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Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Well the fitters have finished.

The work tops are in. The sink is in, and the hob awaits reconnection.

Unfortunately the sink needs to be plumbed in still and that may actually be a snag. The Gorse Fox's gas chappie said he will take a look an see if he can help when he comes to do the hob. If not it may have to wait until tomorrow.


The fitters have arrived and the new work tops are being fitted.

They have given us a small chopping board made out of the same material. It is incredibly heavy... so goodness knows how heavy the 3.2 metre run must be.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Flushed with success

The engineer called. He was exactly on time, he was polite, and he removed his shoes as he entered. The tap that had been causing the occasional leak had been dormant for a few days, but exactly on cue it started to leak copiously this morning. As the tap was moderately expensive and still under the 5 year warranty, the Gorse Fox had called the manufacturer. Hence the arrival of the engineer.

He took one look at the problem and explained that it the o-rings, not the valve. It it had been the valve, the tap would drip; but as it's the o-rings the barrel leaks.  It didn't take him long to rectify the situation and his diagnosis was that the water pipes hadn't been flushed through properly when the house was built and small bits of grit had got in to the mechanism. Seemed plausible, particularly when he dug out just such a piece of grit. All sorted now - just in time to have the worktops fitted tomorrow.

Most of the rest of the day has been spent writing code. There are a few things that the Gorse Fox wanted to tidy up in the blog and it is easier to write a program than to go through each relevant entry and make manual changes.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Well that was interesting. We had such a good turnout at the football that we had to have three teams and play a round-robin. That's the first time that has happened on a Sunday.

The Gorse Fox was playing in yellow and in the first game, lost 2-1. He was pretty happy with his game, and the fact that he scored the only yellow goal. It would have been better to win, though. We then sat out the next twenty minutes whilst the others played. We made use of the time playing on a spare pitch to keep from stiffening up. Finally we came back on to play the last game. We won this with a convincing 6-2 scoreline and the Gorse Fox was delighted to have scored three of the goals. So overall, he scored four goals which he believes is the most he has ever managed and as a dyed-in-the-wool defender he is pretty happy with that.

We have a game scheduled with a team from Winchester in about 10 days. "Chopper" Harris, now retired from Starfleet, is their top scorer. It will be nice to see him again, though I suspect he will drive across from Winchester rather than use his chopper.

Home Alone

The Silver Vixen has one of her events today. The covens from all over the South will swoop in on Ardingly show ground. Broomsticks will fill the park and the sounds of people queuing for tea will drift across the Sussex countryside.

The Gorse Fox has his usual football this morning... and must say that he is looking forward to it. Because of the kitchen works he has missed one of his games for each of the last few weeks and will miss it again this coming week.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

UPS - installed

Well that was simple. The UPS has been installed and tested on "tawnyowl" and works nicely. All tests have passed and alerts are successfully handled and logged. The unit has now been moved to "peregrine". That was fun.


That nice man from Amazon just dropped a package through the letter box. Though ordered on Wednesday, it had come all the way from Hong Kong by Saturday. Very impressive. The package contains an intelligent battery pack that can act as a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) for the Raspberry Pi known as "peregrine" which runs the Gorse Fox's private blog. He will test it all out on "tawnyowl" first but assuming it works that will provide power for breaks in the main electrical supply for 12-16 hours... and certainly long enough to allow the system to be closed down gracefully.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Nothing to see here

It's been a fairly quiet day - nothing too exciting to report. The Gorse Fox started with a trip to his kitchen worktop supplier. He had agreed to a substantial discount but we had never actually seen the bottom line (obviously we knew the full price). As the Gorse Fox will have to withdraw some funds, it was time to get the actual numbers. He was pleasantly surprised. Indeed, very pleasantly surprised. The Gorse Fox phoned the bank manager to ensure there would be problems and was assured everything was just hunky-dory.

Tuesday is the big day when the new worktops will be fitted. The Gorse Fox has mailed the gas chappy to try and schedule the reinstallation of the hob on Tuesday afternoon... but even if we have to wait another day or so, it won't be a major issue.

Other than that, most of the day has been fairly lazy. There has been a number of household chores to work through - but thats all finished now. Now the Gorse Fox is preparing a 'Spanish Chicken" tray bake whilst he writes this. He has no idea what it will taste like, but the recipe seemed promising. It is interesting trying to go for a week without the use of a hob. You tend to become inventive with the oven.

The Gorse Fox can't sign off without mentioning the fact that it is his brother-in-law's birthday today. He's only a youngster at 60, but the Gorse Fox hopes he's had a wonderful day.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Break a Leg

The Silver Vixen is an ardent follower of the author Peter James and his books. One of his early books has been developed as a play and is scheduled to be presented in Woking and in Brighton next month.

We tried to get tickets for one of the Brighton shows, but there was nothing available. A little bit of discussion and a little thought and we tried the Woking run. No problem. Good tickets have been ordered for a matinee in February.  Looking forward to it.


A bit of excitement in the household today as Cousteau Cub confirmed her flights for a visit home. She managed to get a really good price on some BA flights in June. Looks like she'll be home here for 3 weeks.


The Gorse Fox is normally a trusting individual. This, however, does not extend to his various interactions on the web. So it was that the Silver Vixen came to his study with her MacBook which had an error message and a verbal warning regarding a virus.

First warning sign is that the Gorse Fox has an anti-virus program installed on the Silver Vixen's machine. Second warning sign was that it asked her to phone an 0800 number to get help to remove it.

The Gorse Fox hit google and sure enough found that it was a scam which was probably part of the payload in some Ad. He followed the instructions on the Apple website and the problem seems to have gone away. He's now running a full anti-virus check to satisfy his innate paranoia. He wonders how many people would have been caught out by this... it was quite convincing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Balls and Calls

It was misty, damp, and cold. Not the most inspiring weather for today's football. The Gorse Fox had been looking forward to the game, having missed out yesterday whilst waiting for the Neff engineer. We had a good turn out and the Gorse Fox appointed two captains and we soon had the sides ready and raring to go. As always it was a close fought game, ending 3-2 in favour of the orange team (for whom the Gorse Fox was playing). He didn't score any goals today, but felt that he had a really good game anyway.

Back home there was a snack lunch then the Silver Vixen started on the weekly shopping list and the Gorse Fox headed for his study. It was at this point that the phone rang. It was Cousteau-cub. We had a lovely long chat - though it was interrupted several times by the internet connection failing. Once we had caught up on all of the news we discussed when she might pop home for a visit (to see Urban-cub and her cub, when the time comes). In the end we decided that leaving it until June was probably the sensible thing.

The rest of the afternoon has been occupied with the 1991 diaries. These are now complete and digitally saved. Each book ticked off the list is a great relief.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Well that's a relief. The problem with the oven was really quite minor and the engineer fixed it very quickly. The electrician, it appears, had failed to tighten the screws which held the terminals into the power supply in the wall. It could only be solved by removing the unit, so was not something the Gorse Fox could have sorted himself. The chap did have a very useful appliance. It was a stand, on wheels, with a screw jack that allowed a table-like surface to be raised or lowered. This was raised to the level of the oven and the oven was simply pulled out onto the appliance and oven out the way. Simple, and a single person job.


Powered Off

The Gorse Fox has powered off the West Sussex Data Centre again. The Neff engineer is due today and the Gorse Fox expects the power will take an interrupt at some point. It will, however, be nice to have the new combination oven working again. Ten minutes is all it's managed so far. That seems a little short in terms of its built-in cycle of obsolescence.

Monday, January 23, 2017

And breathe

It all started at nine o'clock. The kitchen/gas chappie knocked on the door and started to disconnect the hob. Twenty minutes later as he was finishing, the kitchen fitters arrived. As we ushered out the gas man, we ushered in the fitters.

The fitters looked around. Drank some tea and coffee, sucked on their teeth and then launched into the task of dismantling the old work tops.

They had been well fitted and were not going to come out easily. A little bit of persuasion (with hammer and chisel) made all the difference and soon the cabinets stood free and topless.

Two Hats and Tinkerbell are having the same outfit do their kitchen so the fitters went next door to get started. Jasper came to investigate and curiosity demanded he have a wander around in the top of the units.

A few minutes later one of the fitters returned. He had left his mate to destroy dismantle next door's kitchen and he had come back to start creating the templates for the new work tops. This was essentially a manual task, using traditional skills. Large acrylic sheets were laid on the cabinets and manoeuvred to created the semblance of the new work tops. Measurements were taken, the sheets were marked up, and slowly the vision started to take place. Overhangs were calculated, corners rounded and fixing points identified. It took him about an three quarters of an hour, but  the Gorse Fox was impressed with the care that was being taken.

Soon it was done and whilst the template chap went next door, the demolition chap returned to replace our old worktops. It was done. Now we just await the stone to be cut and the chaps to return next week and finish off.

The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox spent a while returning everything to their respective cupboards and making the kitchen moderately serviceable again.

The afternoon involved some thought about supper and how we will cater for the next few days with no hob. Tonight will see roast vegetables, baked potatoes and the remains of yesterday's chicken casserole. Meanwhile a meatloaf is cooking in preparation for tomorrow.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Another very chilly start to the day. The Gorse Fox was pleased that today's football was scheduled for the indoor arena.

The game itself was fun - though, at 7-a-side, was a little busy in the short-form pitches. When the teams were first selected it looked like another case of defence versus attack - but the Gorse Fox's team of defenders did ok and ran out 5-2 winners. The Gorse Fox was pleased to score a fine goal with a volley from the half-way line. Very satisfactory.

Back home there was preparation needed. Tomorrow the fitters come to remove the existing work surfaces and create a template to describe the new work surfaces to be cut and installed. This meant a going through and emptying the top shelves of all the units and cupboards. Fortunately we have the Orangery so the kitchen doesn't look too cluttered - but there was a lot of stuff to shift.

The rest of the afternoon has been spent working on old diaries, again. This, while not categorised as 'fun', is at least an opportunity for a little nostalgia. The Gorse Fox may be making progress, but it is very slow and there are many more diaries still to go (some years the Gorse Fox was fairly terse but other years he was expansive in his description of the day) - it's going to take a long time.

Saturday, January 21, 2017


After some to-ing and fro-ing this morning the Gorse Fox has managed to secure the visit of a Neff engineer to try and sort out the failed oven. As we are likely to be without our hob for a week or so (while the worktops are replaced, it would have been nice to have a working microwave).

Meanwhile, the rest of the morning was spent coding. An existing program has been radically extended so that it fulfils a much wider brief than its original design requirement. Merging code from several routines made it a lost easier, and the fact that the Gorse Fox always follows a particular style and standard makes the merger very simple. Code is now running and has triggered a whole slew of further ideas. In its own right the code added a further 186 entries into the Gorse Fox's private blog - so progress is being made.

Friday, January 20, 2017


Combi oven managed to microwave one batch of rice then, while doing the initial burn in of the oven features, it packed up. Not amused.

Will phone John Lewis and/or Neff in the morning.


Ready, steady, go

It had been a quiet morning, waiting for the electrician. Then suddenly the pace changed.

The doorbell rang - it was delivery of the Silver Vixen's  new Passport. The Gorse Fox settled back down...

The doorbell rang - it was Two Hats. He was returning to the work surface supplier with Tinkerbell to have one more look. Thin, he wanted to tell them to go ahead and was checking whether we had any constraints. We told him no, go for it.

While Two Hats was discuss ing this with us, the door bell rang - it was the electrician. He and his mate set straight to work and 20 minutes later all was working and we had a fully functional Combi-Oven.

While the electricians were at work, the door bell rang - it was the nice man from the Amazon with a delivery. Things were getting busy, but settled back down as quickly as they had started. We had to get into Chichester so headed off, only to join a huge queue of traffic. We did an about turn and took an alternative route through Runcton - arriving with a few minutes to spare before our various appointments. The phone buzzed. It was Two Hats. They had given the go ahead and the fitters want to start on Monday.

The Gorse Fox spluttered. "Yes, ok" he said, then worried about whether he could cajole the gas fitter to come and disconnect the hob in time. A frantic email and follow-up phone call confirmed that it can be done.

Excitement over for the day.

Power off

All the powered computers and drives have been powered down. Only battery driven systems are still up. Electrician is due soon to sort out the wiring that the oven installer cocked up.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


It was another very cold morning but as we had no need to go out early it wasn't really a problem. The usual admin kicked off the day and that was augmented by completion of a few more historical diary entries from 1989. This was one of the years when we created a treasure hunt for the cubs to find their Christmas presents. Reading the diary entries (and the clues) brought back some excellent memories.

Once the admin was done we headed out to Urban Cub's house. We had arranged to meet up and see how she was getting on. They certainly have been busy and the house already looks straight. Only one or two boxes are left to unpack. We sat and chatted for a while, then all went off to the local garden centre for a lunchtime snack.

On the way home we dropped in to the work-surface suppliers for one last check on the choice of colours. Seeing the choice that Tinkerbell and Two Hats had made yesterday caused us to question our initial choice. Examining the two samples side-by-side convinced us that we had chosen well and we stuck with our selection. We are a bit busy tomorrow, but hopefully we can trigger the whole process on Monday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wheeling and Dealing

Football was on the agenda. It's a week since the Gorse Fox has played and he's suffering withdrawal symptoms. It was bitterly cold, but the sun was bright and as soon as we started to move about we warmed up. The Gorse Fox had selected two captains and told them to pick the teams. They seemed to have considerable difficulty understanding the concept of taking turns and building a balanced team. In the end we had a team of strikers playing a team of defenders.

It was a good natured and very close game. It ended 4-4 and two of our goals came from the Gorse Fox. The first was a break-away goal, on-one-one with the keeper and the Gorse Fox bent the ball round him into the back corner of the goal. The second was direct from a corner kick. The Gorse Fox chipped and bent the ball over the goalie's head straight into the back corner of the goal. Very satisfying - though completely accidental!

Back home Tinkerbell and Two Hats came in to ask about or research regarding the kitchen surfaces. We gave them a summary and directed them to our favoured supplier. We suggested that if they were interested they should ask if they could do a deal as we would do both houses at the same time and would be happy to pay cash. A couple of hours later Tinkerbell and Two Hats knocked on the door - they were happy. They had selected a surface. They had asked about a deal, and there was one there to be finalised. The ball is back in our court now. We have to arrange for the disconnection of our gas hob so that the process can begin. The Gorse Fox is on it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Some people fill you with confidence. Others, not so much. The John Lewis delivery chaps turned up again to install the new ovens. This chap was far more inspiring than the chap who bottled out last time. It took them about an hour, but they got both of the ovens installed and did some simple testing. They took away the old ovens, packed up their tools and departed.

First job was to fire up the oven and let any lacquers or solvents burn off. The Gorse Fox followed the instructions and set the timer, temperature, and mode. He retired to the study. There was a click and everything went quiet. The RCD had blown. Somewhere they had done something wrong and the circuits had tripped. The Gorse Fox phoned his electrician. A bit of basic problem determination isolated the problem to the Grid Switch. This meant that it was the wiring to the Combi-Oven that was at fault. Isolated, now everything else is working ok. The electrician, however, cannot get to us until Friday.

Oh well, it was never going to be easy.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Kitchen Sink

It was a dull, wet, chilly Monday. The sort of day that makes you long to be on Koh Lanta with Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit. We weren't, however, so had to make do. The Silver Vixen had an appointment in Chichester and the Gorse Fox was determined to go and get his hair cut.

Once these important tasks were complete, we headed for Fontwell. It had been a while since we last had lunch at The Old Stables and as we needed to get over to Walberton, we decided lunch was a sensible call (particularly as the GF's "Gourmet Card" ensures a 25% discount at said restaurant). We had a lovely, leisurely lunch, then moved on to Walberton.

We wanted to chat through some of the thoughts we had been having regarding the possible replacement of the kitchen worktops and what options were available. The company we had spoken to before Christmas had been helpful, but it was time to start nailing down some the choices we had to make. We started with stroll round the showroom and chat with one of the owners of the business. Then we progressed on to the office where we could talk about more technical fitting questions with another of the owners. This proved very useful and helped us resolve a number of matters (including the supply of a new under-mounted kitchen sink). Only a few more bits and pieces to sort out and we should be able to go ahead.

Back home, the Gorse Fox checked the Time Machine backups. The switch from NAS to a USB-connected drive seems to have done the trick and everything has been running without problems since yesterday... which is quite a relief.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


There was no football today. We couldn't muster sufficient players (and besides which, the Gorse Fox really should rest his knee a little longer).

The morning was spent tied to the keyboard as the Gorse Fox experimented further with his code and the extracted scrapbooks. This showed up a number of typos that needed to be addressed in the old blog text. In turn that reminded him of photos that could be inserted to illustrate the text better, and so it went on.

