Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Saturday, 29 December 2012

(They say it's my) Birthday

(Oops! - this pictures was taken five years ago -- and Oops!:  it is the Birthday table of our Son :-) 

Dear You,
thank you for your sweet card! Yes, today, 29th of December, is my Birthday, and I'm happy: I enjoy getting older, though the Jugendwahn/youthmania doesn't make it easy to say "Thank you, but I'm fine" to all these absurd offers from people that have sworn the Hippocratic oath(!) - how much Botox you must have in your brain to believe that this poison will just stay there in the little wrinkle it was injected to and not creep into other parts of your body? The Hiyppocraites shun the correct label botulinum toxin - one of the most dangerous bioweapons, and in Germany under the War Weapon's Control Act; no joke. 
I am glad to be able to say: 
I am happy to be as I am, and I am looking forward to grow (though not around my hips :-). 
I am ready - and willing - for whatever life throws up in the grand mystery, the great adventure of my ongoing life. 
To my 'Facebook friends' who are always asking for my date of birth I quote dear Oscar W.:
 "One should never trust a woman who tells her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell you anything." 
So I keep my mouth shut (without an artificial pout), smile, do my sit ups, am happy and grateful and swear to the most convincing formula for staying young: besides caring for oneself as good as possible the best is being really interested in something outside of ones Own Little Self. 
And enjoy life: YES - we're going to a party, party!!! 


Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas Day

Dear You, 
it's really lovely in Berlin at the moment: the streets are empty and still (the weather turned from -6°C + snow en masse two days before to mild 8°C -  - so everybody is a bit languid). 
Christmas Eve is over - presents are unpacked, joy (and astonishment, sometimes) hold on, and on Christmas Day only the Hausfrau bustles around (now: take that with a grain of salt - quite a few men lend a helping hand  in the kitchen nowadays, though  not all of them as Naked Chefs. But my neighbour on the second floor, the artist, is: I cannot ignore him - and why should I, he looks gorgeous - doing a Jamie Oliver. All the year round. Despises curtains and dressing gowns). 
Ah - by the way: did I mention that finally I got those roller-blinds? And high time it was, with all those light shows in the windows over the street - funny to look at for five minutes, unnerving after an hour of 'blink!!!blink!!! flash!!!twinkle!!!' (At this time I always read Charlotte McLeod's "Rest You Merry" again,  with Professor Shandy pressed to decorate his house - and then he showers it with plastic reindeers, flashing lights and an amplifier blaring "All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" - and then escapes to sea...)
A week ago a craftsman had been here, to measure the very high windows, and when I asked him if he favoured a cup of coffee, he said: "Don't think me impolite - but: what sort of coffee?" "Nespresso". "Well - then I'm glad to accept." We sat on the sofa, and he gave me a lot of tips for the best doner kebab in Berlin - and the second best, quite near, when the row for the first would be too long - and named a very good Thai restaurant (imagine: just one street further afar! And so on). After a week came another craftsman with the roller-blinds and fixed them. When we sat with a cup of coffee on the sofa, he asked apologetically: "How long have you been waiting for the date to fix them?" "Well, I ordered them last week." "WHAT??? Other people wait six weeks, minimum." So I was - very - lucky :-) 
Now: the shops are closed, people are sated, the weather is bleak. 
If I wouldn't know what to do, I could just sit down and study how to use and prepare my new Kindle. 
But we have such a lot to do... for example: just look at the Christmas tree - the Kcandles - and enjoy it. 
Hope you had a beautiful Christmas too! 

