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

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Today is my birthday

©Brigitta Huegel

Another one!
The little pendant I found a year ago - it is made of enamel, and is even older than I :-)
Of course I don't wear it - I'm not into astronomy astrology (proof: I knew only very few birthsigns of friend - and when I know them I often am not sure what they mean. Strange was only for a long period of my life the clustering of Virgos).
You might remember my last birthday post, where I told you of that friend of mine who pays lots of money for learning astrology, in Suisse - and still is adamant about me being a Gemini.
Which I am not, but if it makes her happy...
Being a Capricorn - that much I learned - means
a) you better not tell
b) you are ambitious, and climb up to the summit
c) you are stubborn
d) and very resilient
e) and more. (Should take a course in Suisse).
They say a Capricorn grows younger while ageing. Young they are very eager to do the right things, thinking brain is everything - growing older they relax and start to enjoy life with all senses. . .
As I do.

I thank you all for following, and wish you a Happy New Year!
Britta xxx

PS: Please allowe me one birthday wish: of course Rachel was right when she asked 'Why not integrate "Rise and Shine!" into this blog?" (Answer: c)
Now I will. It's not that I don't have nough topics to write about - I have - but I found out that I mumbled all the time - happily only in my head -- in plain (though admittedly: broken) English!
I talked all the time to you! 
Stop! I also have a real life! And work to do!
So : easier for you to have this one blog (with from now on a few shorter posts, and some long ones), and easier for me. Thank you!

Tuesday 22 December 2015

I like this one better!

©Brigitta Huegel

         The whole family: my father and I, my mother and my sister. The way it always was.

Monday 21 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

©Brigitta Huegel

I wish all of  Dear You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thank you for your wonderful blogs and so many letters comments. 

These two photos I took at my last visit to Hamburg:
- at the central station (aboveand at the Levante Haus (isn't that beautiful?)

©Brigitta Huegel

 During the Christmas Holidays I might not blog - and then again: I might.
                          In keeping with Lord Peter Death Bradon Wimsey's heraldic motto:

                                                   "As my whimsy takes me."

Friday 18 December 2015

Commenting Comments

©Brigitta Huegel
Dear You, 
Comments are bit like letters, and I've chosen "Dear You" with the hope to get 'letters' back. 
Often we talk more freely about ourselves in a blog than in real life (I sometimes forget completely that "all the world" might read it - though luckily the world has other things to care about).  I even start to worry, if a blogger who normally comments eagerly, remains silent - have I said something stupid? or is he ill? 
Till now I was lucky not to have a troll, an evil commenter on my blog, as Rachel has. 
A rough classification of commenters is:  
bloggers who don't allow comments. 
- bloggers who promise to answer all comments - and then don't. In that case I wait for a while - (e.g. John, whose blog I really like - and then I withdraw. Not sulkingly, but with time management in mind: I have to invest so much time to a comment - not only because I write in a foreign language, but also because I look up ideas, quotes etc. and reread and polish - so often a tiny weeny comment takes me a quarter of an hour. Or more). And there are so many blogs I want to comment on! 
- bloggers who allow comments, but don't answer. That is utterly understandable as in Pondside's case (she often gets more than 60 comments on one post - that would be a fulltime job to answer them all). Maybe the famous Hattats gave up their blog because the wonderful way they answered each of their zillions of commenters profoundly was too strenuous - I suspect that even they have only 24 hours a day? Often bloggers with many comments don't answer, but comment on my blog - a very fair exchange. 
Some bloggers give short comments, other long ones. 
I'm often a bit wordy. And Tom was right, when I complained in a comment - in a general way - that some posts are just too long (because one wants to read so many) to answer: Yours are often not short either. So true! (Look at this one!) 
Some bloggers blog every day. That is exciting - but often I cannot comment every day, though I read them - which makes me feel that I might appear as a bit fickle, though I am not. 
On Facebook I have the strange phenomenon that a bright young author whom I know in person complains that one often does not comment on his posts - but he never comments himself on anything we write, even to click "Like" seems to be too much. Well - I might think: He just doesn't like it! - but no: recently he told me that he reads every bit and everything I post. Strange. Worse: if a person answers on a comment in the printed version "above your comment", and on the one "under your comment" - but not on your own comment - that I take personal :-) 
I too love to write each day. 
Thus I invented a new blog - "Rise and Shine!" (a quote from "Vera", when she enters police headquarters in Newcastle). If you go to that blog you do it at your own risk - I warned you! no photos, just morsels from everyday life, mine of course :-) . You find that blog on my blogroll at the right - or under the blog-address . Of course comments are very welcome - but I don't expect any. 
Ah - and to humour. I love the English authors for their wit and irony. And when I use some (irony), I often put one of these daft emoticons behind it - otherwise there is a fat chance you might think I meant it the way one could read it also. 
Conclusion: Comments are fantastic. They brighten up our day. 
Or as Eeyore put it: 

