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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More power

The Silver Vixen had a long standing appointment to meet up with a friend for lunch. The Gorse Fox would be left to his own devices. The delivery man knocked on the door and presented the GF with an envelope full of PC World vouchers (courtesy of Starfleet) and so the Gorse Fox hopped into the car and headed toward Hove.

After much deliberation he decided on a desk PC rather than a laptop. He didn't need the portability, and the desk PC is better for connecting devices without trailing wires over the top of the desk. Satisfied that he had chosen well he went to see the man. The man offered the Gorse Fox lots of additional ways in which he could spend money - few of them with any value or interest. He then went and checked the stock only to find they had none. He checked the local Curry's (part of the same group) and assured me they were only 200 yards down the road and they had two.

Spinning on his heels and thanking the gentleman for his help GF whizzed down the road. Curry's, it turns out, were having a refit - but yes they did have the stock. The problem was it was not accessible. Could they check and see who else may have it? GF encouraged this proactive approach. They phoned Chichester's PC World - they had the machine but wouldn't reserve it for the 45 minutes it would have taken to get there "... but chances are it will still be available". The Gorse Fox was not impressed. The chappie then said he would check Worthing as it was closer - and lo' they had one also.

Thanking the man, GF headed back to the car and made his way back to Curry's in Worthing - only to find it had closed and re-located. With no inkling where it had gone GF went to park up and to access the internet on his phone - only realising that he had parked in front of where Curry's had moved to! Fifteen minutes later he returned to the vehicle clutching a new PC and monitor.

He now has the pleasure of spending the next few days determining what to transfer and what to leave behind.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


We stopped for tea and a sandwich then carried on around the gardens. Lover's Lane, Witcher's Wood (the Gorse Fox thought of SV's coven, but said nothing in case they were hovering around), Jubilee Pond, Augustinii Corner, the American Garden, and the the rockery. The rockery was vast, but looking a little tired.. it could really do with being stripped and replanted (but it was still better than the one at Wisley).

An ice cream seemed an appropriate reward for our exertions and the perfect end to the visit. We headed home, retracing our route through the New Forest, up to Southampton and along the A27. It was here that the chap in front decided to make the journey more interesting. At 70(-ish) in lane 3 of the M27 he decided to veer out of lane, the Gorse Fox slowed and dropped back as the guy drifted over the rumble strip and side-swiped the armco barrier for about 20 yards. This obviously woke him up with a start as he regained his composure and returned to his lane as if nothing had happened. GF passed him som time later - the side of his Picasa was no picture - scraped and scratched - and GF would assumed the aroma inside was none too pleasant either.

P.S. If you would like to see more of the photos from our trip to Exbury, please browse through the Gorse Fox's Flickr set.
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During the Second World War, the house and grounds at Exbury were taken over by the Royal Navy and became the base for much of the training in the use of landing craft.

As you walk through the woods and eventually emerge at the banks of the Beaulieu River there is plaque in memory of the men who lost their lives in the landings and taking of Arromanches. It is a serene spot and fitting place to remember heroes.
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The Japanes Bridge provided a crossing point for the stream that fed this small lake. Huge carp patrolled just below the surface and small flotillas of ducks paddled back and forth and polished the surface to a fine reflective shine.

Gorse Fox can imagine this place being absolutely overrun with visitors in the summer and at weekends. We were so lucky to pick a quiet day.
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On its way

Exbury has the most astounding and extensive collection of Acers that the Gorse Fox has seen anywhere, and it was clear that they are preparing for their annual explosion of colour. At Exbury they are tucked in and around almost every bit of planting and though many are quite subtle at the moment it will only be a week or two before they reach their best and emerge from the backgrounds with a huge "Ta-Daaaa"
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Not exactly

The gardens at Exbury were laid out by the de Rothschild family and are now mature and present a wonderful scene to the visitor. We had been lucky, visiting mid-week in late September, the gardens were almost deserted and we seemed to have the place to ourselves. The occasional propane-driven buggy went past giving the infirm a whistlestop tour, but other than that there were just a few couples wandering about like us.

