox believes in "Respect for the Individual" and thinks that if we all live by that code, "isms" will disappear.
Well... that's it from GF. Now who should tag? He thinks the monster at The Boston IT Party, Mark at Blognor Regis, and James at Whatsthatsmell.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Glynde - Lewes Route Profile

GF was a bit lethargic and was not really in the mood for a walk, but he is so glad he forced himself. This was a superb route through some of the nicest parts of the Downs.

This was the profile for the walk.

Distance 6.5 miles
Total ascent 1400 feet, with a maximum elevation of 462 feet, and a minimum height of 7 feet above sea level.

(If you want to see more photos from this walk, then look at the Glynde - Lewes photoset on my Flickr account).

Update: GF has also made a Google Map of this walk with more photos. This is best view in the "hybrid" view.
From Saxon Down, the Gorse Fox climbed back into the field where he had started the climb to Mount Caburn, but sticking to the northern edge found his way down a little used farm track to Home Farm, and the village of Glynde once more.

Glynde has a huge reputation for such a small village. It hosts a Food and Drink festival and is also known for its link with opera (the art form, not the browser). On 28th May 1934 John Christie whose family had lived at Glyndebourne an old Tudor manor since 1617, opened the Glyndebourne Opera House. The building catered for about 300 people, and became synonymous with English Opera. In 1992 the building was demolished and a new one contructed, this was opened in 1994 seating 1150 people. Glyndebourne is now the major operatic centre in the UK.

Walking down through the village GF was struck by the elegance of this old lychgate. The weathered oak has evidently stood firm years, the Sussex flint wall setting it off against the churchyard beyond.

On the final stretch back towards the car, GF saw these cottages. He had noticed them earlier but this view shows the various changes that have adapted the cottage over the years.

A couple of hundred yards later GF was back at the car and getting ready for the drive home. A cyclist kicked up a cloud of chalk dust as he came to halt by the next car. "Good day for it" called the Gorse Fox, "Oui, monsieur" responded the cyclist. "It was windy up near the top of Mount Caburn" offered GF. "Oui, zo I voz at Bitchy Head" responded the Gaul. GF couldn't help bu wonder if he had taken a wrong turn last week and was desperately searching for the rest of the peloton who were, by now, climbing mountains the other side of France.

Saxon Down

The southern edge of Saxon Down skirts a steep drop at Saxon Cross. Dense undergrowth protects the edge, but as it ends the ground drops away to the Weald below.

GF cannot find much about Saxon Down, but it is scattered with tumuli, so obviously had some significance to ancient or medieval man.

On the eastern side of the Down is track (possibly called Week Lane), carved deeply into the chalk by years of use. As it climbs around the high point, the side of the hill is scarred by old quarrying and the spoil heaps that were left.

Bible belt

Having climbed back up near Cuilfail, the Gorse Fox headed across the Golf Course - watching carefully for strangely dressed men with wayward balls swinging in from the left or the right. (In this part of Sussex, you can never be too careful).

Once clear of the golfers, GF had the Downs to himself again. Traversing the slope of Cliffe Hill, GF got this view up along Caburn Bottom - you can see as it zigs and zags climbing slowly up to the Mount.

This seemed like an ideal spot for a short break. The Gorse Fox shrugged off his rucksack, and dropped his camera, map and GPS to the ground. What an idyllic spot for lunch. Delving into his pack, he retrieved one of Ginster's finest, and a bottle of carbonated water.

As he ate he watched as the waves of colour marched across the hill, driven by the stiff summer breeze. Finally, he twisted the cap on the bottle (carefully) and freed the imprisoned carbon dioxide. Fly away little molecules. Be free!

Finishing lunch GF set off again. He was walking along the upper edge of Bible Bottom and peering down into its depths looking for the earthwork that gave it its name.

It suddenly occurred to the Gorse Fox that it was staring him in the face. This wasn't a partly harrowed field on the side of hill - it was the "The Bible". Not sure what page it's open on... but that's it.

(Interestingly, there is picture, owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum, of Bible Bottom painted in 1881 by the artist Hine)

Not Morse

Near the entrance to Golf Club, the road teeters on the edge of the chalk cliff looking down over Lewes.

Hugging the banks of the River Ouse and dominating a gap in the South Downs, Lewes is the County Town of East Sussex, and it sits on the Greenwich Meridian. The town was the site of the Battle of Lewes in 1264. It is the location of several historic buildings, including Lewes Castle, the remains of Lewes Priory, and the so-called "Anne of Cleves House" (which was given to, but never lived in by, the divorced queen).

On 27 December 1836, an avalanche occurred in Lewes, the worst ever recorded in England. It was caused by a large build-up of snow on the nearby cliff slipping down onto a row of cottages called Boulder Row (now part of South Street). About fifteen people were buried, and eight of these died. A pub in South Street is named The Snowdrop in memory of the event. Don't you just love the sense of humour we British tend to show in adversity?

The Gorse Fox has visited Lewes Castle when exploring the town with the Silver Vixen. Though completely surrounded by a thousand years of urban growth, Lewes Castle stands at the highest point of Lewes and provides some wonderful views over the town.

The original fortification was a wooden keep, later converted to stone. It is unusual for a motte and bailey construction because it has two mottes. It was built in 1087 by William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, the brother-in-Law of William the Conqueror.

Looking across to the northern edge of Lewes you can see the River as it carves its route through the Weald, and the Downs rising again in the background. Gorse Fox was on that section of the Downs back in April

Down among the Bottoms

Leaving Mount Caburn, the Gorse Fox started a long a straight descent. Several hundred yards ahead of him, another walker was blazing the trail. "At least" thought the GF "if there are any ne'er-do-wells hiding in the long grass, they will reveal themselves as he goes by."

Any regular reader (probably an insomniac) will know the deep affection GF has for the Downs. He must say that this stretch counts among the best. The soft grass shimmered in waves as the wind blew up the valley. The folds of the Downs promised to reveal more with every step. The shadows cast by the scudding clouds seemed to emphasize the diverse colours of the route ahead.

This is an interesting spot. It is the nexus of Oxteddle Bottom, Bible Bottom, and Caburn Bottom.

There's definitely something wonderful about the Sussex Bottoms. They just seem to flow, gently sculpted into the landscape.

This picture shows Bible Bottom, and you can just pick out some old field systems as ridges in the slope at the back of the picture.

Beginning the climb up from the depths of the Bottom the view opened up once more. The field, though looking as if it has an orange hue in the picture, was a awash with small yellow flowers, purple flowers, and the feathering seed heads of the long grass. As the wind blew across it, it seemed almost pearlescent in the way the colours changed.

Caburn Fort

Traversing the last part of the climb, and negotiating the defensive ditches, the Gorse Fox found himself in the centre of the the old hill fort.

It is easy to see why it was built - providing panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and affording early warning of any unwanted visitors.

This is the view slight west of south along the River Ouse towards Newhaven and the sea.

As with many earthworks, you tend not to see the defensive ditches and ramparts once you are within the enclosure. However, even after thousands of years of erosion, they are still fairly deep ditches, and steep ramparts and would certainly slow any marauding attacker.

Oh yes, and calling it a "mount" is obviously a bit of local humour. It's only 480 feet high.

According to Natural England: "The cultural history of Mount Caburn mirrors its wildlife value. The reserve contains the 'Caburn', one of the best preserved and most important Bronze Age hill-forts in Sussex. The hill's name probably derives from the Celtic 'Caer Bryn' meaning 'stonghold hill'.

In the 18th century, John Ellman, the local tenant farmer, developed the internationally famous South Down breed of sheep on this downland. Once the world's most important breed, the South Down is now a rare breed."

Follow this link for more information on Mount Caburn

Mounting the Downs

After crossing a small field, the Gorse Fox had a straight, steady, and fairly comfortable climb.

The hummock at the top right is Mount Caburn - but more about that later.

Looking down to his left there was a wonderful plantation of mixed deciduous trees. GF thinks they are edge on old disused Caburn Pit, but as he didn't go to investigate - can't be sure.

Diverting off the path brought the Gorse Fox to the entry to Mount Caburn. This hill is now maintained by English Nature and is crowned by by earthworks stemming back to the megalithic era.

Starting at Glynde

Just over Glynde Bridge is a little chalk car park by the side of the river. This is where Gorse Fox parked the car, then sat in the boot whilst putting on his walking gear.

Next to him a man of uncertain years (but certainly more than the Gorse Fox) sat in his car with the window open, listening to classical music. His newspaper was held open against the steering wheel. The river trickled by... all was peaceful.

At least it was until he dozed off and fell against the steering wheel. The horn blared. The peace was shattered. He sat bolt upright with the look of a startled rabbit trapped in the headlights. Then, realising he might have been seen he started to fiddle with the steering wheel and examine it as if it had been intentional.

Chuckling to himself, Gorse Fox left the car park and headed in towards the village. It nestles below a cluster of Downs that separate it from Lewes.

The architecture is a bit mixed, stemming from a long history of use, but could be characterised as "English quaint".

A small shop hides just round the corner from the main road through the village. It seems to be the only place in the village where the locals can buy anything (though, no doubt, there was a pub somewhere).

And opposite the village store was this confection of pink sugar icing render and flint

Immediately after these cottages, a stile marks the start of the footpath up into the Downs... and the next stage of the Gorse Fox's walk.

Glynde - Lewes

So today's walk started with a drive across into East Sussex, to the village of Glynde.

Starting at the bottom rightmost point on the map the planned route led into the village and then clockwise round the loop. The climbing, the route leads up to a high point, where a brief southerly diversion takes in Caborn Mount. Then plunging over the side you descend into Oxteddle Bottom where it joins Bible Bottom. Continuing westwards, the walk skirts the southern side of the Golf Club before turning briefly north with some splendid views over Lewes. At Cuilfail you start the return leg of the route - cutting across the golf course, skirting the northern edge of Bible Bottom, then along the edge of Saxon Down, before turning back south over Glynde Holt then down towards Home Farm and back to the start.

Routing about

The Silver Vixen is exhibiting at a craft fair at Petworth with some of her coven (GF hopes there's no ducking-stools)... and the weather looks fine. The Gorse Fox has, therefore, been wandering about over his maps. He thinks he has found a nice route in the Downs to the east of Lewes.

More later...

MS Lost

There has been an agreement between the British National Archive and Microsoft "to invest in a solution that would grant access to their legacy data."

The BBC nail this when they quote Gordon Frazer (MD of MS UK): "Unless more work is done to ensure legacy file formats can be read and edited in the future, we face a digital dark hole."

It reminds the Gorse Fox of stories of kids being paid to break windows so that the local glazier could get some business. As the BBC says:
This is a surprisingly honest statement from a company that is the largest provider of incompatible and undocumented legacy file formats in the world.

Thanks to the co-operation of many companies that find themselves in strong competition, but understand the necessity of preserving the encoding, there is an Open Standard for office documents: the "OpenDocument format" (ODF), which is maintained and further developed by OASIS, an international e-business standardisation organisation, and has been certified by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO). There are also many competing products that use these formats. The Gorse Fox is a great advocate of OpenOffice and for several years now has been using it as primary word processor for work at home (but because the Government are so deeply imbedded in Microsoft's pocket and so profligate with taxpayers' money... he still has to use Word at work).

That brings us back to Microsoft and its own open format, called MS-OOXML. But how can you consider MS-OOXML an Open Standard. OOXML may be subject to patent claims, and ultimately the development of the format depends completely on the future existence of one company.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Good Advice

Gorse Fox has just been given some good advice:
  1. You don't get old being a fool!
  2. Age, skill, and treachery will always overcome youth and arrogance!
  3. Don't mess with us OLD TIMERS!
You have been warned!
That was an interesting day.

It started off with an hour or two with Mother Superior reviewing a number of aspects of the programme... which seemed to go quite well. Then Magnum turned up and gave us all the benefit of his view of life, the universe, and the Department (and budgets). Talking of which, the great and the good (Minister & top Mandarin) turned up today, so everyone was on their best behaviour.
Compared to most of the week it was a pretty successful morning... it would be nice to get on the road back to Sussex, though

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Well that was a pretty difficult day. GF is back in the hotel now, but still as spreadsheets and and a slide pack to work on.
GF suspects there is mischief afoot, but can't put his finger on it just now.

Red Berets

The Teddy Bear and Dr Bognor are parachuting in today.

What fun

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


After the frenetic activity came to a halt and the office emptied, GF met up with some of the team over a foaming weissbier... then we made a collective mistake.

We decided to eat at Amigo's again.
They must have a second chef by now.
They must be quicker this time.

And so, at 20:10 we entered the restaurant. We were warned that it would be slow unless we ordered the chimichangas or enchilladas... No problem, we could manage that. We ordered and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Then at about ten-fifteen or ten-thirty it all turned up.

Problem Solving

It alwqys make the Gorse Fox chuckle... when the going gets tough, Starfleet start to throw managers at it. GF has a picture of a pyramid in in his mind...

Standing on its point

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


The work day went much as expected. Unfortunately, the uninformed have latched on to one design concept and believe its removal is a panacea. Actually, the problem is that some rash estimates have been accepted as gospel... Now we need to unpick the damage. Hey Ho!

