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

Thoughts on Benalmadena Costa After Two Years Away


Two years has probably been the longest that I have spent away from the town. Since then Brexit has rumbled on, house prices have risen in UK and the currency exchange rates have become criminal. Anyone foolish enough to exchange at Gatwick would have received the princely sum of 0.97€ for every donated pound. So it was with interest and some trepidation that I came over.

The reality is that things are really good here and the town is thriving substantially more than two years ago. Walking down Avenida Las Palmeras there are few vacant shops and restaurants. Only Crumbles seems a casualty. Maybe also a reflection that there seem far fewer British folks here and the cafes serving British food seem to have got fewer. Whereas the multi item emporiums have not only thrived but have a higher quality of goods . They have moved on from the Poundland approach .

On the downside the beach renovation will entice fewer down to Playa Santa Ana. A huge portion of the town beach is out of action meaning that local alternatives such as Playa Carvajal get visited. Maybe my imagination but the seafront mostly fish restaurants seemed a little quieter too.

Building seems to have recommenced after a hiatus of a few years.

After the crazy years of ten years ago when developers seriously thought they could build almost to the top of the cable car mountain, things seemed to go quiet . A lot more building is going on around the Peublo area.

However The unfinished buildings remain and from a distance the graffiti scrawled on the walls suggests unwanted visitors. Will these ever get completed?

Car parking remains complex. Street parking on the roads leading out of town seem the only realistic option.

New restaurants have emerged. Lemon and Lime next to the taxi rank seems thriving with tables packed all day serving modern tapas. A return maybe to the traditional way of eating and drinking. Maybe there is still room for another bar though. Some of the old venues seem timeless. Harry’s Restro must have been here more than 10 years and serves one of the best curries I have had anywhere in the world. Cherry’s remains untouched. The Meeting Point is a great concept. Coffee and cakes ! Some empanadas too!

Not all bars and restaurants accept credit cards though. Buona Sana Italiana next door to Harry’s Restro is an example . But serving the best pizza and pasta in Benalmadena.

Still a fair few small dogs around and sadly still owners not picking up after them. There is no excuse. The parakeets have multiplied and are increasingly vocal.

So things seem better than two years ago and this great town and community is clearly thriving

Could the Xcel Sports Hub be demolished?


Curious emerging story about the Hub where Walton Casuals and Walton and Hersham both play . In addition to other sporting facilities including an athletic track.

This has been reported By BBC Surrey on Twitter this morning . No further information seems available currently.

“An £18m sports centre, Xcel Sports Hub, which opened in September 2017, could be demolished after the High Court ruled Elmbridge BC “acted unlawfully” in awarding itself planning permission.”

Mysteries of Eurovision 2019


Eurovision is a great institution and each year gets better. The staging last night in Tel Aviv was beyond brilliant. Many of the acts were also superb, others less so. We score the acts in our group and without fail never pick the winner. What we were in agreement about were the worst two acts coming from SAN Marino and Iceland. Discussion was had this morning about how these two acts actually qualified for the final over some of the others whom failed to make the cut . SAN Marino was many grades beyond dreadful . A non practicing dentist chanting in a low voice that reminded me more of a poor karaoke impression of Right Said Fred. The Icelandic offering was one of those pseudo political statements with the band clearly concentrated more on the Palestine issues than their music. For once I agree with the organisers of Eurovision that this is a musical not political event. Their specific noise , muttering, chanting and shouting was hideous. Hence being rated by us as the worst performer. I will spare you the tension and give you our final scores. The bottom five

  1. Iceland 2
  2. SAN Marino 5
  3. Estonia 8
  4. Slovenia 9
  5. North Macedonia 9

Clearly our musical intuition and interpretation did not match the worldwide juries who scored North Macedonia second best . The scoring though changed when the public votes were added who scored them like us one of the worst . The principle of having separate scoring systems for the juries, composed of music professionals, and the general public money spending audience, is a good one . There were many instances similar where the jury voted brilliant or awful and the public voted the opposite . A good example was Norway where the juries voted their entry as poor and the public voted it one of the best . Maybe the professionals had not listened to Alan Walker “Faded” , one of the most popular songs of the last few years , the style of Norway was similar and the girl singer was the same one who sings on Faded. A few songs were simply creepy . Try the Slovenian entry if you have a spare five minutes.

The best songs in our view were

  1. Norway, Denmark and France 27
  2. Italy 25
  3. Switzerland and Azerbaijan 24

The winning song from Netherlands got 20 points from us . Another mystery . A winning song yet devoid of many of the things Eurovision is famous for , good staging and interesting tunes. The bookmakers has this as their favourite. How do they reach this conclusion? I am always baffled by their conclusions and how spookily correct they often are.

So the mysteries of Eurovision remain strong and without doubt the staging was the best ever . Role in 2020 where I can make two predictions. The contest will be held in Amsterdam and UK will not be winners

Missing Person. Josephine Scanlon. Last seen Hoddesdon Monday May 13th


A woman is missing from Hertfordshire and was last seen May 13th. Here is a photo. Please spread the word . Anyone with information either post it here or tweet it to @Loudyloud1985

Psychiatry Insights Into The Jeremy Kyle Show And Why It is Cruel And Should Be Stopped


The facts as reported are that a 63 year old man from Portsmouth, Steve Dymond,  committed suicide a week after an episode of the Jeremy Kyle  show was recorded. On the show he was under pressure to “prove” to his fiancée he had not “cheated” on her. Allegedly  he failed a “lie detector test” and was somewhat distraught after Jeremy Kyle was reported to have “laid into him”.