The camera again dragged us along like a divining rod for pictures. This Japanese Bridge caught the eye - not exactly Monet's Bridge at Givenchy, but certainly picturesque.
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The weather was, as forecast, superb. Light fluffy clouds dusted the blu canopy and the sun turned its spotlight back on the south coast. The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen headed off once more. This time we headed west passing Arundel, Chichester, Portsmouth and the at Southampton diverting south into the edges of the New Forest.

Today's destination was Exbury Gardens.
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Heading off

After several wonderful hours in Ann Boleyn's home it was a case of heading off (and she knows more about that than most).

It was a wonderful spot and a terrific and historic place for a visit.

(If you are interested in seeing some further photos from Hever then do have a look at the Flickr set)
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Back in the more formal areas we came back to the rockery - and Gorse Fox thought how nice it was in comparison to the monstrous specimen at Wisley. He had commented that very morning that he had concluded that the rockery at Wisley was "naff" and could do with some decent design... and here was an example of a well designed rockery.
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At the east end of the lake was a small cascade the managed water level for the lake and allowed the excess water to flow down into the passing River Eden.
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It was lovely and warm still, but overcast. The autumn colours were struggling to start their show - but unfortunately the greyness of the sky flattened the colours.

Having left the Castle we went for a stroll across the 16-acre island and onwards around the lake. Once we had walked past the water maze we had the place to ourselves and didn't see another soul until we had walked right round the lake.
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Water always acts as a draw for the Gorse Fox and Hever Castle had a moat and a 36 acre lake (dug by 748 workmen in the early 1900s).
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Hever Castle & Grounds, Sept 09 The drawbridge still works, apparently and the portcullis is one of the oldest in the country. Virginia creeper bleeds down the front of the building and beckons the visitor to cross the moat and look at treasures within.

Needless to say (for a UK attraction) no photography was permitted inside. But despite this the house was fantastic and the route took you through almost every nook and cranny of the castle. It houses one of the best collections of Tudor artefacts in the country and the whole buidling is quite beguiling. It has a scale that seems domestic... you can imagine living in it (unlike most castles).

Neo-Tudor Village

In the Astor's development they realised that extending or changing the castle to house the staff and guests was a non-starter. As a result they got together with an architect and built a mock Tudor village at the back of the castle large enough to house 100 staff and lucky guests.
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The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen had a day out. We gathered our passports (as we had to cross into Kent) and set out in a north easterly direction through Findon, Cowfold, Crawley, Edenbridge and on to Hever.

Hever was the home of Ann Boleyn before her marriage to Henry VIII. Over the centuries the house has passed through several families - but perhaps most significant was the Astors who had the money and imagination to restore and protect the castle, the estate and its environs.
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Sunday, September 27, 2009


The lake was tranquil, the visitors staying predominantly on one side. We had a fabulous day, and enjoyed the visit. As Gorse Fox waited by the entrance (while the Silver Vixen was browsing in the shop) he watched the world go by... there were hats heading back for the cars preparing to bring the roads to a halt again, there were wigs, there were shorts that should never see the light of day, and there were precious children being scolded by their mother "Tarquin, that behaviour is really not appropriate".
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There are some things that come as a surprise as you walk around the manicured lawns of Surrey.

Wisley is currently hosting a sculpture trail - displaying interesting, beautiful, eclectic and outright bizarre items of glass, wood, stone, and every type of metal you could imagine. By the lake this mother and daughter waited and watched.
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To the north-west of the main entrance, past the restaurant is the entrance to the river walk, heather gardena nd pinetum. We had never been across to this part of the garden before and were delighted to find how peaceful it was and how few people seemed to be there.

The true autumn colours have not started to paint the landscape yet... that will probably take another two or three weeks, but colours were just starting to change.
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The journey to Wisley took longer than expected. There seemed to be a lot of "hats" out today and it took a while for them to get out of the way, or the Gorse Fox to sweep by them.

