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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Smashed it

The Gorse Fox is delighted. He's smashed it. He has completed the coding and testing and can (and indeed has) applied all of the tags/labels that have been used over the years in this blog to the private blog. This was no mean feat.

The Gorse Fox needed a program to extract the tags and the post ids of the posts labeled with each tag, then another to import the tags into the WordPress blog and then update the relationships for all of the posts (and the counts for each tag). Lots of code and lost SQL... but done.

Happy bunny.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Clotted Cream

The day had started with a fine drizzle. It was warm, overcast, and damp. We had invited the neighbours in for afternoon tea - and things were looking a little grim. The Gorse Fox raided Sainsbury's for various delicacies - lemon drizzle cake, cheesecake, scones, doughnuts, and tortes. Nobody leaves our house wishing there had been more choice, or more to eat.

At lunchtime it was still wet, but was looking brighter. An hour later it was dry, and the sun was breaking through. We set out the cushions on the garden furniture just in time. Tinkerbell and Two Hats arrived first and we had a lovely chat with them and several cups of tea. Old Bill and Prunella arrived later (they had been out with family) and settled in for more tea and cakes.

It may not come as a huge surprise that the tea was swapped for beer and wine before too long and as the sun dropped behind cloud we made our way indoors. It was mid evening before things broke up - it had been very pleasant way to pass a few hours.

Meanwhile, the Gorse Fox did manage to get some more coding under his belt during the damp morning. Still a few more hours required, but then it should be possible to transfer the blog tags (labels) from this blog across to the private blog.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Oi Ref.

As suspected, the Gorse Fox was not quite up to it today. He went along to support the team, but couldn't have played. This, however, meant that he was pressed into service as referee for one of the pitches. (Fortunately, as they are indoor 5-a-side cages, this didn't involve any running).

The refereeing was trouble-free. No really contentious decisions to make - and the few fouls that the Gorse Fox had call were so obvious that there was no argument. It looked a bit one-sided at first. Arun's B-team were thrashed 10-0, but on the parallel pitch the A-team won 2 or 3-1. In the second game the pendulum swung further in our favour. The B-team won 7-6 (having been 4-1 down), and the A-team won 6-3. All in all a satisfactory run out - though it is a shame about that first game.

The Gorse Fox's back is easing somewhat and he is hoping he'll be fit to play on Sunday.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


A feature of Blogger is the ability to assign one or more tags to a post. This allows you to extract, at the drop of a hat, all of the posts that have a similar tag. It has been a bone of contention that this has proven difficult to extract using the API provided by Google. Despite leaving queries on various forums (fora), the Gorse Fox has had no clues how to do this.

Applying a bit of lateral thinking, the Gorse Fox has come up with an alternate approach. He can make a simple list of all of the tags - then, butchering some code he already has tested, he can seek all of the posts associated with each, one by one. So this will give him the post-id of each posting with, say, the RPI tag. Having got this, he can then return to his code and insert the relevant tags in the existing private blog for each associated post. Base components of this are now in place, but the Gorse Fox still has to write the code to do this on a regular basis.

The frustrating part is that part of the code is dependent on the API provided for Python programs by Google. Because of the obscure way the API processes command line parameters, the Gorse Fox has spent several hours trying to insert three extra parameters. What a faff that was. He has, eventually, cracked it and his tests work. He does suspect, however, that some of the inherited (and previously unused) parameters may now be lost forever!

At least all of the remaining code can be written in Rexx or Rexx/SQL. This should accelerate development by several orders of magnitude.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


After many days of lovely weather, it was a bit dank this morning as the Gorse Fox went off to football. Dank turned to drizzle as he arrived at the ground, but fortunately it dried up soon after we got started.

