Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Monday, 18 April 2016

"To swan" and "to front out" - Help please!

Dear You,
my silence - sorry - has to do with my work.
At the moment I am working on "New Tricks" (love it!) - and would appreciate your help to translate this:

Brian: "Listen, if we go in there now, we’re the ones breaking the law. The days of swanning into villains’ houses and fronting it out are over, Gerry.” Gerry: “Yeah. You’re right.” (Turns and enters). „I feel 30 years younger. Come on!“

I LOVE Gerry Standing! (Dennis Waterman).
And I understand what Brian says, but what exactly does "swanning/swaning into" mean? (I think: entering a house - without permission - with more than one person?)
And "fronting it out" - does it mean "to sit it out", if a Chief Superintendant tells you, that that was unlawful?
Thank you!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


©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

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Hi, I'm back from Bavaria!

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
You might have noticed that I was (unusually) "silent" for a short time - no comments from me, sorry - but I was away.
And - being on blogspot and Facebook with my real name, I know better than announcing that I will travel for a week or two - because that might bring to life one of the hilarious advices in Rohan Candappa's "Little Book Of WRONG SHUI":

                                                 NICE TO SEE YOU
                                        Attract visitors to your home
                                        by placing stereo, video and
                                        computer equipment where it
                                          can be seen from the road.

So: everything OK, no burglary, thank God.
I visited Son and Daughter-in-Love in Bavaria - and it was marvellous! This time I took the aeroplane (and in Berlin they even searched me at the airport control for explosives - but that's fine with me) - because with the ICE I have to travel more than 8 hours.
And then I had the great joy to see DiL in action as judge (interesting!!) and son as prosecuting attorney (interesting!!).
The controls before entering the court were even more detailed than at the airport ("Good!", I say as a mother and mother-in-law). They took away my "back-combing comb" with the very long needle-like retractable metal handle (sounds like a description by Hyacinth Bucket), and put it into a safe (right they were!) Taking away a paper nail file might be OK... - but this comb is a real weapon - and nobody at any airport ever cared...
So: soon you will hear more.

Ah, and I am glad to welcome a new follower here on my blog!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Discrimination in Seat Allocation!

©Brigitta Huegel

Today I jetted over to London. And was a bit shocked. When I wanted to buy tickets for a show in the West End, they told me that I cannot sit together with husband and son. I will be placed in the middle, husband and son have to sit in the last row. Reason: the seat allocation has changed: shorter people are placed at the front, with taller people towards the back.
That might be reasonable for tall people - so it is OK for husband (1.98m) and son (2.02m) - but I with 1.78m suddenly feel so horribly 'avarage'! I'd like to sue. (Discrimination and compensation for personal suffering).

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter! Buona Pasqua! Fröhliche Ostern!

©Brigitta Huegel
Dear You, 
                                  Happy Easter! 
I told you that each Easter I draw or paint an egg. This year I choose a motive from Winnie-The-Pooh.
Pooh says:              "And that's that. What do we do next?"

Enjoy your holiday - whatever you do next!


Friday, 25 March 2016

Rituals and Renoir

Dear You,
I love rituals. (As long as they don't become obsessive).
Sometimes you have to change them - your son has grown-up and stubbornly refuses to run around and collect hidden Easter-eggs in your garden, aggrivated by the fact that you don't have a garden anymore.
Then there are family traditions that the next generation continues (hurray!): the special Biedermeier-Korinthenbrot (currant bread) I baked for Easter is baked by our son in Bavaria now.  

©Brigitta Huegel

Then there are rituals that stop because a person is no longer there. Very hard for the remaining ones. You have to invent something new, otherwise your heart may break. 
And then there are rituals that emerge by chance, or because you moved to another city. 
Since December I have that wonderful cinema-subscription, which I really use a lot. 
Every month on a Sunday at 11 o'clock they show a documentation about a painter. 
Today (Good Friday is an official holiday in Germany) I saw: 
"Exhibition on Screen - Barnes Foundation: Renoir - Revered and Despised." 
Very interesting - the "despised" refers to his late work, where he was obsessed with fat female buttoms (not utterly rare in old men :-). 
That he was all his life an awful convinced misogynist the critics had to tell me. Not that I care much - I look at his paintings, not the man. 
Well - and my new ritual is: 
after such a film documentation I go to the National Gallery (some days later). And look at the paintings they possess. They had one Goya. And they have three Renoirs (one photo from the catalogue you see above). 
And then I look with "different eyes". 

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Nature's Jewellery

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel

When I have time and the weather permits, I take the underground and soon arrive at Schloss Charlottenburg. Here I can walk through the beautiful Baroque Garden - the first in Germany, and copied from Versailles (I wrote about that in another blog post). And everytime I visit the little island, where, very hidden, you find the bust of Queen Luise of Prussia (1776 - 1810), wife of  King Wilhelm III.
Oh no, I'm not a "fan", far from it - though in her time she was so beloved by people that it was almost a cult - (you find justified critical voices too, one could discuss for hours) - but when I come to the bust I am only interested in the way some "fans" decorate her in accordance with the season. Above you see the "early spring-version" - here you see "summer":

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel