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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Armed and Dangerous

The nice man from Amazon came. He was clutching a new toy for the Gorse Fox.

Needing to shift the shelves in the oven housing, the Gorse Fox realised he would need to be able to cut through the dowels that are almost certainly supporting the existing shelves. This requires a tool that can slide up and cut close to edge.

Hopefully this will do the trick (though he may need to find the right blade if the dowels are steel!).

Just stuff

Jasper was not popular this morning. It was about 6:45 when he dragged the Gorse Fox downstairs. It wasn't as if we had a great deal planned.

After breakfast the Gorse Fox spent some time fiddling with a spare router and hard-wiring the TV in the family room to the network. Previously it had been WiFi connected but it was a fairly weak signal in that corner of the room. Now there is a Gigabit router handling the connection (though the TV seems limited to 100Mbps). As usual all was achieved with a bit of magic and some cable-ties (which are, as you know, the answer to everything).

Then the was a brief bit of exercise on the running machine before the Gorse Fox retired to the study. He started by transcribing the diary entries for our trip to Epcot in 1989... then the mood overtook him and he got the urge to write code. So it is that the last hour or two has been focussed on writing some code to extract and format blog entries from the private blog so that they can be compiled into some printed form or other. The extract side of the conundrum is sorted and coded - now the Gorse Fox needs to think about the formatting and printing/filing. That can wait for another day.

Tonight we have a NYE get-together with the Sonning Crew which should be fun.

Friday, December 30, 2016


The phone rang just after 7:00. It was John Lewis on their way to install the new oven and combo-oven. This was good - everything would be sorted nice and early.


The chap walked in and asked to see the existing set-up and whether everything had been explained in the store. The Gorse Fox said that he had taken all the existing measurements and power rating with him to the store to check. The conclusion had been it was ok.

"The oven requires 16A circuit", he explained. We have a dedicated 32A the Gorse Fox responded. "No it has to be exactly 16A as the lead is not fused".

The Gorse Fox said "No problem, will go to Travis Perkins and get 16A MCB".

"You also need a 16A fused circuit for the Combo-Oven". That should be ok - the existing combi uses 15-20A circuit according to the installation instructions. He checked the circuit... it was 13A. That too needs changing but that's not a simple matter. That one requires an electrician.

Finally he measured the housing and concluded the shelf needed moving by 5mm.

At this point the whole installation was aborted. The Gorse Fox told him to go away and we would call them when ready to proceed as it was clear he wasn't going to do anything to help solve the problems.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Domestic bliss

Very little going on today. Urban-cub, having been sent home from work yesterday, was off-sick. Whilst feeling a little brighter than yesterday - she is still full of cold. The nice man from Ocado turned up with our shopping. He commented on how foggy it had been on his way down from the Weybridge depot - and how he had been drifting on the ice. It seemed strange as we had a crystal clear, cloudless blue sky (though it was very cold).

The Gorse Fox caught up with the accounts and then spent some time looking at options for a brief holiday in the Spring. Several possibilities arise, but there is no perfect fit so far.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Last ~Game

Very frosty start to the morning was not helped by Jasper's insistence that the Gorse Fox was up about soon after 6:30. He had to be up early-ish, but that was taking it to unnecessary extremes.

Urban Cub emerged at some pint - she had not slept well and her cold was in full flood. She retired to the living room and sat in front of the fire. She wasn't due at work until mid-afternoon so she have a quiet morning.

The Gorse Fox headed out for his last football game of the year. Again we had some youthful ringers joining us. It was a lovely game - lots of fun and banter but no aggression or silliness. This is how it should always be played. The Gorse Fox played well but isn't sure how the final scores worked out. It may well have been a draw, but frankly we had lost count.

Back home Urban Cub headed off to Gatwick and the Silver Vixen finished the chores that she had been working through. We had a quiet hour or two in front of the TV. Urban Cub called. She had been sent home and was now on her way back. The cold was self-evident and fairly extreme so he boss had taken the position that she should not be at work. Right decision.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Santa Run

Tuesday dawned early, thanks to Jasper. (The Gorse Fox uses the word "thanks" in its loosest form). After a moderately gentle start we all set off for the distant wilderness known as Berkshire. It was time for a Santa Run and to catch up with family.

Avoiding all of the shopping conurbations we had a quick and trouble-free run through. We were plied with teas and coffees whilst we caught up on the family news and the Gorse Fox's little sister finished lunch preparations. The Gorse Fox's nephew, Mask, was already there and soon afterwards, Blade turned up with Soph.

As always lunch was a huge feast with mountains of food and lakes of drink available. It was great fun with chat and witty repartee bouncing round the table. After lunch there were presents to share and a lot more chat. It was a lovely day.

We headed home early in the evening - the Qashqai SatNave deciding that the 57 mile journey taken when we came would be better as an 87 mile journey returning home. Stupid. Once the Gorse Fox realised this his overrode the route and spent much of the journey thinking about how stupid the routing can be and fretting that it doesn't offer a route overview or options.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Sun, sea, and sky

Boxing Day has been quiet. Urban-cub has a heavy cold and is struggling a bit. We discussed a walk - and though we left it until lunchtime, we decided to wander along the promenade.

Parking up, Bognor looked deserted. The car parks were almost empty and the on-street parking was almost unused. (Probably because everyone was parked in the roads of the Bersted estates). We wandered down to the promenade. On the corner was pile of rubble that had, until recently been an hotel and a fish and chip shop. This burned down a few weeks ago and has now been attacked by the demolition crew. The Gorse Fox can only comment that anything that is put in replace it will be a huge improvement.

The promenade was quite busy with walkers, cyclists, rollerbladers, skaters and dog-walkers. It was a little surprising as there had been so few cars around, but it was a pleasant afternoon for a stroll. We wandered along past Butlins and round the bend to the Lobster Pot where we did an about face and strolled back.

On the way back we were walking into what little wind there was - but it did have a cool edge to it. The sea was calm and with the watery sunlight marching across the glass-like surface towards us, made a lovely tranquil scene.

Sunday, December 25, 2016


We had a lovely long chat with Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit at lunchtime. It was good to hear from them as, somehow, it makes them seem a lot closer. We were instructed to send photos of the Christmas decorations and the Christmas lunch - which we duly did.

Lunch was fairly restrained compared to previous years - we didn't bother with a starter, had a normal plate of turkey and the trimmings, and didn't bother with a sweet. Indeed it was about eight in the evening before we returned to the kitchen and broke into the sweet course.

Overall, it was quiet Christmas Day, but it was very enjoyable.

In play

(Courtesy of Andrena McMenemy)
Well yesterday's Open House for the Sonning Crew seemed to go well and (surprise, surprise) there was plenty of food left over.

It's always fun getting everyone together. The Gorse Fox saw this photo on Andrena McMenemy's Facebook, and thought it appropriate.

Christmas Day started with Jasper the cat having a bit of a sleep-in and not disturbing the Gorse Fox until gone seven. This was a bonus.

Once up it was important to get the lunch preparations under way. There may only be three of us (the Silver Vixen, Urban Cub, and the Gorse Fox), but it still has to be done properly. Turkey was retrieved from the fridge and allowed to come up to room temperature as the oven was warming. As he writes, the Gorse Fox notes it has been nearly three hours since it was put in the oven and the smells emanating from that corner of the kitchen are wonderful.

We have to meet with Old Bill and Lady Penelope for a drink at noon - then we will return to complete the cooking - potatoes, stuffing, pigs-in-blankets, parsnips, brussel sprouts, peas, and carrots. Tradition is tradition!

Saturday, December 24, 2016


We've just had a peek at the video the Gorse Fox edited yesterday. We are all very impressed by the quality of both picture and sound when played on the big TV. That has given him the impetus to do more in the near future.

Talking of battening down

Talking of battening down - the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen are expecting the Sonning Crew to invade later for coffee, mince pies, a buffet lunch, a drink or two and heaven's knows what else. It should be fun.

Batten down

Yesterday the Gorse Fox was foresighted enough to check the garden prior to the forecast winds. He refastened the tie-downs on the garden furniture covers.

Fat lot of use that was! Trouble is that the winds are due to increase over the next 48 hours - so the question is: does he ignore it, or does he try again?

Friday, December 23, 2016


The Gorse Fox is not really one for being too organised. Well, perhaps that's a little unfair. He tends to have a strategic view of things, then as time passes the focus starts to become more intense. Yesterday he wrote a list of headline tasks... and today he focused on those tasks and ticked them off one by one.

  • Gammon roasted
  • Oven Cleaned
  • Floors washed
  • Marinade prepared
  • Turkey out for defrosting
One by one they dropped off the list and the Gorse Fox managed to spend some time editing video from the trip he took with the family to Sea World in Florida in 1989.
(There is no sense in rushing things).

It was very much by way of an experiment with iMovie, but he is moderately satisfied with the results.

It was also wonderful to see the girls' faces as they watched the various shows, and this afforded their dad an opportunity to embarrass them.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


It had to happen.

We'd raided Sainsbury's, Ocado delivered, and we collected an order from M&S... the fridges are now full and the freezer is full. Food is overflowing into the Orangery. Hopefully it will be a cold night and that will act like a fridge.

