Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Lost for words... (almost)

©Brigitta Huegel


Today I read in BBC News that a Darlington head teacher has asked parents to 'wash and get dressed'. 
She
 "made the appeal after she noticed more and more adults wearing pyjamas at the school gates as well as at meetings and assemblies." 

and:

"Ms Chisholm said the final straw came when parents wore pyjamas to the Christmas show and to recent parents' evenings." 

She even has to explain herself:

""I'm not trying to tell people what to do with their lives, but I just think having a really good role model first thing in the morning, getting yourself up, getting yourself dressed, ready for business, out to school is a really good example to set." 

I am aghast.
Can you imagine how it must be for those children to go with their parents in pyjamas to a Christmas Show?


Saturday, 23 January 2016

Cheers!

©Brigitta Huegel
Dear You, 
the funny thing is, that since almost 3 months I don't drink any alcoholic beverages - (except one glass of champagne at my birthday and a few more on New Year's Eve).
No, I haven't become a teetotaller - it is just that at the moment I don't like to.
Now one of Lennart and Alina's wonderful birthday presents was a cocktail shaker and all other equipments that an amateur barkeeper needs. And the re-issued German cult book by Charles Schumann - yes, yes, he is the beautiful model for Baldessarini -'Separates the men from the boys- "Schumann's Bar". (His bar in Munich was opened in 1982 - a time where in Europe it was difficult to find a classic Bar.)
When I visit L&A, I always look at their chic trolley-table from the Fifties, filled with bottles.
Wonderful - I want to have it! - but then I thought of the effect of films with Humphrey Bogart or Myrna Loy - these actors drink like a fish, and the audience is parched and longs for a cigarette, (though one had given up that vice more than twenty years ago).
I have no fears for L&A, because they always manage to survive the 40 days of Lent not tempted.
Now these days I was invited to the Botschaft des Königreichs der Niederlande, created by Rem Koolhaas and Ellen van Loon - a beautiful modern building!

©Brigitta Huegel

I was also invited into one private apartment. And there I saw it: in the typical male furnishing stood a white glass cabinet - with wonderful old Scotch(es) and other whisky - splendid! A real eye-catcher!
And so I determined to change our parlours a bit to the Yang-side, give it a slightly more male touch. Away, away with those ultra-thin little porcelain cups - in stamped Mr. Laphroaig, Mr. Glenmorangie, Mr. Tanqueray & Co.
Looks very good - and till now they haven't seduced me.
Though: cocktail names like "Ward Eight", "Knockout Cocktail" or "Hurricane" make me a bit mistrustful (not to speak of 'Fallen Angel', 'Zombie' or 'Kamikaze') - when I start to shake I will begin genteel with Claridge, work up (or down - as you see it) to 'Bronx Medium', until I dare to touch the 'Dirty White Mother'.
Cheers! 




Saturday, 16 January 2016

Gratitude

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
I thought for a while before chosing this photo to illustrate "gratitude".
It shows that being grateful is like being a mirror: you notice what is around you, you reflect it - and don't take it just for granted. (Well - the image is a bit wobbly...)
Which we often do instead of being thankful.
When we feel down we sometimes narrow our vision and become unfair: we see only the half-empty glass, only 'poor-little-me'.
Actually I wanted to show here a video with the song of Ralph Mctell, "Streets of London" - but both versions on youtube were - so I think - exploiting and preying on private misfortune, so I choose another video instead, which even as a child I thought of as "pure envy" - the contrary of gratefulness: Peter Sarstedt's song "Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?" Our 'captain' on the narrowboat on the Leeds-Liverpool-Canal, Matti, a musician, could perform it very well - the highlight was the little bitter laugh - ahahaha - in between. But hear yourself - what is the singer accusing the girl of? That she got what they both(!) aimed for - "with burning ambition"?
I hate it when people claim "I can look into your head" - (though nowadays, with all those people shouting their thoughts into their cellphone, we almost can - for a moment).



Back to gratitude: yes,  I write (almost every day) into a Gratitude Journal. I do it in the morning (being a morning person) and recall the blessings of the day before. At least five items.
I always find more.
Sometimes very trivial things - "first little violet opened her eyes - thanks she survived the hard winter!" (I am on good footing with it - so I am allowed to say "her") - or very important things.
The small things predominate - but that is just the trick, the charm: by being able to see that so much beauty and good surrounds you in everyday life one recognises that one must be a very dull person not to notice it.
A French proverb says:
                                          "Gratitude is the heart's memory." 
                                                                                                         So it is.


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

A Toothless Tiger In My Cabinet

©Brigitta Huegel

This morning I read Gwil's poem "That Fruit May Grow Upon Your Trees" on http://poet-in-residence.blogspot.de/. So I took a photo of the little Kumquat on my windowsill - I admire its strength: 10 bulging little fruits, and still 9 to come. 
In the warmer season it is on the balcony - otherwise you might be overpowered by the scent of neroli. 
This morning I woke up incredibly late (for my schedule): 8 o'clock - can't remember that in the last ten years I ever managed to wake up that late. 
And what did I do with my exuberant energy? 
I polished the old silver fruit basket, the silver candle holder (five arms), and a beautiful little blue enamel bowl on a silver foot. 
Ah, and not to forget the little Lady Pistol from the French armourer 'Le Page à Paris' (official armourer of the Dukes of Orléans)  - founded at the beginning of the 18th century.
Don't fear,  I used up my energy in polishing - and: it has a pyrite lock (a bit broken), the cock is artfully recessed into the walnut and ebony wood and needs a whole lock to come out. 
It is just a very beautiful useless antique - and that is good, as I love peace.  
And oranges. 
(...that come all the way from China...)




Sunday, 10 January 2016

What to Do With Heaps of Diaries?

Dear You, 
I started diary writing when I was almost twelve years old. I wrote a lot, and draw for a long time: family life, friends, and school were important (the drawings a bit pale): 


©Brigitta Huegel

Here you see me with my (then) best friend Atie:

©Brigitta Huegel

and little misfortunes as The Curious Incident of the Dog, who mistook our sledge for a tree were described meticulously in word and picture:

©Brigitta Huegel

Atie and I wanted to stay together for all our life, thus I, then 13, was willing to marry her brother, so we would be relatives, Michael was five years older than I and allowed to drive the Merc of his father - here you see an interested young man with a tall, but very young girl:

©Brigitta Huegel

Sorry to say that my family did a lot to sabotage my plans. Long walking tours (with my little sister),

©Brigitta Huegel



Lots of sport:

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel


And then Atie's father was called to Karlsruhe to become a Federal Public Prosecutor, so we wrote each other volumes of letters (with drawings, of course).
I wrote (almost) all my life. So: the question is what to do with all those diaries? Of course I will keep the childhood diaries - and the many ones that I wrote (with lots of quotations) during the time when our son lived at home.
But the others? Even now I still write. And as you see: I have always the intention to "Make it short!", but...  By now there are over 150 diaries. I will think quite a while what I will do with them.
I still remember that I was utterly downcast when my family told me that my great grandmother Anne-Marie von Kroge had written some diaries and that one had fulfilled her last will and put them with her into her coffin. (In my case I would need a mausoleum...)

©Brigitta Huegel



Friday, 8 January 2016

As I promised, Rachel



©Brigitta Huegel

A few days ago I told Rachel, who had published some of her drawings on a wall of her house that it reminded me of a wallpaper I had seen in Kensington Palace.
I had to look through some photos... (glad: the visual brain still works - I took the photograph in 2013 - thought: I do a lot to avoid learning Italian -just kidding, will start in a few minutes, diligently).
This part I absolutely love:


©Brigitta Huegel



Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The Brand New Testament

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
I started this year with fine resolutions, and so I packed many, many photos (2011 - 2014) onto a HDD - to make my computer run quicker. Well - and now I would have to search for a while to find a picture of the "Zoo-Palast" as illustration for 'cinema'. ..
Berlin is snowed in - or do you say: under?  We have two-figure minus Celsius degrees - together with what the BILD-Zeitung (the German equivalent of the SUN) calls "the Russian whip" - ice-cold wind, that makes us all grab our scarves after 10 minutes walk and put them in front of our faces - water running from our eyes... One feels a deep desire to hibernate. And on the radio they tell people who live in villages outside to start two (2!!) hours earlier to get here...
Why I go outside at all?
Well, I had a beautiful birthday present: a cinema card that allows me to visit 12 cinemas (some of them with 4 different cinema halls - and very good films) as often as I want for a whole year!
Yours Truly is in Heaven!
(Guess what I saw today?)