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Friday, May 31, 2019

Off duty

Ellie was very good overnight, again. We didn't hear from her until about 7:30 - which is quite acceptable to all concerned! The Gorse Fox went down to open up and get some eggs and bacon on. Ellie seems to have got the last for eggs and bacon and along with a pancake and some porridge, she got the day off to a good start.

Cousteau-Cub got up a while later and while the Silver Vixen was showering, Cousteau-Cub and Ellie did their yoga in the lounge. In the background a YouTube video played Cosmic Kids Yoga and led the proceedings. It was hilarious to watch.

Once Ellie had completed her exercises she joined us on a trip to the farm shop. She carried a little shopping basket to help with Jasper's food (which is what we had gone to get). She was very helpful, as you can imagine. Back home she solicitously watched as we prepared Jasper's lunch, then decided that she wanted to play in the garden for the rest of the time. The swing was installed and used occasionally, flower pots were relocated, then relocated again, and eventually put back where they started from. She was still enjoying the afternoon sunshine when Urban-Cub arrived to collect her.

The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen are now off duty and the house has returned to normal.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The wheels on the bus

Well that was a bit different. As regular readers will know, we usually have Ocado deliver on Thursday mornings. Well this morning things went awry. The chap from Ocado phoned to say he had broken down after his previous delivery and was stuck. It would be at least two hours before he would be on the move again. However, he was only about 400 metres from the house as the crow flies... did we want to collect our shopping directly from the van. Well, it seemed like a good idea so the Gorse Fox trotted round with the car and he loaded the boot with all our shopping. Everything was done and packed away before 10 o'clock. All in all it worked quite well.

The Gorse Fox had an appointment at the chiropodist in Chichester. He was due there at the same time that Cousteau-Cub started work. We decided to make a family outing of it and the Silver Vixen came along with Ellie. She just loved the bus and kept muttering "this is amazing" much to our amusement.

It's been a relatively quiet afternoon. After Ellie's sleep she played in the sandpit destroying sandcastles. She's busy flooding the bathroom again at present.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


It's Wednesday and the day started brightly, if a little cool. The Silver Vixen had Pilates scheduled for the morning and the Gorse Fox had football. Traffic was light and despite leaving home a little later than planned he arrived at the sport centre at the same time as usual.

The game was 7-v-6-v-7 match where one player swapped sides at half time. This did not work out well for the Gorse Fox. Though it was still 1-1 at half time, the change in personnel saw us ship a further 4 goals in the second half, without reply. We had our chances, and the Gorse Fox had four shots on target which were saved, he also hit both posts and grazed the cross-bar. Such is the life of centre back.

As he drove home it started to rain and that set the scene for most of the afternoon. While fiddling with some spreadsheets the Gorse Fox decided to do something about the credit balance he had on one of his credit cards. It's a card that we haven't used in 5 or 6 years and it has sat there with a chunk of money all of that time. The card itself is lost somewhere in the house. Well, no more. The Gorse Fox phoned the issuer and after jumping through all of the usual security hoops, asked them to transfer the money back to the linked account. Done.

Urban-Cub turned up soon after four o'clock. Ellie will be staying with us for the next 48 hours, so G-Force are on duty. As the Gorse Fox writes, the Silver Vixen is busy bathing Ellie. So far the water isn't seeping out from under the door - but it will probably come!

Cousteau-Cub is on a late shift, so won't be home until after nine.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Back to work

Nah... not really! The Gorse Fox still wakes up most mornings unable to believe he doesn't have to go in to work. In fact not just today, but ever. He is still surprised by this, but so thankful.

Cousteau-Cub was up first this morning. She does not have the luxury of retirement and she had to get in to work for an early shift. Well, early in terms of her job, not early by Urban-Cub's standards. The Gorse Fox was up soon after and saw her off. The Silver Vixen had arranged to meet with Urban-Cub at Haskins for some shopping during the morning so she headed off soon after the Gorse Fox left for football.

The Gorse Fox had a moderate game today. He seems to have retained his fitness while away, but his 'touch' needs some attention. Balls were often over hit, or were wide of their mark. Never mind - it will come back with a few games under his belt. In the first hour, the Gorse Fox played for the yellows and we managed to lose the first game 2-0, draw the second games 0-0, and win the last game 1-0 (with a goal from the Gorse Fox). In the second hour we played on a smaller pitch. The Gorse Fox was playing for the red-bibs in this game, but we managed to lose all three matches. The Gorse Fox did manage to have two goals disallowed, however.

Back home this afternoon his legs feel like lead.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Bank Holiday Monday

Well, tradition says that you should go out and sit in traffic jams during a Bank Holiday. The Gorse Fox was never a traditionalist. Tradition says you all go to the seaside or big festival on Bank Holidays. The Gorse Fox lives at the seaside and can't be bothered with the the great unwashed at a festival. Tradition says you make the most of a Bank Holiday because you are going back to work for the Summer tomorrow. The Gorse Fox has retired - he doesn't give a flying fig.

The Gorse Fox, Silver Vixen, and Cousteau-Cub have had a day relaxing at home. The Silver Vixen cleared the part of the garage where she keeps her gardening equipment and the Gorse Fox caught up on the ironing of all his holiday shirts and trousers. Then we cleaned the rill. You see, it is possible to have fun without a traditional Bank Holiday!

The Gorse Fox also reviewed some accounts and one that he had opened a while back was getting some very poor online write-ups. He only had a nominal amount in said account, but he was thinking of repurposing it. Well, he did. He's closed it. Taking a leaf from Cousteau-Cub's book he's opened another online account with N26, a German based bank (fully licensed to operate in the UK). He cannot get over how simple it was too register... name. address, NI number, then photos of driving license or passport, a selfie to match against the photos and that was it. Done. Very impressed.

To complete the theme of the last few days, the Gorse Fox has booked to return to Jamaica next year. He managed to score a good deal and the deposit is now paid. He's also been in touch with Agent Mulder and he's hoping that they can join us once again but won't be able to confirm for a week or so.

Sunday, May 26, 2019


The Gorse Fox was up soon after seven. Things are, after all, back to normal.

Not a lot was scheduled for the day, but we did have football. The Gorse Fox got changed as usual and headed off to the arena. We had a couple of newcomers today. The Gorse Fox knew both of them from Worthing, but it was the first time they had joined us for Sunday. Once Jack had chosen the teams, the Gorse Fox knew he was in for a torrid time and so it turned out. We managed to score and in fact kept ourselves ahead in the first half, button the second half the flood gates open and we ended up losing 10-4.

The game was marred somewhat by one of our longstanding (and more troublesome) members getting nippy with the new lads. Unfortunately, that's the way he is when he's in a mood (which he clearly was today). The Gorse Fox was not impressed with his shirt tugging either. That's the first time he stooped to that as a way to stop the Gorse Fox.

