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 “March, 2013”

Which is the best Book Cover?

Opinions please. Which is best choice? Should this author ever complete a non-medical book?

Mordor Returns

Mordor Returns

Mordor copy Mordor Mordor2 Mordor3 Sunset

Met Police 1 Carshalton 0

This year has been a good one for Met Police as they sit on the verges of the Ryman Premier play offs. To those not familiar with non-league football, this is 3 promotions below the football league. The ground is a decent small ground near Thames Ditton with a car park and is on the same grounds as the social club for the Met Police. The only problem are small crowds and in fact only 115 arrived for this game and maybe 20 of those were visibly from Carshalton.

The game was as one-sided as a 1-0 game ever could be. Met Police missed a penalty, hit the bar and scored a single goal early in the second half. Realistically this was the last chance saloon for Carshalton who now can look forward to relegation with certainty. The season has been complex for them, with some decent, though apparently highly paid players moving on. One who will certainly move is their keeper Nick Hamann, the best keeper in this league and he kept Carshalton in the game in the first half with a series of superb saves. A conference level keeper in my humble view.

Nathaniel PinneyIMG_9968IMG_0086IMG_0095IMG_0033Met PoliceIMG_0011Goal

Winkworth Arboretum

Winkworth Arboretum is a National trust property about 5 miles from Guildford in a quaint town called Godalming. The most striking thing about Godalming is that the houses are massive and the Waitrose in the centre of town even larger. The impression given is that a huge crater was created into which Waitrose slotted to fill the hole, and the road then re-built to bypass said Waitrose. But I digress. The Arboretum is a decent place to walk but sadly the extensed winter meant that few plants were visible today other than the occasional daffodil or snowdrop. No evidence of the Magnolias coming to life.

The walk is also not an easy one, many steps and slopes means that the walk  might not be suitable for all. Can it be recommended? Maybe. One needs to return when spring has made an appearance to be decisive but I suspect it will become a nice place to walk. The Boathouse, is what it sounds, an old hut by the lake, but with chairs and old books in it gives the impression of a real old room. A sign on the door mentions that the NT have applied for permission essentially to have music and alcohol in here. Sounds good.

Winkworth Arboretum IMG_0144 IMG_0148 IMG_0150 IMG_0154 Winkworth Arboretum

Scotland from 10,000 feet

Just occasionally a flight is interesting. Sometimes the cabaret that some passengers bring, sometimes the crew but also sometimes the view. Flying into Edinburgh yesterday it was fascinating to see the snow. There was a fair amount from the Borders up to south of Edinburgh and then none at all. Edinburgh seemed devoid of its fair share of snow. Today also driving up to Perth and Stirling, there were areas that looked whited out and areas that were luscious green, that seemed to have also missed the snow. I suspect there are complex geographical reasons that will remain hidden from me till eternity.

View from plane

View from plane

The Hoopoe bird

To come across this bird twice in a month is quite co-incidental .The first time was when the 12-year old conned me into buying a game called ” bird bingo”. This as it suggests is bingo but instead of numbers one pulls types of birds out a bag. Needless to say I never win just as with normal bingo. There were many exotic and odd birds in this game and in fact only a very few that  I vaguely recognised. The Hoopoe bird caught my eye with an interesting name and exotic looks.

the second visitation of this bird was in Dubai. Peering over my hotel balcony I heard some rustling noises and caught a shadow under a tree. On closer inspection it was a Hoopoe bird. The third visitation was when walking around the grounds of the hotel, I saw one maybe 10 yards away, too far to get a photo on a Blackberry, so these photos are not mine but do demonstrate exactly how this wonderful bird looks. When it flies it has a low trajectory but takes off rather fast. I have chosen a few photos that demonstrate well what the bird really does look like.

They eat mainly insects and live in usually warm climates, but did 30 years ago appear in Southern England. Wikipaedia is enlightening as always. These are a few facts that caught my eye.

