11 Feb

Keen Spring


See those gorgeous Magnolias, blooming since early February in Primrose Hill. Meteorological spring doesn’t begin until the 1st of March, but they don’t care. Those pink flowers are a sight for sore eyes and make me happy. Like the Magnolias, I can’t wait for the lovely spring to come with its pastel colours and lovely scent. It’s my favourite time of the year in London.

Late February days; and now, at last, 

Might you have thought that 

Winter’s woe was past; 

So fair the sky was and so soft the air.

–  William Morris

16 May

Spring or summer

Cherry blossomThe warm rays of the sun cover my face and the roses in the garden are blooming. My neighbours call it spring. I call it summer.

Last month I enjoyed the mesmerising beauty of the cherry blossom and magnolias. On the 21st of April 1960, Sylvia Plath wrote in a letter to her mother; ‘They are mowing the lawns everywhere, and the smell of cut grass, plants, and warm earth is delicious. Nothing is so beautiful as England in April’ (Letters Home. Faber, 1990. p.377) I couldn’t agree more.

Near Husavik, Iceland.

Photo: Hörður Jónasson

It was still snowing in Reykjavik earlier this month and up north the snowfall hasn’t quite stopped. The wait for spring in Iceland can be long but when it finally arrives and nature awakens, nothing is more welcome nor celebrated.

14 May

Mesmerised by sheep

10404342_850710088347526_6383692773440495462_nThe Icelandic nation is mesmerised in front of the screens at the moment as The National Icelandic Broadcasting Service (RÚV) has begun its first foray into so-called “Slow TV”, popularized by our cousins in Norway. The Norwegian state broadcaster has in the past had live feeds from f.ex. ferry sailing. The first Icelandic slow tv broadcast is from the annual birthing of lambs. It is being shown live for 24 hours.

 Meanwhile the Icelandic film director Grímur Hákonarson is bringing his new film, Rams, to the Cannes Film Festival. It has been selected for the Un Certain Regard section. Rams is set in a remote Icelandic farming valley, where two brothers who haven’t spoken in 40 years have to come together in order to save what’s dearest to them – their sheep. The film was shot in the remote valley of Bárdardalur in the north of Iceland this past winter. Grímur has told Variety all about it.

 Here in the UK, the news do not focus on rams at the moment. Not exactly. However Nigel Farage and prince Charles have been on the news a lot today. The former leader of UKIP, Farage, doesn’t seem to know if he’s coming or going these days. You can read more about it here.

Prince Charles 27 letters to then Prime Minister Tony Blair and members of his government between September 2004 and March 2005 have been in the spotlight. The question is if the letters influenced the government. The prince obviously cares about farming, cause writing to Mr Blair, he expresses a “growing sense of anxiety” that the Hill Farming Allowance, which supports farmers working on Britain’s uplands, could be scrapped. On the BBC news website you can read more about the letters.