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Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Another pleasantly warm and sunny day.

The Gorse Fox had football this morning and we had a good turnout. Playing for the white-bibs with one player fewer than the other teams we managed a win, a loss and a draw. It was hard work, but we did play some lovely passing football - and the game we lost was by a heavily disputed goal. All good fun.

The second hour was down to 4-a-side played in the cages. This was hard work, but isn't that the whole point of exercise? Again we won a game, lost a game, and the Gorse Fox is pretty sure the last game was draw. He did manage a couple of goals in this latter session. Over the period he managed to cover over 9km so, whilst he could walk further than that in the time, that wasn't bad as it was lots of explosive bursts, direction changes and twists. A good work out... and his last Tuesday session for a while.

Leaving the sports centre he stopped off to collect Cousteau-Cub from Urban-Cub's. She had been there over night so that she could drop Ellie at the child minder's this morning. Urban-Cub was at the chiropractor then had to head straight to work... and Pistol Pete was on a full day shift too. The Gorse Fox dropped Cousteau-Cub in Chichester so that she could roam in peace and try some of the job agencies. The plan is that she will get the bus back when ready. Let's hope she alights at the right bus stop!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Tasty batch

It was a lovely day - bright and sunny, and temps in the mid-teens. The Gorse Fox was up early but spent the first hour drinking coffee and reading the news. The Silver Vixen soon joined him and Cousteau-Cub soon after that.

Cousteau-Cub was busy crafting her CV and personal statement so that she was ready to approach the various employment agencies in the area. The Gorse Fox tried not to disturb her too much as he went through with the floor washer - but it does tend to be both noisy and disruptive. Interestingly, talking with Two Hats, he said that they use a steam cleaner on their floor and as long as you are quick and don't linger in any one spot - it does a superb job. We had been specifically warned against them for our floor type, but clearly - with care - they do the job.

After lunch the Gorse Fox took Cousteau-Cub into Bognor Regis so that she could wander round the agencies and the various charity shops. (Cousteau-Cub is a demon for finding bargains in the charity shops). He left her there as Two Hats had offered to fix a little crease we had spotted in the Silver Vixen's car door. It didn't take him too long, but was absolutely intriguing to watch as he stripped the door panel and eased the ding out. A master at work and now you would not know there was ever a blemish on the door. Payment will be made at the local pub!

Back indoors the Gorse Fox is making up a large batch of curry base sauce. Some will get used tonight, but most will be frozen and trotted out when needed. As it simmers away in the background, the smell is wonderful.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

On any Sunday

The Gorse Fox was most confused. He had put his watch by the bed to charge overnight but clearly hadn't attached it correctly. As a result, when he tapped it, it displayed the analogue time instead of the usual digital display. It was also upside down... so when he read the time he was interpreting it incorrectly. In fact at 20 minute past two this morning in his mind, it was incredibly light outside and that shouldn't;'t be the case as the full moon was last weekend. Additionally Jasper was getting very demanding and that's not like him at two in the morning. Finally, as the Silver Vixen stirred it dawned on him that the watch was upside down and it was ten to eight. Technology, eh!

The Gorse Fox had football this morning. It was a good 7-v-6 game with the extra man switching sides at half time. The Gorse Fox's yellow team did well and managed to win 7-5  over all and the Gorse Fox added two of the goals.

Back home we grabbed some lunch then headed back out with Cousteau-Cub to the pet food warehouse to try and get some more food for Jasper that he might condescend to try. Various foods selected we then went in to the farm shop to get some more fresh vegetables for today's supper and to let Cousteau-Cub browse around for anything she fancied. A chicken is now in the Instant Pot and the Gorse Fox is deciding how to prepare the various vegetables to accompany the meat.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Just chilling

Well Jasper isn't taking to his new diet very well. He's ignoring the wet food and just grazing the dry food occasionally. The Silver Vixen suspects he will tuck-in once he's hungry enough.

A message came through. Two Hats needed help moving a mattress into the garage - the Gorse Fox assumed he's done something wrong and been exiled, but no; they have a new bed being delivered and he was clearing the room. Old Bill and the Gorse Fox helped and we made pretty quick work of it.

Cousteau-Cub got in touch - she wanted to come and spend some time with us to try and make sure that there wasn't too much separation anxiety between her and the dog Tyson. The longer she stayed at Urban-Cub's the more Tyson would get used to her being around. The Gorse Fox hopped in th car and went to collect her.

Most of the afternoon the Gorse Fox has been tapping on the computer - some of the time on the family tree, and some of the time cleaning up the G+ missing photos. Boredom has set in now.

Friday, April 26, 2019


We have been advised to change Jasper's diet. He is marginally overweight, and as he isn't a particularly active cat, he needs to be careful. He doesn't play, he would much rather sit down and read than play with a toy.

Needless to say the vet recommended an expensive food that is only available from registered vets. Not impressed, and not going to fall for that we went to a local pet food warehouse and got chatting to staff. One, who has 5 cats, agreed with some of the vet's analysis and our own ideas that Jasper should be having more wet food, and less grain-based dry food. We spent ages looking through the options and decided on a couple of options (to give him some variation).

Back home the Gorse Fox cracked open a spreadsheet and started doing various calculations based on Jasper's weight, his recommended calorie intake, and the calorific content of the food we have selected. We now have a new regime planned... let's hope he likes it!

As the Gorse Fox writes this, the Instant Pot has just beeped to tell him the gammon is cooked. He'll let that stand and then tonight we'll have that with some eggs and fries.

Thursday, April 25, 2019


Well Jasper was using us as a trampoline by six-thirty, but for some reason the Gorse Fox had been awake for an hour or so anyway. The Silver Vixen checked that his breakfast had opened up correctly - it had, and she came back to bed. The Gorse Fox decided enough was enough and got up. Ellie, on the other hand stayed asleep until eight.

We had the usual chaotic morning with staggered breakfasts, showers, and so forth while waiting for Ocado to arrive with the week's shopping. Cousteau-Cub had got most of her paperwork sorted out to renew her driving license - but needed the photo counter-signed. Fortunately Old Bill was happy to help, so we popped over to get that done. Urban-Cub an Pistol Pete turned up to collect Cousteau-Cub and Ellie and go shopping in Chichester. The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox were invited to join them but the Silver Vixen had stuff to get ready for the holiday and the Gorse Fox had bits and pieces to do.

After some lunch the Gorse Fox headed into Bognor Regis to get his railway tickets for a trip next week. It's so convenient just being able to walk into the station, and get your pre-ordered tickets in a couple of seconds. From there he went on to Sainsbury's to get some keys cut. It seems sensible to ensure that Cousteau-Cub has keys for both our place and Urban-Cub's.

Back home he got distracted by an email regarding his family tree, and another branch of cousins in Australia. As a result he lost a few hours doing some more research and after another distraction has driven one branch of the Silver Vixen's tree a further generation and has discovered some new information regarding her grandfather.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


It was a bit wet overnight and the weather dumped a load of Saharan sand on the cars and the Orangery. More rain is forecast for later so hopefully it will clear it off!

The Silver Vixen had her usual Pilates session this morning while the Gorse Fox headed off to play football. Just as he arrived at the sports centre, the heavens opened for an almighty cloudburst. It only lasted 5 minutes but he was glad that he was in car and not on the pitch at the time.

The game was a manageable 7-v-8. The Gorse Fox played for the Orange bibs on the 7-team. He expected it to be a hard game, but in the end our team passed the ball about a lot better than the yellows and we started to score the odd goal. (The Gorse Fox did manage to add another to his tally for the year).

The second half started to get a little silly as people tired and got fractious, but it never got out of hand. It's clear that Krakatoa Jack doesn't like being dispossessed though, as every time he was he claimed some form of infringement or foul. Fortunately, the ref was having nothing to do with it. We ended up winning 6-4, so were happy with the result.

Back home, showered, and fed we took the opportunity to put our feet up for an hour before we had to go back to LA and pick up Cousteau-Cub and Ellie. They are back with us overnight to give Urban-Cub a bit of a break before she returns to work on Friday.


Yesterday evening the decision was for an Indian take-out. 
The Gorse Fox went on to the Zeera Lounge website and ordered online with the intention of collecting the meal as he needed to pop out for some cash anyway. He got an acknowledgement email - it would be ready just after 6p.m.
The Gorse Fox  parked outside and got some cash at the Post Office then watched as the chap in the Post Office shop stopped a woman for shop-lifting. A passer by stepped in to help saying how he worked at Lidl and had seen her shop-lifting there also. Issue was soon resolved as she handed back a huge armful of unpaid for good.
The clock ticked past 6pm. Zeera Lounge was dark, and the door still locked. Not looking promising. In fact it turns out that it was closed yesterday. The Gorse Fox went round the corner to Habib - ordered the same dishes and waited. This turned ou to be lucky as the food really was very good and the chap that runs it was absolutely charming. Level 5 hygiene rating, and Chichester Observer "Best Takeaway Restaurant 2019" award - and all their food handling certificates framed and on the wall.
It all turned out well in the end.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

That was hard

It was bright and warm, not quite so sunny though. The Silver Vixen was planning to go into Chichester, and the Gorse Fox had football this morning.

We had a good turn out for football with 4 teams of 7-a-side in the first hour. The teams were not well balanced, however. We were pinned back and lost the first two games before finally redeeming ourselves with an unexpected win in the last game.

The second hour was much more of a challenge. In fact it was hard. We played 4-a-side in one of the cages. The point was that there were no goalkeepers and you could only score from within the goal area. This meant we had a lot of man-to-man marking and lots of attempts to move into space and break away from our markers. We played two games and the Gorse Fox was on the winning side for both... scoring 4 of his teams goals. In all he covered over 9km across the various morning games, so felt it was a good workout.

This afternoon he's been back working on the edits for errant Google+ entries in the private blog. The problem is the sheer volume of them that need to be checked.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Strolling along

A little high level, milky cloud to start the day and it was a little cooler. The cloud burnt off by late morning and it warmed up for a nice afternoon.

A message came through suggesting the Sonning Crew take a stroll along to The Lobster Pot for a coffee. This seemed like a great idea but we had a few things to do so resolved to meet them there. The Gorse Fox decided to head for one of the larger car parks, expecting the one that the Car usually use to be fun on a nice Bank Holiday Monday. The larger car park had plenty of space and it gave us the chance to get a bit more exercise as we headed for the caffeine elixir. As usual, the Lobster Pot was busy, but with the rest of the Crew already in situ, we only had to find a couple of chairs to join them.

We strolled back to the car, parting from the Crew at their car park and carrying on past the funfair that had been set up along the prom, and back to the car. We grabbed a quick lunch at home then headed back out to Urban-Cub's.

We spent a quiet afternoon with Urban-Cub, Cousteau-Cub, and Ellie in their garden. (Pistol Pete was out sea-fishing). The key item of play equipment this afternoon turned out to be the bubble wands which kept Ellie, the Silver Vixen, Cousteau-Cub, and the Gorse Fox amused for ages as the bubbles drifted up in the wind.

Today was the last day of Sainsbury's 25% off on wines so we swung by on our way home and grabbed a case. It would be silly not to!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Very Happy Bunny

Easter Sunday and the sun was shining, the sly was unbroken blue, and the temperatures even down here at the coast were well into the 20s.

We had a leisurely start before getting our things together to pop across to LA and spend the rest of the day at Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete's.  We spent virtually all the rest of the day in the garden. Ellie was cycling between her various play activities and Cousteau-Cub, the Silver Vixen, and the Gorse Fox all got involved at some part in the cycle. In this picture she was just settling hey "baby Annabelle" on picnic table.

It was good to note how well the dogs had adapted to each other, but Tyson was finding the garden a bit strange as the various obstacles septs getting moved as Ellie played. This proved a challenge for him, but he coped.

Urban-Cub prepared a superb roast dinner - a leg of lamb, with all the trimmings. We all tucked in - including the dogs who each got a bone to munch on. When lunch was finished we all retired back to the garden.

The Gorse Fox was an extremely happy bunny - he had all his girls in one place - the Silver Vixen, Cousteau-Cub, Urban-Cub, and Ellie. He was the picture of contentment.

It was late afternoon before we left. Ellie was just about to go cup for her bath, the garden had been tidied away and the evening beckoned.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Family day

It was another stunning day. Not a cloud in the sky and the temperatures in the mid-20s. Cousteau-Cub certainly brought some good weather back from Thailand!

Today was family day. We got up and got going. There was no hanging about. Ellie was up and dressed and the car loaded with the relevant bags and toys. We got our motor running and headed out on the highway. We were born to mild (if it's ok with you).

It was a lovely drive up through the Sussex and Surrey countryside, then bouncing through Hampshire into Berkshire. We had a really good run to J and T's. We were there for lunch and to meet up with Mulder and Scully before they return to to US. They've been here enjoying a vacation week in Dorset, but were now preparing to return tomorrow. It was good to hear that Mulder had handed in his papers and will be retiring at the end of October. Now we just need to get Trev to join the 7-day weekend club.

Ellie was a bit shy at first but soon got her mojo and played contentedly in the garden with each of the adults at one time or another. Blade turned up with Sophie and they too joined in with Ellie. It was nice to see them all again and nice to catch up on all the news. As usual Gorse Fox's little sister put on a wonderful spread and we had an excellent lunch.

Mid-afternoon we took some group photos, then loaded the car and said our goodbyes. We'll see Mulder and Scully again next month when we meet up on holiday... and we'll arrange our next meet up with J and T for soon after. We headed off. Ellie had fallen asleep within a couple of minutes and slept for almost the whole journey back. Late afternoon on a sunny Easter Saturday was clearly a good time to travel and we pulled up outside Urban-Cub's house about 90 minutes later.

It was lovely to see Cousteau-Cub when we arrived. She is staying with Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete temporarily until she has settled the dog with them. So far Tyson, the dog, seems to be coping well and is bonding well with Scrumpy, their dog. Once the dogs are settled and behaving, Cousteau-Cub will come back and live with us.

Now, the plan was that we would spend the evening with them. Urban-Cub was still at work but would be back soon. Pistol Pete would arrange for a take-away and we'd all catch up. It didn't quite work out, however. Cousteau-Cub had lost a suitcase in transit and Aeroflot had contacted her to say it was being couriered to our address between 7 and 8pm. That was all very fine, but we weren't there. Plans were quickly adjusted and we headed home to make sure we were there to receive the errant suitcase. At least it had been found and is now nestling in our hallway.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Excellent Friday

The weather today is just wonderful. Even at 19:00 it's still 21C and there isn't a whip of cloud to be seen. The best part of the day, however, was waking up to a message fromm Cousteau-Cub to say she was safely in Amsterdam and waiting for the transport to Hook of Holland for the ferry to Harwich.

The Gorse Fox spent the morning working with the "Photonic" WordPress plug-in. It really is very good and will save a significant amount of time as the Gorse Fox goes back to correct those G+ entries that Google failed to export properly.

We headed across to LA at lunchtime, We were collecting Ellie, who will stay with us until late tomorrow. This left Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete free to take a leisurely drive up to Harwich to meet Cousteau-Cub. Back home, Ellie spent the afternoon oscillating between play stations: the swing, the buggy, the water station, the stone clippings in the garden, and, of course, tormenting Jasper. Against all odds he survived and she stayed awake. Now fed, she is in the bath and Jasper has emerged from his hiding place.

Cousteau-Cub is due to dock in about 45 minutes. Let's hope it all goes smoothly with the two dogs.

Thursday, April 18, 2019


Well another fabulous day. Temperature in the low 20s and very little cloud.

Cousteau-Cub is on her way and it looks as if she has just touched down in Moscow at the end of this leg of the journey. Her next flight is in a couple of hours and should take her to Amsterdam.

We've had a quiet day punctuated by a quick trip to the farm shop to review various cat food options for Jasper. We came away empty handed but will check online for the recommended stuff.

The Gorse Fox has received a further email from the developer of the plug-in for WordPress. This gave the final clue that seems to have cracked the problem. It took a little fiddling about, but now he can link directly to Google Photos galleries from inside his private blog. He is going to leave it for 24 hours to make sure no tokens get revoked, and that the photos still display tomorrow... but if everything is ok, then he will implement the code in the production version of the blog (at the moment it is only in the test version).

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


The weather has changed. It's bright, slightly overcast, and warm. It was a real pleasure to be out in it today.

The Gorse Fox had his Wednesday football. There was a good turn-out and we had a hard fought game that ended 1-1. This was probably a fair result. Unfortunately one of the player collided with another and hurt his shoulder seriously enough that the ref left the field to take him to hospital for a check-up. No news has filtered through yet, so we don't know how serious it was.

Back home we had quick bite of lunch then had to capture Jasper to take him along for his jabs and annual checks. He got a clean bill of health, though has put on a little weight. We're not going to over worry, but will try to find a different food regime for him over time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019


The beautiful but cold mornings of the past few days have given way to a grey, damp morning today as the weather changes.

As usual, for a Tuesday, the Gorse Fox had football booked. The turnout wasn't great so we ended up with 2 large teams instead of the usual 4 smaller teams. This meant that the pitch was a bit overcrowded which always limits the fun. Fortunately the Gorse Fox had already done 6 laps of the running track before we got started so he had built up the exercise level, which he clearly wasn't going to get during the game.

We ended up playing 3 games - winning the first, losing the second and drawing the third.

Back home, the Gorse Fox has had to admit that he is stumped with regards to the Wordpress plug-in. The developer has, again, got back to the Gorse Fox but could offer little advice. The Gorse Fox has resorted to the original manual approach of relinking the photos by hand. It's time consuming, but it does work!

On a separate note, Cousteau-Cub is now starting her trip home.

Monday, April 15, 2019

A few more inches

Another cold start to the day. Lovely and sunny, but a very cold breeze. It should all change by the end of the week, but for now the breeze is coming in from the east.

The Silver Vixen was meeting up with a friend at Haskins for coffee and lunch. The Gorse Fox returned to his study for a while prior to a quick trip into Chichester. He tried several further plug-ends for Wordpress to see if any was more successful than the one he had been struggling with yesterday. The simple answer was No. In fact the approach that the original one takes is the way that the Gorse Fox would address the problem - so he's happy with the concept - just having problems with the implementation.

He popped in to Chichester. There were several kitchen bits he wanted and needed to replenish a few vegetables for tonight's tea. More importantly he had an appointment at the chiropodist. (He pops in to the chiropodist about every 6 weeks to ensure that battering his feet take playing football doesn't cause any further problems with his feet).

Back home he returned to the study... and got on with the manual correction of the missing photos while awaiting a response from the developer. Needless to say that response did come through, just as the Gorse Fox finished for the day.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Inching forward

Very cold over night last night and very chilly first thing. The Gorse Fox was beginning to regret wearing shorts instead of his tracksuit... but he was a brave little soldier and switched the heating on in the car.

