Friday, August 01, 2014


The Silver Vixen had an appointment in Chi.

The Gorse Fox had some errands to run, so dropped off the SV and headed out to the recycling centre (where he was greeted like an old friend). Then stopped at Staples for some envelopes. The family will know that letting the Gorse Fox loose in a stationary store is at best reckless, at worst disastrous. GF managed to keep himself at the reckless end of the scale and ended up walking out with more envelopes, cards and what not than was ever intended.
Then GF headed back to Chi - and observed that there was a better class of busker than one is used to wandering the town. First stop was NatWest where he had to deposit a cheque. The queue stretched to the door so GF decided to use the automated teller. He filled in the details and place everything in a rapid deposit envelope. Unfortunately he then put this in the wrong machine - rendering that machine out of service. Eventually he spoke to a member of staff and owned up to breaking their machine; getting assurance that they would sort it out and handle the deposit.

Next stop was the Halifax where he closed an old account that has been dormant for many years. List completed, he wandered around until he could meet up with the Silver Vixen for lunch. As it is "Glorious Goodwood" the town was quite busy, so we sat in the rear courtyard of Pizza Express and spent the proceeds of the now closed Halifax account.

It was lovely afternoon and the courtyard was quiet and sheltered. We sipped some cold white wine, ate our main dishes, which we both thoroughly enjoyed, and were then tempted by the sweet menu. Gorse Fox is not (generally) one for sweets - but cannot resist a summer pudding. Summer Pudding with marscapone was the first item on the menu. How could he resist? Well, as you can see, he didn't. The Silver Vixen enjoyed a sorbet with cappuccino... but GF is sure it wasn't as good as the summer pudding.

That's it - no more food for us today.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Basic admin today.

Finances being moved around bit-by-bit to ensure funds for new house are all in one place when needed. (They had been spread all over the place in order to afford them some degree of protection from Bank failures).

Contacted Royal Mail to get new address included on Post Code database. Was surprised how quickly they responded... and complied. This should mean that the Gorse Fox can start talking to BT about moving the phone and broadband.

Lawns mowed.

The Silver Vixen spent much of the day ironing.

The nice man from Amazon delivered the new shredder. This was a much more robust unit. When operating it has all the subtlety of a jet engine - but boy it gets though the paper. Yesterday's pile has disappeared and there is now a sack full of chippings waiting to be taken to the tip.

Observation - after nearly a month of retirement you might expect GF to be well-known at his local pub, local restaurant, and even (heaven forfend) local gym. Actually, he is only known at the local refuse recycling tip (and is expecting an invite to their Christmas party). As he leaves the facility, the gateman asks what time he should expect the Gorse Fox on the next day! A clear indication where priorities currently lie.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Progress - sort of.

The shredding proved too much for our shredder. It has given up the ghost. It is no more. If it wasn't plugged in, it would be pushing up daisies. I has gone to meet its maker.

Mr Amazon will be delivering a replacement in the next day or so.

Meanwhile - a bit of a strop-a-gram seems to have woken up the builders. They have now confirmed our completion date as 29th August. Now the fun really begins.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Call me Fred

The Gorse Fox has a pile of paper several inches thick. All of it is confidential. All needs to be shredded. Given that the shredder only handles 10 sheets at a time, and only operates for 60 second bursts - this could take several days.

As usual, however, such a clear-out has revealed some interesting stuff (including all the school reports for Urban-cub and Cousteau-cub)... and a bank account that GF forgot he had (unfortunately there was no fortune squirrelled away for a rainy day).

Monday, July 28, 2014

More stuff

The Silver Vixen had set aside a car load of clothes, material, and knick-knacks for the local charity shop. This was first stop on today's itinerary. Then we continued across to Bognor Regis again. A bed we had seen last week would fit nicely in the spare room... And there were only a few days left in the sale.

That sorted, we stopped off for some sealer and some paint for the garage floor (Gorse Fox doesn't want to leave it to the last minute and find they don't have any).

