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 “beer”

Painting Of Corpus Christi Festival Benalmadena Pueblo By Vincent Van B


Corpus Christi is the Catholic holiday in honour of the presence of the body of Christ in the holy water. It is celebrated throughout Spain and is held in either May or June depending on when Easter occurs. To calculate the next Corpus Christi date, look for the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday (the eighth Sunday after Easter) and you’ll know when the fiesta is set to begin in towns and villages throughout Andalucia.

This is a painting from Benalmadena Pueblo by Vincent Van B from Corpus Christi 2016. Today it is still typical to carpet the streets of towns and villages with greenery for the solemn Corpus Christi processions. This adds a special ambiance to the processions. The Corpus Christi parades also tend to attract all the local authorities, and in some cases, military personnel as well.

What can be seen here is not the petals that adorn the smaller streets but the greenery that is essentially decorative only.

Painting of Corpus Christi

Reflections on 24 Hours in Helsinki.


This is not a city that I find easy to enjoy. Maybe this is me and not Helsinki. Walking around the city seems bland in comparison with other Scandinavian and Baltic capitals. A kind of hidden vibrancy is missing, something almost invisible cannot be seen.

00003440There were few smiling faces. Many engaged with their headphones, music and phones and not so much conversation going on even in the cafes.

00003428

The obligatory young persons uniform. Cigarette, headphones and phone. just dont let the world in

The harbour and marina areas looked tired and uninterested in visitors.

00003459 There were indeed many historical looking buildings, some grand and some not. But none enticed anyone inside.

IMG_2804Even the high steps did not seem dangerous or challenging  when walking down them. There were in fact few people around. Maybe at different times in the year the feel of this city will be different but in April this city seemed comatose. The only time it came to life for me was when sitting in a hotel bar and in the next room a private function was taking place , maybe a record launch, with a singer and her singing was amazing. Amazing enough to download Shazam and discover who she was. A rasping voice that oozed feeling. The singer is called Katea. The song was California Baby. IMG_2777

Much of the city centre is a melange of shops and shopping malls. There was little evidence of any pavement cafe society even allowing for the April weather. Few smiling faces. The architecture surely can be described as grand but is it beckoning? Even the trams looked sad as they slowly went their way through the city, with less self-esteem and grandeur than Amsterdam or Manchester trams, that would happily sweep you off your feet.00003429

The only sign of life was inside coffee shops and the one that caught my eye was Strindberg down near the harbour area where enough people were inside to give me a feeling that I was not alone on this earth. The other one that also escapes my criticism is the Neuhaus cafe shop, that sold the delicious chocolates but also functioned as a pleasant street cafe. A cup of tea (3 euros for a teabag, but served in a curiously interesting mug) and some homemade mango cheesecake, though no-one ever states in which home it was made, kept me occupied for the best part of an hour.

IMG_2829 The shop was run by a highly efficient  girl who gave the image of being an academic student ( like a Latin or Greek scholar maybe) who not only ran the shop, sold the chocolates , took and ordered the food, but also made whatever had to be made. Clearly not a British employee.

The boats looked sleepy and disinterested. As though waiting for a different week or month to attract people.00003391.JPG

In huge areas there were so very few people walking around. Part of the harbour area had some tents erected that were mini-restaurants selling mostly Finnish food, such as reindeer hotdogs and other more usual foods. IMG_2806FullSizeRender-1

IMG_2779IMG_2778

Restaurants  in the city centre of course there were many but often impossible to know if they were open or closed.  Food was expensive. In many restaurants, just average ones, the main courses were around 20 euros and with a starter and a drink that made a fairly simple lunch cost over 30 euros. It was easy to find set course lunch menus costing 50 euros or more. Lunch seemed curiously to start around 10.30 am and by 11.30 am ” ladies that lunch” could be seen sipping champagne and having important conversations in some of the more eloquent looking restaurants.

IMG_2784IMG_2782There was little evidence of the wonderful and artistic graffiti that adorns many European cities. In the central part of the city rather curiously the only sign of graffiti was on the door leading to the National Library of Finland. In short the best adjective to sum up 24 hours in Helsinki is Neutral.

IMG_2787IMG_2789As in all cities there were a few characters to be seen, together with some interesting takes on hair styling. The exceptionally tall man in the bowler hat I oddly passed twice in very different parts of the city. People observing us might conclude that we were both spies meeting for our assignments. Considering spies there was no evidence of a queue at the Russian tourist board office.00003414.JPG

A plethora of expensive shops abounded. Tumi, who some might recall I encountered at London City Airport, when finding a small carry on case there that looked good, then finding the cost was £675 ( and yes I checked the decimal point), was present. I saw one professional beggar in the same position on the same street, who started ” work” at around midday, and who incidentally wore better clothes than I own.

IMG_2840

There were sights to see of course, but even these were quiet and few tourists were visible. Maybe I need to go back here on a different day or different season.

00003397.JPG

Do you want to help Bury animals? RSPCA do.


This just made me laugh. Another graphic designer who may need another job!

IMG_1203

Lebanese Salad in Auckland Fattoush Photographs


Does anyone recognise what type of salad this is? It was eaten in an excellent Lebanese restaurant in Auckland called Beirut. It was called Fattoush. The food was excellent and was best eaten as a number of small dishes to be shared.

Fattoush traditionally is different to this version and is described as containing watermelon, beetroot, cucumber, parsley and orange blossom.

IMG_0439

Fattoush

The menu contains a mixture of excellent other items. However not all versions of Fattoush are the same it seems. If we go to other websites we it described very differently

Fattoush is a Lebanese salad made with vegetables and crispy toasted flatbread, which soaks up the dressing beautifully. It’s a simple recipe, packed with freshness and flavour – serve this salad as a side to grilled meats.after midday —after midday —

Gothenburg. Am I missing something? Crime and Chocolate Cheesecake


Arriving on a thoroughly grey day never makes any city look appealing but after an afternoon here I am struggling to see what might make Gothenburg a city to attract visitors. The airport is a fair way out from the city and the thick grey cloud that was covering the ground was relentless when viewed as the plane came into land.

The city itself one might say pretends to have potential. There are canals over which small bridges allow the pedestrians to connect to the squares and other streets. The main square is lined by hotels with the main Central Station on one side. All sounds promising until hoardes of East European, mostly women, attack each passer by through the square to demand money for some magazine, that I presume is the Romanian or Bulgarian equivalent of The Big Issue. Its wrong to say they are threatening but correct to say that they are persistent and in your face.

IMG_0220FullSizeRenderIMG_0221

The buildings all look rather grey and similar and the shops are those one might find in any European city centre. Trams and buses are plentiful and have a good go to knock over any pedestrian who dares to cross the tram lines.

FullSizeRender-3There are a few parks dotted around including one advertising itself as a kind of botanical gardens, except there were few plants to see at this time of year. The water in the canals is dirty with rubbish thrown in of the usual kind, bottles, cans and plastic bags, however uniquely there was a white plastic chair adorning the water too curiously a lifebelt too floating in the water, presumably unused. It cannot be the fault of the paths nor the trees but every single leaf in Sweden seemed to be squashed on the pebble paths making many areas slippery and at a minimum visually unattractive.

On the positive side there were some unusual signs. For example within the train station a sign proclaimed “HAGS” ” made in Sweden”. This seems a little unfair as there is cause to presume they are made also in very many other countries.

Hags of Sweden

Hags of Sweden

The train station was also packed full of a variety of different little cafes and eateries serving delicious looking food, however the venue of eating within a train station just does not seem right to me and the visual accompaniment of the Romanian sellers/beggars, also takes the appetite away a little. Some nice Chocolate muffins though were talking to me. The graffiti painted on the outside of the trains was good enough to rival that on the trains in Essen Germany and The Watermans car park in Brentford. The highlight of my little walking expedition was no doubt the burger restaurant Max. Not only were the burgers delicious and huge, but I managed to order my meal via a machine that gave me all my options in Swedish. The chocolate cheesecake however pictured below is one of the nicest food items I have ever eaten, bought in a little cafe in the station.

IMG_0222FullSizeRender-4IMG_0244

The people also seemed downcast. I cannot recall a single smile when outside the hotel. The staff in Max looked like a group session of ECT or bulk purchase of Prozac might be an option to be considered. Why was no-one smiling? Apparently the theory put forward is that they regain their inner happiness when the weather improves, which by my reckoning is 5-6 months away.

Crime however rears its ugly head everywhere and Gothenburg was no exception with a car with its window smashed in on a fairly main street behind the Radisson Hotel. The migrant issue in Sweden is also topical currently with the murder of Alexandra Mezher who was working on a night shift at a refugee centre for unaccompanied migrant children in Molndal near Gothenburg. According to the Swedish Migration Agency violent incidents have doubled in asylum facilities since 2014. Sweden also receives five times more asylum applications relative to its size than its neighbour Denmark, receiving 163,000 applications last year 2015.

IMG_0236IMG_0237The usual excellent European graffiti was evident with the colour of trains being markedly improved by the graffiti. This seem a european thing rather more than a UK thing, and oddly this is type of crime that it a funny way adds to the pleasure.

Would I be tempted to return here for leisure? Not really. I may be missing something but I do not get Gothenburg at all.

Should Football Managers Harangue Officials on the pitch? Tommy Williams and Kingstonian


As a football fan I see plenty of occasions each game where the officials get it wrong and sometimes badly so. Having said that players and managers also are culpable of making errors plenty of times in any given game. I do however take a view that officials should be allowed to do their jobs with the expectation that they will not be perfect and certainly should be protected from on-pitch haranguing and demonstrations of anger on the pitch itself. At the recent Met Police v Kingstonian game at half time, immediately before which Met Police had scored direct from a corner, the officials were approached by the Kingstonian manager Tommy Williams clearly angry at some percieved error of judgement, and in a finger waving manner. We all in non-league should have respect for the officials and I personally cannot condone this behaviour. I am sure there are other views out there and it would be interesting to hear them.

Angry Tommy Williams Kingstonian manager confronts the officials at half time. Why is this acceptable?

Angry Tommy Williams Kingstonian manager confronts the officials at half time. Why is this acceptable?

Ricky Sappleton


Ricky Sappleton is a Jamaican born forward playing in 2015-16 for Kingstonian. having joined last summer from Billericay. Having started of with QPR he made one first team appearance for Leicester City before moving to non league . A giant of a forward with strength as a clear attribute he is not slow either and a few action shots from the Met Police 2 Kingstonian game show this nicely.

Ricky Sappleton

Ricky Sappleton

Ricky Sappleton

Ricky Sappleton

Ricky Sappleton

Ricky Sappleton

Ricky Sappleton

Ricky Sappleton

Met Police 2 Kingstonian 1 .Photos


An intriguing game with a highly physical Kingstonian side against a more skilful and adept Met Police side. A few photos to enjoy. Quite a photographic melee. Few decent action shots. The massive Ricky Sappleton upfront for Kingstonian. The angry Tommy Williams, Kingstonian manager confronting the officials on the pitch at half time with finger waving. Bubble football at half time. An excellent lineswoman Lou Saunders. And generaly a decent game to watch at a great nonleague ground with real floodlights.

1K4A5150 1K4A5152 1K4A5154 1K4A5158 1K4A5160 1K4A5161 1K4A5163 1K4A5163x 1K4A5166 1K4A5167 1K4A5171 1K4A5181 1K4A5185 1K4A5196 1K4A5197

Angry Tommy Williams Kingstonian manager confronts the officials at half time. Why is this acceptable?

Angry Tommy Williams Kingstonian manager confronts the officials at half time. Why is this acceptable?

1K4A5205 1K4A5206 1K4A5208 1K4A5210 1K4A5219 1K4A5220

Lou Saunders

Lou Saunders

1K4A5226 1K4A5228

Environmental Enforcement in Wimbledon. What is happening to my world?


Firstly please share this post with friends and colleagues. What I am about to describe is a worrying trend and one that I would not like to see expanding. A kind of “legal ” vigilante going under the euphemism of ” Environmental Enforcement”. OK. Picture the scenario. A short one hour visit to Wimbledon and returning to the train station and about to enter.  What did I visualise?

IMG_0123

I am appalled. There are three I will call them officers with the gentle demeanour of harsh traffic wardens crossed with prison wardens who are ticketing folks under the name of environmental enforcement. Their crimes? Seems throwing cigarette ends anywhere than some specific receptacle. Fixed penalty fines of 75£ or 80£. Those being questioned had a poor grasp of the English language. Apparently this is a criminal offence to throw cigarette ends away like this as one officer explained.
My views on this were heavily influenced by recent reports that police no longer routinely investigate burglaries. And around 10 yards away a homeless man was prostrate and sleeping and would have been a better beneficiary of their wise input and assistance. One might also argue that folks needing help such as this man might be better recipients of environmental protection than inadvertent or even deliberate throwing of cigarette ends on the ground outside a station . Am I right to be angry about this?

IMG_0126

IMG_0124 IMG_0125

After a little research tonight it seems Merton Council have a zero tolerance to littering, or so they say.  The wording from their website tells us this

Due to the high number of pedestrians visiting the town centre, Wimbledon has the highest rate of cigarette litter in Merton with over 1,500 FPNs being issued since June. As well as taking a zero-tolerance approach to enforcement, the council works to educate residents and visitors to the borough about environmental crime and the likelihood that they will be fined £75 for littering”

http://news.merton.gov.uk/2014/10/24/merton-council-tells-smokers-to-watch-their-butt/

With their website explaining in graphic detail how to pay the £75 fine.

http://www.merton.gov.uk/environment/fixedpenaltynotices.htm

What however is worrying is that there is no right of appeal against a fixed penalty notice. So we all understand the situation that littering is not a good thing and the majority of us would agree that we should do it. However there are limits. And those limits to me are exceeded by seeing in practice that people who were it seems unaware of this draconian zero tolerance to cigarette ends, and we are not talking about littering huge amounts of kebab shop waste or newspapers on the streets, but cigarette ends, are being fined what seems an excessive amount. Furthermore to see a homeless man prostrate, rather curiously by a gritting bin, and these environmental enforcement officers take no action in the 15 minutes that I observed them was to say the least disheartening. That ” society” , well the council , cares more extracting punitive fines than humane care, speaks volumes.

