Borgen- The Government

When days are cold and dreary and of course,  the snow makes it impossible to seek entertainment elsewhere, we amuse ourselves by watching a double bill of Borgen! So what’s that?  It is a Danish series which focusses on the daily toils of a very bright female prime minister who has to deal with a coalition government, is pursued by the media and unscrupulous politicians and has to battle through her private life and manages to come out smiling at the end of it.

Borgen Season 2From flipperdeflap.blogspot.com

Borgen Season 2
Downloaded image from flipperdeflap.blogspot.com

At a first instance, you  may wonder…How can this be interesting at all? Probably it`s about high-powered individuals who have loads of cups of coffee, fancy banquets and decide peoples` fates…it`s not like that at all. First of all, Mrs Nyborg is very much a strong-willed woman, with a young family. Due to the increasing pressures of the role,  she becomes a workaholic and her husband decides to leave her and asks for divorce. Then one of her children becomes very ill and gathers quite alot of media attention. So of course, her cup is quite full!

Borgen is not only about the prime minister, but also deals with people around her like her spin doctor and members of the press and  fellow politicians. We see very much the projected image of these people and then have an insight into their private life, where there is so much going on, that it`s a small wonder how they keep on at the game. This of course, makes you wonder and think that it could be very similar for real-life politicians!

Mrs NyborgImage downloaded from www.guardian.co.uk

Mrs Nyborg
Image downloaded from http://www.guardian.co.uk

We actually saw the first series last year, so this second series continues, but you`re never bored and the script is cleverly written and moreover, the storyline is realistic. The prime minister ‘s character is believable, human and empathetic and let`s hope some real-life politicians follow her model!

Have you watched it? If so, what are your thoughts?

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Welcome 2013 and it`s challenges!

Happy New Year 2013 to all my followers! I wish you a year full of wonderful things, good health and happiness!

As I scrolled through all the blogs I usually follow, most of them were of course focussing on the New Year and some were analysing 2012. Well, I think an appropriate post for the start of a New Year is to briefly discuss this book:

Bear Grylls

To me, Bear Grylls is an explorer, an adventurer, normally known to do some daring things..I had not previously come across any of his books, so since I  found it at our local library last December and as a bonus it looked pretty brand new and unused, I decided to give it a go!

There are 75 chapters in all. Each chapter is quite short and opens with a few, key, punchy statements. The author recounts several difficult moments in his life and how he tackled them…it very much focusses on the attitude and behaviour one needs to adopt in life, to embrace it`s struggles and emerge as a winner and a much stronger person than ever before!

Some of my favourite pieces include:

Chapter 1- Have a Dream: “Dreams are powerful. They are among those precious few intangibles that have inspired men and women to get up, go to hell and back and change the world”.

Chapter 11- There is no education like adversity: ” It is a cliche`, but it`s true: diamonds are formed under pressure. And without the pressure, they simply remain lumps of coal.

Chapter 12- Know Yourself- “Above the gates at Delphi, a short inscription greeted every weary traveller: Know thyself.”

Chapter 20- Dreams require sacrifice “ Success requires sacrifice. Get used to it.”

Chapter 30- Storms make you stronger “ The time to shine is when it is darkest.”

Chapter 74-Crisis = Danger + Opportunity  ” Opportunity will be hidden among the chaos. Storms clean the oceans, winds carry seeds.

And with that, I leave you to plough through the new year…may the words above offer you some inspiration and direction!

The Killing and The Bridge

Well, by now, those of you who regularly follow my blog, have realized that both hubby and I are film buffs! The latest films (series) we`ve seen which I thought were exceptional….were… The Killing 1 and The Bridge. Personally, I prefer The Killing to the The Bridge, although I liked them both very much.

It strikes me that there is distinct difference between Scandinavian and American thriller films. What is quite evident is that the Scandinavian films have a much lower budget than the American ones and you get this interesting‘black humour’ drifting through. To top it all, Scandinavian films do not usually have a happy ending, as do the big block-buster movies and to me it`s definitely something which I have not commonly experienced before!!