All was fun until one shot snuck past the goalie and caused "debate" as  grown men argues over whether or not the ball fully crossed the line! The Gorse Fox  intervened and told them to desist, they were behaving like school children over something that really doesn't matter. Arguments rumbled on for most the game. Rather pathetic really. the Gorse Fox thinks he should get hold of a a couple of pink dummies and hand them out at future games to anyone who misbehaves. He suspects that a pink dummy is more effective that a yellow card!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Second Opinion

The Gorse Fox had dismissed the idea of football today. He had to wait in for a delivery of some recliners for the garden (ordered when we were at Hampton Court). As it happens, they arrived early enough that he could have played - but his mind was elsewhere. He had a lot of packaging to take to the recycling centre and wanted to finish adding some photos to 1992.

That was where the day went wrong. He discovered that for 1992 he had kept 2 separate diaries. One, obviously on his desk, the other in his case when he was out and about. Only one of these had been transcribed. This meant that there were 150 additional entries required. in the private blog. He's glad he did it because it was clearly an interesting year - Poughkeepsie, Somers, Kingston, San Jose, Boeblingen, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Glasgow and numerous towns and cities across England.

Meanwhile, The Silver Vixen is out with a friend wandering around West Dean Gardens near Chichester. Though a little overcast it is quite warm and bright so the Gorse Fox is sure they are having a good time.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Coding again

The Gorse Fox has spent some of the day coding, again.

He used to use Flickr quite a lot, but hasn't made any use of it for several years. His photos are now shared through Google Photos. This leaves an account with lost of photos - many of which are referenced in the blog. The Gorse Fox wanted to know the extent of the problem so wrote some code. There are 574 posts that reference Flickr. Now he needs to determine if he is going to do anything about it!

Oh yes. HMRC wrote to the Gorse Fox. It appears that the tax rebate that so thrilled him last year should not have been paid. Without going into details - it was partly Starlet's fault, partly the fault of HMRC and partly the fault of the Gorse Fox. It looks like the Gorse Fox has an unexpected tax bill.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A pint

A little grey today - but still lovely and warm. Unfortunately the Gorse Fox has been awake since the first streaks of dawn broke the blackness of night. It wasn't Jasper's fault. The Gorse Fox's brain had alerted him to a coding error perpetrated yesterday afternoon. That was it. The rest of the time was spent mentally recoding a chunk of the RPI Configurator.

Todays football was a hard. The other team had an extra player. By half time, the Gorse Fox was on  the side losing 8-2. We swapped ends. We started to claw back the deficit. As the final whistle approached we had evened things up to 9-9... but then conceded a goal with the last kick of the game. Pah! At least the Gorse Fox scored several of the goals that got us back into it.

After football the Gorse Fox was minding his own business in the shower when the phone chirruped. It was Old Bill suggesting that the Sonning Crew should convene for a pint. It would have been rude to ignore such an offer and so it was that the Gorse Fox retrieved the Silver Vixen from next door (where she was having tea with tinker bell and Two Hats) - and ensured that said neighbours were also set to join. We all strolled down to the Pink Pub, drink was taken and fine conversation was exchanged.

Now the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen are waiting for Peri Peri Spatchcocked Chicken to finish cooking - along with some new potatoes and salad, that should prove a perfect dinner after an excellent day.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


That went well. The new Raspberry Pi "falcon" is installed and online. AT the moment it only has a basic configuration as the Gorse Fox hasn't decided on its ultimate role in the great scheme of things. Having said that, it sits there and happily runs Apache and when linked to the NAS will serve the family photos. The Gorse Fox is so pleased he wrote the configurator - it makes life so easy... and he has now refined it further so that he can define variables for on-the-fly substitutions. All very satisfying as it self-documents.

The weather is wonderful again today and the Gorse Fox popped round to Sainsbury's to get some scones and clotted cream for later. We may have some neighbours stopping by prior to their upcoming trip, so we need to be ready!

Friday, July 22, 2016


A strange day, really.  Lots of bits got done.

