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Thursday, March 31, 2016


The Ford Football Arena used to be our usual venue for walking football. It was a huge hangar which had been adapted to provide a number of indoor 3G football pitches. The guy that used to run it went out of business.

Over the intervening months, some local businessmen have acquired the facility and given it a major facelift. The pitches have been resurfaced and the public areas have been completely redesigned and rebuilt. The facility is now called the Arun Sports Arena and is getting ready for its grand opening. Arun Amblers were invited to tour the facility today and we were all very impressed. They have signed up some major local football teams to use the facility - and even a London based Premiership team will be using it for one of the foundation squads.

This looks as if it will be a good new home for Arun Amblers and we have been invited to play as part of the grand opening event. On top of the sports side of things it looks as if it will be a good social space, also. It has a bar, kitchen, full-time receptionist, and even a multi-media meeting room.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


It was the calm after the storm. Yesterday, the the tail end of Storm Katie still whipped high winds and squally showers across the South. Today, the sun is out and the wind has dropped. This made this morning's football a lot more controlled and enjoyable. Again, we had two refs. Again they were brutal in their interpretation of the rules, so the game was hard but much more fun for all.

When the Gorse Fox got home he realised that his phone was not behaving quite as he would expect. It turns out that the wifi settings were stuck on the test settings he had tried when experimenting yesterday. It took some fiddling about to correct it - but all is back to normal now.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


The Gorse Fox is the proud owner of several routers. Now he should embark on some disambiguation. One of his favourite routers is a tool that, with the correct bits, will cut wood, or cut trenches into wood, or shape edges. A tool of great scope and capable of creating sawdust at an astonishing rate of knots. The Gorse Fox is not talking about this.

The Gorse Fox has been playing with an old ADSL modem/router and pressing it into service to provide some additional WiFi coverage. This is the eponymous router. It took a little fiddling about (and there's a couple of configuration features that need some refinement) but it is now working and flooding upstairs with a strong WiFi signal.

With a further wireless access point on order he will soon flood the Orangery and garden with WiFi.

Very satisfying to reuse an old device and get it working so effectively.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Storm Katie

Well that was pretty spectacular.

The storm raged through the night but does seem to be easing now. Though a couple of miles inland, our windows are covered in salt. Further along the Crescent, the contractor fencing has been blown down. We have been pretty lucky, one of our new trees is bent double, and a pot has been blown over - but that seems to be the extent of the impact on us. Elsewhere on the development some of the houses that are still under construction have been damaged, but it could have been a lot worse.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Back on

Happy Easter to all of you.

There was no football today - we couldn't have achieved a quorum, nor could we have matched last night's England performance against Germany (though normally that is not beyond our expectations).

The weather was very changeable throughout the day - bright sunshine, heavy rain, hail, and more sunshine. Not really conducive to venturing out. The Silver Vixen spent time on her Thai-based project and the Gorse Fox spent some time getting the TV and network in the Orangery back online. (He switched it all off before the trip to Thailand and it hasn't really be necessary to switch it all back on up until now). What is different this time is that the Gorse Fox can use the new data network that he had installed. This should allow much better streaming and, so far, it seems to be working flawlessly. The Gorse Fox will add a wireless access point in the next few weeks. This will allow us to eliminate the last few wireless dead spots in the house.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

13A or 16A

The thing about replacing an oven, or a combo is determining the ancillary changes that may be necessary. Examining the devices we currently favour means that two shelves in our housing unit may need to to be moved, and the existing electrical spurs may need to be upgraded to 16A from the current 13A supply.

The former is something the Gorse Fox could do, the latter needs and electrician. Even moving the shelves may not be straightforward as they may be dowelled and the dwell may be metal rather than wood. The Gorse Fox spent an hour or so this morning looking through the build specifications for the house, but there was no document that explained the actual construction of the kitchen housings. This will evidently have to be "try it and see". For this reason, the Gorse Fox is thinking that he will get the whole thing done by the installers... assuming, of course, that we decide to go ahead with the change.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Caught out

As readers will know the Sonning Crusties visited the Ideal Home Show on Monday. At the the Show, Chris & Maureen bought some chorizo and pointed it out to the Gorse Fox. The Gorse Fox found the stall and tried the sample. It was delicious. He too bought some.

Yesterday, the doorbell rang. It was Chris. Had we tried the chorizo yet? The Gorse Fox explained that his had been stored in the freezer. Chris complained that his didn't taste like the sample, wasn't really suitable for cooking (as we both often use it as a spice/condiment), and Maureen had been unwell after eating it. Not a good advert. He brought over a chunk and left it for the Gorse Fox to try. At lunchtime he sliced it finely and tried it with some crisp bread and cream cheese. It was, as suspected, nothing like the sample - but to be fair, was very nice. The main comment from the Gorse Fox is that it was more like the texture of a salami than chorizo.

Another part of the Ideal Home trip was to look at some replacement cookers. Though ours are relatively new, the combo oven is the most user-hostile device in the house. (As explained before, even neighbours come to ask the Gorse Fox how to use it). This morning the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox decided to have a wander round Curry's and any other suitable store to look for examples of our favoured replacement. Curry's turned out to be a dead loss - though the we-site showed the devices the store didn't have any for us to examine. We headed for Bognor Regis and the store that the Gorse Fox visited several weeks back. In the end, though we didn't see the exact models, we did get some detailed and excellent advice from the staff in two separate and competing stores. Still a few things to sort out, but looking good.

We stopped at a local restaurant for lunch. It was busy, but not rammed. The menu was extensive and it took us quite a while to make our selection. The Gorse Fox headed for the counter to place his order. He joined the queue which edged forward, slowly. Finally he reached the head of queue. "Hello, we are at table 22, I would like to order" explained the Gorse Fox.
"Hello" said the chap "I just need to warn you that there is a minimum of one hour to wait for food".
"I don't think so" said the Gorse Fox and he and the Silver Vixen left and grabbed a KFC on the way home.

It was 29c in the Orangery this afternoon. Delightful. Shame the weather is forecast to collapse over night.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


The Gorse Fox guesses it just creeps up and bites you.

He left the house in the usual way and drove off towards Worthing. A mile from home a question flashed across his brain. "Did he lock the front door?"

The Gorse Fox was sure he had but had no clear recollection of so doing. This was not a doubt that could be ignored. He swung round the roundabout and looped back home. He had, of course, locked the door. He set off again.

Arriving at the Worthing Leisure Centre he grabbed his kit and played his football. It was only when he got back to the car that he realised that he might of locked the house, but he had forgotten to lock the car.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016


There are some basic rules to Walking Football: walk, don't run, no offsides, no tackling from behind, and so forth. In the last 18 months or so these have become somewhat advisory rather than mandatory. After a spate of injuries and a number of newbies giving up, we decided to clamp down and today played with 2 referees to enforce the rules to the letter. Some were less than happy, but the Gorse Fox thought it was a significant improvement and actually evened out the games for those who are less mobile than others.

The Gorse Fox has mentioned the recent erosion of our ball supply. He did notice, whilst at the Ideal Home Show, a more striking option... maybe the Gorse Fox should approach the treasurer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


It is a gorgeous day here on the South Coast. Having said that, the Gorse Fox would have been content to miss the first part - but Jasper-the-cat was insistent that the Gorse Fox got out of bed much earlier than needed.

Football was fun. Six games today and the Gorse Fox was on the winning side for all six games. Now, a quiet afternoon is on the schedule.

After the trouble at Brussels Airport today, Gatwick has been on a heightened state of alert and Urban-Cub has been on duty, keeping everyone safe.

Monday, March 21, 2016


What a super day.

We all met app at the local station and took the train up to London. By the time we got to the Ideal Home Show we were gasping so started with a trip to the tea rooms for a suitable refreshment. After that we split up with a plan to reconvene in 2 hours.

The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox wandered off. We didn't have a specific objective other than looking at some garden furniture and the Gorse Fox wanted to look at a new 28cm casserole pan/dish. We zigged then zagged and bit by bit made our way round the whole ground floor. Then we headed upstairs and continued our zigging and zagging.

There was a huge selection of things to see and we stopped here and there to view this or that. The Gorse Fox found the cookware and selected the pan he wanted. German made, titanium coated and sporting a life time guarantee.

We headed back to the meeting point and we all made a beeline for the food stands to grab some lunch. The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox seemed to do well by selecting the hog roast rolls.  The rest of the Sonning Crusties went for some Posh Sausages and seemed to be disappointed with their choices.

We split up again with a plan to reconvene at 1700. We enjoyed another loop round the exhibition and spent some time looking at built-in cookers and microwave ovens. Though there were some good offers we felt that there was further research required.

At 1700 we met up and headed for the train. The trains seemed quieter than the Gorse Fox had expected, which was a good thing. We had a fairly comfortable trip and were back in Bognor soon after 1900. A table was booked at the local Indian restaurant to finish the day.



Sonning Crusties have a day out. We are planning to hit the Ideal Home Show - let's hope they are ready for us (and the trains run on time).

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Game off

No football today. There were insufficient players available to form two teams.

The Gorse Fox is spending some time looking into the options for the forthcoming In-Out Referendum. Despite the white noise coming from the politicians on both sides, there does seem to be an interesting paper looking at the "exit" options. The Gorse Fox is about half-way through this so far;

The Gorse Fox is stil ambivalent over the forthcoming vote. Philosophically he feels that closer integration should be a good thing, but practically feels that the EU is essentially undemocratic as it is run by unelected "commissioners". If we had genuinely got some sensible concessions out of the recent renegotiations, then the Gorse Fox thinks it would be a "slam-dunk" for "Stay". In practice, there were no concessions (as confirmed by various politicians across the EU). This means that there is a serious decision to be made and at present the arguments for "Stay" are, at best, very weak and based on fear-mongering.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Girls

The Gorse Fox has had a day focussed on the girls. A chunk of the morning was spent online with Cousteau-Cub. She has been building a new website for her Yoga - specifically for a retreat she is organising for October. The site looks very good and the Gorse Fox helped get the domain name sorted out. So, go and look at and if you fancy a relaxing and spiritual few days on the beach overlooking the Andaman Sea, then do get in touch.

Soon after the discussion finished with Cousteau-Cub, Urban-Cub arrived. She had a few days off before her next shift. Again, we started with sorting out some computer stuff then had a few hours of chat hearing all about what goes on at Gatwick and all her family news. The latest plan from her neck of the woods is to put her flat back on the market. Hopefully, this will be more successful than last time.

We put the heating on in the Orangery, but it wasn't really warm enough to sit out all afternoon. We gave it a while, but in the end the Gorse Fox lit the (gas) fire in the lounge. He's glad that he now has that sorted out. It made all the difference to the afternoon as the temperature is such that it isn't quite kicking the central heating into life, though it was needed (unlike Thailand, where Cousteau-Cub was telling us that it was 47C today).

Friday, March 18, 2016


Still dry, but a lot cooler and cloudier today. This gave the Gorse Fox the opportunity to clean the inside of the Orangery windows with the new Karcher toy. There are two part - one squirts a detergent onto the window and the inbuilt microfibre strip cleans the glass. Then the second part works like a vacuum cleaner and sucks the fluid off the glass. It is so quick to use and the results appear to be excellent.  Looks like a good buy.

With a trip to Canada approaching the Gorse Fox has been looking at currency exchange rates and determining what to load on his pre-paid currency card. This is always one of the frustrating decisions - how much local currency and how much on the card (though, of course that can be reloaded at will).

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Another cracking day. This encouraged the Gorse Fox to get of his backside and grab the ladders and a bucket of soapy water and attack the soffits and fascias. They had got a bit grubby and dusty over the winter and were in need of some attention. It didn't take long, but the Gorse Fox was surprised to find that these features were actually wood, rather than PVCu which had been assumed. This means that there will be a need for some maintenance over then next few years.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Pilot Light

The Gorse Fox decided to light the fire one afternoon last week. He couldn't get the pilot light to ignite and without that he couldn't light the fire. He checked the manual and followed the instructions. Nada, nothing.

The following day he phoned the supplier and he talked the Gorse Fox through the procedure. Again, nada. The Gorse Fox gave up and asked for them to come and give it a service and sort it out. This morning, their engineer arrived. He walked in, pressed the button and the pilot light ignited immediately. Typical. He hadn't done anything differently from the procedure followed by the Gorse Fox. Pah!

Oh well, it has been fully serviced and checked, and the warrantee validated for 5 more years, so it wasn't all wasted.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Another cracking spring morning. It was cool but lovely and sunny and a couple of hours of walking football was the perfect start to the day (even if the Gorse Fox was on the losing side). In the couple of hours he covered well over 5 miles and that was taking it easy (as he's still not quite up to his usual standard).

He must say, again, that the new by-pass is a huge saving on the journey in terms of both time and distance.

No football tomorrow as "tis on the Wednesday morning, the Gas Man came to call" (to paraphrase Flanders and Swann).

Seems to have clouded over a bit this afternoon and the wind is picking up.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Over the weekend the Gorse Fox has filled the holes in the study wall. This morning, with sander and vacuum cleaner, he sanded the surface down and feathered it into the surrounding wall. Now he has attacked it with the paint he purchased at the weekend, and is waiting for it to dry (as it looks a little patchy still).

Self help

The Gorse Fox walked round to the shops. He queued behind a woman of uncertain age who was coughing and wheezing. She bought her electricity credits, she bought her gas credits, then separately spent £108 on cigarettes and tobacco before shuffling out of the shop and mounting her mobility scooter.

Priorities sometimes seem confused.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Sunday morning's football was an absolute pleasure in the bright sunshine, even if it was a bit chilly to start with. We had a good turn out and the Gorse Fox swapped sides at half time, to try and even things out a bit. He was pleased with his game, being on the winning side both in the first and the second half... and he even scored a handful of goals.

Saturday, March 12, 2016


The data cabling left two huge holes in the study wall. This morning the Gorse Fox has started to deal with these. Firstly, he had to get some of the deep hole filler, but that was soon sorted with a trip to B&Q.

Then it was a matter of creating a backing against which the filler could be a applied. A few minutes thought and the Gorse Fox came up with some wood with "No More Nails". This was attached to another piece of wood with a long screw. Once inserted into the hole, and manoeuvred into position, the screw was tightened to hold the wood in place until the adhesive had set. A while later the deep holes were a lot more shallow as they were backed with wood. The filler was layered into the holes and the Gorse Fox now awaits the layers to set, before applying the next.

Meanwhile, the Gorse Fox checked the house "spec" to determine the exact shade of paint used in the study. It turned out that it was a trade mix unavailable at the local DIY superstores. This meant a trip to Chi to visit Brewers and get a pot of the paint mixed.

Doctors and ambulances have been coming an going all day to one of our elderly neighbours. The Gorse Fox took her daughter to the local pharmacy mid-morning, but notices that the ambulance is back  now. Pneumonia can be so devastating for such an elderly, frail lady. Let's hope they have intervened soon enough.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Eating Out

Last night, after a glass of champagne with the neighbours to celebrate Maureen's Birthday, we headed off for March's outing of the Sonning Crusties' Curry Club. As usual we were welcomed with open arms and given the very best of service and a superb curry. We really have fallen on our collective feet with this restaurant.

Still full this morning, the Gorse Fox had a vert small bowl of cereal to start the day, knowing that we were due out for lunch.

The morning was spent on admin - talking to Starlet Pensions to try and work out why the Gorse Fox gets, apparently, random Pension statements (the latest of which arrived this week). It turns out that they send out two a year - one at the end of the financial year, and one at the beginning. Mystery solved. Then we contacted HMRC about a transfer in allowances, which should save some money when it goes through. Indeed it may even result in a rebate.

At lunchtime we headed off to nearby Eartham. The George Inn has a great reputation, and the Silver Vixen has eaten there with friends recently. As we were meeting up with Urban-Cub we thought this was a good spot. Good? It turned out to be excellent. A lovely welcoming pub with big open fires and very cosy feel. The food was simple but really good. Urban-Cub and the Silver Vixen had the sausage, mash, and gravy and the Gorse Fox had a pulled pork burger. Simple stuff, but cooked perfectly. The Gorse Fox can see this becoming a regular haunt.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Done... all but

Well the cable guys have been here for 5 hours now. Things took them a lot longer than they had expected, but they are all but done now. Final connections are being made up in the loft. All the other connections are in place and the Gorse Fox has put the TV and all its components back together in the Lounge. The way things have worked out, he has one additional socket available on his router. This may be an excuse to move one of the NAS devices to the "man cave"... or he may move one to the loft.

Cable guys

The cable guys have arrived. The Gorse Fox explained the route for the riser to the loft space. That seemed quite straightforward, though they do have to distinguish between two separate cables. This is not beyond the wit of man.

The drop from the loft to the lounge was quite straightforward, and the drop to the kitchen should be fiddly but possible. (It's a good job they are no big lads as the space within which they will need to work is fairly tight.

The big challenge was the study. The Plan A was to come through the outer wall, but as the house is tile-hung, this was sub-optimal. Plan B (which was the Gorse Fox's preferred plan) was to use the existing TV socket in the study. This turned out to be troublesome. The aerial cable dropped down to the "man cave" not up to the loft. Then it was a matter of finding a route behind the plasterboard up to the loft. Needless to say, despite the hollow sound, there were blockages. In the end the Gorse Fox has decided they can cut the plaster board and run the cable, and the Gorse Fox will patch it and repaint afterwards.

Oh well, it'll be good when it's done, though the network map for the house is now beginning to look quite complex.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Wet not Yet

The Gorse Fox had warned the team that if the weather was too bad, he wouldn't be playing today. He is not going to take any chances as he is beginning to feel better. 

As it turned out, the forecast rain had stopped by early morning and it was bright and sunny. The Gorse Fox went along for the game, and had a very good session. Strangely, we had gone for months without loosing any balls, but as commented before, we have lost a few recently. So it was that "the Club" bought some new balls and gave one to the Gorse Fox as a replacement. Twenty minutes later, the new ball had been hoofed up onto the roof of the Spots Centre - and as the only chap allowed to retrieve them is off-sick, the ball remains on the roof.

On another matter - the new by-pass is great, cutting a huge diversion off the route.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016


After a very quick run up to Heathrow, we sat and waited in the The Plough at West Drayton for Emma and Louis to arrive. The pub was a bit "basic" and not very warm. We bagged a seat near the fire to ensure we got the warmest spot. Emma turned yup with baby Louis, who was fast asleep in his stroller.

We had a lovely lunch and chat before Louis started to stir. A feed should have been on the cards, but he didn't seem interested. In the end helped Emma load the car and sent he on her way as we headed back to the Coast.


Sorry to hear from Cousteau-Cub that her rheumatoid arthritis has flared up and is giving her real trouble at present. Lots of love and positive thoughts whizzing across the globe to her.

We have an outing today. We are heading up to Heathrow to meet with the Silver Vixen's niece, Emma,  and her new baby, Louis. It'll be nice to meet up and have a quiet chat and a bite to eat.

Monday, March 07, 2016


The Gorse Fox was expecting some aches and pains after yesterday's football and was pleasantly surprised to find he was quite mobile and ache-free.

He has spent much of the day trying to get the Sonos to recognise the music library. (It had been working but seemed to fail a few weeks back and just cannot seem to resurrect itself. Several hours later the Gorse Fox gave up with the intention of retrying when the data cabling is complete.

Sunday, March 06, 2016


Well, the scoreline was a little lop-sided but at least the Gorse Fox felt well enough to play and, indeed, scored several goals this morning. It was bit raw out there - the frost had only just lifted and there was a cold northerly wind, but once we had started, we soon warmed up. Some, as usual, were much more mobile than others and as we were one man short, to made the first half very challenging. We swapped a player round at half-time and that evened things up for the second period.

Saturday, March 05, 2016


The man from Amazon arrived. the Gorse Fox checked out his stocks and realised that some addition 300mm cable ties would be useful, so whizzed round to B&Q. Within 10 minutes he was back home and up i the loft.

The power cable was tucked away and secured with cable ties and the extension sockets dropped to the right location. The shelf support was fitted and the shelf dropped on top. All was secured.

Finally, the Netgear switch was positioned and powered up. All he has to do now, is wait for the cable guys.

Most satisfactory

Loft Space

One of the by-products of the enhanced insulation provided in modern houses is that the loft space is not quite such a convenient dumping ground. The important thing is to proven the insulation becoming compressed. Now, there are solutions that allow you to use posts to elevate a false floor above the joists... but these would also encourage the hoarding of unused material.

The Gorse Fox has come up with a solution that allows suitcases to be stored without damage to the insulation - hooks!  He has fitted a number of hooks to the roof trusses and hangs the suitcases fro the hooks.

This got him thinking. He need to install a network switch in the loft... some why not adapt a similar strategy. To that end he has constructed a shelf that fits between the trusses and allows easy access to the switch without worrying about all the underfoot insulation.

Gorse Fox is sitting waiting for Amazon to deliver the new extension lead. Otherwise, he knows that as soon as he heads into the loft, the front door bell will ring, and he's never get back down in time to answer. (Also the length of the extension will dictate the final position of the shelf).


There was a very hard frost overnight, but the car must have been positioned in an ideal spot as we didn't have to scrape the windscreens when the Gorse Fox took the Silver Vixen off to her exhibition this morning. Clearly, other cars weren't so lucky as they were caked in thick frost.

It's lovely and sunny here, again, but does look a bit bleak up on the Downs.

Friday, March 04, 2016


They say "It's grim, up North". Well today the north is being blanketed with snow as we sit here in bright sunshine with wall-to-wall blue sky. It's chilly, but absolutely lovely.

The Gorse Fox is feeling a lot better this morning and gearing up for a football game on Sunday. Whilst not quite back to normal, he at least feels well in himself and most functions are actually working with an adequate degree of frequency.

The new by-pass should open today. This will provide quite shortcut for us whenever we have to head back over towards LA and Worthing. Will have to measure both the distance it saves as well as the time.

Thursday, March 03, 2016


It appears that there were number of incidents at last Monday's tournament... this included two players from one team being sent off and their team being disqualified. There was also some issues where the referee was abused. The Gorse Fox was horrified to find that his team had been named as one that abused the referee.

The Gorse Fox sent an all hands email. He explained his displeasure in no uncertain terms, then went on to say that if, in future, players were not willing to play nicely, fairly, and respectfully (towards other players and the referee) - then he would be withdrawing from the club. It seems to him that this is meant to be a sport... and be played in a sportsmanlike fashion - and that does not include any aspect of "gamesmanship".

Emails are trickling back in, supporting the position Gorse Fox has taken.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Slowly, slowly

Still slowly improving. At least there were only two nocturnal interrupts last night. (Shame we are not programmable, as I'd mask the interrupt bit).

Another surprise phone call.

"Hello, it's Sharon, from xxy; we've been researching your PPI claims".

"Oh yes" said Gorse Fox knowing what to expect.

"As you know we have been unable to trace any PPI for your various accounts" she said

"Well that is what I told you from the start. I was always careful to ensure I was not being sucked into anything like that" the Gorse Fox countered.

"Well, we wondered if you had been back through any old documents that may reveal you were missed?"

Brain started to process "What part of I was always careful not to get conned...." but then one's natural politeness started the mouth overriding the brain. "No, and I don't expect to find anything. I assume this saga is now over"

Actually letting one of these companies research into (even non-existent) PPI claims does seem to stop the incessant phone calls we used to get.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016


Well at least the Gorse Fox was only disturbed 3 times during the night. This is progress and he is optimistic that things are on the mend.

Barney Rubble celebrates his birthday today, so the Gorse Fox was quick to get a message on Facebook this morning. Even though the birthday card was posted on Saturday, the Gorse Fox suspects it had just missed the post, in which case it would not have been collected until Monday afternoon. Pah!

It's been raining most of the morning so the Gorse Fox isn't too upset by his self-imposed football ban. He spent the morning pouring through the newly released Irish records. Well, there may be tens of millions of records - but so far none of them seem to be records of our families. Will dig deeper, but finding it frustrating at the moment.