Monstrous selfishness and cruelty

For various reasons I'll try to describe today's events in English, though I fear that I'm far too upset to depict them in a clear and explicit way.

I have since Christmas Eve spent almost all of my days trying to help the two Ghanaian men that for a fortnight stayed in our local train station. I trust you have all read about them in the newspapers. I was so indignant over how the imperfections in our systeme affects immigrants and foreign labour, so I made it my mission to help them. 
I have desperately tried to find employment for them -- I have thus spent hours and days on the phone trying to find out
1. how the systeme works
2. what rules that apply to their situation
3. how they can be employed
4. how the social welfare office and their rules work
5. how the tax office and their rules work
6. if any company has any kind of job for them

Yesterday I finally had a miraculous breakthrough -- my relief and happiness had no limits!
I came in contact with an elderly couple that own a dairy farm, and due to resent surgery and illness they were in desperate need of help at the farm. They had posted an ad on the jobcentre's homepage and I replied. The wife was relieved to hear that Joseph and Kobina were able to start at such short notice and that they would live at their farm. It was the perfect solution for everyone. She told me that they at the moment are short of cash, but that they will have some financial issues solved later this week and in March. As they are not to pay Joseph's and Kobina's salary in advance this was not a problem. The money would be there later on when the salary are to be payed. Also, the salary would not be very high to begin with, because they need a period of acclamatization and learning, and a part of the salary would be the free bed and board.
We agreed that I would print out the right forms for employing immigrants and bring these today when I drove Joseph and Kobina up there. I would then promptly send the forms in to the Migration Board for a speedy handling and decision. Everything was very clear and we had talked about every little detail.
Joseph and Kobina were of course immensely happy! It was not easy for them to get any sleep this last night in their temporary quarters.

Lasses Matstuga has since Christmas helped the men by letting them eat for free at their restaurant. Today they contributed even more by lending me their car, so that I could drive the men up to the farm which was situated a fair bit out of town. I let the farmers know that we were on our way, packed the car with all of the men's stuff and off we went. During the drive out to the farm we were all three in the very best of spirits and the atmosphere was happy and cheerful. We talked about all the things they would do and learn, how lovely it would be for them to work with animals and how varied their working days would be.

Not even in my wildest dreams could I have anticipated what then happened. No way I could have thought that people could be so increadibly self-centred, inconsiderate or cruel.

As soon as we entered their kitchen and saw the state of both the house and the couple I immediately knew something was not right and that this would not end well. It was no more than five minutes before I knew that this whole thing had back-fired on us.
The couple told us that they under no circumstances could pay the social fees for Kobina and Joseph; they wanted them to work for a little pocket money, board and lodging and they strongly objected to filling in any forms. They expected these men to work illegally with no papers and no security at all. 
I asked how they could find it in their hearts to NOT tell us this BEFORE we left Sundsvall, if they really did not understand how utterly disappointing and devastating this would be to these men -- unbelievingly enough the couple did not seem to find this cause for apology or excuse. On the contry actually! They started to explain, vindicate, warrant and justify the way they had chosen to act. They had thought that once we were there they could talk us into some kind of cheap deal. Outrageous!!! And these people are practising catholics and call themselves christian!!!
The couple were surprised and upset that we did not agree to the terms. They claimed that they had not had a vacation for 12 years and went on and on about how hard they as farmers had to work for practically no money -- I could not help but ask them how in God's name they could expect OTHERS to work for nothing, when they did not like it themselves. This direct and blunt question obviously stunned them, but they had no other reply than their continous whining and grumbling over low income, welfare to people that ought to be working and other things they felt were unfair. I could hardly believe my ears.  

Appalled, disappointed and upset we left the farm and returned to Sundsvall. Kobina and Joseph are devastated and extremely sad. And there is nothing I can say nor do to comfort or reassure them. I feel completely lost and drained. Back to square one...  :(
How Kobina and Joseph feel I cannot even begin to understand and I feel so sorry for them!!

Lily Allen's song with lyrics

I am sitting here listening to music and trying to pick the right tracks for this seasons gym classes.
This is tiring and time-consuming work, but once it's done there's a whole autumn's marvellous, sweaty and enjoyable training to take part and delight in.

Among many, many other songs that I listen to and find stirring and that makes me want to exercise is this one by Lily Allen. I find that it makes me smile and move. I also very much like its message. However -- I don't think the attenders of my gym classes would approve if I used it. Its refrain is a bit too offensive which is a shame, 'cause the rest of the lyrics are really great!! Personally I choose not to listen to the words in the refrain, but instead smile and dance around my kitchen singing the rest of the song.

Why I like it?? Well I think that, with the exception of the refrain and one or two parts of the verses, it is very Centre partyish.  :D

Busy busy busy - but great fun fun fun

As our campaign work is getting more and more intense, I find myself spending less and less time with my friends and family, and my home is more or less just a round-about;
I come in, grab what I need (food, clothes, sleep...) and I'm out the door again.
I see my parents a couple of hours now and then to eat -- they know the empty state of my fridge and that I during this hectic period wouldn't bother to cook. To make sure that I get a proper meal at least a few days a week, they invite me to dinner every second day.
I get there all out of breath, partake of their lovely dinner, watch the news in their livingroom.... and fall asleep in one of their comfy chairs after five mere minutes.

This is one of the places where I spend most of my waking hours -- our HQ in the town centre.

And this is our excellent ombudsman - Jenny - who handles everything from planning campaigns to serving coffee to voters. She is brilliant and an extremely good resource. She is really committed and puts a tremendous many hours per day into her work -- I don't know where we'd be without her. Totally love her!!

Our folders are now at the printing office -- soon to be delivered. First to us and then out to every household in our wards. I happen to be a candidate in a huge ward - one of the largest there is. It'll be a tough job delivering them, but somehow I'll manage... I just will!!! As it happens I have the advantage of having been to training camp with Lib Dems in London, so I know I can do it!! Best foot forward!!

Looking through pictures from London... and wishing I could relive that week

Election is rapidly drawing near and more and more time is consumed by politics. 
It seems as if every waking hour is spent doing political things. 

My home is gradually becoming the spitting image of Alex Castle's and Bob's cars,
i.e. filled with leaflets, brochures and other things that normally would have been put away where they belong.  ;o)

I remember both Bob and Alex telling me how they would like to tidy their cars... if only they had the time, but all waking hours and energy were of course spent doing campaign-work. I so totally understand what they ment! I'm living it this very moment.  :o)

As our campaigne is tightening and getting more focused, I find myself more and more often browsing through the pictures from London and my week with LibDems... and I soooo wish I could relive that week, see everyone again, chat, laugh, sweat and work together again. I look through the pictures over and over again, remembering the energy and atmosphere, re-charging my batteries with memories of their ways and campaign work. If only they were part of my team here -- how great wouldn't that be?!!  :D

Here they are -- my LibDem friends -- in no specific order. Just me being nostalgic and longing for these persons and the wonderful companionship, comradeship, humour and friendly atmosphere they had amongst them...and welcomed me with...   

I want "Bob o'clock", witty and rough humorousness and warm comradeship... I want London here!!! Who the heck decided to place London and Sweden so far apart?  ;o)

Midsummer Celebration 2010

This year I managed to persuade my dear parents to come along up to the festivities at the North Mountain (Norra Berget). We had a marvellous day with great weather! Contrary to the weather forecast, which had predicted rain, we had a lovely sunny and warm day.
We spent the day exploring all the ancient houses, the herb garden, all the little booths where people sold all kinds of interesting things -- home-made goat's cheese, chocolate, candy and the thin unleavened bread that is so typical for this part of Sweden  -- and later daddy treated us to Belgian waffles, jam, wipped cream and coffee. Yummie!!!!
Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera, so these pictures are a loan from the Internet, but that is just as well, because had I taken them myself that day there would have been people everywhere in front of my lens. There were more people there than I have ever seen there before -- a bit like ants on an ant-hill.    

This house is the so called Torpsgården. Both its interiour and exteriour is very similar to one of the houses at the old 18th century farm where my father, and of course later also I, grew up. 

The broad planks in the floor, the painted walls, the spinningwheel, the little stool and the other peaces of furniture -- it all looks like where I grew up and very much feels like home to me and my parents. A weird feeling to stand there listening to the guide telling all the tourists about it all.

The yarn bobbin, the loom, the cradle, the old wooden swing, the old bed in the next room, the furniture and the door -- they are more or less exact replicas from my childhood.

The big dining-room where also dancing and banquets were held.

The old water-driven sawmill.

The large hay-drying rack.

A smaller version of hay-drying rack.

These last two pictures I managed to take with my cellphone (its memory card is regrettably not what I would want it to be), so that I would at least have a couple of photos from our Midsummer celebration at the mountain.

When the rising of the maypole and the traditional dancing around it was over, people started to pack their things and go home, and we of course did the same.

My dear mum and dad! They are as much in love today as they were when they were young! Wonderful role models!! And I love them!!!  :o)

At Last - A Lovely Hot And Sunny Day

Finally sun in Alanya again!!!!  :o)
Yesterday afternoon and evening we had heavy rains and thunder, and it continued all through the night. We were woken up many times by thunder so strong that it shook the house and made the windows rattle. But to our great relief and joy, this morning we woke up to a clear blue sky -- something that we have only had once since we got here.  

Eager and early we were ready to go to the beach already at 9 o'clock. No sun must be wasted! We then spent many lovely, sunny and sweaty hours in our sun chairs and jumping high waves in the foaming ocean.
Slightly pink -- some body parts more than others -- we returned to our hotel at 1:30 for lunch, and the rest of the day we spent by the pool. This was our last day with sun chairs on the beach, because they are quite expensive to rent and we'd rather spend the money on something else -- preferably something we can bring home.  

This is our hotel pool area by night and we live on the third floor -- our balcony is hugh and is the one to the left up in the left corner of the picture. The bar with the absolutely charming and very friendly stuff is at the bottom corner to the left. We usually pop in there for a Mojito before going to bed... which is exactly what we'll be doing now. 


Unusual Day With Dramatic Sea

Today - our third day here in Alanya - was a very different and unusual day in more than one way.
To begin with we decided to rent sunchairs at the beach, which we have never done before. We figured that we might need shelter from the sun, since we were a bit red here and there. We also thought that we might check the price for renting chairs for a whole week -- if the discount waas good we would  go for it and be comfortable until Sunday afternoon.
When we approached the beach we soon realized that something was very different today -- the sea was making a roaring sound so loud that we could hear it all the way from the Ataturk (the busy main street). As we got down on to the beach we soon saw the hugh waves, high as buildings they thrust themselves on to the beach. The salty sea water was thrown all the way up to the sun chairs. It was magnificent and dramatic, but also quite intimidating.  
Here are a few pictures for you to see:

The sea is rarely this dramatic -- the waves are this high maybe twice or three times a year. People watch, take pictures and stand fascinated by the scenery.

Suddenly a wave hit our sunchairs and wet us through. My towel was so wet it dripped with water.

People - us too - were desperately trying to save their things -- both from floating off with the retreating wave and from getting soaked.

As you can see there is a red flag which means you cannot go into the water. Guards are all over the beach making sure people aren't going in. Standing in the shallow water is alright, but showin disrespect like some and actually getting out and into the waves is not okay. The guards immediately blow their wistles and call them out of the water -- and for a very good reason, I must say.

Homemade lunch at our balcony. Yummie yummie!!!

On our way to Mi Casa Es Tu Casa to have dinner.


Tonight's choice was Chicken Fajita. Very hot and also very nice!