Back at home we contacted Stonepillow (a charity for homeless people) and offered them the other items we won't need. They were very eager and will come along next week to see what is on offer. We also contacted the removal company and invited them round to give a quote. Gorse Fox isn't sure if they are having a quiet time, but was delighted when they could come this afternoon.

It is clear we are changing gear. (Let's hope the builder is, too)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Numb bum

The Gorse Fox has spent all day at the computer. He has modelled bedside tables, multi-drawer cabinets, a coffee table, and a fireplace.
These are all based on the actual designs of the articles we have selected, and it enables us to ponder where they should be placed.

The coffee table was a bit of a devil as it had four flutes on each face of the legs. Final version, however, is a very passable facsimile of the item in the brochure.
The fireplace was also quite a challenge as there were some details that were quite awkward to get right.

Again the finished item is very close to the brochure-picture and when placed in the house-model is obviously a good choice.

All-in-all, a very satisfying day made even better by the certain knowledge that the Gorse Fox is not back at work in the morning.

(Just for interest the furniture modelled today is from New England Lifestyle Company and the fireplace is from W&H Supplies Ltd.)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Disposal and decisions

We concluded that there is still a good deal of stuff that needs to be disposed of. A small fridge went onto Freecycle, but the rest we are looking to give away to a charity. We found one in Adur, but they don't come across as far as Fontwell. They recommended a Chichester organisation - but they were not open. We will try them on Monday.

We still had to decide what to do about the existing lounge suite and various chairs we have scattered about the house. These all got modelled and were added to the 3D model to help us choose. Again it took several hours to determine the various options and try them out. Eventually we concluded that most of the seats are to be retained initially.

That brought us on to the bedrooms and again some simple comparisons and options were examined. We now have a fairly clear view of our way forward. Lots of fine grain modelling to do to finish off. That can wait for another day.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Yesterday's trip to the New England furniture store has resulted in a day of modelling so that we can visualise the placement of the dresser in the house.
It has taken a bit of fiddling about, and some guesswork regarding the exact measurements of the various panels and draws, but this is a reasonable facsimile. Importantly the external measurements are accurate.

The beauty is that it now exists as a 3d entity in virtual space and we can move it, rotate it, and place it anywhere in the model of the house with absolute certainty that it will fit in real life.

The Gorse Fox thinks Sketchup is the bees' knees.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eyes Wide Shut

We have had several ideas regarding the new house. Let's face it, we have had long enough to think about things, and some of these ideas may actually come to fruition.

Today, it was the turn of shutters. We have been rather taken with the idea of having shutters rather than curtains to dress the windows on the front of the house. GF had researched a number of options and we slid into the car and headed out. The first two suppliers we visited were primarily offices rather than show rooms, but we persevered. The last supplier was quite impressive. The actually manufactured the shutters themselves, on-site - rather than ordering them and shipping them in from China. The twice-retired gent who showed us round explained the pros and cons of all of the various options. Once we have access to the house we will contact them and get a proper survey and quote.

John Lewis provided a stop-off point for a coffee and some cake before we went across to the local supplier of furniture in the New England style. Outside it was 31C, so their showroom provided a little respite from the heat. GF took lots of photos of various items of bedroom furniture which we will have to consider, and we put down a deposit on a dresser. A very successful trip.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Well, that turned out to be an interesting exercise. The Gorse Fox had saved nearly 81,000 emails since 1996, and the archive was over 11,000,000 lines long.
Next part of the exercise will be to construct a suitable SQL table to allow easy access to the data.


There is an acronym in programming "JAFLOC" - this means Just a Few Lines of Code... and is the traditional answer to any problem posed.

The Gorse Fox has 24 archives of emails stretching back to to 1996 that need to be extracted so that he can mine them for useful historical information. This is a classic JAFLOC... but like most JAFLOCs it is a little more complex than it first seemed. Firstly it is a matter of detecting the transition from one email to the next - which GF finally worked out as the "0C"x code. Then each email seems to have a number of keywords - but the keyword list does not appear to be consistent. Before GF can decide on a final storage mechanism, he needs to isolate the keywords to decide how to handle them.

His code is currently mining its way through several million lines of text searching for the definitive list of keywords that will have to be handled. GF has processed over 40,000 historical emails so far... but the code is hammering onwards.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mobile Apps

One of the features of Mobile Apps is the difficulty in determining what might be wrong when they do not behave as expected. The Silver Vixen usually complete the weekly Ocado order by wandering about with her iPad and creating/amending the order as necessary. Of late this has become problematic, interminably slow, and sometimes will not work at all.

GF resorted to class problem determination:

  1. Any obvious setting wrong? - No 
  2. Any problems with WiFi - No
  3. Any known problems reported on internet? - No
  4. Close it down and retry - any better? - No
  5. Upgrade IOS to latest version - any better? - No
  6. Is it working from the iMAC? - Yes, but that's a different interface.
  7. Does it work from the other iPad? - Yes !!!

Ok, so the problem was isolated to SV's iPad, the question is how to solve the problem. GF erased the app entirely from the iPad and re-installed it from scratch.

Everything now seems to work. Harmony is restored.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Decision made

Our landlord has decided to sell the house we are renting, once we move out. This triggered some calls and a visit from the agent. This morning she turned up to take photos, so we had made sure everything was ship-shape and Bristol fashioned.

Well Saturday's planning of the new living room layout resulted (finally) in a decision and today the Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen headed back into Bognor Regis to order the furniture.

For the uninitiated, Bognor Regis has all the faded charm of Pompeii, albeit without the pyroclastic debris and body casts. If ever a town needed some investment - this is it. It makes Worthing seem classy! (Though isn't quite as bad as Lancing). However, it does have a traditional old furniture shop with a stunning display of stock and salesmen who actually know about their products and provide sensible advice and guidance.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Well that wasn't expected.

The Gorse Fox went out to the back garden to clean up some garden chairs. Over to one side of the lawn he found this little chap.

Jasper, the cat, seemed very interested in the little bundle, but was still keeping his distance.

He seemed uninjured, but obviously was too young to fly. Looking round carefully we ascertained that there were no nests nearby, so concluded he must have been dropped by some predator.

Not sure quite what to do we guessed it was some kind of duck, from its shape, so GF put it in a box and took it along to the village pond. He eased it down into the water - and it promptly sunk. Lifting it back up GF let it collect its thoughts, and tried again - again it sunk. Again the Gorse Fox retrieved it. Obviously it wasn't yet ready for water, so GF took it round to a shaded area where there were some reeds. As he was about to release it a nearby fisherman asked to have a look. GF explained what was going on.

"And he sunk" stated the angler. GF answered in the affirmative. "Probably because it's a pigeon." he said, dismissing GF.

Now GF feels dreadful have tried to drown the poor thing, thinking it to be a water bird. He doesn't suppose it will survive, but at least it has a better chance being out of the water and out of the range of Jasper.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


The Gorse Fox cannot believe how much time it has taken to come up with, what should be, a simple decision. Do we have a chair, a 2-seater, and 3-seater sofa; a chair and two 2-seaters; two chairs and 2-seaters; and any combination or permutation thereof. The trouble is how best to lay out such a selection in a room which logically has the focal point of a fireplace, a second focal point of a TV, and a bay window. A room that you wish to be a sociable space, not one dedicated to the altar of televisual images.

Sketchup provided a canvas for trying the various options, but it seemed that whatever we chose was a compromise in some way. (We also resorted to paper and pencil - as a cross-check that GF hadn't got the measurements wrong in Sketchup). Eventually, with a little bit of "out-of-the-goggle-box" thinking we came to a conclusion... though in the fullness of time this will mean some further design work to accommodate the TV the way we envisage.

Another by-product of the decision is that we will plan to provide all video from a media centre - thus ditching the need for DVD storage or CD storage. Music is already stored on our network storage - the trick will be to transfer all the DVDs as well. This may take some time. Gorse Fox has already tried some this afternoon, but though the transcoding works well, the metadata regarding the films is lost. Will have to did deeper before embarking on a mass transcoding session.