The next aspect that we need to address is the actual environmental enforcement officers. Their attire of a kind of jump suit more often associated with prison, with their waists surrounded by more equipment than many would need to climb Mount Everest or contain a whole ward of rioting patients in Broadmoor, seems excessive to say the least. Together with mounted CCTV on their uniforms. I am sure Neil Armstrong had less equipment when he set foot on the moon with Apollo 11 in july 1969.

Many or even most of these officers it seems are supplied by a company called Kingdom. A press release from March 2014 stated that the council’s own enforcement officers will work alongside the Kingdom enforcement team from the end of April as they go out and about around Merton to make sure the borough is kept litter-free. Kingdom’s team is led by ” experts with an ex-military and police background”. Quite why this is so necessary to deal with ordinary folks who have thrown cigarette ends on the ground is not so clear. They issue these fixed penalty notices to those breaking the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

http://blog.kingdom.co.uk/2014/04/kingdom-part-of-merton-councils-zero.html

Where it however gets more interesting is that Merton Council has come under fire for reducing street cleaning in town centres on Sundays – while spending nearly £130,000 a year on four environment enforcement officers. So photographs published in March 2015 show far worse littering caused by the overflowing of these bins than I certainly visualised on the pavements of Wimbledon. In fact I saw nothing other than the poor homeless man. There is a lot of information provided by the government on how councils can issue FPNs and also how they should use the funds accrued.

http://www.wimbledonguardian.co.uk/news/11863279.Merton_Council_cuts_back_Sunday_street_cleaning_to_combat___1_2m_overspend/

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fixed-penalty-notices-issuing-and-enforcement-by-councils

The same site above lists the various offences for which FPNs can be given and it is immediately obvious that some of these are serious and should be punished in a punitive manner, however in the context cigarette ends must be at the lower if not lowest end of the spectrum.

graffiti
littering
fly-posting
nuisance parking (people selling or repairing cars on the road)
dog control offences
abandoned vehicles
leafleting without permission on land where leafleting is restricted (‘designated land’)
failing to nominate a key holder or give the council key holder details in an alarm notification area
failing to provide a waste carrier licence (for businesses transporting their own waste)
failing to provide a waste transfer note when moving non-hazardous waste

There is a world of difference between for example “littering” with an abandoned vehicle and a cigarette end. Yet the difference in fine amounts is surprisingly small. £200 for abandoning a car and £75 for abandoning a cigarette end. The money must also be put to specified uses.

Councils must use income from FPNs as set out :

Offence FPN money can be spent on functions relating to:
Litter – Litter, dog control, graffiti and fly-posting
Graffiti – Litter, dog control, graffiti and fly-posting
Dog control -Litter, dog control, graffiti and fly-posting
Fly-posting -Litter, dog control, graffiti and fly-posting
Unauthorised distribution of free printed material on designated land- Litter, dog control, graffiti and fly-posting

So what I am left wondering is what training is given to these officers, what degree of latitude do they have in not administering a FPN, if they have any targets, and of course how much money is raised and exactly to what purpose is it put. There is clear guidance on publishing not only the enforcement strategy but also to how the money will be used. 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fixed-penalty-notices-issuing-and-enforcement-by-councils

So in my world there would be some degree of spectrum here on exactly what constitutes a littering offence and throwing a single cigarette end does not equate to toxic pollution of the planet. Maybe also these officers can not only look at the bigger picture, but as today adopt a more humane approach. To have allowed that homeless man to remain on the ground lying prostrate would not be their greatest achievement in their day.  Littering does have context and we need to be careful not to be too literal and punitive. If Merton Council want and feel they should adopt a zero tolerance approach, then this should be reflected in not only this aspect but all aspects of their work. Finally what exactly are they doing with the money, that was not happening before? I have developed a zero tolerance approach to not knowing the answers to these reasonable questions. 

Drowning Practice in New Malden


A few evening photos on a very wet and damp evening. A local road and a rahter spooky alley way walk

IMG_0110 IMG_0111 IMG_0114 IMG_0115 IMG_0116 IMG_0117

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: