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Friday, June 30, 2017

Festival of Speed

It is the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. Ironically, this means that traffic around Chichester will be at virtual standstill so locals just stay at home.

We are loca, so we stayed at home.

As the Gorse Fox has been a little lazy in doing his admin, he spent the whole morning going through the accounts. It shouldn't have taken as long as it did, but the Gorse Fox had decided to record some transactions differently and as this has started in the middle of the year, it was a matter of massaging all of the figures so that everything balanced correctly.

Most of the afternoon has been spent on family tree research - particularly for the family of Pistol Pete. Progress is slow... but he is inching his way back through the generations.

The Gorse Fox has also had a lengthy online chat with Cousteau-cub. The job changes in Thailand are causing her and the Coventry Hobbit a lot of stress. For now it looks like the Coventry Hobbit will try his hand on Koh Phi Phi, but Cousteau-cub has to stay put to look after their dogs.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Thursday and the Gorse Fox has ignored the usual admin. Dreadful as that sounds - the admin can wait. The Gorse Fox is in design mode. His brain won't switch off to the various options and decisions that he must process before getting started on the prototype for the new dining table.

Some of the decisions would require some additional equipment (a dovetail jig) - but others may work just as well - but then, would they look as good?

How would the centre rails be attached to long rails? A through mortise and tenon? A blind mortise and tenon? or even a sliding dovetail? One may look better than the other, but will it provide sufficient structural integrity?

So it goes on.

The Gorse Fox has now been along to B&Q to look at the options regarding some inexpensive spruce from which the prototype can be built. The word "inexpensive" in this context is relative. Relative to the cost of the oak. It will still cost a fair bit, so the prototype must be built in such a way that it can later be disassembled and the wood reused.

Sketchup is burning hot on the computer and cut lists are being generated. The Gorse Fox is nearly ready.

Meanwhile the Silver Vixen has been in her workroom. It was Tinkerbell's birthday last week and we (The Sonning Crew) are all gathering to celebrate. The Silver Vixen has been making her a present. Even though it was meant as a tongue-in-cheek joke, based on an in-joke, she has actually made a very sweet soft toy giraffe. The Gorse Fox is sure she will both get the joke, and appreciate the amount of work that has gone in to making it.

It's also an auspicious day because the Gorse Fox's little sister celebrates her birthday. The Gorse Fox won't reveal her age (considerable as it is) but does hope she has a wonderful day.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


The morning was overcast and it had clearly been raining overnight. It was drying up, but would remain overcast. The Silver Vixen had Pilates and planned to stop off at Urban-Cub's on the way back.

The Gorse Fox had his football. Today he was playing in the yellow bibs and it was 5 vs 6. Despite being one man short we managed to hold our own during the first half and after 30 minutes it was 2 goals each. The Gorse Fox had hit both posts, the cross-bar, put one over the top and had two saved. We could have been a long way ahead!

The second half allowed us to inch into the lead and once ahead we started to stretch ahead. The Gorse Fox finally scored and quickly added another. In the end we rolled out 8-3 winners. Most satisfactory.

Back home the Gorse Fox had been working on the design of the new dining table. It was time to head to the timber suppliers and get an idea of the various types and colours of oak they had available - and get an estimate of the cost. He head up towards Petworth then turned along the A272 to stop off at West's at Selham. What an outfit! The selection of wood was exceptional and the services they can provide could allow the whole job to be offloaded onto them and their machines (for a price).

Now that the Gorse Fox has all the information he has returned to his spreadsheets and the design. The next step will be to get some cheap pine from Wickes or B&Q and make up a prototype. This will ensure that all the measurements are right and that nothing gets wasted. (With the price of European oak being what it is, mistakes could be very costly).

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

No matter how often

The weather reflected our mood. It was grey and wet. Cousteau-Cub was packed and ready and we loaded the car to take her up to Heathrow.

The drive up there was chirpy enough - there was still plenty to talk about, but as we got closer, the silences grew longer. We parked up at T5 and headed in to the departures hall. We were a bit too early for the bags to be dropped off, so we went along to Cafe Nero to grab a coffee.

Too soon it was time for her to complete the bag drop and head for security. No matter how often we do this it never gets any easier. Even when we know when the next visit will be (by us, or by her) it seems hard to watch her disappear through the gate. With everything a bit up in the air (so to speak) this time, it seemed harder. It also seemed like a the start of a possible new adventure - only time will tell.

