Friday, January 20, 2017

Power off

All the powered computers and drives have been powered down. Only battery driven systems are still up. Electrician is due soon to sort out the wiring that the oven installer cocked up.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


It was another very cold morning but as we had no need to go out early it wasn't really a problem. The usual admin kicked off the day and that was augmented by completion of a few more historical diary entries from 1989. This was one of the years when we created a treasure hunt for the cubs to find their Christmas presents. Reading the diary entries (and the clues) brought back some excellent memories.

Once the admin was done we headed out to Urban Cub's house. We had arranged to meet up and see how she was getting on. They certainly have been busy and the house already looks straight. Only one or two boxes are left to unpack. We sat and chatted for a while, then all went off to the local garden centre for a lunchtime snack.

On the way home we dropped in to the work-surface suppliers for one last check on the choice of colours. Seeing the choice that Tinkerbell and Two Hats had made yesterday caused us to question our initial choice. Examining the two samples side-by-side convinced us that we had chosen well and we stuck with our selection. We are a bit busy tomorrow, but hopefully we can trigger the whole process on Monday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wheeling and Dealing

Football was on the agenda. It's a week since the Gorse Fox has played and he's suffering withdrawal symptoms. It was bitterly cold, but the sun was bright and as soon as we started to move about we warmed up. The Gorse Fox had selected two captains and told them to pick the teams. They seemed to have considerable difficulty understanding the concept of taking turns and building a balanced team. In the end we had a team of strikers playing a team of defenders.

It was a good natured and very close game. It ended 4-4 and two of our goals came from the Gorse Fox. The first was a break-away goal, on-one-one with the keeper and the Gorse Fox bent the ball round him into the back corner of the goal. The second was direct from a corner kick. The Gorse Fox chipped and bent the ball over the goalie's head straight into the back corner of the goal. Very satisfying - though completely accidental!

Back home Tinkerbell and Two Hats came in to ask about or research regarding the kitchen surfaces. We gave them a summary and directed them to our favoured supplier. We suggested that if they were interested they should ask if they could do a deal as we would do both houses at the same time and would be happy to pay cash. A couple of hours later Tinkerbell and Two Hats knocked on the door - they were happy. They had selected a surface. They had asked about a deal, and there was one there to be finalised. The ball is back in our court now. We have to arrange for the disconnection of our gas hob so that the process can begin. The Gorse Fox is on it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Some people fill you with confidence. Others, not so much. The John Lewis delivery chaps turned up again to install the new ovens. This chap was far more inspiring than the chap who bottled out last time. It took them about an hour, but they got both of the ovens installed and did some simple testing. They took away the old ovens, packed up their tools and departed.

First job was to fire up the oven and let any lacquers or solvents burn off. The Gorse Fox followed the instructions and set the timer, temperature, and mode. He retired to the study. There was a click and everything went quiet. The RCD had blown. Somewhere they had done something wrong and the circuits had tripped. The Gorse Fox phoned his electrician. A bit of basic problem determination isolated the problem to the Grid Switch. This meant that it was the wiring to the Combi-Oven that was at fault. Isolated, now everything else is working ok. The electrician, however, cannot get to us until Friday.

Oh well, it was never going to be easy.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Kitchen Sink

It was a dull, wet, chilly Monday. The sort of day that makes you long to be on Koh Lanta with Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit. We weren't, however, so had to make do. The Silver Vixen had an appointment in Chichester and the Gorse Fox was determined to go and get his hair cut.

Once these important tasks were complete, we headed for Fontwell. It had been a while since we last had lunch at The Old Stables and as we needed to get over to Walberton, we decided lunch was a sensible call (particularly as the GF's "Gourmet Card" ensures a 25% discount at said restaurant). We had a lovely, leisurely lunch, then moved on to Walberton.

We wanted to chat through some of the thoughts we had been having regarding the possible replacement of the kitchen worktops and what options were available. The company we had spoken to before Christmas had been helpful, but it was time to start nailing down some the choices we had to make. We started with stroll round the showroom and chat with one of the owners of the business. Then we progressed on to the office where we could talk about more technical fitting questions with another of the owners. This proved very useful and helped us resolve a number of matters (including the supply of a new under-mounted kitchen sink). Only a few more bits and pieces to sort out and we should be able to go ahead.

Back home, the Gorse Fox checked the Time Machine backups. The switch from NAS to a USB-connected drive seems to have done the trick and everything has been running without problems since yesterday... which is quite a relief.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


There was no football today. We couldn't muster sufficient players (and besides which, the Gorse Fox really should rest his knee a little longer).

The morning was spent tied to the keyboard as the Gorse Fox experimented further with his code and the extracted scrapbooks. This showed up a number of typos that needed to be addressed in the old blog text. In turn that reminded him of photos that could be inserted to illustrate the text better, and so it went on.