The Gorse Fox has spent some time today with the iMovie tutorial. This gave him a good comparator for ShotCut. Frankly, he thinks there is very little in it. Both seem capable and both seem easy enough to use. He has even edited some old video today, just as a test.

Highlight of the day, however, was a brief online chat with Cousteau-Cub. It's good to hear that she is on the mend from her latest flare up of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It hasn't completely settled, but she has been able to dive and is likely to dive again over Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


We had a couple of youngsters playing football with us this morning. One, the grandchild of a regular player, was about 11 and very talented; the other, the son of a regular, was about 18. This made the game quite good fun as they were struggling with the "walking" rule but had very quick feet and a some great skill. Without any of the trouble-makers, the game was great fun and an absolute joy. This was heightened by the fact that a) the Gorse Fox's team won 7-5, and b) the youngster was driving Renaldo (as we call him) absolutely to distraction.

Back home there was stuff to do to help the Silver Vixen with the ramp up to Christmas.. Once that was done though he retired to the study again to review the options for a non-liner editor for his videos. There is Apple's own iMovie (which the Gorse Fox already has) but he wanted to know what other options existed (with wider options for encoding the output). In the end he downloaded ShotCut. He watched a quick online tutorial and then had a go himself. It seems quite good and is abe to handle a very wide range of formats. Impressive so far and perhaps this adds the next line to list of projects the Gorse Fox will work on. (The private blog still sits at the top of the list, but there is huge backlog of diaries, letters, and journals still to transcribe).

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Tuesday morning saw the Gorse Fox in motion and Tuesday afternoon has seen motion pictures being shuffled.

The morning started with the car dance. This is the fandango we perform when each of the car is in the wrong relative position for our respective journeys. The Gorse Fox's car was in the garage, but the Silver Vixen was parked by the garage, and Urban-Cub was parked in front of her. Once we had finished the automotive-tango, the Gorse Fox head off of football.

It was the usual enjoyable two hour session. The Gorse Fox played adequately, though not really well. He managed to make some important interceptions and set up one of our goals. He was not, however, inspired. Maybe tomorrow!

Back home, Urban-Cub had gone to work and the Silver Vixen was out for a Birthday Lunch for one of her girl friends. The Gorse Fox had a quick shower and a snack then settled back down in front of the computer to finish the transcoding of video (motion pictures) that he started over the last couple of days. This is now complete, given the digital data that he has, but as mentioned yesterday the Gorse Fox suspects he will send some of the original tapes off to be re-processed.

Monday, December 19, 2016

More Video Transcoding

After a bit of discussion over menus and so forth, the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed for Sainsbury's to pick up those items that we wished to choose for ourselves rather than rely on the automated picking used by Ocado (which is fine for most of the shopping). Considering we are in the run up to Christmas, we were amazed at how quiet the shop was, and even more so to find there was no queue at the checkouts.

Back home the Gorse Fox returned to the video transcoding he started yesterday. This has revealed that some videos that he had digitised several years ago are suffering from poor colour quality. He suspects that he may have to send the tapes off for professional capture. That, however, can wait for the New Year.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


The Gorse Fox had no football today. With only 8 players we failed to reach a quorum. He used the time to look for some photos to add to the diary entries he had been transcribing. Now at the time these diary entries were made, the Gorse Fox was taking more video than ordinary photos. This meant looking through old vide and trying to capture suitable stills from the hours of coverage he had on file. This turned out to be more problematic than expected.

The LightWORKS software that he had used in the past wouldn't start at all. Apple's iMovie software would play the videos but despite following the online instructions, the Gorse Fox could not actually capture any still frames. In the end he used Quiktime. Not ideal.

This has triggered him to try and import his videos into LightROOM and try from there. He left this running and will have to have a play during the week.

AT lunchtime the Sonning Crew marched down to the Pink Pub. It was time to try some of the "Rockin' Rudolph" guest beer or some mulled cider. Several hours of chat and laughter ensued.

Saturday, December 17, 2016


That's been a productive start.

The Gorse Fox has managed to complete a number of tasks on his mental "to do" list. Christmas decoration boxes are all stowed away but easily accessible for 12th night. The blanket weed forming in the rill has been cleaned out. Various delivery boxes have ben cut down and added to the recycling. Paintwork out the front of the house has been washed down... and the ironing has been cleared. On top of this, the last of the emails from 1990 have been transcribed and filed in the private blog. (The GF has also just found another notebook full of diary entries for a holiday we took in Florida in 1989 - that will have to be transcribed next).

Such excitement!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Mulling it Over

Jasper was insistent and dragged the Gorse Fox from bed earlier than planned. The Gorse Fox got a degree of revenge by delaying putting out his breakfast until ten minutes later than usual.

It was a quiet morning - the Silver Vixen was preparing to meet up with friends for lunch so the Gorse Fox retired to the study and continued with the scanning and transcribing of old emails from 1990. The task is nearly finished - only about 5 pages to go. The task has taken the Gorse Fox right up to the weekend before the family flew out to meet him for a holiday in Arizona.

With Christmas fast approaching, the Gorse Fox spent a while wandering around the local supermarket. He wasn't looking for anything specific, more a case of seeking inspiration. He did make the most of the trip, however, to pick up a decent sized gammon joint and several bottles of mulled wine. Whilst the checkouts were almost empty, the aisles were fairly chaotic - though this is relative. In the old days, at Tesco in Chineham, you would be advised to wear shin pads and body armour. Here and now it is more appropriate to whisper the odd "excuse me" to pass a doddery shopper confused by the choice.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Simple approach

Sometimes the simple approach is all that's needed.

Two decent sized haddock loins, two slices of wholemeal multigrain bread (toasted), and some melted butter. The toasted bread was blitzed in the blender. The butter was melted. the haddock dipped in the melted butter and rolled in the breadcrumbs. The remaining breadcrumbs were used to smother the haddock in a ceramic dish. The whole lot went in the oven for 15 minutes at 210C... perfect.

Deck the Halls

The day has come.

Decorations have been retrieved from all of their hiding places and the Silver Vixen and the Urban-Cub are busy making the house look Christmassy. The Gorse Fox has put up and connected the tree, hung the cards, and fixed an external lamp (no sense in overdoing the external lighting).

The decorating frenzy will continue for many hours the The Gorse Fox will have to spend several days trying to find hiding places for all the empty boxes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Wednesday football was really enjoyable.  The Gorse Fox was greeted by a teammate "How's your face this week, within the constraints of what you have to work with, of course?" It was nice that he was concerned whether the Gorse Fox's eye had healed... but it may have lacked a certain sensitivity!

We were down to 5-a-side, but played on the big pitch. This gave us plenty of space to play but meant we had to work harder. The Gorse Fox was playing for the "oranges" and we rolled out 6-3 winners and this included a goal from the Gorse Fox.

Back home the Silver Vixen finished off her Christmas Cards and the Gorse Fox finished scanning and filing some old cards sent to the family when she was born. Then he went to deliver the local cards and posted those that required the Royal Mail.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Being Tuesday there was football to play. As a defender, the Gorse Fox believes in keeping things tight - though this should include his chest. Today he felt a teensy-teensy bit under the weather and his chest felt a bit tight. This did not stop him and over the six games played in two hours - only two goals were scored against his teams. Most satisfactory.

Strangely, we got a bit wet. We have often commented that the weather seems to take a break on Tuesdays and there are very few instances across the whole year when it has actually rained during our Tuesday games. This comment had obviously stirred the rain demons and today we had a fair bit of drizzle soaking the play.

Quiet afternoon back home readying ourselves for the Bersted Park Christmas social event which will (obviously) be followed by the Sonning Crew heading out for a curry.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Scans or photos

A quiet morning involved a bit of (unsuccessful) research into Urban-Cub's dash cam followed by a stroll into the village to post off some Christmas parcels and to get the Gorse Fox's hair cut.

With excitement reaching such an intense level, the Gorse Fox was almost overcome when the Silver Vixen found a few more photos and wedding favours that needed scanning. He disappeared up to his study. The photos were done first - without incident.

The Wedding favours (invitations, cards, etc) proved a little more problematic. The scanner kept dropping its connection, so the Gorse Fox resorted to using his camera. This proved ok - in terms of the quality of the images... but as they weren't being held in place by the scanner lid, he was getting distortion from the way in which some of the cards were folded. In the end he had a bright idea. Old Bill used to have a picture framing business... might he still have a sheet of non-reflective glass hanging around? A quick message confirmed that he had and 10 minutes later the Gorse Fox restarted the exercise and is very please with the results.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Young people might assume that this "Hammered" headline refers to the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox having a very heavy night out and suffering from the inevitable consequences. This would be wishful thinking (well, not that wishful). Actually it refers to the morning football. After several weeks of convincing wins, this week the Gorse Fox was on the losing team. It wasn't even close, ending at (about) 12-3. It was a good workout, however.

The rest of the day was quiet. The Silver Vixen was writing notes for some of the Christmas cards and the Gorse Fox was preparing dinner whilst watching various "foodie' programmes on the TV.

Saturday, December 10, 2016


The thing about Christmas cards is writing legible addresses. Now, of course, technology has come up with various solutions to this: hot-type, John Bull print outfits, typewriters, and apparently, computers. Hot-type is always such a chore - melting the lead and making up the type blocks, John Bull uses rubber type and very messy ink, typewriters are so noisy, and that left the Gorse Fox with his computer.

As usual, it took a few goes at it before the Gorse Fox had managed to create a file that would accurately print onto labels. Needless to say, there was final incantation that eluded the Gorse Fox until he started digging through some obscure menu items. Finally the word processor squirted all the information to the printer and several pages of labels appeared.

Now, several hours later, all the envelopes have their address labels, and all the cards are written. The Gorse Fox is just awaiting the Silver Vixen to go through and add her comments to those cards that warrant intervention.

A successful few hours.

Friday, December 09, 2016

All that Jazz

A relatively quiet start to the day (despite Jasper insisting that the Gorse Fox should let him out before 07:00 this morning). Most of the morning was spent on domestic activities and a little online shopping.

After lunch the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed into Chichester. She had been quite taken by some glasswork on a stall in the Christmas Market when visiting on Tuesday. It was now up to the Gorse Fox to turn this into reality. The chap running stall was quite chatty and we heard all about the little enterprise that his wife runs and he helps out with down near Sherbourne in Dorset (and their problems with the website and their intended migration from iPad to Samsung tablet - as GF said, he was chatty).

We strolled into North Street. We had come to really like the restaurant "Amelie & Friends", but that had closed down in the summer. A new restaurant, called Purchases, has opened in the old premises do the Gorse Fox popped in to have a look and we both looked through the menu. It's a little pricey, but looks as if it would be great for special occasions. We''ll just have to try it and find out. Oh well!

Leaving the restaurant, the Silver Vixen spotted a shop that demanded further investigation.

The Gorse Fox left her to it and went to listen to a couple of buskers. They were really good and played some excellent numbers. The drummer was playing on what looked like a kiddies miniature drum-kit, and the huge saxophonist was playing an instrument the size of a 16-inch canon.
The perfect way to spend a few minutes whilst the Silver Vixen browsed. The Gorse Fox could have listened to them all day (but the car park ticket demanded his return).

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Domestic sorts

Thursday - so no football. The day started with an email informing the Gorse Fox that his parcel was out for delivery. By 08:30 his new Nowo Woll casserole pan had been delivered. This triggered two activities. The first was the usual administration of the accounts - the pan's purchase needed to be recorded. The second was a clean up of the cupboards that had contained all the old pots an pans. Many hadn't been used since we moved in, indeed probably not since we left Kingston Gorse. A pile of pans stands by the back door to await a trip to the recycling centre.

The Gorse Fox had to call the suppliers of the new work tops for which we had received quotes. The issue is that for either supplier to create the templates for the new tops, they need the old tops removed. This is not something that the Gorse Fox feels happy doing. One supplier expects it to be done, the other expects it to be done but for £150 will do it for you. Given the overall cost, this is not too much of an issue. We still need to decide whether to go ahead.

The afternoon was spent pouring over Christmas food catalogues looking for ideas and suggestions for the various Christmas menus. In the end we placed an order with M&S for some of the items which we can collect just before Christmas. In another burst of activity, the Gorse Fox has even managed to dig out the Christmas cards.

It's all go, you know!

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Brush Strokes

If it's Wednesday it's football, again. The Gorse Fox headed off to meet up with the team and set up today's game. Teams were picked and the match went off without incident. The news of Krakatoa Jack's ban had a sobering effect on some of the more volatile players. The Gorse Fox was pleased to be on the right side of a 2-0 win.

Back home he received a call from the surgery. Seemed a little quick, given bloods were only taken on Monday. It was, however, nothing to do with that. It was confirmation that they were happy to give him a flu shot. (There had been some query as the Gorse Fox had been allergic to eggs as a child and had once had anaphylaxis after a de-sensitising jab). Discussion concluded the Gorse Fox would be ok so he pottered along and had the jab.

Going out for a short stroll later the Gorse Fox was amused to see that whoever had painted this afternoon's sky had left brush marks in the clouds when filling in between the houses and the darker part of the cloud cover.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016


Well that was not really a great surprise. The Gorse Fox had been intercepted as he checked in to the Sports Centre. The Centre manager grabbed him and asked him to accompany him to his office. He then went on to explain that after an incident at yesterday's tournament, they had decided to ban Krakatoa Jack for the premises for 3 months. (He explained  that it should be 12 months, but they were trying to be reasonable). He went on to say he hoped that Arun Amblers would not have a problem with this and wanted to maintain the relationship with the Centre. The Gorse Fox on hearing the details expressed his full support for the position being taken. The Gorse Fox has no sympathy for people who argue with the referees, and certainly none for those who lay hands on the ref.

The football started and the Gorse Fox enjoyed himself as usual, though seemed a little lethargic. By the second hour he had perked up and was back to his usual form. Unfortunately that got him into trouble. He moved in to cover a player moving down the right wing. The place received a huge cross-field lob which he volleyed. Unfortunately he volleyed it straight into the Gorse Fox's face at almost point blank range. The Gorse Fox's boyish good looks were again at risk of being compromised. His shatterproof glasses had been pushed against his eye socket and a some bruising was coming out. The  first aiders were called and an ice pack applied. There was only 15 minutes to go, so the Gorse Fox decided to sit it out for the rest of the game.

Had another nice long chat with Cousteau-Cub this afternoon. The Silver Vixen was at the hairdresser so the Gorse Fox was listening to some jazz and doing some reading on the internet when she called. She was obviously having trouble sleeping and decided a chat with dad was probably all that was needed to bore her to sleep.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Oil Change

A the Gorse Fox explained several weeks ago, his Doctor, concerned that the Gorse Fox had not been given an MOT since 1999, ordered up some blood tests. So it was that after a night of fasting, the Gorse Fox turned up at the surgery at 08:30 this morning for an old change. Sleeve was rolled up, tourniquet applied, and an armful of blood donated to the vampire phlebotomist.

(This, the Gorse Fox explains, was also a good excuse to miss this morning's football tournament. As mentioned before, he loves the football but finds the tournaments a little less fun as people get a bit to aggressive and angry over things that are really inconsequential).

Back home coffee was poured into the Gorse Fox to replace the armful of blood and then we made our plan for the day.

As we have explained before we find the existing cooker and combo-oven to be as user-hostile as a left-wing "peace" rally. We have selected some replacement models and our first stop was john Lewis. The nice man took our order and arranged disposal of the existing units and installation of the new ones. Sorted.

Another item that has irritated us since first moving in is the kitchen worktops. They are a distressed ash patterned laminate. We asked for different tops whilst the house was under construction - but told that was not possible. Today we took the opportunity to go round some local fabricators to see what they have available in quartz or granite - and more importantly, how much they would cost. We were certainly taken with some of the products and now await the quotes to see if it is viable.

Back home, we received a call from Cousteau-Cub. The Gorse Fox took the first lap, but when it moved on to health matters he passed the baton to the Silver Vixen. It was lovely to hear from her and good to know that she felt like a chat so thought of her ageing parents :)

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Plodding on

Chilly start to the day so the Gorse Fox was pleased that, being Sunday, football was in the indoor arena. A simple 5-a-side game which the Gorse Fox's team won 12-5. This included a hat trick from the Gorse Fox, so he was very pleased.

It's been a quiet afternoon. The chicken is cooking in the oven and the Gorse Fox has been transcribing more old emails into his private blog. The Silver Vixen is sewing in the living room.

Talking of the chicken - it is roasting in a new silicon roasting pan. One of three that we bought yesterday. It should wipe clean very easily when done... and being flexible, will store easily. The Gorse Fox also ordered his Christmas present - a 24cm square Woll Nowo casserole pan. Not exciting perhaps, but very useful and the Gorse Fox has no doubt, that despite its price, it be a great additional asset for the kitchen.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Winter Fair

The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox met up with the Sonning Crew over near Ardingly. The South of England Show Ground was hosting a large Winter's Fair. The trip across was quick and trouble free and parking was easy, even though it was clearly going to be popular.

We met up with the Crew (who set off half an hour earlier than us) in the food barn. They were just finishing their coffee as we settled down. The Silver Vixen had some fresh churros with chocolate dip, and a coffee. The Gorse Fox forced down a coffee and a "Spitfire Ale Sausage Bap". It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

After that we started to make our way through the various stands, tents, and stands. Outside was a small funfair for the kids and a Santa's grotto. There were some small reindeer in a pen for the children to look at and a sleigh for them to sit on and have their photos taken.

In the tents we fought our way through the crowds looking at the various stands and examining what was on show. Here and there we saw items that were tempted to pick-up, and in some places we succumbed to temptation. 

By late morning the place was heaving and it was chaotic in the marquis holding the gift stalls. This seems like a cue to head for the food marquis. This too was busy, but not quite as busy.

We spent several hours wandering around before deciding to return to the food barn. That, however, was heaving. It was clear that there would be no chance of sitting down so after a brief discussion, we decided to head off towards home and stop for tea and cakes at Old Barn Nurseries en route. After the tea we looked round the various displays, but left empty-handed.

It almost goes without say that we all met up again in the evening and went for a curry. Overall it was a lovely, sociable day.

Friday, December 02, 2016

At last

The Gorse Fox was sorting out some stuff in the study when it dawned on him what the date was. He called to Urban Cub "Hey, not wanting to say this out loud, but aren't you meant to complete on the sale of the fact in Porpoise Place today?" She responded that she wasn't holding her breath,

With that the phone rang. It was her solicitor confirming that completion had been achieved. What a relief! (And strange that it should all go through so early in the day).

The Gorse Fox spent the rest of the morning catching up on the household accounts. Though all of the usual expenditure was accounted for, he still needed to go through all the statements and check that everything was "ticked off".

The Silver Vixen went in to Chichester to the hairdresser. This took most of the afternoon, so the Gorse Fox had a bite of lunch then walked round to the Indian to book a table for the Sonning Crew for Tuesday-week then drop off some Nespresso pods for recycling. Finally he walked on round to Shripney to pick up some spicy chorizo at M&S. It was a nice walk and it got the blood pumping. The ret of the afternoon was spent working on a few more pages of the emails from 1990.

Thursday, December 01, 2016


It was another chilly night and frosty morning. (Well, it is the start of meteorological winter today). The cold snap continues - but the days are gin-clear, still,  and crisp. They remind the Gorse Fox of winter in upper NY State. He loves this sort of weather.

After the usual slow start to a Thursday the first real order of the day was to get Urban-Cub's car round to the auto-electrician. The ads-cam that we fitted last week really needed to be wired into the car properly, rather than having wires draped round the passenger seat. It only took the chap a couple of hours and the job was done. All very neat and tidy and no sign of the wiring. The Gorse Fox will have to think about doing the same for the Silver Vixen.

Back home there were some of the usual Thursday domestic tasks to complete, then the Gorse Fox returned to the transcription of the old emails. He's now well over half way, and intrigued by the memories they evoke. These include the eventful flight down to Houston, en route to Austin; the first impressions of Austin; the Natural Bridge Caverns; San Antonio and The Alamo; the 1990 World Cup as shown on US and Mexican TV, and so forth. What is worrying is that (as evidenced by the emails) most of this business trip was spent working with a chap called Itzhak and, when not working, he accompanied the Gorse Fox on most of these outings and trips... but the Gorse Fox has absolutely NO recollection of the chap.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another chilly start

The forecast had warned of temperatures down to -9C last night in parts of the countryside. Being close to the sea, we were blessed with a balmy -1C, but is still seemed "fresh" first thing. Urban Cub was going out to visit The Princess for the day and the Silver Vixen had a Christmas "do" for the coven this afternoon. The Gorse Fox had his usual football. It was a fairly tight, and pretty cold but we ended up on the wrong side of a 4-0 score. The Gorse Fox's foot was beginning to play up towards the end so he dropped into goal for the last 10 minutes. Once home and showered he put some anti-inflammatory cream on and that seems to have eased things.

Much of the afternoon was taken up with the reformatting of the OCR'd email transcripts. The Gorse Fox is up to page 25 of 64. Still a fair few sessions to go. In the scheme of things he has arrived in Poughkeepsie, worked for several weeks, visited Kingston, walked in Minnewaska State Park, eaten at Spanky's and the Nick-L-Inn (several times), visited the Vanderbilt Mansion and the FDR Mansion at Hyde Park - and spent far too long in the lab working with unannounced hardware and software that wasn't doing what it was meant to do. The next batch of emails should see hime transfer down to Austin in Texas.

Because the Silver Vixen is at her "do", the Gorse Fox is making the most of the culinary opportunity to make some homemade Tarka Dahl. The recipe suggest 4 dried chillies. The Gorse Fox has put aside 7. This should make it the perfect dish for a chilly winter's evening.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Around Zero

The temperatures were hovering around 0C when football started today. The Gorse Fox chanced his sore foot - and after two fairly intense hours can conclude it is much better (if not perfect). There was the usual mix of wins, losses and draws and the Gorse Fox was delighted with a lovely goal he scored from long range through a melee of defenders.

The afternoon has been spent hiding in the study, staying clear of the kitchen where the Silver Vixen and Urban-Cub are "having a sort out"! Jasper is hiding under the bed.

Sad day for Soccer

Well we woke to hear of the crash of a flight into Medellin carrying a Brazilian football team. It looks like 75 people have post their lives. A tragic day for all of those involved and their families who must somehow come to terms with what has happened.

The plane was, apparently a BAe146.

The Gorse Fox worked on the development of this and includes this photo from its original roll-out in May 1981.

It was a lovely plane, but it appears that it suffered a total electrical failure.

Monday, November 28, 2016

OCR and Scans

The Silver Vixen was out for the day with a friend. This left the Gorse Fox to his own devices (assuming Jasper the cat didn't intervene and demand attention).

It started with more scanning of photos and reviewing of videos and diaries to check dates and locations. This took a while but it did drag the timeline forward to mid 1990. This in turn raised the spectre of the missing diary entries for a a number of weeks. The reason that the diaries were virtually blank is that the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen were sending each other emails almost daily whilst the Gorse Fox was working in Poughkeepsie and in Austin. The Gorse Fox had the emails... but only as printouts.

The scanner burst into life and 64 pages of emails were consumed. Then the Gorse Fox started looking for an OCR product that would turn the images back into text. It took fair bit of research but in the end a MAC App was found and the 64 pages turned into pure text.

The rest of the afternoon was spent checking the OCR results and starting to ingest the emails into his private blog. There's a long way to go, but the Gorse Fox is very happy with progress. (In case you are interested, the OCR app is called LEADTOOLS OCR and seems to be very accurate so far).

Sunday, November 27, 2016


The Gorse Fox is resting his foot. It's probably ok to play on, but he's decided to give up a couple more days to heal. This has meant he has had a quiet day. The Silver Vixen is in her sewing room, and the Gorse Fox has been cataloguing another batch of photos.

The Gorse Fox was pleased to find that between his diaries and his old family videos (which are timestamped), he was able to pinpoint the whole batch of photos to the exact days on which they were taken. Today's batch included Leuven (Belgium), Paris, Warwick, Petworth, Winkworth and various events for birthdays within the family and among friends. He's now trying to puck the enthusiasm to start on the batch for 1990 - but suspects that will have to wait as there is football on the TV this afternoon.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


A very chilly start to the day - but it was bright again.

First task of the day was to swap the memory card in Urban Cub's dash-cam. The one that was initially in there was flashing an error code. It seems likely that it needs a firmware update and a reformat of the card. There was no time for that today, so the Gorse Fox just installed a spare card.

The Gorse Fox has probably mentioned before that the Zanussi combi-oven we have in the house is one of the most user-hostile devices we have ever owned. We have decided to replace the oven and combi. Investigations were the next order of the day. Two potential devices have been selected and the rest of the morning was spent looking at possible suppliers and trying to get the right deal. Ultimately, it looks like John Lewis will get the business.

The Silver Vixen's cousins are due later this afternoon and we have a table booked at the local Indian Restaurant. Should be a pleasant evening.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Bright but indoors

It really is a glorious day. Warm in the sun, when sheltered from the wind, but chilly if not sheltered. Perfect day for a walk. Well, it would be if the Gorse Fox wasn't still nursing his bruised foot. In a moment of lucidity, he has even declined to play football on Sunday in order to give said foot a little longer to heal.

Talking of healing, the Gorse Fox went to see the doctor. (This only happens once in a blue moon). He has been having a problem with his ear and as it wasn't rectifying itself naturally, and sound was becoming "fuzzy" he went to the surgery. He has returned with some spray and instructions to use it 3 times daily. Whilst there the doctor asked about his health generally. The Gorse Fox said he was fine but the doctor said that they hadn't actually checked him over since 1999. It looks as if he is now booked in for a bit of an MOT... starting with some blood tests in a couple of weeks. (The Gorse Fox is not sure what they will find - he does have blood, and it's red, so he should pass).

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A plan comes together

The Gorse Fox is vindicated.

Old Bill knocked on the door with Bose in hand. A few minutes later it was plugged in and connected to the Echo Dot. A couple of false starts, but then the music came through and Alexa was able to pump Amazon Prime Music (Unlimited) through the Bose speaker system. Old Bill was happy. All he needs now is an Echo Dot - but that is on his Christmas wishlist.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Well it appears that The Gorse Fox has found a new way in which his foot will bend. Normally the foot hinges behind the toes and at the ankle. After flying gaze-like through the air to intercept a long pass, The Gorse Fox managed to bend his foot half-way between the toes and ankle, having landed awkwardly. He tried to play on, but that was clearly not going to work.  He's now back home with his foot elevated and is feeling rather stupid.

In other news, in a feat of extraordinary legal alacrity and speed, Urban-Cub has just managed to exchange contracts for the sale of her flat. This has been going on since the Spring and has been hampered at every turn by the mendacious buyer and her obstructive solicitor. Completion is only a couple of weeks away and hopefully, Urban-Cub will finally be shot of it.