As usual the waiters at Janet's restaurant are dancing and performing in many ways. Very enjoyable!!

And now we're off to bed. The day's been long and we're very tired....

Another nice, tanned and wonderful day here in Turkey.

Good night!


My wonderful week with wonderful people

Though there are things I really should put some effort into doing, (like writing my report to the Swedish Centre Party) I instead choose to spend an hour or so by the computer, because I really want to publish my pictures and tell you about all the fantastic people I met during my stay in London. 
Though my English is a bit rusty and far from perfect, I have promised my British friends to occasionally blog in English, so that they can follow. It is of course no trouble at all, quite the opposite, I assure you! Writing in English also gives me plenty of opportunities to practise my written English, which also has the nice side effect that I obviously will get less rusty and gradually get better at it. 
However, I will have to ask you all to kindly overlook my grammatical, linguistical and spelling errors. Now I'll I pluck up courage and by start writing exposing some of my linguistical shortcomings.
Pleeeease put your kindest and most merciful reading glasses on!  
Here we go!

This is Daniel and Karen Brown. Wonderful generous and lovely people!!! They let me stay at their house and also fed me through the week that I stayed there. I don't think I ever met such nice people before in my life. So warm and welcoming, so friendly, so easy to talk to and to get along with.  

These are their equally lovely and charming daugters - Kathleen, Ruth and Ester. 
Such wonderful, considerate, intelligent and wellbehaved girls. 

One of the lovely daughters actually gave up her room for me to stay in. That was so generous of her! I tried my best to keep my things to one side of the room, so that she should be able to play there, but I'm not sure I succeeded. Anyhow neither she nor her sisters complained though I can understand that having strangers living in your room and your home must be inconveniant and awkward.
I slept like a log under her warm and cosy covers in pink and green, and when I woke up in the morning next to the huge window, I had the most marvellous view over their garden. I lay awake and watched the trees, listened to birds and saw the sun come up. Absolutely lovely!  

Daniel's wonderful and charming wife Karen. One of the most pleasant, likeable and winning persons I've ever met. A truly wonderful person!!  

Daniel texting Bob in the early morning as we were getting ready to leave.
We always left at what Daniel called Bob o'clock which was at 8. We delievered leaflets for a few hours and then they let me off at Neasden HQ, so that I could go out with another team, while they concentrated on doing "councillor things".
Unfortunately I don't have any picture of Bob, which is a shame because he too is such a wonderful, generous and nice person. He put a lot of  time and effort into patiently explaining things to me that I otherwise would have had trouble understanding. I would have loved to introduce him to you, but somehow I forgot to make use of my camera during this week -- very uncharacteristic of me, I know, but I guess I was so preoccupied with what we were doing, that some of the days I just forgot I had it... Maybe Daniel has a picture he can mail me..? I'll ask him and if so, I'll put it here as soon as I get it.   

As soon as Daniel had read this, he immediately sent me a picture of Bob. Thanks a million, Daniel! That's so good and nice of you. 
So this is dear Bob: 


As I said, I would so have liked to have pictures from when Daniel, Bob and I were out delivering, but due to my abscent-mindedness that is not the case. And this is a nice picture of Bob showing his friendly smile and kind eyes.

This is Pete in Neasden HQ. He's one of the first I had contact with before arriving to London. Having his cell phone number on a piece of paper in my pocket made me feel less scared when I very late in the evening started my journey by Easy-bus from Stansted to London. He had kindly offered me that I could call him at any time if I needed help or directions. Luckily I never had to because I somehow managed to get on the very last replacement bus, which took me straight to Preston Road where Daniel had got out of bed to meet me at half past 1 in the morning.

Boy, was I surprised when I finally met Pete on Monday morning!
I had pictured him (why I don't know) as middle aged, stout and grizzled, which he obviously is not
A very pleasant, kind, and most knowledgeable and competent young man!

Behind him on the wall are samples of Lib Dems' leaflets.

Sarah Teather -- Brent's candidate for parliament. She won her seat with great marginal.

The English voting system is weird and nothing like the one we have here in Sweden. Voting for the party you like is not always an option...

... by doing just that you might favour a party you definately don't want to win. A completely inconceivable and stupid system!  

I do hope that Nick Clegg manages to change the voting system, so that future elections will be more fair and just.

Neasden HQ --- A very nice and pleasant young woman whose name I have unfortunately forgotten.

Jack Elliot Beck -- one of the three candidates in Dollis Hill.
I spent quite a lot of time with him and the rest of his team and I must say that they were a terrific team! Funny, generous, considerate and nice to work with. I'd love go back and work with them again in the next election!!  

This is perhaps a better picture of Jack...   :o)

Javaid Ashraf -- one of the other two candidates in the great Dollis Hill Team.

And Alec, whose full name is Alexander Victor Castle. Isn't that a lovely powerful and strong name for a British councillor?

Here Alec spots something further down the street.... it's the Conservative party's candidates. 

They came over to us by the car and chatted for a while. Very friendly and nice people. As one of them said:
- There's no point in not getting acquainted or being un-friendly to one another, since we all will be spending Thursday night together. 
That remark I think shows insight and openness. They reached out a hand... Might also be that they foresaw the outcome of the general election... i.e. they knew that a fruitful cooperation only would be possible if both sides make an effort and try their best to get along. No matter what, I think highly of them for their attempt to make friends. 

Their candidate for parliament, Sachin Rajput. A very nice and friendly chap. 

They kindly posed for me to take their picture. They also tried to get one of their cell phone cameras to work -- they wanted me to take their picture with it -- but with no luck or success. I'll try to find an e-mail addresse to one of them, so that I can mail my picture to them instead.

HQ in Willesdeen on the day of the election -- Thursday 6th of May 2010. Everybody's very busy and there are tons of things to do. Many of the campaigne workers have been out delivering "good morning leaflets" since half past 4 in the morning without a proper breakfast and are running on mere adrenaline. This is truly sincere and devoted campaigne work from which we Swedes have a great deal to learn. 

This nice young woman can also be seen infront of the stage in Brent Town Hall as they declare the winners in the election. (See the clip from youtube I embedded in "En fullständigt underbar, rolig och lärorik vecka".)

Boxes, material, leaflets and things everywhere in the office... but it is a very well organized chaos.

... as you can see also downstairs is crammed with boxes...

A nice and friendly volunteer having a break in HQ while picking up a new stack of leaflets to deliver.

- Now, this is something for you to take a picture of! she laughed and showed me a text on her bundle.

And she's right! This is something that volunteers or campaigne workers in Sweden never meet, since our mail boxes are attached to poles out by the street and not in the doors -- except for flats, but then they are placed a good 60-70 cm up from the floor and with a hinged metall shield covering it on the inside, so that dogs can't reach the postmen's fingers.  

I was both told about and shown evidence of dogs having bitten volunteers and campaigne workers' fingers. Luckily I had no such mishap while delivering leaflets... Mind you, when I think about it, I was actually attacked by a Rotweiler when I was out with Bedri and Richard. It was a most frightful and horrible experience!! The dog was unleached and the owner, whom I could not see, was in his driveway washing his car. I could see the dog spot me from more than three houses away and I could see that its posture changed... it lowered its head and kind of arched its back at the same time as it slowly drew nearer me. I thought that if I just did not make eye contact, it would leave me alone, so I continued walking along the street. All of sudden I could hear the huge dog's claws getting started against the pavement and from the corner of my eye I saw it coming with its upper lip lifted and heard its deep bark. As the enormous dog charged at me I screamed at the top of my lungs and prepared for the pain with the stack of leaflets raised in a vain attempt to protect my head... but by a miracle its owner heard my scream and called for the dog, which had the result that its charge was disrupted. It therefore just charged, barked and jumped at me -- it didn't bite me, thank God, but my knees were weak all afternoon after that, and it took a good half hour for my hands to stop shaking. I have never before seen such a big dog's teeth at such a close range and I will remember the smell of its breath for a very long time.  The owner assured me that she was actually very nice and would never have bitten me, but I am far from convinced...

But now, lets forget about charging dogs and concentrate on something nicer...

... like Louis.... a truly special person! Kind, warm hearted, nice, friendly...

... funny, humorous, witty, humble, respectful...

... easy to talk to, generous, helpful....

... and as you can see much more handsome and good looking than Richard Gere, even though his cap made a mess of his hair and he hasn't shaved. Louis is one of the volunteers that helped the Dollis Hill Team and I very much enjoyed working with him.  

Friendly and homourus Alec together with the rest of the Dollis Hill team at the café next door to HQ as we're having a break with a bite to eat.

And Javaid enjoying his toast...  Javaid is a handsome, clever and witty young man with an extremely good sence of right and wrong. I so admire his moral and his brave way of standing up for what's good and right. He'll go far this nice young man, I assure you!  

At the next table in this small and cosy café sat Jack, his girlfriend Marissa from Germany...

... a nice young man called Dimitrie...

... Jack's friendly father whose name I have unfortunately forgotten...

... and a brilliant and witty young woman whose name I just can not remember right now.

This team -- the Dollis Hill Team -- consists from truly wonderful, special, brilliant, caring, considerate, witty and nice people!! I so much enjoyed working with them and if I could do it all over again I would! But then I would of course change it so that I spent much more time with them!  

The polling station from the outside. They would not let me take a picture inside -- not even from the door. The lady in charge shooed me away like I was a stray dog in her garden.
I followed Alec there to help an old woman who needed a little assistance in getting there and also to place her vote. It looked pretty much like in a Swedish polling station, but the screens/shields were the other way -- here they were placed so that everyone could see the voting person's back and possibly also peek over that person's shoulder. In Sweden they are put so that the voter goes in behind it. Also the ballot papers were different; all parties were represented on the same ballot paper, which is not the case in Sweden where every party has its own ballot paper.

This is the identity pin/badge that got me in to Brent Town Hall at the night of the election.
I don't know how many Swedes that can pride themselves with having been present at the British Election Night, but I'm sure it can't be that many... I for one was truly honored and happy to be there.  
And not only was I allowed in, I also got to participate as a counter for Lib Dems, and that was really really something. It was so exciting, so funny and so interesting!!!
And there was someone, not present, that I would have wanted to share this with and talk to about this, but sadly there was no time or opportunity to do so.... Hopefully he'll read this and know that he was in my thoughts all night.

This picture is taken by one of the photographers in Town Hall -- after the deterrent experience at the polling station I dared not take my camera inside, but the nice photographer sent me a picture instead.
Here I am with Richard and Bedri -- now both councillors in their ward Welsh Harp.
Richard is a wonderful, kind, interesting and knowledgeable person whom I very much enjoyed working with and talking to. I am so glad that he won his seat as a councillor!!! He truly deserves it!!

Thanks a million all of you!! You were all truly amazing and made my visit wonderful and unforgetable!

And at last, but absolutely not least, a greeting from the leader of my party - The Centre party of Sweden - and vice president of Sweden Maud Olofsson to Nick Clegg and all Lib Dems.

I tried to show it in the Lib Dems' room at Town Hall, but the sound wouldn't come out right. Instead I publish it here, so that everyone of you get a chance to see it.
I am very proud of Maud and all the things she has achieved during her time in the Swedish government. She is a truly amazing woman with astonishing political skills and knowledge. A very impressive lady with great charisma!

Daniel, Bob, Dollis Hill Team and Louis -- I am so very greatful to have been given the opportunity to get to know you and spend time with you! You all have a very special place in my heart!!

Testing testing

Oh hello there, all of my mother's english friends. This is Märta-Li, I am her daughter. I am just testing this new category. Thanks for reading.




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