This is reality TV at its worst . Today the media report that the Salford production crew were in tears as it was announced the ending permanently of the show, for which Kyle is reported to be paid £2 million each year. I frankly do not care.   Yet another reality show, yet more deaths.

The producers are reported to give support to “participants” in the form of mental health nurses ( unclear whether they are on set or interact after the show) and a psychoanalyst. again my opinion is that this is likely to be woefully inadequate.

I am going to give you my own personal views on the assumption that the above facts as they are reported are approximating to the truth.

Reality TV is cruel but cheap, hence the plethora of programmes produced for which contestants almost fight to get onto the shows as it offers an average person almost instantaneous celebrity status. The successful ones with a modicum of an interesting personality are then able to make serious money by interviews, articles, hosting radio or TV shows and celebrity advertising endorsements.

In these programmes people are judged by the general population on their looks, personality and how they often interact with partners. To that extent on the face of it ,it might be seen as harmless fun, with potential great rewards for the lucky ones. My own view is rather different. What is generally lacking is any kind of genuine empathy towards participants. Frankly no one truly cares about them other than in high profile cases. One could argue thats the price the contestants pay for aiming for celebrity status. The trouble is that in the case of the man , Steve Dymond, who died, there is clear evidence of at a minimum vulnerability ,and potentially a serious depressive illness. It cannot be right that anyone put through an experience such as this commits suicde a week later. Many of these programmes are likely to attract people who do have personality issues or unknown/undiagnosed mental illness. And subsequently they may be desperate, either genuinely or as perceived by them. I am really unsure that without a full psychiatric assessment , and this may involve potentially even 10 hours of assessment and interviews with family members/friends, that realistically those extremely vulnerable can be separated out. When I have watched these programmes it is clear that many have features of impulsivity ( possibly ADHD), emotional volatility ( potentially facets of borderline personality disorder ) and some clearly lack  empathy for others ( personality traits that sit when extreme on the sociopathic spectrum). Depression may co-exist and commonly does with many of these disorders. The simple point I am making is that the participants are often unaware of these aspects or illnesses and the support staff, who may be excellent in fact, would not be able to prophylactically stop people taking part where it may put their mental status at risk. The final point to make is that mental illness or forms of personalty disorders are not static illnesses, they can get better, worse or be cured, sometimes temporarily, however stress of any kind in a person with a vulnerability to a problem , can significantly worsen or induce the problem rapidly.

Some reality TV programmes may be less critical to mental health, maybe we can simply call them kinder or less traumatic. The Kyle show does not fall into this category. To be having a contestant who has to prove his fidelity is bad enough in my view but to try and extract this proof using a “lie-detector” creates huge stress, and the technique is dubious enough as a separate issue.

For Steve Dymond its too late now. He clearly was a man under all sorts of stress, even from what is being reported,  including a court arrest warrant for non-payment of a fine, and  the outcome  might not have been predictable in an individual case, however to stress out any human being (or animal for that matter) will significantly worsen underlying mental health status. Do we really want to be a society that allows our vulnerable members to be ridiculed on TV for  so-called entertainment? I don’t think we do, but we do need to understand the effects any mental health disorder might have on an individual in that situation. Programmes like Kyle are neither funny nor clever, neither are in my opinion those who take amusement in the misfortune of others. Mental health needs to be taken seriously and public education needs to start right now. Sadly it is a death such as this that may encourage people to learn more. RIP Steve Dymond

Motspur Park Horticultural Sale . May 4th 10-2 pm and 5th 9.30-12. And By Coincidence Today Is World Naked Gardening Day !


Some great plants on sale at a fraction of the price you will pay at B and Q. You can also ask what you like about the plants and the knowledgeable folks there can tell you . Really recommend their plants as been buying now for many years .

Unconnected but it’s also World Naked Gardening Day…

Dear Kingston Council The Rubbish Under The Bridge over A3 at New Malden Needs Attention


Dear Kingston Council

This awful rubbish situation has been reported to you many times by many routes . As one walks along A3 from Shannon Corner towards New Malden roundabout , there is a huge increasing volume of rubbish dumped under the footbridge over the A3. Mixed bags of clothes, food and various items. A large number of hot dog type sub roles litter the pavement together with broken glass. This sits directly outside the side entrance to Coombe Boys School.

Clearly there will be rats taking residence with their plethora of diseases. The rubbish looks simply awful and gets spread around the walkway daily by local urban foxes.

Can you explain why you have not acted on this ? I was told that there was debate regarding whether this walkway sits in Kingston or Merton council area. As the area in question is south of the Beverly Brook surely this is Kingston council jurisdiction. Either way just sort it . As of tonight the view is of this disgusting pile of rubbish

Some Favourite Photos From Shoots In 2018


Football Goal Celebrations. This is one of the best


In this era of sometimes silly goal celebrations it was genuinely humbling to witness a far more relevant and genuine one today in a nonleague game. The goal was an incredible free kick from a player who had come on shortly before as a second half substitute . This was enjoyable and humbling .

West Bromwich Albion Fans


Recently there have been some negative things said regarding the actions of the Birmingham city fans. It is worth acknowledging that the WBA fans on a recent visit to Brentford were superb.  Noisy from the start and good humoured throughout on a windy day where football was a difficult spectacle. They packed the away end and showed great banners.

Talking with them while photographing the game they were there to enjoy themselves and fully support their team. A few photos of the fans . The full set of photos from the game can be found at

Brentford 0 WBA 1 Photos

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