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

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 .

Brentford 1 Millwall 0. A home win before halloween . A strange game but huge relief.

Seems a long time since Brentford have been in a relegation battle and have had to wait almost until the end of October before claiming a first home win. At the end of the game there was relief all around, players,staff and fans. 00000218

So what was different and why did we win? Probably the answer is Daniel Bentley who is rapidly looking premiership material. Two world class saves and then in the 81st minute a superb penalty save gave Bees the points. Brentford if the truth is told did not play to anything like the heights of previous games and the game was the scrappiest seen this season. The team however battled all game and work rate could not be faulted.

Millwall were the poorest footballing team Brentford have played this year, with their main tactics seemingly to kick the ball as high and long as possible, and pushing their opponents endlessly, with the referee ( worst this season) allowing so much pushing and shoving to go unpunished it became unbelievable at times. Certainly Millwall are not a team I would pay willingly to watch. vibe

When rating the Brentford players the only ones who maybe had quiet or not their best games were Dalsgaard and Yennaris. Dalsgaard in the first half gave the ball away upfield a number of times and hardly rushed back to correct matters. He needs to remember his position is right back and thats his priority. Bjelland for me does not have the overall ability of Barbet and that could be a straight swop. Yennaris had a quiet game, and although he has had some good games, his overall contribution is not a fraction of players like Woods and Watkins.

Having said all that, Bees won the game and have the three points that overall they deserved ( as in many games this season). But, we are not out of the wood yet. A few more wins are needed in the next six weeks . 00000169

A few questions for Dean Smith include what would be against starting Lasse Vibe in place of Maupay ( who missed an excellent chance in the first half). The defence again needs some attention. Bees got away with it today thanks to Dan Bentley , but it needs to be tighter and at times more physical.

Time tonight to celebrate and hope that now the team can relax and move forwards over the next few weeks. The rest of the season? There are some worse teams than Brentford, including Millwall and Reading, but will we get above the mid-table milieu? I don’t think so. Success with this group of players would be 12th place.

Lastly Romaine Sawyers was superb. His goal was well taken and he almost added a carbon copy minutes later, but his overall work rate must have doubled since last season and his place on the team sheet should be an easy decision. He looks and is playing with a confidence, and I suspect we have not yet seen the best of him.

My beer will taste good tonight.

Gothenburg Harbour . Sunrise and Sunset

The area around the harbour on the south side is essentially a Science park and a Radisson hotel. But at sunrise and sunset it comes to life . A few photographs .

Cardiff Street Art. The Dragon Roars

One of the best aspects of street art is the surprise to find it where least expected. A quick nighttime walk around Cardiff was enlightened by finding some dragon street art next to the Millenium Stadium. Sadly only I phone photos in the dark but quite amazing still the same.

Non league Day and Reasons for Regular Nonleague football Chipstead 1 Barking 1 FA Trophy Dogs Come Too

If I were a clever writer I would arrive at some witty headline that encompasses dogs and Barkingfc. Non league day has become a regular date in the calendar when International football means no top level games and crowds are higher.

Although a Brentford fan I manage to catch 10-15 non league games a season and am no stranger to positive reasons to watch non league. Let me summarise the key reasons why far more spectators should visit Chipstead:

  1. Entrance a very fair £9 including a programme. Some clubs such as Carshalton have moved away from paper programmes to e-programmes for obvious reasons.
  2. Free car parking at the ground
  3. Dogs are welcome. Today there were at least 4 dogs there. All on leads and having a good time, with some fields around the ground ( with access) meaning that it was a good thing to let them walk before the game.
  4. Friendly spectators. Folks can and do walk around the whole ground, and of course seats in the small stand are free.
  5. Football quality is good. Some fans who do not frequent non league games may imagine overweight pub teams kicking each other to bits. This analogy is totally wrong. There was high skill level, good organisation, 100% effort all game and some excellent individual skill.
  6. Chipstead play an open and attacking brand of football. They use their wingers  and have a traditional old fashioned centre forward (Alan Tait). In short echelons higher in entertainment than for example the hideous international fare provided by England.
  7. There are players to watch. The player catching the eye today was Leon Lalor-Dell, a skilful pacy left winger, who scored the Chipstead goal, and made what should have been another 3-4 goals.

There is nothing wrong with watching higher class league football, but why not take in the occasional non league game too? And if you fancy finding a tree stump behind the main stand. Especially if your dog needs a day out.

A Week At Brentford. Whats next? Will there be changes soon? Bolton V Brentford predictions.

After the disappointing 1-1 result against an average Reading side, that frankly at the end could have been a defeat, there have been the usual comments this week with little substantial of note.  The result was a fair one frankly. Brentford won the first half and Reading the second. The obligatory defensive error was even more ludicrous than normal, and why Rico Henry felt the need to commit any foul in the area is beyond me. 1K4A4967x

During the game Dean Smith had plenty of opportunities to change things, however he chose not to other than some ineffective substitutions. Bringing on relatively lightweight midfield players was probably not what was needed. The strikers got average service but missed chances again. So we arrive 22nd September with a very real chance that we will be winless entering October, possibly bottom and certainly getting further away from safety with each game. Although Bees fans support their team well and do not consider that we are the second worst team, the reality is that we are. Brentford play good though currently ineffective football and have been beaten by some very mediocre teams. We are not scoring and seem unable to contemplate a Plan B.00000262

Despite these assertions the team have had a high work rate and probably do deserve a few more points. What is for certain is that our aim this season now must be to avoid relegation. Sounds harsh but I believe it to be true. Are there three worse teams than us? Maybe. On paper Bolton , Barnsley and Burton look relegation candidates. I cannot conceive that Sunderland nor Birmingham will get relegated. 00000180

