Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin
Tuesday, 29 April 2014
There it is in black and white
Seems I get a bit springtime lethargy, or having so many things to do that unnerve me, like getting the spring-summer wardrobe out of their boxes and put the winter wardrobe into boxes - and decide what is really needless or unbecoming and thus has to go. (I have too many clothes and too many shoes - but they all keep so well, are often really nice and timeless) - but being a woman I sometimes want diversification!
But at least I learned from last year's fault: then I bought a lovely white jacket (in springtime I suddenly develop a crush on White), and when I opened the boxes I found three more lovely white jackets - surprise, surprise...
I just read Elaine's post on Bramble Rambles - she finding a box full of old letters - and suddenly I remembered a very funny accidental meeting with a - let's call him 'a good friend' - a flame from my schooltime, he being a student then.
He became a quite famous TV show moderator (come to think of it: most of my flames became quite famous), and I met him by accident in another town at least a decade later, I having my then five-year old son with me.
The OF (Old Flame) and I recognized each other instantly (on my side not so remarkable, as I could see him over the years on the telly, being glad that Life had parted our ways), and we chatted for a while. Then son joined into the conversation.
"I know who you are", he said to OF.
The famous moderator smiled flattered and cajoled.
"You know me through television?" he asked.
"No. I know you from Mom's diaries", was the answer.
I seldom saw the expression "He got white like a sheet" so exquisitely put into close-up picture...
PS: Of course I only randomly told son that I knew the Famous-One - but it makes me think hard about what to do with my about 158 diaries I have in many boxes ...
Tuesday, 15 April 2014
My beautiful red Fiat 500
I have to tell you about my new car (well: I should write 'new', because it is used; never in my life I bought a new car - and I have bought a lot).
You might remember my jeremiad about the perfect old black Jaguar Daimler Double Six - with cream white leather seats, a lot of blinking chrome, a perfect condition, and a perfectly sensible price - being my dream car for oh so long - and then the desaster when I looked into the rear-vision mirror and saw - nothing, behind the window a void - though I felt there was quite a lot there...
Son encouraged me by sending links for MiniCoopers (which I drove by BMW's car-sharing here in Berlin), and then Son wrote: Why not a Fiat 500?
He sent me a link - and the car was perfect! The owner: an absolutely neat holder of a neat car - and the car being equipped with the special interior-version: not, as most have, grey interior - no, no: red and white, even the seats: red seat, (which are comfortable, even for Husband, who is 1.98m tall), and white round headrests. (I'm not that curious to find out whether the eight airbags are matching).
The number plate (which one keeps in Berlin after buying a used car) is a bit special: "B - TT 6606".
"I would change that", said an acquaintance.
I won't. Why should I?
The old version of this car, the Fiat Nuovo, built in 1957, was tenderly called "Topolino - little mouse" by the Italians. The Germans called them "Knutschkugel - canoodle-ball". Being used to names, this car, the Fiat 500 is the very first of about 12 very different cars I owned, that cried for a name.
I call him "Knut". Like: knuddelig, meaning cuddly.
(He first insisted to be called 'Cnut' - him being a bit on the eccentric side concerning appearances - to put it mildly). Our quarter is very much sought after by gay people - and Knut feels evidently drawn to them, and vice versa, but, as I have many friends among them, Knut accepts me too.
Yesterday you could see me with a car - beautiful, beautiful Ferrari red - filled up with palm tree, flowers and an aspidistra.
And that's our motto of the day:
"Knut - Keep the aspidistra flying!"
"Aye-aye, sir!" (I told you...)
Wednesday, 9 April 2014
I promised you...
Now that I read that Susan of "Southern Fascinations" still has tornadoes, and see on the header of Joanne's 'Cup on the Bus' that icicles still hang in Canada, I take my last chance to present it (though my friend Anne took me very much from the front - the fine pink cloche is not to be seen, only a small brim).
You might remember that I thought the old version was "Too much pink". Following my own subtle fine logics, after the alteration I bought a pink coat to counter the silver-grey, hahaha.
It is my stratagem to counteract the doom-prognosis : "From a certain age on you are invisible." I am not. At least my coat is definitely not.
What looks here a bit like winter-fat is the result of a silver feather down-jacket under the coat over a dashy grey felt-jacket over a pullover - you get the message: it was a very, very Siberian-cold day in Berlin.
I could hardly move - and if I had been the sprayer of that cozy entrance of a house in Kreuzberg, I would hardly have been able to do a runner. Life is so interesting between all fronts: the wild Kreuzberg inhabitants might take me for a Member of The Gentrification Gang. The Anti-Fur-Fighters might use their little cans to spray on me - pink again :-)
Let's talk about the weather instead, to be on the safe side: Now we have had some beautiful spring days, warm, though today suddenly we had it cold again.
PS: (I think they call this phenomenon April)
Monday, 7 April 2014
Sweet Violets and Perfume
you know that I love perfumes.
But I had to abandon 'Balenciaga Paris' for a while, because my nose became 'blind' to the fragrance. After being wrapped up some time in 'Shalimar', I could change back - the old wisdom that a little distance to something you love often works wonders was valid here too. (Don't let go - just loosen your grip! Don't try too hard - be patient, be self-sufficient - or, more my style: love yourself, then you will be able to love others for what they are, not out of need. End of Britta's Readers Digest).
Somewhere I read: "Balenciaga Paris wears like a minimalist's veil". It smells of violets (without being sweet, romantic or old-fashioned - Charlotte Gainsbourgh fronted it, and she stands for urban). It is the perfume where I got the most feedback and praise from men: "What is it? You smell so good!"
I love violets. So I tried to find the pure version, just as a room perfume. (Looking for a reason to speak of 'my boudoir').
At the stall of the perfumer Jo Malone, the saleswoman said: "I don't have violets. May I offer you bluebells?" I stared at her. We talked. And so I found out that this very young woman never ever in her whole life had smelled the fragrance of a living sweet violet. (It made me think of those poor children who believe that milk comes in beverage cartons from lilac Milka cows).
There are not many perfumes with violets on the market. They offered 'Violets de Toulouse' on the Internet. But I didn't want a mixture, so I contacted my lovely old-fashioned Zieten-apothecary (here I always feel I'm stepping back into another century - old wooden shelves and cabinets and brown glass-bottles that cry 'Drink me! Drink me!" - they sell Chinese medicine and homeopathic drugs too, you get the picture). Yes - they would order violet fragrance for me. The pharmacist read: "Petals of violets". I asked: "Excuse me - are you sure these are the petals of the blossom?" "Yes".
OK. Next day I went there by underground, happy. I was less so when I opened the little bottle at home. It smelled like - hay. It was the juice from the green leaves. "Oh, I'm sorry", chirped the pharmacist, "bring it back. I will order something else - a violet oil."
Underground again. Disappointment at home - which I almost had expected, because it was too cheap to be the real thing. (I didn't telephone - I just throw it away - it smelled like candy floss).
The next day I passed a very nice little perfume-and-soap-shop. Went in. Talked with the young man about the impossibility to get violet-perfume these days. "Wow", he said, "you are ahead of fashion". (Modest as a violet I thought: I know - often I comb shops for clothes that will come three years later). "They created 'Viola' in 2013', and next year", he said, "sweet violets will be the craze." "Ah", I said, "but I want them now."
(I'm not always a pure Taoist).
He thought for a long while, and than he made a telephone call to an Italian perfumer, L'Erbolario.
So, with a bit of luck, I might have found it. I will know it next week.
PS: If you want to read more about the sweet violet (and less about me :-), look at gardeninginhighheels.blogspot.com soon.
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