“I might have known,” said Eeyore. “After all, one can’t complain. I have my friends. Somebody spoke to me only yesterday. And was it last week or the week before that Rabbit bumped into me and said ‘Bother!’. The Social Round. Always something going on.” A.A.Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh  
:-) , :-) . :-) ! 

Toodle- pip!    



Wednesday 16 December 2015

Please, Mr. Postman!

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
Actually I wanted to write a post about "comments".
Now I'm sitting here, caught in a luxurious prison - our flat - and wait for the postman. Will he ever come?
"With the post you never know", said "my" postman wistfully. Strange to hear it out of the mouth of some official - it is true that we had oh so many thefts from parcels and small packages the last years (at least three items I sent were stolen till finally, finally I followed son's advice to ALWAYS send a package (costly) insured).
Our postman is utterly reliable - he is a wonderful young Turk who really loves his job, (and even greets me from his yellow van - by name! - when he sees me in another street in Berlin). They have given him a new route now, sometimes here, sometimes there, sometimes not -  and thus made his job less secure and his smile a bit more worried. I wonder what the Post is thinking of!
Why am I waiting? New job from nine-to-five? Nay - Amzon informed me that my iRobot will arrive today - and that is heavy, I suspect, and if I am not at home and have to go to the post-office to get it, I won't have to go to the gymn today.
Yes, you read right: I ordered a robot to vacuum dear home. I am very curious if that will work (and you know my infatuation with technical gimmicks) - I see me Sitting On My Sofa, feets up, laptop on my knees - hammering a post on "comments" into the keys, while "IT" purrs and currs all around.

PS: Maybe in four hours I will change the song to: "Set Me Free" (I love the Kinks!)

Thursday 10 December 2015

Down These Mean Streets A Man Must Go...

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
I don't know what I expected when the day after the English Christmas Fair I was on my way to the "Japanese Christmas Fair". Maybe little Geishas folding complicated Origamis? I should have used my brain - I mean: Japan and Chrstmas?? and: oh, Revaler Straße in Friedrichshain - even better known to the police than rough Alexanderplatz...
Fights, stabbing, drugs - "down these mean streets a man must go", to quote Raymond Chandler - well, and in these days: a woman too - IF she wants to find that Fair.

©Brigitta Huegel

From the underground station Warschauer Straße I Took a walk on the wild side - the promised number 99 wasn't to be found, and as I walked on, the area became more and more dreary and sinister,

©Brigitta Huegel

And the Africans, very well fed and very secretive, started to offer me "Tea, coffee or me?"
I wisely refrained from witty answers or taking a few cute snapshots of them, and after more than one kilometer walk along a single (!) wall - beautifully sprayed with graffiti - I muttered unladylike under my breath "Damn, damn, damn - I'll go back."
As the wise Taoists say: the moment I "was letting go", all things fell into place - and I between picturesque ruins and beside a beautiful swimming bath "Der Haubentaucher" (great crested grebe):

©Brigitta Huegel

and a flea-market:

©Brigitta Huegel

Vainly I asked a girl wearing not much more than a Purple Haze if she knew where ??? - but all she could do was to offer me her joint. Felt like the middle-aged woman in "The Knack", when Rita Tushingham rings at a door and cries: "Rape! Rape!" and the lady says kindly: "Thank you, love - not today."
Then, at the very beginning of the Revaler Straße, at my starting point - yes, Buddhism is right: life is a circle, not a line - was the Urban Spree, where the Japanese Christmas Fair was taking place.

©Brigitta Huegel

Mangas, mangas, mangas - nothing else - and they didn't seem especially convincing to me, but then: I am no expert. But nothing "hummed" at me.
So I did that myself, melodiously humming: "These boots are made for walking!" 
And that's just what they did...