The Killing I

For those of you who haven`t seen it and don`t want any hints, then look away right now. For those of you who are keen to explore this further and would like some basic information, then let me tell you that the opening scene is a girl running from her captor who is then caught and killed. The story dwells on the girl, the girl`s family and her ‘secret’ life which was unknown to her family but begins to unravel as the detectives proceed with the investigation. It is an intricate web which also involves some local politicians and the Mayor`s election. The lead detective is Sara Lund- a very unglamorous lady (but of course, a brilliant actress) who is clearly a workaholic, incredibly clever and you can immediately see the impact her work has on her personal life. She frequently appears wearing a woolly, fluffy jumper and goes around looking quite dishevelled and nothing like her Hollywood counterparts and let`s say it..damn realistic! She is the lead and works with a male partner who tends to do as he`s told (whereas in most American films, the lead tends to be a male) and the actress- Sofie Gråbøl is absolutely top class. So watch it and let me know what you think!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IZUWkghFeQ

The Bridge

This is perhaps slightly more gruesome that The Killing. The opening scene involved a dead body (which is actually from 2 different bodies- a Dane and a Swede) found on the Oresund bridge which joins Copenhagen to Malmo. The lead again here in a Swedish police detective-Saga Norén (part played by Sofia Helin) who works alongside Martin Rohde, a Danish detective (Kim Bodnia). Saga is very much a workaholic too (as Sara Lund in The Killing) and also has an autistic disorder which prevents her from forming friendly relationships with her work colleagues and she fears promotion as she feels incapable of managing staff. I liked this very human aspect being portrayed in the film. She is however, quite a character, very astute and also pretty, who again wears very casual clothes (a characteristic pair of leather trousers, which I thought were pretty funky really!). The story involves an ex-police officer who promotes himself as a custodian for a better welfare system and dwells on social issues such as racism, homelessness, vulnerability of children etc, broadcasting his deeds which involve further killings, via the internet under the name TT. In reality, this is a decoy, as the killer, is seeking revenge against Martin Rodhe. This only becomes clear at the very end of the film, as Martin had slept with the guy`s wife several years earlier and at the time, the killer was best friends with Martin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83FcxzlXbKs

I leave it to you to decide which of the two you prefer!!

Fear

It strikes me that the root of all evil, is really FEAR. People who bully others, those who are racist and others who commit all kinds of crime etc, all have one thing in common- they are afraid of change and of people who are better than they are and ever will be, so they panic and strike their fellow, vulnerable humans with whatever means they have.

FEAR courtsey of tvmole.com

FEAR courtsey of tvmole.com

Somehow in life, we may fail to see this and tend to find excuses for some vile and atrocious actions. Take massacres for instance, what is the aim of a massacre? It is the bully killing people who oppose what he/she does, who obliterates freedom of speech. Now, you may wonder what the purpose of this is…so let me tell you: a few weeks ago, we got our usual LOVEFILM delivery and one of the dvds we received was The Whistleblower.

This is a true story of a US policewoman (role played excellently by Rachel Weiz) who was working with the UN in Bosnia, after the war, trying to help restore some normality in the war-stricken population. She soon realizes that top officials in the UN and other peace-keepers from the US and Europe were actively supporting a sex-trafficking racket. All kinds of girls, even 6-year olds were used for their pleasure and of course, for income generation. The pyschological and physical deprivation of these girls was horrific and some were actually physically tormented and publically humiliated. Of course, the irony was that the same people who claimed they were ‘protecting’ them were responsible for this atrocity. I will not give you any gory details, but if you`re a person with a conscience and some moral values, please watch the movie and let me know what you think-Kathryn Bolkovac, is a true heroine as she fought the system with everything she had, in order to bring justice to these unfortunate women.

The film was launched in 2011 and the cast includes Vanessa Redgrave.

Celebrating Workers` Day

Since this week we celebrated Workers’ Day and on the continent there are usually some celebrations of sorts…concerts and union meetings, I`ve decided as a fellow worker who is regularly in contact with other workers, not only in the UK but also elsewhere in the world, who feels their pain & anguish, to celebrate this event with a neat little piece…so read on and let me know whether you agree or not!!!

The Worker`s Life!

We start off as an enthusiastic graduate (most of us these days), some with one or several degrees…..we advance onto a career path….first rung of a very long ladder…we apply for jobs and we`re told ‘you have no experience‘ ; even though you have a top degree!

The Employee…
So life as an employee then begins….you start working life as a junior…in a ‘training post‘.. or rather, you do the dirty work of senior people…with a crappy pay (despite soaring Uni fees and loans) but you keep at it, solidly persisting..the months pass and years crawl by and after three or four years you`re ready to move on….so you`re back in the job market, polishing your CV and applying for jobs…a number of applications are sent..you get to the 1st interview and then if you`re lucky and everyone liked your presentation and if you answered all the random questions excellently, there`s the 2nd interview where you`re quizzed out of your mind and it feels like you`re doing another final year viva…..and you`re told that you`re very good but alas, another candidate has an even better CV than you…so you keep on trying and in doing so you discover that there are 100 applications on average for one job, some of whom already work for the institution you went for (so of course, I`m sure they`ll have more brownie points than you do towards obtaining that post)…but then the Eureka moment..someone sees potential and gives you a chance and you`ve made it…only to discover that they will give you the job if you agree to take a pay-cut and by this time, even though you now have worked hard to get a senior post, you`re so sick of it that you just accept- and when you do start, you`re doing senior and junior roles all at once because of course there`s no money for an admin person and its all in the name of Lean working!!!!

The Bosses…
Here of course I can`t help not adding that in your working life you must put up with a series of bosses…..some literally Hellraiser-style..you get ineffective and unsupportive bosses piling work onto you until you can`t see the light of day for weeks, others who drive you nuts by changing protocols all the time and treat you like some ‘dumb-ass’ and those who seem very nice and almost decent but in the end bleed you dry and get all the credit for your work! And in a few years` time, my friend, it will all start again!!

Last but not least…
I shall leave you with some Asian philosophy..this week we watched Confucius (2010)..starring Chow Yun-Fat. It`s a great movie and not just a story but based on the life of Master Kong, an Asian philosopher. We gave the film an 8.5/10. The main actor has also acted in Anna and the King, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Curse of the Golden Flower- all excellent films and worth watching if you haven`t done so already!)…..If you`re interested watch this official trailer and decide for yourself!

Domestic duties

Since we have been plagued with several weeks of incessant rain and far-from summery weather, I was in desperate need of my fav sport…shopping!!! So  this morning I decided to hit the shops and bought some toiletries, one shirt, a blue & brown large bag and several belts in different colours (not for the reasons you may be thinking!!!..they were on sale!) and also some dark pink cute PJs!

Then I came back home & braced myself to affront my domestic duties and set out to clean the house whilst my hubby was quietly working….and with a relatively clean upstairs (downstairs is not completely done), I decided to check my emails while hubby offered to cook….

And what did he cook? My fav dish on a day like this..nothing better than some hot Asian chicken noodle broth from Jamie Oliver`s Ministry of Food…and here is the result!!

Asian Chicken Noodle Broth

Asian Chicken Noodle Broth by Hubby!

On another matter…a few nights ago we saw THE AWAKENING (2011)….it`s  about a ghost hunter (it`s slightly scary but not bad and more of an adrenaline rush really) and one day she comes across an interesting case with a twist.

I think it`s good and worth seeing and has an original story too. We gave it 8.5/10….what`s your score?!

Be Prepared!

Yesterday morning I was off work and went out to run some errands…it was sunny and the sun was really shining brightly (although it was quite nippy). I noticed that loads of people stripped to their T-shirts and had sunglasses on…many were standing chatting away in small groups in the city centre as I sped away to do my deeds…..few more minutes passed, a sudden peal of thunder and the rain fell by the buckets! I calmly took my umbrella out from my bag and went on my way, whilst I could see all these people huddling together under roof tops as they had forgotten their umbrellas, still with their sunglasses, shivering away!!

