Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Witness For The Prosecution at County Hall. Unique and Beyond Brilliant


There are hundreds of theatres in uk of all size and shapes. Rarely is there an opportunity to stage a play in pretty much the right environment that is not a theatre. Here is such a thing .

County Hall was the Home to Greater London Council for many years and is a large grand building that sits in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament and London Eye. The main chamber is a rather grand and legal looking room with plush large seats and superb acoustics that lend to a specific theatrical performance. This staging of Witness for the Prosecution is such a play. An Agatha Christie book that has been staged in many theatres since 1953.

The show was beyond brilliant . The acting and staging quite unique giving it a real courtroom feel. The audience are spellbound for 2 hours. All the actors deserve plaudits but David Yelland as the defence counsel and Catherine Steadman as the wife of the defendant really steal the show.

Tickets are really very cheap and can be sourced online for 37.50£ easily. Just go along. A unique and remarkable staged production

FA cup First Round. The grounds are hardly crowded. Why ?


The media are full of the glamour of the FA cup. Sadly for many if not most teams that glamour is somewhat tarnished.

Not everyone is aware that the FA cup starts in August and ends in May. The early qualifying rounds are a god given chance for nonleague teams to make a small amount of money from the moderately attractive prize money on offer. By the time the first round rolls round in November the media suddenly awake with their stories of candlestick makers and funeral directors somehow managing to combine a job and a nonleague football career. Curiously they manage that on each of the other 364 days. As overheard at the recent Met Police FA trophy game a player when asked if he was playing on Tuesday simply answered negatively as was working. As Moriarty famously said in Sherlock “ that’s what people do”.

The glamour of the first round however comes with sadness too. The crowds at many grounds , sometimes famous grounds in FA cup parlor, were poor if not pathetic. The reasons may be varied. Clubs that decide not to offer deals and retain normal charges . Clubs that poorly advertise. Clubs that simply do not care as the league club imagines that the prize money more than compensates.

Let’s take a look at the winners and the rogues gallery. Starting with the rogues;

  • Colchester. We all recall Layer Road and the Leeds cup tie. The crowd v Oxford City a pitiful 1775. Oxford won 1-0.
  • Coventry. A crowd of 3370 saw a 2-0 victory over Maidenhead.
  • Charlton. Another ex-premier league side . A crowd of 4494 saw a 3-1 victory over Truro. Around 1000 were Truro fans
  • Blackburn. Premiership winners . A crowd of 3710 saw a 3-1 victory over Barnet
  • Wimbledon. There has been enough miserable moaning from the club over the last few years about MK Dons and Franchise FC. The famous FA cup winners persuaded only 3394 paying spectators to attend their game against Lincoln City who had an incredible run last year. Terrible in my opinion. Need I continue.

So where were the decent crowds? The nonleague sides playing at home. Hereford who are a reincarnated club but with great cup history had 4712 watch them defeat another nonleague side AFC Telford. Almost matching the highest crowd of the round at Luton v Portsmouth. 5333.

What realistically can be done? There are three options

  1. Do nothing and watch the history and glamour of this great competition die
  2. Allow the FA to subsidise prices for the first two rounds such that the maximum ticket price is £10 or less and children are free
  3. In the first round seed all nonleague teams to have home advantage

To do nothing is not an option.

An hour in Newcastle on Tyne


As with many trips there is never enough time to see a city properly . But if you have an hour just walk down to the quayside area . The choice is walk along the Tyne. Walk over a bridge. There are plenty to choose from.

The lower level bridge is my favourite for no good reason. One is undercover and the smell of urine is not far away. But a few curious aspects. The padlocks are interesting. To read the inscriptions . Compare the different types. Wonder how many of the couples who placed them here are still together?

The views are also good of all the other bridges. When you reach the far side you are in Gateshead. And it does seem as though you have left Newcastle.

This is a great city and a friendly one too. Well worth an hour wandering around

Brentford v Leeds. Even the Star of Bethlehem arrived


After two superb away wins and that curious but positive draw against Sunderland , Brentford fans were in optimistic mood with a nicely positive atmosphere prior to kick off.

In fact a beautiful evening to watch football. New Road was even treated to a sunset .

Shame the Leeds fans were unable to maintain a minutes silence for remembrance. Although to be fair many were expecting the referee to whistle to start the minute of silence. We were however treated to far too many renditions of his whistle during the actual game .

The game was superb end to end stuff. Brentford worked hard and in most areas for most of the game were superior to Leeds. But let’s start with the negatives. Too often Leeds were allowed space to attack through the middle and far too much time to shoot from the edge of the box. Bees were also slow to close down players again allowing far too many shots from around 20 yards. The good news was that Brentford were technically superior in every area.