There is a the football club annual dinner this evening. At the moment The Gorse Fox is not feeling inclined to attend, but may perk up if his foot eases up a bit during the afternoon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bose and Music

It was a windy start to the day. Very strong winds howled across the South Coast and provided an interesting handicap to the morning's football. As the ball was kicked east or west the wind whipped it northwards. It was all  part of football's rich tapestry and kept us on our toes. The Gorse Fox had a good game and was very satisfied with the goal that he scored.

Back home, it was a quiet afternoon. The Gorse Fox got a cry for help from Old Bill. He had just joined Amazon Prime and wanted to activate the Music feature. The Gorse Fox went over to help and after some digging around was completely flummoxed. He suggested a call to Amazon's help desk. This, indeed, sorted out the problem and The Gorse Fox headed home.

A message came through. Music was activated... but didn't seem to work with his Bose sound system. Ooops. The Gorse Fox had an idea. The Echo Dot (Alexa) can link to Music... and can also drive an external speaker system. We have arranged to try this out later in the week. Hopefully that will sort things out.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Birthday girl

Today is dedicated to the Silver Vixen - the Birthday Girl.

At breakfast there was a pile of cards to open and read and then find somewhere to display them. This was followed by the piles of gifts that had been sent and had accumulated over the preceding weeks. She has been a very lucky girl.

Cousteau-cub mashed to get through on the phone and spent about an hour chatting with the Silver Vixen. It's a shame she couldn't be here, but they are having a very busy time at present - and as they approach Christmas it will only get busier.

The Gorse Fox had to include a trip to the dump in his itinerary today. Several empty boxes had accumulated and as we have the Sonning Crew arriving later, we had to clear these out. The Gorse Fox also loose-fitted the new dash cam in Urban-cub's car. This will be professionally completed next week, but the GF wanted to be sure that it was working.

Now we are having a quiet afternoon before mayhem sets in as the Crew arrive. After some bubbles, a taxi is booked to take us all out to dinner.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Good game of football this morning. The Gorse Fox was on the winning side (12-5), scored a couple of the goals, and made several more. He also peppered the goalie with a number of shots that were saved. He was accused of "running" (it is, after all Walking Football). The Gorse Fox responded that if he can still accelerate, then he's not running and as he still had a couple of gears he could go through he felt vindicated.

Back home the new 24-port network switch is now installed in the study. It's nice to have a slew of spare ports available for the future (though he may not ever fill all 24).

Storm Angus

Storm Angus (the first named storm of the season) hit last night and continues this morning. It's obviously been very wet and incredibly windy. We seem to have got off without incident, though the hoardings at the end of the Crescent have been blown down and turned to matchwood. The Gorse Fox will have to have a check round outside later - but for now he need sto get ready for football!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Frosty start

It was a frosty start to the day... and whilst it warmed up, the bright weather was destined to collapse into cloud and rain. The early morning frost left some wonderful patterns on the Orangery roof.

It was a good day for staying indoors.

The Gorse Fox continued with his additions to the photo library. Today was focussed on early 1989 - Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Dallas, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Devon (and all before the end of May). It turns out that this was another year good diaries - and so it was easy to allocate scanned photos to the correct dates.

Friday, November 18, 2016


The Urban Cub had ordered a flatpack "tallboy" which duly arrived on Wednesday afternoon. The Gorse Fox and the Urban Cub set about putting it together this morning. Though the packaging was battered (to say the least) the contents were fine and it all went together pretty easily over a couple of hours. There was only one minor hiccough but that was soon spotted and rectified. The GF thinks that it is a quality bit of furniture - all made from solid wood (rather than chipboard or MDF).

After lunch there was a quick trip into Chichester and then back to the scanner and the processing of 1987's rogue photos. Another busy year, clearly with lots of UK business trips, a trip to Armonk, and holidays in Devon, and Corfu - all witnessed by the photos.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


The Silver Vixen has a birthday approaching. Sometimes the Gorse Fox tries to surprise her, sometimes it is better to let her choose. So it was that we headed to Gunwharf for some retail preparation for the big day.

Parking up we first made a scouting run. This meant a gentle amble around the whole shopping centre   (which has already been decked out for Christmas) in order to see who is there and who has closed and been replaced. There have certainly been some casualties, but the selection now available was excellent for clothes.

Completing the circuit we then made a more concerted effort - diving into this shop or that to check what was available and whether the right sizes or colours were in stock.

All in all it was a pretty successful trip with suitable birthday presents selected and collected.

That done, we headed for something to eat. The choice is huge, but we plumped for Giraffe where we had a lovely late lunch that will see us through until the morning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Another lovely day here in the South. perfect weather for our football. Usual split of yellows against oranges and at first look it appeared to be a very even distribution of skills between the teams. In the end it turned out to be a bit one-sided with The Gorse Fox's yellows running out 9-1 winners.

When he got home, the nice Mr Amazon had been and delivered a new network switch. This was on offer for their Black Friday sale and the Gorse Fox was pleased find it at 20% off. He needs to move a few things about but should be able to connect up all his devices (at present he has to switch cables back and forth).

Talking of switches, the change from Picasa to Lightroom still continues. The Gorse Fox has started to experiment with Collections and Collection Sets. These allow photos to be grouped (logically) and those groups can also be grouped. This is similar to Picasa albums, but allows nesting of the groups which is a nice feature.

The Gorse Fox has also experimented with an iPhone app called PhotoScan. This allows you to use the phone to scan old photos. It certainly does a good job, but the Gorse Fox is not sure he will use it to complete processing the current box of photos. His workflow at present uses his flatbed scanner and works just fine.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


It's Tuesday so there was football. As usual The Gorse Fox played in the centre of defence and over the two hours managed to win 4 games and lose 2. It was hard work today as his knee was a bit stiff - but that was only a minor inconvenience. The Gorse Fox did manage to have several attempts on the goal - the first left the goalie with a bruise on his legs, and the second squeezed into the net for a well deserved goal.

Talking of being in defence, the art of computing is a bit like driving - its all about defence. So it was that The Gorse Fox set up the backup regime for Lightroom... and then after 24 hours realised that this needed some refinement. All of the preview files ran to many gigabytes and were still backing up after 24 hours. These file get recreated as required - so don't really need backing up. Now the selection for the backup revolves purely round the catalogue itself - not these previews. That seems to work nicely.

Urban Cub was at the hospital today for scans - all seems to be going very well, which is a great relief to us all (most of all, her). Scan pictures are beginning to cover the front of the fridge. The Gorse Fox will have to scan them in and add them to the library.

The Blinds man returned. The automatic motor installed on the blackout blind fitted on Friday didn't work. A new one was installed and now the blinds descend and retract at the click of a switch. This should give Urban Cub a much darker sleeping environment (which whilst not too relevant at this time of year, will be important come the spring).

Monday, November 14, 2016

Spam and snaps

The Gorse Fox has just had a "spam" comment left on this blog. This is first one for ages and as he vets all comments before he releases them, he has deleted it. He wonders what it is about this blog that makes the spammer think that "Dating" is an appropriate thing about which to comment and provide a link.

The Gorse Fox's experiments with Lightroom have all been successful so he is likely to switch over from Picasa in the near future. All of his photos have been catalogued now, and the facial recognition seems to have been pretty successful, though there will have to be a period of refinement. What used to be categorised in albums will probably be re-cut into collections - but there is no hurry for that. Picasa isn't going to crash and burn any day soon - it should continue to work until some fundamental change is made to OSX.

As usual, the Gorse Fox has already thought about the backup regime for Lightroom and the Lr system is being backed up as this is written. This has been running for several hours so far - but that shows how much data there is to lose if the master catalogue is corrupted or destroyed. (Secondary backup will be set to run overnight to a second NAS device).

In other news Urban-cub's car should be back from the repair shop this afternoon. We must give credit where it is due - Tesco Insurance has been superb so far, and assuming the body shop met its quality targets she will have the carr back on the road within a week of the original incident.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


There was no football today. We could not muster sufficient players to form two teams.

The Gorse Fox made the most of the time and scanned in another year full of photos. This was a busy year and there were plenty of photos to add to those already in the library. Trips to Cornwall, Thorpe Park, Tenerife, Poughkeepsie, New York, and Kingston (NY) all featured. In fact The Gorse Fox also went to Toronto that year, but has no photos to show for it.

With everything scanned and catalogued, The Gorse Fox also downloaded the 30-day free trial for Adobe Lightroom CC. This, as explained recently, is a possible replacement for Picasa. Playing with it for a while, it clearly respects The Gorse Fox's file structure and allows for geo-tagging and face recognition. Now the question is whether it can cope with the volume of photos. So far The Gorse Fox has imported all the photos from 1868 through to 1986. He will try more tomorrow.

At lunchtime the Sonning Crew met up at Old Bill and Lady Penelope's. He has a new talking alarm and we are key-holders. We had to be introduced to the system and have it explained in case we are ever needed to intervene. It appears that several bottles of bubbly, some sausage rolls, and some mince pies were all needed to ensure a successful handover of system knowledge.

As we left we were aware of a steel that we thought was gas. Old Bill called out Transco to get it checked and their diagnosis was that it was unlikely to be gas but may be a dead rodent in the drains. Further investigation will wait until the morning as the gas detector is coming up clear at present.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Today was wet, grey, and rather wintery. It was a good day to make sure there was stuff to do in the house. As the Gorse Fox has been processing the recently found box of photos, that seemed like a good project.

So it was that he started to sort, scan, and catalogue the old photos from 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984. Very satisfying to get them done and onto the digital library. By tonight they will also exist on two separate backup systems and they are already on the web library.

Talking of digital library - the Gorse Fox manages his photo library using Google's Picasa. This has been a wonderful tool over the years but, in their infinite wisdom, Google have decided to cease development. Though the system will continue to work for now - there is now long term guarantee that it will not be broken by some update that comes along in the Operating System. This gives the Gorse Fox a bit of a dilemma. With well over 33,000 photos in his catalogue, he cannot afford to have a management system that may randomly collapse in the future. For this reason, he has started to look for an alternative solution that will respect his current library structure and offer the same sorts of facilities as Picasa.

At first "Aperture" seemed like a great fit - the the Gorse Fox read that that too had been withdrawn from development. There seem to be plenty of solutions, but few that allow the GF to maintain his existing (well-thought out) library structure. Unfortunately the solution that seems to be closest to what's needed is "Lightroom" - and that is a bit pricey. The Gorse Fox is also fairly convinced that the migration from Picasa will involve a vast amount of hand crafting.

Friday, November 11, 2016


As the Gorse Fox approached his state pension age he has been contacted by the DWP  and given the option to claim it (he discussed this before).

The first time he tried he was directed to the Government Gateway site where he had to fill in some information and then, on pressing "Continue" the site said it  couldn't complete the request.

The Gorse Fox left it a week and the following Saturday went through the same process again. Again it failed.

He left it until Monday and this time it worked fine. His interim conclusion was that the Government's 24x7 DWP website only actually works during the week. The fact that it had worked meant that a secret activation code would be sent, by post, to the Gorse Fox. This would enable hime to complete his registration with DWP and claim his pension.

The code duly arrived.

With a degree of excitement** the Gorse Fox sat down this morning to complete the process. He logged in and again followed the process. This time he was able to confirm that he had the activation code. The code was entered and "Continue" pressed. At this point the page crashed with an HTTP Error 500.

By this point the Gorse Fox was getting a bit hacked off with DWP's ability and thanks the Lord that every time he was invited or requested to go and work on that account - he resolutely refused.

He phoned the help desk and after 12 minutes a human clicked onto the line and asked him what the problem was. He explained. "Are you using Firefox or Chrome?" she asked. "Safari" he replied. There was a long pause. "I'll just check" she said and then told the Gorse Fox to close the browser, wait for two hours, then open up a private browser window and start the process again.

The Gorse Fox waited.

With a degree of trepidation he opened the private browser window and started the process again. Voila, this time it worked... and that annoyed the Gorse Fox even more. What sort of Government site is that badly written that you have perform such unnatural acts to get it to work... but doesn't even give you a hint in advance that these unnatural acts are necessary.

At least his pension is now activated and payment will start at his next birthday.

** Excitement is, of course, a relative term.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Old Friends

Today the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen met up with an old college friend and his partner. Lord Brian and 'Mila came across from Peacehaven and we rendezvoused in LA. It is some 45 years since we last met, but we soon got back in to the swing.

We had a coffee in the East Beach Cafe and then walked along the front to the river, and then in towards the town.

We caught up with what we had happened since the last meeting (which was our last day of A-levels). Lord Brian had been a Police Officer, and a Detective until leaving the Force as a result of reorganisations and injury. Investing his lump sum in property he did well and now has a home down on the Coast and a few other properties that he lets out.

His partner, 'Mila, is a Russian freelance journalist and manages to file her stories from wherever she and Lord Brian find themselves - and they do seem to travel, almost non-stop. Lord Brian is a Spurs and England super-fan - attending almost every game, home or away. This means that he is almost always on the move from game to game - on top of this 'Mila travels back and forth to Russia via various European cities with Lord Brian in tow.

As we moved on from our walk we headed to The Oystercatcher for lunch. The outlines of the various stories started to get filled in in greater detail. It was a fascinating afternoon and it seemed a shame when we had to say goodbye and head home.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


Trump, eh? It's a funny old world.

Being an optimist, The Gorse Fox just hopes that the new President is able to fulfil some of his promises and that wise people are able to stop him fulfilling many of is others. The thought of a massive shake up of the political elite does rather enthuse the Gorse Fox.

Meanwhile, back here there was football to play - the world hadn't ended after all. The Gorse Fox enjoyed the game a little less today - clearly four days in a row was beginning to tell. Though he didn't feel physically tired, he found that his timing and accuracy were off and his concentration wasn't quite as good as usual.

Back home and a quick bite of lunch then the Gorse Fox headed off to Chichester. The new dentist was waiting to manage his check-up. a very nice lady she turned out to be and kept a detailed running commentary through the examination. Verdict was that the Gorse Fox has very strong and healthy teeth - and had too much unnecessary intervention when he was young. This latter point was good to hear as the Gorse Fox has held this view for years. Anyway he was given a metaphorical pat on the head and told to return in 6 months.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Groundhog day

Another cold start (0c) and The Gorse Fox was dressed up well for today's excitement on the football pitch. The turnout wasn't bad (considering we had a tournament yesterday) and we were able to split into 4 teams for the first hour. The Gorse Fox was playing for the "Blues" and we had solid success with three wins in a row.

In the second hour, with a change of personnel, he again played in Blue. This was less successful with one win and two losses. This was the same, overall, as yesterday and so there was no improvement. It was fun though and The Gorse Fox was resolute in defence  (the only goals being conceded when The Gorse Fox had been urged to drive forward, and someone else had dropped into defence).

Another game tomorrow.


The phone rang yesterday evening. Urban Cub was on the line, in tears. She had just been in a road traffic collision where somebody had smacked into the side of her car. She was physically fine, but clearly shaken. Her car is her pride and joy and she was heartbroken.

In the cold light of day, we can see that the damage is limited to the two passenger doors and the cill. Her insurer (Tesco) is right on top of things and the car is already scheduled for collection tomorrow and should be back with her in 4 or 5 working days. In the meantime she is awaiting a courtesy car.

The Silver Vixen went along to Chichester hospital this morning to check that all was fine - and after various checks the hospital gave her the all-clear.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Good but not good enough

It was a very chilly start. The temperature was reasonable at 8C, but there was a strong and bitter wind blowing from north. This meant that a morning dressed in football kit was, to say the least, bracing. Arun put out a good team, if not quite our best, for the monthly tournament. We even had the luxury of a substitute!

The games went well. We played Bognor Rocks, Southdowns Sharks, Worthing Strikers Red, Worthing Strikers White, Brighton Dolphins, and Brighton Penguins in a round robin. Arun managed to win 4 games and lose 2... ending up second overall. A good performance, but it could have been better. We should have beaten (or at least drawn) with two teams that beat us. Oh well... we'll have to do better next time.

Sunday, November 06, 2016


A chilly start to the day. It was only 3C when the Gorse Fox headed across to the football arena. Once we got started, however, things soon warmed up and the Gorse Fox was pleased score the opening goal from a slick interception. We ran out winners with a score of about 8-1 (we sort of lost count a bit).

Back home Urban-cub had gone for a walk with Pistol Pete down on the beach at Wittering and the Silver Vixen was on the phone to her cousin. The Gorse Fox resumed the task of scanning and categorising old photos. A batch from 1980 and more from 1981 were processed - and, as always when you go through old photos, many memories were stirred. The Gorse Fox is using a utility called EXIF to actually modify the metadata for the scanned images. This allows him to insert the correct dates into the image and those ensure they get filed correctly.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Photos again

Another day spent working with a box of photos. Several hundred have been scanned and categorised and dated... but it has hardly made a dent on the box in question. He was able, however, to find some more photos to share with his old friends.

He did find some photos of underground caves in Bermuda that he had forgotten about, and also some  photos from a business trip to Stockholm another to Athens, and one to Montpellier. (1994 was clearly a year for travel).

The Gorse Fox thinks this box will take the rest of the winter - in little batches.

Friday, November 04, 2016


After yesterday's meeting with old friends, the Gorse Fox spent much of this morning and the early part of the afternoon trying to muster an online album of old photos featuring these friends. Finding the photos was easy, but creating the album (using Google Photos) turned out to be more difficult than expected. Clearly Google Photos can create albums - the Gorse Fox has thousands of them - but for some reason this proved troublesome today. Eventually the album appeared and after a bit of reorganising, the Gorse Fox shared it with the old friends and has already had some feedback.

The Silver Vixen met up with her coven for lunch and to see a play over in Worthing. She wasn't quite sure what to expect, but seemed a little surprised that the play only lasted 20 minutes. It did mean that she got home a lot earlier than expected, which was good.

Urban-cub had a quiet day at home with The Gorse Fox. At lunchtime he checked what she wanted for supper and was delighted that she fancied an Indian takeaway. That was a decision then.

Thursday, November 03, 2016


It has been an emotional day. Saying goodbye to a soul that has completed its journey is never easy. When that soul was still in his prime and is the son of your oldest friend, Maurice,  it becomes very hard.

