Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin
Showing posts with label Art Deco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art Deco. Show all posts

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Fitness versus Cigarettes

In this opulent building, Greater London House, the London Kieser weight training center is housed. (Though, before you get envious green eyes like the cat: it is in the basement).

I think it quite ironical that the building formerly has been The Carreras Cigarette Factory - a huge Art Deco Building in Camden. One brand of cigarettes was The Craven.

"The building's distinctive Egyptian-style ornamentation originally included a solar disc to the Sun-god Ra, two gigantic effigies of black cats flanking the entrance and colourful painted details. When the factory was converted into offices in 1961 the Egyptian detailing was lost, but it was restored during a renovation in the late 1990s" - it's worth reading!

Well, people changed their minds, and now in the upper stores are media and advertisement agencies.

Back in Germany in a month I will have to make a decision:
my membership at Kieser runs out (I have been there now for 7 years, can do the exercises in my sleep, but get good results. They have only weight training).
Additional I have another membership in a posh fitness club around the corner (you can't go there without elaborate make-up :-) - I used it mostly in winter for running on the cross-trainer, when rain, cold and snow made me sit on the sofa instead of walking through Berlin. This club is an Eldorado for almost everything: weight training, aerobic, large swimming pool, Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates - whatever you want. The fee is much higher than Kieser's - though, if you decide to come in the morning between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. it is affordable.
I got a training in different weight machines there the day before yesterday. Went again today, leaving the house at 9 p.m. Coming back I looked at my watch: oooh - 2 1/2 hours... (Kieser takes this time too, with going there by underground, BUT I can come in the afternoon, in the time when my vital spirits have sunk a bit.
My "prime time" for working (with my head, not 'out') is between 7a.m and 12 o'clock. So - if I come home from Elixia tired, take a shower, dress anew - my first 'best time' is gone. The second one will start later.
They tell you to come three times a week.
And now I have to read "Your gym is punk-ass compared to this in the Ukraine!" Look at those pictures!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Today I met HRH Prince Michael of Kent

Britta Huegel

Can you believe it: today I've met HRH Prince Michael of Kent!
I was seeing (professionally for my book: Inspector Morse and Hercule Poirot have an episode playing in this building) an exhibition in Freemasons' Hall in London. This imposing  Art Deco monument was built in 1933, and the United Grand Lodge of England is the governing body of Freemasonary of England, Wales and the Channel Islands.
Today a big meeting took place - you saw a lot of distinguished gentlemen in elegant black suits. Thus we were only allowed to see the remarkable exhibition in the library instead of getting the (free) tour round the building.
But by chance I found a guide: a lovely, very well-informed man who showed me around, and when I asked him he admitted that he was a Freemason himself, and so I learned a lot.  In one display cabinet he showed me "the Lewis"  (I instantly thought of Inspector Morse's sidekick) - an implement used for lifting heavy blocks of stone. It is inserted into the top of the stone and signifies "strength and is the emblem of the eldest son of the mason. When conjoined with the Perfect Ashlaw it symbolises the son supporting the parent. "
The Freemasons do not advertise or make proselytes: you have to ask to be allowed to become a member. And - that was new to me - you can be of any religion (or none - as long as you believe in a Higher Being). I knew that Catholics for a very long time were forebidden by the Pope Clement XII to swear the oath of Freemasonary - if they did, they were excommunicated.
I love the little stories.
In 1730 the German Catholics who intended to join Freemasonary but were not allowed created 'The Order of the Mopses' (Mops is the German word for the dog 'pug' - that was their symbol - and because they had not to swear an oath the Catholic Church could not excommunicate them.
Another very interesting story: 

 Britta Huegel

In 1934, soon after Adolf Hitler's rise of Power, the German Grand Lodge of the Sun in Bayreuth recognised the danger to Freemasonary, because the Nazis hated them and confiscated their property. So they elected the 'Forget-Me-Not" in lieu of the traditional Square and Compass emblem as a mark of identity for Masons (...) - throughout the wholeNazi-era that little blue flower marked a Brother.'
By the way: there are Sisters now too - though in different Lodges.
While the visitor told me these and other interesting facts, he suddenly draw me near him and bowed his head; I thought: 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do' and followed: HRH Prince Michael of Kent, who is the current Grand Master of the Mark Master Masons had entered the room, followed by two High Masons, and he smiled at us, then disappeared in the Grand Hall.

For more information see: