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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lazy Day

Sunday is a day of rest. The Gorse Fox decided that it would be churlish to buck the trend.

The Silver Vixen was drawn to the kitchen and spent time preparing a slow-cook masterpiece for supper and then trying out a recipe for some Danish apple pudding. The Silver Vixen will be the first to confess that she doesn't enjoy cooking - but, enjoy it or not, it was brilliant with a little custard.

Not in the slightest bit interested in Golf but glad to see that the boorish behaviour of the crowds at Medinah was rewarded with a European fightback and victory. Note to crowd: gentle ripple of applause appropriate at each hole, big cheer at the 18th.... other than that some soto voce "oohs" or "aahs" are all that is required. If you wish to yell and chant - go to a football match. No class!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


The saga that is the house move continues. Yesterday's viewers' feedback was that the property was stunning, but the location just too remote. Never mind. It's their loss.

This morning we headed up to Horsham. There is an estate being built there by the same builders who are building the houses near Chichester. We had arranged to go and view one particular house which is exactly the same ground-floor layout as the house we want. We did however have a few reservations and queries and thought it would be best to view the real thing rather than work entirely from the plans.

The viewing was most informative and we got answers to all of our concerns. What was also very good was that the agent was very helpful and made a number of very sensible suggestions that we will keep in mind for our build.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Gorse Fox has booked his tickets for a trip to Edinburgh next week. Checking the prices, EasyJet was cheapest yesterday - but today BA have come up with some real deals.

Talking of trips. GF and the Silver Vixen have enjoyed going up to London in the days after Christmas for the past couple of years. As he still has some loyalty points with the Hilton he has just booked for this year and got a really nice deal at the Hilton Park Lane.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


The recent rain seems to have caused the new front door to swell. This is making it a bit too tight and requires a good shove or tug to open or close. Frustrating.

The Gorse Fox learns from this evening's TV that only 8% of the electorate would vote for the the Lib Dems at the next election. GF is amazed it is that many. Listening to some of their diatribes over the past few days (of their annual conference) GF is amazed some of them are allowed out without a carer. More amazing still is that 40% claim they would vote for Labour, showing how short some people's memories are. It was the last Labour Government that virtually bankrupted the Country and put us in this parlous state. A party that stands up for the workers, but have never had a job between them.

GF is not, however, a blind follower of the Conservatives - nor UKIP. He will happily support any party that:

  • Replaces the current European Human Rights legislation with our own Bill of Rights
  • Provides social support to those who need it through illness, through injury, or through disability
  • Removes social support from the indolent
  • Stops paying "Aid" to countries that do not need it
  • Stops the development of wind farms - and invests in tidal/hydro
  • Stops the blind adherence to the CO2 is bad dogma
  • Admits that multi-culturalism is divisive, and that when welcoming immigrants, integration is the way forward.
  • Establishes "fairness", "common sense", and "respect" as the basic tenets of their movement.
  • Abolishes spin, and tells it how it is.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I commend this to the House.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Soft and fluffy - need hard hats

The Gorse Fox has been considering the rain that has fallen this week. The Met Office tell us that the cloud was six miles deep. It seems incredible. Yet clouds seem so "fluffy" and innocuous. This got the Gorse Fox thinking, and it went something like this:

  • Co. Durham was badly affected and covers about 650,000 acres.
  • 1 inch of rain across 1 acre weighs 113.25 tons
  • It was estimated that they received 4 inches of rain
So this means that if evenly distribute across the County - 294,450,000 tons of rain fell.

Now spread this further - to Yorkshire and across Northumberland and across the South and the sums become ridiculous.

  • England is 130,400 sq. km, which is 32222541.6824 acres
  • Assume we only received 2 inches of rain, on average over the past couple of days; that's 226.5 tons/acre
  • That's a staggering 7,298,405,691 tons of rain in 48 hours or so
That's just been hanging around above our heads. Seems to the Gorse Fox that there is a case for wandering round in a hard hat.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Splashing about

We have a blessed climate in this corner of the country. Whilst the rest of the country struggled to keep their heads above water, as the deluge that was tropical storm Nadine dumped several inches of rain across the Kingdom, we got a few sharp showers and some stiff breezes.

Better still, GF did not have to venture out - he was able to work from home again.

By the way - Liberal Democrat conference on in Brighton this week. Having listened to their woolly thinking on the news reports - Gorse Fox invites any of them to come round for good slap and to learn some home truths. Fortunately, they seem to have a reduced intellectual capacity so are unlikely ever to gain any real power of their own, only ever acting as bench-fillers in a coalition. The Gorse Fox is mightily fed up with the Left's "What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine" attitude. Would be real good if some of them actually got a job and worked for a living instead of playing politics.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Senile? Not quite.