We left home mid-morning and had a very good run up to town. The A3 and M25 had been benign. We stopped at a Harvester for lunch and then made our way to the West Herts Crematorium for the funeral.

As we parked up, the Gorse Fox saw one of his friend's brothers, Paul, (who he has known just as long), so we joined with him and the family. We met David, the youngest brother, and Ann the younger sister. They had all been an integral part of our lives when we first got married and it was so nice to see them again - even if the circumstances were so difficult.

The funeral cars arrived and the throng that had gathered made their way in. There must have been 100-150 people in the chapel. The service was emotional, particularly when his surviving elder brother, Chris, tried to give his eulogy. There was moment of humour, however, at the end as the coffin was committed for cremation to the strains of "Ice ice Baby"... and we all filed out.

The wake was held up in Stopsley, where the family had lived while growing up. The venue was packed and loud, but festooned with memorabilia of his life, and three separate projection systems were displaying photos to remember him. We spent a couple of hours there chatting with the family. Whilst talking with Paul, one chap came up to ask the Gorse Fox which of the brothers he was. "Clearly you are one of them as you have the same nose and chin". The Gorse Fox said he was honoured, and he was "the sophisticated one".

It had been emotional

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Cool and bright

Well it was cooler today but still lovely and bright. We had 20 players today so split into 4 teams and played a round-robin in the 5-a-side cages. The Gorse Fox always finds these games more intense as the ball never goes out of play. The Gorse Fox's played well, drawing the first game 2-2, winning the next 2-0, and winning the last one 6-3 (which included 2 goals from The Gorse Fox).

Back home he checked the post. The taxman had written again. On checking, they have concluded that The Gorse Fox overpaid tax in the 2015-16 year and were informing me of a refund that waiting for him to claim. This was not a surprise - he knew about this and would normally have claimed it as part of his self-assessment but as he no longer needs to worry about that, HMRC just coughed up.


The phone rang during the evening yesterday. "Is that The Gorse Fox?" said a voice. "It's Brian Twinkle-toes".

That was a voice from the past. The Gorse Fox had been aware of him through face-ache, but hadn't actually spoken to hime since he finished his A-levels. We had been in the same football team at Barnet College (5-a-side and 11-a-side) and also in the same Maths classes. We had also gone to White Hart Lane for Spurs' mid-week games many times.

Forty-five years have passed, but he sounded just the same. He still goes to every Spurs' game and all the England games. What's more he lives down here on the south coast. We have arranged to meet up for catch-up and bite to eat.

The Gorse Fox is looking forward to it

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Roll on next week

Next week is the US election. The Gorse Fox cannot wait for it to be over. He is absolutely fed up with the cesspit of US politics dominating every news bulletin. It is not a matter of the best person winning - it is a matter of the least worst person being chosen. He finds it astonishing that in a country of 2-300 million people many of whom are likely to have an IQ above that of mouse can end up believing that either of these two candidates are suitable as potential leader of the free world.


This morning's football started in warm bright sunshine. By the time we finished, two hours later, it was overcast, damp, and the temperature had dropped by several degrees. Forecast for the rest of the week involves overnight frost and cooler days.

The games themselves were well balanced. 2 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses - but overall very good and very tight. At one point The Gorse Fox volunteered to go in goal, but was told to stay put "with you in defence it's like having a concrete wall in front of the goal". He's just doing his job!

Monday, October 31, 2016


The Silver Vixen is out for the day with a girl friend in Arundel. Urban-cub is off duty for a few days and after a quiet start to the day has gone into Chichester for some retail therapy. The Gorse Fox and Jasper have been left in charge.

The Gorse Fox spent the morning crafting more of his budgeting spreadsheet for 2017. This means that he has spent a very pleasurable few hours buried in Excel functions and macros. Some may despair, but to the Gorse Fox this amounts to one of life's great pleasures.

The Gorse Fox was also delighted to get confirmation in the post that HMRC is happy for him to forego future Self Assessments. This has raised him to state of near euphoria. In fact he's not sure if it was this, or the fact he has just been for a haircut, that is making him feeling somewhat light-headed.

If his MAC ("Condor") didn't keep losing his keyboard substitutions, things would be close to perfect.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


The Gorse Fox had his usual Sunday morning football game. By half time things were looking bleak with a 4-2 deficit. The second half, however, was more positive - The Gorse Fox hit the post twice, and had 6 or 7 good shots saved by the keeper. In the end he didn't score but we did run out 4-8 winners.

Home and showered The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen met up with the neighbours (Sonning Crew) for a quiet Sunday lunchtime drink at the Pink Pub. Well, it might have been more than one. In fact we were there enjoying the company for three hours before we decided it was time to get home and get supper on the go.

Ooops - living life on the edge, again!


And so we move from BST to GMT and any normal person gets an extra hour in bed. Jasper, despite a week of indoctrination on how to tell the time, and week of slipping his meals by 10 minutes a day, decided to get up even earlier. So it was at 0515 this morning he started to wander all over The Gorse Fox. The Gorse Fox ignored him for as long as he could but by 0630 decided that enough was enough. The Gorse Fox got up and brought Jasper downstairs - but then kept him waiting until 0730 before feeding him. Jasper was not amused.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


The Gorse Fox received some mail from Her Majesty's Government.

His State Pension date approaches and these were notifications of his options and instructions as to what he needed to do, accordingly. As he likes to "be digital" he opted to process everything online, and that requires a registration that will provide a special code. This, however, will be delivered by post. So much for the digital approach.

The notifications did trigger The Gorse Fox to make contact with his employer prior to Starfleet. As far as HMG is concerned, there is still a pension tucked away there. He is sure it won't amount to much but a letter has been written and duly posted. The Gorse Fox awaits the outcome with interest.

Friday, October 28, 2016


This afternoon The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen went to the Cinema. It's several weeks since "Inferno" was released so we could be fairly certain of a quiet showing. The film is the latest of the Dan Brown "Robert Langdon" books (Angels & demons, Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, Inferno) and The Gorse Fox had been looking forward to seeing it.

The film, directed by Ron Howard, was good - without being great. Somehow the film told the story but lost some of the tension and The Gorse Fox found that there was insufficient jeopardy in the attempts to solve the clues (which all came too easily).

Never mind, it was a good film and nice afternoon. We finished off with a stop at the Mexican "Mucho Burrito" for a bite to eat. It was still early, but as we were the only people in the restaurant, The Gorse Fox suspects that they won't last too long.

Ahead of the game

It seems hard to believe but today, 28th October, we received our first Christmas card. Now, the Gorse Fox knows people who are well organised - but this seems a little too extreme. After all the Silver Vixen hasn't had her birthday yet and that is the earliest that such thoughts are permitted.

Perhaps more worryingly, whilst the card is addressed to us both, the signature is indecipherable - so the Gorse Fox has no idea who this hyper-prepared person was.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Quiet day

Ssshhh. Do not disturb.

It has been a quiet autumn day. Early morning fog took a while to clear and the temperature remained quite mild. The morning was filled with domestic activity - the usual admin and then the Gorse Fox attacked the floors with the new floor cleaner again.

After lunch, the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox went for a short walk - but really, that was about it for the day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Wednesday - so it must be football. Though it looked chilly, it turned out to be quite mild and the sun soon broke through. We all met up for our usual football game and The Gorse Fox played for the yellow team. It was tight and though we were a one player short, the yellows were 1-0 up by half time. In the second half we had the extra man and the game played out to a 4-0 win. No goals from The Gorse Fox but a few good shots and some timely interventions.

In the afternoon, The Gorse Fox went with the the Silver Vixen to her physioterrorist appointment. He is always happy to provide support and encouragement and this time he was instructed on how to use a particular pressure point to reduce the nerve pain. Having said that, there is clearly no gain without pain and use of the pressure point itself was clearly very uncomfortable.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Nice Walk

Missing football this morning meant that The Gorse Fox needed to do some exercise. It was a lovely sunny afternoon so it seemed like an opportunity for a bit more exploring. He dug out the OS Map and looked at some routes that would provide a nice circular route from home.

He headed out towards Rose Green, south west of home and then turned southeast to drop down through Aldwick.

This took the Gorse Fox on down to the beach where he wandered along past the beach huts towards Bognor West Beach and onwards to the Pier.

From Bognor Pier The Gorse Fox turned back towards home, walking up through the town to the Chichester Road and then onwards to home. In all, it was about 6.25 miles and on such a lovely afternoon was an absolute pleasure.

Nice Man

We had an opportunity to meet up with the chap who provided our blinds and shutters. He's such a nice chap that when we needed to get a blackout blind for the back bedroom, we decided to give him the business. Since our last meeting he has relinquished the previous franchise as it was up for renewal and required a further 5 year commitment. He wasn't willing to make a commitment of that length and it was not negotiable. Instead, he has branched out on his own and we are (very happy to be) one of his first customers.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Battened down

The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed across to the Hillier Garden Centre. We needed an extra cover for the remaining bits of garden furniture - and had lots of valuable vouchers to spend. We had a good stroll around and stopped for a coffee and scone before heading home with our purchases.

