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 “vacation”

If You Ever Wondered Where Narnia Was Filmed. Maybe Stadtpark in Vienna?


A bitterly cold day in Stadtpark Vienna. Even though the temperature was marginally warmer at minus 6 it felt far warmer than minus 7 in the dark last night. 

Few people ventured into the park. The ducks huddked together in the small areas of unfrozen lakes and river. The Wienfluss, Vienna River, divided in theory the park into sections however it was not always easy to discern frozen water from frozen grass. No little cafe shops were open. The pathways were slippery with ice and frozen leaves. 

The views reminded me of Narnia . Just bleak. A variety of signs advertised prohibition of anything pleasureable. No dogs. No football. 

I have never been to Moscow but this is how I envisage Moscow might look and feel. Even Bruckner looked cold. The leaves on the ground looked like they were there under duress. The graffiti art was the only brightening feature looking a little out of place. 

The Beauty of Non-league football. A few photographs from a cold January afternoon


Live football is a great game and can be easily distinguished from the reality TV nonsense that so often represents the fare delivered from the Premiership. Skill levels may be greater in the Premiership but nothing beats seeing and smelling the action from close up.  Things that would seem an anathema to stewards in league football happen weekly in the non-league arena. To put it simply, the rules are sensible. Fans can stand and drink beer on the terraces, fans can often bring well behaved dogs on a lead, fans can purchase good quality food at reasonable prices .

This is football played ny normal people and watched by those who genuinely love the game. To anyone with a camera there are many photo opportunities to observe all manner of real life at football.

Although I often go to non-league football games to watch and photograph the actions and the players, there are also some great images to be had from the fans and officials alike. Here are a few shots taken from the Ryman South game 2nd January 2017 Chipstead v Carshalton Athletic.

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Differing perceptions of the River Thames at Brentford 


While arriving for a football match at Brentford I was struck by how the views of the excellent street artist saw The Thames at Brentford contrasted with the photos I just took. 

Ciabbata Bread Loaf Ready To Hang on the Wall from Panetteria Italiana Merton


Food sometimes comes in unpredicatable shapes and even an experienced baker was surprised his routine ciabbata came with a picture frame hook ready for hanging on the wall. The best baker in the UK is found at Panetteria Italiana in Merton 6 Merton Hall Rd, Merton, London SW19 3NT0000676200006765

The Sri Lankan People. Photographs From A Nice Nation


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Young Sri Lankan girl came running to meet us

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Captain of The Boat House running river boat cruises and dresses to impress

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Young boy ran to see us with his sister above

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The Best Tour guide in Sri Lanka

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Pillows were in short supply at the 2nd Sri Lanka v Australia test at Galle 2016

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Anyone working in the 30 degrees Sri Lankan heat of the afternoon has my admiration

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Many important discussions happen in the middle of a railway track

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Have you ever seen a Coconut used as a pillow? Only at a Sri Lankan cricket game could this happen.


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ADHD and Sport.The Russians Hack into medical records. How many athletes have ADHD and should they receive treatments?


So the result of an almighty hack into the medical records of USA competitors in the Rio Olympics tells us not unsurprisingly that  a few use Oxycodone for pain,  a few use steroids or derivates and Simone Biles the world’s leading gymnast uses Methylphenidate ( which sadly most of the world including The Times, think is synonymous with Ritalin , when a little education would tell folks that there are multiple formulations ).  All these drugs were evaluated by independent doctors and judged to be fit for purpose. Nothing here is new.  In fact Olympic-level athletes must submit a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) form to the Therapeutic Use Exemption Committees detailing the symptoms, diagnosis, and testing criteria utilized in forming the diagnosis of ADHD. So spurious diagnoses are unlikely and uncommon. img_1553

ADHD is likely rife in sport and now that adult ADHD is more often recognised and treated prevalence rates will likely increase. Adult ADHD has a prevalence rate of at least 3-4% of the population.  In fact any football fan will complain weekly about “adhd traits” in their team, without recognising what they are referring to. The key ADHD traits in adults relate to impulsivity and inattention. And often occur together in fact.

