Thursday, 27 March 2014

"You look like a bum!"

"You look like a bum!" my wife said this morning: "You have to dress up now when it is time to interview people. It is a question of respect. You Swedes think you can always be casual, but this is not the case in Britain. Look how everyone is dressing up here for the smallest of things."

She is right. Even though I feel like a bum! After basically sleeping in m clothes throughout this terribly cold winter...yes, all my clothes look really, really over worn out. My shoes, well, the soles have major patches missing a to make up a full sole...all my top hats are done, well, almost everything I have with me here in Britain has had it. But it helps in Moss Side I think! When it is this cold and down right uncomfortable inside, one stops caring about issues like how you look. Not that this has ever been a priority for me, except those years between my divorce and meeting Pam.

Even though I haven´t written for a month, things are developing and we are almost there with needed backing and funds. It is time to invest in new gear, like a Go Pro 3 which was such a success on The Frozen Frontier Expedition. A couple of hard drives, SD-cards, a lamp and, of course, new clothes and such! But the idea is to to do a very light weight Expedition, hoping to get invited to people every night!

I have met a lot of people during the last month and set up a lot of very, very interesting contacts. And I read this interesting article yesterday, Poor Families Hit By Welfare Reform and it sums up most people I meet here in Moss Side. They live in average, a family, on 40 pounds a week, we slogged keeping it on 70, but a family in average use 150 pounds a month on gas and electricity, where we use 60-70, but they don´t get any more warmth then we do, average 4-5 hours a day, because most of their fuel bill is the TV. This is really a rip off system not worthy of a modern society. I have to say, I agree with saying that this government is a disaster for people living here. this bed room tax is the dumbest of all.

The Gym training is going well. But being everything yourself, researcher, film maker and so on, and looking after two girls and being a good husband, almost impossible. I need help. I hope to get going next week, full time, but doubt it. I still have no real idea about the itinerary.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Just a note a normal rainy day in Mosside

I picked up a small chest infection and a cough just a month after arrival in September last year. It is still with me, making it less interesting to wake up each morning. Initially I thought it was stress and discomfort due to our location, I mean, after spending 45 years in the wilderness, hunting and fishing, suddenly not a tree in site, BUT, now when I am really getting to like and appreciate everything Mossideish, I think it probably is...the bloody weather! Today, is the grayest of days, a continuous drizzle...and I admire people here more then ever! Pam told me that a major part of students who come from not as wet and dark countries, suffer depression for the first few months. The weather is such a depressing factor, there´s no doubt about it and I bet, both cough and chest infection, will leave me once I go to a better climate. And, i am thinking about my neighbor Lee, who spends only 10 pounds a month on heating and electricity and spend most of his time in a damp darkness fully dressed. Extra ordinary resilience!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Once I arrived in Mosside I just knew I had to do a documentary about England!

I wrote these lines just before Christmas:

"Right now I am sitting in the kitchen dressed in thermals, a hat, shoes and my down vest. my wife is doing her final job on the Christmas presents together with the girls upstairs. We are all heading for Scotland over Christmas, a journey we look forward to, thanks to an old desert friend, the very kind and generous Mick James and his family who will offer us Scottish highlands and a warm house!

   Our time in Mosside have been extra ordinary interesting! This is considered one of the most densely populated areas in Europe and where we live, we almost speak as much Arabic as English. Mosside also used to be one of the roughest areas of the UK with lot´s of gang violence, drugs and weapons, but this was kind of terminated 2006. But the area is still a landscape of concrete and asphalt, poverty is easy to see and high unemployment. The house we live in is 120 years old, a place where tired families of cotton workers used to live. Not much has changed since those days. There´s no insulation in the house, it is dark, damp and the cold is penetrating. It has been a very challenging time, but gee, how important for the family to get perspective! And people are really welcoming and great!"

It has been a real eye opener and I realize, the England I once remembered from being a child in Buckhurst Hill in the early 70´s has dramatically changed. I need to do a journey by foot to figure out the England of today. A country I think is dramatically different to what most people think. Even to the English themselves.