©Brigitta Huegel

In my sturdy Timberlands and without getas I was leaving a very lively and interesting part of Berlin.

©Brigitta Huegel

Sunday 6 December 2015

Some surprises in Berlin

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel

Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
yes, I was surprised to see this flag in a vicarage garden in - Berlin!
In St. George's Church in Berlin's West-End they held for one day a "Charles Dicken's Christmas Fair". And of course Yours Truly took instantly the underground - in which a lot of men wore white-blue scarfs, fans of Hertha BSC, who yesterday played against Bayer 04 Leverkusen (and won 2 - 1: I heard their singings from the nearby Olympia stadion).
But the little band of the second photo drowned everything. And, as Dame Edna would put it: "I mean that in the nicest possible way."    
Anglican Services in Berlin already existed from the 1830s, but the first St. George's Anglican Church in Berlin was built 1884 by Julius Carl Raschdorff, who went to England to study Anglican churches. It was built on the grounds of Schloss Monbijou,
1888 Queen Victoria and 1913 King George came to visit - and that church was the only Anglican church that stayed open during World War I, because Kaiser Wilhelm II. was its Patron.
In 1944 and 1945 it was bombed by the Allies, and 1945, after the German partitition, the GDR finished it off while clearing away the ruins of Schloss Monbijou.
The little church of today was rebuilt in the British sector of West Berlin and was a garrison church. On the pews you find military emblems of British regiments:
©Brigitta Huegel

1987 they found the silverware that Queen Victoria had endowed - in a cellar in Berlin! Today it is in use again - as the church is, for civilians (and for TV the sermons "Hope for Tomorrow")
                                                I had a lot of fun - the tearoom was overflowing with people, but I found a seat. The Indian lady who sold the wonderful cakes cast one look at my slim figure and decided: "These slices of chocolate cake with cherries are to small for you: I give you two!"
I talked a lot with three "expats" - the 'man from the North' wondered why I visited Newcastle, and the jolly lady laughed "Soon my German will be better than my Englsh" (she was searching for the word "flag").
On the fair I bought German honey - after short consideration I took the one from Brandenburg, not that from the Preußenallee (the street where you'll find the church): Berlin's air is heavily polluted - so I was cautious...
Yes: I'll come back to that church - I want to hear an English Sunday Service, and hope for Choral Evensong.
Promised: I will not only come when my three raffle tickets prove to be winners! (They took our telephone numbers).

PS: A lot of information I got on site - parts I found in all-knowing Wikipedia.

Sunday 29 November 2015

First Sunday in Advent

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
Yesterday I succumbed at the last minute - I bought an Adventskranz. 
It was rainy and dark, and actually I wanted to buy a pot of Helleborus niger, Christmas roses, though against my better judgement: they grew formidable in my garden-flowerbeds, but on the balcony they always were a disappointment, ever.
But then the price was very high and the quality low, so I abstained and, maybe as a "displacement activity" (as birds do when they don't get what they want - then they do "Now for Something Completely Different"), I bought the Advent wreath.
In former times - when we still lived in Hildesheim and our son was a schoolboy - I often wreathed myself - I loved the smell, hated the sticky resin and pricked fingers, and believed that it was fresher than the bought ones. (Though that was easy - bought ones shed their needles when you look at them. I think that nimble Chinese hands wreathe them in mid-July).
Last year I had bought a brass candlestand with four tealight holders and a smart little modern brass Christmas tree in the middle. That should be enough, I thought. For the heart (= Kitsch) my Christmas cup and a little musical clock should do.
I thought.
Long ago I had decided against a fake wreath - though, for the first time in my life this year I saw some utterly convincing ones. If I want a wreath - and not for religious but only decorative reasons - I want the full monty, meaning: especially the smell.
On the balcony, a long fake fir garland beautifies the balcony trellis - together with little lights - and even I, being VERY scrupulous about form and colour, cannot tell the difference till I touch it.  
                  The "real" Advent wreath shed spitefully a few needles onto our doormat when I brought it in. And as soon as the mist of the rainy dark night had evaporated from its needles, it looked instantly like all the other disappointments of the years before.
I thought about principles.
Will I "preserve" them? As 'preserve' in marmelade?
Or will I shed them on the floor, like needles, next year?
Ad-vent of total liberation?

Now light your first candle, become tranquil, nibble a few almonds and inhale the nice smell of fir needles.
I wish all of you a festive and contemplative season! Britta  XXX 

Thursday 26 November 2015

Bonds On The Shelf

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
I'm quite proud of the double meaning I put into my title.
"Sitting on the shelf" was a horror vision for girls in former times (though I found out in career advising that even the tough modern ones are still afraid of it - and "bonds" and the stock market seems to many of them more dangerous than an adventurous Bond).
Up till now I have seen very few Bond films. I saw some with Roger Moore (because I adore Roger Moore), and I saw all films with Daniel Craig, because I'm besotted with him.
But as "I don't want to die dumb", I bought now The Complete Bond Box - 23 DVDs (and one empty box for "Spectre", which I have already watched in cinema).
And - being an orderly person - I started with "Dr. No" from 1962, the very first Bond film, starring Sean Connery.
Surprise: I liked it immensely!
And he was a big surprise to me, too: an utterly beautiful man (in my eyes).
Wiki affirms that my innate tape measure was right: Sean Connery is tall - me, being 1.78m, learned quickly to estimate height (I'm also able to fortell with certainty which tiny man will ask me for a dance - there is one kind full of good self-esteem - a lot of them live in Bavaria or in Russia - who take a tall woman into their arms and proudly announce: "All mine!")
Back to Sean Connery: he is 1.86m. Beautiful hairstyle - almost like the heroes of the Fifties - and if there was a toupet, as rumour goes, be it on the head or on the chest, I don't care. Today young men shave off every single body hair meticulously, everywhere - which, of course, I only know by hearsay :-)
What I noticed:
this first Bond-film showed the same frugality as the Fifties were famous for (think of wineglasses with 0,1 litre, think of strawberry punch and small flats) - and Ian Fleming wrote the novel in 1958:
- Bond has only his Beretta - which he has to hand over to M for a Walther PKK - and he has his muscles and his brain. No technical gimmicks from Q. Bond cuts a reed for Honey Rider and himself, to be able to breath under water, when the guards come with dogs.
- The story: simple.
- The Bad Guy, Dr. No,: simple.
- The people of Jamaica: still very naive - to believe in that misterious "dragon" on Dr. No's island you must be able to speak Pidgin English, too.
- The Bond Girl - Ursula Andress - so coy!
Though even she succumbs to James Bond's charme --- and who wouldn't?

PS: Can you imagine that I know a person who was caddie for Ian Fleming? My friend David, a Chelsea Pensioner, told me about his first "job" as a schoolboy  - and Mr. Fleming later gave him a watch as a present!
PPS: the photo I took in the London exposition (2014):

©Brigitta Huegel

Saturday 21 November 2015

"Your mother called it "doing the pressing,"

©Brigitta Huegel

November - for me - is the excellent month for tidying up, organize, and re-decorate.
For tidying I learned a very good technique from my young friend in Hamburg (he got it from his Serbian grandmother): "If you go from one room to another, always take one thing with you that belongs there!" 
Sounds easy? Then how comes that my drawing box is on the long dining table? Of course: yesterday I scribbled a bit, and then I looked TV, and then it was late...
And yesterdays papers on the floor beside the sofa? Ah, yes, I wanted to cut out an article I might write a blog about (on the day that will never come).
And so on, and so on.
I am now old enough to accept a wisdom of my mother: If the homefront-task does not melt away and will not become less tomorrow - DO IT NOW.
So very often I do that now. BUT: there is one thing I really hate doing. Although I wrote a whole chapter in my book about it, and know how to do it: I hate ironing. Looking the dire consequences right into the eye - look at the advertisement above and imagine the deplorable way your clothes will look if you don't!
Procrastinating I wait for the second load of washing ("Then I will do it all in one go"), and wait for a dull TV-film (but that I silence - and if it is good I cannot watch TV at the same time).
"All Gaul is under Roman control, except for one small village of indomitable Gauls that still holds out against the Romans." 

PS: The title is from the Poem: Ironing After Midnight" by Marsha Truman Cooper

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Ranting and Raving, fottuto!

©Brigitta Huegel

It is very early in the morning. And very, very stormy.
I hear the ceaseless screeching of rakes outside: two men in orange are trying to catch the autumnal leaves - and we have a lot of them in (very) green Berlin.
"Hohoho!" cries the wind, preparing for Christmas. He thinks it very funny (sorry - as always I take "it" personally), he blows forcefully into the little heap of yellow leaves one man had - screech! screech! - scraped together. "Hohoho! Catch me if you can!"
They can't. But they try on and on.
Why do I tell you this?

At the moment, I'm deeply annoyed with my teaching book for learning Italian.
(Did you know that the Italian word "noioso" means "boring"? See it in 'annoyed'???)
It is NOT that la bella lingua bores me. Oh no.
I am a diligent pupil.
I take notes - every day! - when I do my compiti (every day!), my (volontary) homework.
Friday: 8:30 - 10:30:15.
Saturday: 9:30 - 11:00
Sunday: 8 30 - 9:15 (+ 15 minutes)
And so on, and so on...
Till now I had two (rather expensive) semester-classes by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Berlino. I paid for the third - it started when I went for a week to Rome.
BUT there I got a sort of shock - what I understood I had known before I entered the first classe.
My textbook calls itself proudly "Chiaro!" meaning: "Clear" - hahaha.
I thought. Pondered. Decided - in absolute clearness - to repeat the second class.
Decided not to blame me (I am a quick me-blamer, but also a quick learner, even at my age :-)
Decided to blame that daft textbook, written by absolute nutters. Greedy nutters (in this aspect they are very "Chiaro". I got that insight when I bought the extra "Neue Power-Grammatik", the extra "Neue Übungsbuch", the extra "Power Wortschatz" and the extra "Große Übungsgrammatik" - all by Hueber-Verlag, all at least 15 Euro or more -- and learned by myself - it all became a little bit more "chiaro").
In classe, the main aim is to speak. From the very first day. That is fine with me, though I loathe exercises that ask: "Guess what this might mean. Write it down. Then: discuss it with your neighbour. Then we will snigger at you: hahaha - you got the plural WRONG! (Of course we didn't tell you anything about the plural - we thought: even singular might overexert your little brain - that's why we also don't tell you l'articolo neither, hahaha. Yes, you are right: it is VERY important, l'articolo - without knowing it grammar is like skiing on thinnest ice - you look like a mangling fool, haha - what, by the way, you are, in our opinion..)
If you think that I exaggerate - what do you think of these (true!!!) first vocables in Lesson 7 (mind: we didn't learn many words to help us in ordinary life - la vita quotidina:
lo sci estivo = summer ski (haha: I even don't do it in winter!)
la buca = here (how I hate that, here means: ONLY here, normally something else, haha): hole
l'alpinismo = mountaineering (OK - when I visit son&DIL in Allgäu, I will look up to them and cry: "Attenzione! Mountaineer carefully, please" - while, at the same time, rummaging desperately through my brain, I look for the word "hear" ("sentire/ascoltare" - thank you, deit.dic.cce).
l'equitazione = equestrian sports. (Good for England, I know, but before knowing that I want to be able to say "bevanda" - drink).
il parapendo = also a very valuable word - if I, one day in the future, want to start paragliding. Who knows? I might! (Really!) While I will abstain from "la pesca sportiva", sport fishing, definitely.
But: if I do my summer ski and fall into a hole, maybe I'll do sport fishing there, hoping a paraglider comes and rescues me...
Silly, silly, silly! 
I think one has to learn grammar (they think they overextert us with that, too), vocabulary, reading and writing. And of course start to speak.
For that they also gave us CDs - I would like to include a passage here, but I will protect your ears, the howling wind is enough rumore: the speaker tries to IMPRESS us poor pupils
, by speaking as quick as he can, so quick that he absorbs part of the words.
Mind: I have been in Rome, and yes: they speak very quick, BUT not as quick as the speaker on our CD, hahaha...
See why I howl with the wind?
Seee why I screech???

Friday 30 October 2015

How to Stay Slim on a Full English Breakfast

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
what do you think: will this title allure masses to my blog and thus raise my Stats?
My waist survived not only many Full English Breakfasts, but also a lot of tests of hoppy, fruity craft beers and loads of fish and chips too.
The secret? The godsent antidote?
That was our friend Mark Hanna. May I quote:

"Mark Hanna is co-author of our cruise cookbook, Greens and Grains on the Deep Blue Sea, and head chef for Holistic Holiday at Sea (...). Mark began his education in macrobiotics in 1978, and started cooking throughout North America at macrobiotic centers and summer camps, yoga retreats, Buddhist retreats, and natural food restaurants and cafés. During that time, he developed a creative approach to the normally austere macrobiotic cuisine. In addition to serving as the head chef on Holistic Holiday at Sea cruises, Mark travels throughout the world, cooking for events of all sizes."

Mark cooked for hundreds of people on cruises, so our narrowboat's tiny kitchen (which here looks tall - a well-known phenomen to all those who ever booked a hotel-room) - was no problem for him at all.

©Brigitta Huegel

He was helped by Christian, who had learned from Mark to cook the macrobiotic way - and their dishes were so utterly delicious that we all - all the men & I - never missed meat or cream or whatsoever then.
We lived on a 2:1 - diet: 2 parts full English, one part macrobiotic.
So I think The Secret is alternation:
Matti sat in a fish and chips restaurant with a plate filled with half of the allowed fishing quota of the North Sea - in batter - saying: "This is what I call a correct portion!" - but then, another day, we all enjoyed our greens and miso and tofu (dressed up as meat. That is one thing I cannot understand about vegans: why do they try to form deceiving sausages, shrimps or burgers from tofu? Why not just call it 'honest tofu'?)
Well - I'm no vegan. Though I almost (!) became one when in Beamish I met this utterly friendly pig -
©Brigitta Huegel

He leaned over the garden gate in quite an elegant way, swaggering a little bit on his tiny feet, blinking blue eyes under blonde eyelashes benevolently and trying to make friends with us - an effort which toppled him almost over that garden gate...
Back to diet-secrets: you can get away in life with quite a lot, I think - as long as you a) enjoy it with all your heart (and stomach); b) know your own limit c) enjoy change and d) do it in style.
Style for fish & chips you see on the first photo of this post - taken in Beamish, the exciting open-air museum.
At the end of a long walk through pictorial English history (and a side trip into the sweet shop)

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel

I entered the museal fish and chip restaurant - on my own, my friends sat outside on the green, testing another fruity hop brew.
Inside a young lad asked what he could give me, and I said: "Nothing , thank you - I just want to look at your wonderful Art Deco fish and chip machine."
"Oh, but you MUST try them!" he cried out, "I'll bring you some for free!"
A deep voice from an elderly colleague came out of a corner "THAT  you have to accept - THAT he is not doing for everyone, love!" 
So I tested them - wonderful!
And we started to talk shop, about those fascinating Art Deco machines, and the very crisp chips:
"They remind me of some chips I got in Hastings", I said, "and their secret was the special fat they used... let me think: lard, it was." 
"Yes yes, he cried, "that's what I use here too!!!"  
So: choose quality. Don't overdo it. And enjoy.

PS: Next post I'll try to start from the beginning of our narrowboat trip :-)

Sunday 25 October 2015

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
inspired by Rosemary's blog "Where Five Valleys Meet"  and the first of her gorgeous photographs I 'republish' a little story from my garden blog "Britta's Gardening in High Heels". (The next post will be on the narrowboat).

