Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

"Delight"

©Brigitta Huegel
Dear You, 
when at the start of April suddenly all the many, many fountains of Berlin start to spring up again, you know - well - : it's spring!
Above you see the fountain at the Viktoria-Luise-Platz, two streets from our flat.
The Bavarian Quarter has so many fountains on what the builder/designer Haberland 1900 called 'adornment places' (Schmuckplätze), with banks and trees and flowers and green where people lie on. (Not me in April - can hear my mother still: "Don't lie on greens in months with an "R")
(Which reminds me of Rosemary & Thyme: "After eight months with you, I decided I would never again get romantically entangled with a man who pronounced both the r's in February. (...) She smiled as he silently mouthed the words two or three times.")
No, I promised you literature. So here it is: in his marvelous book "DELIGHT" J.B.Priestley mentioned it as the first of one-hundred-and-fourteen delights.

FOUNTAINS. I doubt if ever I saw one, even the smallest, without some tingling of delight. They enchant me in the daytime, when the sunlight ennobles their jets and sprays and turns their scattered drops into diamonds. They enchant me after dark when coloured lights are played on them, and the night rains emeralds, rubies, sapphires. And, best of all, when the last colour is whisked away, and there they are in a dazzling white glory!" 

(This is only the beginning of a fine description that becomes almost philosophical at the end).
And I will end with another photo of another near-by fountain, the Hirschbrunnen (deer-fountain) at the Rudolph-Wilde-Park:

©Brigitta Huegel



26 comments:

  1. I smiled Britta, I thought it was my mum speaking, even if she says, "don't sit in the sun in the months with an 'R'"
    What a delightful poem - from now on I will lookout for fountains' jewellery. Greetings Maria x

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    1. The warnings of mothers, Maria :-) (I know another one: Don't eat oysters in - wait - months with or without 'r'. They looked quite yummy last Friday on the plate of another guest). The fountains here are really interesting because they are absolutely different from each other.

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  2. I suppose there are many fountains in our big cities. I remember so many in New York City. But not readily accessible to most of us, sadly. They are lovely to behold.

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    1. Compared to Hamburg or Bremen or other cities we lived in, here are particularly many. I like the freshness they give to the air on a hot summer day. NY last year was so lovely, too.

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  3. I too love fountains. In Detroit the zoo has a marvelous fountain with the bowl held by bears. Dearborn's library has a large fountain in front. At night it is illuminated by changing colored lights. Gorgeous.

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    1. That fountain with the bears must be loved especially by children, Emma! In hamburg one fountain played to music, up and down in different movements, a water ballet.

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  4. On my recent visit to Barcelona I saw a splendid cascade of fountains at the Museum of the Art of Catalunya.

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    1. I googled it: very impressive and beautiful - and colourful at night! (Which will be warmer than ours now).

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  5. What, only 2 r's in February and all these years I have been pronouncing 3 in the Scottish way.

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    1. I love the Scottish way, verry, verry much!

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  6. At my convent Sister Mary of the Martyrs,the librarian with a lisp, made us pronounce both r's in library.

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    1. On Youtube they even show a video on this remarkable word: "How to say LIBRARY - American English Pronunciation Lesson"

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  7. There's nothing prettier than a beautiful fountain Britta ..... most major cities have some gorgeous ones and I saw a programme once about some amazing Italian fountains but one of my favourites is at Chatsworth House. XXXX

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    1. The fountain of Chatsworth House is so beautiful, as the whole ground! When we were in Rome last autumn, the fountains were great (though they just repaired the famous Trevi - no water).
      The good thing is, that within a walking-distance of 5 - 10 minutes from our flat, I can visit 7 very different fountains. XXXX

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  8. I love a fountain and had one in my garden for ten years, but then it went caput. It was too complicated to have repaired, but I did enjoy its gentle splashing accompaniment whilst sitting in the garden and miss it.

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    1. Rosemary, first thing I did: I looked up if the English language has the word "caput" (in Germany it is 'kaputt'). I didn't find it :-)
      A fountain of ones own in the garden is total bliss - I would miss that too! I only had a bird bath in the center of our garden in Hildesheim, on an old British chimney (I think), where birds splashed and spluttered.

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    2. Yes, I spelt it wrong - in English kaput - i.e broken

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    3. Sorry, I didn't want to point out a mistake - I was really interested in the word "caput". (Our English teacher decades ago insisted that the word "cuddlemuddle" exists in English - we say "Kuddelmuddel" - but I only found muddle - but than: colloquial makes many things useable.

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  9. You know, while I do look for it each year, only with the prompt of your post did I realize that the fountains coming back on are a true sign of spring! One can watch the water dance endlessly, I think. In fact, you remind me of an enormous fountain in Belem (Lisbon) where I stood for a very long time trying to get a good photograph, only to realize, in the end, that it was the constant change and motion that made the fountain so appealing, as it always is. Welcome back from your travels!

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    1. Thank you, Sue - Bavaria was great!
      Photographing fountains is sometimes difficult - I have far better pictures of the one with the golden deer - but couldn't find them. And as you say: it is the movement that makes the picture (thus one very forceful fountain from the Stachus in Munich is a good one).

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  10. I like fountains. There's one on a pool in a wood not far from here that works by gravity - something to do with an underground stream that flows down hill. Every few minutes enough pressure builds up for it to work briefly. It's enchanting to wait and watch.

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    1. That sounds fascinating! The anticipation is half of the pleasure, I think.

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  11. From the first fountain I saw as a little boy, they have always stirred something in my mind --the ideas that rise into the mind from hidden mechanisms. They remind me to always be astonished.

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    1. Which is the secret of being young,Geo. - being astonished and not taking things for granted.
      If I remember I will translate a special poem by Gottfried Keller about a fountain on Happiness (but it must be June at least).

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  12. We have a wonderful fountain in Leicester city outside the town hall. It has bronze lions with wings and has been there since the late 1800's. Alas no fountain in my garden - shame as I love the sound of running water.

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    1. Dear Elaine, thank you for finding time to comment - in all the chaos that you have to bring into order - I often think of you!
      I looked at the fountain pictures on Google: very, very impressive these lions, and the whole fountain!

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