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

Helsinki Cafes Are Full Of Surprises. Good Ones . Cafe Strindberg


Arriving in Helsinki you often could be forgiven for thinking the whole world has turned grey. Grey streets accompanied by grey sky and cold looking people . But you are wrong . Walking down any of the streets you eventually reach either the harbour or the centre area with the train station. Helsinki geography is easy.

The first surprise is that there are dozens of nice and slightly old fashioned coffee shops . Sitting outside is pleasant though in autumn a decent coat is needed. Some of them make you feel like you have stepped back in time.

My favourite has always been Cafe Strindberg. The coffee is nice although Nordic prices mean you pay 4.5€ for a cup of coffee. The atmosphere is slightly old worlde. The waitresses are mostly stern looking women but efficient and pleasant at the same time. They look the part wearing long white aprons. The coffee is good . If you are brave you can sit outside. The Croque Monsieur will set you back 12.50€ but is great.

There is a kind of healthiness here that is good . Water comes automatically with coffee. As it should . Coffee is a powerful diuretic . As an accompaniment to the sandwich you can choose grilled vegetables or crisps or salad. The grilled vegetables tasted superb mostly aubergine. The other nice thing is that they do not speak necessarily English. Why should they . This is Finland. The clientele are mixed. Some older couples looking guilty sipping their wine with lunch. Not speaking much . Just comfortable in their own presence. No one waits to be seated. One just walks in and sits wherever followed by the stern waitress with menu in hand . Young men under 20 years sit with their coffee and talk animatedly. Someone eating on their own like myself is comfortable.

In short this a lovely place to drink coffee and eat lunch . No pressure to eat quickly . If you are in Helsinki just try this place .

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

Dragonfruit Yoghurt. But How Many Know What Dragonfruit Looks Like?


Muller light yoghurts are fantastic and they keep on experimenting with new and different fruit flavours and combinations.

But the cover of the yogurt pot gives little clue really as to what dragonfruit fruit looks like.

In reality until I saw Dragonfruit on a Maldives breakfast buffet I neither could have guessed what they look like. Taste wise they are quite mellow and separating the dragonfruit from the pineapple might be a little tricky, or interpret that as impossible.

Looking at them unpeeled and ready to eat, but prepared by an excellent chef, they look not unlike dominos.  So a few photos to show maybe more what they look like in the Maldives with an excellent chef, than in reality how they might look if I prepared them .

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A New Way To Lose Weight. Travel On LNER Trains


There are many ways suggested to achieve weight loss but few guaranteed to succeed. The new approach by travelling on LNER trains may be the answer to rapid weight loss. Taking a 9.33 train from Kings Cross to Yorkshire seemed a good choice. Tickets bought in advance were reasonably cheap. The expectation was that some breakfast and coffee for the two hour journey may be a no-brainer. However I was very much wrong.

The herding of passengers onto a long train around 10 minutes before departure meant that no visit to the buffet car was feasible before the train departed. Soon after departure the mellow apologetic tones of a stewardess ( whatever they are actually called escapes me) announced that due to “electrical” problems only cash was being accepted in the buffet. Many folks now do not carry cash as many outlets are becoming increasingly card only ( British Airways, Doughnut shops at London City Airport). So the first hurdle, no cash no food or drinks. A few moments later an even more mellow voice announced that due to staff shortages, no buffet trolley car was in operation. The option of walking (if thats the right phrase in a rapid tilting train) from carriage C to H and back, with  hot drinks may also not appeal. Finally the next mellow message announced that they had no change, so the only cash accepted would be small change, ending with pleading for customers to bring any small change they did not need to the buffet. So weight loss is really possible on LNER.

For anyone curious LNER is the new Virgin East Coast reincarnation. How long might it last, who knows?

N.E.R.D Does not permit live coverage from Reading and Leeds Festivals ? Any idea why?


The live acts from Reading in 2018 have been more sparse than in previous years . I player has some live feed but no commentary or interviews with artists. This seems different to previous years.

There are also no highlight shows on BBC. The presumption is that money somehow plays a part in this.

My curiosity however is piqued by why an artist would not allow live coverage? Presumably the band wants to sell records? There clearly is a reason but I am struggling to find one that’s logical . Other big ticket bands such as Panic At The Disco are quite ok with this so why this response from N.E.R.D?

I am not familiar with the band or it’s music. Wikipedia describes them as N.E.R.D (stylized as N*E*R*D, a backronym of No-one Ever Really Dies) is an American hip hop and rock band, formed in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1999.

A quick google search gets me nowhere so it’s over you . Why?

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?

Glasgow Chemical Spillage ? Hilton Hotel Anderston Thursday Afternoon


At the back of the Hilton hotel at Anderston around 2 pm there were two fire engines in attendance spraying . It looked like a spillage that was being neutralised. Relating to a lorry parked there presumably .

A group of workers are now clearing up the materials. Clearly folks were evacuated from either the Hilton or from the adjacent building . Around 2.45 pm they were allowed to return .

Brentford ease to a 2-0 win over Hapless Sheffield Wednesday . What are the learnings for the Brentford fans?


There are plenty of good websites that will give far better game reports than I am capable of. Sheffield Wednesday came to Griffin Park in some degree of turmoil with a transfer embargo being lifted only two days previously.

Brentford fans were in good voice pre-game and a positive atmosphere pervaded everywhere, with one exception the two poor guys selling the half time lottery tickets were struggling and at the time we entered, one had sold none and the other two tickets. IMG_1654IMG_1648

The sun was shining and the pitch looked perfect. Brentford strolled to a 2-0 win that should have been far more emphatic, with five one on ones with the keeper failing to register a goal. IMG_1649

Dean Smith has a clear vision of his best team and the Bees were unchanged from last saturday. Ryan Woods making it to the bench. Sheffield Wednesday despite bringing 1500 fans were poor. Their whole demeanour pre-game and during the game was heads down and misery. Their style was also poor with mostly route one humping of the ball to their strikers, who looked disinterested . The gangling Atdhe Nuhiu who is a Kosovo Albanian professional footballer who plays  for the Kosovo national team, looked at times almost amateur. Wikipedia gave his salary as 300,000 euros in 2012. Astonishing if true. Their manager looked equally lost and bored in equal measures standing on the touchline often alone with none of his coaching staff visible. Jos Luhukay is a Dutch football manager and former midfielder. In January 2018, Luhukay was appointed as  manager, but it seems likely that on this form he will not see out the season until christmas.

Brentford were superb in their football, confident, skilful and at times cheeky. So what did we learn from today?

  1. The distribution of Dan Bentley has improved hugely and it is hard to think of a better English goalkeeper currently with the exception of Jordan Pickford. This is not hyperbole but fact.
  2. Henrik Dalsgaard needs to be more cautious in his tackling. Following a yellow card today another dubious tackle went unpunished and a different referee would have dismissed him.
  3. The defence is settled. The central defensive pairing of Mepham and Konsa surely is the best we have had in the last 10 years. Both players are light years in ability away from Dean and Egan. Chris Mepham is already premiership class.
  4. Neal Maupay has improved his all round game and looks a fine player. His finishing can and will improve. He can budget for 20-25 goals this season.
  5. Sergi Canos needs to up his game. At times today he was invisible. He may come under pressure for his place in the next few weeks.
  6. A settled squad and an unchanged team pays dividends this early in the season. I do not recall the quality being present so early in a season nor the fitness levels
  7. Brentford can push for promotion.
  8. That Griffin Park is going to be full most weeks, so buy season tickets right now
  9. There is a New Road mystery though. Where do you buy Pizza? We saw a guy return with a slice of pizza. Anyone know?

Rarely have the Brentford fans been so positive about a season and a team. 00003219

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.

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