Since the last update to OSX on the MAC, the Gorse Fox has been seeing an occasional problem with the built-in "Time Machine" backup system. This is a "belt and braces" backup that GF takes alongside his normal backup regime (Paranoid? Moi?). This then has taken some additional research and as yet no definite solution. What GF has done, though, is to repurpose an old USB-drive and switch the Time Machine target to that drive.

We popped out for a while. We wanted to look at the furniture displays in Homebase. Clearly, that was not going to happen. Where there used to be an extensive display of Habitat furniture - there is nothing. Disappointed, we did look around at the kitchen displays and layouts, but whilst informative and in some cases inspiring - it was not why we had ventured out.

The afternoon was spent back at the code-face.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


A lovely quiet day today. The Silver Vixen spent much of the day catching up on her admin and looking through websites for a new unit for family room. Unfortunately the supplier we have used in the past, who specialised in New England style furniture,  seems to have gone out of business.

The Gorse Fox retired to the study and finished coding his latest program and then ran through all the tests on the test machine (tawnyowl). Everything now working he started running against the live (but private) blog and completed several bulk updates as a result. Very satisfying. In the end, as an experiment, he extracted a week of posts from 1988 and created a document which documented our family holiday in Cornwall in May, 1988 (complete with photos). It's like being able to extract scrapbooks of family events, at will.

On another topic, the problem with the Gorse Fox's knee seems to have pretty much settled. There is, however, no football tomorrow - so he will be able to rest it for a few days more.

Friday, January 13, 2017


It was a busy day. Urban Cub was moving out. This meant that we spent a while loading up the cars with her stuff. Loaded, she headed off to her new house to await the removal men who were bringing the contents of the old house. Pistol Pete and the kids were already there.

The Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox left it an hour or two and then went across to help. We had timed it well as the removal crew had only been there about 10 minutes. Boxes were being unloaded from the van at a prodigious rate. Urban Cub, the Silver Vixen, and the Gorse Fox got started immediately on unpacking in the kitchen. This turned out to be a significant problem as, clearly, the old kitchen had far more storage then the new one. There was stuff everywhere. Fortunately the Silver Vixen has various spells that she can use in such circumstances. Bit by bit the stuff started to disappear and the insides of cupboards and drawers filled... and when full, she waved her wand and the insides grew to accommodate even more. Finally the kitchen was done.

The Gorse Fox helped in the kitchen, then helped Pistol Pete put the bed together, then retired to the living room so that he could put all the technology/media devices together and link up the communications (limited at this time to the phone). Talking of the phone, there were phone sockets scattered round the room. The Gorse Fox tested them all. None worked. Only the master socket in the hallway was active.  The last job on the Gorse Fox's list was to put up the blackboard in the kitchen. This didn't take too long - though tracking down suitable pan headed screws took a little while.

Soon after five we had all decided that enough was enough. Everything else could wait for another day. Urban Cub and the family would order a take-away... and the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox headed home.

It had been a busy day, but Urban Cub seemed happy with the progress and seemed settled in her new "nest". The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox start another chapter - but will certainly miss having her around.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Joints and joins

The Gorse Fox seems to have twisted his knee. He's not sure how or when, but it started to get uncomfortable yesterday afternoon. Overnight it woke hime a couple of times, and today is really quite uncomfortable. Some Ibrufen gel is called for, and a little rest.

Urban-cub was away at the new house with Pistol Pete as he built flatpack furniture and she organised paperwork and so forth. The full move is scheduled for tomorrow, then the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox will be on their own again. It will seem strange not having her here.

The Silver Vixen went off to Chichester for a hair appointment, leaving Jasper in charge and the Gorse Fox there as a helping hand (opening the tin of tuna for lunch as the lazy cat still hasn't figured it out, nor developed an opposable thumb). The Gorse Fox has spent much of that time re-organising the code he wrote yesterday after having a bit of an epiphany. This has meant a lot of re-coding and a serious bash at mastering the "inner join" syntax of MySQL. This now seems to be working in a test harness but has a long way to go before being run-ready.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Code again

Wednesday started early, thanks to Jasper. It was 6:30 when he finally dragged the Gorse Fox out of bed. Being Wednesday there would be football to play... but before all the Urban-cub appeared (she had an early appointment at the hospital for her scheduled scan), then the Silver Vixen emerged - so we were all up and about by 7:30.

Pistole Pete arrived for Urban-cub soon after eight and they headed off to the hospital. The Silver Vixen got her stiff together and headed off to Pilates. That just left the Gorse Fox and Jasper. Jasper had, by then, retired to the bed for his morning sleep. The Gorse Fox grabbed his kit and headed to Worthing for football.

It was a good game - very close indeed. In fact there was some debate at the end as to whether it finished 1-1 or 2-1 (the debate centred on whether Concrete John was in or out of the box when he scored). The Gorse Fox was no better than yesterday. He played ok, but that's about it. Let's hope he improves on Sunday.

