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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Father of the Bride

The Gorse Fox was thinking about how proud Mr Middleton must have been yesterday as he gave his daughter away… and it brought back memories of emotions that surged through the Gorse Fox as he loaned away his daughters. Gorse Fox had the advantage of slightly less coverage than Mr Middleton, but his Cousteau- and Urban-cubs were both stunningly beautiful and every inch a match for Mr Middleton’s eldest. Years have passed since those special days, things have changed in all our lives, but even now he finds his heart almost bursting with love and pride for each of them.


The Silver Vixen is out for the day. A good book beckons (GF wants to hang around in case there are some opportunities for house viewings).

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding

A wedding should be a day of joy and celebration. A day of dedication of one person to another, and day of wonder that will be remembered throughout your life.

Royalty adds an additional dimension to this, and invokes pomp, ceremony, and scale. It invites hundreds of millions of people across the world to join in and become part of the event – either directly by lining streets and cheering, or indirectly through the marvels of global television.

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen settled down to watch and enjoy the event and see the charming couple avow their lives to each other – both looking radiant, both looking happy and optimistic for their future. God Bless them both.

It was a wonderful event. An event that on the British seem to be able to manage, and yet significant portions of the world join in. Gorse Fox would assert that it was a day of happiness for all of the millions watching, for if they were not happy at the coverage they would not have bothered watching. He would also assert, therefore, that the world’s happiness index climbed significantly today.

What was interesting, watching Twitter, was how many of the self styled comedians who poke fun at Royalty, at marriage, at Religion and so forth – were shown to be so far out of touch with the mood of the people. They may still amuse the Guardian readership, and the Labour Party (talking of whom, have you ever come across such a humourless, miserable, self-important bunch of fruitcakes?), but they merely insult the rest of us, and our intelligence (and before anyone casts aspersions on IQ… GF’s exceeds 150 by quite some margin).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Back home

Good day in Bristol, but home now trying to wrap body round a glass of wine.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


GF made an early start and after a quick coffee at the hotel headed out to the office. There was the germ of an idea nibbling at the back of his mind. He needed to be able to visualise the whole problem on a single sheet of paper... But how was he going to lay this out in way that made sense. Eventually a draft matrix started to form and the axes were slowly refined to represent domains of activity versus responsible parties. Then the intersections started to get populated and within a few hours a good draft was available for wider review.

After work GF went straight to the restaurant to ensure he ate early. No rice, no naan, just chicken curry and mushrooms all washed down with a lassis. The lassis was not on the menu, but the staff seemed so pleased that someone had asked for one that they not only went off to make it up, they also let the Gorse Fox have it at no charge. Result.

Now he's back in the hotel ready to watch the football, or read the book he he started and got hooked by last night... Or maybe both.


Some papers are trying to stir up a storm over the fact that Blair and Brown have not been invited to the Royal Wedding. Duh! Why would you invite people to your wedding who had systematically vandalised your land, tried to deny it's history, and gave away it's sovereignty to a foreign power?

Some people have been at the stupid pills again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Gorse Fox noticed a headline in the Independent. Mandelson recommends to vote for AV to "hurt Cameron". Tells you everything you need to know about the left ... It's not about moral responsibility or public service. There is no embarrassment over their attempt to bankrupt the country. It is just a personal and nasty vendetta against anyone that disagrees with them: Christians, married people, people with pensions, the English, our heritage, and most of all Tories.

They exhibit the politics of the gutter and aim to reduce the electorate to the lowest common denominator.

Out West

The Gorse Fox finds himself back in Bristol. By the time he arrived there was already a missive from Starfleet recommending he takes the Corporate credit card. He respectfully declined. No doubt this will become an ongoing battle.

Lots of stuff to do during the day, and a couple of significant meetings. All in all it was a very positive day.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Lot's of little things coming together to fill the day. It had to start with some admin and the chance to catch up with some expenses. Starfleet's latest changes to the expenses system demanded that GF should have used a Corporate credit card. GF has an issue with this and refuses to play the game so had to provide a covering note pointing out that he does not have such a card and that it would be against UK law to impose it. GF is now awaiting for the fallout!