Quiet afternoon... a large chicken is about to enter the Instant Pot as the Gorse Fox starts to consider the menu for supper.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

More Planning

It's been another quiet day. The sun has been shining and it's been lovely and warm When the Silver Vixen checked just now, it was 31C in the Orangery.

The Gorse Fox started back on the accounts. He was delighted to find that, despite the holiday expenses and the recent acquisition of another iPad for the Silver Vixen, he has finished the month with fractionally more money than he had started with. That's very heartening.

With that in mind he returned to holiday planning. Virgin have come back with another quote, significantly less than the first two. In fact it is now virtually identical to last year's prices... which is good news. He also looked at a couple of other options. There were a couple of spots in Antigua that looked rather nice, and several choices in the Cape Verde Islands to add to the locations he found on the Algarve yesterday. There's no hurry, but it is nice to get something in plan.

While looking at holidays, the Gorse Fox also took a look at an option for a short break in Seville. That looks very tempting and will be kept on the back burner.

We took Cousteau-Cub over to Urban-Cub during the afternoon. She'll be staying with them overnight.

Friday, May 24, 2019


The Gorse Fox has had a quiet day. Much of the day has been spent in front of the computer. The biggest task was the proper filing of all of the recent photos and then all of the facial recognition. This took several hours. We had purchased some official photos from the resort and had the master copies on a CD. The copies that they had emailed were lower resolution so the Gorse Fox powered up the Linux bag (Eagle) and copied the master files off the CD and the copied them in to master photo library. (The CD would not open on the MAC).

Much of the afternoon was spent with TripAdvisor, Expedia, and emails flying back and forth with Virgin Travel. The Gorse Fox has been trying to see what can be done regarding a return visit to Royal Plantation next year. On the assumption that we may pause, he also looked at options for the Algarve. No decisions have been made as yet, but there do seem to be some options... and he's already driven the quotes down fairly significantly.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Back to earth

The bump came at seven. The Gorse Fox was awake. He didn't want to be, but his body clock had reverted to normal and demanded his attention. A strong coffee beckoned and the Gorse Fox thought "who is he to ignore the call?".

The Silver Vixen and Cousteau-Cub stumbled down the stairs a while later. Cousteau-Cub had an appointment at the bank before work and also wanted to vote so the the Gorse Fox walked her round to the Polling Station to show her where  it was and the quickest route back to her bus stop. Back home the Silver Vixen was well on top of the post-holiday washing, making the most of the lovely weather to get stuff out on the line.

We had to pop across to collect Jasper, late morning. As usual Mark had taken exquisite care of him and Jsper seemed a bit reluctant to come home. He complained the whole way back in the car, but once inside the house he was quickly back to his usual self. He's done a complete tour of the property, inside and out, and is content that we haven't changed anything without his permission. He's back, and he's back in charge.

Domestic duties continue to be the focus. The accounts were brought up to date, thought there are still some statements to check. Then we hit Sainsbury's with vengeance. It didn't take too long but we did seem to come back with a huge amount of stuff.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

And home

We had a quiet morning with our books and then settled  down for lunch. It didn't seem to matter what we did, we would be interrupted by staff and guests wishing us a safe trip home and asking when we would return. It really was quite moving.

It escalated as 2pm approached and we waited for the chauffeur. Our butler loaded the car with juices and canapés and the resort management came to see us off. We had a lovely ride up to the airport. It was interesting to hear the driver's views on various things, but particularly his view that Jamaica should never have asked for independence. It was much better under British rule, in his view, and there was far less corruption in high places.

We arrived at the airport and joined the throng. The Gorse Fox had checked in online, but we stall had to drop our bags. He was a annoyed that the seats which we had booked way back last year, and were still confirmed last week - had suddenly been re-allocated and we had been moved back by several rows. The agent at the desk couldn't help and the flight was just about full so there was no leeway. We were whisked along through security and down to the lounge.

As we arrived, we bumped in to one of the Gorse Fox's football chaps. He was scheduled on the same flight, so joined us in the lounge. He had been out in Jamaica on business (having lived there for a while a few years ago). It was nice to share a pint with him before the flight.

The escort came to take us to the flight and we pre-boarded. As it happens, the seats we had been allocated were fine. In fact we concluded they were better. They were at the back of that cabin, meaning we had nobody to knee us in the back, and we right by the exit so that we could be among the very first off the plane.

The flight was comfortable and quick, but the food was disappointing. The Gorse Fox admits we have been spoilt for the last couple of weeks, but even still. The chicken choice had run out, the pork was average, and the gnocchi (which the Silver Vixen had) was really stodgy and unappetising. The Silver Vixen settled down with a film and the Gorse Fox listened to music. We managed to get some sleep, but only and hour or two.

At Gatwick we were first off and zoomed along to baggage reclaim. Our bags were off fairly quickly and as we walked out landslide the driver grabbed our bags. 40 minutes from touchdown we were in the car and heading home.

We got back in time to see Cousteau-Cub before she went off to work. She's on a late shift today so didn't have to leave here until 11:45. Now it's just a matter of unpacking, getting the washing under way, showering, and having a nap.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Winding down and packing up

Our last evening was spent saying farewell to various members of  staff and enjoying the entertainment on the terrace whilst having dinner. The Silver Vixen tucked in to a ribeye steak while the Gorse Fox enjoyed a plate of grilled snapper.

The entertainer sang a series of classic songs and tried to cajole the audience into dancing. He finally got some up on the dance floor by asking about how long they had been married. 5 years, 15 years, 35 years came the answers called back from the dark. The Gorse Fox called 46 years and we got a chorus of 'Wows' and round of applause.

No gym this morning. We have packing and check-out to worry about. The flight isn't until this evening but Virgin do recommend getting to the airport 4 hours before the flight. The Gorse Fox isn't sure we'll do that - but we will be there in plenty of time, hopefully.

Monday, May 20, 2019


The day on the beach has been enjoyed with the background beat of thunder, which has rattled around all day without actually coming to anything. The Silver Vixen has been wading through another book, but the Gorse Fox has just been people watching and admiring the glass-like surface of the sea and the gentle lapping of the waves as they caress the beach.

We broke into our busy schedule for some lunch at the beach bar and the the Gorse Fox went to the travel office to see if there was a deal to be done for next year. He has some quotes but, as yet, the airlines haven't released their premium economy prices. It's funny, before we got here we thought we'd go somewhere different next year, but we find this so relaxing and quiet that, once here, we decided we'd probably come back if we can get a good deal.

The Gorse Fox popped into the photographer to look at the formal photos that had been taken. They were excellent so he purchased the lot and has a CD with the images as well as digital copies sent by email.

The Birth of Cool

Ok, that title is misleading. Miles Davies wasn't on the stage last night. We were, however, treated to two separate jazz sessions.

