Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Looking from the South West

Lighting up



The Gorse Fox's camera-server which posts the noonday pictures has been running non-stop for 116 days. The electrician was here today to finish the wiring for the Orangery. This meant that he had to perform the correct RCD tests and these, in turn, meant that "redkite" had to power down. Oh well - it's up and running again now, and so the clock starts to tick to see how long it can go without a re-boot.

Talking of boots, the Gorse Fox enjoyed a good session of walking football again today. Three games were played, resulting in 2 draws and a win. Very satisfactory.

Noon Image: 31 Mar 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

On your marks...

The Gorse Fox is bone idle, by nature. This means that he has to gear himself up to do anything of any significance. Today he has been gearing up to decorate the Orangery. A trip to B&Q for paint and a long roller and to look for some suitable mouldings behind which to hide the LED up-lights. The painting bits are now sitting waiting for the surfaces to be suitably dry, though at the moment the plaster still shows some damp patches. The moulding was less successful. The Gorse Fox bought one, but having looked at it in situ, he is not convinced it is right answer. Back to the metaphorical drawing board.

On another front, GF had the chap from the local installer of PV solar panels come to visit. GF thinks they are a good idea and a good investment. The chap came round to survey the property and will now go off to give us a quote. We will be interested to see what he comes back with.

Noon Image: 30 Mar 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015


The Gorse Fox has a touch of sciatica. Deespite this he went to football. The idea was to see how he felt after the warm up. Then he would decide whether to play or sit it out. In the end he decided to play for the first few minutes... but needless to say that turned into the whole game. It was hard at first but slowly things began to loosen up and the Gorse Fox enjoyed himself with four goals in our 10-8 win.

Once home and showered, Gorse Fox waited whilst the Silver Vixen took Amber home and then we went out for a late lunch. Nothing too special, just Frankie & Benny's, but it was good.

Noon Image: 29 Mar 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Catching up

The Gorse Fox has been catching up on some Walking Football admin. Contact lists, distribution lists, tournament details, team squads, and so forth. He's even had to write some Excel macros to reformat a list in such a way as to import it to Google Contacts. How quickly the mind fades! The GF found himself having to look up some functions that, in the old days, he would have written without an instant of hesitation.

The plaster in the Orangery is still drying out. Today's weather has been cool and damp, so progress isn't as obvious as yesterday. The Gorse Fox expects he may be in a position to pain on Monday, though.

Teen-sitting is next on the agenda. Urban-cub and Pistol Pete are off to see friends and staying overnight. They are not happy leaving the teens at home together... so we are looking after Amber until tomorrow. The Silver Vixen has just left to go and collect her.

Noon Image: 28 Mar 2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

Noon Image: 27 Mar 2015

Totally Plastered

It was a bit dark by the time the Gorse Fox thought of taking the pictures last night, so the update had to wait until this morning.

The plastering is finished, and they have done a super job. Needless to say, there is a great deal of moisture in the plaster, and that needs to dry out over the next few days. Certainly it had caused a lot of condensation over night.

The Gorse Fox has opened the roof vents, and windows to allow the moisture to escape as the sun starts to hit the house.
One of the things that the Gorse Fox requested was a hatch that would give him access to the void in the roof. This was to provide access to the transformer for the lighting. Well, the plasterers didn't forget - but the "hatch" is about the size of a small letter box. This will need some intervention from the Gorse Fox in order to sort it out; it is much too small at present.

Anyway, overall they have done a splendid job. The GF always admires plasterers and what a fantastic finish they always seem apply. A real skill. One that the Gorse Fox has never acquired.

Next step is dependent on the speed of drying... either painting (which is up to the Gorse Fox), or the second fit electrics. Let's see how things work out.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


With the closure of Earl's Court, Olympia has become the new venue for the Ideal Home Show. This actually works out well for us. We set out around 0900 and drove to Arundel Station. Arundel has the advantage, locally, of having plenty of available car parking. Grabbing our tickets we headed up towards London, changing trains at Clapham Junction to pick up the London Overground. Three stops later we were at Olympia, and our tickets had been a lot cheaper than if we had used Victoria and the Underground.

The Show seemed better organised than during our last trip. Distinct areas had been set aside for Gardens, Home Improvements, House Wares, Technology, and Fashion and Beauty. This made it a lot easier to work your way round. As usual there were several show homes as the centre piece of the event. We worked our way round, section by section. Stopping here to look at this, or there to examine that. The Gorse Fox was surprised that there were not more stands featuring renewable energy... but in general there was plenty to see. We picked up a few bargains on the way round, but nothing too significant. We did, however, finally manage to replace the blades for our blender - the originals having been lost in one of the moves.

After about four hours we had exhausted the show and were ready for a final cup of tea and to head home. The trains were not yet crammed and we timed things pretty well, getting back to Arundel just after 1800. All in all it was a good day, but the Gorse Fox suspects it may be worth skipping the show next year, and returning the year after.

Noon Image: 26 Mar 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Plastered - almost

The plasterers have been hard at work.

They have got the whole Orangery boarded now and all of the corners have been reinforced.

They are not, however, at their happiest as the job has proved much bigger than they expected - using 20 full sheets of plaster-board (when they were only expecting - and quoting on 16). Also they hadn't realised that the design drawings they had received were not the final drawings and did not show the extra courses of bricks above the doors and windows that make this design unique.