Back home we found a lovely card that she had left us. Both a bit choked.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Just a Family Day

It's Cousteau-Cub's last day before going back to Thailand. It seemed appropriate to just spend a quiet day with Urban-Cub and Ellie and us. There was lots of chat, lots of reminiscing and lots of discussion about the future and the various options that are open as life changes. There certainly seem to be opportunities for some significant changes... but no doubt this will become clearer over the next few months.

Lunchtime saw a quick raid on the shops for some last minute items and to drop some stuff at the Post Office, but the afternoon brought us back to the random discussions that only make sense to the family.

It was a lovely day (and the weather stayed warm and sunny for us).

Sunday, June 25, 2017


It's Sunday. It was meant to be a slow start to the day. Jasper, however, had different ideas. At 0515 he was using the Gorse Fox as a trampoline and practising for his audition for a Gospel choir. By 0620, the Gorse Fox gave up and got up.

Spool forward several hours. The Gorse Fox had his usual football. It was a simple affair, though his side were 3-0 down by half time. Fortunately, after a lot of hard work and slight change in personnel we had clawed things back to 6-6 by the end of the match. The Gorse Fox didn't score, but had about 5 or 6 shots saved.

Back at home Mr and Mrs Pistol Pete, Amber, and Ellie arrived. As Pistol Pete is due back at work tomorrow, it was his last opportunity to see Cousteau-Cub before she heads back to Thailand.

We had a lovely afternoon while Urban-Cub prepared us a huge roast dinner.

Ellie slept through much of it. She did, however, wake just before we sat down to eat.

By the end of the day, we had also collected all the photos from the wedding and loaded them into a shared Google photos album. They may not be "professional" photos - but by having several photographers all taking pictures gave us a really good spread across the day and it seemed far more informal.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


After the excitement of yesterday, today was deliberately quiet. Having baby Ellie with us overnight was a novelty. At twelve weeks old, she hasn't grasped the concept of looking at the clock to see when it's time to eat. As a result, we were up at 01:30. The Silver Vixen took care of the feed and so forth, the Gorse Fox lent his assistance by managing the complexities of the microwave oven for the formula.

Aft the feed she settled fairly well and pretty much slept through until after eight. (there were a few brief stirrings, but again, the Silver Vixen managed to soothe her straight back off to sleep.

At lunchtime, Urban-Cub, Pistol Pete, and Cousteau-Cub arrived. There was a customary exchange of items... we handed back Ellie, and they returned the glasses and table that had been borrowed for yesterday's celebrations.

They didn't stay long. Urban-Cub wanted to sooth an incipient hangover with some greasy food. Pistol Pete was not being too sympathetic, but didn't seem too upset by the idea of the food!

The Gorse Fox has spent the afternoon working on his photo library and chatting various things through with Cousteau-Cub.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Day to Remember

Well the big day came.

The Gorse Fox ferried Cousteau-Cub across to Urban-Cub's and they disappeared off to get their hair done. Meanwhile the Gorse Fox brought baby Ellie back to the relative calm of our house. (At Urban-Cub's the kids were there, some overnight guests, and two dogs were charging around and barking).

Ellie was an absolute joy. Cuddles, chuckles, and sleep throughout the morning. The Gorse Fox's sister and b-i-l arrived for lunch and then we all got changed and ready for the wedding.

It was an informal and intimate affair in the Registry Office in Chichester. We gathered outside whilst Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete went through the paperwork with the Registrar. Then the Gorse Fox was called and given his instructions, as father of the bride. Everyone was ushered in to the Oak Room and the proud dad escorted his daughter in. Asked if he would be giving his daughter away, he replied that he'd "be delighted to". The formalities didn't take long, but were conducted with joy and sparkle. Shortly, Urban Cub was officially Mrs Pistol Pete.

We had a few photos on the steps outside, but kept the rest for back home.

The journey back seemed interminable. Friday traffic round Chichester and Arundel being at it's most malignant. By the time we got to Urban-Cub, Ellie was just beginning to get a bit fractious. We had sent a message ahead to make sure that there was a bottle waiting (for the baby).

The reception was more like a small gathering of friends and family. It really was lovely. We had the rest of the photos and then started on the buffet. People sat and chatted and laughed and told tales. it was an afternoon and evening filled with laughter and joy.

Eventually it was time to go. We packed up and brought Ellie back with us so that Urban-Cub could relax and have a drink if she wanted.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Getting ready

It's the day before Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete get married. A degree of panic is setting in. The Silver Vixen headed to the hairdresser, Cousteau-Cub completed the preparation of the decorations, and the Gorse Fox got on with some domestic chores before settling down to finish his speech.

