Thursday, February 26, 2015

Admin Thursday

Thursday, so it must be admin. The rain kept the builders away, and Gorse Fox spent the day reviewing bills, tariffs, reports, and specification of engineered lumber. 

The Gorse Fox is very pleased to see that consumption of energy for this house costs less than half as much as our previous house; what's more, if the Gorse Fox changed suppliers he might save a further 25%. He is holding fire on the switch, however, so that he has a larger consumption sample against which to measure.

He also reviewed a draft blog post regarding cloud computing. The Gorse Fox had a number of updates and comments to feed back to the author. This triggered a flurry of email and changes to the draft.

He also spent time reviewing the engineered lumber specs. He wants to beef up the supports in the garage so he can use the loft space for storage. He will have to measure up the space and work out what and how much will be needed. 

Noon Image: 26 Feb 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Framework complete

The builders have completed the building phase of the work.

Next they will lay the floor slab, and that will be it for them. We will then get a procession of other trades, starting (one supposes) with the glasswork.

Very satisfied with progress.

Good Win

Today's football was close. We had enough for 6-a-side, and played a solid 25 mins each way. At the end of the first half, we were losing 2-1. In the second half we conceded quickly, but then started to claw our way back into the game. The Gorse Fox started to range forward more often to give us an overlap, and Captain Jack would drop back when GF did. We got to 5-5 with a minute or so to go. The ref declared a "golden goal" i.e. next goal wins, and finishes the match. We survived a couple of scares, and then managed to score the winner ourselves. Very satisfying.

GF would comment that his new shatterproof glasses proved themselves today. GF took a goal clearance square in the face - hard enough to knock him off his feet. Whilst he had to shake himself down, the glasses had survived and he played on, uninjured (except for his pride).

Noon Image: 25 Feb 2015


The builder's hammer drill is pounding away at the back of the house - removing the old mortar so that they can fit the gullies and transitions between the old and new. The sound is dreadful, even with the doors closed. Fortunately, both the Silver Vixen and Gorse Fox are popping out for various commitments, so hopefully it will be finished by the time we are back.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More Construction

After a false start yesterday, interrupted/terminated by squally weather, the builders returned this morning.

They've been hard at it all day. The east and west walls are complete, and the south wall is finished.

The points where the roof will connect in to the house are cut, and the lead is in place. Everything seems to be taking shape, nicely.

They have tidied up a bit and washed down the roads and pavements. (GF and the SV insist on being neighbourly and causing as little inconvenience as possible).

There was a bit of a panic earlier when the
overall supplier couldn't find our payment - but that was sorted quite quickly. (Their error).

Noon Image: 24 Feb 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015


People give the tax authorities a hard time. The Gorse Fox supposes that nobody wants to pay tax. and certainly they have not always been the most approachable of Government departments.

Today, the Gorse Fox received his notice of coding for the new tax year. This did not look right... and there were some significant deductions that GF thought to be wrong. He phoned and spoke to a nice Welsh lady with an unintelligible name. Five minutes later the deductions had been eradicated from the code and GF was back to where he should be.

When he did his self-assessment in January he was concerned that HMRC seemed to owe him money. Whilst on the phone he asked them to check, and so was transferred to the Self Assessment team. He chatted with a chap and he went through the numbers and concluded that the assessment was correct and HMRC did indeed owe GF some money and that sits as a credit on his account at present.

Feeling slightly smug.

Noon Image: 23 Feb 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Well that was a nice day.

The Gorse Fox started by opening all his Birthday Cards and dealing with online greetings that seemed to be pouring in. Then as things settled down, he had to get ready for football.

The usual crew met up at the Ford ~Football Arena and we had a good 6-a-side game. At first it was pretty even, but free-scoring, with a score of 9-9 at the break (we play 25 minutes each half). In the second half we made a minor change in our team and by the end of the game, were 26-13 victors, with the Gorse Fox scoring from his own half in the final attack of the game. Very satisfying after yesterday.

Back home, Urban-cub and Pistol Pete were awaiting GF's return. After a quick shower, he was ready and we headed off to a local Indian Restaurant that has been advertising their Sunday Feasts with flyers dropped through the letter box. Well, that turned out to be a damp squib as the place was closed. A quick regroup and we headed for Chichester Gate. Frankie & Benny's seemed like a good alternative at short notice.

We had a lovely, leisurely lunch. As time ticked by, U-c and PP wanted to do a bit of shopping before the stores closed, so we went our separate ways.

Lovely day.

Noon Image: 22 Feb 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Finest Hour

Well, there we go. Let's just say that this afternoon , in the FA People's Cup, did not turn out to be Arun Amblers' finest hour.

We had fought our way through the traffic to the venue on the outskirts of Croydon. It was a bit basic. The Gorse Fox has a number of observations regarding the venue and the organisation. This may seem like a case of sour grapes, but as we were not unduly affected, we cannot and would not use them as an excuse:

  • The pitches, though Astroturf, were on a significant east-west slope. As the games were only a single 10 minute match, there was no levelling of the disadvantage by switching rounds at half time. 
  • As the afternoon wore on, the sun dropped lower in the sky, and the team at the east end of the pitch (at the bottom of the slope) were playing directly into the bright sun.
  • A clear set of rules was handed out on arrival. Indeed, several were mandatory for even registering, e.g. use of shin pads, only the goalie can wear long trousers, the goalie must wear a different coloured top from the rest of the team. We seemed to be one of two teams that actually complied.
  • The referees were unclear of what was a direct  and what was an indirect free-kick. Indeed, against one team, they awarded a penalty for what should only have been an indirect free-kick.
  • The standard of refereeing was woeful - because of its inconsistency
  • It was walking football - and there was blatant running going on - particularly by the team that actually won the competition.
Despite this, we had good fun, and we played some nice football. Indeed, one of the referees congratulated us on the quality of our football. Unfortunately, our team was really made up of midfielders and defenders, which meant we really had no experienced, predatory goalscorer. The result was that we lost 3-0, then drew 1-1, then lost 3-0, and lost 1-0.

Not our finest hour, but a good learning experience.

Noon Image: 21 Feb 2015

Times of Yore

In the old days, the Gorse Fox was always getting his kit bag together, ready to play in some sporting event or other. It has been a real challenge, this morning, checking and cross-checking that he has everything that he is likely to need. Indeed, it was difficult tracking down the kit bag itself.

Never mind, he thinks he's all set now.

Friday, February 20, 2015

That wasn't in Plan

No detailed plan had been made for Friday, but whatever notion we may have had was somewhat intercepted by the fact Jasper the Cat had (to be delicate about these things) made a mess of our duvet during the night. This meant an attack with Vanish (* other peroxide based cleaners may exist), a thorough wash of the offending parts (of the duvet - not Jasper), and the realisation that it would not dry by tonight. The corollary to this was the need to invade John Lewis and acquire another duvet. Oh well, it could have been worse we could have had a pet elephant instead of a cat.

Noon Image: 20 Feb 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Looks like we have a competition

Despite the hassle with the FA, the Gorse Fox seems to have got to a winning position. They haven't given us a bye into the next round, but they have allowed us to play in Croydon rather than Bristol. We have enough people available, so we will confirm tomorrow morning and hopefully play on Saturday.

A Good Morning's Work

Despite the forecast, the builders turned up first thing this morning. The aim was to get the east wall completed before the weather set in. Forecast said that that was likely from 1100 onwards.

Well, they managed to finish the east wall, and were packed away by 1115... and the weather held for them. Looking at the forecast, Gorse Fox is not really expecting to see them again until next week.

Progress has been good, and the three of them work as well integrated team. GF has asked them to quote for some additional work.

Noon Image: 19 Feb 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

More progress, but still no ears

The builders are cracking on, and making good progress.
The west wall is now up to its planned height. The catnic lintel is in place and a soldier course of bricks laid over the openings to match the brickwork elsewhere on the house.

The blockwork is laid, and the insulation in place. If the weather remains dry (which is unlikely, given the forecast) the east and south walls could be up to the same height by the end of the week. GF suspects it will be next week, in practice.

Go for it

Well the Gorse Fox discussed the changes to the football venue with his team. With their mandate behind him, he then wrote to the FA:
Dear People's Cup

I have now had a chance to meet with my team, Arun Amblers.
We would like to make the following points:
  1. We have managed to select a team and get a kit, and invested a lot of time in preparing for this tournament.
  2. This is short notice for such a large change
  3. This is half term week, when people already have many commitments
  4. Moving the venue to Bristol means, as far as we are concerned, a full day's commitment - as opposed to a few hours
  5. A three hour journey for ageing players, followed by a few games and a further 3 hour journey home - is not sensible from a health perspective and poses a risk of DVT
  6. Given more notice we might have been able to arrange an overnight stay (as we would for Manchester, should we get through)
  7. In any other competition, even those run by the FA, a sole entrant such as Arun Amblers, would just get a bye into the next round. It is, after all, not our fault that other teams did not enter.
In conclusion we totally support the concept of the FA People's Cup and are bitterly disappointed at the change, and will NOT be able to put together a team for the Bristol event. However, we insist that we are given a bye into the next round as representative of Southern Region.

Let's see what their response might be.

Noon Image: 18 Feb 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Where are the ears

The Gorse Fox seems to remember the phrase "walls have ears"... and whilst we now have some rudimentary walls springing from the ground, there is no sign yet of the ears. Maybe they are higher up and get installed tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the brickie has left us a nice tunnel fro the cat, so hopefully we can encourage Jasper to start using a cat-flap, once the buiding work is complete.

