Saturday, April 30, 2016

Smoke Signals

It HAS been a lovely day... though only about 13C.

Some neighbour has obviously suffered a temporary aberration and forgotten the cussedness of our weather. Smoke is rising from his barbecue... as heavy rain falls, dousing his efforts.

Game, set, and match Mother Nature.

Serendipity

Lovely start to the day again. We had decided to proceed with the garden furniture we had seen on Thursday. The Gorse Fox had called the manufacturers to check on some technical details regarding the material and its ability to stay outside during all weathers. Satisfied, we headed back to Hillier's and, with the aid of a small piece of plastic, handed over coins of the realm. Delivery should be in the next week.

On the way back we saw the sign to Dell Quay, and having heard it was a nice spot, decided to take a look. It was delightful.

We stopped in the car park of The Crown and Anchor and went in for a coffee. That was when it occurred to us that it was lunchtime. It would have been churlish to eschew such an opportunity, so grabbed a table and sat down to enjoy both coffee and eats.

The menu, whilst varied, was not huge. It was, however, very inviting. We both selected their burger (unusual for the Silver Vixen), and thoroughly enjoyed it. We will certainly return.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Design

The Silver Vixen has various ideas for the garden. This got the Gorse Fox thinking. As a result he has now come up with an idea for a new feature which occupied his little grey cells this morning. The screens that he made last year are quite a nice feature and he could create something similar to cover part of the fence. This would be a visual improvement and also provide a feature upon which the Silver Vixen could hang planters. Measuring was done this morning and vertical posts fixed in place. The horizontal slats will need to be ordered as none are left over from last year.

Whilst looking at the garden, the Gorse Fox also measured the top of the bistro table (which was broken during the winter storms). A few minutes with Google and a phone call later, and we have a local company ready to pitch in with a new toughened glass top - in exchange for a few coins of the realm.

It seems that Beloved Aunt managed to finish the set-up of her Kindle. She wrote overnight that she is reading the first chapter of her first e-book. Excellent news, and so much easier for her.

Considerations continue regarding a holiday later in the year. The Gorse Fox has spoken to his travel agent chappie. (This is the chap that the Gorse Fox has dealt with since 2010 for the various Thai holidays - nice bloke and seems to know what's what). He's off doing research and going to come back with some suggestions.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cold start

Another cold start to the day, but it was bright and sunny, so soon warmed up. her the nice man from Ocado had delivered our shopping the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox went for a walk and had a mosey round the recently re-opened local Post Office/Convenience Store. Whilst it remained chilly in the shade, it was lovely and warm in the sun.

The Silver Vixen wants some inspiration for the garden planting. We made the most of the nice weather and popped across to Hillier's Garden Centre near Fishbourne. This opened up a number of opportunities for covering the pergola, though no decision is yet made. Whilst there we grabbed a coffee and panini and then went on to look at the other displays. We were particularly impressed with one set of garden furniture. Not what we had originally had in mind, but probably more practical and certainly more comfortable. A bit more research is required, but the Gorse Fox suspects we will order this set.

Afternoon was spent lapping up the sun in the Orangery and discussing the garden furniture. The Gorse Fox also had a FaceTime chat with Beloved Aunt, but the session failed mid-chat. However, by then he had managed to help her start the registration process for her Kindle. He will call back later to see how she got on.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Coolio

Another bright, sunny, but cool day. The Gorse Fox had football, as usual for Wednesday. It was a pleasant hour with some good chaps, plenty of banter, and some good football all round.

The Silver Vixen had an appointment for afternoon tea with some of her friends so she has left the Gorse Fox and Jasper to their own devices for the afternoon. Whilst she is being all posh and hoity-toity at some swanky hotel in Worthing, the Gorse Fox is enjoying a quiet afternoon listening to almost limitless supply of music available from Amazon Prime(*). What is nice is that there are some nicely curated playlists of smooth jazz and blues that you can select and then sit back and enjoy. One very good list featured the music used in the TV series Bosch and set the bar quite hight for all the others. So far, the Gorse Fox has not been disappointed.