Admin was completed for the trip to Cornwall later in the year. Then the Gorse Fox got round to booking an hotel in Canterbury for next month. Though we are fairly widely travelled, neath the Gorse Fox nor the Silver Vixen have ever been to Canterbury. It seems like an omission that needed addressing. The Gorse Fox has taken the opportunity to contact the Kent contingent of his legion of cousins to see if there is an opportunity to meet up.

Nissan had a special sales event and the Gorse Fox was invited along. The deals were very good. Several thousand pounds of direct savings, plus 3 year servicing, plus 10 years of free MOT tests, plus 2 full valets per year... and so on. The Gorse Fox had a wander round with the salesman. He had already decided that he wasn't going to buy - but did want to look over the all-electric Leaf and the new Pulsar. Both were very impressive, though the range on the Leaf (and its price) made it a complete no-no.

Diary transcription continues. Photos for 1987 were embedded in the relevant entries covering our trip to Corfu with the girls. Then the Gorse Fox dug out the 1992 Diary and loaded that. That seemed like quite a year with trips to Poughkeepsie, Somers, Johannesburg, and Cape Town to name but a few.

The Gorse Fox's friend, Mr Amazon, turned up late afternoon with a new Raspberry Pi Model 3B. There are several possible uses pencilled in for this device, but the Gorse Fox has yet to finalise the plan. Initially he'll probably try several different options before finalising a specific objective for "falcon".

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Catching up

Thursday so it must be admin. The Gorse Fox started with the accounts, then moved on to checking backups and checking the network. All seems to be in order. No intervention required.

Late morning saw the arrival of Urban-Cub. She has had some some annual leave and been away to Weymouth, camping. It was nice to hear about the trip and how much she had enjoyed it. Camping can probably be quite miserable if the weather is bad - but they had a good week. It was frustrating, however, to learn that the sale of her flat had fallen through at the last minute. Fortunately a new buyer has stepped in immediately - so lets see what happens this time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Grey to blue

It was an early start - Jasper had woken early and decided that the Gorse Fox should join him. It was just after 5 a.m. and the Gorse Fox disagreed. Jasper was insistent and the Gorse Fox was stubborn. This meant that Jasper spent a couple of hours using the Gorse Fox as a trampoline, until he finally gave in and got up.

It was warm. Very warm, but it was grey and overcast. The Silver Vixen was off to her Pilates, and the Gorse Fox had his usual football. It was much cooler playing today. The sun was trying to bur off the cloud cover, but didn't manage until the game was over. The game was close run thing - but the Gorse Fox's team finished with another win - 3-2 (or maybe 4-2).

Back home the sun had come out and the temperature was beginning to soar in the Orangery. The Gorse Fox has opened all the windows and doors to keep the air flowing.

We have been having problems with one set of the solar lights. The Gorse Fox has been trying to debug the issue.

  1. Reseat the battery and the lead from the solar panel - wait until overnight and observe - nothing
  2. Insert new battery and allow to charge - wait until overnight and observe - nothing
  3. Charge the rechargeable batteries externally, swap into panel - wait until overnight and observe - nothing
  4. Replace rechargeable battery and move the ON/OFF switch to a different position (it has three settings) - wait until overnight and observe - Success.
Just as the Gorse Fox was giving up hope it seemed to work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Another gorgeous day

Like yesterday, there isn't a cloud in the sky and the temperatures are cranking right up. Even in the house it's 28c. There is, however a slight breeze to relieve any discomfort. The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox like the heat so we are not complaining.

The Gorse Fox took a lot of water with him to football today. Two hours of exercise in the hot sun could be problematic without some water to sip. To be fair, we only had a couple of people fade out and have to leave the pitch. The Gorse Fox played quite well - good solid defence - and ended up with 4 draws, 1 loss, and 1 win. No goals today.

Work has continued on the private blog. The Gorse Fox has now managed to post-by-email set up and working. This means that he can send emails to the blog and they will be automatically posted. As the blog is only accessible in our home network, this gives the Gorse Fox the opportunity to submit posts even when he's out or even away on vacation.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Some like it hot.

