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, 2017”

Possible Horse Cruelty. The surprising response from RSPCA

While out walking the dog off the lead over a public footpath and land at Cobham, I had to urgently recall the dog having seen a horse loose in the field maybe 50 yards away.  it was not possible to predict how the horse or dog would respond. This is a field other dog walkers and myself use regularly, and for anyone who knows the area it is across the road from the Sainsbury’s petrol station at Cobham, next to the River Mole.

We then walked up to the horse and saw that it had been tethered to a small post in the ground and was attached by a metal chain. The mane of the horse was covered in flies. The horse, to a non-expert, looked healthy but was in a field exposed to bright sunlight with no cover. There was a plastic bucket of water on the edge of the circle surrounding the horse. The horse had clearly trampled the long grass underfoot in a circumference that his chain allowed. I am really unsure if the horse could reach the water. I simply do not know as did not want to go too close with a 9 month husky puppy very interested by this stage in the horse.

So what to do? I have sat through hours of TV programmes, mostly USA but some UK, detailing animal rescue services for various animals in distress. Two things came to mind. Firstly my presumption was that it was illegal to simply tether an animal on public ground. Secondly, the health issue potentially for the horse, particularly if it got warmer ( temperature was around 22c), or it could not reach the water, or reached and drank all the water.

I called the RSPCA at Godstone, they seemed geographically the nearest. After a series of messages and holding on, I was given a recorded message to call another 24 hour number. On dealing this number, there were again a number of options, none actually exactly what i needed, however eventually after listening to around 5 minutes of disturbing elevator music, I spoke to a young female operator. I outlined the problem. It was then somewhat surprising to learn that it was not illegal to tether a horse in this way, and that there was nothing they could do. In short they had no option but to wait until the horse became visibly distressed or presumably collapsed.

This seems to be the situation as summed up here:

Horses may be kept loose in fields crossed by public rights of way as long as they are not known to be dangerous.

Horses may not be ridden on public footpaths unless the landowner has given permission. A horse rider may be asked to leave any land over which they do not have the right to ride, and may be asked to pay for any damages caused. If a horse being ridden on a public bridleway or byway injures another person, the owner of the horse may be held responsible for the injuries, and the horse rider may be held responsible if they are shown to be negligent in controlling the horse.

A number of things come to mind including the potential for dogs in this field off the lead to worry or even attack the horse. The health of the horse ( I am no expert). The final option from the RSPCA woman to me was for me to observe and monitor the situation. Lastly it was difficult to see how the horse could enter or leave the field without using a public footpath. So lets see what happens. IMG_9352

Unusual Food Items. Chapter 1. Fried Curry Donuts

Without doubt this is the first time I have come across fried curry donuts. Served in a cellophane bag , making me wonder how long these have gone uneaten, in a Japan Airlines lounge at Frankfurt airport.  I am afraid that I have no intention of eating these. 

Jack Bonham signs 1 year contract extension . And heads out on loan. Does this make sense? 

The Jack Bonham story is a curious one from start to finish. Clearly had or has good potential but a series of gaffes has condemned him to B team football for two years at Brentford. The usual sighting of Bonham is carrying out coats or warming up. Always with a positive happy smile and attitude. Did fans assume wrongly he was content to be sitting on the bench?00007309

I can only comment on what I have seen and other than his first team league debut away at Barnsley he has looked frankly modest and at times nonleague standard. His B team performances have been uninspiring and most fans expected him to be released at the end of last season.

The other side to the story is that he has had little opportunity to play and develop the focus and concentration skills that keepers need. The league cup game against Oxford showed that he was prone to errors but playing in a makeshift defence did not help him. B team games lack the intensity of competitive football and especially for a keeper are not helpful in career development .

So we move forward to the end season away game at Barnsley where although the pressure was off on the team it was massive on Bonham. In simple terms a last chance saloon. A proper game in a hostile stadium . Jack was man of the match. A bad game here and I have no doubt he would have been released.

The club clearly feel as most fans do that he needs regular competitive football and I would go further and say that this should have happened a year ago. The next 6 months at Carlisle will help him enormously. The one year extension with the first 6 months on loan is a bit like an each way bet.  Brentford have two quality keepers now and up and coming young keepers too. Ellery Balcombe. So I suspect Bonham will not be a Brentford player this time next year. Possibly in 6 months even if Carlisle sign him in the transfer window. The longer odds are on Dan Bentley leaving and Bonham again being a second string keeper.