A quick trip to Sainsbury's saw the Gorse Fox stock up on lentils. He enjoys lentil curry, and as the Silver Vixen said she was unlikely to want anything when she gets in, it seems like an ideal opportunity to experiment.

(*) The Gorse Fox subscribes to Amazon Prime and the music has been available for quite a while. It is only in the last few days, however, that it has been fully released to work on the SONOS sound system. There are other streaming services, such as Spotify or Deezer, but the Gorse Fox already pays for Amazon Prime and wasn't willing to subscribe to the others (though free versions do exist but again do not work with the SONOS, except for introductory periods).

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kindle

Glad to hear that Beloved Aunt's Kindle has arrived. Let's hope she can get it set up soon and enjoy the lower price of books and ability to change font size to something that is comfortable for her.

April Showers

The feline alarm had the Gorse Fox up and about at 6:30 this morning. He was not, however, fed until his usual time at 8:00; that'll teach him!

Talking of food, the Gorse Fox fancied something different and prepared bacon and eggs for breakfast. This is a rare treat, but most satisfying. He would observe that the new pan he bought recently has revolutionised the preparation of the eggs. No fat at all, and perfect eggs every time by adding a small piece of wet paper towel and allowing the steam to finish the eggs off. It may have been expensive but this pan is used daily and has superseded all others.

It was brilliant sunshine, but a bitter wind as the Gorse Fox set off for football. So it remained throughout the six games (D-W-W-W-L-W). Though the Gorse Fox didn't score in any of the games, he was in goal for two of them and was pleased with his overall contribution. Games over, he retired the changing rooms and then headed for the car. It had clouded over whilst he was getting ready and by the time he walked across the car park it had started to snow! Whilst it snowed quite heavily, it was not settling and it soon turned to heavy rain. So it has continued for the rest of the day.

The Gorse Fox was thinking more about the upcoming referendum on EU membership. There is so much misinformation and so many worst-case hypotheses being pronounced by both sides that it is making it very difficult to make a rational, informed decision. (Just looked out window, snowing again). The Gorse Fox saw an interesting article last week regarding the amount of mutual ownership that exists between the UK and the US and how many jobs on both sides of the Atlantic depend on the other side (US on UK business, and UK of US business). The trouble is, the Gorse Fox cannot find the details now. This is significant in the debate, because of the statement made by Obama last week threatening that UK would be at the back of the queue for renegotiation. As he won't even be in power by then it seems like an empty threat that would damage the US even more than the UK.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Restock

The morning started with our usual feline alarm call. Fortunately it wasn't quite as early as it has been lately, and we had to get up anyway.

The Silver Vixen had an appointment with the physioterrorist at the local cottage hospital. To avoid problems parking the Gorse Fox took her and then went back home to await her call. All was done by about 10:30 and the Gorse Fox was pleased to find that she was quite positive about the physio and whilst not convinced it would provide log term improvement, was happy that she had been listened to and tested and given sound advice and guidance.

There were items that needed re-stocking and so, after a coffee, we headed back out to the shops. Sainsbury's was, as usual, relatives deserted and we were soon done.

Leicester City FC continue to stretch their lead in the Premiership with a convincing 0-4 win at Swansea yesterday. Spurs play this evening. Hopefully they can beat West Brom and remain in touching distance so that if Leicester slip up, they are ready to pounce.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lost

This morning saw the Gorse Fox heading across to Littlehampton Town FC. We had a 5-way walking football tournament scheduled and based on the complete lack of organisation, the Gorse Fox thought he's go early to see what was going on. At least the pitches were marked out, but the groundsman still had to put up the goals.

The teams all arrived and finally the ref turned up. The Gorse Fox went to brief the ref on the rules, but he was convinced he knew it all - and it was basically just football. This raised warning flags, which were well-founded.