Brentford took the lead after a keeper error allowing a simple finish. The luxury of another missed penalty did not put Bees off and if anything inspired Ollie Watkins to have maybe his best game. Leeds equalised curiously in an identical manner. Dan Bentley dropped the ball again allowing a simple finish. In many regards this was a copy of the Reading game except Bees then upped the tempo and deservedly scored 10 minutes from time . A nice free kick from Barbet who had a good game and finished the game off in injury time with a nice move down the left , the ball pulled back to the edge of the box and Ryan Woods scoring the best goal of the game.

If Brentford fans thought they had defensive issues, Leeds have far more serious issues. Goalkeeper Andy Lonergan looked dubious all game with plentiful handling errors. Defensively there was a lack of talent and skill with the ball going in any random direction often however out of play. When Leeds attacked they showed flashes of good play but so many unforced errors meant that many of their attacks ended as throw ins.

For Brentford this was their best team performance of the season. The side looked quick, skilful, hard working and effective. Chris Mepham looked solid coming on for the injured Bjelland. Yennaris had probably his best game I have witnessed with clever passes combined with a high work rate. Mokojoto was an ideal substitute stretching the Leeds defence with clever runs.

Nine points in a week does not come along very often and we have been shifted acutely from a relegation battle to a potential play off battle. There is a long season ahead but this game showed what Brentford are capable off. And for once Sky was there to capture it all

Berlin in Autumn. Is it worth a visit?


Berlin is a fascinating city with history and architecture to rival any city in the world. The question is given the high prices is it worth a visit in the autumn?

Unfortunately the greatness of the place and the short days with darkness coming from 4.30 pm meant I would not be positive in spending money to come here.

The city was wet and muddy meaning that walking through Tiergarten was not a pleasure . Queues everywhere to get into any historical building and few smiles to be seen. Prices were also expensive. In a small cafe not in a popular area a cheeseburger cost 10€ and a large Americano coffee 5.90€.

In a lesson for other cities though there were few cars to be seen in the city centre.

On the positive side a good transportation system and decent if wet and muddy pedestrian walkways.

Would I return again in autumn? Definitely not. Cities like Riga and Prague offer far more for far less at this time of year .

The street art is not too shabby though tucked away in small side streets.

What Exactly Is The Point of C gates at Terminal 5 Heathrow?


While extra runways are the talk of the town there are few comments on the use of Terminal 5 in an effective manner.

Passengers dread the phrase when it appears on the departure screens, B gates or C gates. It always adds 10-15 minutes onto the time needed to reach the gate. The shuttle train is always coming in two minutes which translated this morning into 6 minutes. At least this is multiples of two. Combined with the wait while the ineffective nonsense of the security search is undertaken provides audible sighs and almost visible misery from the waiting passengers.

Today was such a day. A flight to Frankfurt on a 767. Presumably operational reasons dictated a large plane . No issues there. However the striking metric emanating from the departure screen was that only nine flights were departing from the C gates over a six hour period . How can this be effective for anyone? The shops there lie vacant of business with downcast salesmen with no one to sell to. The concourses were totally empty. Surely there must be a better way to use C gates?

Brentford 3 Sunderland 3. Another draw, more defensive errors yet this might be the real turning point of the season. The superb Florian Jozefzoon


There have been enough doom and gloom posts in the last 24 hours. It does not take a mathematician to realise that giving away three goals makes winning a match incredibly difficult. Yet in fact Brentford almost did that.

Florian Jozefzoon shoots to create the tap in for Yennaris

Florian Jozefzoon shoots to create the tap in for Yennaris

Lets start with the negatives. In the first half for long periods Sunderland outplayed us with a strong and energetic form of football, skill was not a major component , yet Brentford gifted them three goals. The obligatory goal from the ex-Bees player Lewis Grabban was the prelude to an error from Dan Bentley (keepers make mistakes and also win us games) and an incredibly stupid penalty to concede by Ryan Woods. Our defending yesterday was not good, but it was also not bad. In a purely defensive role Henrik Dalsgaard had maybe his best game for us. Our central defenders were hardly immense but also not error prone. What is the real strong negative and something Brentford must stop doing, is giving away stupid penalties. In three of the last 4 home games, it is the ridiculous penalties that have cost us (almost)  the points. Rico Henry (V Reading), Henrik Dalsgaard ( V Millwall) and Ryan Woods yesterday. Defensive coaching must encompass and limit the desire, need and tendencies to concede pointless penalties, when in fact in all three cases challenges could have been better or not made at all.