Sunday, 9 December 2012


Dear You,
TOO LONG!, you complained. Yes, I'm sorry: the last letter was TOO LONG... Mea culpa. 
And I cannot blame Facebook or Twitter or whatsoever that it reduced the human attention span (TOO quick you get TOO many of Tweets and posts and whatsoever). Imagine your name were Elizabeth von Arnim and you sat somewhere far away in a bare German landscape - you would have jubilated to get a long letter from me, but here? In Blogland? Thank you, but thank you very much. 
Yes: I changed my blog title again - I just wasn't happy with "Britta's Letters from Berlin". Looked for a better one. 
And remembered Son's question when I thought about buying a new car, (my - realistic - dream car is a newer Jag, the car above would demand too much to give up for it). He asked: "If not now, then when?"
To be honest, I was slightly offended at first. But he is absolutely right!
If I have a dream, or you have a dream (as I hope you have!) we should not wait a few decades until we try to fulfill it. They might take away our driver's license then :-)  So: the Jaguar will be bought in spring (though it will not be Morse's MK II, sorry). 
Ah: and I took my Greta Garbo-glasses off again (though I had a very good reason - on Facebook - to put them on, figuratively)  - and returned to use a photo of me, and my real name (though 'Hill' is the utterly correct translation). 
So - that's it (in a nutshell - more walnut than hazelnut, but it takes time to reform). 
Bear with me! 
Yours (snowbound)     Britta 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Lagerfeld's Photo Exhibition 'The Little Black Jacket'

Britta Hill
Dear You
The Little Black Dress, they say, fits in everywhere (until one summer day in East End you feel slightly overdressed); accentuates the personality of the woman and not of the dress (until someone says: "Oh, you have been there too?"); Black is so practical (until you pick the blonde hairs from it); Black becomes everybody (until someone says: "You look so pale today"). 
Black is beautiful. 
And now we have an exhibition in Berlin, 'The Little Black Jacket', an homage of Karl Lagerfeld to Coco Chanel, who in 1954 also invented the famous black Tweed-jacket. 
It shows brilliantly what fashion is about: while today the Jacket seems almost staid, back then it was daring: cut straight, without collar, rep on tweed - that was a breach of style (it was a time in which fashion rules were still strict and complicated - "no really elegant woman wears an alligator handbag after 5 p.m.", wrote Mme Dariaux even in 1964). 
Almost staidly - except one does something with it. And that works - it is proved by the 113 actors and models who Lagerfeld photographed in this jacket. You can wear it quite virtuously: 

but you can also boldly change it with a pair of scissors: 

What does Husband (an expert on exhibitions) say to the formal presentation? 

"Sorry - the hanging is unimaginative. It is more a display (as in shop windows) than an exhibition: by stringing together the exhibits these are not related. Exhibits which are put into the room and not only 'along a wall' create corporeity and thus press the spectator to search his own way and so make his own discoveries, instead of - as here - only pace off the given front." (Hans-Otto  Huegel) 
               Looking at the photos one notices that the gaze of the models, though often directed at the spectator, goes through him - it is a 'posing', the model very seldom makes contact with the spectator. (Here I remember a quote of Lagerfeld: "The girl is not selling her private life, but her image.") Most consequently we see this on the photo of Anna Wintour:

(Funny: three students at my side were discussing that a) they immediately had recognized who was in that photo, and b) regardless of how big a crowd there would be, they would be able to recognize - from behind! - the great Anna Wintour everywhereYou bet!) 
Anyhow: ordinary mortals have to bent down deeply if they want to decipher name and profession under the photos. 
Nothing more is given - you might see it as a flaw of the exhibition, but I think I can detect Karl's mocking smile about the 'avarage spectator' in it: as in luxury labels it stresses very subtly that 'one keeps to oneselves' - the connaisseur knows anyhow...  
And: "Package is everything". Choose the deepest subway-tunnel (as they did) - clad it in black, with a few very elegantly dressed body guards at the entrance (why? there hung only prints, not even real photographs) and with a few beautiful lights the 'rather dark' becomes instantly much more distinguished. 

Britta Huegel
Though Mme Dariaux wrote a word of warning in her charming book 'A Guide to Elegance': "A really elegant woman never wears black in the morning." 
Maybe that's why the exhibitions opens at 11 a.m. 

