Sunday, April 22, 2018

Lightning

Well last night we had several hours of heavy rain and three or four hours of lightning - though very little thunder. This morning the Gorse Fox was surprised to find everything had dried up and the sun was shining. It wasn't as warm as it has been, but it was certainly a lovely day.

There was no football today as several of the regulars were unavailable. That seemed like a good excuse for the Gorse Fox to head out with the Silver Vixen to Haskin's for breakfast. It seems to be getting ever more popular as we joined the queue. There was no hurry so we waited our turn and loaded up with a "full English" with tea and coffee. We had a lovely couple of hours before heading home.

Back home, the Gorse Fox grabbed the jet-washer and made a start on the paths in the back garden. It took about an hour, but all the stains, mildew, and winter's detritus have been blasted away and it looks as good as new. The biggest problem is that the hose didn't quite stretch far enough. The Gorse Fox may have to get a short extension to reach the last few paving slabs.

We got a message from Urban-Cub. Pistol Pete had been called in to the Prison to help deal with some "unrest". She was at a loose end so brought Ellie across and spent the afternoon with us. This worked well because the Gorse Fox's little sister was visiting Beloved Aunt in Toronto. She called, using Facetime, and we had a nice long chat with Beloved Aunt and she had a chance to say hello to Ellie.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Plants

Another lovely day - though not quite as hot as the last two. Soon after lunch, some high cloud blocked the sun, but by late afternoon that had lifted.

It was a fairly uneventful day. The morning was spent preparing for a forthcoming trip. There was currency to order - and the Gorse Fox had just missed the week's peak exchange rates. It wasn't bad at $1.37 to the GBP.... but a few days ago he would have got $1.42.

On the off-chance, The Gorse Fox phoned the Barber's. She could just squeeze him in - it was either today or some time next week. The Gorse Fox decided it had to be today.

Late afternoon we had a game of chess with the pots in the garden. Acers needed to be moved, as did palms, and fuchsias. Plants had started to swamp each other and it was time to shuffle things around a bit. It didn't take too long, but it looks a lot better now.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Maxims

There is an old saying "a watched pot never boils". Well the Gorse Fox corollary to that is "an ignored pot burns".

The Gorse Fox has been making up the sauce for tonight's curry from scratch and got distracted at the stage that says "allow the mixture to reduce".

He fears it may be just slightly burnt (it does look rather good though). Just the fish to add when we are getting ready to eat.

Note to anyone that cares - this is based on the recipe known as BIR (British Indian Restaurant) curry sauce.

Quiet please

It's another fabulous day. The car registered the outside temperature as 25C and it has certainly ramped up a little since then.

Ellie slept through the night and in the end the Gorse Fox probably woke her when he made the coffee first thing. She was her usual chirpy self - even if her appetite was a little subdued, probably because of the heat. We did our usual tag-team as we all got ready and the Silver Vixen washed and dressed Ellie. We had to get her home to Urban-Cub as she had her weekly swimming session late morning.

Urban-Cub's was a hive of activity with Jake getting ready for work, Pistol Pete out walking the dog,  and a tiler busy in the bathroom. The family bathroom was only half tiled and as Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete want to put a proper shower in, they decided that the tiling had to be finished to the ceiling. The tiler from the developer was happy to do this and should be finished by lunchtime. Plumber is scheduled for next week to sort out the shower itself.

We left them to it and headed for Chichester. The Silver Vixen had ordered some "click and collect" trousers from one of the stores and had been informed they were ready. It's a good job she checked them. One pair was too small and the other pair turned out to be a cap! So much for automated warehousing.

Quiet afternoon in the Orangery but the Gorse Fox will make a start on this evening's fish curry soon.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Gravity

Fabulous weather all day today. Orangery opened up, rill was running, garden furniture covers removed and the furniture cleaned. The evening news says that it was the warmest April day for 70 years. You'll hear no complaints from here.

Urban-Cub turned up with Ellie first thing. We would be looking after Ellie until tomorrow morning. She's getting to grips with this walking lark. Urban-Cub had rung the doorbell and when the Gorse Fox answered, there was Ellie walking up the path by herself. She spent the next hour or two exploring the Orangery and the garden with the Gorse Fox in close escort. Despite his close ministrations she was overcome by the perilous forces of gravity and tripped. She banged her head on the corner of the skirting board and has a small cut and lump. Bizarre as it sounds, the Gorse Fox was glad that Urban-Cub was there to see it happen... it was so much easier than explaining later!

The day has basically revolved round Ellie, her meals, and her sleep. The rest of the time we tag teamed her. As the Gorse Fox writes this the Silver Vixen is making up her bed prior to taking her for a bath. As the Gorse Fox went in to check on her, he found her with one leg over the side of the cot (Ellie, that is, not the Silver Vixen). He will have to see if the base can be lowered further.

Meanwhile the day has been interspersed with deliveries. The Gorse Fox's new battery for the netbook, some new suitcases, and a new buggy for Ellie. White van man has been busy today.

Charging

New battery has arrived for the old netbook. It's installed and working and seems to be holding a good charge. The Gorse Fox is very pleased! This has resurrected a much-loved machine.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Now that's better

Wall to wall sunshine today. Temperature in low 20s. Perfect.

The morning was filled with the usual commitments. The Silver Vixen headed off to Pilates and soon after, the Gorse Fox headed off to football. Usually he heads off without a thought. Today, however, he thought to check on the traffic with Google. That turned out to be inspired. The routes he normally takes were a sea of red. He chose another route and arrived without delays or incidents.

Today was a 6-v-7 game. The 6, in orange, had two of the most mobile players (one, a firearms office from the Police - based at Gatwick). The Gorse Fox was on the 7 team playing in yellow. It was hard work at first and by half time we were 3-1 down. In the second half, the Gorse Fox decided to stop chasing them and make them chase him. This changed the game and took the pressure off. By the end of the hour we had clawed our way back and ended up as 4-3 winners - though the Gorse Fox didn't manage to score today.

Back home there were some chores to complete. We are meeting up with the Sonning Crew tonight and have invited them back here after our crew curry.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cousteau calling

Another lovely day. Warm sunshine from first thing through until mid afternoon when it clouded over.

It was a lovely day for football. This was the first time this season the Gorse Fox has allowed his legs out! Up until now he has worn a tracksuit, but it was warm enough to wear shorts today.  In the first hour, the Gorse Fox played for the red-bibs. We did well with two wins and a draw. The Gorse Fox was playing as a disciplined defender today - not straying or roaming from his position. This worked well and we only conceded one goal in the three games.

In the second hour, the Gorse Fox played for the blue-bibs. This was looking quite difficult and the first game was a 3-1 loss which the Gorse Fox was worried would set the pattern for the next two games. He needn't have worried. We drew the second game then won the last game.

Back home and showered the Gorse Fox headed out. There was stuff to take to the recycling centre (tip), the car needed filling up, and there were bits and pieces he wanted from Sainsbury's.

The afternoon was quiet with the Silver Vixen out with her coven, but Cousteau-Cub did phone for a chat. It was the first time we had heard from her since she returned to Thailand. She has shaken off the cold she had travelled back with and had been diving most days. It was funny to hear that, while with us, she had become hooked on Celebrity Bake Off and Masterchef since her trip and was working through them on YouTube. Even the Coventry Hobbit has succumbed to the shows. Cousteau-Cub is off to Phuket so we'll hopefully get to chat some more in the next couple of days.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Minty

Well it took several tries of several distros, but eventually the Gorse Fox managed to get the Sammy 'Hawk' to boot correctly. He's using a flavour of Linux called 'Mint' - and it seems ok so far. (Needless to say the Gorse Fox is using Hawk to write this blog entry).

Busy busy

Gorgeous day. Wall to wall sunshine.

We started with a trip to the vet. Not for us, you understand, but for Jasper. It was time for his annual inoculations. This seemed to go more smoothly than usual. Maybe we caught him unawares.

Once home the Gorse Fox refitted the dash cam in the Silver Vixen's car. This had fallen off and kept falling off. He thought that he's have one more go before resorting to something sticky! So far it has worked.

One of his favourite PCs is an old Samsung netbook (at least 8 years old). The problem is that its battery won't hold any charge. He found a supplier today where he can get a new battery (covered by warranty). This triggered him to plug the machine in and try to bring it up to date. This was not as successful as he had hoped... and as he write this a second installation is under way. The basic stuff seems to install, but the screen drivers don't! When you then try to boot the system you get rubbish across the screen. Will have to see what happens. It would be nice to get it working again after all this time.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mixed

The weather was mixed. In the morning it was bright but overcast. Soon after lunch we had some heavy rain, but by mid afternoon the sun was out and it was really warming up.

The Gorse Fox headed across to Ford for the football. Roadworks are plaguing the route so the Gorse Fox resolved to take the long way back after the game. This double the journey length but probably halved the time. The football was a 6-v-5 / 5-v-6 game. Our yellow bibs had the 6 players in the first half, then 5 in the second half. It worked well, but the Gorse Fox's yellow-bibs were 6-0 head by half time. One of those goals was from the Gorse Fox. In the second half it was harder being a man down, but we dug in. The Gorse Fox scored another goal and by the end we had stretched it 12-4.

During the afternoon we heard from Urban-Cub. She was meant to be at work, but had picked up some sickness-bug and wasn't risking it.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Along the Coast

I was a bit of a misty start but that soon burnt away to leave a lovely sunny day. Is Spring finally arriving? The Gorse Fox hopes so.

He popped in to Bognor first thing. There was the package to collect from the Post Office - and he wanted some new trainers. There is a large Sports Direct shop in Bognor (much bigger than the one in Chichester). This would have a much better selection from which to choose. He wasn't long - the shops were quiet at that time of the morning and he left clutching a nice new pair of bright blue trainers.

Back home the Silver Vixen was intent on cleaning the inside of her car so while she did that the Gorse Fox went and cleaned the rill. He must have collected 4 or 5 kilos of blanket weed before adding some light bleach to try and keep it clear. It certainly looks nice and clear now, so it was worth the effort. Whilst out there he also turned the jet-wash on the patio. This had developed some discoloration. Ten minutes under the water jets and it was as bright as when first laid.

The Gorse Fox had the bit between his teeth. He moved into the front. Both cars were given the shampoo and jet-wash treatment. It had been a busy morning.

Early afternoon we headed across to see Urban-Cub. It was a just a flying visit, but and excuse to say hello and see Ellie. Then we continued east along the Coast to Brighton. We had arranged to visit and go out for dinner with the Silver Vixen's cousins.

As usual, their hospitality was faultless and we enjoyed a lovely chat and some tea in their kitchen extension. Rick Wakeman has been working on this for quite a while. It's not quite finished, but is certainly looking good. We caught up on the lates news before heading out to dinner at Danny's. We have eaten there before, it is a Chinese restaurant where pay a single price and then order anything you like, as often as you like. It cooked "on demand" and brought to the table. The quality is superb and it is clearly very popular. The place was very busy, but with such good quality and good value for money it's not really surprising.

We went back to the house and sat and chatted for a couple more hours. All the latest on families, a bit of genealogy, holiday plans, and anecdotes about health and work were shared. It was getting late and we bade our goodbyes before heading home. It had been a lovely evening.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Retail therapy

There is a list of items that we need in preparation for the the forthcoming holiday and the family wedding that will immediately follow our return. Today seemed like a good opportunity to make a start. So it was that the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen made our way into Chichester for some "retail therapy".

We split up on arrival - often the most practical approach. the Silver Vixen headed off with her list and the Gorse Fox started on his. After an hour or so the Gorse Fox was mostly done and had shuttled his purchases back to the car. After a quick exchange of text messages we met up and headed off to get some lunch. We ended up, as we often do,  at The Chantry. Not exactly "fine dining" but good food and good value for money, with nice staff thrown in for good measure.

Fed, we returned to the shops. The Silver Vixen needed a dress for the family wedding so we set about the department store. Several were viewed and rejected, several more tried on and rejected, then we found the perfect candidate - and it fitted perfectly. Done.

Last stop was M&S for a few additional bit for the Gorse Fox. This turned out to be more difficult than planned as the sizes/colours that the Gorse Fox wanted were not available in store. This meant ordering online and a collection tomorrow. Sounds easy enough. Oh no! They had trouble logging on, they had trouble finding the articles, they couldn't select the colour, their internal iPad driven website looked almost unusable. In fact one item had to be ignored and the Gorse Fox ordered it when he got home.

Having stayed in yesterday for deliveries - there was clearly a delivery today whilst we were out. As this needed a signature it has gone back to the Royal Mail depot and the Gorse Fox will have to collect it. Oh well - it is Friday the 13th.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Deliveries

Thursday must mean administration.

We had a relaxed start to the day. It was a bit grey out, but at least it was not wet. The longest task for the day was the accounts. Whilst the daily spend was up to date, the spreadsheet had not been cross-checked against the various account statements for about a month. This always takes a while, but with all the stories you hear regarding credit card fraud and online scams it seems like an important self-protection measure.

