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

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Boris and my I-phone. Bogus or Virus or Both


I now know why I like my I-phone. Apart from the obvious when travelling it keeps me company, tells me who is calling me and who to avoid, acts as my alarm clock, when the hands have fallen off my alarm clock proper, allows to do e-mail, allows me to do Facebook and Twitter, but most of all it amuses me. SIRI really does have a sense of humour that is vastly superior to any Heathrow airport employee, but it makes things up to amuse me when I am either bored or glum or both. Today I was having various Facebook discussions with members of family and friends over Boris. I am not a fan of his. I don’t like the way he looks, the way he behaves and I see nothing useful he has done for London. I will freely admit that my vote has gone to neither Boris nor Ken, and frankly I could have used Bingo to select my votes this time. So, to the point, when typing in Boris into my i-phone the first alternative it gave me was BOGUS and the second was VIRUS. Now that made me laugh. 

Heathrow airport is the Worst Airport in the World


This is becoming like a mantra. Each time I visit I forget how foul the whole experience is. This ranges from the awful signage, the expensive food, the sour-faced staff, the delays but mostly the cynicism of it all. Today I saw a huge advert outside a currency exchange bureau that said ” great exchange rates”. This intrigued me as in the pharmaceutical industry where I work, this kind of claim would firstly not be allowed but if it ever were watered down, there would have to be clarity over what exactly ” great” meant and compared to what. On my I-phone I have been following the euro exchange rates as soon will be heading off to Spain. Recently the rate is around 1.22 euro to the pound. This “great” exchange was more akin to the great train robbery, if I were to give them 1.38 euros they would kindly repay me a pound. However if I were to give them a pound they would give me 1.11 euros. A disgraceful exchange rate that does not even stop there as there would be a minimum £3 commission. This equates to something like a 20% mark down in their favour. This is not great and in fact should be considered illegal practice. The end result as usual is that not only would I not ever make this exchange at any UK airport but feel the need to stop others. It is the same story with the food, expensive prices for ordinary dross. Long queues to get what most travellers want, a cup of tea and sandwich, but no queue for the silly restaurants with stupid names like ” giraffe”. The staff generally are miserable and unfriendly, the queues for security are somehow always longer than their alleged BAA surveys claim. Today there was a grand claim on the departure boards that 95% ish of people clear security within 5 minutes. This is clearly not true. The only way to achieve this would be to pole vault over the top. End of rant. In contrast today, Glasgow Airport. Civilised, tidy and what I wanted was readily available. Result,  I spent money there. 

The tale of an unfortunate EEL that ate a Puffer fish – Photo proof


One of the advantages of having a daughter  in the Cayman Islands diving is that I get to see some amazing photos. This one was taken yesterday on the beach in Grand Cayman and the story goes that this eel was spotted in the sea and  someone dragged it out. It chose a bad meal choice and I have done that before, but this beats even a Brentford burger….her blog is http://www.seniorbushe.wordpress.com

Those clever at this hour will notice the similarity in our blog titles………there is a story. She was called SeniorBushe by friends of her younger brother………..so hence her blog title………..I just added a little bit on as her father…………

Rainbows


The strange thing about where we live is that we have always had a lot of rainbows. More than most places. I have no idea why. They come in the exact same place each time and if I were not too tired now I would sift through all my old files to find the photos from years gone by of the old rainbows just to prove a point. Anyway beautiful they are.

Clacton On Sea


I cannot recall ever have gone here before other than a brief trip 5 years ago but today this was my work trip. Driving into Clacton it strikes you immediately that this is an old persons town. The WestCliff theatre, that sits nowhere near either the west nor a cliff advertises bands such as Hermans Hermits ( whom I thought actually were all dead), and the average age of the street folks is in the 70’s. But it has a nice feel to it. Perhaps surprising is the number of school age children around on a schoolday. Either in the amusement arcades with parents I should add or on the beach. Why are they not at school? Social workers would have a field day here.  The morning weather was not too bad, sunny and cloudy each in turn but in the afternoon the rain just came down. Lunch was taken in a cafe at the end of the pier, which seemed almost a replica of Bourenemouth pier. Very nice sausage and chips, cheap too. The sea was rough but not terribly so, the beach was kind of inviting.

I came away thinking that I could happily cope with a summer day here on the beach and the pier, the cost of buying a wristband for unlimited rides on the pier a mere £14.  I think i like Clacton On Sea. I would really like to get closer to the windfarms, they fascinate me.