The pretty villages of Sussex and Surrey rolled by - Fittleworth, Petworth, Northchapel, Chiddingfold, Milford and so forth. A prat (technical term) in a Volvo pulled out of a lay-by and turned deliberately on to the southbound carriageway. This would be fine - other than the fact he was driving northbound. The Gorse Fox flashed his lights and hammered on his horn bu the car ignored him and carried on. It was only when a stream of southbound traffic was bearing down on him that he realised his predicament and swerved onto the correct side of the road.

GF was surprised at how busy Wisley was. The car park was chock full and there were people everywhere.
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The Gorse Fox was presented with another fabulous day. The Silver Vixen had no commitments and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have have a day out. The question was "where should we go".

We last went to Wisley Gardens in the spring and being members of the RHS, entrance is free... it seemed like a good plan.
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Not the Andaman Sea

And no... he didn't chicken out.

Cousteau-cub is often telling us of the 30C temperatures of the sea where she dives in Thailand. In the Gorse Fox's considred opinion that probably exceeds the temperature of the English Channel today.

As his goose bumps grew goose bumps and things began to shrivel in the cold the Gorse Fox tried to acclimatise. Strangely, it was not long before he actually felt quite comfortable and started to enjoy the water. He didn't stay in too long, but in the end must admit that he quite enjoyed it - and felt remarkably warm when he finally returned to his towel.

Having just had a hot shower, he's now glowing and feeling unbearably smug.
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This morning's walk was too much. The sea looked so inviting that GF decided that he would make the most of the warm seas and fight his way through the crowds to have a swim.

Urban-cub dutifully accompanied him to beach and kept watch over his glasses and towel and decided to record the moment for posterity.
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It was too nice to stay indoors. A gorgeous September day beckoned and the Gorse Fox went down to the beach to join the heaving masses that were making the most of the last shreds of summer.

As you can see, Gorse Fox had to fight his way through the crowds as he made his way west towards Angmering-on-Sea. The tide was coming in forcing the walkers and sunbathers into a narrower and narrower strip of beach. To escape the crowds he turned inland near the pub (could that really be coincidental?) and then made his way back through the village.

Life's a beach... as they say.
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Own devices

The Gorse Fox has been left to his own devices. The Silver Vixen is at the Worthing Patchworkers' coven's exhibition to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Black cats are streaming away from Worthing in fear. Frogs, toads, and newts are taking refuge anywhere they can.

GF, meanwhile, has been catching up on some email and some more reading regarding the climate. The more he reads the more convinced he is that we are being absolutely conned by the media and the politicians... as more and more scientists and scientific groups speak out and go into writing against the "so-called" consensus. Scientific debate is being stifled by media outlets such as the BBC because of their religious fanaticism on the subject... and politicians won't raise the subject for fear of being pilloried by the media. At the same time as more and more scientists are speaking out, the UN (always with their finger on the pulse) have said "the science has become more irrevocable than ever". Well maybe that because some of the figures have been fiddled... GF recommends that you read this article "The Dog Ate Global Warming".

It also amused GF to read (in this article): 
The AGW hypothesis is based on temperature rises between about 1975 and 1998 or about 25 years worth of data.  This is claimed to be definitive yet the last 10 years worth of data shows falling global temperatures.  This is claimed to be a short term aberration and of no consequence.  I do not see how 25 years can be considered definitive beyond dispute while 10 years of data is a short term aberration...

By all means let's save the planet... let's husband its resources and take care not to abuse it. But for goodness sake let's stop this utter drivel that we continually get fed by the politicians and the press. As one commentator (John Marshall) said:
This may be a case of ‘do not be blinded by truth if it distorts your claims’.

And finally a quote that sums it up, from Dr Ritesh Arya
Old Proverb Modified by Dr Ritesh Arya to explain global warming

Friday, September 25, 2009

Strictly catching up

The Gorse Fox is delighted that "Strictly..." is on. It gives him a chance to catch up on other TV shows that he had missed.

