Britta's Letters from her life divided between city-life in German's capital Berlin and life in a Bavarian village

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! 


  1. Merry Christmas, Britta! We had a lovely Christmas, very warm at first, but things have cooled down since the storm last night. Are you really glad now that you don't have to look at the naked neighbor? A little peek now and then might be a nice respite from the bleak weather.

  2. Dear Walk2Write,
    thank you! Oh - the neighbour lives in the 'Hinterhaus', a architectural speciality of Berlin: the big houses with many huge flats are built like bi "U"s around a backyard - meaning you can see the artist from my kitchen window - and there I don't need any roller blinds :-)

  3. Dear Britta,

    Berlin must be one of the few German cities I have not visited. I must come soon. I never made it down the corridor. These days, I spend most time in the North West - in the town dubbed 'the ugliest' in Germany.

    Enjoy the rest of your break!

  4. Dear Tom,
    nice to see you here! I had some interesting moments wondering which is 'the ugliest town' in North West Germany, humming the Dr. Oetker-Pizza-song (Bielefeld) - in a few towns which earn this label we have friends, and I want to keep them :-)
    ("XXX, town with the certain Nothing")

    1. According to my resident friend, it is Bremerhaven which was voted for. He thinks it is funny. Us Brits are responsible for the demolition of the old town, but the locals are responsible for the new one.

  5. So husband's guess (Wilhelmshaven) was quite good. Bremerhaven is definitely ugly - the only adornment must have been Elvis :-)

  6. '(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...)'

    Dear B, I have to say this is enough to make me want to read it.

    I'm the tiniest bit shocked that there are in fact, men who shuffle about their kitchens without dressing gowns -- outside of situation comedies on television -- but at the same time amused to imagine my good friend Britta admiring them.

    My best wishes for the flashiest, twinkliest (in a good way) incoming year. Sending you much, much love.



  7. Dear Suze,
    I think you might like that special book of McLeod.
    We have another favourite by Felix Timmermann: 'Saint Nicholas in Need' - where I especially love one part of a sentence:
    "(...) the poet Renaldus Keersmaaker, who was saw the beauty in everything, and thus wore long hair." (I adore the "and thus" - as if it is a logical consequence). It may fit our artist over the backyard too :-).
    Suze, I am so glad to have found your wonderful friendship via the Internet. And I wish you and your family a very Happy, Wonderful New Year! Love to you, dear Suze! XXX Britta

  8. Of course it must read: "who saw the beauty in everything" "

  9. Your artist neighbour sounds very interesting! Glad you are now able to block out the flashing lights. I can imagine they were quite annoying!
    Wishing you the happiest of New Years x

  10. Dear Penny,
    thank you! And the artist: he is a performer, actor etc - once a year he invites all the inhabitants of the house to a big open theatre event at the Wannsee - quite a treat.
    I wish you also a very, very happy New Year. X