Many athletes are already recognised as having ADHD. Louis Smith the UK gymnast and Michael Phelps are two current examples. It is well known that some Premiership footballers are undergoing treatment. Some will decline medication ( regardless of any ruling about medicinal use) , preferring the non-drug treatments ( and yes there are quite a few). Some will also choose to only take medication sporadically for their own reasons.

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Should they be allowed to? Categorically yes. The lack of focus that comes with ADHD is not a good feature in sports where focus is critical. Gymnastics being one such example.

So how many athletes have ADHD? Firstly maybe it needs definition of what exactly is an athlete?  Reported figures suggest that around 8-10% of professional sportsmen have ADHD. It is worth also citing that whereas in childhood forms of ADHD the male-female ratio is around 5-1, in adults the ratio becomes almost 1-1. Some of the more inattentive cases of ADHD in females not getting diagnosed as early as the more over hyperactive males.

Some estimates of ADHD prevalence are even higher. Recent statistics put out by Major League Baseball show the incidence of ADHD  is twice as high as in the general adult population, at about 9 percent versus 4.4 percent in the 14-44 age range (National Institute of Mental Health study, 2006. ). Many also remain undiagnosed and some fear to have a diagnosis made, so prevalence estimates could well be as high as 15%.

I can find no clinical research on prevalence rates in these populations however watching any football game there is usually a few players who are more impulsive and have more inattention than others. Impulsivity may lead to yellow and red cards and unwise passing. Most fans can point to a couple of their players that meet these criteria.

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ADHD paradoxically can also potentially be an advantage in athletes where periods of focus for racing or playing are often short, some times less than 10 seconds. In some cases treatment may have negative effects and not the potentially ” improved” effects that some might believe from usage of stimulants or non-stimulant medications.

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Some of these strengths linked to ADHD which, managed properly , can lead to success in multiple areas of life, and  include: an ability to multitask, deal with chaos, creativity, non-linear thinking, an adventurous spirit, resilience, high energy, risk taking, calm under pressure, and the capacity for hyper focus . Talking to many ADHD experts they report that in many adult ADHD cases hyper focus is prevalent and in certain situations ADHD patients can focus better than the general population.

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Should ADHD be treated then in athletes? Generally it should as most athletes have lives outside of their sport and other facets of their lives including relationships may suffer.

ADHD can manifest in many ways, including lack of focus and concentration, oppositional behavior in team sports, argumentative attitude, frustration, poor self-esteem, and mood lability. In addition, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, each of which directly affects team sports and participant interaction. For these reasons, athletes with ADHD often perform better with medical treatment in life and in their sport.

Some disagree with this and a few papers discuss the ethics of using stimulants based on performance enhancement. My view is different. The medication elevates underperformance where this is found, not in all cases,  and brings it to normal levels. Athletes also deserve a life and relationships and employment. Medication has an important role to play.

 

 

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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Photographing NonLeague Football Makes You Smile. Some Quite Curious Photos. Carshalton v Farnham Town FA Cup 2016


Sometimes when you photograph a game you get lucky. The game is exciting, or there are spectacular goals. Sometimes though you just get a series of quite unintentional photos. Here are a few photos from a Preliminary Round game in the FA Cup 2016 Carshalton Athletic v Farnham Town.

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The keeper is punching the ball at the precise moment the shot is taken

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Trail left on a 3G pitch

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Two things I like about this shot. The sign saying “no ball games allowed” and the photographer here imagining nothing interesting will happen.

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Tommy Bradford, a Carshalton forward seems to have become a dwarf

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The guy in the background leaning onto the pitch and gesticulating gives the impression of being not only Voldemort but also a pony tail for this Farnham Town player

Sri Lanka V Australia at Galle 2016


During a recent trip to Sri Lanka we were fortunate enough to have a spare hour at the end of the day to watch the cricket from the Galle Fort that sits high above the ground.

00005440 Many choose to watch from here as it is free and the views are not too bad. Some locals and some tourists. A great experience to see English folks avidly supporting the Sri Lankans. Maybe the most interesting use of a coconut I have seen as a pillow for this slumbering gentleman.

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