Our butler, Orayne, had escorted us up to the restaurant and got us seated on the upstairs verandah. Some wine was poured and the menus presented. In the corner an attractive American girl was struggling with the concept of using a fork and was stabbing her food with it as if trying to kill it. (Why do so many people struggle with the simple etiquette of holding and manipulating a knife and fork?). In panic she realised the time and asked for her meal to be packaged up and taken to her room so that she could see the final episode of Game of Thrones. (In contrast the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox have never watched a single episode, and haven't even switched on the TV the whole time we've been here).

The Gorse Fox started with a salad nicoise. Light, tasty, and the perfect way to start the meal... the Silver Vixen went for Camembert frit with salad. Then for entrees the Silver Vixen chose the rack of lamb while the Gorse Fox selected sole meuniere. He must say that the seafood he has had on this trip has been exceptional, but this dish topped the lot.

In the background the jazz played.

The first act alternated between flute and alto sax and set the mood beautifully. When his set finished he was replaced by a jazz guitarist (same chap as last week) and a singer. The guitar was very much in the style of George Benson (not so much Django Reinhardt this week). The singer had just come off the cruise ships, but he did a great job with plenty of classics from George Benson, Ray Charles and so forth. 

It was a really good evening's entertainment and an excellent meal.

Our last full day stretches out ahead of us. Let's see what it brings.

Sunday, May 19, 2019


The day has followed a very familiar pattern. We grabbed breakfast, returned to our room to change for the beach and put on some sunscreen, then headed down to the east beach. On the way we passed a couple from Cumbria that we had spoken with last night. He and the Gorse Fox said hi! and exchanged the usual pleasantries. The Silver Vixen stopped to chat with her. 
The Gorse Fox headed for the loungers - he knew this would take some time. The beach butler came to ask what we wanted to drink and and order was placed, the tide went out and came in, several glaciers melted, and our drinks turned up before the 'girls' had finished their chat. The Gorse Fox was beginning to worry about catching our flight on Tuesday, the way things were going.

Jermaine, the entertainments chap, came and joined us. Nobody was interested in 'bocce ball' so he sat down on a lounger and chatted about soccer for a while. He was very knowledgeable and, indeed, had been a professional footballer in Venezuela in his younger days.

A white sangria was ordered. This meant that the Gorse Fox had to alert the emergency services. You can never be quite sure what the effect might be. As it happens no animals were harmed, the local police did not have to get involved, and no locksmiths were called out. We made our way to lunch as thunder started to crack across the sky. It didn't rain, but it was enough to send some people scurrying from the beach. After lunch we returned to our loungers on the almost deserted beach.  The Silver Vixen read her book, and the Gorse Fox read the news before he hit the sea.

Swimming was a little strange. The sea was as smooth as a sheet of glass but the top inch of water was chilly. Beneath that cool layer however it was lovely and warm. The Gorse Fox just made the most of the empty bay and swam around lazily for a while.

Back on the loungers the Silver Vixen had got talking to the two young girls from Surrey so the beach butler, in despair of interrupting for an order, sat down with the Gorse Fox to talk about technology and the use and programming of CGI.

Back in the room we are all set for an evening of cool jazz and a meal in Papillon.

The Robots are coming

The onward march of  AI and humanoid robots is even reaching Sandals. We had arranged to have dinner in The Royal Grill.

Our butler escorted down to our table overlooking the bay and got us a drink. He then handed over to the robot.

She takes a human female form and moves quickly and efficiently. She greets you at the table and tells you her name before conducting her way through a pre-arranged script which hasn't varied by a single syllable or verbal nuance since last week. It is clear that there are some glitches, however, as though there was only the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox, she was still referring to us as Ladies and Gentlemen. Obviously the AI is having problems with plural and singular when there are two objects with a different gender. The robot took our order and then went on to the next table. The same introductory script was processed.

The meal was very good - some seafood ceviche to start with, followed by a very tasty steak and shrimp entree. A rich cabernet sauvignon washed it down.

The robot hummed by. Plates were cleared within a nanosecond of us finishing. The Gorse Fox could swear he saw a warning light flashing behind the eyes as we turned down the offer of a dessert. We sat and listened to the waves as the robot disappeared into the kitchen.

When we were done we headed upstairs to the terrace and made ourselves comfortable on the verandah (well out of the way of the fire dancer who would be on later). We spent the rest of the evening chatting with fellow guests and watching the entertainment.

No plans, as yet, for today. We had some very heavy rain just after 6 am as the Gorse Fox was getting ready to go to the gym, but it stopped by the time he left the room and now it is hot and sunny.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Shrimp Curry

We had lovely morning on the beach and under orders from Cousteau-cub Requested a sangria for the Silver Vixen. There is a saying - what happens on the beach stays on the beach (with apologies to Fight Club, but fortunately it didn't come to that). Photos were taken for evidential purposes and fellow guest were warned in advance.

We headed for the beach bar for lunch, while eating there was a cookery demonstration. The chef showed how she prepared shrimp curry, then passed round the samples for us to try. It was very simple and very tasty but we would probably approach it differently and use a different spice mix.

It started to get thundery during lunch, but it didn't look as if it would actually rain. We headed back to the beach. The thunder continued, but other than the odd drop, it stayed dry. We stuck on the loungers (all of which have been replaced in the last 48 hours) and got on with our books. It remained lovely and warm, but the sun was obscured by clouds throughout the afternoon.

Tonight we plan to go to the Royal Grill and then there's the Steel Band, and the fire dancer. The Gorse Fox will be keeping his head down.


We had a long chat with the General Manager, Arnold. He really is a charming chap and you can see the mutual respect between him and his staff... and the great humour that pervades all their dealings. Clearly the staff would walk through fire for him.

Jamaican night was much better this week. The food, as usual, was great. The Gorse Fox plumped for the BBQ shrimp and chorizo skewers with pork belly and scotch bonnet gravy. Exquisite.

The three old chaps started the showtime presentation with their lugubrious style. Maybe we were better positioned this time, but the Gorse Fox was actually able to make out the words to many of the songs and realised that many were quite funny and in some cases risque. When they finished a young band called Supernova took over. Drums, bass, lead guitar, and keyboards with two girl singers. They couldn't have been over 19 years old, but goodness were they talented. The lead singer had real presence and fabulous voice and the backing was just brilliant. She commanded the terrace and cajoled people to get up and dance with her, and got others to sing with her. At the end of the set we approached her and the band to thank them and congratulate them on what a sensational show they had delivered. That's two nights running that we have been blown away by the quality of the entertainment.

No real plans yet for today. The Gorse Fox has done his 5 miles in the gym for the first time in a few days... he missed one day after the late night at the Rabbit Hole, the following day he missed because we were seeing Mulder and Scully off first thing, and yesterday he missed it because he had a degree of gastric discomfort (he said delicately). That has now eased and he he dares to work out again!