As years tick by, the Gorse Fox starts to worry about whether he is getting forgetful. You'd think he would know - but, frankly, he's forgotten.

On Friday he contacted a colleague and requested the contact details for another colleague that has somehow managed to remain off the books within Starfleet. All set, GF sat back to await a text with the details. This morning the details had still not arrived so GF sent a gently e-nudge. Within moments the response came: "I sent them to you on Friday, and you sent me a thank-you".

Oh dear. This was not good. Not only had he completely forgotten then text, but also that he was polite enough to say thanks. GF returned to his email tray and searched. No email from the colleague, and no sent email to him. GF fired up his phone and started looking at all the text messages. None at all received on Friday. Nor were any sent.

GF was getting concerned. He sent an email "Not to worry, but are you sure you sent the details to the right Gorse Fox?"

There was a pause of several minutes then an email arrived containing the contact details and an admission that he had sent them to the wrong person on Friday.

Gorse Fox was vindicated - senility is still being held at bay.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


The weather forecast for today is dreadful - 60mph winds and 2 inches of rain. Predicatbly the morning has started grey and damp - though the forecast winds have not arrived and the rain is but a gentle drizzle at this point.

We expect Betty and Barney Rubble to visit later and will take luncheon with the them at The Arun View - a Public House known for its good food, and fine views across the River.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Birthday

It was 36 years ago today that Cousteau-cub brought joy into our lives and graced us with her presence. Stardust had somehow come together into a beautiful little package that has provided thrills and sills ever since.
Living, as she does, in Thailand we miss her dreadfully - but hope that she has a wonderful day today and that the coming year is full of happiness and good health.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Home work

The Gorse Fox was lucky enough to be working from home again today. It started with a teleconference to discuss a client presentation (GF didn't attend) yesterday. Interesting feedback showed a strange naivety in the boardroom.

From there GF moved to writing up yesterday afternoon's meeting and setting calls to discuss the outcome. Realistically, whilst this looks a big opportunity, it is taking a ridiculous amount of time to gain traction.

Then the Gorse Fox had to review some analysis of a project that has a few challenges - not least of which is the disingenuous behaviour of some of the parties involved. This was an opportunity for GF to let off a bit of steam, and it was duly taken.

Meanwhile, in real life, the Silver Vixen's brother Paul had arrived. After the recent work we had a residual problem with the heating. Whilst it worked, it was terribly noisy. He is up to his elbows in copper and solder at the moment, but hopefully, once finished, all will be well.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Where am I

The Gorse Fox was able to start the day in his home office before heading up to Starfleet in London. This meant that he could get some work done, then cue iTunes to download the latest updates to his iPad apps and the the new IOS. As this was a significant amount of data, and the broadband is so incredibly slow, he left this running whilst completing his day in London.

It was nice to get to the Starfleet office as GF bumped into a number of old friends, one of which he hadn't seen in over twenty years.

The meeting with the client was a bit torturous... he does like the sound of his own voice - and spends a significant amount of time waffling. However, it is now becoming clearer that we have a real and significant opportunity on our hands - even if his expectations around prices seem a little naive.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

That's nice

The Gorse Fox has had the pleasure of working from home again today. Various things were on his agenda.

Firstly, he had to catch up with a young architect working in Edinburgh to start proving some guidance - based on yesterday's discussions. Then he finished analysing the  notes and documents that he had gathered in the last couple of days.

Another client had finally woken up and asked for a meeting on Thursday. This gave GF a challenge. He needed to pull together a number of cross-disciple Starfleet colleagues at short notice to support the meeting. Despite his early concerns, he managed to get specialists with SAP, with ECM, with Cloud. and with Office and Collaboration specialities. Looks promising for tomorrow.

Making notes on his iPad, GF also managed to use the Canon Easy-Print feature that allowed him to print directly from the iPad to his printer - a major breakthrough!  Once he had that working he turned his attention to his phone and within a few moments was successfully printing directly from his phone also. Not rocket science - but a satisfying achievement.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not Edinburgh

Well despite various expectations, Gorse Fox did not go to Edinburgh. Indeed he met up with a couple of colleagues in Starfleet's London offices. After yesterday and today's briefings the Gorse Fox had come to several conclusions - one being the need for the re-establishment of a proper Design Authority. Interestingly he has just received an email to confirm the client wants us to do just that.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Staying local

Today, Gorse Fox had to meet up with a colleague for a briefing regarding a client that he is about to get involved with. The advantage was that he was down in Sussex and so GF headed for Brighton and we met in a coffee shop. At the end GF headed back home to pick up on the rest of today's tasks.  Could get used to working like this.

Trip to Edinburgh is off for this week - but may have to head for London tomorrow.

