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 “February, 2013”

Frankenstein. A new act written by the Twelve Year Old. Opinions invited.

There is little doubt that the Twelve Year Old has better English grammar and literary ability than myself. So no discussion needed there. But occasionally she writes a piece that to me seems amazing. But as father to theTwelve Year Old, I have a degree of bias.

So tell me what you all think and please share this blog widely, all opinions invited please!


19th February 2013

Frankenstein- the new act


(As Felix leaves the little cottage dogs are barking in the distance. He looks back at the cottage, but seeing that there is no one there he carries on walking away from it towards the smoke in the distance)


Felix is humming a folk tune to the sound of his boots moving through the undergrowth.


Felix:  I wonder what sort of food will be left in town at this hour! Not much, I think!


He laughs and picks an apple from a passing tree. He stops to look round at the faint outline of the cottage.


Felix:  Should I give this to Agathe? By the time I get back she will be hungry…. No. She’ll be fine. I’ve just got to stop thinking the worst about leaving her. But this is apple is a beauty! I’ve never seen one so red!!


He briefly shines it on the corner of his patched tunic before putting it in a pocket and continuing on his way.


(The scene changes as Felix enters the outskirts of the town. It is deserted with market stalls abandoned, with their produce still on show. There is smoke coming from several burnt out houses.)


Felix:  What has happened here? No one is about, and that’s unusual- especially as it’s market day… Where is everyone? HELLO? IS ANYONE THERE?


A man with long ginger hair and a beard opens a door of one of the nearby houses. He cautiously looks round the square before beckoning Felix over with a gnarled hand.


Seller:  You haven’t been in this town for the past few days, have you?


Felix:  No. What’s happened? And where can I find supplies? I live in the woods, you see.


Seller: So you didn’t even hear the dogs? Surely even in the forest their barking can be heard…


Felix: Yes, we heard them all right, and we kept away from the town for a few days but we can’t keep away forever. We need supplies badly, and we don’t have anything to sell. Is there anyone here who would be willing to sell me some supplies?


Seller:  It’s not possible. Not after what happened yesterday and early this morning….

He looks curious and the old man sighs before openimg the door and ushering him in. Inside there is a fireplace with a fire crackling inside. A simple oak wood table with four chairs stands to the right of the room. An old lady fast asleep is in a rocking chair beside the fire. The old man leads him to another room where two threadbare armchairs are placed. He sits down in one of them before beckoning Felix to sit down.


Seller:  Before I begin, does time play on your hands? This tale may take a short while.


Felix: I have time enough.


(The seller sighs before he leans towards Felix and begins to speak)


Seller: Very well. Early yesterday morning, news reached us that a terrible being was loose somewhere between here and the neighbouring towns. But the messenger who brought the news described him as a monster, with pallid yellow skin and black flowing hair. We laughed and said no such being could exist. My daughter and myself were part of the crowd. Then later that night the being entered our town. The dogs were barking and the guards tried to stop it but it just killed them and carried on without stopping.


He stops to wipe away a pale silver glistening tear out of the corner of his eye with an aged hand before looking up.


Felix: And then? What did it do?


Seller: It made fire. Fire that burned and stroked the walls of every house. Fire that murdered innocent beings that were caught in its wake… My daughter was one of those people. Both she and her husband were burned alive inside their house. By now this creature from hell had disappeared into the night and that was the last we saw of him. But then the following morning he came again and wrecked all the market stalls- eating all our supplies and produce. We chased him with our men on horseback with their hunting dogs, but he escaped into the forest.


Felix stiffens at the mention of the word forest before getting up but the old man stops him and shuffles out the room, only to return seconds later with a basket which he thrusts at Felix.


Felix:  I must go. My wife is in the forest with but little or no protection at all. She would not stand a chance against this, this inhuman being.


Seller:  Wait! It may be too dangerous to return here for some while. Take these two loaves of bread, this half round of cheese, some flour and salt. Is there anything else you need?


