Monday, April 20, 2015


We had another of the landscapers meet with us this morning. She seemed very nice and very thorough (though GF had provided detailed designs and a document explaining the brief). We just need to wait for her quotes to come through.

The stiff neck is problematic. GF has almost no rotation to left or right. The problem is made more ridiculous by his varifocal glasses. These, of course, have a sweet spot in the middle of the lens and in order for things to be in focus you need to look through this sweet spot. This means that GF relies on head rotation to see things clearly. Today he has to do complete body rotation.

Noon Image: 20 Apr 2015


The Gorse Fox has a dreadfully stiff neck. He's not sure of the cause but has almost no rotation, and even forward/backward motion is painful. He is wearing a warm neck-roll at present, trying to ease the discomfort.

Feeling stupid.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


We heard from Cousteau-cub this morning. She is about to start her yoga teacher's course. This is 200 hours of intense study and practice over the next few weeks - 10 hours a day. At the end, GF guesses she gets her certificate, or a refund of her enlightenment. She has no plan to teach yoga, but enjoys it so much that she wanted to delve deeper.


The pitch at LA was on a slight slop and wasn't marked out for small-sided football. On top of this there was a cruel wind blowing across the wide open spaces and it was strong enough to move the ball around quite a lot. We started with a "first team" against the rest and were soon 6-0 up. We rebalanced the teams and played another 40 minutes. To be honest GF had absolute mare of a game. He just couldn't get under way., and his passing was not as accurate as he would like (or expect).

Probably time to draw a veil over this match. Next Sunday we have a tournament, so let's hope GF has got his act together by then.

Noon Image: 19 Apr 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Another potential landscaper came round. He was given the same brief and diagrams as the first. Like the first, he seemed quite enthusiastic about our design and offered various suggestions as to approaches that could be used to achieve the end result. We look forward to hearing his proposal, as we know him and his team; they were, after all, the guys that built our Orangery.

When he had gone, we took a drive up to Chi and looked around the landscape section of Covers. They had some great ideas and we came home clutching an armful of brochures. (GF knew that Covers was big - he has visited before - but he discovered it spreads across 16 acres. Most impressive.)

Noon Image: 18 Apr 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Send off

The funeral was a typical event, for our family, i.e. it was a glorious event. We gathered at the Crematorium along with a large contingent of serving and retired Police Officers. As we milled about we introduced ourselves to each other - it is, after all, decades since some of us have met. The police formed up into an honour guard and lining the route to the chapel. It was, clearly, a very proud and poignant moment for the family.

The ceremony was brief. A few words from the Police chaplain, a time for reflection, a eulogy from Mark's son and a flurry of tissues all round.

We gathered in the courtyard to remember a fine man who was clearly very highly respected. This where it morphed into our typical funeral as we, respectfully started to chuckle and joke as we reminisced.

Leaving the courtyard we drove to the Herts Police Sports & Social Club where there was tea laid on. (Though being a Police Social Club, there was also a bar, of course). It was nice to chat with cousins and a thoughtful touch was added when the Police came round with A5 cards for us to write our stories of Mark so that they all be bound into a book of remembrance.

GF said his goodbyes, and took leave at about 1500. It had only taken 2 hours to get there, so he should be home around 1700. Of course the phenomenon that is the M25 and Friday stepped in at this point. He queued in traffic from Rickmansworth round to Guildford, and then, south of Petworth, the road was closed with a long diversion. Two hours had become three and three-quarters. Pah! Still, GF wouldn't have missed the funeral even if had known.

Once home, Urban-cub was visiting, as was GF's sister and Trevor. We had a lovely supper and chance to chat (and perhaps we will reveal more about the subject in forthcoming posts) before they all disappeared leaving GF with the weary but gorgeous Silver Vixen. Say what you will, he is a lucky man.

Noon Image: 17 Apr 2015


The Gorse Fox is going to the funeral of his cousin today. Interestingly, this cousin and his siblings have had little contact with GF over the years - except through Facebook. He hope he recognises them!

Donning his funeral weeds was a challenge. The jacket he had planned to wear has evidently grown whilst hanging in the wardrobe. When he put it on, it was clear that there was room for him and a guest in its capacious measurements. This rather brought home to GF, just how big he had become prior to retirement and how much weight he has managed to lose since.

He'll be off soon, to spend some quality time on Her Majesty's highways and bye-ways.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thank you, HMRC

The Gorse Fox has commented before that he has been allocated a tax rebate. This is still sitting in his HMRC account, but today seemed like a good day to re-allocate the funds. He has mentioned before that his Samsung Notebook was defunct as a mobile device. It works fine with a cable, but no longer functions off the battery (and new batteries seem impossible to source).

To this end, a brief trip into Chi saw GF in John Lewis, and saw the JLP minions scurrying round trying to see if they had stock. They did. Gorse Fox now has a shiny new MacBook Air. Not a big one - he doesn't need the real estate any more, but a nice sparkly new one with an 11 inch screen. This entry is it's first foray into the wide world.

Noon Image: 16 Apr 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Close Shave

The Gorse Fox was driving home after the football. A large lorry was coming in the opposite direction. As it rounded the bend heading north, it ripped a branch from a tree and deposited it across the road in front of the GF's car. The lorry drove on. The road was completely blocked.

The traffic backed up and several of us south-bound drivers and a few of the north-bound drivers went to examine the obstacle. In the end we decided there were enough of us to manhandle the arborial roadblock out of the highway. Ten minutes of grunting and dragging later - the Gorse Fox was covered in pine resin, but the road was clear. GF headed home, thankful that he was not 10 yards further ahead than he had been. He suspects a branch like that would leave more that a scratch on the car's paintwork.

Noon Image: 15 Apr 2015

Mown down

The Gorse Fox has football this morning, but clearly needs to break out the lawn mower later, or tomorrow. The battlefield (garden) has started to recover from the pasting it received during the building works and the grass is beginning to reach out for a better view.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Double dose

The Gorse Fox doubled his dose of walking football today. He signed up for two back-to-back sessions. This meant he played six 15 minute matches over a couple of hours. He was expecting to find it hard, but in fact it wasn't too bad at all. Obviously his fitness levels are improving.


There's something ominous about an email from HMRC. This, particularly so when Gorse Fox's last tax return resulted in HMRC owing him money.

He logged on to his account and went to the messages. There it was, glaring out of the screen, a message from the tax people. He clicked and opened the message, read it, and sighed with relief. It was just a reminder to fill in his self-assessment befor 31st Jan next year.

Noon Image: 14 Apr 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Good day, really

Despite the start at the dentist (clean bill of health), it has been a good day. GF headed into Chi and picked up some new football boots. Several of the upcoming tournaments are on grass rather than astroturf - so it is sensible to get some boots with proper studs.

Once back home GF returned to the challenge of the garden. This meant selection of a list of landscapers to0 approach, and more refinement of the design. This all went well and the design now exists as a 3D model in Sketchup and can be viewed from every angle.

A trip to Travis Perkins allowed us to look at some of the options we would have for gravels or slate and helped clarify some of the choices.

Noon Image: 13 Apr 2015


Calendar reminded the Gorse Fox that he has to spend some quality time with the dentist this morning. Oh well, it could be worse. He could be having to go to work!

Ahhh, retirement; every day a Bank Holiday :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bullet bit

Sometimes you have to just bite the bullet. Gorse Fox's Mac has been offering a free upgrade to Yosemite for several months. He has been resisting. The old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" was firmly in mind. However, there were some security patches, and some newer apps available, and it has now had quite a while to bed down.

GF took the plunge and five and half GB of Yosemite downloaded during the afternoon. Then, after pressing a couple of buttons, the upgrade began. Thirty minutes or so later, a sparkly new system booted up. Voila, it works. Trouble free.

