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 “scotland”

Alcohol Intake at Edinburgh Airport and Scotland Generally


Before anyone gets the wrong idea I enjoy alcohol and drink probably my 14 units most weeks. But I was shocked to arrive at Edinburgh airport at 9.30 am on a normal friday to find all the bars full and people of all ages consuming huge volumes of alcohol. The bars were packed. The best sight was a man eating a fairly large Scottish Cooked breakfast and sipping an equally large brandy. Is this normal and is this healthy? Should anyone care?

The Scottish government certainly do. On their own website they make the stark observation that “It is becoming increasingly evident that as a nation our relationship with alcohol has become unbalanced”.  Further observations are that a fifth more alcohol per adult is drunk in Scotland compared with England and Wales, that 40% of prisoners were drunk at the time of their offence, and that although alcohol consumption may have declined since 2009, it had previously increased hugely over the previous 30 years. Alcohol related deaths had increased by a factor of 1.5 times since 1980. Sales in 2015 were 20% higher in Scotland than they were in England and Wales, with each adult consuming the equivalent of 477 pints of beer. Currently although there had been some reduction in drinking, sales of alcohol have now increased for the second year in succession. In 2015 total sales were the equivalent to 41 bottles of vodka or 116 bottles of wine for each adult. There was some evidence this morning that most of that quantity might be consumed in Edinburgh airport.

Should this be a matter of concern to anyone? People are free to do what they like mostly, however the societal cost is massive in terms of poor health and alcohol related criminal damage. There are probably a hundred views and opinions on that observation. The point of this article is simply to point out the huge amount of early morning drinking going on before flights. The statistics about cost to society and the person also make salient reading. There were 35,059 alcohol-related hospital stays in 2014/15, 91% resulted from an emergency admission and  71% of alcohol-related stays were men. Alcohol harm costs Scotland £3.6 billion a year in health, social care, crime, productive capacity and wider costs. 

The government of course will take a view, do an enquiry and probably little else but in July 2016 the way alcohol is sold in airports is to be examined after a number of recent incidents involving drunk passengers, the new aviation minister has said.
Lord Ahmad said he did not want to “kill merriment”, but that he would “look at” the times alcohol was on sale, and passenger screening. This seems a measured response but an unsurprising one. Aside from the health issues and general societal ones there are other reasons to be concerned over airport drinking. The number of passenger disturbances on UK flights has tripled over the past three years.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says the “majority” of cases were down to alcohol.
There were 114 incidents in 2014 compared to 39 in 2011. Little surprise here when one looks at the disinhibitive properties of alcohol and the potential amount consumed in a relatively short period of time.

What should airports do? Frankly they should do something instead of encouraging for their own purposes passengers to spend huge amounts of money in the duty-free areas ( that are now obligatory to walk through after security) and the bars that widely decorate airports. I would not especially single out Edinburgh airport of course but this is where I am writing this missive, but bars are often appearing at an exponential rate. I see no equivalent rise in quiet spaces to sit not in fact anywhere to sit. An All-Bar-One has opened here since I last visited. But they should do something, or at least discuss the situation and their relevance to the problem.

The chief executive of the British Air Transport Association, Nathan Stower, said “airlines set tough rules around the consumption of alcohol. Pubs, bars and restaurants in airports in the UK and overseas must play their part”.
In November a flight to Cuba from Manchester had to divert to Bermuda after Mohammed Khelya drank a bottle of vodka and threatened to kill everyone onboard. An isolated event of course but an increasingly seen one.

Champagne and Cheesecake £19? Scottish Value.


Not sure about this one. The offer of Champagne and Cheesecake for 19£ does not seem that much of a bargain unless one gets the whole bottle of champagne? The definition of a ” Light Breakfast” also seems a little different to any southern interpretation. These food related offers were available at Edinburgh Airport.

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Clearly Things Are Different in Scotland


Scotland is always an interesting place to visit even in winter when it seems a little bleak and cold. The Edinburgh Castle always looms large over the visitors. The food is always an interesting equation with high amounts of cholesterol seemingly obligatory. Interpretations of ” light breakfast ” are maybe not quite what they might be down south, and as for “Champagne and Cheesecake for ONLY 19£” I am quite speechless.

The folks are pleasant and you will find the most talkative and happy taxi drivers maybe anywhere in the world.

