Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Plans versus Trial and Error

Britta Hill

Here in London I found out, that a plan is good - but then one has to be willing to give it up, if necessary.
"It seems to be productive to admit our personal insecurities, instead of merely continuing to pursue the rationalized and standardized approaches", writes the Icelandic artist Olaf Eliasson - proposing experiments as the ideal method for times of uncertainty.
Which I experienced.
How often had I to admit my personal insecurity to find a certain street or building (I will not speak about the different way men and - some, including me - women look at a map - I am only glad that my friend Anne goes unfailingly - AS I - into the wrong direction after looking at a map) - and so I asked people. They were always very friendly and tried to help. Some were so eager to help that they didn't want to admit that they had not the vaguest notion of  where that street was - helpfully they sent me into the wrong direction. (And only once I was a bit angry about it, when I schlepped my heavy suitcase the many steps down to the wrong side of the Underground... otherwise I took it with humour - I had time). 
Interesting, how many, many people didn't know the church behind the corner of their street, (that was my longest Odyssee, to find "The Browning Room" in the St. Marylbone Parish Church. I saw five churches (!) before I finally was there - then the room was closed.
People kindly took out their i-phones to have a look at the map, that helped a lot. Others said: "Really? THERE is Dr. Johnson's House? Gosh - everyday I pass by it, and I've never seen it!"
And today I was looking for Frederik Topolski's 'Memoir of a century' - and couldn't find it. It was near, very near - I could almost feel it... but not see it. Then it was closed for repair.

So I gave up my plan. And had the funniest and most astonishing walk since long. The beauty of the London architecture is so stunning!

Britta Hill

Britta Hill

I found an orchard in containers, then a garden project on the embankment,

Britta Hill

and then I even discovered a garden that was not on my list: I recommend to everybody who is slightly interested in gardens (and in London, near Waterloo Station) - the St. John's Church Garden! Such a bright gardener, with such a keen sense of colour and plant structure! Utterly lovely!
While I was looking at some mosaic containers,

Britta Hill

Britta Hill

a very adventurous looking young man came and asked me: "Do you like it?" "Yes!" I smiled. And he said proudly "I made it!" "How wonderful!" I said, and he told me about the project where young people were giving their time to doing mosaics. Just so.
So: I found out: often, when I wanted to see something desperately and had to search for it for ages, it was either a) shut, like dear Topolski, or b) not worth the trouble - as Dr. Johnson's House: I think they didn't do the exhibition lovingly. This is a simple example:

In Sir John Soane's House, they had put a dried thistle on every chair they wouldn't have you sit on; in Leighton House it were cones - here they just took an old string they found in a glass of pickled onions...
The positive thing I found out:
whenever I let myself drift, followed my instincts, joined the flow - I always found something miraculously, ever.
As our famous German plant breeder and gardener Karl Foerster once said:
""Suchet und ihr werdet noch ganz etwas anderes finden“- 
"Search - and above all you will find something else"

Britta Hill



  1. The Soanes museum in Lincoln Inns Fields is one of my favourite places in London, and right next to the historic lawyer's place as well. If you go there, visit Fountain Court, beneath the Mulberry tree. The RAF church is just over the road, and Somerset House is too. A wonderful area.

    I showed you the hotel where Dr Johnson stayed in Bath, didn't I? I wish I could afford a small flat in London - maybe in Berkley Square....

  2. It was thanks to your recommendation that I went directly in London in the first week of my stay to John Soane's museum, Tom - and I utterly enjoyed it!! And I was in the Royal Court, and Inn's Field, and when last week-end they offered "London Garden Squares", I bought a ticket, saw 9 gardens in 2 days - and had the joy to see not only the Temple Gardens but also to be admitted into the famous dinner hall of the lecturers (I will write about it - I only fear that my followers will eventually take me for a blogging nuisance).
    A small flat in London: oh, I would like that too!!

    1. Just one question (from Columbo), if you are not on my blog list, how come I always find your posts, Ms Hill?

    2. The Case of The Post That Doesn't Show Up in Daytime? My little grey cells worked hard at this problem - I think we are speaking of different lists (Double Identity): you look at the posts on the list 'Blogs I follow', that only you can see via "Design", I speak of 'My Bloglist' that is right beside the recent post a reader will see looking at your site, giving in your blog-address. Elementary, my dear Watson!

    3. I'll think about it tonight...