Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Thank you - and flowers for all of you!


It works!!!
After I tried out all your advices, (and honestly: I do not know which one helped in the end - I saw stars in front of my overworked eyes) - but the result is here:

                                           Google gave me my identity back! 

(I feel a bit as the German philosophy booktitle: "Who am I - and if: how many?")

And I learned something which seems to me to be too profound to be applied only to computers:

"Sometimes it all goes a bit weird for me, but corrects itself later." 

Yes - a metapher for Life!!!!  So:

                                    THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR HELP!  Britta XXX 

Wednesday, 19 September 2018


I wonder (and worry): I answered the comments of Gwil and Rachel - but cannot publish them, and my Google profile is not to be reached (thus I cannot comma on your blogs either). Has anyone here the same problem? And what can I do? Thank you for your help, Britta (hope I can publish this)

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Do less, get more

Yesterday I went to Dussmann in Friedrichstraße - oh no: not a simple bookshop! - it calls itself a "Kulturkaufhaus" - a shop to buy culture, mmmh, mmm, mmh - would be a nice thing for some people in Germany...
It has a special section, the "English Bookshop" - and that most often gives me ideas, and I seldom leave with only one book.
(Nowadays - even if you buy for more than 20 Euros - they give you the book you paid for over the counter, just like that.
Then I put on what I call my Freiherr von Knigge-glance -- very haughty, very severe - and ask: "Will you PLEASE put it into a little paper bag, dear?"
(I had to ask at Peek&Cloppenburg too, where I bought an Armani-dress for summer: they put the dress into my hand and thought that I would walk away with it, just like that!
And if you do not pay attention, they forget to give you the receipt too - I mean: with all the security guards and detectives around: how will you prove you really paid for it??
The book above is a reminder:
spend more time on things you love - and not on chores you think you have to do.

And that reminded me that I love blog-writing (even if I have - as everybody else - little time) - and that I should just try to keep it simple, not being a perfectionist about photos e.g.

So I will give my blog-writing what they call it in modern relationship-babble:


Wednesday, 8 August 2018



It is summer, and it is hot, hot, hot. 

So hot that people wear little nothings - men open their shirts and their huge bellies have the freedom David Hasselhoff was fighting for; and extremely well-nourished women wear mini-shorts, and thousands of them display huge tattoos. 
Everywhere you look at their generously exposed bodies. 

The University of Leipzig estimated that 
19 million people in Germany have Tattoos. (A third of the people under thirty has at least one). 
And these tattoos are not the teeny weeny Chinese ideographs (how come that I first wrote "idiograph"?)
(The photo above I found in a glossy magazine) In Berlin you can admire hole landscapes on legs, arms, shoulders, backs and sometimes even on  faces. 

Tattoos are not without risk. 
Everybody (!EVERYBODY!) in Germany who owns a "starter kit" is allowed to tattoo his victims prey  customers. 
- You risk an aesthetic disaster (just look around!!) 
- You risk your health:  There might be poisonous parts in the colours which are not designed for tattoos, but for car paint (honestly!). 

And if you want to get rid of "I love you, Annicka!" for "I love you, Babette!"? 

Well: You have to pay: sometimes thousands of Euros if her name was a long one (choose Babs instead next time!)

You can a) let somebody cut it out (iiiiih!); or b) let them use chemical etching lotions (ouch!)  or - and that will be the choice of most: c) laser. 

I hope that these three painful methods are used by doctors only. 

So, don't hum Bob Dylan's song "Don't think twice - it's alright!" when you enter my tattoo study --- it might be the wrong song.  
Better hum: 

           "Needles and Pins!"

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Some Cannot Boil an Egg!

I saw it - and I wanted it.

It will save so much space  - and time - and it  looks so cute!“ 

Though I live on 180 square meters, I bought it.
In the Netherlands I had learned The High Art of Boiling an Egg.
Which implies not just boiling- oh no: boiling the egg for precisely 4 and a half minute - after asking  myself: „Am I -  just now - above or below sea level?" How come that at that point I always had to think of M.F.K. Fisher and her fabulous book: „How to Cook a Wolf“ ?
In Berlin I found a few flies in the ointment of my new kitchen device:
- it takes an awful long time
- the outside which you have to touch to stop the high pitched "stop!"-button gets really hot
- AND: it is not only designed for a dwarf´s kitchen (hope that I do not use a political incorrect word - I’m speaking of fairytale dwarfs) - it also needs dwarf fingers (for my 1.78 m I have astonishing little hands, and they are very capable for everything in craftwork),
- no: it also demands utter precision (also no problem for me - for some time I wanted to become a pharmacist because I like using pipettes and tiny scales).

But worst of all: It cannot boil a soft egg!
Golf balls: yes, thank you: here it manages well.
But soft eggs -  whatever I tried - NO.

When comes the day when you ask yourself:
Is it worth all the efforts?

In this case I decided after three weeks: NO!

(PS: Does anyone remember the hype in the Nineties (I think) about „Feng Shui“?
Change your fate by just moving some things around - and if you want a happy partnership, NEVER buy a single item, always (!) buy pairs.
A single-egg-cooker - I am sure - would have meant „bad Feng Shui“, even a thousand years ago.
Though I cannot verify that - I tossed out all my Feng Shui books a long time ago.

As I will do with that cute little egg-boiler!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

A Connoisseur of the Art of Living

The German word "Lebenskünstler" - which  literally means "an artist in/of life" - has no real equivalent in English.
The dictionary offers me "hedonist" and "spiv" and "person who makes the best of things" - but that's not quite "IT".

Well - here you see one of my neihbours (no privacy intruded) - he is a real "artist" in life, meaning he works in varieté and does many, many surprising things with his body (walking on a high rope is only one of it).

And he kows how to live his life in the most creative and happy way.
He does not own much - but he has ideas. Sees chances - and grasps them.

A year ago he put two chairs into the wildernis of our Hinterhof (our absentee landlady does not permit to use it or make a garden out of it).

Then one of the chairs (if you stare hard you might find it at the left side) became what I will call  "the poetic idea of a chair", a mere quote, because  it misses the important part of a chair: the seating surface.
It is very Zen-like, very Buddhistic, this chair!

But our artist used it the other one today - the second chair, which still is sort of ok - and as we have the third day of summer in Berlin (28°C! in mid.May!), and he, different from us, has no balcony - uses the wildernis in a very creative way.

And, as you might have noticed:

He follows the sun!

Friday, 6 April 2018

Houses in Berlin

People buy and buy property in Berlin (as they do in other big cities) - with the result that the prices (and rents) go up like skyrockets...
People think of it as an "investment", they often do not intend to live there, but use it as a holiday flat once or twice a year.
I know rich Italians who did not even come over to look at what they buy - they told their estate-agent what they were looking for and he bought.

They might be in for a big surprise :-)

Oh YES: the beautifully renovated house is right beside the KaDeWe, our imposant top luxury department store. (OK - maybe the estate agent forgot to tell them that from 6 o'clock in the morning the less stylish vans and trucks come and bring fresh goods for the gourmet-floor...)
And it was better that they did not see the house before the renovation, which was done in a surprisingly quick and superficial way by poor people from Poland (or beyond). Who wants to know that it had looked like The Castle of Otranto, or something taken from a Gothic movie...
No - now it has the certain je ne sais-quoi (though ...I do ... know... :-)
And yes: it HAS an elevator.
What they do NOT know is a speciality of many old Berlin houses:
you have to climb many many stairs too reach the first floor - where the elevator starts! -  (if it consoles you: the many many steps are very steep, but made from marble!)
Above I show you the photo I took at my dentist:
I am convinced that some people will need no anesthesia, when they reach the elevator at the first floor... they might be very sedated, utterly numb...

This is the antique elevator:

Nice - really! - but it comes along with a large manual how to use it. ("I never in my life have used it", said the doctor's receptionist and shuddered slightly, and then added in a dark low voice: "You are really courageous!" ) 

I am not courageous, but I am curious. It was a very funny rideI And ended with a heavy bump.
(Yes: I was a bit scared when I had to try and try and try to close the strange doors 'the right way' until  finally I got the old chest moving...

The huge old mirror inside reminded me of those in the funfair, House of Mirrors, where some mirrors draw you thin and tall, or as here: compress you to plump and stout...
But this woman takes up her cross and banishes her vanity ... all in the pursuit of an interesting photo.

And then you are down again (hopefully):

And you stagger down, and step outside, into the lovely sunny spring air, and you see the first blossoms on trees, and you are
                                                            YOU ARE FREE AGAIN!
                                                              YOU ARE OUT!
                                                             BACK TO EARTH!