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Reflections on Glasgow


Glasgow is a city that many people like and love. Host to various international events and museums. But I have never really “got” Glasgow. Maybe I have not been shown the cool places? I had an hour to spend this walk and just walked around central Glasgow taking a few photographs and again found the city not exactly full of inspiration. As usual it was raining and there was rubbish everywhere. Streets were littered with huge rubbish bags and general detritus. I need someone to point me in the right direction and show me the real highlights of Glasgow please. Strange images of jellybabies playing bagpipes, various graffiti, grey streets and Irn Bru.

Irn Bru looked too dangerous to try. As for the Blue Police box, is this serious? The planes had propellers, ok, I exagerrate a little, but not so much. Glasgow airport looked quite dead compared with previous visits. Few planes coming and going. A million shops selling “real fish and chips”.

Now to put the other side of the equation. From

http://www.peoplemakeglasgow.com

 

Glasgow has been named as one of the top 20 ‘Best of the World’ destinations for 2016 by influential publication National Geographic Traveler, the city has also been voted the ‘friendliest city in the world’ in a Rough Guides poll and named a must visit destination by leading publications like the New York Times, The Guardian and Wanderlust! Earning its reputation as one of the world’s greatest cities, you can expect a very warm welcome and when you add world-class architecture, a vibrant nightlife, breathtaking scenery and outstanding shopping, you’ll never want to leave!

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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?

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?

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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?

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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

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Brentford and My First Photoshop Lesson From the 15 year old


I am just impressed by what a few lessons in GCSE photography have taught the 15 year old. Here you see the original photograph and what was created with about 20 minutes work. Soon she will be wanting paid commissions…and why not

Bees v Huddersfield  Under 18

Bees v Huddersfield Under 18

Brentford

Brentford

Brentford under 18

Brentford under 18

Brentford 0 Hull City 2. Any concerns over losing for Brentford fans?


Brentford came into this game on the back of a four game winning run and faced a physical Hull side with the menacing Steve Bruce prowling on the touchline. The simple reality were that Bees had a few chances in the first 10 minutes of which they should have taken at least one, but then the first half somewhat became an even game. The second half Hull upped the ante and made some decent substitutions and took the game away from Brentford with a combination of good technique and excellent finishing. David button would not reflect upon this game as his best for Brentford and the second Hull goal would usually not have happened with a spilling of the ball to the feel of the hull striker. hull however are an excellent side and move top of the championship after this victory and i would be unsurprised to see them there next May.

There was no shame in losing to the better side. The Brentford perfomance was good and the team are improving game by game. Do we have any concerns? Not really. Maybe the substitutions did not help last night. Taking Toumani off for me is never a good thing for whatever reason. KK runs a lot, has good positional ability but frankly lacks the technique for a good championship player and without being negative I can see him on his way to League 1-2 level in due course. Ryan woods looks younger each game but improves each game with immense workrate. Yennaris has settled, in my view surprisingly, at right back and also improves each game, but maybe still could elevate his general work rate. Some of his central defending was also excellent last night leading me to wonder if he might also be an option there.

Griffin Park under floodlights is something I will miss as there always is a special atmosphere and a midweek crowd on a dull and damp night of 9200 is excellent. Lastly it was good to see Sam Saunders back on the bench. He will play cameo roles one suspects but a good option to have.

Sam Saunders returns

Sam Saunders returns

Jake Bidwell Scratches his head

Jake Bidwell Scratches his head

Griffin Park

Griffin Park

Griffin Park

Griffin Park

Griffin Park

Griffin Park

Griffin Park

Griffin Park

Buzzette Bee

Buzzette Bee

Three Superb Photographs from Sunday. Not taken by me. GCSE Photography after 1 month.


Just to showcase three superb photos of very different topics that were not taken by myself. Enjoy. I wish I had the opportunity to do GCSE photography.

  1. The simplicity of a Kit Kat against the sports pages of The Sunday Times. Red and white.
  2. A cat seemingly wanting to eat an almond croissant.Cumberleylaude, a ‘gourmet cat’ with a love of fine dining, could join stage show CATS after discovery of lost TS Eliot poem. Is this the first audition for the role?
  3. Manic seagulls getting very excited over stale bread. Beautifully captured on a foggy morning.
Kit Kat

Kit Kat

Cumberleylaude, a ‘gourmet cat’ with a love of fine dining, could join stage show after discovery of lost TS Eliot poem.

Cumberleylaude, a 'gourmet cat' with a love of fine dining, could join stage show after discovery of lost TS Eliot poem.

Cumberleylaude, a ‘gourmet cat’ with a love of fine dining, could join stage show after discovery of lost TS Eliot poem.

Claremont birds. Copyright Elena Bushe

Claremont birds. Copyright Elena Bushe

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