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 month “June, 2015”

Foxgloves. Beauty , a potential cancer treatment and a Murder Weapon


The common foxglove is also known as Digitalis Purpurea. They tend to be fast growing biennials in Western Europe and are very distinctive flowers. They are long spires of essentially tubular flowers but contain Digitalis, also known as the medicine Digoxin, which is used to treat certain heart rhytmn problems. They produce flowers in their second year and tend to seed freely liking light shade.

The digitalis is poisonous in small amounts with dangerous cardiac effects, essentially slowing the heart rate, but the raw plant material is,  emetic and eating a large amount may produce vomiting thus expelling the cardiac poisons .

In 2006, Charles Cullen, a nurse who worked in New York and New Jersey hospitals, was convicted of killing 29 patients with an overdose of either insulin or digoxin, and digoxin is a potential murder weapon. The converse however is also interesting in that there is some speculative evidence that it may have a use in treatment of breast and prostate cancer as it can dramatically slow the migration of malignant cells to other parts of the body.Research reveals that digoxin, can block the production of a protein called HIF-1, which has been implicated in the spread of breast tumours.

So a curious CV of effects, some good and some very bad.

Foxglove. Copyright Chris Bushe 2015

Foxglove. Copyright Chris Bushe 2015

Foxglove. Copyright Chris Bushe 2015

Foxglove. Copyright Chris Bushe 2015

Foxglove. Copyright Chris Bushe 2015

Foxglove. Copyright Chris Bushe 2015

Foxglove. Copyright Chris Bushe 2015

Foxglove. Copyright Chris Bushe 2015

The SwanTortionist at Painshill Park Cobham


A curious swan behaving like he had ADHD and not keeping still. Quite a contortionist.

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Obesity may be a Big Issue at Painshill Park


Anyone weighting more than 7.5 tons may have other problems than access to Painshill Park in Cobham. And yes, I may indeed give way to them.

Pedestrians max weight 7.5 tons

Pedestrians max weight 7.5 tons

Nice Food Photographs


Garlic pizza bread. A nice starter

Garlic pizza bread. A nice starter

Chicken with asparagus and peppercorn sauce. Courgettes and oven potatoes.

Chicken with asparagus and peppercorn sauce. Courgettes and oven potatoes.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Apple Crumble. The Italian version.

Apple Crumble. The Italian version.

Bakewell Tarts of different types


Bakewell tarts are a curiosuly Brittish thing and emanate from a town in Derbyshire called Bakewell. There are increasingly different variations on the theme and flavour of bakewell tarts. In the last couple of days I have been lucky enough to have eaten both Raspberry backless and banana bakewells.

For those unfamiliar, this link will tell you all that need, but to simplify things.The Bakewell Tart is an English confection consisting of a shortcrust pastry with a layer of jam and a sponge using ground almonds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakewell_tart

Banana Bakewell Tart

Banana Bakewell Tart

Banana Bakewell Tart

Banana Bakewell Tart

Banana Bakewell Tart

Banana Bakewell Tart

Raspberry Bakewell Tart

Raspberry Bakewell Tart

Is B and Q the gateway to hell?


It is sad to admit but on this beautiful sunshine filled day I have wasted an hour of my life walking to and from B and Q in New Malden. Thankfully DIY does not form a major part nor often any part of my life. Today however the annula battle I wage against the flying ants in my garden necesitated such a visitation. Could this be the most miserable place in the world? The inhabitants staff and customers shuffle aimlessly around giving good theatrical interpretations that fall mid way between Shaun of the Dead ( a film essentially about lifeless zombies who cannot ever die) and those queueing at the gates of hell, or worse those doomed with Fulham FC season tickets.