I have called this photo the Black Sea

 

And why not at school?

 

School Gardening Club disrupted by Hand grenade


A bizzare story but a true one. Having dropped 11 year old off at school yesterday and thinking, dull rainy morning, little did I know the excitement that I had missed. At some time before 9 am the bomb disposal team had come and blown up a hand grenade found in the school grounds. The story further goes that it was somewhere within the area that they had allocated for an allotment for the school gardening club. Now after school clubs are often at a premium but sadly not this one which only had 7 members or miscreants depending how one views them. So today they were unable to get to their proposed site and instead had to make to do with a small area just inside the playground.  The 11 year old gleefully told me yesterday that they had been told not to tell the Year 3 children what had happened, so what did they do immediately they got into the playground?

Other than that very little to report. The rain has been coming down most of the day and any  drought has to be that little further away.

A new version of FRIENDS, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS and FATHER TED


It is not often that one gets to see a real audition for a number of TV programmes live on a train, and rarely if that train is travelling from Pisa Centrale to Florence on a sunday. This however is a game so you need to spot the famous people yourself.

  1. Who is auditioning for Phoebe
  2. Who has claimed the lead role in Absolutely Fabulous ( and not only that but been to the car boot sale, been the last to arrive, bought all clothes left and put them on )
  3. Who would like to be in Father Ted

Is Joanna Lumley about to be usurped?

 

Brentford 0 Notts County 0


A game that was billed as a 6 pointer and in the end the draw killed the hopes Brentford may have had of reaching the play-offs. This however takes their unbeaten run to 7 games, five wins followed by two goalless draws. Any Brentford fan being fair and rationale will agree that we are not in the top 6 best clubs in the division and that this team would be relegated immediately with very few points. A few weeks ago I wrote a rant saying that Uwe Rosler must go and I stand by my comments. Odd? Stupid? I stand by my comments because with a good manager we would be in the play-offs and would not be needing to go through this exercise of pretending we are good enough for promotion.

The game was a reasonable enough one and one that Notts County should have won 2-0 by half time. They missed two open goals and hit the bar with a great shot. Other than that not a lot happened apart from a Saunders free kick being headed off the line. Brentford played to their ability but hampered by having no serious strikers. Clinton Morrison cannot run, shoot, head, so his position in the team is maybe curious. An experiment that clearly has not worked as shown by Leon Legge being introduced as a second half substitute centre forward……..Some cruel wag at half time suggested that bringing on Simon Moore upfront would be an advantage…………

The reason why we have had a good run is down in part to three things, firstly some luck, secondly playing some woeful Lancashire teams ( Bury,Rochdale,Oldham) and lastly keeping a settled side. The roulette wheel that is Roslers picking machine must have broken 7 games ago. There is the essence of a decent team here but it takes 3 seasons to build a side and get out of this league. This maybe, just maybe, counts as the first of these. And this is assuming we buy two more strikers, minimum in addition to Stuart Dallas, that we keep Adam Forshaw and Jake Bidwell ( both of whom will do well at this level and give them a chance of moving upwards) and that we stop signing average midfield players, who are no better than what we have and keep them on the bench.

Man of the match? Sam Saunders for his work rate, his dead ball kicking was poor for him yesterday. I also remain unconvinced by Harlee Dean.

Florence in Italy


An interesting day and its only halfway through. A few days ago I made a strategic decision that I would not travel to florence on saturday, as would be sensible, but travel on sunday so that I might watch the Brentford v Notts County game, which had given Brentford fans some slight hope of a play-off position. The game ended 0-0 and with it Bees chances of the play-offs. My penalty for this travel crime was that I had to fly out of Luton airport on a 7 am Easyjet flight. Working backwards this entailed getting up at 3.30am and a taxi journey to the airport. The taxi must have taken the most circuitous route to the airport known to mankind. Maybe the sat-nav calculated the shortest route but it was a strange one. The driver was a pleasant Romanian soul but in sited on talking to me all the journey and ended up by asking me how he might stop biting his nails………….