Once the expenses were done it was time to get rid of the sir us wood left over from the deck project (of several years back). GF put an advert onto the local "Freecycle" and within a few minutes the responses started to come in. GF contacted the first respondent and 30 minutes later he was outside with his van, loading up the wood.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pax at Pâques

The Gorse Fox would like to start by wishing everyone Peace at the Easter time.

The day was peaceful except for the sound of the waves rattling against the the shingle, birds chatting in the trees, and children playing in the distance. Yesterday's undercoating was finished with some gloss and the Gorse Fox's panache with a brush. Once that was done, the old wood caddies needed some tlc so out came the big brush and some green fence paint.

We managed to talk with Cousteau-cub. She has been quite unwell for the past 36 hours, and as a result has had to delay her sponsored dive for a few days. She was evidently feeling a little better as she was quite chatty, but needs a great deal of rehydration before taking to the water. She was threatening to do it mid week, but GF thinks the weekend would be more sensible.

The afternoon was spent on the east patio (deck) sitting beneath a parasol, supping wine, and enjoying a good book. Meanwhile the Forces of Darkness were being vanquished to make the day perfect.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A dab here and there

There are still a few areas of the house that need the odd dab of paint in order that it can be seen at it's best. GF wandered round with his paint brush, touching up here and there with the undercoat. This is designed to show what it could be like, rather that hide things that need doing. For instance, the porch needs replacing, so whilst it is being smartened up, Gorse Fox is not trying to hide the remediation that is required.

The wine rack was in a parlous state. How could so many slots be empty? This was intolerable. Intervention was required and so GF headed off to the local emporium run by the Messrs Sainsbury. The car park was absolutely packed. his did not bode well for a quick visit. Fortunately, GF was evidently quick enough to overtake all of the dithering zombies shuffling aimlessly down the aisles - made his way to the wines, collected a couple of half cases and ploughed his way to the checkouts. Pleasantries and coins of the realm were exchanged with the operative and GF burst forth back into the car park and headed home.

The BBQ fired up, first click. After leaving it to to self-cauterise for about an hour, the sausages, pepper steaks, and bacon were thrown on while GF prepared some salad. First BBQ of the season, and mighty fine it was too.


Dive marathon postponed for a few days because Cousteau-cub is unwell. Looking on the bright side it gives everyone a further opportunity to donate!

Friday, April 22, 2011


The pub is a great British institution.

Whilst looking through the real estate listings, one property caught the eye. It had ample accommodation and was at a great price point. It had room for the Gorse Fox to work, room for the the Silver Vixen's hobbies, plenty of bedrooms, plenty of living space and even extensive cellars.

Further reading revealed that it was a 17th Century pub that had been extensively refurbished in the past few years. One immediate drawback was the garden (which, after all is the reason we wish to move from here), but the accommodation looked so good that it was worth some further investigation. Hopping in the car we headed along to the village in question and soon found the place.

One of the great advantages of most old pubs is that they are built along the thoroughfare. This is also one of the great disadvantages when their use changes to to private house. When we saw the place, nice as it was, it fronted directly on to the main road through the village and was literally a few feet from the road, without even a Kerbstone to mark the transition.

Shame really... It would probably have been a good alternative to our current favoured spot.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Don't just read this - DONATE

The Donations Page for Cousteau-cub's Dive Marathon is up and running - please donate! And please spread the word amigos!

Winding Down

It is clear that people are winding down for the long weekend. The sun is shining and bit by bit the already quiet offices are emptying as people head home. Gorse Fox will be following before too long. A few admin items to complete first.

Great line in today's paper, following speculation that Gordon (I stole your future) Brown may head up the International Monetary Fund;
"Putting Gordon Brown in charge of the IMF is like asking Herod to arrange a children's party"
Love it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Honours even at the end. Shame, the righteous had the beating of them in the second half. Four or five more goals would have been perfect.

Satan's Spawn

The foreign team based in North London have the effrontery to be 1-2 up against the fine young men of Spurs. Long way to go still... But not satisfactory.


Gorse Fox has just returned from an excellent East Asian restaurant called Tampopo. Dishes from Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Thailand and so forth. Excellent service and great food. Definite return visit on the agenda.


Glorious start to the day again in Bristol. About to head off to work.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


The Gorse Fox met up with a colleague and headed out into the City. The plan was a local Italian restaurant, by way of the Apple Store. Walking into the store we were greeted by an eager smurf who was trying his best to be helpful, but could not provide what was wanted.

That was when he made his mistake. "thank you for visiting Apple, the world's greatest technology company".

The Gorse Fox had a brief moment where he felt sorry for him, and then pride kicked in. "You picked the wrong person to say that to" responded GF and went on to explain the facts and that Starfleet fulfils that role, and quoted the facts of patent filing and 18 straight years of more patents than it's nearest 4 rivals added together. Seeing the smurf suitably chastened, he turned and left.

Picolino turned out to be an excellent Italian restaurant. The service was fairly good and the food was superb. It certainly warrants a return visit.


A fine day today. The workshop went very well and we have gathered a lot of useful information. Long way to go still, and GF was stupid enough to volunteer to do the write-up. Oh well.

Brizzle morning

Early morning over Bristol

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dive, sponsor, make a difference

The Donations Page for Cousteau-cub's Dive Marathon is up and running - please donate! And please spread the word amigos!


View across Bristol from GF's hotel room (taken on iPad though triple glazed windows).

Where is the traffic?

Children have broken up for holidays and with several public holidays on the horizon many workers have taken vacation to optimise the time they have off. As a result, the roads were deserted as GF slipped across the country to Bristol.

Some new team members joined the project today, so we will need to spend a little time acclimatising them to the rigours of this complex exercise.

GF is checked in to the City Centre hotel where he stayed a couple of weeks back. He has negotiated a super room on the top floor with brilliant views westwards over the City.

GF got a note from the Brighton Argus to say that they were putting together a brief article on Cousteau-cub and her venture.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


It is not natural.

Cars are meant to be guided by humans. The Gorse Fox has a feature on his car that allows it to park itself. The Gorse Fox had not tried this, but it seemed like an opportunity to do so without any pressure.

Pulling alongside a row of cars GF pressed the button and a screen indicated that GF should move forward. Then it showed the route it was about to take to slot into a parking space and told the Gorse Fox to let go of the steering wheel and just control speed and brakes. Heart in mouth he followed instructions and the car swung the wheel and parked beautifully. Better than GF would have done.

It's not natural. But it's very good. (GF was warned that it was able to park into slots so tight that he may find it difficult to get back out)

Saturday, April 16, 2011


What a diverse day! Gorse Fox start off with a trip to the estate agents. He had a long chat with each of them and managed to negotiate a good commission rate for the successful sale of the house. There is a viewing scheduled, and it's a second trip for this couple. Let's hope that they are interested.

Getting home, the Gorse Fox is greeted by the Silver Vixen telling him that tone BBC have been on the phone and wish to interview him, on air, about Cousteau-cub's scuba marathon. This proved to be a bit of fun as the local radio was having trouble with it's studio equipment and getting their phones to record correctly. Eventually we got started and with C-c on the other end of Google Talk the Gorse Fox managed to provide a bit of publicity for the venture. The interview should be broadcast on Sunday

We then went out to meet with the Gorse Fox's tiny sister and her husband. A coffee at a local garden centre provided a break for the agent to show the returning couple round the house.

After tiny sister and husband left to attend a wedding, GF and the Silver Vixen had a quiet afternoon.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Joined up

In the sort of joined-up thinking that large corporations relish, Starfleet sent the Gorse Fox and invitation to attend an education course at the same time that it was cancelling courses for GF’s staff in order to manage the budget.


Thursday, April 14, 2011


The day was punctuated by an afternoon drive from Bristol back to Portsmouth for a meeting at Starfleet with a colleague who is working on the same client, but at a different location. Portsmouth seemed like a good compromise, especially as it was en route for home for each of us.

By the time GF did get in he was suffering from a head-ache (not something that he often experiences) so was eager to grab some paracetemol. Probably because he so rarely takes tablets, the effect was both rapid and successful.

Silver Vixen explained that the estate agents had been on to her and that the deal with MoveWithUs had been withdrawn (obviously the new build we had hoped for, is now sold and off the agenda). This had been expected for a little while now, and as a result was not a surprise. We will obviously have to strike our own deals with the agents now… and talking of which, one of them has a viewer lined up for Saturday.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


It is clear that Real Madrid had decided to ignore the script and instead of losing 5-0 at the Lane, they decided to score a goal of their own. Disgraceful.

Seriously though, the Spurs team played well and gave a good account of themselves.


Governance is the word given to the processes that control the progress and quality and acceptance of a project by setting up interminable meetings and reviews and hierarchies of sign-off. The Gorse Fox has spent much of the day constructing the administrivia around the technical governance of the new project. It seems a bit like going over to the dark side.

He is now back in the hotel, sipping a glass of wine to salve his conscience.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Last Bastion


Headlines refer to Arsenal "the last bastion of Britishness" being sold to an American.

How can that be right? The Forces of Darkness have been managed by a Frenchman for over 10 years and until recently didn't have an English player on the team. Get a grip. They are a foreign team and now they'll have a foreign owner.


The Gorse Fox has had an excellent day. The work was interesting, if punctuated by distractions, and various new people came on board.

At the end of the working day GF headed back to the hotel where he had agreed to meet up with a colleague to get dinner. The choice was to find something different or to try the Indian that GF had originally selected yesterday. After a quick discussion, the choice was made and we headed out on foot to Saffron.

The restaurant was fairly obscure and would certainly not get any passing trade. Having said that, it was quite busy and the food was excellent. Fine meal with good company. Can't complain.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Gorse Fox is so impressed with the MiFi he bought at the weekend. Strong signal and adequate up and download speeds.


Sometimes you get lucky.

Gorse Fox checked in to a different hotel, away from the city centre. It seemed a little remote, but GF couldn't make up his mind whether to venture out for dinner, or stay put in the hotel. Checking with Mr Google he discovered an Indian restaurant a couple of miles away. He changed and headed for the car, only to be distracted by the menu of the hotel. All you can eat curry buffet... And a beer. Errrr, why go out?

GF stayed put, enjoyed the buffet and was back in his room nice and early.

Splashing out

The Gorse Fox should have learnt by now. It's not as if he hasn't done it before. But sometimes you just do something automatically and the reap the consequences.

So it came to pass that the Gorse Fox loaded the car with his stuff for the week's business in Bristol. Laptop, camera, and suitcase in the boot. CD with tech podcasts, SD card with comedy podcasts in the cabin. Coffee and water in the cabin. Jacket on the peg behind tine drivers seat, and off he went.

The coffee was finished soon after Fontwell. It was rush hour, so progress was steady rather than quick. Soon after Newbury GF was feeling thirsty again. He grabbed the wearer and broke the seal. The top was loosened and then he remembered it was carbonated. Too late. A fountain of sparkling water decorated the inside of the car. The water dripped from GF's hair and glasses, it pooled on the leather seat, it drizzled down the steering wheel, it soaked his grey trousers.

Fortunately, there was still 40 minutes to run (and dry off).

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Car has been cleaned. Gulls are busy taking laxatives and queuing up on all of the local roof tops and aerials. Heavens knows what will be found in the morning.


Well, what a stunning weekend. The weather has been up in the 70s and peace and tranquility of the Gorse has made it perfect. GF managed to make contact with Cousteau-cub for an online chat and was pleased that plans are well advanced for her scuba half marathon. She has a busy few days up ahead as several colleagues are off at the F1 GP.

Meanwhile there is still limited interest in the house sale. Suspect we are in the wrong financial catchment as several larger properties have sold at 1.5M and 3M in the last few weeks. It would also appear that we have gained further celebrity neighbours, but we do respect each others privacy here, (indeed, discretion is one of the reasons people come to the Gorse) so GF will reveal nothing further.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Doing good, Making a difference

Many of you will know that the Gorse Fox has two daughters, both of which he is immensely proud. This particular post is about Cousteau-cub.