The football arena was quiet today. In fact we were the only players as we managed a 5-v-5 game. It was a game of two halves, as the pundits say. In the first half the Gorse Fox's orange bibs built up a 5-1 lead but as the half finished there was an injury to one of their players. We transferred one of our across for the second half and the injured player played in goal for us. We immediately started to concede. In then we fought to 9-9 draw with 3 goals from the Gorse Fox. It really was a very good game with some lovely passing and some very quick and slick moves.

Back home the Silver Vixen has been sorting through her wardrobes and storage boxes to select the clothes she will need for the holiday next month. This give her plenty of time to check on sizes, or replace items.

The Gorse Fox grabbed a shower and a bagel (not at the same time) and then retired to the study. He is inching forward in his "project" to get all of the old G+ posts correctly filed. The problem still lies with broken albums in the G+ data dump. He has, however, found a Wordpress plug-in that may simplify the solution. The problem is the execrable OAuth 2.0 security used by Google (which has so often proved a show stopper for some of the Gorse Fox's intended developments). We seem to have got to the point that the plug-in is authorised - it just won't actually retrieve the photos because Google claims some of the access tokens are missing. Problems has been referred back to the developer.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Lunch again

Another bright, sunny, but cool day. The Forecast for next weekend is that the temperatures will be up around 18c, but today it struggled to reach 10c.

We were expecting Betty and Barney Rubble. We try to catch up every six weeks or so, and with the calendar filling up - today was the best day. We sat and chatted over coffee and biscuits until it was time to head out to the restaurant. We had chosen The George at Eartham. We hadn't taken them there before, and the few times we had been it had always proved to be excellent. Today was no different.

It was very busy at the restaurant but our table was ready for us when we arrived. Barney and the Gorse Fox tried one of the craft (ready cloudy) beers while the girls enjoyed their own drinks. The beer was lovely and helped loosen us up for the food. The Silver Vixen started with a huge bowl of mushroom soup, Betty had some whitebait, and barney and the Gorse Fox had a salted beet and goats cheese salad. Brilliant start. Then we moved on and the Silver Vixen had their pie; Betty their mushroom Wellington; Barney a trio of sausages; and the Gorse Fox had pork belly with bubble and squeak. The food really was superb and while the restaurant is a few miles further than we would normally venture, it was worth the trip.

Back home we settled down for a cup of tea and some meringue with cream while putting the world to rights. It was a lovely afternoon but they had to leave as they are heading off to Switzerland tomorrow.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Sarum Scarum

It was bright, sunny, but cool today.  We had plans. It had been a while since we had seen Badger and Mrs Tiggywinkle. Today was the day to set it right.

We set off mid-morning to allow for the Chichester traffic and the roadworks on the M27. Google had suggested an hour and a half, Alexa and hour and forty minutes. The Gorse Fox though both to be optimistic. It was predictably slow round Chichester but the M27 roadworks really had no impact maybe our electronic friends were correct. We arrive on the outskirts of Salisbury at 11:30. We were within three miles of our target. The traffic was almost gridlocked but we made our way, agonisingly slowly, round to the road for Netherhampton and as we rounded the roundabout, workmen closed the road in front of us. They set up a diversion sign which we followed - only to find that there were no subsequent signs. The Gorse Fox followed his nose and the Sat Nav finally jumped in to help. We looped round to come in from the north - only to find the road, again closed. We ignored the closure and drove there anyway. Finally at 12:30 we completed the last three miles and met up in the Victoria and Albert pub.

The first thought that comes to the Gorse Fox is "how on earth did the Russian hitmen get to Salisbury for the Novichek attack?" They must have set out months in advance or they would never have got there. The second thought is that maybe this is part of the new City defences. Prevent anyone from getting to or through Salisbury - that way everyone who is already there is safe.

We had a lovely couple of hours with Badger and Mrs Tiggywinkle. It was so nice to catch up on all the various news, views, and plans. It was also nice to see them looking so well. The food at the pub was simple, the menu not extensive, but the quality was superb. Badger and Mrs Tiggywinkle had some lovely looking haddock and chips (the Gorse Fox would have joined them had he not had fish and chips for supper for the past two days). The Silver Vixen had chicken and bacon salad, and commented how good it was; and the Gorse Fox had the pub's own (made on the premises) burger topped with bacon, cheese and chorizo. Superb. Afterwards we plumped for some cheesecake with a scoop of their eclectic choice of ice cream.... rhubarb and rosehip, salted maple, and stem ginger. It really was a very good lunch and a £35 a couple, great value for money.

As we parted the landlady screeched into the car park and announced the road was now open again. This was a relief. We headed back the way we had intended to come. Traffic was benign and we were home in about 75 minutes.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Castles in the Air

Well perhaps near the Arun, if not in the air.

It was a gorgeous day again and though chilly, the sky was clear and it promised later warmth. We had the usual domestic start to a Thursday, but once Ocado had delivered we decided that we would make the most of the day with Ellie.

At this time of year, Arundel holds its Tulip Festival in the Castle gardens. As members of the Historic Houses Association, we get free entrance to the grounds so a few hours at the Castle only costs as much as the local car park.

We sat Ellie in her buggy and walked across the bridge and up to the Castle entrance. Then explaining to her what the Castle was we looped round through the outer grounds. To our right the mighty castle looked resplendent in the sunshine. Below, the manicured lawns were edged with droves of tulips and shrubs that were in full blossom. It really was a picture.

At the top of the route we entered the Earl's garden. This was enclosed and separated into various sections. Parterres, arched walkways, fountain displays, and at the centre a huge maze made of tulips. It really was a very beautiful sight.

We wandered round, examining the gardens from all angles. Ellie was really quite taken with is all. One of the areas that caught the eye was "planted" with huge weathered tree roots that looked like driftwood. The voids had been filled with soil and plants grew all over them. It was quite magical.

Leaving the Earl's garden we headed back round to the Castle itself. Parking the buggy we climbed the stairs up to the restaurant where we had a light lunch. The restaurant was heaving - clearly the nice day and the Easter holidays had brought people out in their droves. We managed to nab a table and had a quick bite before making our way back to the car and home. Ellie crashed out as soon as the engine started and then slept most of the rest of the afternoon.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


It has been a gorgeous Spring day.  The sun has been bright and there has hardly been a cloud to spoil the blue of the sky. It was cool at first, but was certainly in the mid teens by late morning.

The Silver Vixen went off to Pilates as usual. She had to stop on the way to collect a friend from the station has her usual lift wasn't available. After Pilates, she dropped her back and then headed in to Chichester to collect a few items of jewellery she was having cleaned and re-sized.

The Gorse Fox headed for Worthing for a game of football. Like last Wednesday it was busy and we ended up with 9-v-10 and using the full width of the pitch again. It was a tough game as the sides were a little lopsided. The Gorse Fox tried his best and his ankles are black and blue as testimony to that. In then we lost 4-1, due as much as anything to their goalie who managed to save three or four shots from the Gorse Fox which were on target and several from other players. Never mind. It was all good fun.

This afternoon the Gorse Fox had to pop over to LA to collect Ellie from the child minder. She will be staying with us until Pistol Pete finishes work tomorrow. She was ever so chatty in the car as we headed back and was overjoyed to see Nana when we got home.

The Gorse Fox notices from Facebook that Cousteau-Cub has finished work now and is in the final countdown to her return home. We are looking forward to seeing her... but there's a few more days to go.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019


Well that's one thing solved.

After a bit more digging about the Gorse Fox has concluded that the cases of missing photo folders in the Google Plus data extract all seem to be where the Gorse Fox had referenced photo albums. It correctly generated URLs for each photo... just forgot to actually create the folder and put the photos in it. It still means that the Gorse Fox has a lot of tidying up to do, but at least he can see where to look for the originals.

The day started brightly, but deteriorated into some fairly incessant rain. The Gorse Fox had to wear his waterproof top when out on the football pitch... and was glad of his dive bag keeping everything dry by the side of the goal. At least he would have some dry gear to change into when the games were over.

We played three games today - there were not enough hardy individuals to stay for the second hour. The Gorse Fox was playing for the blue-bibs. A fairly mediocre bunch, but we tried hard and managed to draw our first game. In the second game we went 1-0 down to a goal-keeping error, but in the last moments of the game, the Gorse Fox managed to score from the halfway line and even things up. The last game was tense as we pulled into a 3-0 lead (one of which was from the Gorse Fox) but with seconds to go, they had pulled it back to 3-2. We managed to hang on and get the win. After a couple of dry weeks, goal-wise, the Gorse Fox was glad to get back on the scoresheet.

The Silver Vixen has been out at the Embroiderers' Guild today.

Monday, April 08, 2019

1900 lines

Well that's it. It is done. More about that in moment.

It was late start to the morning for the Gorse Fox... nearly eight before he woke up. On a work day too! Oh no, he lies... it's not a work day. Retirement is such a pleasure.

There were some domestic chores to get out of the way first thing, but they didn't take too long and all the floors are gleaming again now. Then there were several phone calls to complete. One to the airline regarding access to the planes - now sorted; and one to the Travel Insurance company.

The thing about insurance, and travel insurance is a case in point, is that the insurers seem to find so many ways to avoid paying out. With travel insurance, the common get out clause is regarding medical conditions. It is not really a matter of whether the condition is relevant to your claim, it is the fact that you went to the doctor for some treatment and didn't inform them. The Gorse Fox was not going to fall foul of this so called up and informed them of anything in which they might have an interest. To be fair they asked if anything was relevant when we actually booked the holiday - and the Gorse Fox said no, it's been booked for a year now. They said it was no problem - we're fully covered as we were unaware of any conditions when the holiday was booked. Fair enough.