We had a large squad, but only a couple of our A-team players. This meant that we had to mix in less mobile and less able players into the team. Th games started, and there was a lot of hanging around as each of the 5 teams played each of the other teams. The referee was consistent in his non-application of the walking football rules. This was a problem because the idea is that the proper application of the rules should even out the differences between young teams and the older players.

It was not one of our finest days as we lost all of games. It was good fun, though and the Gorse Fox felt that he had played very well.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cancellation

There's something irritating about getting a reminder to pay an invoice. This is particularly true if it an invoice for a service that you cancelled 6 weeks back. So it was that the Gorse Fox spent an inordinate amount of the morning checking that a) he had cancelled, and b) how to sort things out. Eventually it was quite simple. He used online chat to talk to their customer services staff and they found the cancellation... and realised they hadn't sent the the email that allows the completion of the process. This was done immediately and the cancellation notification came within moments.

The Gorse Fox then spent some time looking at various flight and hotel options for a potential break later in the year. Nothing arranged, no destination agreed, just looking!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Budget

A day floating around in the adminisphere. Firstly the Gorse Fox had to sort out some arrangements for the weekend's football tournament. LTFC (who are hosting it) seem to expect everyone to know what's going on through osmosis.

Then after some household chores, the Gorse Fox got down to the budget-vs-actuals for the Toronto trip and also this month's domestic expenditure. That really took longer than expected as the Gorse Fox kept getting distracted.

Finally he spent time with the trip photos, ensuring they were all geo-tagged and all the people in the photos were correctly identified and filed.

After tonight's backups - ensuring the security of the soft-copies - all the paperwork can be shredded and all will be back to normal.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Jet lag

The trouble with jet-lag is that it doesn't affect the cat that you left at home in the cattery. Yesterday, Jasper was walking all over us at five in the morning, though the Gorse Fox did manage to wait until seven before getting up. Today Jasper started around six. By seven The Silver Vixen had had enough and got up. The Gorse Fox got up a while later and the jet-lagged Silver Vixen went back to bed for a while; the week away having really caught up with her.

We met up with Urban-cub at The Old Stables for lunch. She had already done her household chores and been to the pool for a swim. She was feeling very righteous. It was nice to just sit and chat without any specific agenda. Urban-cub showed us brochures for a couple of houses that she and Pistol Pete had been viewing. Both are nice, and both have pros and cons. If they decide to proceed it will be hard to select between them. First thing first, however. They still need to complete the sale of Urban-cub's flat.

In the evening we met with the Sonning Crew. It was time for one our curry-nights and we had to celebrate a wedding anniversary. As usual, the food was excellent and the company even better. We really have struck lucky with neighbours.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Normality

There was a partial return to normality today. Unfortunately, the Silver Vixen seems to have a cold or some hey-faver which is a bit of a shame - particularly as it seemed to develop in the last hour of our flight home.

The Gorse Fox headed out for football. The game was great fun as the weather was very kind to us and we had a good turn-out. The team that Gorse Fox played on won convincingly and our 7-goal tally included a lovely long range shot from the Gorse Fox. The normal game was followed by a friendly against a local team who asked for some practice games before they head out to Portugal for a tournament. We lost that game 1-0, but will get our chance for revenge on Sunday.

The afternoon was spent drinking tea with the neighbours in their back garden. Most refined. Most sophisticated. Not a french fancy in sight.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What?

Wandering round the store yesterday, before leaving, the Gorse Fox was amused by some of the items on display.

The picture shows one of the breakfast foods available to our Commonwealth cousins.

Home Sweet Home

As much as we love to travel and particularly travel to see family - there is no place quite like home. We had a pretty uneventful flight - though it was a bit late arriving back in the UK. Urban-Cub was waiting for us and swept us to the car and before we knew it, we were back home.

The early afternoon was, let's say, quiet, as we sat down to enjoy the warm sun in the Orangery. We did, however, have to go and collect Jasper later on. He had obviously had a good time at the cattery and insisted on telling us about it all the way home. He's now roaming the house checking that everything is as he left it.