R and R

The Gorse Fox is just winding down and finishing work. He has week's holiday scheduled and is greatly looking forward to it!

With Apologies...

The Gorse Fox came down to make hi morning cup of tea and as he opened the curtails the sun exploded across the South Coast having hauled itself over the horizon in an autumnal, lazy manner. The words
"... on the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin' fishes play,
An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China Brighton 'crost the Bay!"
rattled through his mind and he thought of the enjoyable times he spent at "O-level" studying Kipling. Then the moment passed and he realised how lucky he was and that kids today have probably never Kippled.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Gravity - the Gorse Fox wonders how people managed before Newton discovered it - has usually been kind to GF. Today, however, it decided to pick on Urban-cub. As a result she managed to spill or knock over almost everything she has touched - including natural yoghurt in Sainsbury, oil and water in our kitchen. GF has decided to stay clear for now.

The Gorse Fox's home PC seems to be struggling through its death throws. Five machine checks this morning brought the system up and down (its that gravity again)... and GF was delighted that he had laptops to select from. His work laptop served him well as he managed to squeeze significant cost out of bid configuration and the continuous crashing of the main PC failed to trouble him.

Now the question is does he replace the PC and if so does he choose another deskside unit or does he go for another laptop?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


GF has just finished for the the day... and he's finished with a significant Eureka moment. Now he needs to wait until morning to discuss his findings with someone who can distinguish between a large muscled mass at the base of the spine and a hinge joint in the arm.

Need sleep now... glad GF was working at home!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Today is the 33rd anniversary of the day on which Cousteau-cub first brought joy to the world. As the Gorse Fox was remembering that (first) sleepless night he realised that some of the details are no longer retrievable from his memory - like, for example, where did he park the car that night? How long did it take him to stop smiling?

Happy Birthday C-c.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Because of his extreme age, the Gorse Fox has just been (somewhat ironically) in receipt of a nice thank you note from the UK Chief Exec of Starfleet - this is the same Chief Exec who has just decided to decimate the Gorse Fox's pension.

He has also been the choice of vouchers for M&S, PC World, John Lewis etc... and to be fair it is not insignificant. The problem is - which vouchers does he apply for? John Lewis for new camera (trouble is they don't have the model GF wants) or PC World for a new computer (to replace the family computer which keeps crashing)...

No hurry, but he's got to decide soon. Then he has to arrange his formal "dinner".


Another thrilling day at the screen-face. Davy lamp was checked, canaries showed no sign of discomfort, and there was room at the screen-head for one more worker and so it was that Gorse Fox logged on for another day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The Gorse Fox managed to get through to Cousteau-cub. It is her birthday this coming week and it was nice to make contact. She is obviously enjoying things on Ko Lanta and has even got a motorbike to get around on. As she said it sounds like a much more grown-up island.


The adminisblitz continues. The Gorse Fox has spent all morning checking through piles of old credit card receipts - just to make sure everything is on an even keel and no indolent little scrote had been siphoning funds from family purse. All is indeed well, and he is at one with the world.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Today was destined to be an adminisblitz... finishing the Parish Design Statement and catching up on bank statements, card statements and so forth.

Meanwhile, the Silver Vixen was out with her coven for the day. (Mind you she had forgotten to take her fabrics with her, so the Gorse Fox had to help out with a quick trip to escort them to the gathering). This turned out to be very successful as the quilts became a talking point.

GF returned to the job in hand.

The evening has been saved by iPlayer as Strictly Come Dancing returned to the main TV channels. Gorse Fox watched a documentary on Montezuma by Dan Snow. It was excellent.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A good day... several calls, and lots of detailed analysis. The Gorse Fox also had the pleasure of voting in one of Starfleet's annual elections. This is an election for the recognition of the best technical staff - by their peers. This year we had narrowed it down to about 17 candidates from which we will probably elect between 5 and 8.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Not the Sennacherib

The day didn't quite go to plan. It took far longer to finish the work on the spreadsheets than expected. Overall it has been a nightmare, but seems to be almost there now.