Cousteau-cub is a diving instructor working from the island of Koh Lanta in Thailand. She is passionate about the job, the place, the people and the marine environment. Wanting to make a difference, when she heard about the Tsunami in Japan, she resolved to try and raise some money for the victims, but whilst starting to put her plans together there were some devastating floods in nearby Krabi. So she resolved that she would split the proceeds of her venture between the Japanese victims and local victims and project.

So what is her venture? Please follow this link to read about her intention to do a sponsored dive. Not just any dive. Half a marathon. She will dive, with scuba gear, and swim 13.1 miles – only coming up to change tanks and take on fluids.

For someone who is asthmatic, and has had extensive back trouble (including surgery), this is incredible. I ask you, if you can, please support this venture by sponsoring her efforts.

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen are very, very, proud of her.


The Gorse Fox has extended his options for mobile connectivity. He has collected a 3G SIM card for his iPad2 - and was amazed to find it even worked at home (a notorious dead spot for mobile signals). Additionally, he picked up a MiFi which allows him to create a mobile WiFi hotspot wherever he likes, assuming there is a signal. Again this proved to work straight from the box.

Both gadgets are on pay as you go schemes, so do not need to rack up charges except when used.

Old Friends

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen went out to do some shopping. The coffee he had drunk before leaving proved expensive. By the time he got to Worthing nature had taken it's course and he was in need of a quick trip to the restroom. Parking above M&S he decided to use their facilities.


Having to pass through menswear, GF noticed several items of chic apparel that he decided would make meaningful addition to his wardrobe. So several hundred pound later he escaped clutching a bag full of things he had not set out to buy. All because he had drunk a large coffee before leaving!

All the other(intentional) shopping got done and as we headed home, the Gorse Fox saw his old car. Now sporting the livery of local taxi company it was parading along the sea front. GF thinks this was the first time he has ever seen one of his cars after disposing of them. Nice to see it was being put to good use, and no doubt it will provide many years more service.

Friday, April 08, 2011


The Gorse Fox was working from home and trying to make the most of the time to catch up on administrivia. Expenses were top of the agenda - but fortunately GF is moderately well organised and quickly found all the different account codes that represented the many separate programs and projects that he has worked on (that is normally the biggest problem).

The Silver Vixen is out for the evening with her coven. GF is left to his own devices.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


Wonderful trip back to Sussex (particularly in comparison to the trip down to Bristol). Just a fraction over two and half hours and more than sixty miles to the gallon. Most satisfactory.

New dishwasher has turned up and been fitted while GF has been away.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Meeting or workshop

The project is still young. At the moment we are dealing with meetings but soon these will morph into workshops and the high level view of the problem will be torn apart layer by layer as we get to the core of problem and start the design of the solution.

Back at the hotel GF retrieved his camera from the car and headed out into the streets to make the most of a nice evening, explore a bit, and find something to eat.

As GF made his way through Castle Park, some local swans were enjoying the evening and enjoying the water, seemingly oblivious to the sculls as they swept by.

GF found a Japanese restaurant and enjoyed some sushi (with the hottest wasabi he has ever tried) and chicken Katsu curry. Perfect meal to end the day.

That's better

Much better night's sleep. GF feels bright and refreshed and (as usual) optimistic. He was interested in the 4-0 lead that Spurs have allowed Real Madrid in order to make the return leg at WHL more interesting... And give them a sporting chance.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Quiet dinner

After the late meal last night, and consequent sleepless night, Gorse Fox decided to eschew the invites from colleagues and made his way into the shopping areas of Bristol. There was a choice of cuisine ( though he didn't notice a Chinese restaurant) and after strolling round to see what was available he stopped at Frankie and Benny's and indulged in a pizza, side salad and glass of wine before heading back to his hotel to watch the football.

Back in his room he switched on the TV only to find the Real Madrid vs Spurs game was not being shown on a channel that he could pick up. Not amused, but too tired to go out and find somewhere that's showing the game.


