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

Monday, 2 June 2014

A Call from the Muddler's Button Collection

Britta Huegel

Dear You,
what you see in the photo above is just one third of the things (here the books I took to Berlin) I had to move...
I suspect that the many sleep-disturbed nights (I told you some time ago that I made a big mistake when I exchanged two rooms, having overlooked - or underestimated - the 'elf' with the gruesome smoker's hack and her night-thumping husband above our heads) have made me edgy and losing perspective - so I blew up some more or less petty little incidents into major issues and moaned (publicly - Fie! Fie!) - but I was really sleep-deprived. (Husband is better off: his hearing gets a bit weaker - mine is still that of a bat).
But finally I sat down and thought really hard about it.
And reminded myself  of Hill's Law No.7: When you have made a mistake (which I had by exchanging the rooms), there is no need to stubbornly hang on to it. (It's just my foolish pride..). Yes, Bob Dylan sang especially for me:
Well, the moral of the story,
The moral of this song,
Is simply that one should never be
Where one does not belong.
So when you see your neighbor carryin' somethin',
Help him with his load,
And don't go mistaking Paradise
For that home across the road.

Wrong! I grumbled (still over-tired). I need someone to carry my load! 
So I bit the bullet, and phoned the removal men. In Berlin they are known for their humour.
"Oh, we do know exactly where to put the furniture", they sniggered, "you can go and drink an espresso, my dear." 
Well - I stayed. Had to do a lot before (see above), and after. It is a mystery how much is hiding in seemingly fragile-looking slim cupboards. And on bookshelves. (Once again I found out that I seem to fear a total shortage of paper: I tend to hoard empty notebooks, empty diaries and a lot of watercolours, pens, inks in different colours, and pastels. Lots and lots. The drawers look like the Button Collection the Muddler lost some time ago...)
"We'll be pleased", my removal men said, "when you call us again. In a month or two?? We are athletically trained. Hahaha."  
Now everything looks nice. The balcony is again in front of my writing-table. Good!
And I feel home again - and can sleep (they only thump once or twice every night over my head - I can live with that).
And feel better already.



Thursday, 9 May 2013

Nobody was hurt

Britta Huegel

"Yes - go and make a plan, 
be a bright chap, 
and then make yet another plan, 
both won't work."

said Bertolt Brecht in the Threepenny Opera.
My plan was taking a little stroll to the Charlottenburger Schloss - our Ascension Day was windy, but mostly sunny. And then I saw it: ten minutes ago that tree had crashed down - wrecking two parked cars, but hurting nobody.
So easily plans can be changed. (Note to self: Always leave the house ten minutes later).
I never forget how silly I thought a woman in a TV-show in Baden-Württemberg, who proudly showed her flat to the reporters: "Look here - I thought of everything. The whole flat is disabled-adapted - for the days when I am old." That woman was not a day older than 29 - (it is a long while ago that I saw it - so I could not anticipate the hilarious scene in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", where a couple in England visits such a flat for old people, and the manager proudly shows the emergency button and a handrail on one wall to get there - "Why not put it diagonally through the whole room, if I fall down on the other side?" asks sarcastically the unnerved and still healthy potential buyer.)
No, really: the over-cautiousness is shere fright, the attempt to control everything, so that life might go on forever. But Life is a gloriuos mess. Planning is good - but as Tove Jansson's Snufkin says so wonderful:
"Nothing is stable and sure, nothing is ever really finished or say irrevocable. That is reassuring, isn't it?"

The (Prussian?) gardeners who planted the borders in front of the Schloss might have been afraid (or compulsively orderly) too: 

Britta Huegel


Saturday, 2 March 2013

I am a Mymla!


I do hope for your very own good that you know the Moomin books of Tove Jansson.  
"What?", I hear you say, "Moomins? Aren't they children books?
Yes and no. 
They are the best guide to know people (Tove never drew a character only in black or white). I am convinced everyone of you knows a few Hemulen: 

 "..a great lot of enormous, rollicking, talkative hemulens who went about slapping each other's backs and bursting into gigantic laughs."  "(...) and in their spare time they blew the trombone or threw the hammer, told funny stories and frightened people generally. But they did it all with the best of intentions." 

I am a mymble. A Little My. My mother must have known that from the beginning, look at my hair. 



So Maman did everything to train and tame me. 
But though I became a Lady, I'm a wild one, always preferring Snufkins to Moomintrolls :-)  



"Yes, Moomintroll, always waiting and longing. Moomintroll who sat at home, who waited for him and admired him, and who always told him: Of course you have to feel free. Naturally you must go away. I do understand that you have to be alone at times. 
And all the times his eyes were black with disappointment and no one could help it.  

I was lucky: husband is a hybrid of both, romantic in a very male way. 
I really adored Moomin Mother - that selfless, warm, utterly unselfish broad-hipped creature with the homely apron and always a handbag at her side. But try as I might: I was not her. (And so much homeliness seems to have driven Moomin Papa into this obscure adventure with the Hattifnatts...) 

So: Do you know which of the many little characters of Tove Jansson you are? (Very unlikely that it is "that one, who is living under the sink"). 
Who is fetching his trombone?