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 tag “apple”

Were Aston Villa that bad? Or were we that good? Thoughts after the night before


A very wet evening heralded an excellent game of football that even torrential rain could not dampen nor actually have much effect. A sell out crowd of 12,000 including 1,600 Villa fans saw an end to end game that at times could have gone in any direction. IMG_6569

The scoresheet will confirm that Brentford won 2-1 but that hides a lot of the game. The few minuscule words that The Times chose to post about the game really were both clueless and gave their readers no feeling of anything about the game. So lets go back to the start. Brentford have a whole series of injuries that have disrupted their starting eleven for around 2 months now, yet even with players out of position and squad players coming in, the results have been quite superb. So looking at some of  the players who were absent from last night: Egan, Henry, Dalsgaard, it is clear that the Bees defence was not first, nor second choice but maybe third choice. Nico Yennaris at right back and Joann Barbet at left back, two players not always first choice this season, playing out of their regular positions. On paper this was a team that Villa managed by the ever increasing frame of Steve Bruce should have been looking to beat comfortably. Certainly thats the view from their hordes of fans on social media. In fact Brentford looked the most comfortable they have all season in defence, with the exception of the Villa goal scored too easily. 00000513

Brentford have turned into a hard working and maybe fitter side than earlier in the season, and are playing as a team. They are also some of the best football I have seen at Griffin Park over the years. The players have a game plan and it works. The return from injury of Sergi Canos has been crucial as has the return to form of Florian.

The pitch is now in excellent condition considering the recent weather and rainfall, and yet this is Brentford, were before the game smiling stewards were trying to sweep away the rain behind the New Road stand but at a slower pace than the rain that was falling!

The return of Alan Judge to the bench was warmly applauded and we might expect to see him starting a game soon.

My impression of Villa was actually positive. They were a hard working team in the first half and probably shaded the game on points. Always a threat when coming forward but as the game went on they failed to have a plan B and arguably gave up after Lasse Vibe’s 52nd minute winner. The last 10 minutes were the usual panic stations and especially as both Brentford central defenders were off the pitch with bloody head injuries, with goal line saves keeping Villa out. 00000487

Despite negative comments on social media my impression was they are a side that will be in the playoffs. The fans are shouting to maybe have Bruce out but they might look at their alternatives and instead stick with him. Do they really want a Pulis, Warnock or Pardew? Their football was not as good as Brentford and on the night it showed, but on other nights they will beat similar teams because of their speed in attack and physical size. What however surprised Brentford fans was the odd role given to Hogan. We know he is a good player, but we also know he is a confidence player, and a player that needs service in the box. He could slot back in at Brentford in the correct role and start scoring goals again. But a real lesson for not only Villa but also Birmingham and Norwich, do not just buy the best player, but look at the system they have been operating in and why they have been the best player. The simple reason why Canos, Jota and Hogan have not flourished after leaving Brentford. IMG_6583

The football played by Brentford was superb last night, there were no defensive errors ( bar one that we got away with) and we made good substitutions at the right time. The other thing we learned last night was that we do need to give Lasse Vibe a new contract. For me he has vastly improved this last 2 years and has at least another 2 years left of Championship football. He also is a stable influence on the side and is likely to feature in the World Cup in 2018. Nico Yennaris for me had his best game in a Brentford shirt, not only his positional sense but his cajoling and encouraging his team colleagues. Could this be his best position? I would not be alone in thinking that Henrik Dalsgaard would be better in midfield . Chris Mepham was superb and a casual observer would be surprised to learn he has only started a handful of games. Sergi Canos had a superb game despite his Malfoy like hairstyle, and is getting better by the game. Romaine Sawyers also had one of his best games and also looking better each game. Even Keith Stroud had an average game, when our expectations are that he will ruin any spectacle. A question to ask him is his interpretation of the advantage rule though.

Villa do not need to panic and although automatic promotion is beyond them, the playoffs certainly are not. Their hope might be that they do not meet Brentford there. This was one of the great nights under the lights at Griffin Park and when we move to Lionel road this is what we will miss.

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Cricket at Arundel Castle. Sussex v Leicestershire 2017. The Dogs enjoyed it.


Cricket is an unusual sport in that in the county games it takes four days to get a result (sometimes) and fans generally are less passionate about their own county than in other sports. a nice aspect is that many counties take a few games away from their main headquarters and take them to “out grounds” which are often cricket festivals and well supported. Sadly the crowd this year was smaller than in other years possibly due to the downturn in the success of Sussex cricket club over recent years.

A few photographs from a day in the hot sun. Some action photos including the wicket of Luke Wright, one of the most entertaining batsmen I have seen in 2017. A few folks hiding from the sun and a rather hot dog enjoying the sun. In fact cricket is one of the few sports where dogs are usually welcome and Arundel is am example of a ground with plenty of shade, walking space, and grass. A good place in fact to bring a dog, although this year with temperatures around 25c dogs were mostly seen in the shady areas.

