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

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.

Recycling Made Easy In Ljubljana. A Lesson for UK Councils


Taking a walk around Merton most days, especially on bin day, you see rubbish everywhere. Rubbish left behind, rubbish not collected and rubbish strewn from bags broken open by the hordes of neighbourhood urban foxes. A lot of it is preventable by sensible management of rubbish, for example do not leave rubbish bas out overnight, but some is not preventable.

Recycling and bin collection for the last centre a weekly thing, now is becoming fortnightly or potentially not at all. Rubbish also need not be rubbish. The Welsh Council in Brycir area near Caernavon do not permit rubbish, all waste gets recycled under some guise, providing around 4-6 different coloured wheelie bins.

Ljubljana is the capital city in Slovenia and a beautiful city and country. 00003267

Slovenia Beauty In Photographs

https://arcticterntalk.org/2018/06/12/slovenia-is-a-country-to-visit-soon/

Slovenia however is not associated with being the paradigm shift in recycling and rubbish collection. Anyone walking through the city would see any number of beautiful sights and monuments. The graffiti art is unique. What might look almost irrelevant are a number of  bins in a line fixed to the street. These are the recycling bins and rubbish bins divided up in a normal manner. What is clever is that these are not small bins that get full in hours or days, but in fact they lead to underground “bins” which are then emptied or collected by large recycling vehicles. The rubbish is thus neither in sight nor in smell. This is a wonderfully simple concept and surely replicable. No need for rubbish bags lining streets , minimising the amount of rubbish decorating pavements and front gardens. Some initial cost surely , but why should not UK councils also consider this clever option. So how does it work?

Underground collection units are used in the centre of Ljubljana to replace common waste bins and thus unburden public areas and make the city look nicer. Glass, packaging and paper can be deposited in underground collection units by anybody, while you need the relevant card to deposit biological waste.The first underground collection units were installed in 2008 and there are currently 41 of such collection units in Ljubljana (3 not yet activated). The aim is to ensure that the maximum distance of any user from the unit is 150 metres. They are simple to use.

  • Place the card on the scanner next to the collection unit lid.
  • Once the scanner recognises the card, the lid of the underground collection unit automatically opens.
  • Drop the garbage bag into the opening and manually close the lid.
  • If you have several garbage bags, repeat the procedure. The maximum allowed volume of a bag is 40 litres.

 

 

 

 

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Helsinki


Just photos of an interesting city.

Chris Bushe Photography

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University of Bristol Open Day 2018


University open days are essential for students to see not only the university and their course offerings but also the location. They can be quite variable. Bristol have got it absolutely right.

Registration was simple and quick online and all confirmation details followed by post .

All the plethora of events were clearly signposted and hundreds of students were there to direct and answer questions.

Bristol is a city centre campus and a number of the roads were helpfully closed off to allow easy walking access between venues. Food stands serving good food but at parents prices not student prices were all around. That might be a little unfair as £5-7 would get you a nice food item.

Seemingly all the presentations were good and mostly 30-40 minutes with separate stalls set up where students gave out literature on their courses . The university was busy but not overcrowded so seem to have got their numbers right. Security personnel were in attendance giving a safe feel rather than a persecuted one.

Some of the sports clubs were showing their wares with basketball and badminton clubs having areas where students were playing.

Lastly a shoutout to Murray’s a cafe in the city centre . A good place for folks to feed and water. Orange Polenta cake can be recommended.

Overall impression of Bristol university was excellent .

Slovenia Is A Country To Visit Soon


Slovenia is less than 2.5 hours away whether you fly to Ljubljana or Zagreb. Zagreb has more flights and Ljubljana airport is nearer of course, however it means an unfortunate visitation to Stansted. 00003250

The drive from Zagreb is around 90 minutes and is painless, but one needs to remember to stop at a services and purchase the Vignette, a kind of road tax that can be bought weekly up to annually. tolls.eu/slovenia

A weekly Vignette is 15 euros. The country is essentially unspoiled and will not remain so for much longer, indeed only the lack of direct flights to Ljubljana exerts some control over this.  Visiting in May, the hotels are all full in the centre and some advance booking is essential. 00003124

For anyone who has travelled Europe , Ljubljana can be described as a cross between Prague and Amsterdam, without the crowds. There is a river through the city alongside most of the eating and drinking goes on. Food and drink is cheap and there is a certain Italian flavour to many of the restaurants, which are surprisingly cheap. A few curious things emerge like giving customers apples, we found them on the table in cafes and bars and also in our hotel. There are some building works going on in central Ljubljana but this does not really impact anyone visiting.  Anyone from UK will be surprised at the cheapness of franks in the bars and also the great service from the bar staff. 0000312700003128

