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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Less fun

A little overcast today and the odd spots of rain, but nothing that amounted to a shower. It was still very windy but was quite pleasantly warm.

With the Qashqai at the workshop having the alloys refurbished, the Gorse Fox had to take the Silver Vixen along to Pilates this morning. This meant that he arrived at the Sports Centre earlier than usual and was able to spend an extra ten minutes walking round the running track. It was probably just as well as we ended up with 9-v-9 football session. That's just too crowded and severely restricts the amount of ground that the Gorse Fox can cover. It rather takes the fun out of the game and losing 6-3 didn't help.

The Gorse Fox has spent some of the afternoon refining some of the code on Raspberry Pi ftp server. Now that he has provided code for Two Hats, he decided to amend his own code so that it pretty much parallels what he gave to Two Hats. While doing this he realised that the clock in "falcon" was adrift and found out that by default it doesn't enable the NTP service. He's rectified this. (Earlier models don't seem to have the problem, but the Model 3 does).

We're expecting Ellie later. She'll be with us until Friday afternoon.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019


Well, that was a bit of a change. The weather had changed overnight. There were gusty winds this morning and a few heavy showers rattled through. We were clearly lucky as other parts of the country got well and truly soaked.

The Gorse Fox took Cousteau-cub in to work then settled down for breakfast. The Silver Vixen was due at the dentist and the Gorse Fox had football scheduled. Nothing would happen until he had had his coffee and porridge though.

As he drove across to Worthing he blasted through a number of showers and when he started lapping the running track he got truly soaked. Despite the weather, we had a good turnout today. The Gorse Fox played for the "black-bibs" and we did well with 2-0, 2-1, and 3-0 wins. A very good hour made all the more interesting by a very strict referee. In the second hour, we had a complete change of personnel. Again, the Gorse Fox ended up playing for the "black-bibs". We started with a disappointing 4-1 loss, but then won 2-1, and 2-0 and the Gorse Fox managed to add to his goal tally for the year.

Back home the Gorse Fox went to help Two Hats. The idea was to install the housekeeping routine he had written and to separately install a larger flash drive for archiving the images and clips. In the end, we only managed to install the housekeeping routine as the existing drive was already 100% full and the new drive he had available would only have given a couple of extra days storage. Clearly, the camera is consuming storage at a prodigious rate and the new drive would not give much respite. The plan is for Two Hats to look into getting an external USB drive that will give much more headroom. When he has decided and picked up the drive the Gorse Fox will return to set it up for him.

Monday, July 29, 2019

In, Out, In, Out, Shake it all about

Well it has been a day that hippies would be proud of. The Gorse Fox has been tripping most of the day. It started early with a trip to Chichester to take Cousteau-Cub to work. Once home he had some breakfast and got on with some domestic chores.

He had an hour or so before the next trip so headed to the study where he finished writing the code for Two Hats' housekeeping on the Pi. That went remarkably smoothly and is now ready to deliver, whenever Two Hats finds it convenient.

The blinds in the Orangery have been taking a battering in the wind when the doors have been open and when Ellie has bumped into them. Several of the vertical slats needed to be fixed so the Gorse Fox took them down for the Silver Vixen to sort them out. They were put back just as the Gorse Fox needed to head back out.

Back in Chichester he collected Cousteau-Cub and took her to Rustington for an appointment with the Chiropractor, then took her back to work afterwards. Back at home he grabbed a bite and discussed the plans for Ellie's car seat. Should it stay in the car, or should we take it out? The decision was to leave it in the car. So the Gorse Fox headed out to Chichester again. The Qashqai was left at Chichester Cars so that they could refurbish the two alloy wheels the Gorse Fox had scraped a couple of years ago. He walked back to the bus station and got the bus home and is now having a quiet half hour before he starts preparing supper and heads back out to Chichester to collect Cousteau-Cub from work.

Sunday, July 28, 2019


It was a bright start to the day. The temperatures reached the low 20s, but there were plenty of clouds to keep the sky interesting.

The Gorse Fox had an appointment with a football this morning. He joined up with the "lads" and the teams were chosen. It looked like a fairly even split but our "yellow" team rushed into a 3-0 lead. After that, the "oranges" started to get their act together and by half time we had tied at 3-3. In the second half, the pendulum swung the other way. Before we knew what had hit us we were 7-4 down. Frankly, a lot of it was our own fault caused by wayward passes and poor clearances by the goalkeeper. In the last 10 minutes, the Gorse Fox started to make some telling interceptions and started to take a bit more control. He scored one from the edge of the area, then he scored another from a free-kick which he rolled back to his goalkeeper and then hit the return pass from the edge of his own area. Finally, he scored an equalizer bending a shot around a wall of defenders. In the dying seconds, he got the ball again and was lining up another shot when the whistle blew. A good game and a fair result, 7-7.

Back home Cousteau-cub has gone down to the seafront with some of her work colleagues and the Silver Vixen has been pottering in the garden. The Gorse Fox returned to the code that was troubling him yesterday. A report from the development team suggested the code was now functioning correctly. One of them had found an error and corrected it overnight. The Gorse Fox downloaded the latest build of the "beta" software (currently they are doing nightly builds). He tested it and sure enough, the problem has gone away. That's always a relief to find that it is not the onset of some coding dementia, but a genuine bug in the software. The Gorse Fox should trust himself more.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Wet start

There was heavy rain first thing this morning but it cleared up by lunchtime. The sun is trying to sustain a good shine now while fighting with the clouds that are intent on stifling it.

The Gorse Fox has been out and about. First, he had to take Cousteau-cub into work. This meant using a backroad again as the traffic reports suggested the usual route was clogged up. The Gorse Fox is glad he found this alternate route yesterday. Once back home he grabbed his bags and did a top-up shop at Sainsbury's. This was necessary because of the plan for the afternoon.

He headed back to Chichester to collect Cousteau-cub at lunchtime then settled down with his recipes. It was time to make up another batch of curry sauce. Onions, celery, carrots, and green peppers were chopped and the big pot was pressed into service as the vegetables and all the right spices were reduced over the hob for an hour or so. It smells wonderful as it sits and cools. It will be portioned out into containers and stored in the freezer later.

While that was going on the Gorse Fox retired to his study to write some code. He is writing some code to clean up the storage drive that Two Hats is using to save his CCTV images and videos. These are sent from the camera, using SFTP, to his Raspberry Pi for long term storage. Even still the storage needs to be cleaned up and the videos and the images over a certain age need to be purged, otherwise, the storge will just fill up.

The Silver Vixen is having a bit of a blitz on the kitchen cupboards as the Gorse Fox writes.  He is in no doubt that it will all be very neat and tidy once she has finished, but isn't convinced he will be able to find anything.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Duty calls

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen were still on duty today. Fortunately, Ellie didn't stir until about seven-thirty so we had a comfortable start to the day. The Gorse Fox slipped downstairs and made some egg and bacon for Ellie and a large mug of tea for the Silver Vixen before sneaking back upstairs to perform his ablutions.

It was still warm today, but nowhere near as hot as it has been for the last few days. There high cloud keeping the sky a little grey, but it was very comfortable. The Gorse Fox whizzed Cousteau-Cub into Chichester. Unlike yesterday it was a simple twelve-minute run using a couple of back-doubles to avoid some roadworks at The Hornet.

Back home Ellie managed a sleep after lunch and then we took her along to the local play area so that she could enjoy the slides and the swings. The swings aren't really as good as they might be, for young children, but we managed to keep her amused. Pistol Pete came along to pick her up when he finished work.

The phone rang. It was the car dealership. The order for the car had been rejected by the factory. The engine choice was no longer valid. The Gorse Fox was not surprised. He had read in the price list that the combination of 1.5 TSI Petrol engine with 4x4 drivetrain was only available from stock. As it happens we weren't really interested in the 4x4 feature anyway so we are getting what we wanted originally, and it's saving £1700. Sounds like a result.

Thursday, July 25, 2019


It was a record breaking day. Temperatures exceeded the historical record for July. Being near the coast we were spared the extremes.

We've been looking after Ellie again today. She played throughout the morning and was captivated by a YouTube video of the Peppa Pig album. The Gorse Fox had promised to take Cousteau-Cub in to work so she didn't have to suffer the discomfort of the bus. He checked the traffic on Google and it was clear that it would not be quick. Most routes round and through Chichester were gridlocked. In the end it took 90 minutes to do five miles, at which point Cousteau-Cub got out and walked. The Gorse Fox found a back road and headed home. Fortunately, the trip out of Chichester was infinitely better than the inward journey. As far as the Gorse Fox can tell, this was caused by some road works on the road to the Witterings and that was causing long tailbacks. Drivers were trying to avoid the problems and slowly but surely clogged up every artery in and around Chichester.

We kept Ellie indoors during the heat of the afternoon. We spent the time playing with Lego, reading books, and watching illustrated nursery rhymes on the TV. With tea over, she is still a bit hyper so the Silver Vixen is leaving it a bit longer before she gives her a bath.

The Gorse Fox is waiting for a call from Cousteau-Cub so that that he can go and collect her, but suspects that won't be until much later.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Bits and Pieces

Another cracking day. The temperatures were, again, in the low 30s and there was not a sign of a cloud in the sky. The Gorse Fox had cancelled football today as he needed to be available to take Cousteau-Cub to the doctor's. Meanwhile, the Silver Vixen went off to Pilates and the plan was that she would collect Ellie on the way back.

By lunchtime when the Silver Vixen got back the Gorse Fox had managed to talk with a Car Valeting company regarding ceramic finishes for the new car, and also the travel insurers regarding upgrades to our cover. A successful morning.

Once the Silver Vixen was back with Ellie we had some lunch and then spent the afternoon in the garden playing in water and with a water spray. In practise it was the only way to stay cool. Late in the afternoon we had the annual summer hog roast hosted by Berkeley Homes for the people on the development. As usual it was well attended. The drinks flowed and the hogs satisfied the hungry hordes. Ellie was very shy to start with but a neighbour brought her great granddaughter, whoo was about the same age as Ellie, and they got on like the proverbial house on fire.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


What a stunning day. The sun has been shining from the moment it came up and the temperatures are in the low 30s.

The Gorse Fox was up early and managed to see Cousteau-cub before she headed off to work. She is clearly struggling with her back but wasn't going to let it stop her. The Gorse Fox headed off to football soon after nine. We had a good turn-out today so managed to get a solid 6-a-side tournament. The Gorse Fox played for the white-bibs. We had a solid team and a good defence. We managed to win the first game 2-0, lose the second game 2-0 and then win the last game 2-0. It was hot out there and people were wilting.

