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 “rain”

Reethi Beach Resort Maldives


Reethi Beach is one of the newer resorts in Maldives. For those not familiar with Maldives, they are essentially a series of islands, some of which have been transformed into resorts.

Reethi Beach is a good resort although the complexity of travel in the Maldives means that getting there might take a bit longer than some other resorts. Flights arrive in Male and for some resorts a speedboat transfer is relatively quick – for example one could be in Kuda Huraa in less than 30 minutes. Most, however, require either a seaplane or an internal flight. Seaplanes look incredibly cool but do not come cheap and can add almost £1000 onto a holiday cost.

Getting to Reethi Beach requires an internal flight, then a short bus ride and finally a 20 minutes boat transfer each with its obligatory delay. So upfront I will say that the only negative about Reethi Beach is having arrived in Male at 8.30 am it was near enough 13.00 before arriving at the resort. The rest is entirely positive. If your bank account allows it seaplane is recommended but also remember a 20 kg luggage maximum and 5kg for hand luggage.

Reethi Beach is one hour ahead of Male time so it operates +5 compared to UK. The island takes maybe 30 minutes to walk around on the beaches.

Accommodation is chalets. A few water bungalows. Chalets are comfortable and clean but this is the Maldives so the occasional insect and cockroach cannot be discounted nor frankly prevented. Meals are buffet style for those on all inclusive. The food is superb beyond belief. Plenty of vegetarian options. The weather depends partially on the seasons, but you can reasonably expect 28-30 C sunshine most days, the occasional full cloudy day but rain showers also most days. These usually come and go in an hour. Beaches are idyllic. You can pay for a whole variety more of course including various dining options and range of water-sports. Snorkelling is not so good as some of the other islands but not too bad. Stingrays come right to the sea edge to get fed at 18.00 but also some with either bigger stomachs or cheaper watches come any time to say hi. Three herons patrol their beach territory and allow you within about 5 metres. Maybe less.

Prices in other locations vary enormously but essentially paying more gets you relatively less. I would personally recommend Reethi Beach for most people unless you expect the luxury that you get from other resorts paying perhaps 3-4 times more.

Things to recommend though. Pay for coffee in the Moodhu bar that sits on stilts over the sea. Views are great and the coffee is sublime . Expect to pay maybe 5$ for a superb hazelnut latte .Around the edges of the island you will find huge man-made sandbags that probably contain more rock than sand, to prevent erosion of the beaches and create some quiet little inlets. As with all Maldivian islands probably a week is enough or ten days maximum. After that maybe most have had enough sun, food and relaxing. I would personally recommend Reethi Beach. All the photos you see here were taken by myself in October 2018. Lastly there is free WiFi in public areas and also if you position yourself on the beaches near the bars and restaurants you can access it there too.

The resort also make more effort with night entertainment than many others. Live music, DJs and Quiz evenings are actually not a bad effort considering the geography.

Even On A Grey Day New Malden Looks Not Too Shabby


An afternoon dog walk on this grey day . Residential New Malden is not too bad. The only negative was the usual rubbish strewn along pavements . The beer cans and quarter brandy bottles suggest that neither Veolia nor Foxes can be blamed for everything.

There are some nice views. The Beverly Brook is not a bad little tributary. The big old house on Blake’s Lane . Even the grey skies. Not too bad at all.

Vienna is a Black and White place. The power of BW photography


Sometimes black and white photography conveys far more a meaningful resemblance of a city than colour. Sometimes not.

In winter Vienna is cold and often a wet place. A few photographs that attempt to convey what Vienna in November is.

FA cup First Round. The grounds are hardly crowded. Why ?


The media are full of the glamour of the FA cup. Sadly for many if not most teams that glamour is somewhat tarnished.

Not everyone is aware that the FA cup starts in August and ends in May. The early qualifying rounds are a god given chance for nonleague teams to make a small amount of money from the moderately attractive prize money on offer. By the time the first round rolls round in November the media suddenly awake with their stories of candlestick makers and funeral directors somehow managing to combine a job and a nonleague football career. Curiously they manage that on each of the other 364 days. As overheard at the recent Met Police FA trophy game a player when asked if he was playing on Tuesday simply answered negatively as was working. As Moriarty famously said in Sherlock “ that’s what people do”.

The glamour of the first round however comes with sadness too. The crowds at many grounds , sometimes famous grounds in FA cup parlor, were poor if not pathetic. The reasons may be varied. Clubs that decide not to offer deals and retain normal charges . Clubs that poorly advertise. Clubs that simply do not care as the league club imagines that the prize money more than compensates.

Let’s take a look at the winners and the rogues gallery. Starting with the rogues;

  • Colchester. We all recall Layer Road and the Leeds cup tie. The crowd v Oxford City a pitiful 1775. Oxford won 1-0.
  • Coventry. A crowd of 3370 saw a 2-0 victory over Maidenhead.
  • Charlton. Another ex-premier league side . A crowd of 4494 saw a 3-1 victory over Truro. Around 1000 were Truro fans
  • Blackburn. Premiership winners . A crowd of 3710 saw a 3-1 victory over Barnet
  • Wimbledon. There has been enough miserable moaning from the club over the last few years about MK Dons and Franchise FC. The famous FA cup winners persuaded only 3394 paying spectators to attend their game against Lincoln City who had an incredible run last year. Terrible in my opinion. Need I continue.

So where were the decent crowds? The nonleague sides playing at home. Hereford who are a reincarnated club but with great cup history had 4712 watch them defeat another nonleague side AFC Telford. Almost matching the highest crowd of the round at Luton v Portsmouth. 5333.

What realistically can be done? There are three options

  1. Do nothing and watch the history and glamour of this great competition die
  2. Allow the FA to subsidise prices for the first two rounds such that the maximum ticket price is £10 or less and children are free
  3. In the first round seed all nonleague teams to have home advantage

To do nothing is not an option.

What Exactly Is The Point of C gates at Terminal 5 Heathrow?


While extra runways are the talk of the town there are few comments on the use of Terminal 5 in an effective manner.

Passengers dread the phrase when it appears on the departure screens, B gates or C gates. It always adds 10-15 minutes onto the time needed to reach the gate. The shuttle train is always coming in two minutes which translated this morning into 6 minutes. At least this is multiples of two. Combined with the wait while the ineffective nonsense of the security search is undertaken provides audible sighs and almost visible misery from the waiting passengers.

Today was such a day. A flight to Frankfurt on a 767. Presumably operational reasons dictated a large plane . No issues there. However the striking metric emanating from the departure screen was that only nine flights were departing from the C gates over a six hour period . How can this be effective for anyone? The shops there lie vacant of business with downcast salesmen with no one to sell to. The concourses were totally empty. Surely there must be a better way to use C gates?

Unusual Food Items. Chapter 1. Fried Curry Donuts


Without doubt this is the first time I have come across fried curry donuts. Served in a cellophane bag , making me wonder how long these have gone uneaten, in a Japan Airlines lounge at Frankfurt airport.  I am afraid that I have no intention of eating these. 

What is Sri Lanka really like now in 2016?


The last 2 decades have seen troubling times in Sri Lanka with civil wars, bombings and generally consistent periods of unrest. Around 2000 this was enough to put many tourists off the idea of travelling there especially those from Scandinavia. This is now all long gone and Sri Lanka is a perfectly safe country to visit.

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On Dec 26th 2004 a Tsunami wrecked havoc on the southern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka with around 40,000 people dead and missing, however the recovery period since then has allowed a huge improvement in the basic infrastructure of the country that was essential.

IMG_1373ClockFor example the first motorway was built connecting Colombo with Galle, meaning that this journey might take 2-3 hours as opposed to over 5 hours previously with a high likelihood of meeting a few cattle on the roads.

The south-western coast is the area most often visited by tourists extending from Negombo down to Galle with various small beachside towns hosting hotels along the way.

There is no point hiding it but chaos still reigns in Sri Lanka and the check-in queues at Colombo are testimony to this chaos. Although English is spoken it is an error to presume it is spoken well and understood, even in hotels.

A typical Sri Lankan scenario might go like this:

A group of four people enter the restaurant and wait. A waiter approaches

“Table for three?”