Hiring a car is also cheap and means that in around an hour one can reach any of the borders with  Italy, Hungary, Austria and Croatia. Slovenia also has a very small stretch of beach. Drive down any motorway, which are dual carriageways as we know them, and there are plentiful signs to castles and other amazing places. The Lippizaner horses can be seen, Predjama castle is a must and Lakes Bled ( a little touristy) and Bohinj need to be seen. A 30 minute boat ride on Lake Bohinj in an electric boat that is 62 years old is worth doing.

There are many different walks one can do, around lakes or just through countryside. 00003245

This is a country to visit for a long weekend or even a week. Walking through the city is easy and anyone wanting 10,000 steps a day will find it surprisingly easy.0000327100003272000032700000326700003266 And I have not even mentioned  the amazing street art in  Metalkova in Ljubljana.

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Did I mention the street art?

 

 

 

 

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 .

Eat Blueberries to live for 1000 years ? Maybe


Arcticterntalk.org

Blueberries are one of the few fruits that are native to North America and In terms of U.S. fruit consumption, blueberries rank only second to strawberries in popularity of berries. The US cultivates around half of all global consumption of blueberries with another 30% from Canada. Maine produces around 25% of all US cultivation of blueberries.

Cultivation of blueberries was widespread among the Native American tribes throughout North America. European colonists learned about blueberries thanks to these Native American traditions and brought blueberry species back to Europe. Yet commercial cultivation of blueberries in Europe has been a relatively recent phenomenon limited to the 20th and 21st centuries. Thanks to increasing cultivation in the Southern Hemisphere — including South American countries such as Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay as well South Africa, New Zealand and Australia — fresh blueberries are now enjoyed throughout the year on many of the world’s continents.

One interesting…

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Why in Music Photography Do You See so Many Black and White images?


Anyone browsing the internet for band photos or even looking at the walls in venues will  find various music photos of bands or musicians. The non-photographer might presume that the use of BW is solely to convey an old fashioned image that may take folks back to days of London clubs like Marquee. That may partly be true, as BW does convey a meaningfulness to a shot that colour may not. However in the majority of cases BW may be the end product because the lighting conditions are so complex.  Lets get this straight. I do not consider myself to be a gig photographic expert but merely someone who has photographed bands in the real world. If you are fortunate enough to shoot at the O2 or large venues then things will be very much easier and lighting friendly. So whats the issue?

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  • The venue is essentially dark. ISO speeds under 12800 are not so common and as we know that leaves a potentially grainy image.
  • Lighting is variable across the stage and is rarely if ever even. So the light conditions on the stage may often be divided into 9 different squares or more.
  • Lighting colour also varies with usage of multiple coloured lights and different lighting colours in different parts of the stage.
  • Traditionally the photographer gets three songs to take their shots. I have no idea where this magic number comes from
  • Not all, and in fact few small venues , have photographer areas at the front, so often one is mingling with a pushing/heaving crowd, that for reasons that have escaped me sometimes throw beer everywhere.

So the working constraints are harder than many presume, that includes fellow photographers.

On the positive side gigs are rich in photographic opportunities with band members rarely looking dull and movement can be amazing. I would encourage all photographers to do a few gig shoots, the smaller bands are usually more than happy to use photos after, hence building reputation.

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Fitbit Can Measure Post-Operative Recovery


Exercise measurement has become easier since the advent of Fitbit and similar tools. The hallowed amount of 10,000 steps a day is cited as an exercise aim.

Recovery from abdominal operations can be complex and sometimes difficult to measure quantitatively. The advice given is to gradually increase exercise and avoid anything strenuous . What would be more useful would be advice based on previous exercise levels.

Over the last year my average steps daily are around 15,000 with no day less than 10,000.

The day prior to my operation measured at 12,701. On the actual day of my hernia operation a mere 567 steps following general anaesthetic.

Day one was generally a slow day but 7172 steps was not too onerous. Slow steps if the truth is told. Day two was 12,172 steps and similar Day three.

Was the exercise excessive? I don’t think so. The steps were certainly made at a slower pace than normal so only give a rough estimate of exercise. Pain was not an issue for whatever reason.

So on balance by Day three I was approaching pre-operative exercise levels. Fitbit could be an option for monitoring in post-operative situations.

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