His tried, yet again, to get into the flow of a poem... staring with rhyming couplets and failing to get inspiration. Then he tried to emulate Lord Macauley and his epic "How Horatius Held the Bridge"... he managed three verses and gave up. (It makes you appreciate just what an extraordinary piece of literature that poem is). Anyway, resorting to simple prose he finished his task and gave it to the Silver Vixen for approval.

Meanwhile, Cousteau-Cub had been at Urban-Cub's. She was putting up those decorations that would survive overnight. The rest will have to await the morning.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Another blisteringly hot day (for the UK), with temperatures hovering around the 30 mark down here by the coast, and obviously higher inland.

The Gorse Fox had football again this morning (what is they say about mad dogs and Englishmen?). The teams were quite evenly balance and as we approached half time it was still 1-1. The Gorse Fox managed to intervene at that point and, striding forward, got non the end of a loose ball before controlling it and slotting it under the goal keeper. Half time was called, we were 2-1 up and everyone needed to take on fluids. The second half was a little less even. The orange bibs (as worn by the Gorse Fox) got another there or four goals before finally conceding a second. It had been a hot game but a good win.

Back home, Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete popped in. They had been to The Gribble to pick up some beer for the wedding and needed to collect some of the stuff left here last night. We loaded the car with a collapsible table, the baby's bath, and the shelf that was now ready to hand over. The Gorse Fox had even handed over a template to make it easier to drill the mounting holes in the wall with more accuracy.

9001 and counting!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

9K - Hot again

This is the Gorse Fox's 9,000 blog post.

It's another cracking day. Temperature is up around 30C and there's only the faintest of breezes. The Silver Vixen headed off early to meet with her coven, but took Cousteau-Cub with her, the aim being to drop her at Urban-Cub's.

The Gorse Fox left soon after. It's Tuesday so there must be football. It was sweltering out there. We split into our usual random assortment of teams and had a round robin. The Gorse Fox's team were hampered by a lack of goalkeeper, so the Gorse Fox volunteered for one of the three matches. We lost 2-0, then 2-1, and finally won the last game 2-1. It was fun, but it was very important to take on water at every opportunity. (How they are going to play a World Cup in Qatar defeats logic).

In the second hour we were down to two teams. We played three games and lost 3-0, then won 2-0 and 2-1. By the end, some were visibly struggling. The Gorse Fox wasn't affected so much as he's a great believer in letting the ball do the work and optimising his position at all times so as to avoid too much rushing about.

Back home, a light lunch was followed by a short session in the workshop. The Gorse Fox had to apply the first top coat of paint. Now, while writing this, he is waiting for it to dry so that he can apply a second coat. In this heat, that shouldn't take too long.

Meanwhile, news from paradise indicates that Cousteau-Cub and the Coventry Hobbit may be set to change their jobs. We await developments with bated breath.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Cracking day

It's been another cracking day, made all the better by the fact the Gorse Fox has not had to commute, use the Tube, or sit in an office listening to inane excuses from clients as to why something should be done the wrong way. Did the Gorse Fox ever comment on how much he enjoys retirement?

The morning started with some more painting. This was now looking quite good, but just needed some black to pick out the shapes and transitions. That could wait until later.

After lunch the Gorse Fox had an appointment in Chichester and, having checked, needed to get a new shirt and tie for the wedding. He pottered in and headed for M&S. It didn't take long to sort out his apparel, so he moved on to Rymans's (the Stationer's). He had decided a black Sharpie was the right solution to his painting dilemma.

Back home, some time later, he returned to the task in hand and virtually finished the painting of the characters. He did a test fit of the shelf then added the hooks for coat hangers.

There's still a lot of finish painting to do (a lot of the areas have only been primed so far). Having said that, the whole thing is coming together nicely.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day

Father's Day is meant to be a special day for, you guessed it, fathers. Today is very special for the Gorse Fox. It is the first Father's Day for many years that Cousteau-Cub has been home; it is also the first time he has been a grandfather.

The day started with a trip to B&Q with Cousteau-Cub. The Gorse Fox needed some paints to illustrate the backing for the shelf he is building.

We ended up leaving with ten tester-pots of various colours. The Gorse Fox got straight down to work and made a start on the painting. By the time it was time to leave, he had a background and some of the blocks of colour on the figures.

He's pleased with the outcome, so far.

Cousteau-Cub, meanwhile had been preparing maps and instructions for the wedding, this Friday. It's strange having a venue with no parking, so she had to explain to people where the nearest car parks are and the best walking route to the venue.