Back to the code. It has taken over 1900 lines of code - none of which is likely to be re-used. The code now extracts and reformats all of the old Google Plus posts, links to any relevant photos (where Google actually extracted them), and embed any check-ins or maps. The second stage of the code runs through the extract and plugs the relevant information into the databases. Et Voila... over a thousand new entries have been added to the test version of the private blog - and in 30 minutes time, they should similarly have been added to the production version.

There is some tidying up required where GPlus generated some daft titles or failed to extract the photos - but that can be handled over time.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Nearly there

It's been a lovely day again today. The Gorse Fox had some football to play this morning so headed out at his usual time. The game was 6-v-5 then 5-v-6 in the second half. It was pretty even in the end, with a final score of 7-6 to the yellow bibs. The Gorse Fox scored his first goal for a couple of weeks having ridden a couple of fairly agricultural tackles and, overall, played pretty well throughout the game.

Back home he returned to the code face. (Did you see what he did there?). The code is coming along well now and as he writes this, he thinks the basic extract and mashup is just about done. What he has realised is that he spent a huge amount of time debugging a problem that he hadn't got. Well, that's not quite true - he has got the problem, but the source of the problem was Google and there's nothing he can do about it. In the extract of Gplus, they have linked to various photos - the problem is that they have failed to download some of the photos so the code points to nothing. There's nothing that can be done, so the Gorse Fox will just have to manually check the few posts affected and add a comment to explain.

One of the features that the Gorse Fox used to use in GPlus was "check-in" where he could drop pin on a map to show where he was. This creates a link to Google maps and this opens up in a new window. The Gorse Fox is considering whether to change this and create an imbedded map instead. He'll sleep on this before deciding, then run a full test run on the test system (tawnyowl).

Just for the record, the Gorse Fox is doing all of this by writing directly to the underlying SQL databases for Wordpress rather than trying to manipulate Wordpress itself. It took quite a while to get an understanding of the data model... but he now has some fairly robust and well-tested code that does this on a daily basis.

Saturday, April 06, 2019


The Silver Vixen has been over with Urban-Cub and Ellie today. Urban-Cub wanted some advice and guidance regarding the various shru=bs she has potted up and planted round the garden. The Gorse Fox was (and still is) expecting a delivery from Amazon, so stayed put.

The Gorse Fox got through some domestic chores then focussed on his code for transposing the old GooglePlus entries into his private blog. Today he ran the first tests against the test database. Most of it seems to be working as designed, but he is still having some problems with the inclusion of media. This is proving to be a little sticky at present, but he's sure he'll crack it soon.

Friday, April 05, 2019


Ellie slept through until about 7 this morning. That's fine for the Gorse Fox as he usually gets up around then anyway. She was clearly hungry as she spent the following couple of hours demolishing packets of cereal, some of the Silver Vixen's porridge, some of the Gorse Fox's porridge, some toast with marmite, and some cheese. A strange mix - but she was happy.

She was then kept quiet by the appearance of a large cherry-picker across the road. Two men launched themselves into the sky and rummaged around on our neighbour's roof. It looked as if there may have been some blockage that needed rectifying - but as the neighbours were abroad at present, we can only assume someone else reported it. Anyway, Ellie was intrigued.

Pistol Pete arrived mid-morning to collect her and we got our things together to catch the bus into Chichester. We had been informed of some sales bargains at M&S and as they were appropriate for the forthcoming holiday, we thought we'd make the most of it. As it was, the stuff that the Silver Vixen had been interest in wasn't really suitable so she left empty handed. The Gorse Fox, however, managed to find some chinos and a summer-weight sweater for some very silly prices.

While we were in Chichester we stopped off at Cote Brasserie for lunch. We hadn't booked, but because we were relatively early, they found us a table. Wishing half an hour the place had really filled up and it was clear that booking, even at lunchtime, is advisable. Any way we had a lovely lunch and a chat with a couple at the next table. They also come in on the bus,  but they live in West Wittering. They were a similar age to us and a we all had a good laugh.

As we got back to the bus stop the bus pulled in and we were home in no time. It had been a moderately successful trip, and certainly a nice two or three hours.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

On duty

Whilst it was a leisurely start - even to the point that Ocado were late delivering the shopping, by mid morning Pistol Pete had arrived with Ellie. The Silver Vixen was out at an appointment so the Gorse Fox was in sole charge! Needless to say we had fun watching for the Silver Vixen's return, watching the white vans roll past, and watching the developer's road sweeper clean the road.

It wasn't too long before the Silver Vixen was back and the Gorse Fox resorted to his normal place in the hierarchy(*).