Fortunately the Gorse Fox and tsv both like it hot. It's 30c and there's only the faintest of breezes. The sky is azure and there is not a cloud in sight. It is beautiful.

It has been a quiet day with only a few jobs to get done. The Gorse Fox has been trying to get one bank of solar lights working - but fears that they are kaput! He has tried changing and recharging the batteries - but will have to wait until later to see if they come on. The bird feeder has been topped up - our little avian friends seem to be getting through a heck of a lot of bird seed at present. Talk about living life on the edge.

The Gorse Fox has also spent some more time on the old diaries. Back in 1987 we took the girls to Devon with us. We had a lovely week in a cottage just outside Tavistock. The Gorse Fox has been going through the old entries and adding the photos taken at the time. Who said that nostalgia wasn't what it used to be? It has been great fun looking back and remembering those times. (The Gorse Fox suppose it would be more logical to process year by year - and he's still transcribing 1974 - but sometimes you see an old photo and thing "That should be in the blog").

The Silver Vixen has been at physio this afternoon - so she's now having a quiet time in the Orangery to recover.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thai Festival

Continuing the theme of events and neighbours, the Sonning Crew headed for Chichester. In the park, by the Festival Theatre, was a Thai Festival. Sounded promising!

We paid the exorbitant £3 entry fee and made our way into the arena that had been set aside. It was surrounded by stalls and food concessions.

At one end was a stage, at the opposite end was a funfair for the children. We had all been fairly enthusiastic as we approached, but on entry, a degree of reality kicked-in. The four hour car-parking ticket might have been overkill.

We started our circuit, looking at the stalls. Thai groceries, hats, dream catchers (? not sure what that has to do with Thailand), shorts, kimonos, Singha beer, and even stir fried ice cream.
This last item was intriguing. We had to try this. So it was that the Silver Vixen had a stir fried creme brûlée.

Actually it's not fried. It is smeared, like a thick layer of paint, on an intensely cold pan. When it goes hard it is scraped off the surface and the shards are served in a paper tub. The Silver Vixen seemed to enjoy it, but a taster proved too sweet for the Gorse Fox.

The stage saw the arrival of a compere or host. He proved to be sartorially offensive, un-funny, and intellectually challenged. He did, however, introduce some Thai dancers and some singers. We moved on.

The food concessions were beckoning. As we walked along the row we discussed the pros and cons of the various dishes. Eventually we all (well all of us that were going to eat) selected different dishes from different stalls. Absolutely delicious - but then, the Gorse Fox knew that it would be.

Once fed, we had a last look around and, though it was filling up nicely, decided it was time to head home.

Would You Like Cream on That?

Yesterday evening, along with neighbours Chris and Maureen, the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox headed off to The  Stag's Head at Westbourne (near Emsworth). For the consideration of £12 per head (all tickets in advance) we were treated to an evening of fine entertainment.

It started well. Westbourne is a small village and the Gorse Fox had expected to find parking difficult. Not so. He found a spot within 50 yards of the pub. It got better. He expected the pub to be hot and heaving. Not so. We found a comfortable table in the corner, by an open window and settled down.

Around eight the band got under way. They played a mixture of Hendrix and Cream numbers. In its own right that was enough to please the Gorse Fox. As it happened, they turned out to be very good indeed.

The audience were predominantly older folk - probably in their 40s and upwards. As a result, it was civilised and enthusiastic, without getting rowdy.

Soon after the set began, the landlord came round with our "chicken in the basket" meal (all included in the price). As an accompaniment to the food we were able to easily avail ourselves of the bar and ensure that we stayed properly hydrated on such a warm night.

The Silver Vixen drove us all home at the end of the evening and the general consensus was that it had been a brilliant evening.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Ramp up

The weather is fantastic today - mid 20s and a dusting of cotton wool clouds. Perfect day.

The blog on "peregrine" has been completely reinstated without too much head-scratching. What head-scratching there was was caused by a misunderstanding by the Gorse Fox over the way the backup directory structure was formed. Soon rectified and everything working as designed.