In parallel with the accounts, the Gorse Fox had a row with British Gas. He pays for an annual maintenance of the boiler and it had been canceled in January with a promise they would rebook. So far they hadn't. The discussion went like this:
I'll book something in for you now. Just so we can make sure we give the engineer enough time, is everything working okay with your boiler and central heating system, as far as you’re aware?  
The Gorse Fox  (10:06:52 GMT) : Yes everything is working fine, but I'm paying for an annual service and want to keep everything in tip-top condition 
Shannon (10:07:29 GMT) : I understand. Are there any other gas appliances that you would like us to service whilst the engineer is there? 
The Gorse Fox (10:08:00 GMT) : No. The only other gas appliance is my hob and that is working just fine
Shannon (10:09:33 GMT) : We could attend on Tuesday 5th June? Would you prefer 8-10, 10-12, 12-2 or 2-4? 
The Gorse Fox  (10:10:48 GMT) : Well 2-4 would be best but I think that is rather taking the mickey. I'm paying for an "Annual" service not an 18-month service. 
Shannon (10:11:28 GMT) : I'm afraid the service can be conducted at any point in the contract year. This is the next available appointment I have for you. May I please take the best contact number for the engineer to call when they’re on their way? If it's a mobile, we'll also send a text confirming the appointment.
The Gorse Fox (10:13:11 GMT) : So with careful diary management you could actually perform my "annual" service every 23 months
It was clear that Shannon was in no position to do anything. The Gorse Fox signed off and resolved to cancel the contract when the service has been completed.

While this was going on, the Silver Vixen had driven across to LA to collect Ellie. The Gorse Fox stayed put as he was expecting some deliveries from the nice Mr Amazon.

Urban-Cub and Pistol Pete had to empty their bedroom of all furniture ready for the chaps to come in and install fitted  units. The plan is that they will "camp" in their living room until the work is finished next week. So we looked after Ellie for a couple of hours while they finished and got some shopping done.

As usual she was full of joy and chuckles and kept us on our toes as she charged around. She seems to have mastered this walking lark!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Disallowed

Though there had been more heavy rain over night, the Gorse Fox woke up to bright sunshine. The Silver Vixen headed out for Pilates and the Gorse Fox made his way to Worthing for the football.

It was a relaxed affair with a fairly even spread of 6-a-side. One of the chaps brought his grandson along to keep us on our toes. The score ticked up very slowly - first us, then them, then us and so forth. The final score ended up 8-7 to the other team. The Gorse Fox had scored 3 goals but one had been disallowed. The ref "claimed" that the Gorse Fox had been running. He cannot believe such a thing could be true... so feels it a a moral draw of 8-8, even if it was an actual 8-7.

This afternoon, the Gorse Fox has been herding cats. He's been trying to arrange a lunch for the VM Old Gits. Attempting to get a date where we have a sensible quorum has been impossible - particularly if trying to factor in the dates when our US colleague is in the UK. In the end the Gorse Fox has made an executive decision. We will meet one Friday in July and people can take it or leave it. (There will be a further date in the autumn for stragglers).

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Only one hour

The forecast was not promising and it was raining heavily when the Gorse Fox came down. It did soon stop, however, and he was cautious enough to take a change of clothing when heading out for football.

The Silver Vixen also had plans. She was meeting up with a friend and attending a meeting of the Embroiderers' Guild. We headed off in our separate directions.

The Gorse Fox played for the yellow-bibs in the first hour. Again, he was lucky enough to play with some good ball players and as a result we won the session with a 3-1 win and two draws. The Gorse Fox was on the score sheet again with a sneaky little goal scored as he ghosted up, unnoticed as a free-kick was being taken. Unmarked, he just passed the ball straight into the net.

The second hour was less interesting. It was cancelled. There were only 4 of us there. There had been a tournament yesterday and the turnout today was affected. The Gorse Fox headed home. Despite the forecast, it had remained dry throughout.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Committee decision

The committee has made a decision. Guernsey it is.

Holidays

Why is it that selecting a holiday takes so long? The Silver Vixen suggested we book a further vacation for later in the year. As she was out for much of the day, the Gorse Fox started to look at various options.

The starting point was our wedding anniversary (45 years, Sapphire, this year)... which is in high summer. The location that cam to mind was Guernsey, where we had our Honeymoon. Seemed like a good idea. Then you start to select accommodation and transport... and filter by the dates. Suddenly the prices look a little startling and make you wonder if a trip further afield may actually work out better.

Hello Expedia, Thomas Cook, TUI, Secret Escapes, and all of the other reputable sites. The trouble is, where do you go? Gran Canaria, Madeira, Madrid, Lake Garda, the Amalfi coast, the list goes on. The Gorse Fox rejected Mexico and the US because they seem a bit far for one week. He rejected Turkey and Egypt because they seem a little unstable. He rejected France because it's France. He rejected Thailand because, again, it seems a little far for just one week.

This will have to go before the committee (i.e. the Silver Vixen) and we will narrow it down. The Gorse Fox suspects we will end up in Guernsey after all.

On a side note, the Gorse Fox heard from Cousteau-Cub today. She had a good trip back to Thailand but has a stinking cold (the pleasures of a cool and wet English spring). She has had to get a new nano-SIM for her phone and couldn't keep her old number so it's taken a while for her to get back on the grid.