It was a very successful trip and the all of the garden furniture is now wrapped up against the winter weather.

Feeling smug.

Taxing times

Not any more.

The Gorse Fox was chatting with Old Bill and he commented that he no longer has to do his tax self-assessment. This sounded good... so the Gorse Fox phoned Helen at HMRC and she checked a few things out and confirmed that he was no longer required to fill in a Self-Assessment and the request for this year's has been cancelled. She updated the system there and then and it should be reflected over night.

This is the sort of benefit that makes the spirit soar. There is no longer the nausea of filling it the online forms and waiting to see if all was well.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


It is definitely getting cooler over night. It was quite chilly in the Orangery this morning when we opened it up for Jasper.

Talking of Jasper, as he steadfastly refuses to learn how to tell the time and the clocks are due to change next weekend, The Gorse Fox has embarked on a sliding timescale for his food. Each day the ,meals will be about 10 minutes later than the previous day. That way he should be accustomed to the new times by the time the clocks change.

Football was great fun this morning. The Gorse Fox was on the yellow team and we fought out a 12-4 win. The Gorse Fox contributed a couple of goals, and managed to hit both posts and the cross bar as well as having several shots parried by the keeper. Very satisfactory.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


The Gorse Fox hadn't realised that when oiling the deck, he had been a little less than careful with the brush. As a result he had sprayed oil droplets onto the windows and frames of the Orangery.

As it was a lovely morning, The Gorse Fox grabbed a bucket and some cloths and spent an hour or so cleaning up the collateral splashes. This wasn't as easy as it sounds. The oil had dried and each drip needed to be scraped off with a penknife - and that needed to be done without scratching the glass or PVCu surface. It was fiddly, but in the end it was all cleaned up nicely.

In the afternoon Old Bill and Lady Penelope popped in with some wine they had picked up for us at their supplier. This seemed like a good opportunity to have a cup of tea and chat. Lovely afternoon.

Sad times

One of the Gorse Fox's oldest friends made contact through Face-ache. He had bee our Best Man at our wedding, and the Gorse Fox had known him since he was 12 or 13. His news was sad. His younger son, the same age as Urban-Cub, died yesterday after a four year battle with cancer.

The Gorse Fox cannot imagine how they must feel... and his thoughts and prayers go out to him and his surviving family. At least, after the long fight, Paul is now at rest.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Jasper again demanded an early start, but tis was no hardship as The Gorse Fox had to get up as he had forgotten to prepare Urban-Cub's packed lunch. With the help of the George Foreman grill a butterflied chicken breast and some bacon was soon grilled and some vegetables prepared. With the help of Mr Tupperware she would be leaving for work with a hearty, home-cooked meal.

The Silver Vixen had an appointment in Chichester. As she drove off, The Gorse Fox headed out to walk into Bognor. The first stop was Vodafone to return the Silver Vixen's old phone and get a rebate credited to her account. The store in Bognor wasn't as busy as that in Chichester so The Gorse Fox didn't have to sit around waiting at all. From there went on to the Council Offices. The enquiry desks were all manned and all but one were idle. Despite this The Gorse Fox had to take a ticket and wait his turn (in an otherwise empty room). A lady explained it was because "we all have different areas to cover". The Gorse Fox looked - it was a bit of an exaggeration - the desks either said "Benefits" or "General Enquiries". The ticket machine only gave those two classifications. The Gorse Fox played the game and was soon called forward. He supposes it was keeping their statistics in order... and data needs to be organised and retained in a well-ordered world!

The Gorse Fox continued onwards. He chose a route back via different roads - it was time to explore a little. He found his way back along towards Shripney, stopping for some shopping in Sainsbury's and M&S. A coffee in Costa, then back home. In all it was about a 5-mile loop and in the cool, but bright sunny autumn day, had been very pleasant.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Well DPD (for that is their name) finally came good and delivered the Silver Vixen's new phone on the day requested. Phone is suitably configured and working and the old one has been wiped ready to be recycled.

The Gorse Fox has also had an Alexa Echo Dot2 delivered today. He's not sure how much it will be used but thought it would be an interesting experiment and gain in usage when integrated with the Sonos. (The Gorse Fox isn't sure that integration is available yet, but it is advertised so should be available soon, if not).

We tried to put the covers on the garden furniture today. That turned out to be much harder than it should have been... particularly as it didn't fit at all. In the end we sorted something out but will need a second cover.

Urban-Cub got a call on Viber at 3 this morning. The call had come from Thailand so she assumed it was Cousteau-Cub. To cut a long story short she phoned back and ascertained that all was ok... but left both her and Cousteau-Cub confused as to what had happened. This afternoon we heard from Cousteau-Cub. Investigating, she has realised that the call call from the phone of the Coventry Hobbit. He, however, was asleep in bed with his phone on the sofa in the living room. Clearly it was Tyson the dog that trampled on the right sequence of icons to send the garbled messages to Urban-Cub. Lesson for all is to switch off vibrate in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


It was a very early start with Jasper-the-cat this morning. Still pick black outside but he wanted to play. The Gorse Fox gave in and opened up at boy 0630. Being Wednesday, there was football for The Gorse Fox and Pilates for the Silver Vixen so the early start wasn't too troublesome.

The football went well. It was a very tight game with a 2-1 win for the Gorse Fox's team with the last kick of the match. 

It was only when he arrived home that the Silver Vixen told him that she had received another annunciation from DPD (for that is their name) saying that her phone would be delivered by the archangel Tom between 1030 and 1130. So despite two separate confirmations that they would deliver on the 20th, they have no threatened to deliver on the 18th and 19th. It seems that their scheduling lacks three wise men. We assume that the delivery will, in fact, occur tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Urban-Cub is have a girly day with the Princess over in Portsmouth.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


And so it continues.

The company known as DPD (because that is their name), have not delivered the phone. Now when we check the tracking (following a star that rose in the east), it continues to tell us that the archangel Mark is still delivering to us - but not until Thursday as we had originally requested.

The Gorse Fox could have stayed for his second hour of football after all.

And the wait

Goes on


And so it came to pass that, in the days that are lit by the supermoon, a message was received. The Silver Vixen had an annunciation that the company that shall be known as DPD (for that is their name) would deliver her new phone on Tuesday. If this was not convenient, they provided a medium by which we could change the date.

As Tuesday was booked with football for The Gorse Fox and Naughty Girls (the coven) for the Silver Vixen we sent a change. The phone should be delayed until Thor's day. DPD were quick to acknowledge this change and all was well with the world. (Except that Jeremy Corbyn leads the Labour Party, Donald Trump is still a candidate in the US Elections, and war continues in Syria).

Tuesday started as usual, but whilst we were preparing for our day a message cam through from DPD (for that is their name). The phone was out for delivery. They had decided that Thor's day was not for us and that the archangel Mark would arrive between 13:08 and 14:08 with said phone. If we wished to change this we were to contact the same way as we had before.

Flushed with the success of the original change, so cruelly ignored by DPD (for that is their name), The Gorse Fox decided to cut short today's football and ensure he was their to greet the archangel Mark. So it is that he sits and waits.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Bersted Street

Cottages of Bersted Street in the Autumn Sunshine


Gosh it was wet overnight, and still pouring with rain when The Gorse Fox came down to greet the day and feed Jasper. Like yesterday, it soon dried up and the sun poked through. Unlike yesterday, however, showers continued to punctuate the morning.

The Silver Vixen and Urban-Cub decided on a trip to Chichester. Urban-Cub needed some clothes for work and a chance to stroll around the shops. As The Gorse Fox is not at his best at the shops when there is no specific target, he elected to stay at home and let the girls run loose.

The Gorse Fox decided a walk would be nice and by lunch time the sun was out and the sky was pretty clear. He headed down towards Bognor and then up Bersted Street towards Shripney. Now, Bersted Street is a no through road and you wouldn't use it unless you had a particular place to visit. This is a shame because there are some delightful cottages down there and a lovely old parish church.  These looked quite lovely in the autumn sunshine.

The Gorse Fox moved on up past the shops on the Shripney Road and stopped in at the pet shop to pick up some cat food. By the time he came out the sky was looking very grey and threatening. A couple of minutes later, when he was at the furthest point from home, the heavens opened. Up went the umbrella and the Gorse Fox strode onwards. Two and half kilometres late he walked through the from door, dripping over everything. He was soaked. He was soaked and the rain had just stopped and the sun had come back out. Typical.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Match ready

It was very wet overnight. When The Gorse Fox got up with Jasper-the-cat at about seven, the rain was still hammering down and it was very dark. The rain passed on over the next hour and by nine the sun was coming out and the paths were drying.

The Gorse Fox watched the re-run of yesterday's football whilst enjoying his coffee then had to get ready for his own game.

We had a very good turnout and the pitch was really too crowded to have any flow to the game. It was more like pinball. The Gorse Fox suspects that last night's late evening with the Sonning Crew may have contributed to his lack of form this morning. We ate well and there is a chance that the odd glass of this or that may also have been consumed. It was quite late before we got in... and it showed. It took until half way through the second half before The Gorse Fox actually hit his stride and that stemmed the rout. Unfortunately we were already 8-1 down and it was too late to recover the situation.