The relative peace of working at home was rent asunder.
The witches swept in like wolves on the fold -
And their needles was flashing in purple and gold
And the sheen of their silks was like oil on the sea
When the blue rinse rolls nightly with a strong cup of tea
(With apologies to Lord Byron)...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Chilli con carne for dinner - featuring a Dorset Naga chilli. Gorse Fox was surprised that the Naga wasn't hotter, but assumes it was because it was a fairly small specimen (he's daft, but not daft enough to start with a big one). Certainly the Scoth Bonnets he has used recently were more fiery... but again, he assume it was a factor of size.

North Wind

A north wind has been sweeping in from the tundra beyond Watford bringing a clear bright day to the Sussex Coast but a stiff breeze. The Gorse Fox has remained cocooned within his office tapping away at various keyboards trying to work on two separate projects in parallel. It seemed to work in that one got finished, dispatched and has already received glowing feedback.

The other is more problematic. It is always difficult try to stitch disparate data sources together. particularly if the link between them was in the mind of the author, and was not shared. The Gorse Fox has almost finished stitching them together, working out the relationships, and rebuilding the mechanics so that they are coherent in what they report. Well, when he says almost, he must confess that he still has two discrepancies that he can't get to the bottom of... but that'll have to wait until the morning.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Long distance

Again the concept of long distance was the route from the study back to kitchen to make coffee. The luxury of working at home continued.

Today the Gorse Fox split his time between a 247-page design document for a system destined for a household name, and spreadsheets that manage the hardware costs for another well-known client. It's been good fun, but very busy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Commute not

The Gorse Fox had the pleasure of working from home today. His commute involved negotiating the cat whilst carrying a cup of tea across the hallway. Settling down he started on his emails and the first of the days calls.

The high spot of the day was the man turning up to fix the dish-washer. As Gorse Fox had surmised it was the pump - and some 30 minutes and £90 later he had a working dish-washer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Just stuff

Gorse Fox has had a quiet day doing stuff. Lots of stuff. He been to the tip again with more detritus from the greenhouse, he's helped take stuff back into the sparkly clean surroundings, he finished some Parish Council stuff, spent some time going through various bank statements and ended up thoroughly depressed.

Now sated on some Welsh lamb and roast potatoes he's settled down with Miss Marple (and the Silver Vixen)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Clean Green Glass of Home

The Silver Vixen has got a bee in her bonnet about the greenhouse. She doesn't use it, and sees little value in keeping it. She would like to get rid of it. Today it has been cleared, and washed, and cleaned. The Gorse Fox helped and is now sitting, dripping wet, as he he recovers from the washing and hosing... and keeps grabbing at creepy crawlies that have dropped from the roof and nestled in his hair and clothes. The Gorse Fox expects that Mr E-bay is soon to get a call - with a view to selling the green house - not the creepy-crawlies.

Mr Vobes

The Gorse Fox met up with fellow blogger Richard Vobes (see recommendations at the side) . What a charming man, and obviously a talented communicator. Like GF, he's intrigued by local history.
He's going through a difficult time at present, but GF looks forward to his company on some walks when all returns to normal.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Several re-boots later the PC burst back into life and has behaved ever since. (If only the dishwasher - which failed overnight two days ago - could just be re-booted. We've had to arrange for a man to come and take a look; Gorse Fox can hear gushing sound from his bank account on the horizon).

Gorse Fox has had a good day working from home (it's nice not to have to commute to/from London for a change). Much has been achieved and he's in danger of catching up with himself.

Dead rodent

The Gorse Fox's main PC at home seems to exist in parlous state. The shutdown sequence (after an auto-update) seemed to work fine last night - this morning however, the magic box has rebooted and chkdsk'd several times. It is now up and running - with no mouse.