Hot Dog

Hot dog.

No Sun

No Sun Allowed

Arundel Castle Cricket

Arundel Castle Cricket was not at full capacity in 2017

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Piccadilly Ice Creams

The Ice Cream sellers were amongst the most important folks in the ground

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Small wicket

Luke Wright the ex-england batsman is bowled

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Will Beer

A great name for a cricketer. Will Beer.

Do Brentford have the best football mascot? Clearly yes……


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My Breakfast Is Finished Said The Cat. What else do you have for me?


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Are Smart Meters really as bad as Sunday Times makes out?


photo1 yLast sunday The Sunday Times ran an article in their money section that purported to inform us that smart meters were not only unreliable but potentially overcharged many customers and created havoc with energy bills. The biased and opinionated headline ” Scandal of the £11bn smart meter rollout plan” gave clear identity to the content of what then followed. Having had a smart meter installed a few weeks ago I was somewhat curious to know these hidden pitfalls that neither British Gas nor anyone else had told me.

The evidence to support this ” scandal” derived from a few cases where clearly errors had happened, mistakes made and where old meters ( from 2010) had been installed in error. The opening paragraph designed to get us running for either deep caves or our lawyers told a case that clearly cannot be the norm of an installation where monthly electricity bills had increased 1906%. We were then informed that these meters sometimes go wrong ( well yes, anyone care to put forward any electrical item that is faultless), and then a single suppliers meter may not be compatible with any new supplier should we change. To the latter point I actually agree that there should be uniform meters but as the meter took around 1 hour to install then any new suppliers can fit a new one without to the customer any great fuss free of charge. This then brings us to the next issue that these meters are free to consumers, and that they are designed to help reduce fuel bills or at a minimum make us aware what we are spending. The poor guy with clearly an errant meter whose bills had rocketed overnight would not need to be a degree level mathematician to be aware that spending £4.50 each time to boil a single kettle would be less than fiscally optimum.

This plan to have smart meters in all our homes was announced over a decade ago and every home would have one by 2020. Many homes have them. According to the Department of Energy and Climate change 764,800 have already been installed and although Sunday Times makes the mathematical point that the number of complaints has trebled last year ( without telling us that no doubt the numbers of meters have also trebled) the numbers are minimal increasing from 16 complaints in 2013 to 50 in 2014.

Some customers will not like the fact they can visually see how expensive the fuel is and no doubt some will ” want their meters checked”, this will be done free if faults are found, but cannot be free if this purely on the whim of a customer. This ” pay if nothing is wrong” concept is also not new and providers of Cable and Digital providers have been doing this for years on items such as Tevo boxes.

Clearly these meters do and will go wrong and over time will be improved and modified, anyone who is not comfortable with this approach, should just wait then, as many companies including Apple also find new items come with faults and these get modified early one. EDF as an example find fault with only 0.5% of their meters. This is not a wonderful ratio but certainly an understandable one and one that will decrease over time.

So what are the stated benefits? Easy. The government reckons that the £11bn cost to install these smart meters will be offset of savings of £17.1 bn by 2030 according to the Sunday Times. This may or may not happen, however my own experience so far is very positive. I have found by judicious use of the various numbers I can easily access on the meter, that I have reduced daily energy consumption from around £5/day to around £3/day. Actually seeing the cost for example of how much it costs to heat the house in the morning led to a simple change, turning heating off maybe 20 minutes before leaving the house.

These smart meters are not perfect but they will do a good job to educate and help reduce fuel bills, they are free, and yes, sometimes they will go wrong. Lets live with that awful scandal. The meters themselves look just like any other but have wifi potential and the actual smart meter reading tool is quite smart too, tells us the time, the costs and a whole host of other useful information.

Apples and Strawberries from New Malden.


As my general growing and farming ability improves, I thought I would share a few decent photos of the first ever apples growing on my Cox’s apple tree and a strawberry.

Strawberry living in New Malden

Strawberry living in New Malden

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Would the Redcurrant plant please start talking to the courgette plant?


Planting things in the garden is always an interesting thing to do. Some things survive, some dont, and one never knows exactly why. For the last few years we have had an everlasting strawberry plant that has lived outside through some quite tough winters and each year produces fruit. About two months ago a courgette plant came home from school with the 11-year old who had taken a fancy to gardening club there each thursday. the plant was duly planted in the only free space in a sort of light the touchpaper and stand back. I have no idea what courgette plants like. In fact this plant has been producing whole crops of courgettes, maybe 10-15 separate items already and shows no signs of stopping. The leaves are truly massive and I would caution against having more than one plant. anyway courgettes have been harvested and eaten. Delicious . Now for the potatoes. They are due soon from the everlasting black bin bag filled with soil. The redcurrant plant seems to have retired for the winter with a total produce of one small bunch of redcurrants. Maybe it can have a word with the courgette plant when I am not looking?

Courgettes

Courgettes

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