The Gorse Fox was on the phone to the Silver Vixen when his work phone rang. Making his excuses he picked up the call from an Admiral in Starfleet. "I hear you are not attending my course on Thursday" was the opening gambit. GF explained that with a new project mobilising and the Programme Manager off on vacation from Thursday, it seemed politic to remain at the client rather than attend a Starfleet meeting. "If that had been your wedding, would you have missed it for a client meeting" came the retort. GF thought about this, suppressed the urge too ask if the Admiral would be sleeping with the GF after, and finally said that 37 years ago he didn't have clients. The Admiral argued further but eventually gave up... And surprisingly wished the Gorse Fox luck on the project.

Perchance to dream

Expectations met in full.

Monday, April 04, 2011

A time to eat

The Gorse Fox, as he has aged ( gracefully) has become more like his grandfather in that he a) has trouble with his feet occasionally; and b) finds it hard to sleep if he eats too late in the evening (a far cry from his youth when he woulda pick up a carton of special fried rice to eat in bed when returning from a late night out).

Bearing theses facts in mind, GF has a couples of rules when away on business. Rule 1: eat early - ideally before seven thirty. Rules 2: don't eat in a large group because service will be intolerably slow.

Tonight he broke rules 1 and 2 and so it is that, as the hour approaches eleven, he has only just got back to his room. A wakeful night is anticipated.

First day of the new project went well.


In Bristol. Checked the map. Worryingly close to Wales.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


Gorse Fox is very impressed with the ability of his phone to act as a mobile hotspot. The iPad recognises it instantly and just works.

Went West

It had been a lovely day. Urban-cub had invited the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox to join her and Pete for a Mother's Day lunch at their place. Gifts were handed overhand a fine roast dinner consumed prior to watching some football in the afternoon. Cousteau-cub also got in on the act with a text message as she had been unable to call direct.

The Gorse Fox headed off late afternoon. An early meeting in Bristol on Monday somehow failed to excite enough for a 5am start, so GF decided to head west and stay overnight. This had seemed a good idea for stress free travel - as it happened the A27had been closed west of Chichester and required all the traffic to filter along the small country roads that ran parallel. The first 28 miles of the journey should have taken 25 minutes. In fact they took 95 minutes. So much for stress-free!

GF finally arrived in Bristol City Centre and checked into his palatial surroundings (at least, given the price of the parking, the Internet access, and the breakfast - it had better be palatial).

Saturday, April 02, 2011


No, really. Went to sit in garden and listen to the waves, but decided it's too cool.

A time to wash and a time to dry

The recent demise of the dishwasher has been a cause of great consternation. Washing up manually and drying by hand is not in season. We are currently suffering a dearth of domestic staff(*), so a new dishwasher is required.

After a little research a suitable model has been found and placed on order. The old machine has been disconnected and a new electrical outlet sited such that the installation can go ahead without any significant complexity.

Now we wait.

(*) We used to have them brought down from the north, but we can't understand their strange accents, they seem to suffer from exposure to the sun, and are confused by the absence of rain (many claim to have webbed feet!). As a result they get home sick, and leave.

Friday, April 01, 2011


Headline in technology blog asks "is 3d phone in you future?" Well pardon me, but just how many dimensions do you think a phone occupies at present?

April Fool's Day

There appears to have been a number of April Fool's Day jokes going round. For example, a number of celebrities have been supporting the Alternative Vote campaign - a proposed change to the UK voting system. You can tell it's a joke because if AV had been around last year we would have ended up with another Labour administration - that has to be joke!!!


It is clear as the Gorse Fox mobilises for his new project that there is a serious amount of data to worry about and significant research to perform. Reflecting on this has driven him into the arms of relational databases for the first time in many years. The real problem, strangely, is the selection of the right database tool for the job... Given, of course, that Starfleet probably has a number of offerings. The issue isn't so much whether the database is capable of handling the data; it is rather whether there is a sufficiently simple front-end tool for GF to achieve what he wants.

Monday, in Bristol, we will start to find out.