Although this all seems sensible and gives all concerned options, I do have a worry that with 3 keepers in a small squad we are potentially giving up a squad place for an outfield player.

Carlisle are a good side and can be expecting to challenge for promotion this season. That kind of good pressure will be good for Bonham and Brentford. I think this is a good move for the club on balance.


The Queens Crown Travelled to Houses of Parliament in its own car. Is this correct in 2017? 

For once I am speechless. This is 2017. What springs to mind is the senseless waste of public money. The pure daftness of the idea. Just why? 

The crown travelled in a car with its own security escort. 

As imagined many folks had things to say on Twitter. Including myself. To summarise views. Medieval nonsense and grotesque display of wealth that might be regarded as highly insensitive in current times. 

The tweet that wins the prize though is this 

”Queen’s Speech: where you hear about prioritisation of mental health services, then watch as a crown gets taken away in its own car”

But why was she not wearing her crown fir the first time in 43 years for the Queens Speech? The event came too close to the Trooping of the colour to allow sufficient practice and rehearsal. But not to worry. The crown was within eyesight of the queen to her right. 

The Heat Around the world creating problems. Some planes cannot now fly.

Extreme heat is forecast for Phoenix in Arizona today with a high of 120 degrees F which is around 49 degrees C. This has caused the cancellation of 50 American Airlines flights which use the Bombardier CRJ aircraft which have a maximum operating temperature of 118 degrees F. Some jets have higher maximum operating temperatures, Boeing 126 degrees and Airbus 127 degrees (52-53 degrees C).

Seems we are fairly safe in UK with a forecast high in the next two days of 33 degrees C only. This issue with flying is not new and in fact a heatwave shattered temperature records in 2013 in Western USA leading to similar sorts of cancellations. And indeed back in 1990 some of the asphalt melted on the tarmac at Phoenix (as it did on the A31 in UK yesterday too).  But why are these high temperatures an issue? Seems there are two very different reasons:

  1. Extreme heat can damage the internal components of a plans.
  2. Heat makes it increasingly difficult for the plane to take off.Hot air is less dense. This affects the output of the engines as well as aerodynamic capabilities, increasing the required runway distance and reducing climb performance. Therefore the amount of passengers and cargo a plane can carry are often restricted when temps are very high. How much so depends on the temperature, airport elevation and the length of the available runways. And getting off the ground is only part of it: once airborne, planes have to meet specific, engine-out climb criterion, so nearby obstructions like hills and towers are another complication.

So the reality is that hot temperatures cause far more problems than cold temperatures, img_2304

The Worst Thing on The Internet . Who would you buy it for? 

Someone on Twitter discovered this truly evil clothing item. Anyone you would like to buy it for? 

Grenfell Tower. A blog predicted a fire would happen in November 2016

It is horrifying what has happened in Grenfell Tower. Words cannot explain how it must have felt to be part of this fire, observed the fire or even reported on the fire. 

Even seasoned news reporters looked on the edge of tears as did Jeremy Corbyn. Everyone from Muslim Aid through to QPR football club have gone out and delivered practical help. People have booked and paid for rooms in hotels. 

What however is more frightening, upsetting and anger provoking is to know that last November a blog posted a despairing article on the management at Grenfell Tower. They report that a fire such as began at 1am today which may or may not have anything to do with an exploding refrigerator on the fourth floor, was going to happen. Just please read this blog and form your own opinions. 

A few hours in Berlin. Berlin also remembers Manchester 

Whatever your views on Germany , it is a very compassionate country with a real soul. While walking through the centre today some spontaneous words , flowers and candles in a small side road. They speak for themselves. 

Should We Keep Politics Out Of Music? I believe we should 

Too often in the last few years and in this election campaign music has become embroiled with politics. As an example this is an event taking place the day before the election. 

But why is politics even involved with music? All musicians like all sports fans will have varying political views. Music is for relaxation. At a concert I want to relax and enjoy the music without listening to a monotonous Corbyn rap. 
Pragmatically musicians have no better perspective on politics than football fans. Where next? Shall we be treated to Chelsea employing their fans to vote a specific way? Will we get flyers from Tesco telling us who to vote for? The logic is obvious. 

I shall keep on shooting gigs with no thoughts for the political views of anyone 

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