The rest of the day revolved entirely round Ellie, and as the Gorse Fox writes this, she is in the bath under the Silver Vixen's watchful eye.

(On a separate topic, we received notification that our travel documents were now ready for our upcoming holiday. The Gorse Fox took the opportunity to print them, and download them.)

(*) Just below Jasper, the cat.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Err what?

Well that wasn't called for! Both yesterday early evening and today lunchtime we have had short sharp snow storms that were heavy enough to actually settle for an hour or so. It could have been worse - the Gorse Fox could have been out playing football when it dumped. Actually he had just finished and was driving home.
Oh well April tends to be a little unsettled and the chance of snow, hail, and thunder had been forecast.

Back on the pitch the Gorse Fox enjoyed a much better game than yesterday - he still managed to lose 5-3, but he felt that he played a lot better. The game was very crowded with 10-a-side, but tried to compensate by playing the full width of the cage which aded a couple of metres to each side of the playing area.

These Wednesday games are becoming very popular as we pick up some of the disillusioned players from Worthing who want to enjoy the game and the banter without all of the yelling and shouting.

"Parkinggate" has been the flavour of the month on the development. A vote was held regarding whether there should be some enforcement of the parking rules. Those in favour of enforcement won the vote and as of Monday the new regime was due to start. It has, to say the least, caused uproar. Many of the occupant who rent their houses didn't get a vote, and the enforcement is clearly going to be draconian. There have been letters to the developer, letters to managing agents, letters to the press, and indeed the press arrived to take photos. The implementation of the enforcement has been put on hold and there's talk of a re-vote to ensure renters (quite rightly) get their say. The Gorse Fox can't help but find parallels with Brexit...

Tuesday, April 02, 2019


It was grey start to the day and the temperatures were well down on yesterday. The Gorse Fox was due to go to football and expected he would get wet.

The idea of going to football is one thing. The practise of actually booking it is something totally different. The Sports Centre have changed the web site and their booking system and also introduced a new "app". Today was the first time that the Gorse Fox had tried the new website.
Firstly he had to re-register... email address, password, re-enter password, and provide membership number. Done.
Now he had to log in. Done.
Now book the football "class". Not done. No football class was shown. The Gorse Fox searched every menu... no football.
He picked up the phone and called. He explained the dilemma only to be told that he was wrong. It clearly shows the football session on the "app". The Gorse Fox patiently explained he was using the website, not the app. The IT bod said that makes no difference they are built from the same source. "Let me look" he continued. There was a lot of sucking of teeth before he conceded that the Gorse Fox was right.
The booking was made over the phone.
The Gorse Fox then downloaded the "app". It wouldn't allow hime to log on - only to re-register (but not with the name he had registered on the website). The Gorse Fox gave up.

Arriving at the sports centre The Gorse Fox asked to speak with someone regarding the "app". He showed her the problem and she sucked at her teeth and tried something different. A proper login option appeared and the Gorse Fox should have been able to log in. But no.
The site rejected him, saying the password was incorrect. He retried - taking great care to type it correctly. Again, nada.
The girl went and reset the password and the Gorse Fox logged in successfully. She then suggested he reset his password. This is when she pointed it out that it had to be both upper and lower case letters and could contain numbers. The Gorse Fox pointed out that the website did not say that and had let him enter a password in all lowercase. Changing his back to his original password with a lead uppercase letter solved the problem.
It was time to go and get changed!

The football, for whatever reason, didn't seem as much fun today. Maybe the Gorse Fox was just off his game slightly and certainly the refereeing was disruptive so the game was very much stop and start. Any way whatever the reason, it didn't seem as much fun and the torrential rain that hit us soon after we started the second game certainly didn't help. We only had enough players for the first hour today - and lost all three games.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Spring clean

It was another lovely bright and warm day. A day to spend some time out in the garden. There were some domestic tasks to clear first thing, but they were soon out of the way.

The Gorse Fox cracked out the Karcher pressure washer and got stuck in to the paths and patio. Over the year they had become a bit grubby. Some of it was a green film, some were black stains. The Gorse Fox started with one of the pressure wands, but that was taking too long. The Gorse Fox then remember that there was a round hood that looked like a metal detector to fit the pressure washer. This made a huge difference. It cleaned the slabs very effectively, and very quickly. It probably only took about 90 minutes to finish the whole job.

Just as the Gorse Fox served up some soup for lunch, the doorbell rang. It was a gardener that he had contacted last week. One of our trees was leaning at an alarming angle and needed to be straightened, also we wanted one of the acers transplanted. The chap looked as if he was probably skipping school, but was obviously old enough to own a big van with all his details on the side. Anyway, he and his helper got stuck in and did a pretty good job. For small jobs like this, the Gorse Fox would certainly use them again..

Had a nice walk this afternoon. After a lazy few days, it was good to stretch the legs.