Finally got away and met up with team in Cardinal's Hat where the analysis continued... and then headed to Singapore (the restaurant... not the State) where conversation ranged wildly across chaos theory, Benoit Madelbrot, climate Change, Pollution and who was going to win at pool.

Meanwhile the Silver Vixen had been on the phone and has been invited to join her sister on holiday for a couple of weeks. GF tried to convince her that she should make the most of the opportunity, but she was not convinced... but will hopefully give it some more thought.
A very pleasant and uneventful drive in the summer sunshine brought the Gorse Fox back to Sussex. There's nothing quite like snuggling into your own armchair in the evening.
It's 07:50, it's Worcester... and so it begins!

Monday, July 09, 2007


GF thinks this week will be metaphorically bloody. He is mentally girding his loins (though believes that lions may be more appropriate).

An early morning tootle up to Worcester will be the start of things. Then we have to try and avoid a Chichester Cathedral being turned into a '60s tower-block because people believe we're building the Vatican. (Or is it a case of a VW Passat being turned into a Lada because they think we're building a Rolls Royce).


Questions are being asked - rightly - regarding the design approach to the project. It is always healthy to check you are doing the right thing. What worries the Gorse Fox is the outcome if he fails to explain things adequately...
Why are you doing that?

Well it's the basis upon which we are designing your future systems - it is one of the key principles of design that we agreed with the board two years ago.

But those foundations look expensive, and we want to start building before they're poured. So are you sure we need them?
GF has to be on form for this one... (and see if there's a way of building the same sort of foundations more quickly)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

See CO2

Gorse Fox just thought that this would be interesting. A random photo taken of the sky today. Then an image to show how much of that is actually CO2.

385ppm apparently.

On a picture of this size, that's equivalent to the little square.

Just thought you should know.
Posted by Picasa


This was the rather easy route profile. Nothing too taxing at all.
Total distance was about 6.1 miles.
Total ascent about 580 feet.
It was a very easy and pleasant walk and should be easy enough for anyone to complete - no stiff climbs, no rough terrain.

As stroll in the park.

If you'd like to see more details of this walk then the Gorse Fox has created a Google Map of the route and added some place marks that show more photos.

Final Stretch

Up near Springhead and heading toward a cross-dyke, the Gorse Fox was on the final stretch.

This was the view south, where he had just come from.


Turning north the view opened up a bit more. Over to west GF could see Bury Hill and Glatting Beacon (both of which have featured in earlier walks).

On this stretch he passed one or two walkers on the long but gentle climb back up towards Springhead Hill

By thunder

Turning west at Lee Farm the Gorse Fox was heading toward the northern flank of Wepham Down.

This was a made road so as it was summertime the living going was easy. (Thinks: there's a rythm to that; might make a good song lyric).

Gorse Fox was being stalked by a couple of women on horses as he marched on. He assumed they were paparazzi or something... so ignored them and strode on. Let them print the pictures, he doesn't care. Rounding the bend at the foot of the down, they turned off to the south and GF carried on.

He noticed that several of the fields triggered bouts of hey-fever as he passed them, but then it died away as quickly as it had started. The other thing that was driving him mad was the preponderance of thunder flies that seemed to be attracted to his turquoise polo shirt and any exposed skin. As he walked he continually had to swipe them off... and must have looked like a complete nut-case as ambled on. (Hmmmm! maybe that's why the ladies on their horses never got too close).

Harrow Hill

The car park at Chantry post was busier than Kithurst.

Several walkers were setting off along the SDW and cyclists were preening themselves in their Lycra prior to putting their pedals to work.

The Gorse Fox was not worried about the sudden flurry of humankind - he was turning south, away from the throng (well, it was throng of about 5 people).

Heading along the bridleway he could see the norh-east slope of Harrow Hill. Unfortunately there are no official paths or bridleways that cross the hill - though GF did see a runner come straight over the top (scaring a few deer as he ran).

To the south west the view was less dramatic but nevertheless the patchwork of grasses and fields stitched together with the narrow headgerows and embroidered with the deep green of the copses still caught the eye.

Evidently the livestock of Sussex are well-educated, as the farmers even put up signs instructing them how to behave in the countryside.

The path continued to the west of Harrow Hill leading the Gorse Fox down towards Lee Farm.

Turning south

A final view down from the north side of the escarpment as the Gorse Fox turned south back towards the South Downs Way and Chantry Post

Wepham Down from Chantry Hill

From Chantry Hill, the view down to the sea started with the sensuous curves of the Downs as they rise up to Wepham Down, and then they drop away to the coastal plain near Littlehampton.