In the Bible, Leviticus 11:13–19, hoopoes were listed among the animals that are detestable and should not be eaten. They are also listed in Deuteronomy (14:18) as not kosher. The Hoopoe was chosen as the national bird of Israel in May 2008 in conjunction with the country’s 60th anniversary, following a national survey of 155,000 citizens, outpolling the White-spectacled Bulbul. It is also the state-bird of Punjab province of India. The Hoopoe appears on the Logo of the University of Johannesburg, and is the official mascot of the University’s sports. The municipality of Armstedt, Germany has a hoopoe in its coat of arms.

bird common_hoopoe_09.03.13_a.das images

Away Football Fan numbers. A curious selection 12 or 28!

Whilst watching all the scores come in on Twitter I could only but notice that at at Lincoln V Telford in the conference there were 12 away fans, and at Gillingham v Accrington in League 2, there were 28 away fans. Weather I suppose a factor today but still fairly shabby numbers.

Dubai in the United Arab Emirates

Sometimes travelling for work has its pleasures and this is one such occasion. A routine British Airways flight was turned into a great experience by being upgraded to first class. Nice service and nice staff. Worth paying for? Definitely not. Save your money for your hotel room in Dubai. This hotel The Park Hyatt is superb. every little thing is special. The free coffee machine in the room, the two Danish Pastries left for an early morning arrival, the staff showing me how various things work in the room ( like the coffee machine). The balcony overlooks the marina and at sunset looks gorgeous. Not quite a Cayman Islands sunset but not too shabby either.

The Immigration process was not too bad either. Decent numbers of officials, quick entry and then quick exit from the airport. Terminal 5 please take notice.  Busy enough but not too chaotic, so all in all a great first impression. Some unusual birds pecking away on the lawn next the marina, bizarre colourings, have no idea what they are. Now wishing that I had brought my cameras…….

But work to do, an ADHD talk to write. Marina View from Park Hyatt Dubai Black Image Dubai Marina Marina Sunset Balcony View copy Sunset Balcony View

Farne Islands and MV Danio. Puffins and other friends hoping for no fuel leaks

Just a few photos to show you what an amazing place the Farne Islands are. We always go with Billy Shiels, but there are others who may be just as good. Fantastic puffins and other birds there. ImageImageImageImageblue caps, ImageImageImageImageImage

Farne Islands. MV Danio aground near Longstone Lighthouse

Today an 80 metre cargo ship called MV Danio, Norwegian registered, has run aground on rocks known as ” Blue Caps” near Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands. The boat was carrying timber and there are no reported fuel nor cargo spillages. The crew of six are reported unharmed. The lifeboat was called out at 04.50 am and made un unsuccessful attempt to refloat the vessel due to the tide going out. A second attempt to refloat will be made tonight.

The Farne Islands are a group of small islands unihabited off the Northumberland coast near Bamburgh and Seahouses. They are home from April to July to thousands of Puffins,Arctic terns and other seabirds, and are a great place to visit by boat from Seahouses. The Longstone Lighthouse is famous for the rescue of a grounded boat in 1843 by Grace Darling.

I visit there each summer to photograph puffins and seals. Photo credit to RNLI for the MV Danio below, and credit to myself for the other photos, which are not of the Farne Islands but taken a few miles north at Holy Island.

MV Danio

MV DanioIMG_8982


Holy Island. Good access to graveyards

Holy Island. Good access to graveyards


Brentford 2 Swindon 1

A bitterly cold night with a windchill factor that had be about minus 10c. Despite this a decent crowd for a midweek tuesday game, almost 6,000. Healthy number of travelling though quite quiet Swindon fans, who ended up even quieter after giving up a goal lead to lose 2-1. 

This puts Brentford into third place with 9 games left to play. Did Brentford deserve to win this? Not sure. The first half was all Swindon, large , busy team, who took advantage of yet another Brentford central defensive error to open the scoring. In fact there were a few boos at half-time as the players left and one is not too surprised. There had been little passion, little good play and a single goal-scoring chance missed. 

Football is a curious game. The second half was totally different. Brentford on top mostly, scoring a penalty and a second goal from a well worked move. Brentford are a strange team at the moment. We keep being told that 7 players are under 22 years of age, but that for me cannot explain the variability of performances. Brilliant and then awful . Anyway, onwards and upwards, and on the positive side I survived a Brentford cornish pasty. That takes some doing. Watching and listening to Uwe Rosler is also exceptionally good cabaret. Even he had a coat on last night. 

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