We all headed of to Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete's. We had a BBQ booked! We sat and chatted in the garden most of the afternoon before Urban-Cub fired up the BBQ and started to cook a mountain of meat and some mackerel that Pistol Pete had caught. It was an absolute feast and better still, the whole family were together.

While there we agreed with Amber & Jake that they would look after Jasper for a week at the beginning of September. We would join Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete and Ellie for a week up in the Lake District. Pistol Pete had already selected some candidate cottages, so we confirmed and booked one, there and then. We look forward to that.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


In years gone by we used to have an annual "family do" where all the Silver Vixen's side of the family would get together at one of our houses, or some venue. This was always great fun and an opportunity for everyone to catch up with all the latest news. As time went on, these became slightly less regular, skipping the odd year or two. This year, the Silver Vixen decided that with Cousteau-Cub home and the addition of baby Ellie to the family, we should resurrect the event.

The Gorse Fox sent out some "keep the day" emails several months ago, and sent further emails with directions last week. Today some 35-odd family members descended on The Savill Gardens near Egham.

The addition this year was that we had also included the Gorse Fox's sister, b-i-l, and nephews to the fold.

The traffic had been dreadful for most people (though the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen had been lucky and after hearing a traffic update on the radio, decided to ignore the SatNav and  use local knowledge from when they lived in Hook).  We had visitors from Wokingham, Buckingham, Clapham, Brentford, Brighton, Rayleigh, Shoeburyness, Littlehampton, Oxford, and Cardiff.

It was lovely day with temperatures hovering around the 30C mark. We had chosen a spot beneath the canopy of a huge cedar tree. This gave us shade all day as the sun moved round(*).

The picnic blankets and chairs started to fill the space as the circle got ever bigger - then eventually split into smaller satellite groups. The children ran around and played and the adults circulated and chatted.

It was good to hear about what everyone was up to - a new job that would involve travel to Toronto, Houston, Seattle, New York and LA; a new flat in Norwich and probably job relocation; a retirement; a house move from London to Bicester; a couple of extensions to existing houses; holiday plans; a change of career and so forth.

We remarked that when we first started these events most of the adults were actually bees in arms (if they were even born) - now they are there with their own young children and we have moved on a generation.

We had picked a good spot. It was only a short walk along to the visitor's centre where there was a supply of ice creams and conveniences. The shade of the tree kept us pretty well protected, and we were only a very short walk from the car park which was handy for loading and unloading the cars. We had started to gather at about midday, By five-thirty those with the longest journey started to drift away.

Brilliant day over all, and so lovely to see so much of the family - particularly as Cousteau-Cub was home and it was a chance for the cousins to catch up for the first time in many years.

(*)It's ok. The Gorse Fox knows that it's the Earth that moves round the sun. This was merely a figure of speech... not a declaration of membership of the flat earth society.

Friday, June 16, 2017


Another glorious start to the day (other than Jasper slapping the Gorse Fox at about 06:00 - and continuing to paw at him until the Gorse Fox pushed him away).

After breakfast the Gorse Fox retreated to the workshop. The sleeve unit for the floating shelf was sanded and primed. While that was drying, he printed several line drawings of characters from Winnie the Pooh. These would be featured on the back of the shelf. Once the right size was chosen he  checked his offcuts and realised none was big enough. Wickes was the DIY store of the day. Their plywood seems so much better quality than that provided in B&Q.

He arrived home just as Urban-Cub turned up with baby Ellie. They were just stopping off for a while to collect Cousteau-Cub and go off shopping.

It gave an opportunity for Ellie to try the new "activity mat" that the Silver Vixen had ordered. The Gorse Fox isn't sure who got the most fun from it, Ellie or Cousteau-Cub.

It also gave the Gorse Fox an opportunity to show Urban-Cub some of the ideas he had had for the shelf and get a decision on the type of hangers that she wanted. That done, he cut out the printed figures and placed them on the new sheet of ply. Using them as templates he drew a background then the figures. Finally he fired up the jigsaw and cut round the drawing. He must say, that he is very pleased with the result. It has now been painted (primed) and is drying in the garage.

The Silver Vixen spent the afternoon at the hairdresser in Chichester. With Cousteau-Cub and the Silver Vixen out for the afternoon, the place seems quite hollow and quiet.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Floating by

The Silver Vixen was spending the day looking after baby Ellie at Urban-Cub's while she got her hair done. Cousteau-Cub stayed put with the Gorse Fox. Cousteau-Cub had a quiet day with her yoga, catching up on admin, and enjoying some old Pointless episodes (she hadn't seen Pointless before!).

The Gorse Fox retired to the workshop. There was a floating shelf to work on. He started by milling the dovetails on the spars and fixing them in place (having cut them to length). Then it was time to get the bandsaw out and change the blade. He had found the instructions, but it was still a bit fiddly. The new blade makes such a difference - slicing through off-cuts so much easier than the old blade.

Next on the agenda was trip to Wickes to get the mdd for the top and bottom of the shelf. The Gorse Fox explained to the assistant that one trip is never enough and headed home with his purchases. First he built a tracking jig for the circular saw, then started on the front and sides of the shelf. Measure twice and cut once is the woodworker's maxim. The Gorse Fox followed this to the nth degree. It would, however, have helped if he had red the correct measurement from his cutlets. So it was that he trimmed the wood to 54mm instead of 56mm. This exhausted his supply. In turn, this triggered the predicted return trip to Wickes.

Everything went smoothly from then on. The sleeve is now complete and the Gorse Fox is waiting for the glue to set up overnight.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Thrilled by the Rill

It was another cracking day. Wall to wall sunshine and not the slightest hint of cloud to break the blue of the sky. The Silver Vixen was out early for an appointment and the Gorse Fox soon followed for his football.

Football was better today. The Gorse Fox played in goal for the first half and on the pitch for the second. The score ended up 2-1 to us, which was good, but better still was the fact that the Gorse Fox felt as if he had played well. It was hot though. It was also a little worrying that Rangers Ronnie, who has just finished a course of chemo, got clattered from behind and hurt his shoulder. He was attended to by the First Aider and taken away. Given the state of his immune system, he probably went to hospital... but we don't know. No news so far.

When the Gorse Fox got home Urban-Cub and baby Ellie were there. The Gorse Fox was on a mission, however, and after polite hellos went straight to the garden to continue cleaning the rill (as started by Cousteau-Cub yesterday). A workflow was established - filthy cobbles retrieved from rill and put in bowl. Small batches were moved into a deep bucket and attacked with the jet spray. Dirty water was transferred to second bucket and the clean stones returned to the rill. This worked well and it didn't take too long to get the job finished. It's all looking nice and clean again now.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the garden with the whole family... and life doesn't really get much better than that!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Peaking at Mediocre

It was a glorious, sunny, warm day. The Gorse Fox had football, the Silver Vixen and Cousteau-Cub were staying behind as Urban-Cub was coming over with baby Ellie.

The Gorse Fox got stuck into the football, and like Arsenal, managed to peak at barely mediocre. He's not sure if it was the heat, or just a bad day, but whatever it was, he just couldn't raise his game to the normal level. Having said that, he was on the winning side for the first three games. Then, in the second hour, we dropped a game 2-1, but then won and drew the last two games.

Back home we had a nice family lunch - finishing just as Ellie started to get fractious. Timed to perfection!

Late afternoon Cousteau-Cub started clearing the rill. The stones have become coated in algae and the blanket weed keeps recurring. She started with a scrubbing brush, but realised that was never going to be practical. In the end we resorted to hydrogen peroxide and the jet spray. It's about half done, but we can get back to it tomorrow. The Gorse Fox also used his new jig to cut the dovetail slots in the next set of floating shelves. Then adjusted the settings to cut the dovetails themselves - sneaking up on a good fit with some offcuts. Leaving everything set, he will return to the task later in the week.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Another lunch

Well today involved another trip to Chichester. We had seen a table and chairs in a shop in Chichester last week and on asking for a quote were told there would be a significant sale starting this week. We went home and measured up. This made us realise the table would not fit in our kitchen - hence the Gorse Fox starting on a design of his own. The chairs, however, would be ideal.

Needless to say, it was not quite as straightforward as we might have hoped. There was a wall full of fabrics from which we had to select the right covers for our kitchen. This should have been easy - but when the fabric selection can more that double the price of each chair, making the wrong choice could be very expensive. In the end we chose a nice fabric that we both liked and didn't break the bank. Deposit paid, we now have to wait for a few weeks for delivery.

While we were choosing the fabrics, Cousteau-Cub was roaming the clothes shops looking for a suitable outfit for the wedding. When we had finished, the Silver Vixen joined in to offer guidance and advice. The Gorse Fox, knowing his limitations, stayed outside and watched the world go by (several times). Eventually, dress selected, we headed to Prezzo for some lunch.