Friday, May 17, 2019


Our butler prepared a cool box with drinks and a couple of fruit and sandwich platters. The minibus called for us at eleven. We were the only people on the tour. The driver went on to explain that it is popular with British tourists, but nobody else goes there. Indeed it was three years since his last visit.

The road from Ocho Rios hugs the coast as it heads eastwards through into the Parish of St Mary, past the Ian Fleming Airport, past James Bond Beach, through Oracabessa, past Goldeneye, and on. Firefly sits atop a hill near Port Maria. The road turns sharply and immediately deteriorates to a rutted and potholed track that would give a Land Rover cause for concern. The Toyota minibus took it in its stride as we lurch up the hill.

As we parked, the driver tooted his horn and our guide arrived to escort us round the property. We had it to ourselves. In fact, they are usually closed on Friday, but opened especially for us. We entered by his studio and then through the garage where Noel Coward kept his pink jeep, then onwards to his living room. This is, by any measure, a modest single bedroom house. The view from the living room, however, was a view that took your breath away. It was a view across the bay that you could never tire of, and never ignore.

We carried on through to the tiny kitchen and then back upstairs to the bedroom. That was it. A very modest house perched on a hillside with one of the most spectacular outlooks the Gorse Fox has ever seen. We ventured out into the gardens passing the bronze statue of Noel Coward looking out over the bay. At first you wonder how he managed to entertain so many luminaries  of the age in such a modest house... Sophia Loren, Liz Taylor, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Peter Sellers, the Queen Mother... the list seemed endless; in fact he had a separate guest house, called Blue Harbour,  at the bottom of the hill. This had seven bedrooms and provided accommodation for all his visitors.

When he died, aged 74, the house and estate was left to a friend. The fried thought it would hold too many memories, so passed it to the Jamaican Government. (For the record, the guide explained that the estate covered 11 acres and cost Noel Coward 150GBP when he bought it.)

We were allowed to linger as long as we wanted, so wandered about taking photos. We tipped the guide handsomely, then our driver took us back to Royal Plantation. The rest of the day was spent with our books.

Tonight is Jamaican Night on the terrace. (The Gorse Fox will avoid the brownies... as Cousteau-cub knows, Otto was famous for these and we are taking no chances).


We settled down on the terrace for Italian Night. The assistant manager came to join us and ask how things were going. Needless to say we got talking and in the end we must have spent half and hour talking about leadership and management theory. She was charming and so eager to learn and absorb ideas.

The meal itself was of the usual high standard with a large buffet selection and chefs on hand to prepare anything you wanted. It was a warm evening and, sitting by the tree, we could watch the bats hunting insects through the branches.

When we had finished we moved back to the verandah and settled down on some comfy chairs to enjoy the evening's entertainment. Initially it was the Rush Band and then they were joined by Rojjah. It was an evening of reggae and was absolutely excellent. For a change we didn't get the usual reggae classics that seem to played non-stop everywhere - in fact we even had a reggae version of Johnny B Good. We enjoyed it so much we even went along to chat to the band as they were packing up.

It will be a quiet morning today as we have to be ready at eleven for our trip to 'Firefly'.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Just Us

It was sad to see Scully and Mulder leave this morning. It has been a lovely week with them and certainly we would love to meet up with them again for another holiday. As Mulder will be retiring at the end of October, hopefully we should be able to arrange something.

We had a word with our butler. We want to visit Firefly. It's not one of the standard tours available at the resort, but needless to say the butler has managed to arrange the trip for us tomorrow.

We spent much of the day on the beach with our books. We did manage to have video calls with Urban-cub and Ellie, and later with Cousteau-cub. It was nice to catch up and to see Ellie (who was a little more forthcoming this time). Cousteau-cub managed to catch us as we were finishing lunch. She brought us up to date on her new job and how the first couple of days have gone. It sounds as if she's settling in.

Tonight is 'Italian Night' in the restaurant so the Gorse Fox suspects it hasta be pasta.

Would you like wine with that

We met just before seven. Mulder and Scully had started their packing ready for their return home Thursday. The Gorse Fox had finished another book and the Silver Vixen had caught up on the newspapers. Our butler escorted us down to the Royal Grill and we took our seats overlooking the beach. The menu was not extensive, but it was very good. As we sat and deliberated, the wine waiter topped up the various wine glasses. As he stopped to fill one glass the second bottle on his tray toppled and the Gorse Fox ended up wearing pinot grigio or maybe sauvignon blanc for the rest of the meal. It was a good job it wasn't red wine. The waiter was apologetic but the Gorse Fox is not sure he realised just how much wine had tipped all over him.  We didn't see much of that waiter for the rest of the evening.

When the meal was finished we headed for the terrace. The Gorse Fox diverted to our room to change as his polo shirt was still very damp. We then sat and chatted and listened to a very good live band as the staff laid our all of the goodies for 'chocolate night'.

We're meeting up with Mulder and Scully for breakfast and to see them off. It's a real shame to see them them go as they have been great company throughout the week and we've had an absolute blast.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Lazy Days

It has been a lazy day. A leisurely breakfast followed by a morning reading on the beach. It has been hot today, at 32C, but there's been a stiff onshore breeze that has had the tendency to whip up the sand and sandblast you if you weren't careful.

We had lunch up on the terrace. The Gorse Fox had a lovely salad with some mahi mahi, and the SIlver Vixen went for chicken. Mulder and Scully resorted to quesadillas. Then we had to struggle back to the beach for another lazy afternoon with our books. As the time drew on, Mulder and the Gorse Fox went to the Rewards Office to get him enrolled in the programme and allow the Gorse Fox to claim his referral points. All these point are beginning to accumulate nicely.

We got a message from Cousteau-cub. Her first day at work had gone well, but she was (predictably) tired. Hopefully we'll get the chance to speak with her tomorrow.

Dinner is planned for the Royal Grill tonight.


We met just before six and after a couple of photos, we were escorted over to the dinner. It was quite a nice 'do'. After cocktails and canapes we went in to the dining room and were greeted formally by the General Manager. He introduced all of his senior staff and talked about Sandals and, in particular, the Sandals Foundation which supports the community, the kids, and the environment. They showed a little video of some of the projects to which they contributed. It was really quite impressive.

The dinner itself was delicious and gave us a chance to chat with other guests and one of the managers. It was clear that Royal Plantation guests are very loyal and rarely visit any of the other resorts once they have been to SRP. We even managed to get an appraisal of one of the other resorts that we had been wondering about.

The dinner broke up by half eight and we decided to go across to the Sandals Ochi  Hillside resort. They have a Speakeasy called The Rabbit Hole which is highly recommended. We approached the bid circular door and the doorman demanded a password before he would grant us entry. Fortunately we were well briefed and whispered the magic word. Inside it was a bit smaller that we had expected and was already filling up. We managed to find a vantage point up on the balcony and settled down with some drinks while awaiting 'Big Mama' to start her set.

Soon after ten Big Mama sashayed onto the floor and started to sing. A several things came to mind: a) the sound balance was poor for the recorded backing tracks; b) she was a lot younger than the Gorse Fox had expected; c) if there was a flood, she would surely float - indeed we could all use her as a floatation device.

Her set lasted for about an hour. The Gorse Fox had been expecting some blues, but what we got was 1960s classics. He has no problem with this, but it seemed a bit incongruous in the setting.

When she finished her set, soon after eleven, we headed for the door and took a stroll around the gardens and pools before heading for the 'Hop'. This shuttle is designed to carry Ochi guests around the huge resort, but after eleven you can request that it diverts to SRP, and so we were home and in bed before midnight. Dirty stop outs.

The Gorse Fox allowed himself to sleep in this morning. There has been no trip to gym as yet. We'll see how the morning progresses. He knows that Mulder wants a further sailing lesson at some point.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Tripping and dripping

We met up on the beach just before ten. We had to sign our lives away, but that provided access to a life preserver and the glass bottomed boat. Soon the intrepid foursome were making their way to the dock to embark on this latest journey of discovery.

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen had done this trip last year and were amused to find that the patter had hardly changed at all. We were happy to go along for the ride and let Scully and Mulder enjoy the trip.

Once back on the beach, Mulder went off for a sailing lesson on the Hobie. The Gorse Fox decided he had swallowed enough of the Caribbean yesterday and didn't need to repeat the experience.

We lunched up on the terrace instead of the beach bar. This was excellent and whilst we missed the coconut shrimp, the choice was very good. The Gorse Fox had a snapper sandwich (essentially a burger without the meat but with a huge chunk of snapper). While there we received a message from the Gorse Fox's sister. She had alerted us to the fact that Daniel Craig had been injured while filming the latest James Bond movie here on Jamaica - and what were the Gorse Fox and Mulder going to do about it. We discussed it and decided the Gorse Fox would take over the stunts and Mulder could do the love scenes. Seems like a fair split of responsibilities (though someone commented how short some the scenes may be).

We went back to the beach. The Gorse Fox took some ice creams down to the Silver Vixen (who hadn't joined us for lunch). By the time we got there the ice cream was dripping down the cones and all over the place. That's the problem with 31C and a long walk to the beach from the terrace.

Tonight we have the formal 'Returning Guests' dinner.

Sitting on the dock

The butlers managed to pull out the stops and get us a table at Kelly's Dockside. It was a nice open air restaurant on a dock that looped into the bay. Water lapped beneath us as we sat and chatted. Maybe it was the open air or the general hubbub, but all the waiting staff seemed incredibly quietly spoken and we found it hard to catch everything they said. It wasn't a problem - there was no exam at the end of it.

We started with a sharing platter of jerk chicken, cauliflower dumplings, marlin, and shrimp. Then the Silver Vixen had chicken from the grill and the rest of us had grilled snapper. It was very good, but not exceptional.

The Gorse Fox should explain that Kelly's is at the Ochi Beach Resort which is next door to Royal Plantation. Being there yesterday evening reminded the Gorse Fox why he would never consider staying there. It was like one huge frat party, with thumping beats, and drunk rednecks wandering around.

The Gorse Fox was in the gym for 6:30 this morning and is now enjoying a coffee before we go down for breakfast. We are planning to go on the glass-bottomed boat trip this morning.

Monday, May 13, 2019


It has been a quiet day with the book and chatting with Mulder and Scully. The day was perfect. 30C and cloudless for much of the time. Even those few clouds that did venture out, stayed well clear of our beach.

At lunchtime we repaired to the beach bar and while there we managed to catch a video call with Ellie and Urban-cub. It was lovely to see them, even if Ellie does get completely tongue-tied when we do these calls.

During the afternoon the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox spent some time swimming, relaxing in the over-water hammocks, and floating in the tethered rings. It was hoot as we tried to climb onto and off of these rings with some degree of decorum or elegance. We failed miserably!

Back on the beach, the Gorse Fox and Mulder decided that it would be fun to go sailing. David, the instructor, loaded us onto one of the Hobie-cats and we set off. Out of the sheltered bay, out past the reef and into the open water. There was a stiff breeze and the cat fairly flew across the waves. We weren't out for too long but certainly covered quite some distance. We were soaked to the skin by the time we got back. It was incredibly exhilarating, but the Gorse Fox did manage to consume several gallons of sea water. He suspects that a glass of wine may help clear the taste.

Plans for tonight are a little fluid. We were hoping to go across to Kelly's Dock, but they are fully booked. The butlers are working on it, so we'll see what they manage to arrange.


We had a lovely evening. We met with Mulder and Scully outside the Wobbly Peacock. After the late afternoon rain it was very humid and warm. The Silver Vixen and Scully stayed on the terrace, but Mulder and the Gorse Fox retired to the air conditioned interior. There was a cheese and wine tasting in progress, so we grabbed a glass in passing.

Our butlers arrived to escort us up to the restaurant and get us seated on the upper terrace. The Gorse Fox had requested this because the evening's entertainment featured two separate jazz events. We all love jazz and can think of no better way to spend a warm Sunday evening that eating fine food, drinking good wine, and listening to cool jazz. It was a perfect evening.

We went our separate ways soon after ten when the entertainment was about to morph into karaoke. There are limits, after all!

The Gorse Fox was up at 6:30 this morning and has done his hour in the gym. He can only hope that their scales are faulty or that his clothing and trainers weigh significantly more than he would have thought.

Not much planned at the moment. Agent Mulder has gone to play golf this morning. Scully was talking about visiting the other resort. We are hoping to meet up at lunch time.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Liquid sunshine

We have spent most of the day on the beach. Mulder and Scully joined us in a shaded spot on the east beach. It has been a tad windy again, but lovely and warm. We stopped for lunch (lying on the beach can be so tiring); but soon returned to our loungers. A snooze was in order, to overcome the exertions of the morning.

The Gorse Fox took the opportunity to sneak off for a swim and when he returned Mulder suggested we headed out on a Hobie Cat (small catamaran). The wind was still blowing hard and the heavens looked very threatening.

A huge clap of thunder interrupted our deliberations and collectively we decided to head for cover. We had timed this to perfection. Just as we got back to the covered terrace, the heavens opened. The rain (or liquid sunshine as they call it) poured down, on and off, for about an hour but now it has turned into a lovely late afternoon.

No photos

The Gorse Fox snuck out of bed at 6:30 and headed for the gym. His hips are hurting a bit so he limited himself to 45 minutes and wound the speed down a bit. It was still a good workout but less intense than yesterday.

Back in the room, showered and dressed he caught up on this blog and the overnight messages while enjoying some coffee. The Silver Vixen was doing some reading. Urban-cub called and we had a lovely long video chat with her, Ellie, and Cousteau-cub.

After some breakfast, where the Gorse Fox resisted the temptation to sign autographs for his fans from last night, we changed and headed down to the beach. There seems to be a lot going on today. It's Mother's Day here and the staff keep approaching the Silver Vixen to check if she is a mother so that they can wish her a happy day.

Mulder and Scully have been in the gym this morning and are about to join us on the beach.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Hot, hot, hot

We met up, as planned, and took the shuttle across to the Sandals Ochi Beach Resort where the Kimono's restaurant is. Our butlers escorted us to reception and booked us in while we took a seat at the bar. Our table was soon ready and we set sat round a large tepanyaki grill. It was incredibly noisy in the restaurant and, at times, it was hard to hear what the waiting staff were saying. The chef arrived at the table and within minutes it was clear that he had real personality. He sang and he joked as he broke the ice and got most of the diners involved and chatting. Two corpses at the far end of the table didn't really get involved at all... but at least it was only two, this year!

Then as a challenge he put one pea on each of several plates and then putting them in front of each couple decided there would be a chopsticks race. Whoever managed to pick up the single pea and feed their partner first would be the winner. This was no challenge for the Gorse Fix and the Silver Vixen was munching on the pea within a second... meanwhile everyone else was still chasing their peas round their plates.

Oil was sprayed onto the grill surface and ignited. Huge gouts of flame charred the vegetables as they were cooking. This was repeated several times with the meat and also the mahi mahi later. It was a really good experience this year - making up for our disappointment last year.

We hopped on the shuttle back to Plantation. We had just missed the steel band, but the second show of the evening was just beginning. This was the chap who balances things on his head - sounds naff, but it's actually very impressive, particularly when one of the items is his daughter sitting on a chair, that he is balancing on one chair leg. He was followed by the limbo chap. This involved some audience participation as several chaps were press-ganged into having a go. It was all good fun, and once the audience members had sat back down, he culminated the act by dancing under a flaming bar.

Flames became the order of the evening. The next act was the fire eater and juggler. The first part of the act involved a lot of fire eating... but we were still full from dinner so didn't get tempted. Then he started juggling with fire wheels. These were like small bicycle wheels with three flaming spokes and an axle that could be grabbed. He started to pick on audience members to join in. This was where the Silver Vixen got caught last year... so we had chosen seats way back. Scully took no chances and displayed her walking stick, the Silver Vixen ran out of sight entirely and the Gorse Fox was looking for the video from last year to show Agent Mulder. That was when the chap pounced and the Gorse Fox was taken up to get involved in the act. He had to dance with the fire wheel rotating on his head. Oh the shame! Agent Mulder was quick enough to get the whole thing on video.

That was actually the end of the entertainment so we chatted for a while then headed off to bed.


Though the Gorse Fox had managed to get a hat yesterday, the Silver Vixen was unable to get one that fitted - they were all way too big. It was suggested that we should go and try the shop in the other resort so we hopped on the shuttle and were deposited outside the gift shop at the reception block at the top of the hill.

The Sandals Ocho Rios is huge and this was clearly their more prestigious area. It was modern and very open. There were lovely large swimming pools and beautifully manicured gardens. It didn't take long for the Silver Vixen to find a suitable hat so we went for a stroll so that we could guage the place. It seemed nice, but clearly not as secluded, nor exclusive as Royal Plantation where we are.

We took the 'Hop' shuttle bus back down the hill to the beach resort. We had some time to kill before the shuttle back to Plantation so again took a stroll. There were some nice spots, but would not suit us. As we strolled along we caught sight of someone who was clearly having a hard day at the office!

Back at Plantation we went down to the beach bar and ordered a drink and waited to meet up with Mulder and Scully. We had a nice lunch then went our separate ways. The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed for the east beach and settled down with books. In an effort to reset his body clock, the Gorse Fox was intent on grabbing a power nap; it just didn't happen. Try as he might, he couldn't drop off.

It got very windy during the afternoon and for a while the sky looked a bit threatening. Whilst it was clear that the headland to the west of us was getting a thorough soaking, it remained dry for us.

Tonight's plan is to meet up and head to Kimono's for dinner.

Jamaica Night

We met up with Mulder and Scully for dinner. It was 'Jamaica Night' so the food was all based on local favourites and the entertainment was too! Mulder confessed he had taken a power nap after lunch, which explains why he was still so chirpy. The Gorse Fox was beginning to droop after the early start (it must be something to do with age).

The food was superb. It was a buffet style, with a  grill chef managing any speciality requests. Now, the Gorse Fox finds buffets are his nemesis. He tends to act like a giant vacuum cleaner - trying a bit of everything. He decided to be strong and deliberately walked away after he had some curry goat, jerk chicken, plain rice and salad. He ignored the 10-15 other dishes... he can try something different next week.

We had a lovely meal and chatted about everything under the sun. The entertainment started with the trio of old men playing laid back, slight off beat, and slightly out of tune reggae. Two of the trio we remember from last year but the guy on the boom box drum was new. After them there a a moment where we all stood for the Jamaican National Anthem and had a quick quiz... then the next act came on. They were younger with a varied repertoire but no idea how to segue from one song to the next. All the songs had exactly the same bass riff, and the singer clearly thought he was a cross between Aretha Franklin and Ed Shehan. It was not a crossover that worked.

By nine-ish the Gorse Fox decided his tank was empty... Scully was also fading fast so we all headed off to our respective rooms.

The Gorse Fox was awake early again this morning but forced himself to stay in bed until six. Then he snuck out to do 5 miles on the treadmill. Now showered and enjoying a coffee, we are surveying the view from the room and preparing for breakfast.

Friday, May 10, 2019

All Change

Well the room swap went through withoutany problems, but it did take a little longer than expected. We are nowesconced in one of the prime rooms on the resort. With wonderful views over the bay from our balcony, we can turn and through another window we can see out to the west. It really is rather lovely.

We had a quiet morning with our books and then met with the travel re. She was only checking in to make sure everything was in order, but we met with her to ensure we knew who to contact if we needed help. It seemed a bit pointless as you every wish is taken care of by the resort staff.

We met with Scully and Mulder for lunch - coconut shrimp, of course - and a beer, then headed back to the beach. The sky looked a bit threatening for a while, but it never amounted to anything. The Gorse Fox decided to hit the water and spent about 45 minutes or so swimming and chatting with Scully.

We're back in the room now, properly unpacked, and getting ready to meet Scully and Mulder for cocktails and 'Jamaican Night' dinner.

Early start

With the change of timezones, the Gorse Fox was awake early. By 5:45 he was in the gym pounding along on the treadmill. He did a solid hour on the treadmill then moved on to the rowing machine for a warm-down. It was a bit embarrassing to realise he had strapped himself in but now couldn't reach the 'oars' and had to unstrap himself, grab the oars then strap himself back in. Never mind, it was a good workout.