Felix:  Such unimaginable kindness….. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, might you have some soap and some powder and lead? Some honey would be good too….


Seller: Of course. I’ll get those for you.


He shuffles out for the second time before returning with the other items. He places them inside the basket before ushering him out the front door.


Seller:  Go carefully, now won’t you. This town needs more young lads like you- ready to defend his loved ones.


Felix races out of the town and into the forest. He sees a trail of huge footprints along the track to his house.


Felix: Oh no…..


He runs even faster, the brambles along the well-worn track catching at his clothes, tearing gaping holes in them. As the house appears in sight, he hears a deep grating sound, that sounds like something from hell would utter. He hears her apologise before more grunting follows. He takes this as a bad sign.


Felix: Agathe? Agathe!!


He bursts into the house, flinging the front door nearly off its hinges as he races inside…..





The Spooky View of Lindisfarne Castle taken from the Graveyard of Lindisfarne Priory

Sometimes places have atmospheres. Lindisfarne or Holy Island has always been a holy place since St Aidan arrived here in something like 700AD to try and preach christianity to the heathen masses at that time. That holy atmosphere prevails. The castle can be seen in the distance with gravestones in the foreground. In the church the ghosts seem to be carrying actively the coffin out. Many of the gravestones in the graveyard have almost disappeared back into the earth and recount the lives of many who have died over the last 300 years. A holy atmosphere prevails still on a lovely islandImageImageImageImage

What kills Cormorants?

A question really. Whilst walking on Lindisfarne Island, or Holy Island, we saw a dead cormorant on the beach. There were no clearly visible injuries. So, why did it die? Any ideas? Apparently the lives of Cormorants can often be 20 years or me. Any thoughts? This is the terrain where we found the birdImageImagewhy did

Holy Island AKA Lindisfarne Island

Holy Island is a small island off the Northumbrian coast about 40 miles north of Newcastle. The Lindisfarne Inn that sits on the A1 at the junction with the road that takes you to the causeway is the best place to stay. The island is connected to the mainland by a causeway that allows accessibility at some stage most days, usually for around 6-7 hours, and the tide tables are easily visible on the internet, in pubs and in fact almost everywhere you are advised to check! If you do not then your car will get turned into a boat and not with a James Bond happy outcome. 

The island has a castle run by National Trust which is well worth a visit. A decent walk uphill to the castle is a good start to the day. The downhill walk leads firstly to some coffee shops, where it is obligatory to stop off and have scones, cakes, paninis and maybe all of these. Next door is a fudge shop that does some good flavours, including Salty Caramel, pronounced the winner. Then the Lindisfarne Priory with St Marys Church in its grounds. The choice here is pay for the priory or get the church and graveyard free. Another choice was go after closing hours and hop over the wall into the priory as a number of folks did ( not us). 

The drive back over the causeway is a great piece of fun too. Go there!ImageImageImageImage


I am not a fan of football stewards, and in many cases they often cause trouble that otherwise would not have been there. However today the stewarding at Chelsea was good, almost invisible and appropriate. End of story. What caught me eye though was the head gear worn by one steward who looked more like he should be with Bear Grylls out on an arctic expedition, rather than in the sunshine of Stamford Bridge. But my question is this. Could he actually hear and see anything? ImageImage


In this day and age of concern over horse meat and equine food accompaniments, on the way to Stamford Bridge this morning to see the might Brentford play, there was tucked away in the arches a burger van selling delicious burgers. The stone inscription above amused me and suggested some degree of bravery should apply to eat burgers there! 



Chelsea 4 Brentford 0. Chelsea Fans 0 Brentford Fans 4.

As a Brentford fan days out like this at Stamford Bridge are rare and to be cherished. The harsh reality is that in the first game Brentford should have won and a 2-2 draw was not fair reflection of that game. Today Chelsea had their first team out, internationals galore, and deserved to win but not by 4-0. A few mistakes and some curious refereeing decisions ensured that their win was relatively painless, and some less than excellent defending too. Nevertheless a few reflections on the day. 

The atmosphere in the Chelsea fans area seemed akin to a library and one wondered if any fans were actually there or was it purely neutrals rocking up to see a game that maybe was easier to get tickets for. The Brentford terrace chants of ” 4-0 and you still don’t sing” and when the Chelsea fans were leaving in their droves in the 80th to 85th minutes, the chant of ” Is there a firedrill?”, resounded. Having said all that, the Chelsea fans and stewards were nothing less than friendly. 

Would I come back here again to see a game? Probably not. My preference is for more atmospheric games such as those in compact small grounds in league 1 and 2. 

The Brentford fans were superb throughout, singing and chanting and generally won their game with ease. ImageImageImageImage


Walton Casuals 1 Eastbourne Town 2. Walton Casuals a consistent team.

A somewhat pleasant day where the sun threatened to shine and photography was halfway possible without floodlights, not that one notices when they come on at Walton . A good day out though, decent game, crowd 106 and the best burger I have had at football for some while.

Walton Casuals if nothing else play in one of the better strips and today there was a riot of orange, red, yellow from both teams. Walton also are consistent having not won a home league game all season and that is why they are second from bottom of the Ryman south League.

The first half was all Eastbourne and until Walton scored with almost the last kick of the half, it looked like it would be a 5-0 type of game. the second half was all Walton and  they were unlucky not to equalise.

The football standard in Ryman South does seem variable this season and although neither of these clubs would fancy their chances against the top sides, they did play a good open game in a decent spirit, and the game was well refereed too.

Mu Maan may be the most important player for Walton judging by how the programme had him down playing at both number 8 and number 10. I did wonder before the game if he might be a large gentleman needing two shirts, however in fact he was of normal size and in fact never really caught the eye today.


Would you eat Turtle Burgers? Would you eat me?

IMG_5460IMG_5459TurtleResults of an online poll in a great website–Few-eat-turtle-frequently/

Tell us that only 9% of the Grand Cayman population eat Turtle frequently, which is actually 9% too many and 5.6% used to eat Turtle but no longer do so. The debate is complex as the article says. For me however having swum with the turtles it a cruel and obscene idea to eat these beautiful creatures. Here you can see some photos I took last year at the turtle farm.

In the UK and EU we are just starting to get used to the idea that horse meat, presumably from old and debilitated horses, has ended up in burgers, lasagnes and other minced beef products. Turtles do not fall into this category and despite the argument that it is a tradition to eat Turtle we should recall that it has also been a tradition to murder witches and hang/draw/quarter criminals and innocent. They are an endangered species and we should no more eat them than eat next door’s pet cat, dog or horse.


Terminal 5. Border Agency Control. Can I ask you a simple question?

Arriving back at Terminal 5 Heathrow on a tuesday afternoon at around 4.30pm  it took around an hour to get through border control. There are many genuine reasons as to why that might be the case. A sudden flux of planes all arriving unexpectedly, complex cases to evaluate. I have some sympathy. But on this occasion I had none. The delay was caused by incompetence, stupidity and in all possibility deliberately wanting passengers to queue. 

The queue to go through the EU passport section was longer than the other sections and even the Iris recognition queue extended back to the back of the room. 

So having queued I arrived towards the front desks and what did I observe. Firstly, there were 3 desks, all manned for the purpose of dealing with those folks who get rejected by the Iris recognition scheme. This does happen. However I would estimate that the three border control officers saw maybe between them 10 passengers in this hour. They made no effort to call over the people waiting in the queue. 

At the front of the queue there were 2 border control officers dealing with the whole queue, together with a trainee just looking on……..There were at least 5 empty stations. So in total they could have had 10 officers dealing with the queue but decided to have 2. Why? Who plans these debacles? Why can they not change things when they see a huge queue? Simple question but can I have an answer please? Terminal 5 Border control is a poorly run organisation and on tuesday this week had zero regard for passengers and zero leadership amongst its staff to put things right.

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