Another Masterpiece – Chernobyl

“We are dealing with something that has never occurred on this planet”

My husband and son just returned from Chernobyl last week – very taken with the 2 day tour and all the haunting sights. We all watched this series together this week. If you have not seen it yet – please do.

Among my friends, I have one of the first men who detected and reported the heightened radiation level in Sweden. He still remembers the chills along his spine in that moment. And I remember well when we all got the information from media. (The reindeer up north were forbidden food for many years after…) In February the same year, Olof Palme was murdered…Was this the beginning of the end of the world?

On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, Soviet Union suffered a massive explosion that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and as far as Scandinavia and western Europe. Chernobyl dramatizes the story of the 1986 accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, and the sacrifices made to save Europe from the unimaginable disaster.

The number of lives lost are estimated to somewhere between 4000 and 93000. The official number from Russia is 31.


It recieved  a total of 10 Emmy Awards. Brilliant acting and as we all know – reality is more chilling than fiction. You cannot stop watching…despite the horrible scenes.

Craig Mazin and Johan Renck have created a masterpiece, in large part on the recollections of Pripyat locals, as told by Belarusian Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich in her book Voices from Chernobyl. Material also from the scientist Valery Legasov (superbly played by Jared Harris), the deputy director of the Kuchatov Institute brought in to aid cleanup efforts.

Watch it.

Contemplate the future, and the cost of lies.



A Masterpiece – Good Omens

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett wrote Good Omens, released 1990, when my daughter was born. So I missed out on it then. This summer my daughter and son made me read it, and we have watched the 6 piece adventure streamed from Amazon.

I simply LOVE it! The way I loved Narnia and JRR Tolkiens masterpiece about the Ring. But this one is hilariously funny as well. My student’s were more or less forced to read Gaiman’s books, but I was less into Pratchett.  But now – I have to read him as well. This series is a tribute to Pratchett from Gaiman.

I totally fell in love with the series – with a master cast (Cumberbatch, Jacobi, Richardson, etc.) …and Queen’s music. Michael Sheen and David Tennant – they could not have chosen a more suitable pair for the leading parts of Aziraphale the angel and Crowley the demon.

For 6000 years they have known each other, and have come to love us humans…with all our faults and errors…so when Armageddon is nigh, they have an agreement to save the world together.  No matter what their ”bosses” say.  And important roles for the outcome are played by young children – at the age of 11. (When I grew up, they said 11 was a crucial age. You will see how…). A timely novel and movie indeed!

Now, just enjoy this, my favourite fan youtube clip – with Belinda Carlisle’s hit from my younger days: Heaven is A Place on Earth!

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Turning Point

Amanda (Something to Ponder About) asks us: ”Have you ever experienced a ‘Sliding Door’ moment? Those moments when you made a choice in life, that led to significant changes for you?”

I have always loved the movie, Sliding Doors, and seen it several times over the years. Gwyneth Paltrow is never wrong either.

But first – in the header – the biggest turning point in my life was the arrival of the children. Nothing in life makes a greater difference.  Then, over to more – and different – turning points.

Highgate Cemetery, and cemeteries in general, have always attracted me. This beauty was hidden for many years, found in 2013, sleeping below the ivy. Things hidden can be things of beauty – and a given turning point. I read about those who found her, and felt instant love. She was made out of one, single piece of marble.

I have always wanted to believe…I was a firm believer as a child, but in the 4th grade my new teacher told me Jesus must have been a healer using natural medicines – no wonders, nothing. Maybe he hadn’t ever existed?

My whole world crumbled, and I felt cheated by everyone – because school, science and the teachers had all the answers…And still today, I cannot believe in God. I am more of a Buddhist, a Pantheist, but that is my firm ground and belief.

Becoming a teacher has given me so much more of life than I had ever expected. And it was a decision I never thought I would make. Only a short week jumping in for another teacher, made me decide. I have never regretted it!

Finally – back to the movies… children we all have a craving for magic. The books about Harry Potter filled that gap for more than one generation. Not to speak of Tolkien and C.S.Lewis… I guess they meant a turning point for many children (and grown-ups…), and for literature in general.

So, Cheers to the Magic in our lives!

What is Your Story?

This is still one of my my favourite stories – (and favourite characters…) and so it was for my children as well. I guess most of you know them…? How do you remember their impact if you read them as a child?

WPC: The Road Taken

For this week’s challenge, Krista asks us to show something that surprised us on “the road taken.” Many roads taken…but this road over the moors up to Heathcliff’s and Cathy’s Wuthering Heights really surprised me. We walked for hours, and the landscape was just as beautiful and haunting as in the novel…one of the world’s greatest love stories. I almost felt them whispering in the wind, laughing and running, hand in hand.


Film Review -”Looking For Infinity: El Camino”

Review of Looking For Infinity: El Camino (2014)                            Director: Aaron C. Leaman

This is a philosophical documentary, runtime 58 minutes. The text on the DVD says: ”Looking for Infinity: El Camino is an immersive voyage along the ancient pilgrimage route El Camino De Santiago.”

The film is said to be “an emotionally driven chronicle of a group of people all at turning points in their lives.” Some quotes from the walkers: “You walk and you become a humble being”; “I need to get away to recharge my batteries”; “Simplicity is the key”; “Religion and vanity takes your energy away[…] When I am in nature I recharge my energy”; ”El Camino is the best place to find people that really care about others”.

The message of this introspective movie is that we need to slow down and reflect upon our lives – and if you are at a crossroads or at a turning point, walking El Camino might give you some good answers to your questions. Those who have walked it and lived it often say it is a metaphor of Life itself. “I’m not here to get to the Goal but to do every single step”.



The film technique involves using the camera at walking pace to show the landscape passing by and the empty streets mixed with close-ups on people while someone is speaking – mostly not the person in focus. The sound is soft and natural for the most part: Walking on gravel, running water, birds singing, a piano and some slow drumming, a faint opera voice – or simply – silence.

The variety of people and reasons for walking are enough to show what this is all about. But, I believe the movie would have won some extra points by having a more equal combination of male and female thoughts and speakers. Both voices need to be heard.


The conclusion is simple – this is an important movie and a movie for everybody in our modern, stressed out society. Its slow pace might make it easier for you to get in contact with your inner self. In today’s society we need to question our living –  planet Earth is running out of her resources and our young (in the western society at least) are increasingly troubled by mental illnesses. There is a connection and we know it.

Looking For Infinity: El Camino, is a very philosophic piece of art, and beautifully directed. I think it appeals both to those who have walked the Camino and to those who are considering doing it – as well as to those who never have thought of it before.

The movie gives you many thoughtful comments and reasons for walking, and they  will stay in your mind for long. They might even inspire you to take a break from your busy life and enter on a great learning experience – El Camino.


Links to website for more about the movie, and for DVD:



For my own articles on El Camino, at Leya, click here:

El Camino

Buen Camino

Santiago de Compostela

Oh, joy!…/art/316349/hund_kan_springa_igen_tack_var/

Det här klippet är ett måste - av många anledningar. 
Jag är inte så glad åt rullstolar för hundar till exempel - 
men det här är fullständigt underbart.
Se hur lycklig han är, Derby!

Travel theme: Meeting Places

Ailsa’s Meeting Places is a real treat – now we can find places to meet in reality – and virtually – all over the world!


And then like my dreams, A memoir – review

And then like my dreams, A memoir.

Margaret Rose Stringer

Freemantle Press, Western Australia, 2013


‘It was, it seems to me, a rather extraordinary love story…That we met at that moment, both in such dire need…’

Boken handlar om Margaret Rose och hennes älskade man, Charles ‘Chic’ Stringer – om deras liv tillsammans. Charles gick bort i lungcancer 2006, och mot slutet får vi följa hennes kamp för att försöka hjälpa Chic igenom den sista svåra tiden. Känslan av vanmakt och otillräcklighet. De fick 31 lyckliga år tillsammans.

Vi får följa med in i den australiensiska filmindustrins 70- och 80-tal, i livet med katter, husbygge, Europaresor och matlagningskonst. M.R. S beledsagar berättelserna med bilder ur det egna albumet, mest Chics foton, han var en av de mest respekterade filmfotograferna i Australien under denna period.

M.R.S berättar om sin besvärliga relation till sin mor och om kärleken till sin far, sin vilda ungdom och svårigheterna att hitta sin plats i livet. Ångest och depression. Den som ”räddar” henne är Charles, ’Chic’, Stringer. En man som älskar henne och förstår henne fullt ut. ” Chic really, really wanted and needed to look after me; and I really, really wanted and needed him to do it.” De två blir beroende av varandra, och när Chic är borta är M.R.S bara en halv människa. ”He was everything. He was life. He was knowledge. He was love.”

Författaren väver skickligt samman parets livshändelser och tar oss med på både inre och yttre resor, där vi bland annat får ta del av den gemensamma passionen för Placido Domingo. Allt med M.R’s drastiska, humoristiska, klara och direkta röst. Denna ’memoir’ är nog den mest genuina och äkta jag läst i genren. Och hon håller stilen hela vägen igenom. Hennes bakgrund inom filmindustrin är tydlig och hon använder sina kunskaper med finess.

Boken är öppet och självutlämnande/självkritiskt skriven i jagform, kryddad med manuskriptlika scener i tredje person. Genom dessa korta, filmiska sekvenser får läsaren en bild av parets jargong i varandras sällskap samtidigt som författaren målar upp mer levande personer – får oss att känna vibrationerna dem emellan. Chic och M.R. Till formen i stort består den av korta, drivna kapitel, vilket tillsammans med övriga ingredienser bidrar till att man har svårt att lägga den ifrån sig.

Boken är en unik och ärlig ’memoir’ om kärlekens himmelska glädje och avgrundsdjupa förtvivlan och sorg. Om våra innersta tankar och drömmar, om vilsenhet i livet och människans tillkortakommanden.

Länkar till parets resor finns på sidan European Travels With a Spouse och M.R. fortsätter skriva med ärlig, brutal humor i sin blogg Margaret-Rose Stringer, staying visible

Boken finns att köpa på adLibris och Bokus bland annat.