I recall a TV advert for Persil washing powder where housewives were challenged to use this new powder to make their clothes ” whiter than white” ( a curious concept really, how can something be whiter than white? Surely it still remains white? ), my challenge to B and Q could be regarded similarly as impossible. Two separate endpoints. Firstly to make the customers smile,  well at least one, secondly, to make the staff smile. I do not recall where staff walked around with the miserable demenaour of the eternally damned, looking like group bulk ECT might be a feasible option, perhaps an electrical point in the electrical section. All of them without exception did not smile once in my 30 minute visit. The customers looked to a man miserable and fed up. Possibly as nothing could be found anywhere. Possibly because of this hideous systme that is creeping in of ” self payment”. The curious thing is that even though fewer staff are working on the checkouts as customers scan the items themselves ( is this good customer service?), there seems no reductions in prices. Mostly they edged around the store in vain attempts to find anything looking like they were preparing to enter the seventh circle of hell, which in a curious way they probably were. The music playing also was a curious choice to accompany this unbridled misery, “love story” from Taylor Swift.

So come on B and Q do something about it. Or at least dont pretend in your adverts that your staff are so happy and smiling that they border on a psychiatric diagnosis of mania. Or I am going to get more profuse in the use of my new phrase this week ” miserable complaining”.

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Lily Ponds in Birmingham


Just next to the NEC are a few small man made lakes and these ponds were looking quite photogenic.

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

When Shirley met Sparkbrook


Arcticterntalk.org

Today I made a tragic mistake and took the A34 route towards my hotel in Birmingham. I have never been a fan of Birmingham as a city, always found it complex to get around, dreadful signage and usually cold. Today I am convinced that I am right. It took me over an hour to drive 8 miles from the M42 to Fiveways corner. 

The traffic was the worst I have seen since Colombo in Sri Lanka, no signs of any use, appalling driving against reminiscent of Sri Lanka, but to see so many closed down shops was sad. In fact the only shops that looked open were a few fruit and vegetable purveying establishments and multiple Indian restaurants. 

The city seems frankly just too crowded. Too many cars. Too many people. And far too many empty bus lanes. I am all in favour of bus lanes when there are buses…

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How to make Birmingham look nice. A fairly comprehensive challenge


Anyone who has travelled to Birmingham will understand that it is as far from idyllic sandy beaches as is humanly possible. The road systems are enough to induce any kind of serious mental disorder, the many industries create novel pollutants and car parking is nigh on impossible. A little bit cruel but you get the picture. So in the few hours that I had there my challenge was to take photographs to make Birmingham look nice. To make it look a place that the tourist industry might promote, in the same way that this was attempted (?achieved) with cities like Bradford.

An hour walking around the car parks of the Hilton Metropole hotel at NEC and the car parks of the NEC found these photos below, well maybe the fruit and the Raspberry Bakewell came from inside the hotel. But this proves that niceness can exist in Birmingham after all.

Birmingham with Pylons

Birmingham with Pylons

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

Birmingham looking nice

A 45 Second Rant against Slow people in airports.


Written by the 14 year old and made me laugh. 

One of the things that really annoys me is when people walk very, very slowly in front of you. Sometimes these people realize that there is in fact, somebody behind them and obligingly let you go past but most of the time they remain completely unaware, even if you do politely ask them if you could “just get through.” Apparently, this category of people tends to be both ignorant of your polite pleas and also surprisingly very slow indeed. As well as this, these people often seem to appear right when you are in a hurry, in airports for example. You have just gone through the whole rigmarole of trying to find your boarding cards, had your bag checked by security because there was some dangerous hand cream that was over 100mls and not in the plastic bag provided, and finally you settle down on the hard plastic seats before you realize that the departure screen for your flight is reading LAST CALL and you rush off to your gate which is not where the signposts state it is, and just as you are hurrying through those corridors, you are stopped by the people in front as they are walking as slow as is humanly possible. Possibly even slower than that in fact. Unfortunately for the fast walker type of people, the slower people not only can always be located directly in front of you, but also have the tendency to walk in large clumps of slow walking people. The only way out of this situation is to push through and apologize profusely, and hope that no other person has the misfortune to be stuck behind these people at any time that day.

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