Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Inspection

Today we have a viewing scheduled at our rented house - but more importantly we have the induction and inspection of our new house. A modicum of excitement is creeping in.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Lovely Day

We started our special day with a trip to Fishbourne Palace. - to remind us of our youth :)

Fishbourne Palace is the largest Roman Villa ever discovered on British soil, and stands just to the south-east of Chichester. Whilst, in some ways, the mosaics are not as impressive as those at Bignor; the sheer scale of the site is what astounds anyone with a a rudimentary imagination.

Developed in a number of stages the buildings surrounded an internal courtyard garden that would have been almost the dimensions of a modern football pitch.
After a coffee an sandwich we headed across to the Chichester Canal Basin.

Until 1906, ships were able to bring their cargo up the Chichester Channel and along the canal into the heart of Chichester. Now the canal basis is given over to leisure - with the hire of rowing boats, kayaks, and canoes. Additionally, and more importantly for us, they run narrow-boat trips down the canal.

We duly bought our ticket and waited for our boat.
 A trip on a narrow boat is immensely relaxing. Theres is nothing you can do except watch the world drift by - at a slow walking pace.

The scenery along the canal was lush and a haven for wildlife. Any bird-watcher would have a field day as the various feathered friends swooped, dived, fluttered, or paddled along the route. At one point we saw a terrapin (ok, that's not a bird) sunning itself on the bank.
Passing Hunston junction and on past the tracks of the old Selsey tramway, the canal comes to halt (at least as far as the narrow boat is concerned). An elegant three-point turn saw us reverse the route and head back towards Chichester and the Canal Basin.

Of course, the canal has a towpath. This is a haven for walkers, joggers, anglers, cyclists, and dog walkers.
Talking of dog-walkers, we noticed this as boat was gliding along. The Gorse Fox feels that this approach to "taking the dog for a walk" is not what is normally intended by the phrase and could be the reason for canine obesity.

Back at the basin, we hopped in the car - popped home to change and then headed back out to the local "Amelie and Friends" for a celebratory meal.

A splendid day all round.

Anniversary

Well it's 41 years today since the Silver Vixen took pity on the Gorse Fox and decided to look after him. He confesses that he is still somewhat shocked that she said "yes" and wonders what he did that attracted such good karma.

Here's to the next 41 years.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Production Line

Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters
According to the local dealer, the Gorse Fox's new car should be built today.

It would be interesting to know how long it takes from start to finish.

It would appear that a new Fiesta rolls off the production line in Cologne every 86 seconds






Here's a quick look at the build process:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Clarity

The Gorse Fox likes clarity. He was concerned the spreadsheet on which he had been working was not really showing the full picture adequately. This meant that he spent much of the day restructuring and refactoring the information.

He's still not quite convinced - but feels it is better than it was.

We have received the final account from the Solicitor for the house purchase. That'll knock a bit of a hole in the finances - but a hole we have budgeted for and expected all along. It's still a bit of a chock though when you write cheques that big.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Friends

It's always nice to hear from old friends.

The phone rang. A number we didn't recognise. It was Mrs Tiggywinkle - who, in the great scheme of things, is a few weeks ahead of us - having just moved sett with Badger. It was interesting hearing their tales as they so closely matched many of the issues and frustrations Gorse Fox has been experiencing over the past few weeks.

The important thing is that they have settled in now. We agreed to meet up soon after we are in the new place - whether up here, down there in the West country, or somewhere in between.

Views

After a morning of admin for both the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen, we had to make ourselves scarce as the local Estate Agent was again showing some house hunters round the current house.

We popped across to the outskirts of Chi and GF wandered into Staples to try and get some more storage boxes for his study. Now back in the study, having loaded the new boxes, GF realises that he still needs more - and that some items just don't fit in the boxes.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Opening

Yesterday evening saw the opening of Sonning Place. It was a chance to see the part of the development that has, up until now, been behind hoardings.
 Along with our new neighbours and those already living on the development we had a chance to meet, chat and get to know each other a bit.
 The development, as a whole, looks very smart, and "our" little corner looks lovely. There has obviously been quite a push in the last few days.

