Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

First time EVER that I ...

 ... missed a train! 

"My" Bavarian village owns a luxury item: a little red train which comes every half hour with a loud "Tooooot!" Here you see the station one village further - with two tracks and two platforms - while we have only one track and one platform - and the Flying Dutchman's standard joke is "Remember: departure from Track 1!" 

The trip from Nürnberg to Berlin is quick: I can use the super-version of the ICE, the "sprinter", which sometimes makes 300 km/h - at it's best it needs only 2 hours and 50 minutes for 379 kilometres. 
(The fly in the ointment: to get to my village the little red train needs about 25 minutes for about 25 kilometres, ok - but I have to wait for it in Nürnberg 56 minutes! Almost an hour!) 

Well - another Buddhist lesson in acceptance and serenity. 

My father trained me to become a traveler of the punctual sort (success!) and the relaxed nonchalant sort (dead loss!) - he always (!) walked with me along the whole waiting train, outside! - to find a "better compartment". As you might have noticed children are often very anxious "to get in" and push and shove. So: sorry but my father's educational method to steel my girlish nerves were not successful. But:  
Never in my life I missed a train. 

But here, where the station is only 5 minutes away from my lodging: IT happened - I missed it! 
I was awake so early, prepared my apartment for a happy return, even had a nonchalant chat with my neighbour - and went, without hurry. 
At the foot of the hill I saw the little red train. It seemed to wait. (Village-kindness!) 
Strange, I thought - must be going into the other direction. It is too early. 

No! I was too late! 

The battery of my smart little ( analog) Longine wristwatch which I love so much that I only seldom look at the digital fitness clock on my right arm had run low...  

Sunday, 18 July 2021



From Bavaria to Berlin, from Berlin to the Netherlands, then back to Berlin, and now Bavaria again. 

After wearing "The Mask" from Schiphol to Berlin (and then in the public transport the S-Bahn) - meaning 7 !!! hours without a break, my head felt like the photo above - muddy, even the next day I wasn't completely "there". 

But am now: here

Bathing in nature and calm. Wide view. 

Though I enjoyed the Big City too. 

Monday, 21 June 2021

The Day I got Lost (slightly revised)

A few months ago, during the height of Covid-19-time, I bought a wonderful edition of the fairy-tales of Die Gebrüder Grimm. Might have been the same longing that brought many people to start examining the family history - fairy tales might be a bit as the family history of a nation. 

The Gebrüder Grimm started to collect those tales from 1819 on - writing up what was only told verbatim - and endangered to get lost. They didn't add anything themselves, and we have to be thankful for their great work. 

Fairy tales are for children, we often think - especially when you know only the sweet Disney movies. But a long long time ago, when mankind told these stories around open hearths or at the spinning wheel on long winter evenings, they were cultural transmission. 

Some fairy tales are outright cruel. Some are not easy to understand. As a child I only loved those with a happy end, those which made me laugh. But now I see that a lot more of the wisdom of those tales is stored inside me. 

What I esteem: the fairytales taught children - different from nowadays overprotective helicopter parents (no chance to become that with triplets!) - that the world is a colourful but not always a peaceful place, that not all people are interested in that Unique Sweet Child, as lovely and pure as it might be, and that the world sometimes is not fair, although fairy tales also often tell you that virtue is rewarded. 

One of my favourite fairy tales are "The Bremer Stadtmusikanten" (The Town Musicians of Bremen) - its gems for living-on is : "Something better than Death you will always be table to find."  I'll drink to that! 

Now to my adventure of getting lost: 

"In the Olden Days when wishing still has helped..." (so fairy tales often begin) - so, in my modern language: the day before yesterday, I went to the next town by train to buy some bread, and, the weather being hot and beautiful, decided to walk back to the little village where I live now. 

I knew that were about 3 km, and I knew the way. 

So our Heroine started - with wonderful fresh bread and no stones in her knapsack. 

Two times she asked Friendly Strangers if she was still walking into the right direction - learning by a bit muddled advice how to be quicker on another route. She walked on confident.  

When suddenly the road went uphill, she started to wonder. Having a good sense of locality, why did she go further up, knowing that the little village nestled into a valley? 

After a while she saw an ugly Old Woman, accompanied by three barking dogs, coming out of the woods, and she asked her: "Is this the way to Arcadevillage?

"Yes, my dear! Just go through that wood and you will be right there!

Our Heroine overlooked that strange glint in those eyes, didn't notice the cackling and was afraid of those Cerberous dogs.  

WELL...   This was what followed: 


After about seven miles through the wood and then many oven-hot dry fields she finally reached home. 

"And if she hasn't died she is still alive".  (Oh yes, she is!

After a few deep breaths she looked up (and I swear it is the truth and nothing but the truth) the name of that wood and that little river. It is: 

                                                               Devil's Ditch.   


Saturday, 19 June 2021

Morning Fog and Name-dropping


Another very hot day will unfold - the last two days we had temperatures of 34° C, which make you feel as being clad into hot blankets. 

In the early morning mist rises from the meadows on the low ground near the little river. It is always a stunning sight.                                                   

So: No walk with the triplets' electro mobile - but I brought two watering cans, thus we spent a very vivid and wet afternoon in the garden - little hands slided into the cans, discovered how to splash fountains - and the sun dried the clothes at once. 

I wonder how I shall name the triplets here - to respect their privacy. They have very beautiful names (and each of them has three - fortunately we only use one, otherwise they would be up and away while we stand around and call them :-) 

Elizabeth von Arnim called hers fictional "April, May and June". Might bring confusion to the readers, especially in months with the same name? 

Maybe I call them by the name of the Three Graces: Euphrosyne, Thalia and Aglaia - but Euphrosyne is a bit long - and my son detests abbreviations...  

So: I will call the unidentical triplet "Igel", which she choose very early to name herself, meaning hedgehog - in the beginning her abundant hair stood away from the head in little spikes; so she heard it very often. Now the spikes changed into a sort of long curls.The uniovular call her "Igel" too. 

The first uniovular triplet calls herself "Ada" (which I adore!). 

The second uniovular, who is very determined and fearless, has the name of a strong Nordic goddess - the name is short so she can pronounce it almost correct. She is the third of the Three Graces, Aglaia- so I will call her Glaia.  

Igel, Ada and Glaia -time will show if that fits. 

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Nature's Mysteries


Now that I have Internet in Bavaria, I can come into contact with the world again. 
I am here since almost three weeks - the Flying Dutchman left a few days ago, and I try to arrange the last (the last?? Hahaha) equipments for my second, very rural domicile. 

With the triplets we do very long walks - WE walk (most often my Daughter in Love and I), the triplets are riding in a fashionable electro mobile, motor necessary because here are steep hills, sometimes with a gradient over 9%. 
When I say long walks I am speaking of 10 - 13 km, and those very often in the sun - because around 14 o'clock the triplets shall sleep, which they do in that mobile. 

And I enjoy the beautiful nature here. See so many plants I know - but now I came upon something (with no time to make good photos - first time on May 30) that made me fall back for a second: WHAT IS THAT? on a lake? 

Second time we went by I also had no time (the electro mobile runs fast) - but I managed a snapshot, the flowers no longer in abundance - and which my Apps did not recognise - I use PlantNet, Andy Green and Flora Incognita. 

Do you know what that is? Thank you for your help! 

PS:  I've found it! (I think...): 
        It might be ALISMA - maybe lanceolatum, or Alisma gramineum.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

A Sign of Life


Dear You,

just a sign of life: this is the view from my new domicile in Bavaria - isn't it ravishing? 

At the moment I am back in Berlin: I got the offer for my first Biontec shot two days ago, and thought that so important that I entered the ICE and will stay here for a few day. Hustle and bustle - but also 

                                                            Joie de vivre!

Monday, 29 March 2021

(Britta)'s On The Road Again


Dear You, 

I haven't use the photo above (which I took years ago at V&A) for a long time, and you know why. 

But now, despite the lockdown-lethargy, I am in the middle of an adventure. 

At the beginning of 2021 I decided that I do not like to feel remote-controlled. 

So, after having not seen the triplets since February 2020 (!) I acted: I had luck to rent an apartment in the village where Son, my Daughter-in-love and the triplets live. To be precise: it was my DiL who told me that the apartment was there to be rented, one street away from their house. 

I thought: "OK - at least it is far enough away that one has to put on a jacket to visit each other".  I don't want to intrude into a family - though welcomed and hopefully able to really help with three vivid little girls, no longer the babies I saw last year but little children who run around, start to speak - and love to lie on the ground and "read" a book. 

I rented without having seen the apartment except on photos - (though Son went and looked at it once). 

I keep my huge apartment in Berlin - by now I know myself: I am a city-girl. 

I could buy the whole kitchen including all machines; and a good-looking big wardrobe in the bedroom. Yet the van the caretaker and his son filled today with the sofa, the bicycle, ten moving boxes and a lot of other things is full - tomorrow I will manage to climb inside, and then we three drive to Bavaria. 


The janitor and his son are part-time knights - living in medieval tents, being able to fight with real swords, and hunt with real bow and arrow, so I see it as a sort of crusade: 

Time to fight the dragon Corona, time to move again. 

Wish me luck - and forgive me if you do not get comments at the moment: for some time I will have no Internet, though after five days quarantine I will try to get a connection to you in the house of Son&DiL. 

On my smartphone I can see your comments (and will find out, how I can read your blogs too). 

So: Toodle pip!