(until 14 December in Berlin, Eventlocation U3 Bahnhof&Tunnel, Potsdamer Platz 1)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Return of the Drama Queen

Dear You
Honestly, I had thought that she had disappeared some time ago - of course with a bang, not with a whimper. Oh no: no early retirement for my Drama Queen.
Yes, I'm speaking of my Alter Ego. (You might blot out 'alter').
Like all those old rockbands she gives a revival tour, promising it will be her last (you bet!).
I shall get wary when words rise in my mind like: "Awful! Catastrophe! Core melt accident!"
I heard them, last week, when I discovered that Google on Blogspot (which is the same) flatly refused to print even one more photo of mine. First I thought it only concerned "Britta's Happiness of the Day."
"Awful!", I thought, but then, being of a Pollyanna-nature, I tried to see the hand of the Tao in it (no later than that I should have become Very Wary). "You were thinking about giving it up already", I told myself with what sounded like my grown-up voice. "So what?"
Then I tried to load up a photo on Britta's Letters from Berlin: Red Card. Finish. ("It is so UNFAIR!", howled my Drama Queen, "they didn't even warn you!")
I sat down and wrote a post - here - and DQ dictated the title: "I NEED YOUR HELP!" (she seldom uses other than capital letters). An hour after posting it I had cooled down. I remembered that I am no longer 17. I thought of a quote from adorable Sophia Loren: "For me - and I think for many other women too - the 30th birthday was the most problematic. At this age Youth lies definitely behind you. You can do the most wonderful things, but never again somebody will say about you: "Yes, and yet she is still so young!" 
Oops! So I rushed to my computer and deleted my dramatic message. I told me with a stern parental voice that I can google on my own - and look up myself how to enter Picasa.
And I found two things I had completely overlooked in my dramatic haze:
1. no need to get excited about Google breaking my data protection. Or better: too late - from the moment I used blogger I had given my consent that they might surf through my hardware disk (HOWL!) and - though I still own the copyright - they might give my pictures to others, advertisement and so on.(Only FBI does need a search warrant - Google doesn't. And that is in their terms "irrevocable".).
2. and I had seen everything blurred: when I read that after using up your free 1GB, you have to buy the next 25 GB, I 'saw' that it will cost me about 25 Dollars a month ("NeverI already pay for my website!") - but looking closely there stood: it will cost a little bit over 2 Dollars per month - I think I can manage that :-)
       Drama Queen doesn't give up easily: "Think of the SCANDAL with the shop window mannequins!" (the newspaper wrote that they have now cameras inside to watch the customers). I thought about it - hope I look my best in their pics and wonder into which age-group they will assort me :-)
So DQ left, sulking. Not without giving me a beautiful poetic image (see: Drama Queen is very imaginative, full of ideas, a master of putting things into the spotlight, and of the art of timing - we had the last Sunday before Advent commemorating the dead). So she said:
"Might be a good metaphor for your death."
"Well: think of your life as a photo-blog like Happiness. Beautiful. And then, without a forewarning, God says: "You have used up your 1 Gigabyte." And you might howl as you like: Life is over."
She lowered her voice and whispered in the raunchy voice of Mae West:
"Hope you had a lot of  fun before!"

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

"Dreams in a Bottle"

Dear You,
when I went these days through the KaDeWe (our parallel world to Harrods - and much too near to our flat), I discovered at the beautiful counter of Shiseido an old acquaintance in a new outfit: they put the Shiseido icon "Eudermine" into a 'traditional' dress. "First launched in 1897" - though they changed the formula a bit over the years. 
Apart from Eudermine I still long for the then (! around 1980)  version of the perfume "Zen", in a  milky-black bottle of obscured glass. It disappeared from the European market, and I was deeply disappointed when they throw the new 'Zen' at the market here - not the real thing, a thousand miles away from the original. I love a few of Shiseido's products - but think their massage techniques much more important - I followed them always religiously with good results. 
But though I bought their Vintage Limited Edition of Eudermin -  for me is the other version of the flacon lovelier: clear, elegant and slim.  

A propos perfume: how do you keep it: do you tell others which brand you use? (I had a friend who kept it as an absolute secret). Do you use the same perfume for years, or do you change it? 
How do you find the one perfume you are happy with? Do you still remember your first perfume? 
I send you some lovely-scented greetings (well - ther WAS a time when I did just that -- a few drops on the stationery - heaven...) 