Organisation - pah!

The FA People's Cup wrote to the Gorse Fox.

Thank you for registering your team Arun Amblers to take part in The FA People’s Cup in partnership with BBC Get Inspired. 
It has been necessary to merge some of the first round heats within the  Walking football category in your region.
Therefore we are writing to let you know that your local heat will now be played at Goals (Bristol South) on Saturday 21 February 2015.

The Gorse Fox was not amused. It is not as if Bristol is just a few miles further. In practise it's about 3 hours drive... and that is not conducive to a few hours of football which would be followed by the return journey. The Gorse Fox is not happy.

He informed the team... and awaits a list of those that are still up for it.

He phoned the BBC (the co-sponsor) - they weren't really interested.

He phoned the Sussex FA - who really were not able to help as they have none of the regional centres in their patch.

He phoned the Hampshire FA and finally spoke to someone who was interested in the problem and is trying to get some traction. Meanwhile GF phoned The FA themselves and was able to leave a message of the phone of the lady who is running the whole tournament. Firstly he registered his displeasure at the late change, and then he suggested that instead of making us trek across country - they just give us a bye into the next round.

He is not holding his breath.

Noon Image: 17 Feb 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Too Quiet

The Gorse Fox though it was too quiet. It was about time he heard something about the upcoming football tournament. He decided to call the tournament centre and after a moment or two found himself talking to the manager. It would appear that Arun Amblers are the ONLY team who have entered for the walking football category!

This required some intervention. After emailing the Amblers, GF tried to get in touch with BBC South Today (after all, the BBC are co-sponsors of the event). The TV reporter wasn't in, but GF managed to talk to the Radio reporter. He listened intently:

  • He was spectacularly unaware of the tournament
  • He was genuinely interested
  • He resolved to investigate further and pass it on to the TV reporter to give combined Radio and TV coverage.
That was a start. He also pointed out that Arun falls in BBC Radio Sussex catchment, so the Gorse Fox phoned Radio Sussex and got the names of the sports reporters. They appeared to be out of the office, but he managed to email them to see if they too will give some coverage.

Noon Image: 16 Feb 2015

Not today, thank you

The builder phoned. Today's forecast is for a lot of heavy rain, starting mid-morning. He has decided that it was not conducive to working and would defer until tomorrow. As long as he stays on schedule - the Gorse Fox doesn't mind how he manages his time.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


When GF got back from the football, the Urban-cud was at home with the Silver Vixen. Pistol Pete was at work, doing his last day at the current establishment. Now they both have a week's holiday and then he starts at a new location next weekend.

Once GF was showered and  presentable, we made the most of the opportunity to pop into Chi and grab lunch. Chichester Gate is undergoing some refurbishment at present, but it still offers some choice and easy parking. We decided on Nando's and enjoyed a lovely hour or so sitting and chatting over someone else's cooking!

Watched the Barcelona vs Levante football when we got back. Wonder if that chap, Messi, is free next Saturday? GF might just drop himself to the bench and give him a start.

That is Better

Good game of football today. We were a man short on our team, but still managed an impressive 13-6 win. The Gorse Fox was in goal for the first half - but let in 2 goals; the first was unstoppable, but he should have got to the second. He completely misjudged it, and thought it was going wide. Pah!

Second half he played sweeper. Though outnumbered, we covered well, passed well, and finished well. The Gorse Fox scored a couple of our total, but it was the overall performance that was most satisfying.

Kits have been collected ready for the tournament next weekend, so we are ready to roll.

Noon Image: 15 Feb 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Well that was a bit of a surprise.

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed for Chi for a bit of shopping: a card, some shinpads(*), and some new trousers from M&S. Having looked through the range in the Sports shop, GF selected a pair that would have made a Roman Legionnaire proud. Supported under the heel, and strapped at the top - they should survive any impact short of a ballista.

We then went to M&S. GF wanted some casual trousers that were a bit darker than those he was currently sporting. Somehow they seem too light for the winter weather. They choice, though wide, was a little underwhelming (though there was a dark pink pair that GF just ignored). Eventually, three candidate pairs were selected and taken to the fitting rooms. Each was tried, the first two being swiftly rejected. Too baggy. The last pair were adequate, but still not a great fit. The Gorse Fox presented himself on the catwalk for the approval of the Silver Vixen. It was then that she suggested that GF's bum didn't look big... and maybe he should go down a size. A few minutes later, GF was wearing another pair and feeling quite comfortable - it appears that he has downsized.

(*) The shinpads were for the Gorse Fox, not the Silver Vixen.

Noon Image: 14 Feb 2015