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 “crime”

Does This Constitute A Potential Theft? Should I Inform The Police? Advice Please

In itself this is a relatively minor and trivial matter and I have no desire to waste police time. On the other hand this is not a precedent I am happy to set with my neighbour if I do nothing . I am also making one large presumption here.

While away on holiday the neighbour chose to replace his old fence. Although we knew it would happen some time, it might have been a day , week or year. He did not tell us when he was doing this.
We know the old fence was pulled down and due we think to a disagreement he had with his fencing builders , the fence was down leaving our two gardens connected openly at the back for around 5-7 days . A new fence was then erected and this was complete before we returned home.
While checking the garden today I noticed that all my gardening tools have vanished. These were left in the garden in a small alleyway. A broom, spade and fork. All fairly new and decent quality. Probably worth £60 in total.

That the neighbour will not take responsibility and replace these tools as it is his actions that can only have expedited their loss. With an erected fence there is no entry realistically into the garden.

What should be done?
Firstly I have checked that there is no other explanation for their disappearance. No one for example who was looking after the house has borrowed them.
I seem to have three options

  1. Do nothing and buy new ones.
  2. Ask the neighbour to replace the missing tools as for me it is his responsibility having created the scenario whereby they could have been misappropriated . This I will do of course however my presumption is that this will not be a happy request and be declined
  3. Report this to the local police and take their advice. However I am keen to not waste their time .

Gothenburg. Am I missing something? Crime and Chocolate Cheesecake

Arriving on a thoroughly grey day never makes any city look appealing but after an afternoon here I am struggling to see what might make Gothenburg a city to attract visitors. The airport is a fair way out from the city and the thick grey cloud that was covering the ground was relentless when viewed as the plane came into land.

The city itself one might say pretends to have potential. There are canals over which small bridges allow the pedestrians to connect to the squares and other streets. The main square is lined by hotels with the main Central Station on one side. All sounds promising until hoardes of East European, mostly women, attack each passer by through the square to demand money for some magazine, that I presume is the Romanian or Bulgarian equivalent of The Big Issue. Its wrong to say they are threatening but correct to say that they are persistent and in your face.


The buildings all look rather grey and similar and the shops are those one might find in any European city centre. Trams and buses are plentiful and have a good go to knock over any pedestrian who dares to cross the tram lines.

FullSizeRender-3There are a few parks dotted around including one advertising itself as a kind of botanical gardens, except there were few plants to see at this time of year. The water in the canals is dirty with rubbish thrown in of the usual kind, bottles, cans and plastic bags, however uniquely there was a white plastic chair adorning the water too curiously a lifebelt too floating in the water, presumably unused. It cannot be the fault of the paths nor the trees but every single leaf in Sweden seemed to be squashed on the pebble paths making many areas slippery and at a minimum visually unattractive.

On the positive side there were some unusual signs. For example within the train station a sign proclaimed “HAGS” ” made in Sweden”. This seems a little unfair as there is cause to presume they are made also in very many other countries.

Hags of Sweden

Hags of Sweden

The train station was also packed full of a variety of different little cafes and eateries serving delicious looking food, however the venue of eating within a train station just does not seem right to me and the visual accompaniment of the Romanian sellers/beggars, also takes the appetite away a little. Some nice Chocolate muffins though were talking to me. The graffiti painted on the outside of the trains was good enough to rival that on the trains in Essen Germany and The Watermans car park in Brentford. The highlight of my little walking expedition was no doubt the burger restaurant Max. Not only were the burgers delicious and huge, but I managed to order my meal via a machine that gave me all my options in Swedish. The chocolate cheesecake however pictured below is one of the nicest food items I have ever eaten, bought in a little cafe in the station.


The people also seemed downcast. I cannot recall a single smile when outside the hotel. The staff in Max looked like a group session of ECT or bulk purchase of Prozac might be an option to be considered. Why was no-one smiling? Apparently the theory put forward is that they regain their inner happiness when the weather improves, which by my reckoning is 5-6 months away.

Crime however rears its ugly head everywhere and Gothenburg was no exception with a car with its window smashed in on a fairly main street behind the Radisson Hotel. The migrant issue in Sweden is also topical currently with the murder of Alexandra Mezher who was working on a night shift at a refugee centre for unaccompanied migrant children in Molndal near Gothenburg. According to the Swedish Migration Agency violent incidents have doubled in asylum facilities since 2014. Sweden also receives five times more asylum applications relative to its size than its neighbour Denmark, receiving 163,000 applications last year 2015.

IMG_0236IMG_0237The usual excellent European graffiti was evident with the colour of trains being markedly improved by the graffiti. This seem a european thing rather more than a UK thing, and oddly this is type of crime that it a funny way adds to the pleasure.

Would I be tempted to return here for leisure? Not really. I may be missing something but I do not get Gothenburg at all.

A Gentle Hand

Gentle Hand Copyright Chris Bushe

Gentle Hand
Copyright Chris Bushe

Reflections on Gothenburg

Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden and the fifth largest in the Nordic countries. The population is around half a million and the city was founded in 1621. Gothenburg also has the largest university in Sweden with 60,000 students. Daylight cana last 18 hours in the summer and only 6.5 hours in December. When one arrives it seems a nice place with most hotels arranged around a central square with the Centraal Train Station on one side.

My impressions of  Gothenburg were rather coloured by the huge number of Eastern European immigrants begging in the square rattling their plastic cups in one’s face and trying to sell a magazine called ” Sofia ” which made me presume they were Bulgarian. They were hunting in packs and although not frightening to me, I could see that to others they could be persuaded as being so. In the evnings they were inside the train station taking up most of the chairs and seats and in the day they operated in and around the square. A head ” beggar” a large woman sat on a bench barking out orders in a language that seemed alien to me.

The city of Gothenburg portrays itself as “soft and more human” when dealing with poor EU migrants, local paper Göteborgs Posten wrote. But the situation is far from black and white.

In 2010 Gothenburg’s social services paid for 28 beggars to return home. In 2013 that number was 93. The largest increase of those sent home has been seen with beggars from Romania.Between 2010 and June of 2014, the Gothenburg paid to send home 135 Romanians. Norwegians came in second place, with 35 getting a free ticket home, and Bulgaria came in third with 23 beggars sent home.

The police in Gothenburg suspect the begging is organised, however that doesn’t make it a crime. There’s a difference if relatives are collaborating or if someone forces poor people to beg and then takes the money.

Several cases of human trafficking have been revealed in Stockholm where people have been brought to Sweden by criminal networks. Disabled people and children are in special demand by the networks.

The Gothenburg police have not been able to clarify if there is someone in the background making money from the beggars in the city.

In contrast the hotels are nice, comfortable and the staff ultra polite. The food is good, heavily fish-based. The affluence is obvious with hotels like the excellent Clarion Post having expensive Japanese Sushi restaurants. In the square one must avoid the trams if not the beggars as they take no prisoners and seemingly come from all directions. There is also an amusing angle with the emphasis in Sweden on living healthily, and thousands of bicycles in the square, but with some sponsored by burger companies. This seems a good city of not an exciting one.



phxoto 2 photo x5 phot o 3

How to break into Targo Bank Spanish style

Nothing in Spain surprises me. Enjoy


Jo Nesbo

Jo Nesbo is one of the worlds leading authors. He writes norwegain crime novels about a detective Harry Hole ( pronounced  Who Lay). Some of his descriptions of these crimes are graphic and frightening. Thus it was a pleasure to meet him at  a book signing of his latest novel THE BAT. In fact this is the oldest book but it has only just been translated into English. Jo was not how I expected him to be but thats just my vivid imagination .  Many thanks to Foyle’s for staging this. What was also nice was to see him then come in and have coffee and muffin in the Cafe there. The cafe can be highly recommended. An amusing moment though when someone wondered if Jo Nesbo was carrying a  ” Leopold’s Apple” in his hand. It turned out to be nothing more sinister than a chocolate muffin (presumably squirrelled away).

Jo Nesbo. Latest book The Bat

Jeddah and all its airports. Final KSA Chapter for now. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

I really have enjoyed my time in Saudi and find the people so pleasant but nothing surprises me here and that is the key to enjoying the country. This morning I was picked up at 6 am for a taxi ride to the airport. Simple. The first question was establishing which Jeddah airport. There are three all within a proximity. The first one would have been for Saudi Arabian Airlines flights which was 12 km, the second was for only the Saudi Royal family, this was about 25 km away and finally the last , third, and final airport which was for all foreign airlines 35 km away. 

I was fully prepared for plentiful discussions and debate with passport control and border agency equivalent staff at Jeddah, as that was my recollection from my last visit in 2008. Establishing beyond doubt that I did want to leave, that I had not and did not intend to commit any crime in KSA and to enquire as to exactly what I had been doing for the few days of my stay. My paranoia was misplaced. My interview with passport control was over in 5 seconds and the stamp provided and no-one else expressed any interest in what I was doing in Saudi Arabia. 

As I sit here in the lounge watching the sun rise higher in the sky and trying to look out of the windows ( not so easy as they are all covered in sand and dust), it does seem that KSA has changed for the better over the last 4 years and I would really look forward to the opportunity to return here one day not too soon.

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Icelandic Crime

Two of my recent visitors have been from Iceland and there is a phenomenon that is growing fast, that of the UK selling large quantities of Scandinavian and Icelandic crime fiction. The great Stieg Larsson started things off with maybe the best trilogy that will ever be written about the Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. Jo Nesbo continued things along with a series of superb novels and now an Icelandic authoress, Yrsa Siguradottir continues on. 

Currently I am reading the second novel from her, and having read her most recent novel first, am working backwards. Her writing cannot be praised too highly. Not only does she convey an extraordinary complexity of plot but she captures the characters so well. Surprisingly the books are also humourous, with some descriptions of her secretary/assistant Bella, being described as a Gothic tugboat, opening the mind to what exactly she looks like. The other people who deserve praise are the translators of all these novels as they read in English as fluently as one imagines they would having been written by a native english speaker. The current book is called (English translation by Philip Roughton, Ashes to Dust, UK:July 2010). 


Her facebook linkðardóttir/17790914348


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