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 “london”

Why Brentford Are A Real Team.Some Post-Match Millwall Thoughts


Usually when I post musings and photographs after a  game I go through and find my best 20 action photos and write a few words around these. Here I want to do something a little different.

Things have not been good recently at Brentford. Not many good results, some social media distractions amongst fans and generally the mood of optimism that was with us a month ago had partially evaporated. There was ill-advised talk that Thomas Frank had only a few games to save his job ( ridiculous I know) and many ideas regarding team selection (myself included). This was an important game in the context of where the season might go from here.

Griffin Park at sunset in November

Griffin Park at sunset in November

We all know Brentford won 2-0 and although there were a few scares along the way, Brentford were the better footballing side and generally had the higher work rate. Something very different struck me strongly yesterday, perhaps I miss this sometimes, but Brentford are a real team. They worked hard for each other and have a true bond with the fans. The bond is important. We learned this week how strong that bond can be and the results of a good bond with the sad news emanating from Leicester city.  No doubt I will post more comments and photos during the week, but these are the ones that captivated me . They are not my best action shots, these will follow, but these show the real emotion and bond between players, fans and the manager.

  1. Neal Maupay. This guy really cares and works hard. On this occasion he had made a great run but his final shot was inches away. This was one of the many opportunities Brentford had to make the score 2-0. 0000482600004824
  2. Said Benrahma. Looking through the photos the players photographed the most are Said and Moses. It was lovely to witness the celebration after the game as Said walked back alongside Braemar Road. He embraced a few fans and the looks on their faces says it all. 00004860
  3. Daniel Bentley. He has had a tough month and no-one would argue that he has lost form. This result and the clean sheet meant a lot. 00004866
  4. Thomas Frank. This was an important game for not only the team but also himself, and the justification of his team changes, and perhaps some of the changes he did not make. His bond with  Neal Maupay is clear and so wonderful to see. 000048560000485400004853
  5. Moses Odubajo. His first game as first choice left back. A long spell of injury the last few years at Hull City. The way he worked tirelessly all game and created havoc in the Millwall defence was immense and enjoyable to see.  0000480300004777
  6. Sergi Canos. Sergi is returning to the form we know he has but he has had to work hard to get there. His enthusiasm is immense to watch and no doubt rubs off on the team too. 00004784
  7. The whole Brentford team. They were a team and it showed before, during and after the game. 00004743

In the context of the season the result and the performance was critical and the obvious bonding between fans and team will be important in the months ahead. Brentford are a good team, a young team, mistakes will be made (by players, manager and fans) but lets keep this tight bond going.

Reethi Beach Resort Maldives


Reethi Beach is one of the newer resorts in Maldives. For those not familiar with Maldives, they are essentially a series of islands, some of which have been transformed into resorts.

Reethi Beach is a good resort although the complexity of travel in the Maldives means that getting there might take a bit longer than some other resorts. Flights arrive in Male and for some resorts a speedboat transfer is relatively quick – for example one could be in Kuda Huraa in less than 30 minutes. Most, however, require either a seaplane or an internal flight. Seaplanes look incredibly cool but do not come cheap and can add almost £1000 onto a holiday cost.

Getting to Reethi Beach requires an internal flight, then a short bus ride and finally a 20 minutes boat transfer each with its obligatory delay. So upfront I will say that the only negative about Reethi Beach is having arrived in Male at 8.30 am it was near enough 13.00 before arriving at the resort. The rest is entirely positive. If your bank account allows it seaplane is recommended but also remember a 20 kg luggage maximum and 5kg for hand luggage.

Reethi Beach is one hour ahead of Male time so it operates +5 compared to UK. The island takes maybe 30 minutes to walk around on the beaches.

Accommodation is chalets. A few water bungalows. Chalets are comfortable and clean but this is the Maldives so the occasional insect and cockroach cannot be discounted nor frankly prevented. Meals are buffet style for those on all inclusive. The food is superb beyond belief. Plenty of vegetarian options. The weather depends partially on the seasons, but you can reasonably expect 28-30 C sunshine most days, the occasional full cloudy day but rain showers also most days. These usually come and go in an hour. Beaches are idyllic. You can pay for a whole variety more of course including various dining options and range of water-sports. Snorkelling is not so good as some of the other islands but not too bad. Stingrays come right to the sea edge to get fed at 18.00 but also some with either bigger stomachs or cheaper watches come any time to say hi. Three herons patrol their beach territory and allow you within about 5 metres. Maybe less.

Prices in other locations vary enormously but essentially paying more gets you relatively less. I would personally recommend Reethi Beach for most people unless you expect the luxury that you get from other resorts paying perhaps 3-4 times more.

Things to recommend though. Pay for coffee in the Moodhu bar that sits on stilts over the sea. Views are great and the coffee is sublime . Expect to pay maybe 5$ for a superb hazelnut latte .Around the edges of the island you will find huge man-made sandbags that probably contain more rock than sand, to prevent erosion of the beaches and create some quiet little inlets. As with all Maldivian islands probably a week is enough or ten days maximum. After that maybe most have had enough sun, food and relaxing. I would personally recommend Reethi Beach. All the photos you see here were taken by myself in October 2018. Lastly there is free WiFi in public areas and also if you position yourself on the beaches near the bars and restaurants you can access it there too.

The resort also make more effort with night entertainment than many others. Live music, DJs and Quiz evenings are actually not a bad effort considering the geography.

Something Wrong At Brentford . The More Difficult Question Is What?


Anyone watching Brentford earlier in the season saw that we were a good team. Few teams if any looked better than us. This wretched run has now made some question even if relegation is a possibility.

It’s more simple than that . We are a mid table side that was full of confidence but after a series of events has lost confidence. My personal belief is that the players knew Smith was going long before it was announced . Weeks even. Having watched Brentford for many years , around 50 , I can spot when something behind the scenes is causing issues.

This leads to uncertainty amongst the players. Frank may be a good or a bad manager. We simply do not know , however it is unlikely he will have the same beliefs as Smith. Some players such as Josh have reverted to the abysmal form of last season. His lack of consistency for me combined with his inability to tackle means he is not one of our untouchable players, however to make wholesale changes last night was not the clever option. Moses will struggle to come up to speed , literally, after his injuries and lack of game time , and as he needed to play last night it could be argued that changing the midfield formation was not the time to do this. Having said that Yennaris is also a hideously inconsistent player who should have done better both last night and in general. Dan Bentley losing form has also cost us 3-4 points at minimum.

Frank needs to look close up at the team. My suggestion would be to revert to a single captain, a leader . That narrows it down to Dalsgaard or Barbet. The trouble is that the petulance and poor discipline that Dalsgaard can show suggests that to keep things calm he might not be the man.

So to put it simply my team selection for Norwich would be the usual back four, Kamo and McCleod , Watkins, Maupay, Benrahma, Sawyers and Daniels.

Daniels is a good shot stopper, like Andy Woodman, but currently falls down literally from not being able to command his area and come authoritatively for crosses, also like Andy Woodman. A goalkeeper coach is critical here to bring him on.

Some players must realise they are in the last chance saloon. Sawyers can perform. He can be premiership material but equally at times can be dreadful. Consistency is the key . Frank needs to select his best team and stick with them for 4-5 games. He also must not be afraid to make early changes in a game. If a player is poor for 20 mins take him off. Warnock does not do everything right in my book but this Warnockesque activity is what the team needs. Substitutions need also to be logical not pre-planned

Lastly do not play players where they are poor. Barbet is actually a good footballer but he has never been nor will be a good central defender. At times I would have played him as an old fashioned number nine as Plan B.

Brentford are a work in progress. We need as fans to remain realistic and supportive but also to be appropriately critical. That is important . Let’s have a rethink after the next six games of the Frank regime.

Some Frank Thoughts On Where Brentford go now


Over the last few months there has been an optimism amongst fans that for me is a little over placed. Sure we have some good players and at least two who could start in the premiership right now. The issue though is consistency. The teams that get promoted have good players but are consistent. Brentford have not been consistent.

My personal view might not go down well with some fans and that’s fine . Lewis McLeod is a luxury player. He has some good games. Some good moments . But if you were in a casino would you bet on him having a good game for example at Preston? Don’t think so. Some of his passing is sublime . But will he compete in every game ? Josh M… well ok we can explain an average performance on Saturday. Why was he selected? But many of his performances have been average . Intertwined with some brilliance . What was missing Saturday was physicality until Kamo came on. This guy is good. He rattles other teams. And he is consistent and needs to be a starter.

Thomas Frank will have his own views and I suspect team selection will evolve rather than see 5 changes overnight. We know our best defence. We know our most consistent player. Barbet. We need a Plan A and B and C for midfield. On days when Ollie Watkins is not at his best we need a quick change. Sitting in New Road the warm up gives me an indication who is up for it . Certainly by 30 minutes I can tell for sure. Let’s be radical and make substitutions early if needed or not at all if not .

Lastly we need leadership. Is the rotating captain working? Not sure. The natural captains of the side are Mepham , still learning his trade , Barbet and Dalsgaard. I would experiment with making Barbet captain. It just might work.

At the moment we are a mid table side. We could make top six but no way top two. Our focus needs to be on consistency and finishing off games. Few teams are better than us but on Saturday we saw a side that worked harder than us and it sounds bad but Lee Johnson got his tactics spot on. Thomas Franks did not.

For Preston let me see a real high tempo start . Kamo in the line up and early changes if things not going well.

Should This Have Been A Penalty?


A pivotal moment in the early phase of the Met Police v Basingstoke Southern Premier game last Saturday. In real time a clear trip by the defender however on reviewing the photo there is clear shirt pulling.

The linesman was on the opposite side so maybe did not see this. The referee might have been unsighted too.

The point is how difficult it is to referee a game .

Salted Caramel Profiteroles


There are various kinds of Salted Caramel Profiteroles. A quick google search will tell you that many of the major supermarkets sell them. Mostly they are small and essentially typical profiteroles but with salted caramel added. And surprisingly cheap . At the end of the post you can see some examples.

Staying at The Curtain Hotel in Shoreditch in the buffet lunch was a rather different version. The outside is crusted and a little crunchy with the base being typical choux pastry . They tasted delicious and for the bakers out there maybe worth making . Size wise they were like small doughnut size and one was plenty! Cannot be certain but suspect they are homemade .

Supermarket Version

What Is This Starter? Can Anyone Guess?


This was a starter on a menu in Glasgow Marriott. An unusual option. I chose it and ate it. Delicious . But can anyone work out what it is?

Seemingly meaningless Graffiti. Any ideas what it means?


Whilst traveling one comes across a lot of graffiti. Some of it great, some pure art, some vandalism and some of it simply strange.

I have no idea what these sets of graffiti mean. One was painted on a park bench and the other on a metal container .

Berlin is Clean. No rubbish. No mess. So why are Merton and Kingston not the same? A change in direction for Recycling and Rubbish collection is needed in Europe


Each day social media is full of posts about the rubbish and mess that abounds in Merton and other localities. I don’t seek these posts they are there in their droves . Just search for #muckymerton and see what emerges.

The pattern is too familiar. Fewer collections of any type, rubbish dumped at bins , rubbish just dumped. End result is a total mess and more rats. I have seen more rats this year 2018 than in the combined 20+ years I have been living in the area. This is not even mentioning the mess foxes make . Take a walk through any Merton area around midnight to 5 am and the foxes are having a party. They are breeding well and in our area Monday night is festival night for them. Folks put their rubbish out for a Tuesday collection and the foxes firstly collect it then spread it over whole streets. We must accept that we are partially at fault here as asked to put rubbish out by 6 am . And everyone loves getting up at 6 am to do this.

Merton has been trialling things that are certainly unconventional. In the face of ever increasing mess and litter in some areas and parks they are removing waste bins and replacing them with , well, nothing.

I am no refuse disposal expert but then clearly neither are the council. But what I do see is other cities and towns in Europe that are devoid of rubbish and clean despite having far more citizens and visitors. Earlier this year I wrote a post on Ljubljana in Slovenia where underground rubbish and recycling bins provide an excellent solution.

https://arcticterntalk.org/2018/06/26/recycling-made-easy-in-ljubljana-a-lesson-for-uk-councils/amp/

The collection is also simpler with workers not having to handle any of the lovely rubbish and recycling.

What prompted me to write this article today is Berlin. This is summer . Tourist peak season. Temperatures around 34c . Yet walking to some business appointments there is no rubbish. Bins are either empty or certainly not full. Containers like small skips allow rubbish and recycling to be collected. Maybe the mentality is better too. Less fly tipping and discarding aimlessly of rubbish. Simply Berlin is clean. Whatever systems are used and funded Merton and other councils could do worse than learning about and adopting .

Following my post on Ljubljana I learned that such underground recycling and rubbish collection facilities are available in parts of Southern Spain and Northern England. This is not futuristic thinking its plain common sense and needs funding and adoption.

To me the way things are going in Merton, watching rats run free next to roads , rubbish piled up and bins overflowing, we have a system that is not working and in many regards is not unlike London in the 1700’s. Whoever decides , funds and is accountable is failing the residents. The better step is adoption of change , not reducing collections . Look for alternative options. Otherwise, I can see legal challenges from residents who pay their council taxes. We are traveling right now in the wrong direction.

The Cost Of Airport Food Is Outrageous . 20£ For A Burger at Arlanda Stockholm Airport


Travellers have little choice often to eat in airports. Having to arrive hours before a flight, airlines rarely serving free food and a mandatory queue at passport control afterwards. So it might be reasonable to expect two things. A choice of food options that are not dominated by Gordon Ramsay, Sushi and Caviar bars. As one gets in Terminal Five. Trying to buy a humble cup of tea or coffee can be impossible . A second expectation is that prices are equitable. Things are now getting out of hand and travellers have every right to protest.

At Arlanda airport last night a sports bar , O’Learys, nothing special if I am honest was wanting over 20£ for a burger . Ribs would set you back 27£ and a steak would cost you not much under 40£.

How can these prices for food that looked inferior to Burger King be fair? Put it another way. Family of three. A burger meal and drinks would be costing around £75. If the children asked for chicken strips that too is around 25£. Vending machines would then sell you chocolate bars such as Twix for £2.

Other airports are no better. London City Airport charges extortionate amounts for average food.

The regulators need to look into this. Just as service stations charge 20p per litre more airports should be prevented from operating this unpleasant pricing cartel .

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