Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Practical and The Beautiful

Britta Huegel

We all know that hackneyed old Zen-phrase: "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." 
Well - I changed that a bit: often when I need something I find it among the things that are already there. 
As in this case. 
Suddenly I decided that I need a standing desk. Had worked so much at my computer, sitting hours and hours at my desk. 
So I looked up catalogues, internet and whatsoever - and what I saw I didn't like. And I wasn't that sure either whether I would really use it - had never had one - and thought: I don't pay 400 Euro for a whim of mine (I know me by now) - and then it might be useless... 
And suddenly I "saw" it. In my mind. A flashback. 
When we moved into our flat in Berlin, somewhere a wooden fire screen stood in a corner - and as I only love things that are either beautiful or practical - most happily both - it went down into the cellar because I wasn't sure of either. 
But guess: it has the absolute right height for me! Couldn't be more perfect! And, as you see, there was a place for it. 
So you see this woman now, switching back and forth between sitting, standing, tickling the keys of my laptop. 
I'm still not sure about "beautiful", but "practical" it is. 

PS: A little appendix: "And after some days my back is better now - after schlepping that thing up", said husband. "In your post you might get the impression that that thing flew up but itself. You have omitted that part." Well - now you know the whole truth. Thank you, Hans!  


  1. Good for your back-except the hauling bit :-)

    1. To be pain-stakingly(!) honest: sorry to say it was his back... but it is alright now.

  2. Britta, what a lovely post! I am so glad the memory of the fire screen floated up in time to be eminently useful. Well done!

    I very much love the title of the post, too.

    1. Thank you! It is a strange piece of work - I saw it in the other flats too (they put keys or vases on it): made in 1902, same time as the house, it was already made for central heating, thus the wood (very modern at that time). Apropos title: we have a friend who is a real big number in German writing - Hanns Josef Ortheil, just look him up, and the many books he has published - and he says one can quit the pondering about a title, because a publisher always comes up with another one. Ever.

    2. Re titles: Good to know!

    3. But I like to invent titles - and it makes it easier to find the chore of that what its all about, I think. (Of cause they gave even my non-fiction book another tirle :-)

  3. Lovely to make good use of something you already own!
    I like to change between standing and sitting, so I move the laptop to the kitchen island for a while - it's certainly good for the back, to change things up.

  4. Yes, I find it good too - though I sometimes forget to get up and move into the other room :-) , which is very spacious - so the 'desk' is still standing (I will try it another two weeks).

  5. I love that wooden fire screen ...
    Where I can find one as your?
    Bisous, Babi

  6. It is 111 years old - I think some people in Berlin have the same (maybe as I in the cellar :-), but I have never seen one to buy, sorry. Bisous, Britta