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 “June, 2012”

Sports Days in Schools in United Kingdom. A great tradition

The weather held out today and a great sports day took place. All the children had races and took part, some won and some lost, but fun was had. Parents came along, more mothers than fathers, and cheered their children on. Teachers smiled, and even raced against each other, tumbling over as the finish line came into sight. A nice day. A great tradition.

Gibraltar. Dont believe in the hype and glamour.

Do not be fooled by the glamarous sounding name, this is a very average place. The people who may thrive here are few but will be folks that like to smoke and drink constantly. Preferably dont eat, or drink coffee , because these vices are incredibly expensive. The fun part of Gibraltar falls into 3 components

  1. Seeing the Rock as you drive along the Southern Spanish coast
  2. The fun of walking across the runway to get into Gibraltar ( the only way, and yes, they give you good warning when the planes are coming)
  3. Dolphin trips in the bay, when there are dolphins to be seen ( and there were none the day in June we went)

The bad things?

  1. Little else really to do ( ok i know the rock and the apes etc……..)
  2. appalling queue to get out as customs frisk each spaniard who is carryinh more than 20 cigarettes ( but interestingly get it right, we saw a woman produce endless packets from around her ample waist, which remained ample afterwards)
  3. Apart from alcohol and tobacco, the price of everything is high. Three cups of tea in Casement Square £10

I bring you the photographic evidence.

Standing on the runway in Gibraltar

Gibraltar Airport Runway with no intruders

Although the Marina is a pleasant place, preferably if you leave your wallet at home, this is more typical type of boat to be seen in the straits

how close the planes are

Not a Yacht

Gibraltar Straits

The Most Useless Cats in the World

Two cats, both females, both sisters, both useless. They bring mice in regularly, a duckling arrived once last year and a pigeon the year before. They play with them, let them go, and cannot catch them again. Mouse then lives in grandeur feasting off crumbs and probably cat food. I can sometimes catch the odd half-witted mouse, but not this week. The 11 year old had a good idea. Get a jar with crumbs of fudge and tempt it in. It worked. Mouse was caught and despatched outside, together with small supply of fudge. end of mouse story.

Mouse in a Jar

One useless mouser

Matt Smith – Dr Who’s Secret life as a pianist in LBO

Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho London and Dr Who

I can make no apologies for re-visiting how wonderful this venue is to listen to music, although I struggle to consider the Lucinda Belle Orchestra as jazz, but maybe that is my jazz knowledge limitation. A few photographs to go with the many I posted last week really just to demonstrate how close to the music one is. There is also something that I disagreed with all of my party over. For me the pianist is an almost exact copy of Matt Smith AKA Dr who. Enjoy.

Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho

Lucinda Belle

Lucinda Belle

Matt Smith ?

Get me out of here I am a Doctor


I  am not so sure that I would describe this week as interesting but a learning experience it has been. I am not an ill sort of person and indeed do not recall the last time the GP would have had me in his notes for an acute illness. In fact the only reason that I went today was because of this ludicrous strike that is being wrongly perpetrated by Doctors tomorrow. I began feeling unwell a week ago but suddently found myself so tired that I was essentially unable even to stand up for more than a short time. Viral chest symptoms ensued, followed by ear pain, throat pain and no appetite. A real glut of viral symptoms, which I suspect is some type of viral pneumonia. It has taken 4 full days to get even up to 10% of wellness but today now am starting to feel a bit better. I went to the GP to have a second opinion and also in case I needed at some stage to have some illness letter for whatever.  This is what I learnt

  1. No chance of getting an appointment on the day one phones. Fully booked. Stage 2 is then demanding to be seen and there is a triage service whereby a doctor rings you back, questions you in the format of Paxman and then allocates or not a slot. Being a medic I am aware of the right things to say. Others may not be
  2. On arrivial at the practice one speaks not a single word before being seen. the check in is via a screen. The receptionists sit around speechless to the patients,  busy around doing whatever, but not speaking, doing anything but communicating to patients waiting.
  3. I spent 2 minutes in the surgery room. The examiniation was a perfunctory version of perfunctory. I could not believe how inadequate it was. Despite having never having had a chest infection before, my chest was not examined other than superficially.
  4. The aim was to get me out of there quickly. A prescription was what was needed, even though by their own admission it was not needed ( antibiotics do not treat viral infections).

I came away quite sad that professional service levels have sunk so far since I qualified in medicine in 1981. Little/no professional eqitquette, little/no skill and little/no attempt to hide this shambolic state of affairs. Finally, having not done what should have been done, my blood pressure was checked, am I being too cynical to even think that this was done to meet some NHS metric?

Lucinda Belle Orchestra

Lucinda Belle Orchestra. Magical evening and magical music

Occasionally one gets lucky with music. About a year ago my eldest daughter told me ( as she usually does) to listen to a CD by a band that I had not heard of. The drive home was about an hour and I listened, and listened and have not really stopped listening. Her presence on the social media front has been sporadic and the occcasional tweet sometimes informed that a gig was imminent. A month ago we were lucky to see her at the TurnerSims concert hall at Southampton university and there we learned that she was playing a 3-night residency at Jazz Club Pizza Express in Soho. Last night for a mere 15£ we went along. Just to be clear that this is the downstairs of a Pizza Express that has a club that unsurprisingly sells pizzas. The furthest table away is maybe 15 metres and the nearest literally less than a few inches. Acoustics are great, atmosphere is buzzy and prices not at all exhorbitant, bottlw of wine 17£ ( central london prices are often far more).

The music. Magical. She played a lot of songs from her album and a couple from her new EP, and a few new songs as the band are currently hovering in a studio somewhere and after the concert Lucinda told us that towards the end of this year we can expect more gigs. This girl is not just good but special. Her music is original and enchanting and varies sometimes to the pop end and then back down to what she called something like ” gypsy rock”. I am not sure why we have not heard more of her. She is 38years. Are her concerts and albums well marketed? In my humble opinion, no. When I compare the plethora of tweets from artistes like Tim Minchin and Kyla La Grange, who flog their concerts easily and then of course get the online social media feedback, her presence is minimal, but can be corrected.

All I can say is go and buy her album and follow this band online. Although Lucinda Belle fronts the band, and plays harp on most songs, she does relax and do vocals only on a few. Her band line up does seem to change but last night they totalled 7 members including Bass, guitar, keyboards ( a Matt Smith look alike), drummer etc.

Photos all taken without flash using ISO speeds of 12500-25000 so grainy shots as you expect.


Darlington Football Club . All football fans should read this story

The story of what has happened to Darlington is so well written that I am not going to even paraphrase anything other than to say it makes sad reading and could apply to any football club. just click the link


My own photos of Darlington are all on my website


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