“No, we are a group of four”

“OK follow me”

The group is taken to a round table with four chairs and prepares to sit down. The waiter then takes one chair away……..

Having said all that hotels are good but nowehere near the luxury level. Most are built next to the beach. One noticeable change in the last 20 years is the weight of the average Sri Lankan population, obesity is now very common in working Sri Lankans. In the past one could almost predict the size of the person from their job. Whereas those with simpler jobs were very thin, the managers of hotels and restaurants were larger. This is not the case today and one wonders about the epidemic of Diabetes that can be expected to arise in the next 10 years.

Many people still remember vividly the Tsunami and talk openly about it and some small Tsunami museums have opened in the south near Hikkaduwa where the Tsunami struck. To spend an hour looking at the photos and the words spoken make one feel very emotional. This event was only 12 years ago.

Sri Lankans have a lot to say and a lot of it seems to take place in the middle of the railway lines, where busy trains with people literally hanging out pass by regularly. Many other curious things happen in Sri Lanka. People use coconuts as pillows at cricket! If you head to Galle Fort, a nice place to spend a few hours walking, test cricket can be seen for free from the hilltop there.

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Better than a Teleconference I suppose

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Coconut Pillow

There remain things that need to be improved including poverty. Still too many children live in poverty but this again has improved a lot over 20 years but their smiling faces hide any worries they may have.

Sri Lanka is a great country to visit. Aside from the beach and the pools, there is a plethora of culture throughout the country and the greatest challenge facing any tourist is choosing what to see and where to stay. There however are quite well defined seasons in Sri Lanka essentially two dry and two rainy seasons a year. In the rainy season in August do not expect to be able to enter the sea or indeed want to spend much beach time. The beaches also can be a little littered with debris.

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Kalutara Beach With Rubbish

Sri Lanka is also a superb place to visit for animals and wildlife. Elephants and birds abound in Udawalawe Safari Park. Various turtle sanctuaries also exist.

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The people are also both gentle and genuine even in the more inland areas where poverty is more commonly still seen.

0000573200005731There are many towns and places to visit but Galle should be one of those to walk along the headland and the fort and see the superb old lighthouse.

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Under 21 League. Brentford 1 Colchester 2. Photos


If anyone has a spare couple of hours on mondays it is well worth going to watch the  Bees under 21 side in action as you might be seeing the stars of the future. A decent game of which there are plentiful and excellent match reports elsewhere, so I will limit this to a few photographs on mostly a blustery day. The two players who did stand out for Brentford were Josh Clarke and Jan Holldack . A highly competitive and physical game.

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Josh Clarke

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Nick Tzanev

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Bradley Clayton

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Jan Holldack in action

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Dillon Barnes Goalkeeper

Do you want to help Bury animals? RSPCA do.


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

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A Very Wet Brentford Performance.Brentford 0 Walsall 1


As Brentford fans some weeks are best forgotten and it is better to remove those bees coloured spectacles and see the game for what it was. Brentford were comprehensively beaten by a hard working and decent Walsall side.

An excellent turn out from Walsall that filled the away end.

Fans arrived mostly by car but the potential was there to arrive by boat if they wished, and with such a wet game that might have been a good option. IMG_1179IMG_1178

The first half ended 1-0 to Walsall which is how the game ended but it was totally one-sided. The second half was better for Bees once Alan Judge came on, but frankly they never really seemed likely to score with the exception of one excellent save from the walsall keeper.

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Why were Brentford so bad? Conspiracy theorists will no doubt argue that the cup is not important or maybe that transfer speculation had upset the side. I don’t know, maybe both are true. But the reality was that Walsall were the better side, their work rate was higher , their players seemed technically better. The five players brought in from last week did nothing to suggest they should be chosen next week. The swirling rain made watching even from Row G a rather wet experience. The plus point was the introduction of Marco Djuricin half way through the second half.

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Hands on head time maybe?

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The Bees fans on Twitter formed their views of this game which align with mine above. What we learned for sure was that Bees have no strikers. Midfield needs strengthening . But above all the worry that it was not the result but the performance that is most of concern. Players like McCormack did not perform. Swift looked undone by the physical attention of the Walsall players. Hoffman just looked poor really, not a championship player.

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