Since the last update to OSX on the MAC, the Gorse Fox has been seeing an occasional problem with the built-in "Time Machine" backup system. This is a "belt and braces" backup that GF takes alongside his normal backup regime (Paranoid? Moi?). This then has taken some additional research and as yet no definite solution. What GF has done, though, is to repurpose an old USB-drive and switch the Time Machine target to that drive.

We popped out for a while. We wanted to look at the furniture displays in Homebase. Clearly, that was not going to happen. Where there used to be an extensive display of Habitat furniture - there is nothing. Disappointed, we did look around at the kitchen displays and layouts, but whilst informative and in some cases inspiring - it was not why we had ventured out.

The afternoon was spent back at the code-face.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


A lovely quiet day today. The Silver Vixen spent much of the day catching up on her admin and looking through websites for a new unit for family room. Unfortunately the supplier we have used in the past, who specialised in New England style furniture,  seems to have gone out of business.

The Gorse Fox retired to the study and finished coding his latest program and then ran through all the tests on the test machine (tawnyowl). Everything now working he started running against the live (but private) blog and completed several bulk updates as a result. Very satisfying. In the end, as an experiment, he extracted a week of posts from 1988 and created a document which documented our family holiday in Cornwall in May, 1988 (complete with photos). It's like being able to extract scrapbooks of family events, at will.

On another topic, the problem with the Gorse Fox's knee seems to have pretty much settled. There is, however, no football tomorrow - so he will be able to rest it for a few days more.

Friday, January 13, 2017


It was a busy day. Urban Cub was moving out. This meant that we spent a while loading up the cars with her stuff. Loaded, she headed off to her new house to await the removal men who were bringing the contents of the old house. Pistol Pete and the kids were already there.

The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox left it an hour or two and then went across to help. We had timed it well as the removal crew had only been there about 10 minutes. Boxes were being unloaded from the van at a prodigious rate. Urban Cub, the Silver Vixen, and the Gorse Fox got started immediately on unpacking in the kitchen. This turned out to be a significant problem as, clearly, the old kitchen had far more storage then the new one. There was stuff everywhere. Fortunately the Silver Vixen has various spells that she can use in such circumstances. Bit by bit the stuff started to disappear and the insides of cupboards and drawers filled... and when full, she waved her wand and the insides grew to accommodate even more. Finally the kitchen was done.

The Gorse Fox helped in the kitchen, then helped Pistol Pete put the bed together, then retired to the living room so that he could put all the technology/media devices together and link up the communications (limited at this time to the phone). Talking of the phone, there were phone sockets scattered round the room. The Gorse Fox tested them all. None worked. Only the master socket in the hallway was active.  The last job on the Gorse Fox's list was to put up the blackboard in the kitchen. This didn't take too long - though tracking down suitable pan headed screws took a little while.

Soon after five we had all decided that enough was enough. Everything else could wait for another day. Urban Cub and the family would order a take-away... and the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox headed home.

It had been a busy day, but Urban Cub seemed happy with the progress and seemed settled in her new "nest". The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox start another chapter - but will certainly miss having her around.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Joints and joins

The Gorse Fox seems to have twisted his knee. He's not sure how or when, but it started to get uncomfortable yesterday afternoon. Overnight it woke hime a couple of times, and today is really quite uncomfortable. Some Ibrufen gel is called for, and a little rest.

Urban-cub was away at the new house with Pistol Pete as he built flatpack furniture and she organised paperwork and so forth. The full move is scheduled for tomorrow, then the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox will be on their own again. It will seem strange not having her here.

The Silver Vixen went off to Chichester for a hair appointment, leaving Jasper in charge and the Gorse Fox there as a helping hand (opening the tin of tuna for lunch as the lazy cat still hasn't figured it out, nor developed an opposable thumb). The Gorse Fox has spent much of that time re-organising the code he wrote yesterday after having a bit of an epiphany. This has meant a lot of re-coding and a serious bash at mastering the "inner join" syntax of MySQL. This now seems to be working in a test harness but has a long way to go before being run-ready.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Code again

Wednesday started early, thanks to Jasper. It was 6:30 when he finally dragged the Gorse Fox out of bed. Being Wednesday there would be football to play... but before all the Urban-cub appeared (she had an early appointment at the hospital for her scheduled scan), then the Silver Vixen emerged - so we were all up and about by 7:30.

