Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Beautiful AND Useful

I thought about Cro's post 'using the valuable antique breadknife". I use a few things which haughtily believe that they should be standing cherished in a vitrine :-)
Here is my lovely Sheffield Grapefruit-cutter-set:

©Brigitta Huegel

The case is made of brown reptile-skin (maybe not allowed to be sold today) - inside beautiful off-white silk and a funny little device in dark-blue velvet to keep the knife in place. The knife has a Faux Bone handle, the slim spoons are Silver Sheffield and of excellent use even if you don't cut the grapefruit before, because they have little 'teeth' on one side.
But I do cut the fruit - always.
I, then being very young, was so impressed when at breakfast they served us the cut grapefruit in Gosford Hall Inn - a beautiful listed hotel in Cumbria (now 350 years old), - we were there in 1976 - coming back from Scotland in our old blue Merc (1969 with tail fin). Coming home (to Mainz then), I cut a grapefruit every day myself.
I don't know when the grapefruit-cutter was made - maybe around 1940 or the beginning fifties?
Anyway: they are beautiful AND useful - thus I use them.
Every morning.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

In Olden Times, When Wishing Still Helped...

©Brigitta Huegel

This morning I woke up (early as usual) and thought about fairy tales.

- Those I liked - the funny ones as "The Town Musicians of Bremen" (and that not only because I come from Bremen - no, even as I child I thought that their motto "You can always find something better than death!" might come useful some day :-)
- Those I disliked - the sad ones as "Little Brother and Little Sister" (even the beginning is heartbreaking!)
- those I had mixed feelings about - as "The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich" - I remember that I utterly detested that blackmailing frog ("..but if you will love me and accept me as a companion and playmate, and let me ... sleep in your bed" - hahaha), but was very much impressed by the fidelity of the Iron Heinrich ("Heinerich, the carriage is breaking apart!" "No, my Lord, the carriage it's not/ But one of the bands surrounding my heart...") and that I thought it just, but very strict of the King to say "What you have promised, you must keep".
I internalised that, (if necessary I forgo of my golden ball, if the price is a disgusting frog in my bed - till today I am unwilling to listen to their croaking that they are beautiful Princes under a spell) - and do only promise what I can keep.
And expect others to do the same.
Which shows that I am still very naively believing in fairy-tales :-) - but, on the other hand, have a streak of pragmatic realism too.

What really interests me: which were your favourite (or disliked) fairy tales? 

If you want to read them again:
- "The Town Musicians of Bremen" (great for old age optimism - after a little shock in the beginning)
- "Little Brother and Little Sister"
- The Frog King, or the Iron Heinrich"

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Thank You All, My Blogger-Mates!

©Brigitta Huegel

I know that this year I was a bit unproductive in the blogger-world (I had a lot of other things on my plate, sorry).
But I want to thank you all for making my life richer: by reading your blogs, smile, getting ideas (thank you Elaine for the tip about the Christmas book - you see: I've got it!), lending an ear.
I hope that at least December will see more input of mine here.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The Agony of Choice, Mr. Karl Lagerfeld

©Brigitta Huegel

Yesterday I saw this "KARLBOX" presented in the KaDeWe in Berlin. Hundreds of beautiful colour pencils, crayons and pencils. For the astronomically modest price of 2.500 Euro
Every real artist - Rachel, Tom and Cro know that of course - needs good 'tools', and they have their price, but even a layman as I know that you mix most of your colour hues yourself - with a lot less pencils than those 72 in my Faber Castell Artists' Watercolour Pencils box

©Brigitta Huegel

When I stand in a drugstore in front of a shelf of 100 cream jars all promising everything under the sun - and we all know that in the end it all comes down to oil & water! - it happens that I walk out of the drugstore without buying anything. 

An overload of choice, scientists found out, stands in no correlation to happiness - it produces - and do I really need a scientist to tell me this? - STRESS
So: it is nice to have choice. But not too much. 
Because the most important 'things' you can't buy anyway: creativity and discipline and talent and inclination to work really hard for success. (And a little pinch of luck). 

The funniest thing, Mr. Lagerfeld, is, that YOU prefer BLACK. 
Which reminds me of a passage in a German children's book, König Mauzenberger: eagerly the King (Cat) mixed all the beautiful colours he had in his new paintbox. The result: 
Karl's Black. Single-coloured, monochrome, plaincoloured BROWN

Monday, 31 October 2016

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Berlin in Five Minutes - SWEET!

©Brigitta Huegel
Dear You, 
You came over by aeroplane to Berlin. You are in a hurry, maybe you have to attend a conference - so there is not much time for sight-seeing?
Here is my sweet solution!
In 1918 the family "Wilhelm Rausch jun." started to produce chocolate for their "Private-Confiserie". .  Just follow your nose - the scent of chocolate - and lots of people - hurry to the Gendarmen-Markt in Berlin Mitte. Open the door to the biggest chocolate shop paradise of the world.
And here you can see (almost) all important buildings in five minutes -  created in chocolate!

The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche:  

©Brigitta Huegel

The Reichstag:  

©Brigitta Huegel

 The Berlin TV Tower: 

©Brigitta Huegel

The Brandenburger Tor:  

©Brigitta Huegel

But be careful and don't overeat, 

©Brigitta Huegel

though you might be tempted (this is only a little snippet of the truffle section): 

©Brigitta Huegel

The results of too much indulgence you see here - the Berliner Bär could not resist! 

©Brigitta Huegel

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain..."  

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Patience... Solitaire...Banana Solitaire...

I'm not blessed with it. PATIENCE , I mean. 
At the moment I take "Patience" - that's how we call your "Solitaire" - literally, and try to learn the game.  
For a long, long time I regarded it as an utter waste of time - the voices of my late parents urged me to do "something meaningful" instead.(I still have difficulties to watch TV in the afternoon!). 
But better late than never I try to free myself.  
I take small steps, patiently. On my own.  
Though Bananagrams, which, after Amelia Bullmore (wonderful DCI Gill Murray in Scott&Bailey) mentioned it in an interview, I ordered impatiently (the English version of course - and please don't laugh at my humble attempts) is even more to my gusto: 

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves" as our poet Rainer Maria Rilke said in "Letters to a Young Poet". 

I'll try. Have BUNCHes of them. Questions BANANAS!!! 

144 files for a Bananagram Solitaire. 

PATIENCE!! (Otherwise you go bananas)