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Safe in Safes

Britta Huegel

Dear You
of course you were right in your last letter to hint that all these Chinese Teahouse columns and statues are gilded, and not pure gold. If they were, they wouldn't stand there for long - we have a big problem these months with thieves that come and brazenly steal copper wires or tracks of the S-Bahn - and then people stand at the underground station and freeze, waiting for the trains that will not come... 
I grinned at your remark about the political farce concerning the vast amounts of German gold that are stored in foreign countries: at least the Americans allowed the members of the German parliament to enter the vaults of the bank, but denied them their wish to look at it - and the Banque-de-France downright denied even the first step. 
Why is the Christian Democratic Union so distrustful? 109 million ounces of German gold, we are assured, lie safely, I repeat: safely! in the safes (sic) of America and France and Great Britain. Does it matter that the politicians are not allowed to see it? 
Hony soit qui mal y pense - and if you do, my dear, you may join the new public campain "Bring our gold back home!"
Come to think of it: maybe they already have. 
And put it secretly into a very safe place. :-) 

Britta Huegel

Sunday, 4 November 2012

'Earl Grey with a Mandarin'

Britta Huegel

Dear YOU, 
yes, admittedly: they were a bit over the top with their crush on chinoiserie, Frederick the Great and his court. But you can't deny there is a big element of surprise when you walk through the wonderful parks of Sanssoucis in Potsdam and suddenly you stand in front of the Chinese Teahouse: 

Britta Huegel

On the roof sits a big Chinese Mandarin with a parasol - both in pure gold! The golden figures of musicians and tea-drinkers in Chinese costumes are as the 18-century artists THOUGHT they might have looked (I was to polite to take pictures of the vast crowd of foreign guests from Asia, who took photos bowing often, I suspect to hide their supressed bouts of laughter...)
Inside you find a beautiful hall with little niches for a cozy tete à tete - or look at the artfully painted walls and ceilings:

And when you come home after a long hearty stroll through the vast old English park, with abundent red and gold colours of its own, and the crispness of the air has tired you out, and you climb into your bed and close your eyes, then, suddenly, you realize the genius of the architects: behind your closed lids you see the uplifting sparkle, the unearthly glitter and shining of this poetical bulwark against grey-bare November-tristesse:

Britta Huegel

They captured summer - the colours of sunshine and light - something to dream of in chilly ice-cold winter's days...

Britta Huegel

Friday, 26 October 2012

Berlin's Festival of Light

Britta Huegel

Dear YOU,
you remember that, coming home from our holidays, I complained about the missing roller blinds in front of the window - and NO, they are still not there (we do have curtains, of course - I am not like the Dutch Puritans - even of today! - who believe that their life is so sinless that it should not be open to God alone but to everybody else marching along their (curtainless) windows, house-owners murmuring defiantly "I have nothing to hide."
I have - but that's what curtains are doing. And these days - to be precise: the last 12 nights - I had every reason to enjoy what I see in all its splendour: for this time Berlin has again its  Festival of Light. The blue rays I see every night from my balcony remind me of Metropolis. The Dome is covered with milles fleurs. A very coulourful Brandenburger Tor, and, and, and...
But do you know what I like most? The 'Eiermannsche Turm', beside the ruin of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, that was destroyed in World War II , melted down by bombs to only 68m height instead of 113m. When the architect Egon Eiermann 1957 made a proposal for a new church - without the ruin! - Berlin's citizens protested vehemently - with good results: the ruin remained, and West of it Eiermann placed the octagonal church and Foyer, East the hexagonal belltower - both with the characteristic honeycomb facade with coloured glass bricks, each a unique specimen made in Chartres. They inaugurated the church on 17.12.1961 (4 month after the building of the Berlin Wall).
Ha, and a good housewife might shudder: this year they cleaned those beautiful windows for the very first time!!! It was worth it:

Britta Huegel

And, very special: you can see this 'Light Festival' every evening in the year.
We only have to cross a few streets!

With sparkling  regards
Yours                                  Britta

Saturday, 20 October 2012

...a postcard or letter?...

Dear YOU,

thank you for this beautiful postcard!
Britta Huegel
I grinned when I read your text:

"Dear Britta, 
in the exhibition 'Man Ray, Lee Miller and the Surrealists" I discovered YOU on a photography by M. R. - as proof I send you this postcard with the warmest regards from very sunny California..." 

Oh I love getting "real" post! Of course I am happy that we can correspond via email. But there is a difference: sitting in the parlour, anticipating. The postman only comes once - in Berlin early about 9 o'clock in the morning. We hear a 'clonk!' when the letters (advertisement and bills, mostly) drop through the letter-slot in the door. Yes: we don't have letterboxes here, the poor chap has to run up even to the 5th floor and bring the letters per pedes. Why? Well - the owner of the house doesn't want to disturb the beauty of the marble entrance hall...
Ah: to feel the texture of the envelope! Crisp paper, heavy or not? The choice of a beautiful stamp. The handwriting. You see by the holes on the postcard above that I collect letters from my friends since school days - I have vast amounts by my friend Atie where the envelopes were all decorated with drawings or collages - once she glued the paperthin seeds of lunaria - annual "honesty" - around the sides of the envelope. And the postman was as glad as I when it arrived whole and complete.
In Hamburg a postman once rung my bell and came up, though there we had letterboxes at the groundfloor. He said: "I wanted to see the woman who gets such exciting cards!" (Did he read them? Was he acquainted with the Law of 'secrecy of the post' - and did he believe that it also includes postcards?! A young friend of mine had chosen his favorite cards with - very elaborate :-) - taste).
Yesterday in The Guardian a graphologist had to look at ten letters and guess who was the writer.  His guesses were astonishingly accurate. Title: "Beyoncé, Obama, Lady Gaga - what does their handwriting say about them?" - I loved especially his sentence
"It looks as if this person either hasn't been taught how to write, or has forgotten all about it – maybe someone under 30. " (It was a Royal person - "Someone who is conscious of the distance between them and the rest of the world? The gap between words is larger than usual, a graphologist would note.") 

See: that is the downside of e-mails: we cannot impress others by the gap between words that is larger than usual - though of course it is :-) 

With aloof noble greetings 
your friend                                 Britta


Friday, 12 October 2012

A Picnic

Britta Huegel

Dear You, 
Yes - with good reason you complain that I didn't write for such a long time, so sorry! Have been busy - and will be for a while - but I enjoy my 'secret' project, and it makes me aware that time is a valuable resource - I have to budget it, and that is not the worst thing that can happen. The postman comes day after day with parcels from Amazon...
Above you see that we still have some time to enjoy ourselves. A picnic in the gardens of the Jewish Museum in Berlin: you can buy the picnic baskets all ready

- though Had-I-But-Known that the deckchair is orange, I would have chosen another scarf; and Had-I-But-Known that it was raining all the time I would have chosen another day, or at least other shoes... But my name isn't Mary Roberts Rinehard, and yours is not Ogden Nash: "Don't guess, let me tell you!" - or do you know a way to sit in a deckchair and look elegant?? I don't and gave up looking for a solution - life showed me that it is better to sit clumsy than stand ornamentally. Despite the drizzle it was very nice - inside of the museum a jazz-band was playing, and our group of twelve people had a lot to discuss.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

We are back!

Britta Huegel
Dear YOU,
Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation”, said Elizabeth Drew, so I'll keep it short: we are back! 
Tanked up with sunshine, happy memories and good food. It is interesting how our holiday island has changed - decades ago we were there, four students, one happily blessed with an aunt who needed house-sitters. At that time many people on the island whom we showed a map answered: "Sorry, I have forgotten my glasses" - until we realized that they could not read. This time we didn't see many natives: the chamber maids were from Africa, bar keepers from India, holiday reps from Holland. 
We wanted these holidays just for relaxing, swimming and being a complete family with Son and Daughter-in-Law - so heart-warming, so much bliss! The staff thought that Son was the son of Husband, and DiL was my daughter - "So they thought that son married his sister?" "No - they thought we are a modern patchwork family".  
Back in Berlin I woke up early: a big fat moon was grinning through the windows, reminding me to get window shades, finally. Astonishing how one get used to makeshift during just plain living - one function of holidays seems to be to highlight 'things' one otherwise generously overlooks. 
I know that startled look in Husband eyes when I take down books with titles as "Domestic Bliss" - turning into alarm when they change to "Home Decorating" or, even more frightening, Elsie de Wolfe's legendary "The House in Good Taste." 
Yes, Dahlink: the holidays are over!  
Yours ever 

Thursday, 13 September 2012


Dear YOU,Britta Huegel

so you are off to holidays in sunnier climes, while I strain my ears to hear the sound of cranes and geese flying over our house: a special service, crane-subscription so to speak - they did it in Hildesheim, Hamburg and Berlin. Yes, one cannot deny it: we have gossamer - (in Germany it is called "Old Wives Summer", because of the soft silver gossamers that flie through the air - but I will not allow that to depress me :-).
Today we still have a beautiful sunny day, but you can feel a certain crispness under the warm rays of the sun, the light is becoming a bit more mellow, and the flower-sellers offer chrysanthemums and asters. I will NOT buy  chrysanthemums now - to early, I think (but when I am ready then it might be too late).
People can't wait anymore. OK - you don't have to remind me that I am also no model for patience either - but I do like seasons. And abhor Christmas cookies in Supermarkets in September (yes! yes! they start now!)
So we might follow your example and make a hasty departure because of that too. With SON&DIL somewhere sunny. (Don't tell me not to mention the precise date on Facebook - I know that otherwise I might have time to ponder on this 'pearl of wisdom' I found in Rohan Candappas' funny "Little Book Of Wrong Shui":

Attract visitors to your home by placing stereo, video and computer equipment where they can be seen from the road. 

Seems to me he forgot to mention the new iPhone 5   :-)

Yours ever 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Happy Birthday, Mr. Karl Lagerfeld!

Britta Huegel

Dear YOU, 
“Youthfulness is about how you live, not when you were born.”
He has said some very witty things, the maestro - and some quite insolent ones (e.g. Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” - though I think he is right - in a given situation...). 
Did you know that today is Karl Lagerfeld's birthday? As every wise woman he doesn't tell us the year of his birth - some say 1933, others 1938. It doesn't matter, because he is young - and here is one of his secrets to stay so: 
People who say that yesterday was better than today are ultimately devaluing their own existence.” 
What you see above is a little bag that a Lady with Style can carry around for her refreshment. (You know it by now: I couldn't resist!So becoming with a little black dress! 

Britta Huegel

When you open it, you have the exact quantity of a beverage for a walk in the park.  And the best: it's 

Britta Huegel


I will end my letter to you with another of his quotes: 

“I'm very down to Earth, I'm just not from this Earth.”  You are right, Karl, you are an angel - and your fashion is heavenly too! Thank you! 

Your aff. 


Saturday, 8 September 2012


Britta Huegel

Berlin, 8th September 2012
Dear You,
yesterday I went to my fitness club, Kieser, doing weight training. Repetitions I can do in my sleep - because I do them three days a week since over six years...
Once during the training I had to wait: a man was using the leg press, moaning and sighing. (Did you notice that too? That they start moaning and panting as soon as a woman comes near to their sports equipment? Trying to impress?) When he had finished he said to me: "Your turn! Have fun!"
I answered: "I will! I like it." He, astonished: "Then you are a total exception. I adore you!"
He had more reason than he knew: discreetly I waited till he was further away to put up quietly over 40 pounds more on his weights - my lean legs are very powerful, but why should I rub that in? Remembering Husband's excursions on Georg Simmel, a cultural sociologist, about the "Psychology of Discretion".
Of course Simmel means it different: he speaks of the necessity to keep a distance to another person, even an acquainted one, not trying to probe into your man's soul everytime when he looks grumpily out of the window. Simmel speeks of "private psychic property" - a term almost forgotten - and in modern times of the Internet young people will look as void at you as my (estimated) 14-year-old fitness-trainer when I tell him: "I hope that my weight training doesn't give me muscles like Tamara Press".
That Russian shot-putter and discus thrower is totally forgotten - nowadays I have to say Nadeschda Ostapschuk.
Or even better: Madonna.
(I'm speaking of the photo I saw in the SUN two years ago in Edinburgh).

Your aff. 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

2012: A Space Odyssey in Berlin

Britta Huegel

Sequel:       5.8.2012 

Dear YOU, 

I write without delay, because you sounded a bit worried about the outcome of my story.
The taxi-driver was a square-built middle-aged Turk. Who evidently disapproved of my entirely un-Turk behaviour: I dared to contradict Husband (a man!), because I wanted to put 'the things' into the trunk (where the driver had some things of his own), while Husband suggested: "Behind the front seats" - but there is my place - I never sit beside the chauffeur, I sit regally on the back seat. Throwing more disapproving looks from big dark eyes through the rearview mirror, the driver asked: "Where  do you want to go?"
Normally I share the taxi with a neighbour, but today she told me in the very last minute that she was at a birthday party at the other end of the town. Normally she tells the driver where to go.
I suddenly had a total blackout, and told Dark-eye: "I have to go to Dahlem. Just drive on - I will remember the adress in time." 
While I tried to remember - ("Something with 'B' - Bader-Straße, Breckenstraße, Bachstraße, no..."), Turk-eye warmed up and remembered that A Man must help a Damsel in Distress. He suggested addresses with 'B', while Husband tried to telephone the lady where we all shall meet. She didn't answer the phone. Our neighbour's husband was not at home.
"Go on, now left", I told the driver."You know, I have BEEN there, and when I have been once there, I find the place even in deepest night." (You, my dear, know that I remember colours and faces and normally also names, but He looked at me as if my second name was Scheherazade from One Thousand and One Nights, lolling on his back seat.) "Ring another neighbour?", he asked.  "Can't - my Smartphone is New - only the number's of Husband and Son are stored." (I felt rising respect: a Galaxy S III AND mother of a son!) "But drive on - now right..." He did. Brooding about the old prejudice that Germans are orderly, correct, meticulously and well organized. 'This one', he thought, 'isn't'.
But I succeeded in melting this iceberg!!
I tipped on his shoulder (very un-German too, to touch an unknown person) and beamed at him: "You know what we'll do if we don't find the address? We'll have a fine picnic - I have enough to eat here!"
That possibility spiritually challenged Husband: he called. Had finally got the address: Bartholomäus Straße 77.
And Miracle!: we were there, that very minute, only one street away, and we had never got lost. In no way whatsoever. Life doesn't serve picnics when you can get to a Literary Circle!

Your aff.


PS: Of course I cooked much too much - it would have fed 12. But it was absolutely delicious.
Though everybody took a second helping from the Mousse :-)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Amateur Cooks

Britta Huegel

Dear YOU, 

you asked me about my week-end.
It was - well - interesting...
As you know, for more than half a year I am member of a Literary Circle in Berlin - eight women always meet in the evening on the first Saturday of the month to discuss a novel, we always meet at the same person's villa (Why? The Circle exists since 11 years, so I don't dare to ask - they always did it like that), and always one of the women cooks.
Now it was my turn.
Can you imagine that it was the first time in my life that I had to cook for eight persons? When we have guests, we are four or six - or it is a party. Of course I cooked in my student's day for a crowd, and also for Son and his friends - but then it was a big pot of Spaghetti or Chili con Carne.
Now I started on Friday to cook a delicious Red Lentil soup with sour cream; on Saturday I fried a big portion of Thai chicken with Peanut sauce, prepared a beautiful salad, baked freshly baked bread, and conjured my famous Mousse au cholcolat (With very dark chocolat, because Wolfram Siebeck said: "If children want a second portion, it is too sweet.")

People told me that it had been a beautiful Saturday, temperatures almost as in Summer :-)

But the real adventure started when Husband brought me, the shopping trolley and the big bag down to the taxi cab.

As I promised that my letters will be short, I'll stop here and say:       To be continued. 

Yours aff.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

'A little premature, isn't it?'

Dear YOU, 
as you know, one of my favourite sentences is: "I could not resist!".
As dear Oscar (Wilde) said: "The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it", or was it: "I can resist everything but temptation" - or was it both? Anyhow: I am in good company and think: Then why should I?
So you get my first letter already in September. And, innocence pure: I could not resist this little find on the Flohmarkt Tiergarten: such a nice perpetual calendar!

It is from the Thirties, and functions (and is so much easier to handle than my new Samsung Galaxy S III - but that is another story).
Now I look at it and know: "AH! Today is Sunday, September 2nd." (Till now I wasn't always sure).
And you know what? As I can memorize all shades of colours, not only fifty shades of grey, to the exact nuance, I always find things that match the ones I already posses. Look:

They match perfectly!
Your happy friend