We had a chance to chat with the Site Manager and he was convinced that we had picked the best of the plots because of our outlook front and back.
As commented above, Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen had a chance to meet the neighbours. We are all going to be moving in with a a couple of weeks of each other. It was fairly clear that it is going the be a bit of a riot as there are some very nice people all around - a head teacher, an ex-Maths teacher, and ex-Deputy Head, someone who is a driving force at Goodwood, and some retirees.

Yep, Gorse Fox thinks it is looking very promising.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Odds, Ends, and Openings

Not too exciting so far - mainly odds and ends.

A late brunch was followed by a trip to the DIY store where GF picked up some new hoses for the washing machine (just in case the old ones had perished whilst not in use). Whilst there, using his healthy Starfleet discount voucher, he was offered a card that could give a further 10% off on Wednesdays - him being over 60. Obviously, it took a lot of convincing that he was indeed eligible, but eventually he left clutching the card.

Then we headed for Chi to complete a few more items before enjoying a coffee and cake at John Lewis's and heading home.

After a quiet hour we are preparing to head out for the Grand Opening of the phase of development (called Sonning Place) that incorporates our new house. Should be fun, and may meet some of our new neighbours.

(PS. GF notices BT have already slipped their appointment, to connect the services to the new house, by seven days).

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pillar to Post

Well more like Pillock to Phone.

The Gorse Fox got back on to BT - given that we were assured everything was now set up. He's glad the contact number is freephone - as it took 75 minutes during which he was passed from pillock to another - without any warning he was being transferred - and in most cases without the new person being briefed as to why they had been put in the hot seat.

It was particularly concerning at one point to hear there was an order against our account to transfer the services to a postal code GF had never heard of! In the end a very efficient lady took control of the call and eventually everything got sorted. Unfortunately this will mean that we get a new phone number - but at least we will have one.

Transfer of the Broadband isn't quite so straightforward. That cannot be arranged as this is a brand new service and it is not until the phone has been active for a few days that they can assess the suitability of the line for Broadband - so looks like GF and the SV will be relying on 3G when they first move in.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Digit Extracted

Silver Vixen has heard from the Site Office. Openreach have extracted their collective digit and everything should be available tomorrow for GF to go online and arrange the transfer of services.

Fingers are, metaphorically, crossed.

Meanwhile GF has spent much of the day moving Direct Debits. He has adopted a 3 account approach; one main account, one account for monthly expenses, and one for annual expenses. This allows for a little more clarity and also makes optimal use of the various interest rates and cashback options available with the different accounts.

On the subject of cashback - GF found some old premium bonds last week and had them aggregated into his recent holding. This added the vast sum of £12 - but also revealed that £12 invested in 1957 has won no prizes whatsoever in the intervening 57 years.

Relapse

Seing the news that Labour have a 7% lead in the polls is a depressing thought. It is like the country has been an alcoholic and hasn't touched a drop in the last few years - but is about to have a spectacular relapse just as they beginning to get better and their liver is recovering.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Communication breakdown - it's always the same

The Gorse Fox phoned BT to arrange the transfer of services to the new property. It all seemed to be going rather well. The agent wasn't perplexed by the fact the post code had not yet been updated on their system. She asked for the developer, the plot number, and kept trying to help. In the end she had to give up, explaining that BT Openreach had to put the basic developer information on their system to start with. She suggested GF contact Openreach and gave hime the freephone number.

The Gorse Fox tried the Freephone number - which just would not connect. He decided this was something the developer should be doing and phoned the Sales Office to explain the dilemma. They said they would look into it and several hours later the Gorse Fox received a copy of an email where they were cajoling BT Openreach to see if they had further work to complete as the developer had provided all the basic plans and plot numbers long ago.

What was obvious was that the Sales plot number and the developers plot number were very different. GF decided to call BT again and go through the process once more - this time with the other plot number. Again a very helpful chap tried but failed to get any information that would allow him to enter the order. Again he suggested BT Openreach were the source of the problem and agin provided the Gorse Fox with the Freephone number.

Gorse Fox tried the number and once more it was unobtainable. A little bit of research however revealed a direct number for our local office. GF called and started to explain. The lady at the far end was not happy. GF was told that BT should not have provided the number and that anyway they could always enter the order against an unknown address. Gorse Fox maintained his equanimity and thanked her profusely for the help she had provided. She hung up.