It was great news to hear from Cousteau-cub that she had been offered the job she interviewed for on Tuesday. She starts next Wednesday.

We saw Scully at breakfast, but Mulder was still asleep.

We're down on the beach now, and hopefully we will have moved rooms by the time we get back. (We had requested a specific room, but it was occupied until this morning, so we are being moved once it is clear).

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Travelling again

We had a very comfortable night in the Sofitel. The room was quiet, and the bed was very comfortable. No alarms were set as we knew that we had plenty of time to get up at our own pace. We contacted Urban-Cub who was on her way to work, but stuck in traffic. She called ahead and one of her staff met us at the Premium Security desk and escorted us through the various checks. We bypassed all the queues - but despite that the Gorse Fox still got picked on for the full body scan and his hand baggage was checked becuase of his box full of electronic adapters and cables.

We went straight to the No.1 Lounge and checked it out. It was busy but one look at the breakfast choice and a question to staff and it was no-go... how can you have any breakfast buffet that doesn't provide eggs! We moved on to the Virgin V-Lounge. There was a much better choice there, s we settled down for a nice breakfast and to read the papers.

The Gorse Fox's instinct had been right. He had forgotten to pack his running shortsand his sun hat. We hit the shops. A cover for the Silver Vixen's new iPad and some running short for the Gorse Fox. Then we met up with Urban-Cub for 5 minutes before we had to say our goodbyes and return to the lounge. We had arranged a buggy to get from the lounge to the plane, but it was a little late so we didn't get to pre-board.

Our seats were excellent and we had a very comfortable flight, arriving just a few minutes ahead of schedule. The VIP Meet and Greet chap met us at the ramp and whisked us through the formalities and before we knew it we were at the lounge freshening up before the drive to the resort.

Our driver, Keith, loaded the bags into the boot of the brand new 5-series BMW and we settled into the back seats. Canapes, and drinks were laid on, but we resisted. We had eaten well on the plane. Keith was a very smooth and steady driver, which given some of the driving we witnessed on the trip was a consoling thing.

We pulled into the resort just after 18:30 and were greeted like old friends. Meloney went off to get us some champagne and to alert Agent Mulder and Scully that we had arrived. Once we had completed all our greetings we were shown to our room and briefed by the butler, Ricardo, then we went back down to have a light bite and a drink with Scully and Mulder (who Meloney says has a very strong resemblance to the Gorse Fox - for which he can only apologise).

After a very long day we hit the sack soon after 21:00.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Good start

It has been a good start. We had a very comfortable ride up to Gatwick in the back of an S-Class Mercedes. Delivered in perfect comfort, we rolled our cases in to Departures and handed them over to Virgin in return for our boarding cards. Then we headed back out and across the road to Sofitel.

We have a VIP room at Sofitel, courtesy of Expedia, and vouchers for free drinks and a 20% discount on our food. We dropped our overnight bags and headed back down to dinner. Pork rib-eye for the Silver Vixen and jerk chicken for the Gorse Fox, all washed down with some free wine. Perfect.

Now we have a very leisurely evening and morning before our flight tomorrow.

Ready, Steady

It was absolutely thrashing down with rain this morning when the Gorse Fox came down. Jasper was happy to head for the Orangery but certainly wouldn't venture out.

Talking of Jasper, he clearly had checked the family calendar and understood the codes we had used to try and fool him. So it was that five minutes before we had to take him to the cattery he disappears upstairs and hid in the most inaccessible part of the Gorse Fox's study. We tracked him down and the Gorse Fox managed to get a good grip and deposit him in his carrier without incident. Twenty minutes later Mark greeted him like a long lost friend and Jasper settled into his run for his Spa break!

Back home we could finally break out the suitcases and get the packing done. The Gorse Fox, despite his lists, is convinced he has forgotten something - or may underestimated some items while overestimating others.

We've just been in contact with Agent Mulder - he's still scrambling round at work in NYC but is looking forward to meeting up tomorrow.

Cousteau-Cub has had her briefings on running the house and also has a monthly bus pass on order so she can get around. The Gorse Fox thinks everything is more or less set. We just need to wait for the chauffeur, now.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019


Well the Canon ink arrived today and clicked into place without incident. The printer is now working again. A lesson well learnt.

The day has been spent fiddling with various technology, getting batteries charged, getting cables ready, and reviewing the Silver Vixen's tablet. The conclusion from the latter was that it would be pointless to cart it around as she finds it too heavy to hold comfortably when reading, and it is so slow. The upshot is that we dropped into John Lewis and bought her a new 2019 iPad Mini. The Gorse Fox was very impressed with the iPad setup. It was just a matter of moving the Silver Vixen's phone near to the new device and typing the unlock code.... and off it went.

Cousteau-Cub had an interview for a job today. It seemed to go well but we'll have to see what happens. No decisions until the end of the week apparently.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Inking the deal

The Gorse Fox must start today's blog by talking about yesterday evening. We went along with the Sonning Crew to Southampton. Arriving a little early, we stopped into a pub for a drink before carrying on to the theatre for dinner. The Ovation Restaurant on the top floor of the Mayflower opened at 17:30 and we were the first guests. They were smart enough to realise that the Gorse Fox's booking for 2 and 4 was really a booking for 6 and had allocated a table for us all. The food, as before, was excellent and we had a very leisurely meal with plenty of chat, and plenty of laughter. We decided that the sweet course could wait for the intermission and just had teas and coffees before the show.

We had excellent seats in the stalls with an uninterrupted view. Bill Bailey started at eight and within minutes had us in stitches with his observations of the current political landscape. We thought Tinkerbell would need oxygen as she rocked back and forth with laughter - nearly disappearing under the seat in front of her. It really was an uplifting couple of hours of laughter and brilliant music. Bill Bailey is really so incredible funny, so intelligent, and best of all - clean!

The show finished at about 22:20 and we were home by 23:30. What a brilliant evening. The Gorse Fox cannot remember the last time he laughed so much.

Today started slowly. Coffee, porridge, and the papers before Urban-Cub turned up with Ellie and Cousteau-Cub in tow.  Urban-Cub and Ellie didn't stay for long but did go round to feed the ducks. The Gorse Fox, meanwhile, took Cousteau-Cub out to do some food shopping for while we are are away.

Back home the nice man from Amazon had dropped off some printer ink. Frankly, the Gorse Fox wishes he hadn't. The Gorse Fox made the mistake of buying from a cheap OEM source. The first cartridge he tried to use leaked copies amounts of printer ink over his desk, his keyboard, and his study carpet. By the time he's cleaned it all up he was very irritated, and the carpet was ruined. He tried a second cartridge. This one didn't fit properly and the printer would not register its presence. The Gorse Fox wrote his first ever 1-star review on Amazon and then paid full price for a set of Canon original inks.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Last post

Ellie was awake early - but Jasper had already disturbed the Gorse Fox so he pottered in to her room and brought her back to bed with us... where she stayed happily for about and hour or so. It was approaching eight before we all got up, in the end.