Despite the heat, we managed to have a 4-a-side session in the second hour. Here the Gorse Fox was playing for the blue-bibs and had far more license to roam. As a result, we won the first game 2-0, drew the second game 2-2, and lost the last game 1-0. The Gorse Fox had covered over 10kms in the heat and scored two goals. A very satisfactory morning.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Cousteau-cub had called the Silver Vixen. She was having real problems with her back and needed to get to A&E at St Richard's. By the time the Gorse Fox got home, the Silver Vixen was there with Cousteau-cub waiting to see the doctor. They were there in total for several hours but she has been given some medication and they are on their way home now.

The Gorse Fox made use of the time to pressurize the car dealership. It was quite successful and as a result, we have placed an order for a new car for the Silver Vixen. It's a factory order, so will probably take 10-12 weeks, but we are in no hurry (even if it would have been nice to have it by the time we went to Devon).

Monday, July 22, 2019


A bit grey first thing, but it has turned into a cracking afternoon. This bodes well for the next few days.

The new network has been rock solid for all of our devices except the Macbooks. Both the Macbook belonging to the Silver Vixen and that used by the Gorse Fox have had real problems staying connected today. In fact, the Gorse Fox has had to switch back to the old WiFi network for the moment. More research is needed, but there appears to be a lot of users having issues with the BT Whole Home WiFi and Macbooks. Clearly, it's flakey.

We had an appointment with a car. The idea was to have a test drive of a potential new car to replace the Silver Vixen's Qashqai. In the end, we were with the dealer for a couple of hours but did enjoy a test drive during which we both got to try the car. It was really very nice and the Gorse Fox expects that we will go ahead a buy one if we can get a sensible deal.

Back home, the Gorse Fox returned to the spreadsheets and plugged in the numbers from the dealer. It looks quite sensible, but it would still be nice to drive a better deal. The dealer asked what we would need to commit to a purchase today. The Gorse Fox explained that he did not do business like that and that nothing would convince him to commit today. He did put the chaps mind at ease though and promised to make a decision within two weeks.

During the afternoon Two Hats called in. He was having problems connecting to his Pi. The Gorse Fox connected through to his network and managed to connect immediately. It would appear that Two Hats had misremembered the command that the Gorse Fox had been using. Once that was cleared up the Gorse Fox asked him to demonstrate the features of Apple CarPlay so that it was clearer what could be expected. It was really quite impressive.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Well there's interesting

It was a grey start, but as the day wore on the sun broke through and we now have a glorious afternoon.

We weren't particularly quick to get underway this morning. We had no specific plans and the Gorse Fox's football had been cancelled as there were insufficient players available. As we chatted over breakfast, the Gorse Fox suggested we head along to one of the car dealerships and give the Silver Vixen a chance to look at one of the cars that we had under discussion.

Traffic on the A27 around Chichester was dreadful so the Gorse Fox cut across and used the back streets to bypass all of the hassles. It worked beautifully. We were soon standing in the dealership admiring the shiny new cars. A young oik arrived to offer assistance. To be fair, he was very pleasant, knowledgable, and was quite charming throughout our visit. We concluded that the car we had come to see was a definite contender and vowed to return for a test drive. (The Gorse Fox has subsequently arranged an appointment for the Silver Vixen to test drive the vehicle in question).

On the way home, we stopped off at another garage for a look at their options. Again there were some lovely examples on display but when we looked at the financial practicality they quickly ruled themselves out. It was nice to dream though.

Back home we went through all of the options and think we have a preferred choice. Now it will be a matter of taking the test drive, reworking the appropriate spreadsheets, and making a sensible decision. To some degree, it's a shame that we are looking for an SUV. There are some stunning saloons available at the moment. Mmmmm, should the Gorse Fox change his Fiesta? No. It would make no sense.

Saturday, July 20, 2019


It was wet overnight and it took quite a while for the day to brighten up. It has turned into a gorgeous afternoon, if a little breezy.

The Gorse Fox started by considering the problem of cables in the family room. Currently there are some which are tacked to the skirting boards and when we redecorate we will need to address this. Plan A was to look at some trunking so that the cables were completely hidden, but the actual topography of the cable routes makes it a little difficult. Then the Gorse Fox reconsidered the purpose for each of the cables and realised that there might be an opportunity to remove some of them if he could strengthen the WiFi coverage. This got the Gorse Fox scuttling to the computer to look, once more, at Mesh WiFi networks. The consensus seems to be that the Netgear Orbi and the BT Whole Home WiFi are the two best systems out there. A decision was made and the Gorse Fox chose to buy the BT Whole Home.

Cousteau-Cub wanted to spend some time over with Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete, so the Gorse Fox drove her to LA and routed back via John Lewis. He is now the proud owner of the aforementioned mesh network. It only took about 15 minutes to set up and we seem to have excellent coverage throughout the house. It will be interesting to see if any of the occasional dropouts we were getting before will be eradicated. Unfortunately, it still doesn't seem to have solved the problem regarding SkyQ and Cousteau-Cub's iPad in her room. That may need some more thought!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Neighbourhood Watch

It was very wet today, but the Gorse Fox suspects it will be good for the gardens.

There was a simple plan. Help Two Hats set up his new Raspberry Pi. Several of us now have CCTV cameras and he has recently invested in a new one. He want to be able to capture and save the recording over time. beyond what is enabled by the internal flash drive in the device. This should be the perfect application for a Pi.

Set up a Pi at home is easy. Because it would be running with the Gorse Fox's network he can use his configurator to build the device from scratch. This new one will be running with the network at Two Hats' abode. The Gorse Fox decided the best approach was to start from first principles with the "Noobs" installer and the Pi connected to a keyboard and screen. This proved to be very easy (and was certainly an improvement over the earlier implementations). Once the basic configuration was complete, we installed the FTP server software and tested that everything was working. The Gorse Fox recommend that Two Hats acquired an large flash drive that he could use to capture the CCTV images, rather than use the built in "boot' drive.

Two Hats toddled off with a functioning Pi and a shopping list. An hour or so later he called. He had the additional flash drive and could the Gorse Fox help. The flash drive was formatted and and the /home filesystem was moved to it. The Pi's configuration tables were changed and the system rebooted. Everything worked beautifully. Well, so we thought. Certainly the Pi booted, the filesystem was where we expected it to (on the new flash drive), and FTP was still working. The Pi seemed to be functioning as designed. The problem was that we could not get the CCTV camera to send files to it. In the end we resorted to sending a query to the manufacturer. We'll have to see what comes back.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Not much

There was some overnight rain, which petered out to a fine drizzle during the early part of the morning. There was very little planned for the day so we had a suitably lazy start.

The Gorse Fox performed a factory reset on the old iPad and re-installed it for Cousteau-cub. This took a little while but kept him amused. Ocado turned up with shopping, so that got tucked away just before Cousteau-cub emerged. She had an appointment at the optician's this morning so had to leave earlier than usual for a Thursday.

After lunch, the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox headed out to explore a bit. She wanted to find where a new hairdresser had a salon, and the Gorse Fox wanted to look at a car dealership. The hairdresser's was easy, but we started off by going to the service department rather than the showroom. Once we had found the right place we spent a while mulling over their selection of cars and deciding that one option was too small and another was too big. This left the one model that we quite liked. It gives us food for thought, but as usual with cars and their options, the exact selection that we would like isn't available.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


Another very pleasant day. It was sunny and warm this morning, but we have some high cloud now. It's still warm and very comfortable.

The Silver Vixen headed off for her weekly Pilates session. The Gorse Fox is still convinced that it is just an excuse to roll around on the floor for an hour with a bunch of friends. He had better things to do.

The Gorse Fox headed over to Worthing for the football. He was there early enough to get a few laps of the running track under his belt before everyone else arrived. We had a very good turn out, in terms of numbers. There were eighteen of us, so that allowed for a 9-a-side game. The problem is, as the Gorse Fox has said before, that the pitch is too crowded at 9-a-side. The game becomes more like pinball. The other problem is that the crowding of the pitch means that we, typically, cover far less ground. Actually, the Gorse Fox managed to do well and covered over 7km during the hour-long session. If only the team had done equally well. From the very start, it was clear that we were likely to be under the cosh. So it turned out. We were 1-0 down within a couple of minutes but managed to brace ourselves and hold back the inevitable for a while. In the end, the score was about 5-1 which, all things being taken into account, was not a bad result.

It's been a quiet afternoon, but the Gorse Fox has been restless. He has been looking at some of the car brochures he picked up at the weekend. He's also been looking at some of the online brochures for other models. There's still no immediate intention to change either of our cars, but it's nice to have a look and see what is available.

It occurred to the Gorse Fox yesterday that with SkyQ we have the ability to transmit the TV to a mobile device such as a tablet or phone. (It's not that he didn't know this in the past, just that he had no particular reason to use it). As a result, he has pressed his old iPad into action and given it to Cousteau-cub. So far it seems to have been quite successful.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Covering the ground

It has been another gorgeous day. We've had wall-to-wll sunshine and only the finest whisps of cloud have been allowed to interrupt the perfect blue of the sky. Temperatures have been a very comfortable 22C and there is the slightest breeze to keep us comfortable. It's probably hotter inland, but here on the coast it is just about perfect.

The Gorse Fox pottered across to Worthing this morning. There was football to play. As usual, for a Tuesday, he tried to spend some time on the running track first, but then, well warmed up, he joined the lads for the game. There was a good turnout today, with 30 players available. We split into two teams of 7 and two of 8. The Gorse Fox was playing for the white-bibs, and we started with a 2-0 win. In the second game we were held to scoreless draw, and the third game we lost 2-0. The Gorse Fox didn't play badly, but didn't feel as if he was playing well.

In the second hour we were down to a 6-v-5 arrangement. Finally, the Gorse Fox seemed to be playing to the standard he expects. It didn't help. We still managed two losses and a draw. The Gorse Fox had got a fair bit of exercise, though, covering over 11km during the sessions.

It's been a quite afternoon as the joints start to complain about the morning's exertions. It will settle once the Gorse Fox starts moving about again.

Monday, July 15, 2019


It was a bit overcast first thing, and not as warm as it has been. It perked up during the day, however, and by mid afternoon was very comfortable in the low 20s.

There were a few domestic chores to clear first thing, bu then the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox headed out to the local DIY stores. It is approaching the time to redecorate the kitchen/family room. We had a few pre-conceived ideas regarding colours but thought it sensible to go and look at the various colour charts. We started at B&Q but then moved on to Wickes. It was there, in one of their kitchen displays we saw some colours that we both liked, though completely different from our original ideas. Back home we used the Dulux Visualizer to see what it it would look like “for real” - if augmented reality can ever be considered real! Actually, it looked pretty good and the Gorse Fox suspects that a decision is now made.