After lunch we discussed what would be on the menu for supper. Cousteau-Cub volunteered to prepare a stir-fry so we dropped in to Waitrose to pick up the necessary ingredients. By late afternoon, back home, we concluded that we were still full from lunch and supper was not needed. The Gorse Fox suspects we will have the stir-fry tomorrow!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Warm one

Though not particularly sunny - it was a nice warm morning. This became particularly noticeable when the Gorse Fox headed off to football. He left extra early today. The local bypass is closed for maintenance so there's a traffic diversion. We had also been told there was bit tournament at the sports centre and that parking would be difficult.

Well, the diversion was traffic free and the Gorse Fox arrived quicker than expected. He then had the choice of parking spaces. His informant had got the dates wrong and there very little scheduled. Oh well, it gave him a chance to sit and chat before having to get changed.

The game was warm, very warm. It was also close... finishing 8-7. (Unfortunately, the Gorse Fox was on side only scoring 7). After his high scoring feats of last week, he only managed one goal today.

The afternoon was quiet. Cousteau-Cub spent some time trying sort out her flight cancellations using the various online chat facilities. She was impressed by the service she received even though she didn't manage to get a refund. (They offered the chance to reschedule - but she isn't sure when she can get back to use them).

The Silver Vixen was cutting out some fabric for her latest project. The Gorse Fox measure up his router table for a jig that he plans to make. Then he broke out Sketchup and started designing the new kitchen table top and the mechanism that will allow it to use the existing table stand.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


It was a very nice start to the day and it promised to remain sunny and warm. Urban-Cub had invited us over to spend the day with them and have a BBQ. That seemed like a perfect idea.

While Cousteau-Cub and the Silver Vixen were getting ready, the Gorse Fox headed out to the garage. His latest modification to the floating shelf design needed to be tested out. How difficult would it be to create sliding dovetail joints and would they be strong enough. The router table was set up and some scrap wood prepared. The slot was machined and then the sloping shoulders were carefully cut on the spar. The first attempt showed promise, but was too loose. The second attempt was so tight that it had to be "encouraged" home with a hammer. This, however, proved the point and proposed modification will be added to the next shelf that needs to be made.

We stopped at Sainsbury''s on the way to Urban-Cub's. Alco-free sparkling wine was needed and they had a an excellent selection. We were soon back on our way and pulling up out Urban-Cub's house.

Pistol Pete was doing some work on their shed, so the Gorse Fox lent a hand where appropriate and it was soon complete. Cousteau-Cub helped out with baby Ellie as the Silver Vixen and Urban-Cub discussed the garden and kept an eye on proceedings.

Then Cousteau-Cub and Urban-Cub got out paint brushes and painted the fence. (Not the smartest of moves for Cousteau-Cub who suffered the rest of the afternoon from the after effects).

Late afternoon the BBQ was fired up and a mountain of burgers, sausages, kebabs, ribs, and chicken pieces were heaped over the burners. Meanwhile Pistol Pete was preparing a salad to accompanying the protein blow-out. It was a lovely meal and there was plenty left when we finished.

We finished the afternoon by watching the last 20 minutes of the Scotland-England match... then, relieved at the 2-2 finish, packed our stuff up and headed home. It had been a wonderful day.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Spare Ribs

Cousteau-cub woke after a good night's sleep. She felt much more human but clearly the pain from her ribs had not subsided. The pharmacist, yesterday, had recommended we got things checked out and in the cold light of day, after a good night's sleep, this seemed like sensible advice.

The Gorse Fox and Cousteau-cub headed for A&E at St Richard's in Chichester. We booked in and the triage nurse saw her very quickly - then we had to wait for the doctor. It wasn't too bad - about an hour before she was seen. X-ray taken, examination, then advice. She left - still sore - but feeling a lot happier that it had been checked. It does mean, however, that she has cancelled her planned hop across to Gran Canaria for a few days.

At lunchtime we headed out to The Gribble Inn and met up with Urban-Cub, Pistol Pete, Amber, and Miss Ellie. As always, we had a good lunch there.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Early start

Cousteau-Cub was landing at 05:25. This meant an early start. Not for the Gorse Fox, you understand, but for Urban-Cub, Pistol Pete and Miss Ellie. We had jointly agreed that it would be a nice surprise for Cousteau-Cub to be greeted by her new niece. Despite this, the Gorse Fox was up at 05:00 so that he could field any text messages from an unsuspecting Cousteau-Cub if she made contact on landing. The idea was that he could reply, but pass them on to Urban-Cub. In the end, it wasn't necessary.