This is not uncommon perhaps…however the message in this is BE PREPARED..always PLAN and NEVER take things for granted and definitely if you live in the UK, you MUST always take your umbrella along!!

My outlook on life is to try and improve generally and I do enjoy obtaining ‘hidden’ messages from experiences to guide my future!!

I bought a nice bouquet of chrysanthemums for myself today and I am sharing it with you!!!

Beautiful Bouquet of Chrysanthemums

Beautiful Bouquet of Chrysanthemums

And as I told you last week, today I will name the 3 best films we saw recently:

THE WARD directed by John Carpenter (2010)

It is a thriller/horror film (quite scary, but not too much, so be warned) with a great twist..and we definitely gave it 9/10!! It is available as a dvd and is about mental disease and helps to raise awareness as well as portrays the problems experienced in people affected in some way by mental diseases…I do recommend it!

HEREAFTER

In this film/dvd (2010) there`s Matt Damon who plays a psychic and we meet a number of other interesting characters too…..it`s an action/thriller and we gave it 8/10.

THE HUNGER GAMES

We saw this in the cinema (March 2012) quite recently and we gave it 7.5/10. It is a good movie, however the concept is not very original and if you`ve seen Gladiator and Spartacus, there are some common threads (although may not be immediately obvious!) but definitely worth a look!

Have a great weekend!!

Reflections on sunshine!

Its official....spring is really here now…forecast for the next 7 days is glorious sun..and of course, both yesterday and today we went for long walks in the countryside.

And remember I showed you my little orchid friend a few weeks ago? It has blossomed beautifully and is just magnificent!! Here it is in all its orchidness!!

Orchid in Full Bloom!

Orchid in Full Bloom!

Can`t stop thinking of strolls in the sunshine, ice-cream and picnics and getting a spring-tan!! Lovely afternoon really, accompanied by a large glass of rose`and hubby quietly reading besides me, completely unaware that I am blurting out to the world my deepest thoughts!! 🙂

These two adorable beings portrays some of the activity we witnessed… Aren`t they so perfectly cuddly and sweet!!!

Adorable Little Ponies!

Adorable Little Ponies!

Whilst on the subject of sunshine..I want to let you in a little secret..we don`t have a TV….now let me explain…we have a TV set and its a bit archaic really but it works and functions perfectly, so whats the point of binning it to get a new one when it works..anyways, we don`t watch TV on our TV set but if there is something on TV which we are dying to see, we can always do that on the internet.

We watch loads of dvds instead of TV films and shows…so we get all the latest movies by post (through a company to which we subscribe to)- we select the titles we like and get around 3 films per week..thats enough really..if you are wondering what we do in our evenings and free time..why of course, we read books (should use my kindle a bit more but I love the feel of handling a book, so thats difficult if you`re at home on your sofa but more of a traveling companion), play games and try to invest time in our hobbies or go outdoors.

At first it was kind of difficult since I`ve always been a TV nut really but then you kind of get used to it and let`s say it..we`re not going to pay a contract for satellite TV for 18months and then if we move we have to continue paying it even though we`ll probably live in another area or there are better options at the time….so thats it really!!

But this is not the subject I wanted to focus on..what I really want to say was last week we watched a dvd called Oranges and Sunshine..don`t know if anyone out there has heard about it? Its an A+++ film and a real-life story about kids deported from Britain because they came from low-class families, or had family problems or for whatever reason…..and a few years earlier everyone knew or had heard about the holocaust and how horrific this was..so I say, does this echo of a similar tale?…it is really scandalous that in recent times (this was happening until 1960s) this kind of activity was  really occurring…the heroine of the story is Margaret Humphreys, a British social worker who dedicated her life to help these lost ‘children’ become reunited with their families…I think she is a role model for modern women really, a modern saint who overcame incredible barriers which included death threats….very worth one seeing this….and since it was Women`s Day and is going to be Mother`s Day here in Britain soon, I thought I`d share this experience with you!!!