Mid-morning demanded a trip to stock up on cat-litter, some compost, and some chemicals to prevent the development of blanket weed in the rill. Having done the calculations, it looks like the Gorse Fox may have purchased enough for the next ten years! Oh well.

We are ramping up for our attendance at a concert by Voodoo Room. Hopefully it will be a good event and, talking of events, there is a Thai Festival in Chichester that may require closer examination this weekend.

Friday, July 15, 2016


The Gorse Fox had a successful morning. He set out to determine how best to install a USB drive on the test Raspberry Pi "tawnyowl". It took a bit of rooting around but he found one set of instructions for setting up and formatting the drive, then another set for moving the "/var" filesystem across.
Cautiously he went through the steps and carefully documented them as he went. It worked first time - not a hitch.

Amazon delivered a new 64GB USB drive at lunchtime. The Gorse Fox duly unpacked it and inserted it into the production system "peregrine". He followed the instructions, so carefully written down, to the letter. He rebooted. Nothing. Nada. He cannot access "peregrine".

Oh well - what a good job he has so many backups. He can feel a rebuild coming on.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Beaches and castles

What a lovely day. Temperatures in the mid-20's, a slight breeze to keep it comfortable and a day out.

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen met up with Simon and Alison and their son Stephen. Simon works at Starfleet, and the Gorse Fox used to be his manager. We had threatened to get together and finally managed to get it into the schedule.

We met up at the East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton and had a cup of coffee, then grabbing Stephen's bike from the car, we set off to wander along the promenade. It was an opportunity for Stephen to use his bike on the flat and for the rest of us to have a chat and catch up with all of the latest news and views.

Clearly life in Starfleet is just as stressed as it was when the Gorse Fox was still working, and all of the stories that Simon related just went to reinforce the sheer delight of retirement. It was important, however, to prevent any smugness from setting in - and just to provide sympathy and encouragement.

After couple of hours we all made our way to Arundel.

Above a shop, called Spark's Yard (opposite the old Eagle Brewery Offices), is a restaurant called The Loft. It is family friendly and the quality of the food is excellent. We enjoyed a lovely lunch and chat, then, parting ways, the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen did some shopping before heading back home.

Once home, we had just sat down in the Orangery when Chris made contact. The wine that we had asked him to pick up at his discount shop was ready. We carried the cases over and stood chatting until Trudy and Ian arrived and so the discussions expanded. A lovely afternoon - and an opportunity to "come clean" regarding the giraffe.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Well, today we get a new Prime Minister. The Gorse Fox always finds change to be stimulating and hopes that the PM has a good term in office and is seen by history to have been a good leader for the country. The Gorse Fox has kept his phone to hand, just in case she phones to offer any of the great positions of Office or want him in the Cabinet. All has been quiet so far.

The usual Wednesday morning was fun this morning. Though the teams seemed fairly equal, the end score was a win for the side that featured the Gorse Fox. A resounding 5-0 with a very nice goal from the Gorse Fox to round things off.

Talking of things of great import, it seems that the FA are talking to Sam Allardyce regarding the vacancy for England Manager. The Gorse Fox likes "Big Sam" but isn't sure that he's the right man for that job. The Gorse Fox's favourite would be Juergen Klinsman, the current manager of the USA, and ex-manager of the German World Cup winning team (and, importantly, ex-Spurs player).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dodging showers

It was alright start but showers were forecast for later. As the Gorse Fox drove across to Worthing for the football, he was in bright sunshine, but off to the left the clouds looked black and threatening. Would it stay dry for the football?

The teams were chosen and the first hour of three games kicked-off. It was hard work, and the Gorse Fox was on the team that kept coming second. Not very satisfactory, but given the players that we had - it was the best we could hope for. The rain stayed clear of us and it was warm and sunny.

The second hour was a different make up - two 7-a-side teams. This was much more even and the Gorse Fox was on the winning side for 2 of the 3 games. It was only during the last of these that the showers started to drift over - but didn't really come to much.