Ryan Woods meets Lee Cattermole

Ryan Woods meets Lee Cattermole

Now onto the positives. Brentford dominated the second half and we saw a team in bad form ( Sunderland) lose their confidence entirely after an excellent Florian goal. A sublime free kick. Brentford came close to winning the game and if the referee had added on 10 minutes instead of the obligatory 5 minutes, Bees would have won this game. Our football was good, tackling was strong and we did have our chances. And before we talk about lack of luck, lets remember the good fortune of the Neal Maupay goal from a deflection. In short  Brentford looked good. Why? in my view it was down to Henrik Dalsgaard and Florian combining superbly on the right. The work load was high, the running fast and they never gave up. So why have these two players suddenly produced such a superb performance? Before yesterday both had performances that might be termed “patchy”. Maybe it is the coaching behind the scenes?

Florian Jozefzoon

Florian Jozefzoon had a superb game. His best in a Brentford shirt

Henrik Dalsgaard

Henrik Dalsgaard had his best game attacking and defending and looked the Danish international that he is

Florian Jozefzoon

Florian Jozefzoon yet again stretching the Sunderland defence

Henrik Dalsgaard

Henrik Dalsgaard

Although we should have won this game, importantly we did not lose it. We are in a relegation battle right now and on any given weekend might end up in the bottom three. So it was crucial not to hand three points to Sunderland.  There are games coming up we must win, Burton for example and QPR, and there are games me must get a point from (Cardiff and Leeds).

Yesterday we looked a coherent attacking side in the second half. There are some unanswered questions ( such as why the Sergi Canos hair style and colour) and can Neal Maupay regain a run of form. Overall however I feel positive that we can scrap our way out of this relegation battle and may potentially be a lower mid-table side. Where we go from there is another question.

Neal Maupay

Neal Maupay unlucky not to score

Jason Steele

Jason Steele had an uncomfortable afternoon in goal.

Henrik Dalsgaard

Henrik Dalsgaard makes another tackle

Ryan Woods

How did Ryan woods get up there?

Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins

Lasse vibe

Lasse Vibe

Florian Jozefzoon

Florian Jozefzoon

Neal Maupay

Neal Maupay

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Surely Jordan Pickford Must Be England Goalkeeper? Time to be decisive Mr Southgate


The first time I saw Jordan Pickford play it was maybe 5-6 years ago as a raw young keeper playing as an on loan keeper for Darlington away at Mansfield Town if I recall in a conference game. Darlington were starting their downwards spiral that has now ended and they are clawing their way back to the league. For example yesterday beating Bradford PA 2-1.

In that game I was sat with a handful of Darlington fans behind a goal in the cold night. Sadly for Darlington he was only a loan player and moved on

Now he is the Everton goalkeeper and watching the first half of their game against Arsenal he was the reason the score was 1-1 at half time making 8 superb saves.

England are bereft of good goalkeepers these days with few playing in the premiership . Joe Hart plies his trade for West Ham this season and is having a less than spectacular season. Errors abound. Most commentators and fans would agree he is far from the ideal England keeper. In fact for me his days are done .

Despite some delusional media comment and hype England will do well in Russia at the 2018 World Cup to reach the last eight.

With some friendlies on the horizon for the next 8 months it is time to play Pickford. Although not the final item he is on form the best England keeper. img_5730

Biarritz. A curious place. Is it worth a weekend visit?


I simply don’t get Biarritz. On the face of it a southern France seaside town that is favoured by wealthy French citizens. The promenade does indeed look Grand with a backdrop of large hotels and apartment blocks and the blue sky and sea.

Titles of hotels such as Grand Tonic and Grand Palais combined with a number of casinos, and shops where clothes items seem to have the decimal point in the wrong place provide clues.

Undoubtedly surfers love this place though with their beach visits starting at 7.30 am in late October in the dark.

However the atmosphere is subdued. The buildings jaded and there is almost a sign displayed saying please do not come here unless you are wealthy. Paying 5€ for an ice cream tells another tale.

Beyond this monied facade though there are a few nice aspects and views. Watching the sea crash into and over the promenade as the sun goes down and warm light falling onto the steps near the harbour make pleasant viewing. People sit in the sunshine and a few brave souls join the surfers in the sea. Lots of happy looking dogs walking around and on the beach.

But is this a place worth coming to? I am really not sure. Biarritz is difficult to reach with direct flights limited to Ryanair out of Stansted. And the flights presumably are seasonal as the flight was only 20% full at best.

On balance for me this is not a place to visit even if you are tempted by £7.99 Ryanair flights. Better places are there for weekend visits at less cost. Even the nice pavement cafes and bars are not tempting enough.

Food Photos


Just a few days in Food photography. See if you like anything .

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