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 “ECT”

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.


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.


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.

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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