The Gorse Fox headed home where the Silver Vixen was having tea with her friend Mandy. As he walked in, the heavens opened and set the theme for much of the rest of the day. The Gorse Fox had his shower and some lunch and settled down to add some more photos to the private blog. Then, as Chris was offering to pick up some wine from his discount provider, the Gorse Fox popped over to give him some money and our selection.

As he writes, the rain is pouring down outside and a chicken rendang is bubbling away on the range - slowly reducing to its final state. The smell is wonderful. This is becoming one of our favourite meals.

Monday, July 11, 2016


It's very breezy today. It's bright and sunny with clouds scudding across from the west. In the Orangery, out of the wind, it is positively tropical. Outside, it's not cold, but its too blustery to be comfortable.

Today the focus has been on adding the relevant photos to the private journal and starting to transcribe 1974 in all its glory (or is it tedium). For many years, the journals are concise and entries just cover a few lines. Not 1974. In 1974 the Gorse Fox had decided to be more thorough and so it is that the diary for that year has a full page of closely written text for every day (at least up until the end of May). This is taking a lot of typing. So far he's only got to early February.

On an entirely separate subject - why is it that you can get desiccated coconut almost anywhere you look, but cannot find coconut flakes for love nor money? Sainsbury's blames a manufacturing problem at present. That's all very fine, but the Gorse Fox has a batch of muesli to make!

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Somehow drizzle always conjures up November in the Gorse Fox's mind. Well, it's not November, but it was drizzling this morning. The Gorse Fox was delighted that today's football was in the indoor arena.

The game was a 4-vs-5. In the first half, the Gorse Fox was on the 5-team, in the second, the 4-team. It was hard work in the second half. the Gorse Fox did however contribute 5 goals today in our 13-8 win. He would ad that those 5 were but a fraction of his potential score as he was enjoying the competition so much eh was deliberately passing to some of our less able friends to give them a chance.

The afternoon was spent back at the keyboard, finishing the transcription of the 1985 and 1986 diaries. These, between them, have added about 500 more entries to the master blog. This now has some 13,300 entries stretching back to 1965. The Gorse Fox is also starting to imbed relevant photos into the old posts. This should make it more interesting for future generations.

Saturday, July 09, 2016


A quiet day interspersed with bouts of sneezing. Though the Gorse Fox seems, in general, to be pretty free of hey-fever since moving to the South Coast - it does still catch up every now and again. Today is a now, and he could do without an again.

Between the bouts of sneezing, the Gorse Fox has been splitting his time between transcribing some diary entries from 1985, and writing the code that will do the bulk addition of these entries into the blog. The latter (writing code) was far more fun, though the old diaries always prove to be an interesting read.

Friday, July 08, 2016

The Mulberry Inn

It was strange day - an early visit from the neighbours asking about a trip to the pub (we couldn't as we had already planned to meet the Gorse Fox's sister and Trev) then a bit of work looking at use of photo galleries and how best to "serve" photos for the private blog.

The Silver Vixen phoned the doctor, but no appointments were available for a couple of weeks. As the problem lay with her eye, the Gorse Fox suggested she phone the optician. So it was that at lunchtime we headed for Chichester and Boots the Optician. Several hours later, with the Gorse Fox well caffeinated from the coffee shop next door, the Silver Vixen had a diagnosis and it seems that it is not serious. It will, however, require attention over time. Apparently, in Kent this could be referred to the hospital immediately, but because of NHS priorities in Sussex, it is not serious enough to be referred at this stage.

Back home, the Gorse Fox transcribed a few more diaries and then we headed to The Mulberry Inn to meet sis & Trev. As usual, we had a lovely evening chatting, laughing, and putting the world to right. The food was superb, though the Gorse Fox wished they had warned about the almond essence in the chocolate torte - though detectable, it wasn't strong enough to give the Gorse Fox trouble beyond a revolting aftertaste (dealt with by a strong coffee).