Thank goodness for the keyboard shortcuts

Thursday, September 10, 2009


The Gorse Fox has just been trying to do some Parish Council work in preparation for this evening. A task that he thought would take moments has spectacularly failed to produce any satisfaction in that last 45 minutes. Google Sites seems to barf when it comes to displaying the official maps and aerial photos of the Parish.

This is most frustrating!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Sometimes, when you get home at just the right time, you see sunsets that just have to be captured.

To the west a vivid rainbow split the sky, and to the east the sky glowed in pinks and golds. Perfect.

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The Winner is...

The Gorse Fox was delighted to learn in an email this morning that he has won £4,800,000.00 on the Online UK National Lottery.

This is remarkable for several reasons: a) he would rather like to win that amount of money, b) he did not enter any such lottery, c) he is not stupid enough to open the attachment as requested in the notification, d) the Online UK National Lottery notification actually came from a private email account on MSN.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


It's a little disconcerting when you get a call asking for some help to review something and they suggest you give Gordon Brown a call as he's got some free time and can probably get involved.

No seriously - the Gorse Fox is disconcerted.

Up town boy

The Gorse Fox finds himself "up town" again today. (When he says "finds himself" this does not imply that he suddenly arrived at a new level of consciousness and realised, unexpectedly, that he was in London having believed himself to be elsewhere. It is just a manner of speech).

Monday, September 07, 2009

Pasta la Vista

The train had been slow coming back to the coast - we seemed to be stuck behind a stopping service. By the time Gorse Fox got home Urban-cub had prepared a mountainous bowl of tuna, asparagus, and pasta bake. Fed and content, he settled down for a quiet evening. (He had planned to review some work documents - but they hadn't turned up, so that will have to wait).


The Gorse Fox can hardly contain his excitement as he wades through various Documents of Understanding to compare them with his spreadsheet of responsibilities to make sure we have no unforeseen gaps. It is a salutary lesson in the creative art of writing and interpreting weasel words.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Quo Vadis

The Gorse Fox has spent much of the afternoon trawling the internet for a holiday deal. The trouble is there is so much choice and GF hasn't really decided on a location to help narrow down the selection. The Canaries? Tunisia? Cyprus? Egypt, or even a cruise? Difficult choice.

Winding down

The England team are winding down with gentle exercise and massage. The Gorse Fox thinks that sounds ideal - he is unexpectedly weary today!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

By Jingo

The National Anthem was sung with the normal jingoistic fervour (and the cretin that tried to boo the Slovenian Anthem was silenced by a warning comment from below).

The game kicked-off and like most England games ebbed and flowed. The game was only a friendly but started as a lively affair. A dubious penalty in the first half saw England go ahead 1-0, then after half time (and with a significantly different strike force) England went 2-o up with a goal from Jermain Defoe.

The usual complacency and almost insoucience took over towards the end and Slovenia clawed back a goal five minutes from time.

Not a great game - but a fairly competent and bouyed up by the atmosphere (and the win) it was certainly a fine evening's entertainment.
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The Gorse Fox, as explained a couple of months back, finds Wembley quite spectacular. We were amongst the first through the turnstiles and then wandered round the various food franchises to grab something to eat. At the levele where we had tickets there was nothing that would pass as a restaurant - so it was a case of eating standing up - think of it as an intimate buffet with several tens of thousands of guests!

Once we had eaten, bought a programme, and treated to the Silver Vixen to a supporter's scarf we made our way into the stadium itself. People were stting around chatting as dance music was piped over the sound system and the announcer got steadily more excited with each new chance to speak.

Slowly the stadium started to fill up and the announcer, almost breathless with excitement announced that kick-off would be in 1 hour.

Eventually the teams came out to warm up. First the goalies came out and went through their arcane rituals and then, some 5 minutes later, the rest of the team joined them. They ran back and forth, kicked some balls, stretched a lot, and generally seemed to be having some fun as they prepared for the game.

This picture shows (L-R) David Beckam, Emile Heskey, Matthew Upson, Jermain Defoe, and Wes Brown.
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