The Silver Vixen was out for a while this afternoon, so the Gorse Fox took the opportunity to walk to Sainsbury’s to get the odd bits and bobs that would be needed for tonight’s supper. The choice was chicken cacciatore or butter chicken. He made sure he had everything necessary for both, but in the end decided on the chicken cacciatore.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Ha ha ha ha

(The title probably only makes sense if you understand a little Thai)

Football was fun this morning. The sides worked out at 5 each. The Gorse Fox played for the yellow bibs and we had two mobile players and two fairly static players. The other team had a fully complement of fairly mobile players. It was tough and intense but in the end the 5 yellow players scored 5 goals and 5 orange players scored 5 goals. Honours were even. (Yes, the Gorse Fox scored 2 of them).


Well that’s the beauty of John Lewis. After football and a shower, the Gorse Fox whizzed along to JL with both pencils and an iPad. He explained the problem, and demonstrated the problem. The immediate response was “straight replacement”... and there it was, the Gorse Fox left clutching a replacement pencil. No hassle, just good customer service.

The new pencil is charging at the moment and the Gorse Fox will try it in a little while.


Well that’s a pain. It seems that one of the two Apple Pencils that the Gorse Fox purchased yesterday doesn’t work at all. He’s tried it on several iPads and it doesn’t seem to function at all. It pairs correctly with the iPad, but won’t draw or write on the screen. The other one works without a problem. A return trip to John Lewis is clearly required.

There’s some football to play first, though.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Apple and SUV

Another lovely day and the Silver Vixen is making the most of it by going to an Embroiderers’ Show at Ardingly with a friend. Cousteau-Cub and the Gorse Fox have been left to their own devices.

Talking of devices, the Gorse Fox popped in to John Lewis and bought the Smart Keyboard that pairs with his new iPad. (He’s using it to type this blog entry). It is quite good in that it provides a cover for the iPad and keyboard that gets its power directly from the iPad, so there’s no need for extra charging cables. The Gorse Fox suspects that purists who touch type may not like it, but for a “hunt and peck” typist like the Gorse Fox it’s absolutely fine. While he was at JL he also picked up the Apple Pencil which allows him to write on the screen. That’s charging at the moment (but again will charge directly from the iPad), so he hasn’t yet tried it.

While he was out he also wandered in to the local Toyota dealership to have a look at their range. He picked up a couple of brochures, but can’t say there was anything there that seemed an obvious replacement for the Qashqai.  He moved on and tried the Skoda dealership. Here they had a couple of nice models, the Karoq, and the Kodiak; these did seem like possible upgrades, but unlike the Toyotas did not offer any hybrid version.

Friday, July 12, 2019


The summer continues with another lovely day. The temperatures were in the mid 20s and there was a smattering of cloud to provide the odd bit of cover and to make the sky more interesting. There were no major plans for the morning. The Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen both got on with various domestic chores, and the Gorse Fox popped round to Sainsbury's for some cat food, then on to M&S to pick up some new swimming trunks that he had ordered.

We were on duty during the afternoon. We went round to Urban-cub's house in LA in order to look after Ellie and allow UC to go to the hairdresser's.

Ellie was transfixed by the film "Frozen" when we arrived, but after a while she disappeared into the hallway and returned with her shoes. "Popping to shops, Bompa" she said. The Gorse Fox took that as a hint. While we had no reason to go to the shops, the Gorse Fox did need to go to the post box. We headed off through the estate with Ellie holding the Gorse Fox's hand. We stopped at each road and he asked her to check if there any cars coming. When we knew the road to be clear we crossed, holding hands. She was very good.

On the way back from the post box, Ellie announced "Park, Bompa". So it was that we diverted and the Gorse Fox was led to a park that he didn't previously know. Ellie got onto the swing and demanded to go higher. Then almost immediately asked for he r dummy and Nana. She wanted to get off and go home. She did not want to walk, however. The Gorse Fox ended up carrying her all the way back, where settled don on Nana's lap and went to sleep.

Once Urban-cub had returned we left and stopped off at the fish and chip shop for our supper. It was late for us, but the fish was delicious as usual, even if the chips were a bit anaemic.

Thursday, July 11, 2019


It was another superb day. No clouds, a slight breeze and temperatures in the mid to high 20s. The Gorse Fox commented to the Silver Vixen that from a weather perspective it was perfect.

We had gentle start to the day with a mid morning visit from Ocado. This week the order was correct and was soon put away. We waited until Cousteau-Cub was ready and all headed in to Chichester. The Gorse Fox had an appointment at the chiropodist and the Silver Vixen wanted to mooch around until the Gorse Fox was finished.

We noticed that the shoe shop "Hotter" had reopened after their recent refurbishment following an arson attack. We took a look, but we really didn't need anything.

Once sufficient mooching had been completed we headed along to the Giggling Squid. It had always been our intention to grab lunch, the only question had been where?  We settled down with the menu and a drink.

Whilst they do lunchtime tapas, we both ignored that option. The Silver Vixen had some satay chicken to start and then a Thai red curry with coconut rice. The Gorse Fox chose salt and chilli squid followed by chicken gra par. We were both delighted with our choices and lingered for a couple of hours... enjoying a cheesecake and further drink before leaving.