Thursday, July 07, 2016


After the usual Thursday morning admin, we drove across to Westbourne. This is a little village just north of Emsworth. It's quite small and picturesque, with a small town square, in the middle of which is the The Stag's Head pub. To the south end of the square the road leads down towards the Parish Church.

We were greeted enthusiastically when we walked into the pub and asked to see the menu. The hosts could not have been more friendly as we selected a meal and explained we had come to collect the tickets for next week's concert. The pub was very quiet, with only a couple of regulars at the far side, and us at the dining room end. The food was inexpensive, simple, but perfectly acceptable. In fact we had a nice lunch there.

The Gorse Fox's only concern for next week is that there is so little parking in the vicinity. It will be an interesting exercise to see how far away we end up finding a space. After lunch we returned to car and made our way home via Emsworth.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Hampton Court

We were out the door before nine. Meeting up with neighbours, we headed up to the Hampton Court Flower Show. It was nice that, for a change, the Gorse Fox didn't have to do the driving.  It wasn't a bad journey and we were parked soon after eleven.

A coffee was the first priority, but after that, we split up with the intention of getting back together at lunchtime. There are plenty of places to eat at the show, but we had chosen the restaurant by the bridge across the Long Water.

We started at some of the small gardens. They were only about 4 metres square, but had a lot packed in to a small space.

The Silver Vixen managed to end up chatting with the designer of one of these. He seemed little more than a boy and the Gorse Fox wondered if his parents knew he was bunking off school.

The Conceptual gardens are always a bit of an eye-opener.

They are not necessarily the sort of gardens that inspire the Gorse Fox, but always interesting. This year was no different. Pyramids, Red String, Butterfly Dome (with a very long queue), a wave of black plastic, a "burial bound" with black plastic collapsing scaffolding.
The photo shows a garden that was built to raise awareness of cancer survival rates.

Lunch was taken at the Palace Room. There was much debate over the menu, but when we actually went to collect the chosen meals we were disappointed and ended up having to make alternative selections. The Silver Vixen's choice was wisest - a ham hock salad. Chris, Maureen and the Gorse Fox ended up with baguettes. Tasty enough, but not what we had chosen.

After lunch we split up again. The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox headed for the Floral marquee. This huge marquee houses hundreds of exhibits showing flowers and shrubs of every imaginable type.

We always wander round the whole display, but are drawn particularly to the Acers, the Fuchsias, and the Orchids.

The manufacturer of our garden furniture had an impressive display. On their stand, Bramblecrest, had the recliners, footstools, and a side table that matched our existing furniture. This was on offer and discounted by a third. This was a significant saving and having negotiated a free-delivery, we decided that it would be foolish to pass up the opportunity to complete the garden seating. This will take several weeks to arrive - but there is no hurry.

We all met up again for a cup of tea, to review our day and check whether there was anything we needed to go back and check, see, or purchase. Content, we headed back to the car and joined the traffic. The satnav was kind to us and selected some good routes and we made good time (considering it was rush hour). We stopped for a pint at The Gribble then got back in time to watch the Wales-Portugal game at the Euros.

A perfect day - it is only a shame that our other neighbours, Trudy and Ian, were unable to join us.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016


Code seems to be flowing from the fingers recently. Even last night, whilst watch TV, the Gorse Fox got an idea and by the time he went to bed the code had been written and tested. Very satisfying (and he now has a rexx interpreter running on the Macbook).

Football was a bit quieter today. After yesterday's tournament there were not so many of the regulars. The Gorse Fox still managed a couple of hours and scored the odd goal. It was a good workout and seems to be keeping his weight at a stable 12st.

The Gorse Fox noticed an advert for a local pub running a concert in about 10 days. It is a band called Voodoo Room who seem to play the music of Hendrix and Cream. Sounds like a perfect evening... so the Gorse Fox has acquired some tickets. He likes the play on words in their name, too: Voodoo (Chile) (White) Room, and wonders how many people get it.

Monday, July 04, 2016


It was two years ago today that the Gorse Fox regained his independence, having retired from Starlet after a tad under 30 years... and some 43 years in the industry. It is a good opportunity to take stock.

  • How much does he miss work? - None at all.
  • How much does he miss getting up early to drive across country to some other town for the week? - Not at all.
  • How much does he miss commuting by rail to London? - None at all.
  • How much does he miss commuting weekly to Edinburgh? - None at all.
  • How much does he miss dealing with clients (the ignorati)? - None at all.
  • How much does he miss the bullying attitudes of know-nothing "leaders" who make unachievable commitments and expect everyone else to make them happen? - None at all.
  • How much do I miss spending weekdays away from home? - None at all.
With that assessment in mind, the Gorse Fox asks himself "Are you really happy?" - too right he is!

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Warm up

The weather seems to be warming up again today. The gusty winds of yesterday have blown themselves out and we have a lovely blue sky punctuated with puffs of white cloud.

The morning's football was fun. A good 6-a-side game in the indoor arena. These games are always helped by the fact that the game is non-stop - there are no throw-ins or goal kicks; the ball can be played off the boards and it keeps the game flowing. The other team had a couple of youngsters (early 50s and his son-in-law) so it was going to be hard. They were both quick and skilful. Despite that, we managed to hold things at bay, and with the help of 3 goals from the Gorse Fox we ended up with a creditable 9-9 draw. This was a good warm-up for tomorrow's tournament.

Back home the Silver Vixen was arranging for us to meet up with the Gorse Fox's sister and Trev. This looks like another trip to Chiddingfold to try the delicacies that are on offer at one of the village's fine eating establishments.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Stake it

It was bright and sunny, though a little breezy. There were tasks to complete in the garden, so the Gorse Fox set about the mental list.

We have a lovely Cryptomeria Japonica which is taking quite a battering from the winds, so the first task was to get that staked up properly. A club hammer and damp soil made that a fairly simple task. We had decided that the Japanese lantern was in the wrong place, so that needed moving to a new home. This made way for one of the new planters which would house a lovely white hydrangea.

The Gorse Fox then set about the Acers - several of them needed a bit of tidying and shaping. The Silver Vixen meanwhile planted up the new Acers and hydrangea into the new planters. There's still a bit more to do, but we have exhausted our supply of compost until we take a trip to the garden centre.

(I notice that it was 43 years ago yesterday that we moved in to our first house - that was a lovely three-bedroom residence in Hoddesdon. Such exciting times.)

Friday, July 01, 2016

Finished - What a relief!

The Gorse Fox has finished the transfer of the all the blog material from this blog and his private blog to its new host. In doing so he has brought it all up to date and solved the problems that were outstanding in the original private blog.

Very satisfying... and Yes, he has already set up and tested the backup regime. (Would you expect any less?).

For Posterity

Having spent more hours than seems decent trying to get to the bottom of the problem with internal links in WordPress, the Gorse Fox thought he would document the solution for posterity.

If you wish to use any internal "permalink" style, other than the default, several things have to come together:

  1. Make sure the rewrite module in Apache is enabled (Used for WordPress Permalinks)
    sudo a2enmod rewrite
  2. A stanza needs to be added to /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf
           # Added by AJM for Wordpress permalink
           <directory html="" var="" www="">
                    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
                    AllowOverride All
                    Order allow,deny
                    allow from all
    Note that < and > in the text above should be "less than sign" (U+003C) and "greater than sign" (U+003E) but they keep getting interpreted by html as tags and the Gorse Fox can't work out how to avoid this at present
  3. Make sure /var/www/html/.htaccess exists and is writable
    sudo touch /etc/www/html/.htaccess
    sudo chmod 666 /etc/www/html/.htaccess
  4. Restart apache
  5. From WordPress Dashboard "Settings" change Permalinks structure to your chosen preference.