Back home he prepared a beef casserole that would bubble away quietly all afternoon. The Gorse Fox retired to the study. There was code to write. He wanted a mechanism for doing bulk updates to the categories and labels in the private blog. A few hours later the code is beginning to look good. Early tests seem to show that all the conditions tested to date are working as designed. There are, however, still some test conditions to work through.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Raring to go

The Gorse Fox was awake early and up with the cat. He was raring to go. Tuesday means football, and in preparation for the game, the Gorse Fox treats himself to a cooked breakfast. As it was lunchtime yesterday since his last meal, he was getting peckish. Nothing too fancy, you understand, no eggs benedict, no kedgeree, no kippers and roe. No this was just a couple of eggs, a couple of rashers of bacon and some sliced chorizo. Simple, but perfect.

He made his way across to Worthing - still raring to get going. The teams were picked and the games commenced. It was at that point that the Gorse Fox realised that he was, at best, mediocre today. Passes went astray, and his judgement regarding interceptions was a fraction of a second off. Oh well. The first three games were lost.

The second hour saw a change over of personnel and three more games. The Gorse Fox was finally getting into his stride. That doesn't mean that he showed any talent - only that he wasn't quite as bad as in the first games. We had three more games, drawing two and winning one.

The Gorse Fox has had contact from an ex-Starfleet colleague. His walking football are wanting a friendly match with us. The Gorse Fox has written back and offered to host an event  towards the end of the month (when hopefully, most of his players will be back from their travels).

Monday, January 09, 2017

So Long, Farewell

Today it was time to say farewell to a distant relative of the Silver Vixen. He was the husband of a cousin of the Silver Vixen's mother.

We headed off towards the West and had an astonishingly good run through, passing Portsmouth, Southampton, Salisbury, and Wilton then on towards Trowbridge. We had timed it to allow time for lunch at a nearby pub and pulled into the car park just before noon. The pub was The Somerset Arms, in Semington. It had a good write up on Google so seemed like it was worth a try. Only two other people were in the pub - and it turns out that they too were going to the funeral.

We settled down to some lovely coffee and a plate called a "trio of steaks". This was three 4oz steaks of pork, gammon, and beef with tomatoes, mushrooms, and "gourmet" chips. Simple enough, but beautifully prepared and absolutely delicious. It was also sufficient to last us the rest of the day.

We moved on to the funeral at the nearby Crematorium. The service was very moving. It is clear that this distant uncle had had an interesting life in the Commandos (seeing action in Singapore, Borneo, and North Africa), then back in civilian life as a driver for  Tesco. The Bath chapter of the Commando association provided a guard of honour and the Eulogy revealed what a joker he had clearly been. In fact the whole service had concentrated on his humour and mischief, which was lovely. At the committal a bugler played the Last Post. It was very touching. In a complete contrast, we filed out to "Oh Lord It's Hard to be Humble" (by Mac Davis) - which had everyone chuckling.

As we filed out we made ourselves known to the tav's distant cousin, but as it was cold and wet, we headed straight for the reception. We sat with the couple who had been at the pub when we were there... and chatted about the deceased and his family. After a while the family arrived and the Silver Vixen went along to greet her aunt - who she hadn't seen for 40+ years. She immediately recognised her and commented how much she looked like her mum. From then on, she was in full swing and managed to chat with her aunt, and her cousins and catch up on what has been going on in family.

We made a start for home and had a good run through until we approached Southampton. Then we joined traffic which slowed us up for about 30 minutes. Once past Soton, the roads opened up again and we had a trouble-free run from there on.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Just stuff

Sunday started early. Jasper was determined that we should be awake and in the end the Gorse Fox gave up and brought him downstairs at 6:45. Coffee, eggs, bacon, and chorizo made the Gorse Fox feel ready to greet the day.

There was football this morning. We ended up 6-a-side and this included two new players. Things were fairly even between the two sides and at half-time it was all square at 4-4. In the second half we re-jigged the team and the Gorse Fox fanged forward a little more. We took control and ended up 8-6 winners... and the Gorse Fox was pleased to score one of the goals and made a couple of the others.

back home, he had received a message from Old Bill. He had been to his wine merchant and had a case for us.  This is now nestling in the wine rack... but will probably remain pretty well untouched for a while.

Saturday, January 07, 2017


There were jobs to be done today. Most important of these was to squirrel away all the boxes of Christmas decorations so that they were out of the way but easy to access next December. This took a while, but all is now stowed. Glitter littered the floors so next task was vacuuming and then washing the floors. The Gorse Fox is very glad he bought a Vax machine for doing the floors - this made quick work of it and dried it off quickly.

The Gorse Fox then got a chance to return to some coding. Nothing special - in fact it was more about trying out a new editor than it was about coding. As a result of a "tweet" he saw from some ex-colleage at Starfleet he decided to download and try "". Well, after an hour or two of play, the Gorse Fox is quite impressed and is delighted it even has a live parsing scheme for Rexx.