Thursday, 29 October 2020

Estonian Spy-Thriller 'O2' Tops Box Office

Margus Paju's new film 'O2' had a delayed release date due to the coronavirus, but it hit cinemas on October 9 and is now at the top of the Estonian box office. 'O2' is a spy thriller about an Estonian intelligence officer, who has to track down a mysterious Soviet double agent on the eve of WWII.

Monday, 26 October 2020

Estonia has Europe's lowest 14-day COVID-19 rate

As of today Estonia has the lowest 14-day coronavirus rate in Europe at 41.1 per 100,000 residents. Estonia is also one of just three European countries together with Moldova and Montenegro, where the rate has fallen in the past two weeks.  The highest infection rates in Europe can be found in Belgium and the Czech Republic.

The spread of the coronavirus has been stabilised thanks to the responsible, attentive, and careful behaviour of the people of Estonia, said a representative from the Estonian Health Board. Whilst this is good news for Estonia there are new concerns about the virus. Previously it was thought that a person could not contract the coronavirus twice, that the body builds an immunity to it, but this theory has been dispelled. A handful of people across the globe have been reinfected, The first case was reported in Hong Kong, then Belgium, Ecuador, USA and last week in Estonia. These people tested positive in March then again in September. Immunity only appeared to last 3 - 6 months. Some people reported that their symptoms were more severe the second time round.

So what can we do to protect ourselves while we wait for a vaccine to be approved? Abide by the 2 metre social distancing rule. Don't sit down in a cafe or restaurant where the other table is only 30cm away from you (this is common in Italy and France). Wear a mask in all indoor public places. This should be compulsory in every country of the world yet its not. Crazy. A mask needs to cover both your nose and mouth because if you inhale the virus through your nose it typically goes to your lungs, and if you breath it in through your mouth, it ends up in your stomach. Stomach acids gets rid the virus but if it settles in your lungs, that is when it can be dangerous and you may need to be hospitalised.

Research has revealed a very interesting point about the coronavirus. The vast majority of people who have been hospitalised or have died from the virus were found to be deficient in Vitamin D. This explains a why so many elderly people in care homes have died and even younger people in England. They simple don't get enough sunlight. Health experts have advised people to up their intact of Vitamin D either by spending more time in the sun and/or taking suppliments. As winter nears in the Northern Hemisphere, this advice should be followed more than ever. 

Saturday, 10 October 2020

'Apothecary Melchior' now filming in Tallinn

If you've enjoyed the novels no doubt you'll be keen to see the films but you will have to wait until next year to see the first installment of Apothecary Melchior on the silver screen. Based on the books by Estonian author Indrek Hargla, Apothecary Melchior is a series of seven novels set in medieval Tallinn  during the 15th century. Melchior is a detective pharmacist who suffers from a family curse and only love can save him. The first three novels will be made into feature length films, with the first to be released next autumn.

Film scene from outside Tallinn's Town Hall.
In recent days a lot of filming has also taken place in Aida Tänav.

The Apothecary Melchior novels have been translated into several languages including English.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

100th birthday of Estonian poet Kalju Lepik

Kalju Lepik is considered one of Estonia's greatest poets. Born in Koeru in Järva County he fled to Sweden in 1945 and wrote in exile. During his lifetime he published 13 volumes of poetry, a main theme of his work related to missing his homeland. In honour of his 100th birthday on October 7 a new bronze sculpture has been unveiled in Koeru depicting Lepik as a young boy.

Visitors to the area are encouraged to sit on the boulder to read beside him.

A few works by Kalju Lepik.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

How to know you're a cool Estonian

Estonians are a unique bunch of people. With around a million ethnic Estonians living in Estonia and a further 200,000 scattered across the globe, it's almost like they all belong to an exclusive club.  Estonians are a close-knit nation who are determined to keep culture, traditions and language alive no matter where they live. Estonians may not consider themselves cool but in many ways they are - they know how to live, survive and thrive.

Here are ten ways to identity if you're a cool Estonian.

1.  You use your mobile phone to pay for virtually everything including parking, movie tickets, meals, even your Christmas tree while your're in the state forest.

2. You fly within the Schengen zone without the need of a passport, you simply use your ID card.

3. Can speak English perfectly as a second or third language.

4. You think blue, black and white is an excellent colour combination.

5.  Can identify and name most of the plants and animals in the forest.

6. Know the health benefits of a sauna and have one at least once a week.

7. Use Transferwise for all your international payments.

8.  Don't queue at polling stations. You vote online.

9. You love to sing folk music and are not ashamed to sing out loud.

10. You value and practise tradition despite the temptations and conveniences of modern life.