The Silver Vixen has twisted and hurt her back and is having to take things very easy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


In a sequel to this Mrch's reunion, the Band of Brothers got back together last night for a quiet meal and a chin-wag. For those not familiar with the background, the Gorse Fox (and the Band of Brothers) spent a number of their formative years in a monastic setting. After 40+ years a number of us got together in March and enjoyed it so much that we decided to have a re-run. That was last night.

There were a number of memorable quotes that stood out from the discussions:

"Wasn't so-and-so gay?" - "Oh, no; he ran off with a bald nun"

"You remember Grace Ellen? The night before my vows she came knocking and asking to lie naked with me in the back of a Cadillac hearse. I declined, so she gave me a signed copy of Albert Camus' The Fall"

"You remember so-and-so. He was a rabid Fenian at school, end up on Diplomatic Protection for the Royal Family - You couldn't make it up!"

There tales of grave digging (where the next door grave collapsed in); of penance for not eating pizza crusts; of people seeing rice as a main dish for the first time and scraping onto a side plate to add milk and sugar; of freezing New England winters and baking summers.

What came across most from the evening, however, was not just the humour and camaraderie we still had - but also the inner peace that shone from each of use, despite our wide and varied experiences and careers.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


This week has seen the publication of the findings of the inquest in the Hillsborough disaster where 96 Liverpool football fans were trampled to death. It, rightly, lambastes the Police and the Emergency Services for their response and the subsequent cover-up; it also blames the Police for opening the gate that allowed the surge.

And one thing is clear - the victims were innocent. They were already in the ground. They had taken their places.

Dreadful, and inexcusable.

However, the Gorse Fox is not totally at ease with the findings.

There were many thousands of fans outside the stadium, which was already full. They could not all have had tickets as it was way beyond the capacity of the ground. What if the gate had not been opened late on, but had been open throughout? What would all the fans stuck outside have done when they heard the kick-off whistle? (Remember the ground was already full to capacity). GF has been in similar crowds and been in the surge as people push and even fight to get in (look at the news footage of the first day of the sales). He is afraid that it is too easy just to blame the Police, and by doing so it ignores the culpability of those trying to force their way into an already packed stadium.

So much

There is so much going on. At work, the Gorse Fox has been finishing one bid, another huge opportunity is opening up, and he is being asked to provide technical oversight for an ongoing project...
In real life (i.e. not work) we have a house viewing today, GF needs to get his passport updated, and he has another school reunion to attend this evening (Band of Brothers, The Sequel "This Time it's Arthritis"). GF also has to finish recoding his blog-script (discussed last week).
Meanwhile, we have a residual problem with the heating that needs to be resolved - it works, but it is uncommonly noisy and squirts water out of the overflow.

So much to do!

Friday, September 14, 2012


After four straight days of commuting - the Gorse Fox is delighted to be working at home today. The commute today involved a left turn out of the kitchen, a stroll across the hallway and over a tricky transition from carpet to laminate floor in the study.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Not As Bad

Well, as things turned out, the Gorse Fox had a pretty good day and despite earlier fears, was able to get away at a normal time. Things seem to be in a pretty good state for the release of the bid next Monday - and whilst there is bound to be some tidying up and wordsmithing to do, the bulk of the writing is done and the pseudo-science used for the resource model seems stable and defensible.

Long one?

Gorse Fox is expecting another long day in London. Will be glad when this bid is done and dusted.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


There is something deeply frustrating about colleagues using data from the Gorse Fox's spreadsheet without understanding its derivation and therefore its meaning.

The Gorse Fox was challenged on some numbers - and on realising where they had come from, had to point out that they could not be used in the way they had been. Unfortunately, they were the numbers that were now working their way through the system. The Gorse Fox then had to stay late and develop several other analyses that better exposed what was wanted - but didn't differ appreciably from what had been used above.

Only just caught the train as there were delays on the tube. Ended up leaping, gazelle-like, into the last compartment as the doors were closing... but it did mean missing supper, as it was too late to eat once home.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tap of keys

The Gorse Fox headed back up to London. The whole day was spent writing descriptions of various aspects of the approach that will be taken to move the client data centres. As usual the ten thousand foot view looks easy, but GF has to pint out the problems that lie within the detail and how he will overcome them (based on experience of the last couple of years).

GF has also been asked to get involved in another client project. Fortunately this is not full time, but is likely to need a number of trips to Edinburgh.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Today was the big parade of athletes and helpers involved in the Olympics and Paralympics. The Gorse Fox was only a few hundred yards away, but unable to attend because of work.

As he crossed the bridge this morning two of the GB athletes were walking towards him in their victory parade uniforms. At first GF felt guilty that he didn't recognise them but then realised they didn't recognise him either... So felt a lot better.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Coventry Hobbit

It is the Coventry Hobbit's birthday today. We tried to phone and send wishes but having problems getting through to Thailand today.

Not on

Getting text messages from Starfleet on a Sunday is not on - unless we are under attack from an alien civilisation.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Squeezing the Code

The Gorse Fox is making extraordinarily heavy weather out of some changes forced on him by a recent change in authentication for Google. A script that he regularly runs to strip the entries out of this blog and copy them to another has stopped working.

This means re-writing the authentication code for php, or re-writing the whole kit and caboodle in Python. The latter seemed like a good exercise - however GF floundering at the installation of the Google code libraries. He thinks he has followed the instructions... but when he tries to run the installation test scripts, they foobar.

Friday, September 07, 2012


Well, the Gorse Fox almost forgot... he received a call from a senior colleague explaining that he had a couple of posts to fill, and asking the Gorse Fox if he was interested.

GF listened to the first opportunity and turned it down. GF, evidently, knows more about that situation than the colleague and does not want to get involved. No win situation as long as the current manager within the client is still running the show (an example of much of what is wrong with the banking industry).

We then discussed the second opportunity - relocation for 12 months to India to help them improve the way in which they are organised to support architectural development in support of major services contracts. GF's seniority, technical experience, management experience, and political awareness were cited as reasons he was suggested for the role.

Mmmm - a year in India (a place GF has always wanted to visit). That's a lot of curry. It's also many hours closer to Cousteau-cub (but conversely, many hours further from Urban-cub). He double-checked with the Silver Vixen.

GF declined.


Long teleconference from a Starfleet Admiral this afternoon. A cornucopia of consultant-speak and platitudes amounting to a slight change in a small part of the Division.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Home again

Another excellent day working from home ( long may it continue).

Managed to touch base with Cousteau-cub. Whilst very busy, she has been a bit unwell and has another 10 days of medication to complete.

Also took a call from a Timeshare reseller. Exactly the same script as last year. Sounds like exactly the same scam.

Was surprised to hear about a number of colleagues leaving Starfleet this week. It appears that some divisions have been "re-balancing"... Though GF was not really aware it was going on.

Though scheduled to be in London tomorrow, GF has been given the "stand down". Perfect end to the week.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


It was nice being able to work from home today. This saved the Gorse Fox from five hours on travelling and radically reduced the number of interrupts during the day.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

On line

The Southern Railway had the immense honour of transporting the Gorse Fox up to the great metropolis that is London. On arrival, he committed himself to the underground transport system which whisked him seamlessly beneath the banks of the Thames to the site of the great Blackfriars' priory. A quick stroll across the Bridge, a stop for a bucket of coffee at a local emporium and GF arrived at work.

The day was spent doing pseudo-science. This is the time in the preparation of a bid where you spend a significant portion of your time developing estimating models to generate models of the effort that will be required to deliver the project. The reason that the Gorse Fox thinks of these as pseudo-science is that whilst the mathematics is robust - the underlying data is far from complete and is reliant on perceptions rather than detailed research. Nevertheless, GF enjoys this and had a good day.

The Estate Agent called. The viewers who had visited yesterday had decided not to make us an offer as our garage was too close to our neighbour. We were quite delighted as we did not feel they were the sort of people that would fit in here, nor appreciate what they had got.

Monday, September 03, 2012


Back in London the Gorse Fox was amused by a scouse colleague. She took a personal call and was overheard "I thought you were due in court today".

Most of the day was spent in meetings but not thrilling.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Oh well

Yesterday, late afternoon, there was a thunderous roar. Rushing to the garden the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen were just in time to see the Vulcan fly past towards Shoreham for its display at the air show.

Today we thought we would be prepared.

The Gorse Fox checked the times and charged the camera. With twenty-five minutes to spare we headed to the beach to catch sight of this elegant, graceful, awesome V-bomber as it headed to Shoreham for today's display.

And so we sat there.

A couple of piston engined WW2 fighters went over.

Then in the distance, The Gorse Fox spotted the plane as it appeared over the beach at Bognor and headed towards us. Camera at the ready, he lined up his shots.

It would appear that nobody had told the pilot. Whereas yesterday he he left wheel marks on the roof tops, today he decided to stay out in the bay. Photos from the camera were disappointing - and those from the phone, missed the action entirely.
Much quieter day today - a little painting (touching up), and the Silver Vixen is trying out Urban-cub's steamer to clean various odds and ends.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


Tidying up was order of the day. This meant finishing the skirting boards, painting the inside of the front door, and taking three car loads of building detritus to the dump.

Alongside all this activity the new fridge arrived. That, however, was the start of a saga in its own right. The fridge was so big it wouldn't fit through the doors without removing the fridge's doors and manhandling the beast onto the prepared plinth. The doors were refitted and the fridge levelled up. Most satisfactory.

Bit more painting to finish off tomorrow and then that's it.