Still haven't managed to arrange BT services at new house.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Trickle down

No - not the rain. That stopped several hours ago. It is still quite windy but other than that the weather has returned to normal.

No, Gorse Fox was referring to the Postal Code. It is clear that it is starting to trickle down. He has, today, managed to sort out the transfer of the TV license from here to the new address (something you can do up to 3 months in advance - as long as you have the post code). The code was immediately recognised and the transfer actioned.

So it was that, in a fit of optimism, GF logged in to BT to try and effect the transfer of the phone and provision of Broadband. Clearly, BT aren't so quick off the mark and the new address is not recognised. (The website starts to deal with this by displaying a message saying that if the address isn't found you should click on a certain "radio button" - which it promptly forgets to show on the displayed page, so you cannot comply). Pah!

Clearly the trickle has not yet become a flood.

Rain

It's absolutely thrashing down with rain. This is what it must be like living in Wales, or up North.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Just a few bits and bobs

The Gorse Fox had woken during the night. He realised there was an error in his spreadsheet. His gut was telling him the answer to his sums was out by a fairly significant amount. First thing he re-cast the whole page. It took an hour or two, but in the end it was much clearer, much easier to understand, and confirmed GF's unconscious detection of an error.

By late morning, GF had taken the Silver Vixen through the sums and we were satisfied that we had clarity. It was time to use some of the estimated costs and go to order some more of the furniture we had modelled for the new house. We returned to the New England furniture store and placed an order for some bedside tables (on which the Gorse Fox managed to drive a deal), a chest of drawers, and a coffee table. All are scheduled to be delivered the first or second week in September.

Then we pottered off to the fireplace showroom and confirmed our selections from the previous trip and arranged for a survey of the lounge. Again this is scheduled for the first or second week of September. It looks as if we will be busy!

Watched the Spurs vs Schalke04 match on TV. Good to see another pre-season win. Let's hope the season will be more successful than last. Whilst watch the game we got a text message from Urban-cub to tell us that as a result of her 8-mile walk yesterday (down in Dorset) she has a stress fracture of the foot and needs to go to hospital on Monday morning to determine whether a plaster is necessary.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Service

You may not associate good service with the Civil Service. Whilst it does, indeed, provide shelter for the indolent and talentless - it also has many brilliant, hard-working,and dedicated individuals. (Gorse Fox has mentioned before that he worked with one Government Agency which had offices around the country - and many of those offices had a 30% absentee rate).

Today GF phoned the DWP. He decided that with the recently announced changes to the State Pension and various rules about contracted-in or contracted-out pensions, GF decided that the best way to be sure of what he will be entitled to receive was to ask. Afetr a long wait a very nice lady finally took the call, asked all the relevant questions and promised that she would look into it, calculate GF's entitlement and call him back on 26th August between 12:00 and 14:00. Apparently, the computer systems have not yet been written to provide printed estimates - hence the manual calculations and return phone calls.

On a different subject - Gorse Fox got a call from the car dealership. It seems that GF's new car is scheduled to be built on 18th August and will be in the dealership at the end of the first week in September.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Accounting

As mentioned earlier in the week, the Gorse Fox had recognised that opening a ~Santander 1-3-3 account could actually be moderately lucrative - give 1%, 2% and 3% cash-back on various common expenditures. Indeed, it looks as if we could get a "rebate" of several hundred pounds per year - which is not to be sniffed at!

This afternoon we met with a nice Russian girl called Kate at Santander (the bank, not the port). After about 45 minutes of discussions, and form filling we walked out with the appropriate accounts in hand.

Clearing House

The Gorse Fox greeted three chaps as they rand the doorbell. They were from Stonepillow - a charity that provides goods for people who cannot otherwise afford them. We had a list of items for them to pass on. Over the next 45 minutes we loaded their van with a larder fridge, a dishwasher, a single bed and mattress, a double bed, a full length mirror, a pine cabinet, an ottoman, and a DAB Radio.

Let's hope that they go to people that can make good use of them.