They've knocked off for the day, but will be back at 0730 tomorrow.


Well there were a lot of us today. So much so that we had to change the hire to a big pitch. We then split into a couple of teams (more or less at random) and kicked off. The big pitch clearly proved too much for several of the players... but after a hard 50 minutes we came to a 3-3 draw.

We are meeting up again this evening to formally inaugurate the club and elect officers.

Noon Image: 25 Mar 2015


The plasters have arrived. There is something deeply satisfying about giving them coffee in the Gorse Fox's "Spurs" mug, and learning they are Arsenal supporters.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Well the netbook that was the subject of yesterday's post was rebooted with a Linux Live USB stick. This allowed the Gorse Fox to text out how well the low powered ATOM processor would cope. It soon became clear that, with a few minor nits, it worked a lot better than the Windows 7 that had been installed. GF fiddled and played for a while and decided this was a better use of the Netbook than leaving the sluggish W7 software on board (it took 5 hours to download and apply the latest W7 fixes yesterday). W7 was formally retired at this point.

Ubuntu (Linux) has now been installed and the Gorse Fox is using the resurrected hardware to write this blog post. He still needs to change a couple of things, but it is very noticeable how much responsive the machine is.

Being Tuesday, GF had his usual football session. It was hard today as two of our players were not very mobile, which meant the rest of us had to cover a lot of ground. Despite our valiant efforts we lost all three games today. Oh well, better luck tomorrow.

Noon Image: 24 Mar 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

Non modo, sed etiam

The Gorse Fox dug out his laptop so that he could do some work in the kitchen rather than retiring to his upstairs study. With the electrician back on site to complete the first fix, the Gorse Fox wanted to be on hand to answer any queries. He switched on the laptop and firstly had to reconnect it to the home network - evidently this was on device that had been forgotten when the new hub was installed. Clearly, it had been a long time since it had been used. It had, however retained a good battery charge. It fired up. It started to look for updates. The Gorse Fox decided to run it from the battery to give it a work-out.

This combination seemed too much for the vintage netbook. It started scanning for required updates and the battery started to gently dischage as it powered the machine. The Gorse Fox kept an eye on the battery and after about 15 minutes it was down to 95% - excellent.

Then the machine died with an audible click.

The Gorse Fox plugged it in and rebooted. Everything snapped back into life - except the batter which is now sitting there with  a red cross through it. Dead. The Gorse Fox remembers how difficult it was to get a replacement last time, and fears that this signals the end of this device as a mobile computer. It  may still have a use, but will have to relly on a power cable.

Noon Image: 23 Mar 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015


The late night with the neighbours made the Gorse Fox a little lethargic as the football started, but he was soon into the swing of things. It was a hard game, and we just edged it by one goal in the end. Very satisfying.

Back home the Gorse Fox tried to watch the afternoon soccer, but couldn't get the Sky box to switch out of standby-mode. An hour of fiddling, researching, fiddling some more and failing was beginning to look like a requirement for a new digibox. One last try meant resetting and reloading the software. Fortunately this worked.

Noon Image: 22 Mar 2015

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Well we're not out yet, but will be.

It satrted bright and sunny, but clouded over and got a bit chilly as the day went on. It was nice in the new orangery whilst the sun was out, but when it clouded over it became quite cool without any heating, flooring, or wall covering. With the floor slab still curing, it felt a bit damp. The Gorse Fox went up to the study and caught up with some paperwork and scanning (once scanned paper is shredded, not filed).

We spent a quiet afternoon in front of the TV before getting ready to go to dinner with some of our neighbours. It should be nice as they are a charming couple.

Noon Image: 21 Mar 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015


The electrician started work today. We  had already determined how many sockets and lights we would need - we just had to agree where they would be sited. We also had a long chat discussing whether to use cool or warm lights and whether they should be dimmable, standard, or LED. Decisions made, he set about creating an extension to the existing ring (having checked the current load and resistance, first).

A lot of drilling, and seemingly miles of cable later the first part of the first fix was complete. He will return next week to do the lighting. Meanwhile, we also had a visit from the aerial chap and he has ensured we have a suitable TV aerial with a good signal in the Orangery.

Lots of progress. Very satisfying.

Noon Image: 20 Mar 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015


No tradesmen today. We are alone. It seems strange, somehow.

The Gorse Fox started his admin with a call to the MD of the company providing the Orangery:
"Hello, this is the Gorse Fox, I was just calling to say how delighted we are with the progress so far, and more importantly to say what a credit to the company your fitters were. Polite, diligent, tidy and always cheerful."
The MD was a bit taken aback. Most people, it appears, provide no feedback. (In fact, according to our fitters, most people do not even offer them a cup of tea - whereas we provided a steady stream of tea, coffee and biscuits throughout their time with us).

That done, it was back to the budgets (the Council Tax payments have gone down, and GF's company pension has gone up slightly). Talking of budgets, the Chancellor did a good job and the Spring Budget was very positive. God help us all if the economically incontinent Labour Party get back in - though it does seem that they have an interesting strategy - get into power, spend until the country is broke, let the Tories in to sort out the finances and cause everyone to hate their austerity measures, then get back in and repeat.

Back in the real world, GF and the Silver Vixen have been out to get some lights and prepare generally for the Electrician's visit tomorrow. We need to make sure we know where all of the plug sockets and lights are likely to be.

Noon Image: 19 Mar 2015