Charade

This is a movie all about how Audrey Hepburn’s life gets turned upside by a man called Cary Grant.

In the translation department she spent most of her days.

Shooting off french into English all day when a couple of translators started making trouble in the neighbourhood.

She got in one little argument with her family and they were like your moving to your husband’s with all your belongings in Paris.

She pulled up to the house as her marriage license now says as Mrs Lambert I’m entitled to this.

She said Yes I’m a lady of leisure and I don’t need to work anymore!

When her husband died it was such a charade.

But she wanted settle the matter of her now being the widow of the late Charles Lambert.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

This is a television series about the Tudor Monarchy and specifically Henry VIII’s break from Rome to create the Church of England to marry Anne Boleyn and create a male heir. This is based off the series of books that Hilary Mantel wrote about this period in history. She has just written the 3rd and final book in the series so that may be turned into a series by itself. It might be too difficult to change the original series to include this new addition.

This time in British history has been covered many times in book and film as its very memorial to us British. Its the only time one of our monarch’s had 6 wives so its the most standout part of our schooling. The other parts are when we study the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans along with the Anglo Saxon and Viking Invaders.

The earlier Tudors series with Jonathan Rhys Meyers follows pretty much the same script because you can’t change history just to suit your serialisation. For this reason I get kinda bored watching this as you know exactly what is going to happen. The acting is good as we know how to do costume drama but that doesn’t stop me from being uninterested in it. If you know your history like I do then there are no surprises. This is Sunday night drama at its best but since everyday is a Sunday for most of us right now where is the enjoyment factor.

My Indian Odyssey by Vincent Ebrahim

This is another Audible book that I listened to recently after my recent holiday to India. It covers places that I went to like MumbaiDelhi and the Taj Mahal at Agra as well as places that I didn’t go to like Darjeeling and Kolkata. He too went in search of his heritage because his grandfather was Indian.There are many parts to this series as India is such a vast place peopled by so many races, religions and languages.

In the first part he goes to Mumbai and stays in the same hotel as I did – The Taj Mahal Hotel. Here he gets the tour which I wasn’t able to but I didn’t hear anything that I didn’t directly observe while I was there. It gives a little background on the reasons for its construction and some facts and figures about its cost.

Next he goes to the laundry which was on our tour but was cancelled due to Covid 19. It was nice to know about it so I don’t feel like I missed out so much. After that he learns about Parsi food culture by visiting various shops and cafes. I didn’t pick this up from the book Parsis and Zoroastrians but maybe if I had more time then I would have. Afterwards he learns about the Tiffin culture of India. This is fascinating how everyone in Mumbai gets fresh homecooked food for lunch no matter where they are. Its cheap, hygienic and a very sensible idea. Maybe if we borrowed this plan we could all eat healthier in the future. If illiterates in India can manage, we certainly should be able to figure out a next level Graze who deliver snacks by post. We do have packed lunches like the Japanese have Bento boxes so its totally possible.

In each place he goes to he meets the staff or has a guide to get inside knowledge on what its really like to live life in the diverse sprawl that is Mumbai. He also needs a translator because he couldn’t get this information without being able to speak to the locals who don’t always speak or understand English.

I’m looking forward to listening to all of the other parts during my isolation I hope you do too if you decide to download and listen to it as well.

Dovlatov on Netflix

This is a film set in 1970s Russia based on a real life author struggling to get published. It’s in Russian with English subtitles. I love the authenticity this provides and how it correlates with other films I have seen of this era. From what I can remember of when I was previously very interested in Russian films; the 1960’s and 1970’s was a good time for Russian film making as lots of good films that are available on YouTube were made. Since I don’t speak or write Russian here is a list compiled by someone who does

I added this in as a bonus because I like to listen to foreign songs as they tend to be more realistic and you can figure out the gist even though I have no clue what they are saying. Russian songs on YouTube.

As I’m struggling to occupy myself right now due to the enforced isolation; I thought I needed the challenge of watching a Russian program from another era. As you know I love history and languages so why not?

As I sit and write these various articles at different times and moods it reminds me of War and Peace as that’s very clear to me it was written and rewritten several times. It doesn’t flow well in many places to my mind and it appears very disjointed like his own mind and life no doubt. Perhaps that is the beauty that I’m missing. The imperfections as that’s what makes us all real at the end of the day.

It also would be nice if WordPress told you who was reading your blog other than 1 person in Greece reads this etc. Is that the same person all the time? If it’s who I think it is thankyou for the inspiration and recommendations and if it isn’t thankyou anyway for checking out my blog on a regular basis. Thankyou to all the other people who participate in my blog too.

Machines like Me by Ian McEwan

This is an Audible book that I listened to recently while I was on holiday. Listening to an enjoyable story that is engaging makes long road journeys pass so much more quickly!

It’s alternative history based on the fact that Alan Turing wasn’t turned insane by taking oestrogen tablets to cure his homosexual urges. With this in mind we end up with a very different 1980’s. We have advanced sufficiently with AI to build completely life like humans that tests what it is to be human after all. They are an exercise in humanity as it teaches us whether we can accept machines into our lives as equals.

I loved the philosophical debates that Adam engages in with his housemates Charlie and Miranda. I also loved the technical, mathematical and physics details along with the anthropological studies. Adam raises a lot of interesting questions and provokes strong emotions which you wouldn’t expect a machine to be capable of. He is not really a machine though; but a conscious being capable of existing all by himself as along as he has the same comforts were used to like shelter, sleep and fuel.

This is essentially an exploration of the contradictions of being human. This is what every child has to learn and what autistics struggle with greatly. The same things that Adam can’t comprehend are also what we have difficulties with. There is however no real solution to these issues as life is such a messy business.

Best wishes

Angela

Prague

Prague
Prague

The city is absolutely covered in fabulous buildings leading to it being a world UNESCO heritage site so you may be tempted to photograph every single building!

  • This is also a very cultural city which has a 9 museum pass amongst many others that are available which includes
    • National Museum,
      New National Museum
      Museum of Asian, African, American Art
      Antonio Dvorak (composer) Museum (didn’t visit)
      Bedrich Smetana (composer) Museum etc (didn’t visit)
  • to allow you to save even more money in this fairly cheap city. I only found out about on my last day overhearing some other English people who had also just discovered it. They had been to the zoo, the castle, the sex machines museum and the mini golf.
  • There is a big push after spending so much time being ruled by the Austrian Hungarian empire and then the communists to assert a Czech culture. The country has only existed for 30 years and you can watch many videos in the passage between the National Museum and the New National Museum as well as inside them.

    The Astronomical Clock Tower is well renown as being a sight to see but unless you catch it on the hour you miss a lot of its beauty like we did. For a view over the city you can go into the Old Town Hall all the way up to the Tower but we didn’t feel like paying for that so we just climbed up to the third floor.

    The Powder Tower is another place you can enter but I don’t think it’s possible in winter. The Municipal Building next door houses an art exhibition too but it wasn’t modern enough for hubby to want to go look at it.

    The Museum of Miniatures is a place we looked high and low for but it’s not where Google says it is so we consoled ourselves with the Strahov Monastery at the top of the hill.

    St Vilnius Cathedral
    St Vilnius Cathedral

    I went to the Castle as many others do but it’s quite a walk up the hill and if you pay to go up the tower it’s even more exercise as it’s 287 steps! Unfortunately all of the parts of the castle require you to pay to go in and since they mainly contain 15th century art we didn’t want to look at them. We had already been to the Borek Sipek Glass Museum in the bottom of the Dancing House so we knew the style of the renovated interior decor. You can instead look inside the St Vilnius Cathedral and marvel at the multicoloured windows Stained glass window

    Stained glass window

    The oldest bridge Charles Bridge is nearby as is the John Lennon wall notable for its peace protests similar in nature to the Berlin Wall.Vltava river

    Vltava river

    The oldest street in Prague, Celestna which is just before the Central Art Museum, Town Hall and clock contains a brewery which we went to of course, the Chocolate Museum, Steel Creatures Museum and Czech Cubist Museum. I wanted to go to the Cubist museum as well as the Franz Kafka museum and the Communist museum to compare that with Berlin but you have to make compromises based on your shared interests, energy levels and time.Prague at night

    Prague at night

    If you like unusual art visit the Kampa Island Museum which has exhibitions by local artists. These are quite mind bending in what they cover and this seems to be a style of Czech art. There are also installations all around the city by a local artist which include Sigmund Freud hanging from a street side which many people think is a suicide waiting to happen.The wide variety of alcohol available here

    The wide variety of alcohol available here

    Talking of Freud you can visit the Sex Machines Museum but we didn’t think it was worth entering as every museum is a paid ticket.

    There is lots of illusion based museums in Prague but I believe the best one is the Museum of the Senses. This is suitable for children and is based on optical illusions and other tricks of the eye like perspective changes. It’s very hands on with lots of puzzles to solve.Museum of Senses

    Museum of Senses

    When I went to the Central Museum I was able to learn about Salvador Dali and (Andrew Warhola) – Andy Warhol. These were both very famous artists in there time even though Dali was Spanish and Warhol was born in the United States to CzechSlovak parents later on found out to be Carpathian.

    This means that the city also claims a link to Steve Jobs with the Apple Museum through Steve Wosniak. I didn’t manage to visit this one though as there is only so many art galleries and museums you can take in at once.

    I visited the Wow Black Light Theatre show to see a style of theatre unique to Prague. This is suitable for children and since it’s practically language free suitable for all regardless of your linguistic background. It is like going to a neon ballet as it’s told through music, sounds, interpretive dance, costume and sets. It is also interactive too so watch out for the smoke, snow, bubbles, balls and Spiders!

    Another treat for children is to take them to a puppet show as there quite a speciality here but we didn’t feel like indulging in that. Failing that take them to the Lego museum Museum of Steel Creatures, or buy them a chimney cake with ice cream inside.

    In the Museum of Asian, African and American Art it’s Czech founder realised that if you saved a language you saved a culture. Therefore he endeavored along with his contemporaries to get people speaking Czech, to write Czech and to perform using the language.Greek, Czech and English description

    Greek, Czech and English description

    Greek, Czech and English exhibit description

    Greek, Czech and English exhibit description
    Greek, Czech and English museum description

    In the New National Museum there is an exhibition of playbills over the years documenting the change that took place from being based in the German style and just translated into Czech to original works and eventually newer styles as they became available.

    Most of the identity of the Czech people was previously co opted from Germany due to its proximity. So the cuisine is very Bavarian in style. It’s not what I like pork knuckle/knee, sauerkraut and dumplings but they love it so much you get 3 different types in a meal. I avoided it as much as possible as even pork scratchings are completely different here.Beer and espresso martini

    Beer and espresso martini

    The Czechs are not really into craft beer so when you go to places you quite often get very limited choices like you used to in the UK. Mostly you will come across a light beer which I often didn’t think much of but which is much better than the UK version proving Pilsner Urquell/Starpromen doesn’t travel well, dark which were quite tasty, an unfiltered light which was hazy and a mixed or half and half. This was a unique style where they pour in half of the light without the big head that they usually make from the fast pouring style and then half a dark. I didn’t try it but I’m told it’s good and my hubby had 3 one after the other so can’t be that bad.Huge beer glasses

    Huge beer glasses

    We didn’t manage to go to the beer museum surprisingly but we did go to the Monastery by the castle which has the best beer and on a different day to U Fleku which is the oldest brewery. This last one is a bit of a tourist trap because apart from the fact they just hand you out one type of beer or you get introduced to Czech spirits which are like fire water there isn’t much going on. They are Becherovka which is either herbal or there is a cinnamon variety and Slivovice (Plum Brandy). In another pub nearby we tried a variety of beers not found elsewhere like Banana, Nettle, Sour Cherry, coffee and a dessert beer.Flavoured beers

    Flavoured beers

    If you like a cocktail you can visit Crazy Daisy’s which is done in an 18th century style with fancy cocktails and bar equipment but they haven’t quite worked out there concept yet as they want to be all things to all people. An 18th century cocktail bar/club isn’t really a possibility.Espresso martini

    Espresso martini

    We also went to The Alchemists bar (not the museum by the castle) which holds a competition to win about $4k if you get all 12 of the keys from around the city and solve the riddle within 24 hours. Nobody has solved it yet as you need to drink to get the keys so teams are required and since you pick a card you may get the same one.An alchemist cocktail

    An alchemist cocktail

    With such a packed schedule we didn’t get time to shop for crystal or glass which is a famous Czech product, to visit the parks, radio tower, take a river cruise or go north of the river to places like the zoo.The Vltava at night

    The Vltava at night

    One thing to beware of though is that weed is not legal even though you will see it in many shops and in many forms. This is CBD not THC so won’t get you high and may not even contain anything worth spending your money on. The shopkeeper will smile at you if you look interested in it thinking stupid naive tourist. There more than happy to take your money for what is essentially tourist tat.

    It’s also odd that I didn’t hear that much Czech being spoken but I think that’s probably down to the fact that my ear was not accustomed to the sounds of the language. I learnt one word on the first evening I was here dik we (Thankyou) which the hotel waitress told us when we asked and then no more. I heard what seemed like Russian far more from tourists and even occasionally shop keepers. I heard German and French too.

    I didn’t find Czech people particularly welcoming or friendly but then I couldn’t converse with them in anything but English so that’s always a barrier. English is usually the language of money not the heart even though English is not in itself a language known for its warmth. Neither are English people so I guess it shows how German we really are as that’s our origins too.

    The Dodecanese Islands by Dr Michael Scott on This is Greece

    This is the final part of This is Greece with Dr Michael Scott having first visited Northern and Central Greece, Athens, The Peloponnesus area of Greece, and, Cyclades Islands.

    The Dodecanese (12) Islands contain Rhodes which is a fantastic historical island especially for someone like me who has an interest in the Durell family as Laurence lived there writing a book about the island which I’m yet to read. That one was called Reflections of a Marine Venus. You can visit his house Villa Kleobolus while your there too.

    Rhodes was subject to many invasions over the years so it’s been fortified accordingly. It has been ruled by first the Romans then the British as part of the Crusades and the famous knights of St John or the knights hosiptaller, the Venetians spent some time here, it was owned by the Ottomans but they kept the locals ruling and it was later passed on to the Italians before finally gaining there independence.

    Leros is the next stop on the tour but our guide is now an Athenian lady Elenor. There is Byzantine, medieval, Ottoman, Venetian and Italian history here just like Rhodes. Sunsets are of course a big selling point along with churches dating from the knights of St John. If your a film buff you will want to visit the island as it’s the inspiration for the film Guns of Navarone.

    He also travels to Patmos famous for being the place where the biblical book of Revelations was written by St John with many churches dedicated to him, a monastery as well as its many windmills.

    Symi turns up too. St Michael is the patron saint here with a magnificent church dedicated to himself as he is also patron saint of sailors in the Dodecanese.

    As usual with American programs the first and the last are the most interesting with the ones in the middle being mainly composed on second grade material. He even gets other people to do tour guides for you!

    Best wishes

    Angela

    What does Greek have against punctuation?

    This is a clip that a friend of mine posted online with Greek and English plus an auto translation below.

    What confuses me the most when trying to figure out the Greek language is where do you take a breath? There are no commas, semi colons or full stops. There isn’t even any speech marks, exclamation marks or question marks!

    The Greeks also have a love of sentences that start with And. I think this maybe because they are trying to artificially add in punctuation in newspaper articles. It’s very confusing trying to figure out which words belong in which sentence since they run on forever!

    Spanish I think may have the opposite problem of using exclamation marks at the beginning as well as the end. Kind of like the Spanish themselves being very enthusiastic.

    I haven’t learnt sufficient about other languages like Russian yet, to be able to comment properly; but from what I’ve seen far they don’t seem to have the same issues.

    Do you have any issues like this in languages you have learnt?

    Best wishes

    Angela

    The Gift on Netflix (18)

    This is the third program of this name but the one I’m referring to is the 2019 Turkish TV series Atiye not the 2000 or 2015 psychological thriller films.

    This is an interesting looking series of 8 programs about an Ottoman era archeological dig in Anatolia based on a Turkish book and author that has been filmed for Netflix.

    It’s Turkish originally of course but it’s available in English dubbed or you can have English subtitles. I personally find it jarring that when I was streaming it, the American voices are slightly out of sync with the actions. The actors and actresses are vibrant in their movements but since Turkish and English are such different languages it’s never going to look or sound exactly right. I tried turning the sound off and relying on the subtitles but then you lose so much of the program as your reading and not paying attention to what’s going on. If you however download it and put the subtitles on you can concentrate on what’s happening much easier.

    It’s very modern and female forward which I’m surprised about but this is maybe Turkey trying to show to the world that it can live in the 21st century at least in a show that is about abstract art. If I didn’t know that they were speaking Turkish I would have figured it was perhaps another Middle Eastern nation like Israel who have participated in Eurovision each year since the 1980’s.

    Best wishes

    Angela