They were back here soon after 07:00 - obviously travelling just in front of the real traffic build up.

We had a quiet morning as Cousteau-Cub was tired from the flight and still sore from her cracked rib. Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete went home to catch up on some sleep and walk the dog, whilst we looked after Miss Ellie. We managed to get out for a walk with her this afternoon and stopped off at the Poling Station on our way round. (Miss Ellie wasn't allowed to vote as she had no Poling Card and couldn't reach the desk or hold the pencil).

Wednesday, June 07, 2017


We heard from Cousteau-Cub. She was at the airport ready to fly down to Kuala Lumpur from whence she will pick up a flight home. It's a long day travelling, but she should be back here in the UK tomorrow morning. She warned us that she's feeling sore, having come off here motorbike yesterday and suspects she has a cracked rib or two. She said she didn't have time for x-rays and wasn't going to risk being told not to fly!

We had a quiet morning. The Gorse Fox spent some time examine the dimensions of a new kitchen table we had considered. When mapped out on the floor, however, it was clear that it would be a non-starter. This got him back to the original plan which had been to use the base of the existing table, and replace to top with a new one that he would build. Measurement were taken and a degree of head scratching performed. Full design activity is needed, but that can wait a bit. The chairs that we had seen, however, look to be ideal for our needs so we will probably go ahead and buy them anyway.

We had an appointment. We were meeting the Gorse Fox's cousin for lunch. We pottered across to Bosham and followed them into the car park. Excellent timing.

Lunch was at Anchor Bleu. As usual it was excellent quality and it was clear we all had similar tastes as we all selected the same "Fish and Chips" and the the same "Billionaire's Cheesecake". It was a lovely chance to catch up, having not seen her since her birthday in March. After lunch we took a stroll around Bosham Quay. It was warm but the wind was cool and gusting quite hard so we didn't go too far.

Main topic for this evening is tracking BA34 and checking that Cousteau-Cub will land on time so she can be met without fuss and brought home from the airport.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Dodging Drops

We woke up to heavy rain. It had clearly been a very wet night and the rain was lingering into the morning. Jasper was disgusted - he refuses to go out when it's wet and sulks. As he sits there shooting accusing looks at the Gorse Fox he begins an ongoing diatribe of cat curses. The Gorse Fox takes it in good heart and tries to stop the rain - but finds it isn't in his control, strangely.

Slowly the rain blew on through. By the time the Gorse Fox left for football, it had stopped. The winds hadn't died down - just the rain.  The football was a bit sparse. Only 16 instead players of the usual 28-30. Teams were formed and the Gorse Fox knew immediately he was in for a hard day. In fact we were 5-0 down within the first five or ten minutes. The goalie was not having a good day as he let three balls through his legs - and threw another over the line by accident. Slowly the Gorse Fox got a grip and we steed the flow.

In the second hour there were only 8 of us. We moved to a five-a-side cage and played a variation of the usual game. We played 4-a-side with no goalkeepers - but you could only score from inside the goal area. This was a nice variation... and the Gorse Fox ended up on the winning side. Not sure what the score was, but we were so far ahead that we stopped counting.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Wedding Dress

With Urban-Cub getting married to Pistol Pete in a three weeks, it was time for the Gorse Fox to go and get his wedding dress. You would have though that he had plenty of decent suits - and he did. The problem is that he has lost so much weight over the past few years that none of them fit him. So it was that the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox headed into Chichester.

First stop was the trusty M&S, but despite wandering through the racks there was nothing that leapt out and said "by me". The Gorse Fox wasn't sure whether to go for a suit or just a jacket and trousers - both options were in the mix. From M&S we moved on to House of Fraser. In their menswear department they have an outlet for Skopes (men's tailoring). This was better. The choice and styling was more to the Gorse Fox's taste - and it turns out that it was the last day of their 20% discount sale. It didn't take long to find, try on, deliberate, and eventually buy a very nice ensemble.

We stopped to do some shopping for the Silver Vixen then dropped our purchases back at the car before heading down South Street for some lunch at The Chantry. As before, it was very quiet, very welcoming, and the food was excellent (and good value for money).

A last stop at M&S for a some casual slacks (even his trousers are too big) and then we headed home. As we arrived at the car it started to spit with rain. We had clearly timed things to perfection.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Play day

It was another lovely day. There was football to play, but first the Gorse Fox was intrigued by a possible change to his accounts spreadsheet. This got him thinking. Time whizzed by as he adapted some of the existing worksheets and some of the formulae. There are some things that really should be a little easier to do than they turn out to be. (There used to be an interpreter on the IBM VM system called Exec2 - not as good as Rexx but still very powerful - which allowed a huge degree of indirection, but whilst it's possible to do some indirection with Excel, it's not as powerful and is not recursive). Soon it was time to shut the laptop and head off.