The Gorse Fox had his usual football game. It was a 6-v-5 affair. The plan was that the the team with the two most mobile players would have 5, and the the team with the other mobile player (the Gorse Fox) would have 6. Surprisingly it worked out pretty every and by half time the score was an even 2-2. In the second half, however, we started to pull away. The Gorse Fox had a couple of good shots saved, and also hit the post. (His last post for a few weeks). Eventually the pressure made the difference, the Gorse Fox scored and we started to pull away for an eventual 9-4 win. Very enjoyable, particularly as he won't be playing again for about three weeks or so.

Back home, the Silver Vixen had taken Cousteau-Cub and Ellie back to LA and was pottering around tidying up when the Gorse Fox arrived. We grabbed some lunch then had a quiet hour in the Orangery before getting ready for the evening's events. Along with the Sonning Crew we are going to Southampton to have a meal and to see Bill Bailey's "Larks in Transit" at the Mayflower Theatre. Two hats is driving so we can just sit and enjoy the view.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Family day

Bright sunny day, but a bitterly cold wind.

Not a huge amount to report today. Urban-Cub arrived with Cousteau-Cub and Ellie during the morning and they spent the day with us. Cousteau-Cub and the Gorse Fox did pop out for some shopping, but that was only a short trip to stock up on fresh vegetables.

The Gorse Fox prepared roast pork for supper, and then Urban-Cub went home to get some sleep in time for her early shift. Cousteau-Cub and Ellie stayed with us.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Now that was fun

Though a leisurely start, there were plans afoot. The Silver Vixen had an appointment in Chichester and the Gorse Fox had a lunch scheduled in Soho.

Old Bill was kind enough to take the Gorse Fox to the station where he hopped on the train. Like most trains from Bognor Regis it waited at Horsham for more carriages to join from the inbound Portsmouth train. Unfortunately this was running late and as a result we were a good 25 minutes late arriving in London. This meant a quick change of plans. The Gorse Fox had intended to walk the couple of miles to the restaurant, but now had to resort to the Tube to make up the time.

As he arrived he was greeted by the restaurant's owner and shown to the private room where we would dine. It was the Old Columbans over-65s London lunch and there was a crowd of about 15 OCs already milling about, eating canapés, and drinking wine. The Gorse Fox stood and chatted with his cousin Peter, who had come up from Cardiff for the event, then went on to mingle with other old boys from other years.

We settled down for lunch. This was a noisy affair - though not raucous. Tales were told, memories stirred, and absent friends remembered. At one stage the Gorse Fox retrieved a photo of his class from 1965 and showed it to an old classmate... we managed to name most of the chaps in the picture, but the classmate could identify himself!

The food was fantastic and the wine flowed throughout the afternoon... indeed it was gone five o'clock before we got up from the table. Twice during the afternoon, the chap sitting opposite cousin Peter had leant on the table and in so doing, tipped our table spilling first a jug of water into Peter's lap, and the second time a bottle of red wine - but fortunately that just missed as it trickled down the tablecloth onto the floor.

As we broke up, we thanked the restaurant staff and the owner (who turned out to be an OC also). We said our goodbyes, and reconvened for a beer in the pub over the road. The Gorse Fox made his excuses after a while and headed for the Tube. At Victoria, he managed to just get onto the Bognor Regis train as the doors were closing and settled down for the journey home. It wasn't quite as busy as he had expected but maybe people had travelled early, being a Bank Holiday weekend.

Fortunately, the Gorse Fox had his portable power pack with him as the battery on his phone had died. He plugged in and allowed it to charge while he read his Kindle. Once arrival times were predictable, he called the taxi company and arranged to be collected from the Station and dropped off at home. He was home and chatting to the Silver Vixen just after nine-thirty.

Thursday, May 02, 2019


It's been a bitty day. The Gorse Fox was up before seven to let Jasper out and to grab his first cup of coffee. He had to get across to LA in order to collect Ellie. Urban-Cub had some domestic issues to sort out and we would look after Ellie for a couple of hours. It was a slow drive across in the morning traffic, but the whole day brightened up when the Gorse Fox pulled up outside and saw Ellie jumping up and down and clapping his arrival. We soon had here tucked into the car seat and headed back so Urban-Cub could get on with things.

Cousteau-Cub and the Silver Vixen were the subject of great excitement as Ellie and the Gorse Fox approached the house. "Nana's house" she kept saying and the Gorse Fox would agree, as she went through the inhabitants of said domicile, including the cat,... but somehow "Bompa" never made it onto the list.

Cousteau-Cub wanted to do some shopping in Bognor Regis. She needs some shoes suitable for a working environment. It's not easy finding comfortable footwear when you have spent 19 years in bare feet or flip-flops. The Gorse Fox dropped her in town then stopped off to cast his vote in the district elections on the way back.

By late morning Urban-Cub had everything sorted and came to collect Ellie. We settled down for some lunch then the Gorse Fox walked in to the village to get his haircut. Now home, the Silver Vixen and Cousteau-Cub have gone back out to check-in at the local surgery and to drop Cousteau-Cub over at Urban-Cub's over night so she can look after Ellie briefly in the morning.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Surprise result

It was a bit cooler this morning, but still pleasant enough. Cousteau-Cub stayed home and submitted some more job applications and the Silver Vixen headed off for Pilates.

The Gorse Fox went to football. We had a decent turnout and played 7-a-side. He was a bit concerned when he saw how the teams had been picked. He commented to a team mate that it "looks like we'll be creamed" and there was a nod of agreement. Three of us played across the back to try and stop the onslaught and we held pretty firm. Our forwards meanwhile had started to pass the ball around nicely and started to get the odd goal. By half time we were 6-2 ahead but were under no illusions that the second half would be a different matter. It was. We scored 6 more goals without reply. Two of these from the Gorse Fox. The most satisfying of these was a bit of a breakaway and as their defender closed in one shouted "go on then, have a shot" so he did and the ball ricocheted off said defender back to the Gorse Fox and he, in turn, hammered it into the goal with his left foot. As he turned, the Gorse Fox was heard to mutter "what, like that?".

This afternoon the Silver Vixen and Cousteau-Cub have gone shopping. The Gorse Fox is pottering around at home and has just prepared some chicken things for slow oven bake. We'll have those with some pasta in a couple of hours time.

The Gorse Fox knows its a "first world problem" but getting the right collection of charging cables, sync cables, adapters, and power supplies ready for a trip is becoming quite a faff. He's done a checklist (obviously) and has been seeking out all of the correct bits of cable and where necessary ordering new ones from the nice man at Amazon.