We hopped on the bus and were home in about 15 minutes. So convenient.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


Another lovely warm day today - though not quite as sunny.

The Gorse Fox had football this morning and though on the weaker side, we ran out 4-1 winners, somehow. No goals for the Gorse Fox but he did defend with flair and gusto!

Now, he has spent a lot of time in the past few days looking at the family tree. This has been triggered by a distant cousin giving him access to her research. This filled him with hope that he was about to open up a whole new chunk of the family. Well now that he as looked at the details more carefully, he has to conclude that it is, at best, speculative, and at worst, just wrong. For example if you know that Thomas was married to Catherine, and Thomas came from Ireland and Catherine came from Essex, why would you file a Census record that say Thomas (from Ireland) is married to Mary (from Ireland)? Furthermore you know that Thomas was plasterer, but the Census says he was a waiter. This is just sloppy and makes the Gorse Fox doubt the veracity of any of her research. He has a simple rule - if you can't prove a fact with documented evidence - then don't record it. If you can derive a fact from several sources - document it and explain how you came to conclusion.

On another note, we sat and watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last night. It was really very good and very close to the original book. It reminded the Gorse Fox how much he enjoyed the trilogy when he read it. A fourth book was added in 2015, and as if by magic, a new book has just been advertised today... The Girl Who Takes and Eye for an Eye, it's almost as if we knew! (Obviously the new books were written by a different author as Stieg Larsson died a while back now). Apparently a further book will be published this August, The Girl Who Lived Twice. The Gorse Fox has some catching up to do.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019


It was 7:20-ish and Cousteau-Cub had just left for work. The Gorse Fox was sitting at the laptop checking his emails. All of a sudden the general background sounds of the house disappeared. There had be a momentary power cut and an eerie silence encompassed the kitchen. As quickly as it had stopped, it clicked back on and the compressor on the fridge burst back into life, the Echo Dot rebooted, the clocks on the cookers flashed with their factory defaults. The Gorse Fox reset the cookers and sat back to await the re-emergence of the WiFi and broadband. Much later he checked the big Mac (Condor) and that was down. That was rebooted. Then he checked "peregrine", his production Raspberry Pi. The UPS had done its job. While everything else had failed, peregrine carried on ticking and has now been running without interruption for 891 days.

The Gorse Fox had football this morning. There was a very good turn out and we ended up with two teams of 7 and two teams of 8. The Gorse Fox was playing for the "whites" and saw he was in for a torrid time. We played well, but conceded a late goal in the first game. Similarly, in the second game we conceded a single late goal following a poor back pass from a new chap. In our last game we did actually manage to score a goal. Unfortunately, they managed to score two! Not our finest hour.

The Silver Vixen is out at the Embroiderers' Guild today so the Gorse Fox has a quiet afternoon with the family tree. He received the death certificate for his 3 time great grandmother today. This confirmed some facts that the Gorse Fox had assumed... but still gives no clue (though you wouldn't really expect it to) to her elusive maiden name. Back to the archives.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Reboot the week

A lovely day today. Lots of sunshine and temperatures in the low 20s.

The day started with a leisurely breakfast and wander through the papers online, and Facebook. It was while doing this that the broadband modem decided to reboot. Now, in itself this isn't a major issue. Lives don't depend on it. It won't hit the media. It won't feature on the evening news. It was however the second time this has happened in 10 days. This caused a small alarm to start ringing at the back of the Gorse Fox's mind. He got on with some domestic chores and then sat down to do some research.

An hour or so later the Gorse Fox was none the wiser. He had read of many similar incidents, he had read through the event logs, he had run the BT line tests, but he had not found any reason this should have happened. Now he will just have to wait and see if this is the start of some exotic problem.

While thinking about the problem he also looked at comments regarding the WiFi. He has split the network into 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz subnetworks. Most of the Apple devices love to link to the 5Ghz service which should provide much greater speed... however, while it is great for transferring data round the house, we have problems getting out to the internet. Again the Gorse Fox found plenty of 5Ghz problems discussed on the web, but none really addressed his scenario. Frustrating really.

The Silver Vixen is going out to Embroiderers' Guild tomorrow so spent a while doing this week's Ocado list... before pottering in the garden. The Gorse Fox realised that the curry he had planned for this evening would be a little sparse as we were out of rice. As it was such a nice afternoon he grabbed a bag and walked round to Sainsbury's and back. (Yes there are several shops that are much closer and would sell rice, but he fancied the exercise). It was a nice 6km round trip and by checking the labels, he managed to save some money by getting an "own brand" for £3 instead of the named brand we usually get which would have been £8.50.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Farewell Old Friend

Apparently it had been forecast, but the Gorse Fox was surprised to wake up and find it raining. Not just a bit, but properly raining. SO it continued throughout the morning. Fortunately, it remained quite  warm.

The Gorse Fox had football this morning We played at our usual venue, but this time shared it with dozens of girls football teams who were there for a big tournament. They were playing outside, but as usual, we were on the inside pitches. The Gorse Fox found himself with the yellow-bibs. It was a hard fought game, but we ended up 3-1 winners and the Gorse Fox contributed 2 goals along the way.

Leaving the sports arena he headed across to LA and collected Cousteau-Cub who had stayed overnight at Urban-Cub's.  As Pistol Pete is still injured, Cousteau-Cub took on the task of walking the dogs... in the pouring rain.

Back home we had a quiet afternoon. Unfortunately the Gorse Fox had to bid farewell to trusty, long term friend. The tangerine coloured plastic colander we have had since we got married 46 years ago, finally gave up the ghost. The side snapped as he drained the potatoes. Though we have nursed it for a long time, it was finally time to bid a fond adieu. It has been afforded a solemn burial in this week's trash.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Seats, Eats, and Laines

It was another very warm day with temperatures into the top half of the 20s. Hay fever, which clobbered the Gorse Fox yesterday, seemed better today.

The morning was filled with bits and pieces. The one that took the longest was a comment that there seemed to be an error on the spreadsheet that the Gorse Fox had developed to manage Ellie's childcare responsibilities. Sone of the algorithms were, apparently, not making the automatic assignments that were expected. Needless to say this need fixing. Unfortunately, the formulae in question were quite complex "if" statements containing nest ANDs and ORs which had to be picked apart bit by bit. In the end the Gorse Fox concluded that the spreadsheet was right and something else was wrong. Indeed that turned out to be the case. The problem lay in the change over between child minders, and the fact that the new child minder does not take over fully until September - her unavailability hadn''t been recorded - as soon as it was, the spreadsheet did exactly what was expected. The Gorse Fox was vindicated.

Next came a discussion with the travel agent... a new airline reference, and the Gorse Fox went online and booked our seats for next May's trip. He chose the same seats that they travelled back in a few weeks ago. They had proven to be excellent.

We headed out to Brighton. We were meeting with Sue and Trevor and Auntie Jean.  We had an incredibly quick drive across, considering it was a lovely warm sunny summer's day. The expected traffic was nowhere to be seen. We settled down with a cup of tea and had a chinwag, catching up on the family news from both sides... Eleanor's health, Jon's & Caroline's pregnancy, new house, and work arrangements, and Alan's new girlfriend, agency, and gigs.

We had an early table booked at Danny's. We have eaten there before several times and the Chinese buffet is always excellent. As Trevor guided the Gorse Fox through the maze that is the back streets of Brighton and Hove, he had a bit of a wobble... and suddenly realised that he wasn't quite sure where we were going. Sue Googled the address and we homed in on the venue. As usual the food was superb. We started with a shared platter of various Chinese favourites, then a course of crispy duck and crispy lamb, then the ladies chickened out and went to dessert and coffee while Trevor and the Gorse Fox both had a main course - in the case of the Gorse Fox it was Szechuan Chicken and Chow Mein. A super feast all round.

Leaving the restaurant we headed into Brighton and parked up. Jean had her disabled stickers which allowed us to park in a disabled bay. We wandered through the North Laines awards the sea. In the regeneration that has been going on, a new section of Laines has been discovered and they have been refurbished and opened up. It's so new that the various shops are still awaiting tenants, but it really adds to the Brighton experience - and was very impressive. There are some really nice new restaurants there, which have opened and seemed to be doing a roaring trade.
We didn't spend too long exploring, but it was nice to see the new areas that had been hidden for so long. Apparently there are still further Lines that are yet to be opened up.

We headed back to the house for more chat and some coffee. As usual the Gorse Fox and Sue ended up chatting about genealogy and exploring some old maps of Brighton. It was a lovely evening and it was gone half ten before we left. Agin we had a fabulous run through to get home and we were in bed  well before eleven thirty.

Friday, July 05, 2019


Well the good news is that Pistol Pete had not broken any ribs. He has, however, received extreme muscular bruising and has been told not to try lifting anything for  few weeks. He's very uncomfortable.

Ellie gave us a good night's sleep, not waking properly until gone seven this morning. She then proceeded to eat us out of house and home - egg, bacon, cheese, porridge, and toast. Once full she was ready to make mischief... and we had a lovely morning.

The Silver Vixen and Cousteau-Cub headed off into Chichester around eleven. the Silver Vixen had a hair appointment, and Cousteau-Cub was due at work.

The Gorse Fox received a battlefield promotion - he was now in charge. He loaded the car and headed off (with Ellie) down to the beach.

The tide was in, so there was no sand available, but we strolled along the prom, stopping at the play park where Ellie insisted on being pushed higher, and higher on the swing. Eventually she was enticed away and we headed further along the prom. She was riding her scooter by now, but was son engrossed in what everyone else was doing that we made very slow progress. In the end the scooter was abandoned and the Gorse Fox had to carry it on the back of the buggy.

We stopped for a while so Ellie could have a drink and a snack. Then made our way back the way we had come. Another stop at the play area was permitted before we arrived by the pier. The Gorse Fox took his charge out along the pier so she could see the water beneath and look back at the beach. She seemed genuinely intrigued by it all.

Eventually we headed back to the car, home, and Ellie went straight to her cot. That lasted all of 5 minutes before she called out and wanted to come down for some lunch! After she had eaten she disappeared into the garden and demanded that bubbles were produced. The bubble wand was duly retrieved from its storage space and bubbles rose in the warm afternoon air.

It was mid afternoon before the Silver Vixen arrived home and Pistol Pete came along soon after. The Gorse Fox loaded Ellie into the car (as Pistol Pete couldn't) and then, all of a sudden, it was quiet again!

Thursday, July 04, 2019

A good ribbing

The Silver Vixen had arranged to go across to LA and see Urban-Cub and Ellie. The objective was to go and see the new child-minder during one of Ellie's introductory sessions.

The Gorse Fox was left under the supervision of Jasper and Cousteau-Cub, though she was off to work by mid-morning. The Gorse Fox waited for the arrival of the Ocado order so that it could be packed away before he made any further plans. The Ocado delivery was a bit of a surprise in as much as it didn't feature many of the items that he thought the Silver Vixen had ordered. It turned out, later, that the most recent changes to the order hadn't been recorded and we just received our default order.

Once the shopping was filed away, the Gorse Fox walked in to Shripney. There were a few bits and pieces that he needed from Sainsbury's and as it was such a nice day it seemed silly to take the car. After all it's only 3km each way.

Back home the Gorse Fox fired up Audible and continued to listen to the book he had been absorbing when on holiday. There was only about 2 hours of narration left and he was able to have it on in the background as he pottered about.

The phone rang. It was the Silver Vixen. Pistol Pete had been involved in a training exercise at work and it looked as if he had got one or more broken ribs. Plans were metaphorically thrown in the air and the Silver Vixen loaded Ellie into the car and brought her home to us so that Urban-Cub could get Pistol Pete to the hospital. No news so far, but he was clearly in a great deal of discomfort. Ellie will stay with us overnight.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Dusty bytes

The lovely spell of weather continues. The Silver Vixen was going to spend the day with Urban-Cub and the Gorse Fox had football scheduled. We both left home soon after nine, leaving Cousteau-Cub to quiet morning before her afternoon shift.

Football was pretty good, all things being considered. Ron (he who knows it all) was there for the first time in a few weeks so there was plenty of moaning going on, but most of just ignored him. By the end he was getting frustrated and throwing himself into some fairly reckless tackles. The Gorse Fox had a quiet word with the ref and he was warned. The game itself worked out 5-4 in our favour - but again no goals for the Gorse Fox. He was, however, pleased with the way he played today.

Back home there was a quick sale for lunch and then the afternoon was spent research the McDonald branch of the family tree. Some new information has been suggested by an apparent 5th cousin in Atlanta. The Gorse Fox was eager to get proof and fill in some further blanks. Unfortunately it was a deeply frustrating afternoon digging through the dusty old bytes of the digital archives. The Gorse Fox was unable to corroborated any single fact or assertion. That doesn't mean they are incorrect, just that (as yet) there is no real evidence. The hunt goes on and, no doubt, emails will flash back and forth across the Atlantic.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Sports Day

It was another cracking day. The blue backwash was punctuated with clouds to break up the monotony. Some were fluffy and white, some had a dark underbelly. It was a sky that you could just sit and watch and never get bored. A light breeze heaved the clouds around, without them ever seeming to merge or race.

The Gorse Fox streamed across the Sussex countryside to Worthing, sticking to the A27 in case the roadworks were continuing near Ferring. He had left a little earlier so he could get in a few more laps of the track before the football started. As he dropped down of the A27, down Durrington Hill he pondered the fact that the school sports day hadn't yet taken over the track at Worthing, as it did this time most years.

Th Gorse Fox's prescience had been uncanny. As he pulled into the sports centre he was greeted by the sight of several hundred teenage girls in their red polo shirts and blue shorts gathered all round the track. The Gorse Fox was not going to get his laps in! He made do. He lapped the football cages six or seven times until he had at least a couple of kilometres of "warm-up" under his belt. The rest of the lads started to gather. There had been a tournament yesterday, so the the numbers were curtailed. In the end we played 8-v-8 in three separate games. The Gorse Fox was playing for the blues and we lost the first game 2-0, but after that we managed to win the next two games. The Gorse Fox did not manage to score any goals today. In fact he didn't feel as if he had played particularly well. Never mind, there's always tomorrow.

The afternoon has been spent with the book "Spitfire" again. Considering the speed at which the Gorse Fox reads, he finds this book requires a certain reverence and mist not be rushed. It's partly to do with the episodic style of writing, and partly the subject matter, but this must not be rushed.

Monday, July 01, 2019

The knives are out

It's been another lovely day. Again the temperatures were in the low 20s and though there were clouds to punctuate the clear blue sky, it remained quite lovely.

There had been no plans for the day but we decided that it would be nice to pop out for lunch. We grabbed the bus and headed for Chichester. The Silver Vixen had some birthday cards to select and a present for her hairdresser, who is about to leave to have a baby. The Gorse Fox didn't really have anything particular in mind, but knowing that the Steamer Trading Company was about to close down, he went along to see if there were any bargains. Well, it turns out that there were. In the end, over two trips, one before and one after lunch we walked away with a couple of new santoku knives and a new knife block in which to keep them along with our old knives.

For lunch we stopped in at Crispins'. Regular readers will know that we have been there many times before. The food is always good, freshly prepared, and excellent value for money. There's nothing that the Gorse Fox would consider "special" on the menu, but it's good honest fare. The Silver Vixen had a quiche with new potatoes and salad, and the Gorse Fox had a chicken and bacon Caesar salad. Simple, but very satisfying.

Back home we've had a quiet afternoon in the Orangery. The Gorse Fox has continued to read the book about the Spitfire, just concluding the section that related the defence of Malta. Amazing stuff really... and it really should be mandatory reading for today's "generation snowflake".