So what is to be done? The Bolton game is a must win game. A draw is simply not good enough as it is difficult to see anything other than a point at best versus a good Derby side on tuesday . Brentford need to be physical and positive, and for once avoid needless errors. I would have no issues with the same starting 11 as last week. I don’t think Yennaris nor McCeachran are the players to do this. Should we lose the knives will be out for Dean Smith, and in my view he should be doing better with the players he has, they should be gelling more and scoring more goals. He should be looking for positive early substitutions if needed or none if not. Players like Shaibu and Archibald should be given 45 minutes to play. Often the fans can determine after 15 minutes how good or bad the system is and they can also guarantee that it will be the 60th minute before changes. The captain also needs to captain and be visible and vocal. The fans need (as they will) to stay behind the team. 00000224

Let us hope that we get three points tomorrow against a team bottom and out of form. An early goal might be what we need and preferably 4-5 so we can relax. I have a feeling we might indeed win tomorrow however that by itself will not magically solve all our problems.

Weather Variations In A Game Of Football At Met Police V Hendon

In short a sunny start followed by rain, lightning , thunder , dark clouds and a lot more in between .

Some proper football photographs later but these give you a flavour.

Councils Wasting Even More Money on Pointless Dog Related Orders as Public Space Protection Orders, or PSPOs. Education is the way forward surely.

The front page of The Times on 6th September contained an article about Canterbury Council planning to introduce PSPO’s that effectively mandated that dog owners must carry at least 2 poo bags. The same day Merton Council issued a consultation document relating to PSPO’s that they plan to introduce that limits the numbers of dogs that walkers can walk to a maximum of four and also incorporates existing penalties for those dog owners who choose not to pick up after their dog. In addition to the usual restrictions surrounding where dogs may or may not go ( as below). 1K4A1235

Lets firstly examine what PSPO’s actually are and represent. Public Space Protection Orders, or PSPOs, came into existence in 2014 under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Similar to the much-derided anti-social behaviour orders (asbos), PSPOs allow for broad powers to criminalise behaviour that is not normally criminal. But where asbos were directed at individuals, PSPOs are geographically defined, making predefined activities within a mapped area prosecutable.

As an example lets take a look at Dover Council. They introduced a PSPO in 2015.

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) specify an area where activities are taking place that are or may likely be detrimental to the local community’s quality of life. PSPOs impose conditions or restrictions on people using that area.

As of the 27 July 2015 a PSPO in relation to dog control has taken effect across the Dover district and replaced a number of out of date by-laws to create a more comprehensive and consistent approach when dealing with issues such as dog fouling, keeping dogs on leads and excluding dogs from specified areas.

In summary this order:  

  • Excludes dogs from:
    • enclosed children’s play areas 
    • specific beaches at certain times of year
    • specific sporting or recreational facilities
  • Requires dogs to be kept on leads:
    • within specific churchyards and cemeteries
    • specific seafront promenades and seafront gardens
    • specific memorial sites and nature reserves
  • Requires dog owners to remove dog faeces
    • This applies to any land to which is open to air and to which the public have access
  • Requires dog owners to put their dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer
    • This will apply to any public land where a dog is considered to be out of control or causing alarm and distress

The PSPO will be in place for a period of three years from the commencement date.

This all sounds on the face of it fine and reasonable. However what is immediately obvious is that none of this can effectively be policed for three reasons:

  1. Dog walkers walk their dogs everywhere and not in the same place at prescribed times, meaning that councils will need hundreds if not thousands of wardens ( or whoever will monitor all this) to make this work. Clearly this will not happen and can never be cost effective. Canterbury council have only ever issued 1 notice for dog fouling in the last 4 years. Their website allows online reporting, though again how this might work and what level of proof is needed is not clear.You can report dog fouling online, especially if you are aware of a regular offender at the same time and place.
  2. Dog walkers can claim , if they choose not to carry bags, that they have already used them. So wardens will need to turn into Sherlock Holmes to rifle through bins and other poo repositories to find the alleged bags. Presumably then DNA each specimen to determine the dog. This is clearly ridiculous
  3. Dog walkers might argue, reasonably that there is a large difference between four German shepherds and four miniature poodles.

Councils would do better to provide increasing amounts of bins ( although to be fair, these exist already in Merton). But mostly education is needed for those who choose not to pick up.


As a dog owner I can only surmise it is mostly pure laziness that stops some owners picking up, and sometimes they may simply not see their dog produce its excrement. Education is the way forward. I somehow suspect that none of these councils despite their evangelical outpourings , consulted widely and specifically with dog owners ( and by this I mean normal everyday owners and not Dogs Trust or RSPCA etc).  Some folks need education that looking after a dog is a bit more complex than just walking them. Some non-dog owners might need to understand that they should not approach dogs and start stroking them without at least asking the owner, who will be well aware of the dogs nature.

Sam Sodje. What have you done? Real waste of talent.

Sadly the story of Sam Sodje is now out there . Sam was one of the real favourites at Brentford and a talented centre back .

Now he is charged with laundering the proceeds of a crime with three others. The princely sum of 80,000£.

Many Bees fans will recall his defending, his goals and his occasional catastrophe. But mostly his really strong relationship with Bees fans. He played 100 league and cup games scoring 14 goals and was at Brentford 2004-2006. Brentford sold him to Reading for 350,000£ which actually was the only time any fee was involved in any of his transfers. His last professional football was in 2013 at Portsmouth.

The link to the details are all here

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