Football was fun as usual. Though the Gorse Fox was on the loosing side (8-6) it was fairly close and he managed to score four of the team's goals. Very satisfactory!

Back home Old Bill had sent out a clarion call for the Sonning Crew. With a potential change in Government this coming week, this could be the last time that we can all afford to go to the pub. (Or at least, that was the excuse). We decided to head out for a lunchtime tipple... it seemed only right.

In practise, if there is a change in Government, it will probably not affect us too much. It might even work in our favour. It will, however, store up no end of debt and problems for our kids and their kids.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

In position

Gentle start to the day - Jasper didn't drag the Gorse Fox from bed until just after seven. That's acceptable. It was clearly going to be a lovely day again.

The Gorse Fox headed out to the workshop. There were three planters that needed oiling. It didn't take too long to get a couple of coats applied, though there were several stops for coffee and to chat with the neighbours. The last of these chats proved useful as, between us, Two Hats and the Gorse Fox came up with a modification to our respective garages that would allow greater weight to be stored in the roof space, and in the case of the Gorse Fox allow a fixing point for one of the pulleys. The best part is that the Gorse Fox already has sufficient timber to complete this for both garages.

Urban-Cub arrived late morning with Ellie. While she was feeding, the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox spent some time placing the new planters and moving the various plants around. In the end we are both very pleased with the results. (See photo)

After a light lunch out in the garden we sat and enjoyed the garden, bathed as it was in sunshine. There was a cool breeze, but it was delightful just to sit and soak it all in.
(This despite a neighbour cutting paving slabs with a big grinder... we were just far enough away that the noise wasn't too bad and the drifting dust was going in the opposite direction).

After a while we took Ellie out for a walk around the development.

Friday, June 02, 2017


Well that was a very successful day. The glue set up fairly quickly in the heat and after a little bit of head scratching the Gorse Fox decide not to use any biscuits this time round. He relied solely on the pocket-hole screws. Each layer was glued up and the screws inserted to hold them tightly together and provide a mechanical alternative to the chemical adhesive.

Now that it's done the Gorse Fox will leave overnight and then apply the decking oil to finish all three.

Setting Up

The various rings that form the layers of the planter are now assembled and the Gorse Fox is waiting for the glue to set up.  It was a bit of a fiddle as several of the 50mm nails were slightly off target and had to be removed and re-fired.

He'll give it a little while longer then start creating the pocket holes and biscuit slots that will allow these rings to be assembled.

At the current rate of progress this should be finished today. Then the Gorse Fox will spend some time tomorrow coating all three planters in decking oil, to protect them and help them blend in with the existing deck.


That's been a good start to the morning. Having built the two smaller planters, the Gorse Fox was more organised as he started on the larger model.

Everything was measured, marked and by 10:45 it was all cut to size and sanded ready for assembly. The Gorse Fox is taking a few moments to have a coffee before starting on the next stage.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

One week

Only one week to go before Cousteau-Cub is back home with us for a few weeks. It's really exciting and we are all looking forward to so seeing her. (Oh yes, and there's the Election!)

Lots of admin today - the weekly accounts kicked things off. Followed by the monthly check on the utility meter readings (electricity up slightly on same period last year, but gas and water down). Then we ha had the excitement of the Ocado delivery before the Gorse Fox went into town. One of the nice things about several of the local towns (but not Chichester) is that you can buy a parking badge for £1. This allows you up to 2 hours of free parking. It was time that the Gorse Fox renewed his permits so he went along to one of the outlets that sell them then, clutching the badges, headed for the post office. A parcel was waiting for collection. The Gorse Fox suspected he knew what it was, though wasn't expecting it until Friday. He left clutching a box containing some new pocket-hole screws and the appropriate screw-driver bit for them.

Next stop was B&Q. Five more decking boards were loaded into the car ready for the construction of the last of the planters. All very satisfying.

The Gorse Fox was also expecting the chap to come and fit new tyres on the Silver Vixen's broomstick. A message this morning suggested he would arrive between 16:00 and 18:00.  At 13:30 he phone and said he was running ahead of schedule could he come along early? By 14:00 he was there and soon after there were some shiny new boots on the broomstick. Excellent service.