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”

Seemingly meaningless Graffiti. Any ideas what it means?


Whilst traveling one comes across a lot of graffiti. Some of it great, some pure art, some vandalism and some of it simply strange.

I have no idea what these sets of graffiti mean. One was painted on a park bench and the other on a metal container .

Berlin is Clean. No rubbish. No mess. So why are Merton and Kingston not the same? A change in direction for Recycling and Rubbish collection is needed in Europe


Each day social media is full of posts about the rubbish and mess that abounds in Merton and other localities. I don’t seek these posts they are there in their droves . Just search for #muckymerton and see what emerges.

The pattern is too familiar. Fewer collections of any type, rubbish dumped at bins , rubbish just dumped. End result is a total mess and more rats. I have seen more rats this year 2018 than in the combined 20+ years I have been living in the area. This is not even mentioning the mess foxes make . Take a walk through any Merton area around midnight to 5 am and the foxes are having a party. They are breeding well and in our area Monday night is festival night for them. Folks put their rubbish out for a Tuesday collection and the foxes firstly collect it then spread it over whole streets. We must accept that we are partially at fault here as asked to put rubbish out by 6 am . And everyone loves getting up at 6 am to do this.

Merton has been trialling things that are certainly unconventional. In the face of ever increasing mess and litter in some areas and parks they are removing waste bins and replacing them with , well, nothing.

I am no refuse disposal expert but then clearly neither are the council. But what I do see is other cities and towns in Europe that are devoid of rubbish and clean despite having far more citizens and visitors. Earlier this year I wrote a post on Ljubljana in Slovenia where underground rubbish and recycling bins provide an excellent solution.

https://arcticterntalk.org/2018/06/26/recycling-made-easy-in-ljubljana-a-lesson-for-uk-councils/amp/

The collection is also simpler with workers not having to handle any of the lovely rubbish and recycling.

What prompted me to write this article today is Berlin. This is summer . Tourist peak season. Temperatures around 34c . Yet walking to some business appointments there is no rubbish. Bins are either empty or certainly not full. Containers like small skips allow rubbish and recycling to be collected. Maybe the mentality is better too. Less fly tipping and discarding aimlessly of rubbish. Simply Berlin is clean. Whatever systems are used and funded Merton and other councils could do worse than learning about and adopting .

Following my post on Ljubljana I learned that such underground recycling and rubbish collection facilities are available in parts of Southern Spain and Northern England. This is not futuristic thinking its plain common sense and needs funding and adoption.

To me the way things are going in Merton, watching rats run free next to roads , rubbish piled up and bins overflowing, we have a system that is not working and in many regards is not unlike London in the 1700’s. Whoever decides , funds and is accountable is failing the residents. The better step is adoption of change , not reducing collections . Look for alternative options. Otherwise, I can see legal challenges from residents who pay their council taxes. We are traveling right now in the wrong direction.

The Cost Of Airport Food Is Outrageous . 20£ For A Burger at Arlanda Stockholm Airport


Travellers have little choice often to eat in airports. Having to arrive hours before a flight, airlines rarely serving free food and a mandatory queue at passport control afterwards. So it might be reasonable to expect two things. A choice of food options that are not dominated by Gordon Ramsay, Sushi and Caviar bars. As one gets in Terminal Five. Trying to buy a humble cup of tea or coffee can be impossible . A second expectation is that prices are equitable. Things are now getting out of hand and travellers have every right to protest.

At Arlanda airport last night a sports bar , O’Learys, nothing special if I am honest was wanting over 20£ for a burger . Ribs would set you back 27£ and a steak would cost you not much under 40£.

How can these prices for food that looked inferior to Burger King be fair? Put it another way. Family of three. A burger meal and drinks would be costing around £75. If the children asked for chicken strips that too is around 25£. Vending machines would then sell you chocolate bars such as Twix for £2.

Other airports are no better. London City Airport charges extortionate amounts for average food.

The regulators need to look into this. Just as service stations charge 20p per litre more airports should be prevented from operating this unpleasant pricing cartel .

Very Interesting Room Service at Radisson Blu Belfast


While travelling one sees curious things, people and foods. To find this version of room service this morning is up there with the most curious.

My guess is a kind friend left breakfast for someone. Or is it the cheapest breakfast ?

Black and White Photography. The Forgotten Art


Just looking through magazines and newspapers it seems colour photography is the only form needed. But take a moment to consider the change that comes into a photograph when it is viewed in black and white.

Some key aspects to good black and white photography include

  1. Choosing a suitable subject matter. Not all subject matters lend themselves to black and white format. No precise rules exist .
  2. Focus. Generally a good depth of field of minimum f 10. Clarity of the image can be critical in its interpretation
  3. Contrast. In general terms a little greater contrast can be helpful. Not at all an absolute rule though as you can see from one of my examples below.

Here are a few examples of recent photos where black and white has changed the whole aura and interpretation of a photograph .

Sometimes my aim is to deliberately convey an old looking feel that the photo could have been taken many years ago.

These photos are in fact some of my favourite photos from last year .

Black and white photography allows so much experimentation that it should be considered routine in any Photoshoot .

A Restaurant Called Alice. Alice Ristorante Milan. Simply Beyond Brilliant


I am as far from being a restaurant critic as it is possible to be. Having been summoned to a Milan restaurant as part of a group of people one has little idea of what the food will be like and often the style of the food.

Alice Ristorante is situated in a complex with the cute sounding Eataly Milano Smeraldo name. Arriving at the door it seems one has arrived at the Milan equivalent of Waitrose. A large food store selling on three levels various Italian foods. Tucked away on the top floor was Alice Ristorante. A medium size restaurant overlooking the main street where the only obvious landmark was the taxi rank.

The food and the service was beyond brilliant. The group had been pre ordered a menu with accompanying wines.

Depending upon how one counts courses we seemed to have seven. Some of the dishes are best described by looking at the menu here. The only obvious dishes were the excellent sea bass and the risotto.

I cannot recall a better meal. The service was attentive without being overpowering. The white wines were perfectly chilled. The food looked and tasted superb. Cost? I have no idea.

New Malden In The Snow


New Malden is not really famous for anything although due to the fact that around 75% of the UK Korean population live there, the Korean restaurants are highly rated.

Waking up to a blanket of snow this morning there was more than a modicum of surprise that South Western Railway had a far better service than normal. Maybe it was the right kind of snow on the line. Fewer commuters than normal braved the station . But as per usual some of the driving was horrific especially on the ungritted roads. The major roads like A3 were fine but many of the smaller residential roads had seen less salt than a hypertension clinic.

The blue sky though made the world look a happy place and the dogs were loving the snow.

Oaks Park in Banstead


As the snow and ice descends, dogs were having a great time running in the snow. A husky seemed to be teaching some other dogs how to eat snow.

An icy car park that had not seen the benefits of salting .

In weather like this walking dogs is not easy and there is no certainty that the weather will allow access to Oaks Park in forthcoming days.

All looking picturesque but certainly needing care with walking and driving .

Fakery is now endemic. One person has had enough


Reading the papers, watching TV or simply sitting in one place for long enough, will get you assailed by fakery.

Watching TV. The first question in any documentary or reality programme, is what are your underlying thoughts? Let’s take Strictly. For those outside UK this is an annual fest that runs the three months till Xmas and so called celebrities are paired with professional dancers. The fakery in their smiles, actions and intent are frighteningly transparent. Just one example. This is a competitive game. Yet one might be excused for thinking your competitor is your cheerleader. All nonsense and fake smiles. Mostly designed to move on a career in an unbalanced and unfair contest where a vicar might be paired against an ex ballet dancer. You get the picture. Fakery at its worst. Often terrible Dad dancing applauded in the same manner as an invasion of Pluto might be.

Change the venue. The airport lounge. Folks walking and talking loudly about matters they deem important . Deals worth a million or colleagues whom should be dismembered. Faking the importance . The desire to go and stand next to them and sing Barry Manillow songs or simply assault them is very strong.

Newspapers. Goodness. When was the last time you read a paper and believed the content was accurate with no political slant? In fact many papers hardly are worthy of that title. Dominated by sickly adverts. Columnists clearly have a political slant when what is needed is exactly what it says on the tin. The news.

Fake phone calls. In the last week I have won a holiday in Orlando . Yet oddly no one will send me anything . I must be transferred to their marketing department. The most honest aspect of all these rants really. Manic sounding young callers asking me how my day was. One wants to reply that it got off to a bad start with the colostomy bag exploding at a board meeting. That the bank called regarding bankruptcy proceedings and that my wife was in court on a murder charge . Probably relating to previous telephone callers. In short they want to sell something . It might be good but when fronted by this fakery . No thanks.

Street beggars. In the last weeks I have walked past many who are sitting more comfortably than I might in my office, with better shoes [ I own a single pair right now] and asking , sometimes demanding , for money. Whereas there are some people who sadly do need to beg. Mostly with improperly treated forms of mental illness. These guys need help in the short term. Some good and better still a place to stay. Society is negative towards them mostly because of the fakers.

Football. Where do I start. Feigning injury. Hairstyles. The question to ask is are they not ashamed? Pretending a serious injury usually a head injury . That frankly was little more than a disturbance of their curious hairstyle.

There will be more examples for sure. But for now. That’s enough

Early morning drinking at airports and the waste of alcohol


Airport lounges are never dull places. In general if you seek rudeness you can expect to find it. Folks pushing in to grab the food and generally taking up seven chairs. Some of the fashion sense is also dubious . Anything free is pounced upon in a hawk like manner.

If you have followed my blog you will recall articles on early morning drinking at Scottish airports. So I will not repeat my thoughts here. Today however a totally new rant. Waste. Anyone travelling to USA will be highly familiar with the waste of food there purely by being served gigantic portions. What is less common is waste of alcohol, after all it is relatively expensive there . Today however it is the waste of alcohol here in Uk. Terminal 5 lounge where for fortunate passengers food and alcohol is free. I had no intention of writing a blog at 9 am but was struck by two men essentially having poured and wasted numerous drinks. Five to seven glasses at various times. At a guess mostly different types of champagnes. Why? Society is not in a good place if this is a behaviour that is common. End of rant . Except to comment on the lady next to me who either has an unfortunate ring tone on her phone announcing texts or emails, the sound of a steam train[ I think] or alternatively an unpleasant gastric situation . Needless to say the ring tone is set to extra loud. Good morning

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