Meanwhile GF spent a pleasant hour on the phone to Agent Mulder. It appears that he will be off to Thailand in a few weeks, with the aim of meeting up with his daughter (who out there travelling). He wants to take some "beach time" and plans to head for Koh Lanta so he can meet up with Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit. Contact details have been exchanged... and hopefully it will all work out.

Noon Image: 12 Apr 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chelsea - Eat your heart out

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen have spent the morning with garden templates, tape measures, watercolour pencils and twenty-one thousand ideas. We need to get to a design for the garden - and are not, repeat NOT, going to fork out the £25k plus that the chap quoted a few weeks back.

After a lot of head scratching, we have come up with a plan that we both like. Now GF has to transfer it into a drawing on the computer so that we can provide copies to landscape gardeners in order for them to give us some sensible quotes.

Next stop - a show garden at Chelsea.

Noon Image: 11 Apr 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Quiet day

It has been a quiet day, much spent sorting out football-related stuff. There is another tournament to organise our response to, and also to invite further participation from our Worthing chums. They too have now formed a club, but don't seem to have quite the foowing we have.

Now that the Orangery floor is sealed, we were able to make a start cleaning up, and we have started to think about funiture. No decisions yet, but suspect a trip to Ikea is on the horizon.

Noon Image: 10 Apr 2015

Thursday, April 09, 2015


The Gorse Fox is part of the organising committee for the Arun Amblers Walking Football Club and we had a meeting scheduled. The car park was rammed full, but Gf was luck and found a slot for his car. He was surprised, therefore, when entering The Sportsman to find it was almost deserted. That's when he realised there was football match being played and so we sat by the picture windows, held our meeting, had a beer, and watched the local football team play one of their rivals.

GF must say that it is a very pleasant way to hold a committee meeting, and beats the old Parish Council meetings, hands down.

We have now been invited to play in another tournament... so we have a couple coming up in the next month.

Bits and bobs

The day started with the operative arriving to lay the latex on the concrete screed that forms the base of the Orangery. This is the last stage before the heated floor is laid next week. GF was surprised by how many sacks of latex were required - but he seems to have done a good job and at least the concrete is now sealed and the dust will no longer permeate everything.

We popped in to Chi at lunchtime. GF had some business at the bank, and there was a special offer at our favoured restaurant "Amelie and Friends". We settled down to try the new menu. Tempura Prawns for the GF's starter (SV skipped the starter) Then The Silver Vixen had a pork tenderloin for her main course, whilst GF had the catch of the day as fish and chips. Finally, the Silver Vixen enjoyed a rhubarb trifle. As usual, the service was wonderful and the food both delicious and beautifully presented. Well worth the trip.

Noon Image: 9 Apr 2015

Wednesday, April 08, 2015


We have been trying to coax Jasper to use the cat tunnel, now that the flap is in place. He seems reluctant, unless you stand there and hold the flap open. Also, he leaps through it so quickly that the reader can't register his microchip. This is something we will have to work on.

Football was fun today. The warm weather is making it hot work - heaven's knows how we will cope in the summer. Good win today, 5-3 with a goal from GF to help the tally.

Noon Image: 8 Apr 2015

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Clearing up

Walking football was disappointing. The fall of the dice meant that GF's team was not a strong mix this week and we lost all three games. GF was very weary at the end, and frustrated that whilst he seemed to be able to provide pinpoint passes to feet from anywhere on the pitch, he seemed spectacularly useless at placing a ball between the goalposts.

Back home there was a period of frustration as we tried to catch Jasper to take hime to the vet for his annual health check. He must have known something was up as he buried himself under the bedd and dug his claws into the carpet when we tried to coax him out. Eventually, we were successful - he had his check, and all is well.

Whilst he was at the vet, the Gorse Fox tidied the decorating detritus from the Orangery. Decorating is complete, everything is squared away and the rubbish has been consigned to the local recycling amenity. Once the floor is latex and seals the concrete dust in, it should be usable - and then next week the underfloor heating will be installed and we are on the home stretch.

Noon Image: 7 Apr 2015