Finale

Last day in "Tronno" started with breakfast in a small concession on The Path. It was inexpensive, but the yoghurt and granola was "craggy" and the coffee was rather insipid. Never mind, based on the the last week it would only be a couple of hours before we would eat again.

We checked out of the hotel and headed up to Bayview Village and met up with Beloved Aunt and Claire. For the third time in the last few days we settled down to eat at Il Fornello's. Lugging, the manager, recognises us now as regular customers and shows us to our "usual table".

The afternoon was spent discussing the benefits of the Amazon Kindle and the eventual purchase of one for BA. The debate was long, but the outcome sensible. Finally we had to say our goodbyes and head for the airport. The journey was trouble-free but the Gorse Fox had trouble at the gas station trying to get the pumps to work. In the end he hit the right combination and ended up using the most expensive blend of fuel they had.

As he said before, the journey to airport was trouble-free but on arrival the girl from Google directed us to the wrong place for Avis car return... Then, when we got out of the wrong car park, we went to the wrong terminal, but fortunately the Avis chap there redirected us to the correct terminal and drop off point. Pah!

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen are now enjoying a quiet hour or two in one of the lounges before we head for the flight. Home in the morning and a chance to catch up on the news from Urban-cub, who has been on holiday this last week.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cracking day

Sunday was a cracking day. The weather was bright and sunny and the temperatures were lovely and comfortable. After breakfast at the hotel, we went for a stroll around Downtown Toronto. Early on a Sunday morning it was quiet and looked marvellous in the bright sunshine.

We grabbed the car and headed north. There is a craft shop that needed a visit. This turned out to be one of our less successful trips as the outlet in question was clearly one of their smallest stores. It didn't take us long to complete an inventory of the store and realise there was little of interest. We headed to Bayview VIllage to grab a bite and kill some time before meeting Beloved Aunt. The afternoon with BA was uneventful, but did involve a teach-in on the the use of FaceTime, which she then used to call Agent Mulder who was down in Princeton with Andrew (who was rowing in a regatta).

Late afternoon we took BA with us as we had all been invited to Casa Ross for dinner. We were made most welcome wit hor d'oevres on the deck. (It was still warm enough to to sit out in the afternoon sun). Mark managed the preparation of the steaks and the ribs which turned out beautifully. We had a wonderful meal with warm friendly conversation and lots of teasing and fun (as we would expect). It was a lovely evening and nice to feel such hospitality.

We dropped BA back at her complex, then headed back to the hotel. There was packing to be done and at a suitable hour, boarding passes to arrange for Monday. Needless to say the hotel computer and printer were not talking to each other (still, as Trevor had discovered a similar problem on Friday). The receptionist was most helpful and we soon got everything sorted.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Chillin'

Saturday was quiet. We left the hotel mid morning and headed out of town towards Bayview Shopping Village. We had been there the night before for dinner, and thought it would be nice to have a look round before meeting up with the family for lunch. The weather was glorious and this was keeping the locals outside rather than visiting their mall, so we had the place to ourselves. We started with a coffee. The Gorse Fox clearly misjudged the portions as it arrived in a cup the size of a small swimming pool. He was unsure whether to drink it or do laps across it. Suitable refreshed, we moved on. The Silver Vixen saw some things that she liked and resolved to return after we had had lunch.

We met with Beloved Aunt, cousin Claire, Sis and Trevor and had a lovely lunch before returning mob-handed to the store where the Silver Vixen had seen her bargain. Some while later, after every item in the store had been examined, we left. The Silver Vixen clutching a bag, the Gorse Fox a molten credit card ;)

Afternoon was spent with the family until Sis and Trevor had to leave for the airport. After the long goodbyes we headed for the dining room in BA's residential facility and were treated to a very nice dinner.

Marathon

The Gorse Fox has just realised he's stuck here in Toronto, and tomorrow is the Brighton Marathon. Shucks, he's not going to be able to participate.

Oh well, better grab a beer and try hard not to be too disappointed.