Luton airport is a horrible place. Where they can charge you for something they do and where they cannot they still do anyway. Firstly, this financial frenzy began with having to pay to be dropped off by a taxi, £1 ok not going to bankrupt anyone but not necessary and not kind. This donation to Luton airport allows 10 minutes of drop off time. To exceed this 10 minutes costs a mere penalty of 80£. Now at 5 am the airport was not so busy but I suspect there are days when it would be seriously busy and a queue might develop on exit to pay this fee, and suppose the queue took longer than 10 minutes and everyone was being fined 80£? In the airport the usual selection of average to hideous food at extottionate prices, all being sold from kiosks with stupid names. A fee again to buy those plastic bags to put one’s liquids in. A fee to go through the sensible paced security ( called fast-track, but I suspect the advertising standards authority might withhold a case against them). People everywhere pushing in, standing and blocking anyone passing and folks looking dead on the seats, you get the picture. Put simply,I hate Luton airport.

Easyjet flight to Pisa was on time taking off but late landing as French air traffic controllers were refusing something or other, work most likely. Now arriving at Pisa for a novice might be complex, but I remembered the system. Buy a ticket from a miserable mute man in a box who charges an extra fee plus the cost of the train ticket to Florence. The timetable advertised a train at 11.03 and dozens of folks stood waiting and waiting and waiting………never came. The station I can tell you for sure is not twinned with either Kew Gardens nor Wisley. Despite having a similar amount of foliage growing between the tracks. Everything looked run down and tatty and sad.  So we all clambered aboard what looked liked a first world war relic, a two carriage train covered in graffiti, nice graffiti but still graffiti, and went off at no more than 5 mph to Pisa Central. There are no signs at Pisa Central. Again grateful to have done this before. Found a train going to SMN, which is one of the Florence stations, but what confuses many folks is that Florence is called firenze. The train was packed. There is some rumour of a strike by Trenitalia but the real problem would be actually being able to tell the difference when they are on strike. The trains are old and this one was packed. There were a curious mixture of passengers. One couple caught my eye and also the camera on my blackberry. A younger woman who had clearly spent many hours putting on her make up, the blue make up around both eyes made her look as though she had gone 12 rounds in a boxing match. Her clothes and also those of what I presumed to be her mother can only be described in terms such as this. Imagine going to a car boot sale and being foxed not only to buy but to put on all remaining items of clothing. None of whom match any other item, style nor colour. Totally bizarre. Mother had a pair of glasses on that Austin Powers and maybe Joe 90 would be proud of. They covered essentially her whole head and making matters even more curious were pink. Covering her head was maybe a good strategy as her hair looked like it had been set on fire then microwaved and painted red as a final punishment to all non-colour blind people. From her ears hung what can only be described as awful silver looking blackberries. and she spent the whole journey sitting on the edge of her seat perched like a small crow. I have seen circus folks looking more sartorially elegant. The end of this part of the story is arriving with suitcase, and coat at 1 pm at the Congress centre. A 9 and half hour journey.

I have now taken my humble belongings to the hotel and again a magical extra fee payable only in cash! 3 euros a night city tax, but why only in cash? The hotel is fine, Malaspina, stayed there before 2 years ago during the ash cloud debacle.

Carshalton 3 Tooting 0


On the face of it a straightforward game. A routine 3-0 win against a demoralised and dejected and frankly awful looking Tooting side, with a routine hat-trick from Paul vines. The crowd of around 280 was a little higher than in recent weeks that maybe reflects a good run of being unbeaten in now 5 games. But there is a backdrop to all this and as usaul can only give a personal opinion. On arrivial at around 2pm at the ground a leaflet was thrust more than given to me extolling the need for all Carshalton fans to boycott the final home game of the season in two weeks. This as a protest against their manager / owner Paul dipre. A litany of reasons are given on the A3 piece of paper that range from bad results, failure to talk to the fans enough and many more between. When reading Twitter and other social media one reads not about the good run of late but this litany of complaints against Dipre. what I have seen in the 5 games that I have attended this season is a good team that I have chosen to come and watch over other non-league teams, because they play good football and give 100% effort. This is what I saw today, a superb hat-trick from Paul Vines, who also incidentally you will see in one of the photos defending his goal from corners and free-kicks. On the terraces I heard not a single shout against the manager all game? So is this all helpful? In my opinion sadly not. The fans should get behind their team and not effectively penalise them which is what their actions achieve. Furthermore to do this via some silent leaflet and to hear nothing in the ground suggests a little dissonance in their actions. No one can deny that today Carshalton were good. Maybe the fans ought to give Dipre more time and more encouragement. Relationships have broken down and one suspects that for all parties to meet halfway might be the optimum solution.

The game itself. It was clear from the start that Tooting were dejected and well on their way back to Ryman South. It was the worst team I have seen at this level for a while and rarely did they look like scoring. The photos tell the story really.

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