Pistole Pete arrived for Urban-cub soon after eight and they headed off to the hospital. The Silver Vixen got her stiff together and headed off to Pilates. That just left the Gorse Fox and Jasper. Jasper had, by then, retired to the bed for his morning sleep. The Gorse Fox grabbed his kit and headed to Worthing for football.

It was a good game - very close indeed. In fact there was some debate at the end as to whether it finished 1-1 or 2-1 (the debate centred on whether Concrete John was in or out of the box when he scored). The Gorse Fox was no better than yesterday. He played ok, but that's about it. Let's hope he improves on Sunday.

Back home he prepared a beef casserole that would bubble away quietly all afternoon. The Gorse Fox retired to the study. There was code to write. He wanted a mechanism for doing bulk updates to the categories and labels in the private blog. A few hours later the code is beginning to look good. Early tests seem to show that all the conditions tested to date are working as designed. There are, however, still some test conditions to work through.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Raring to go

The Gorse Fox was awake early and up with the cat. He was raring to go. Tuesday means football, and in preparation for the game, the Gorse Fox treats himself to a cooked breakfast. As it was lunchtime yesterday since his last meal, he was getting peckish. Nothing too fancy, you understand, no eggs benedict, no kedgeree, no kippers and roe. No this was just a couple of eggs, a couple of rashers of bacon and some sliced chorizo. Simple, but perfect.

He made his way across to Worthing - still raring to get going. The teams were picked and the games commenced. It was at that point that the Gorse Fox realised that he was, at best, mediocre today. Passes went astray, and his judgement regarding interceptions was a fraction of a second off. Oh well. The first three games were lost.

The second hour saw a change over of personnel and three more games. The Gorse Fox was finally getting into his stride. That doesn't mean that he showed any talent - only that he wasn't quite as bad as in the first games. We had three more games, drawing two and winning one.

The Gorse Fox has had contact from an ex-Starfleet colleague. His walking football are wanting a friendly match with us. The Gorse Fox has written back and offered to host an event  towards the end of the month (when hopefully, most of his players will be back from their travels).

Monday, January 09, 2017

So Long, Farewell

Today it was time to say farewell to a distant relative of the Silver Vixen. He was the husband of a cousin of the Silver Vixen's mother.

We headed off towards the West and had an astonishingly good run through, passing Portsmouth, Southampton, Salisbury, and Wilton then on towards Trowbridge. We had timed it to allow time for lunch at a nearby pub and pulled into the car park just before noon. The pub was The Somerset Arms, in Semington. It had a good write up on Google so seemed like it was worth a try. Only two other people were in the pub - and it turns out that they too were going to the funeral.

We settled down to some lovely coffee and a plate called a "trio of steaks". This was three 4oz steaks of pork, gammon, and beef with tomatoes, mushrooms, and "gourmet" chips. Simple enough, but beautifully prepared and absolutely delicious. It was also sufficient to last us the rest of the day.

We moved on to the funeral at the nearby Crematorium. The service was very moving. It is clear that this distant uncle had had an interesting life in the Commandos (seeing action in Singapore, Borneo, and North Africa), then back in civilian life as a driver for  Tesco. The Bath chapter of the Commando association provided a guard of honour and the Eulogy revealed what a joker he had clearly been. In fact the whole service had concentrated on his humour and mischief, which was lovely. At the committal a bugler played the Last Post. It was very touching. In a complete contrast, we filed out to "Oh Lord It's Hard to be Humble" (by Mac Davis) - which had everyone chuckling.

As we filed out we made ourselves known to the tav's distant cousin, but as it was cold and wet, we headed straight for the reception. We sat with the couple who had been at the pub when we were there... and chatted about the deceased and his family. After a while the family arrived and the Silver Vixen went along to greet her aunt - who she hadn't seen for 40+ years. She immediately recognised her and commented how much she looked like her mum. From then on, she was in full swing and managed to chat with her aunt, and her cousins and catch up on what has been going on in family.

We made a start for home and had a good run through until we approached Southampton. Then we joined traffic which slowed us up for about 30 minutes. Once past Soton, the roads opened up again and we had a trouble-free run from there on.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Just stuff

Sunday started early. Jasper was determined that we should be awake and in the end the Gorse Fox gave up and brought him downstairs at 6:45. Coffee, eggs, bacon, and chorizo made the Gorse Fox feel ready to greet the day.

There was football this morning. We ended up 6-a-side and this included two new players. Things were fairly even between the two sides and at half-time it was all square at 4-4. In the second half we re-jigged the team and the Gorse Fox fanged forward a little more. We took control and ended up 8-6 winners... and the Gorse Fox was pleased to score one of the goals and made a couple of the others.

back home, he had received a message from Old Bill. He had been to his wine merchant and had a case for us.  This is now nestling in the wine rack... but will probably remain pretty well untouched for a while.

Saturday, January 07, 2017


There were jobs to be done today. Most important of these was to squirrel away all the boxes of Christmas decorations so that they were out of the way but easy to access next December. This took a while, but all is now stowed. Glitter littered the floors so next task was vacuuming and then washing the floors. The Gorse Fox is very glad he bought a Vax machine for doing the floors - this made quick work of it and dried it off quickly.

The Gorse Fox then got a chance to return to some coding. Nothing special - in fact it was more about trying out a new editor than it was about coding. As a result of a "tweet" he saw from some ex-colleage at Starfleet he decided to download and try "". Well, after an hour or two of play, the Gorse Fox is quite impressed and is delighted it even has a live parsing scheme for Rexx.

Friday, January 06, 2017


The electrician rocked up at about 9:30. This was a couple of hours earlier than planned, but that was not a problem. The old oven and old combo-oven were removed along with various drawers and the fun began.

The oven had to be re-wired as it had, evidently, been done badly when the house was built. This was then moved to the new 16A circuit demanded by the new oven. Then the existing microwave circuit was moved to handle the hob, and the hob circuit was re-run through to the the combi. This again was protected by a 16A circuit. (The Gorse Fox, in consultation with the electrician, drew diagrams). The electrics were now ready to receive the new equipment when delivered in about 10 days.

The electrician and his apprentice were only young - but were very conscientious, clean, polite, and clearly competent. The Gorse Fox has kept their details on file - he knows who to call if work is needed in the future.

The big disadvantage to this work was that we had to switch off the power temporarily. This meant that the Gorse Fox's private blog server actually shut down for the first time in about 180 days. Shame.... he was hoping to keep it going and see how long it would run without intervention.

While the oven housing unit was empty, the Gorse Fox took the opportunity to measure the niches where each of the new devices will be housed.

The "technician" (and the Gorse Fox uses that word with a degree of sarcasm) from John Lewis had assured him that the middle shelf would have to be moved up by 5mm to accommodate the new oven. Looking at the way the housing was constructed, this was clearly going to be a problem. The Gorse Fox completed his measurements.

Referring to the Neff website, the GF checked on the specifications of the new devices. This turned out to be a smart move. The technician clearly didn't know what he was talking about, or just didn't want to do the job. The aperture we have in the existing housing meets all of the Neff specifications. No modifications are required.

The Gorse Fox is both relieved and irritated. Relieved that everything should fit, and irritated that the "technician" didn't know his job (despite phoning his "auditor" for confirmation).

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Not so busy

It was a lovely quiet day. Nothing too much on the schedule and a chance for the Gorse Fox to close off last year's budget spreadsheet and open up the new improved version that he has prepared for 2017. He always enjoys cracking open a new spreadsheet.

There was a little online banking to do - just to rationalise some accounts but nothing too taxing. (And of course, the Gorse Fox no longer has to worry about tax forms).

A trip across to Whiteley, near Fareham, this afternoon and on our return the Gorse Fox has retrieved all the boxes and crates from the garage ready for taking down the decorations tomorrow (12th night).

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


It's Old Bill's birthday today. He's the first of us to reach the exalted age of 65 and so deserves a degree of respect. He deserves it, but probably won't get it as we meet for a drink and then go out for a curry with the Sonning Crew this evening.

(Urban-Cub won't be joining us, she is staying in to finish the macaroni cheese that Gorse Fox cooked last night and rest before returning to work in the morning).


We had planned a trip to Southampton with Urban-Cub. This was intended as an opportunity to get her (belated) Christmas present (in the sales), and to pick up a wardrobe she had ordered for her new house from IKEA.

We had a trouble-free run across and decided to stop first at Babies-R-Us. There "equipment" that would soon be required. There was bedding, there were mats, there was a bath, there was a "travel system", and who knows what else. We wandered round checking out every item in the store and picking up those deemed appropriate. The Silver Vixen and Urban-Cub seemed satisfied. We had got everything that we had intended - and those items that were out of stock would have to be ordered online and delivered.

The Gorse Fox then started a variation of the game Tetris. In this case it wasn't blocks that were coming down and had to be stacked - it was all of the items that had piled up by the checkout. The back seat of the car was lowered. Boxes started piling in, and slowly but surely the car sank on its shock absorbers (much as the credit cards had a few minutes earlier). IKEA would have to wait. There was no further room for the wardrobe. In fact there was no further room for an envelope (if it had a stamp on it).

We set off home, stopping off at Urban-Cub's new house to unload. It had been a success.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017


It was very chilly over night and the car was white with a thick frost. The Gorse Fox had taken precautions. Thick tracksuit, thermal base layer, football shirt, and sweat shirt over the top.  When he ran out onto the pitch he was also wearing gloves and woolly hat. It might be the first game of the New Year, but the Gorse Fox was not planning on getting cold.

As it happens, the mix of the teams was such that the Gorse Fox would not have the chance to get cold. He was teamed with some less mobile and less experience players and in the end began to feel like Davy Crockett at The Alamo - under overwhelming attack. Six games - four losses and two draws was best he could achieve today.

Back home he continued with transcription duties... dealing with the first few days of our trip to St Petersburg Beach in Florida back in '89.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Not the plan

Whilst the Gorse Fox had no specific plan for the day - spending the morning fiddling under and over the kitchen sink didn't feature in any list he could have come up with. We have had a minor, occasional, seepage round the bottom of the kitchen tap. This morning the minor seepage became a significant seepage and intervention was clearly required.

Kitchen cupboard was emptied, sink traps removed, water turned off and tap disconnected. No sign of the problem. Clearly the Gorse Fox would have to take the monoblock unit apart. He had a diagram of all the components but it was only when Two Hats came in to give a hand that we managed to prize the unit apart and find a slight leak in a ceramic valve. We reseated this and put everything back together. The leak was cured (at least we think it is).

It was then a matter of putting the sink traps back in place. Simple in concept but in practise this turned out to be a nightmare. The Gorse Fox couldn't get a tight seal and the water dripped when the sink was emptying. In the end a trip to B&Q was required so that a new seal could be obtained. Even with this new seal it took several attempts to actually sort it out.

Definitely not in today's plan.

Sunday, January 01, 2017


The Urban-Cub now has the keys for the new house that she is moving into in a couple a weeks. We took the opportunity to go an meet her at the house whilst she and Pistol Pete were doing the inventory. It's a nice house with plenty of space and has been well cared for by the landlord. They are clearly very excited by the house - and quite rightly.

When we left, we stopped off at the DIY stores to look at the options available for replacing our kitchen sink. There seems to be quite a large choice - but it is a matter of getting something that is both practical (unlike the current sink) and will actually fit. We seem to have narrowed the choice down, but none of the options is perfect.

We also looked at some cupboard inserts that allow the shelves to slide in and out. These looked perfect but when we got home an measured up, it became clear that the existing cupboards are a non-standard size and these inserts would not fit. The Gorse Fox suspects he will have to make something himself.

Clean slate

Happy New Year

A new year begins - a clean slate on which to write the story of mankind. The Gorse Fox hopes that this is a chapter that makes mankind proud. A chapter where we move together instead of wallowing in our differences. A chapter where the cowards of ISIS lay down their weapons. A chapter where we focus on our strengths and opportunities instead of spreading fear and uncertainty.

We saw the New Year in with the Sonning Crew. It was a lovely evening where we sat and chatted and joked while waiting for the Chinese food to be delivered. Then we sat down to the feast and enjoyed the variety of dishes that had been selected. While we were with the Sonning Crew, Urban Cub was back at home. Her cold wasn't shifting and she just wanted to stay put and get an early night.

At midnight we watched the fireworks from London - these were the best that Gorse Fox had seen. The last few years have been very similar - but this year they had clearly had a rethink and had been re-choreographed.