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I sit in our garden in Hildesheim with a cup of tea and enjoy the sparkle and twinkle on the silky threads of the spiderwebs, glistening against the sunlight. When the air moves, silver and gold flash up.
Horizontal nets are spanned in the big box ball standing beside the rose arch, looking like miniature versions of the Olympic stadium in Munich
Delicate silver gossamer, elfine trampolines. 
They are better visible than the golden spider-webs that hang between the rose-twigs. 
When in the morning hundreds of dew drops hang inside them, drawing the spider threads down like heavy jewellery and throwing out sparks in the sun, they could jauntily take part in any contest of jewellers.
Yes: Today I’m having Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
For that breakfast the spider is waiting, too, though for her a less sparkling day would promise more booty. 
Nothing is so finely spun/ it will come up into the sunlight” wrote Theodor Fontane in “Under the Pear Tree”. 
But sometimes The Good needs a lot of time to triumph, and before the victims have discovered the gossamer it is too late for some of them: the sticky threads attach themselves around delicate wings, and by attempting to flee in panic they only entangle themselves deeper, till finally the Master of the Web puts an end to it all.
Then we have to grab the last relic of resource, then we ask for the word “Existence”, I hear from the terrace of my neighbour, the philosopher, who apparently is dictating an essay, just as I indulge in profound reflections upon Elusiveness and Beauty. 
The spider and I are eavesdropping - mesmerized.
“ We can turn towards the entities, die Wesenheiten, the things that ARE”, he continues, and the spider hopefully picks up knife and fork, “but then we have a problem.” 
Confused the spider drops its cutlery, because till now it didn’t have one.
How do we ascertain wether the entities are real or not?
This, my good man, the spider giggles, is very easy indeed. And bites into that, what still Is - but will have Been very soon.
The nature of Being”, “the Concrete”, “the Abstract”, all these words flutter airily past my ears, lightweight as spider threads. 
A little bit sticks, but you cannot grasp it… 

Friday 23 October 2015

Do not block!

Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
I must have got that wrong.
Saw this 'Writing on the Wall' on our narrow boat trip, when we travelled for one week on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, and then drove with a van up to Newcastle, Durham and Edinburgh.
"Do not block" - today. when I sifted the 1235 photos from our lovely, lovely tour I saw my mistake:
error - so I am allowed to blog on!
I am also very thankful to Susan who writes the blog "Southern Fascination" - she shook me up by a recent comment, asking: "So, Dear Britta, has the traveler made it home? You are missed."
That touched me. I thought of an well-known Zen-story, where a learned man travelled a long way to meet a Zen-priest, to learn even more about Zen. You know what follows: the monk pours tea into the cup of the guest, and pours and pours. "But can't you see that the cup is overflowing!" cries out the guest. "I know", answers the monk, "so is your mind - you have to empty it first to be able to receive more."
And boy: my mind was overflowing with impressions. The chip card of my camera was more carefree - almost 3000 photos it filed without grumbling - having accompanied me
- two weeks through England & Scotland
- followed by a wonderful week with friends in the Imperial Spa Bansin at the Baltic Sea, and then
- in an impressive week at Rome, together with husband.
So: my cup was more than full. Full with the lovliest Darjeeling, to stay in the picture, but nevertheless: overflowing.

But you know me: I never am quiet for long, and I am a roly-poly doll (no, I didn't gain weight - though the many "FullEnglish breakfasts" tried their best,

Brigitta Huegel

as tried the many, many pubs with their special craft beers - our navigator Matti is a specialist for these arty beers, and finds always the right smashing pubs:

Brigitta Huegel

Brigitta Huegel

and then a London friend, an editor of a big newspaper, joined us (among other lovely people) - and he was a beer expert too; he had written a blog on craft beer with a title like "Through the Year with 365 different craft beers" -- well, and then imagine me (if I drink beer at all, on a hot summer day, it must be a wheat beer):
I will be remembered as the Little Red Rooster - oh no, sorry, I was the only little hen of that party, who always chirped "Only half a pint, please", while the male world bravely tested the hoppy, fruity goods,
But we tested the spirits of culture too -- and enjoyed a lovely landscape (and astonishing good weather), we made music, and visited really impressing cities -
and I promise: I will show you a glimpse of that - pint by pint bit by bit in my next post.
And I will try to dive deeply into your blogs again - of course with better results than the poor guy who one early foggy morning fell into the canal just in front of our narrow boat - nothing happened to him, the canal was shallow, but police and ambulance came nevertheless and helped him - though we had already given him a blanket and the very British panacea, the universal remedy:
a mug of strong, sweet hot tea.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Harris said, however, that the river...

©Brigitta Huegel

...would suit him to a "T."  (Jerome K. Jerome)

Well - it did in 2013 on our last narrowboat trip, though as in 2013 husband will stay in Berlin and guard our flat: he doesn't feel comfy in a narrowboat, being 1.98m tall.
For compensation we will both travel to Rome later.
Now I'm looking forward to our next narrowboat trip - different crew (not all artists this time) and different route. We will add a week with a car, visiting Durham, Leeds and Edinburgh.
(About the date of the new trip I will speak when I am back - I don't want to invite people from the Wild Wood).

Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that's always changing!” (Kenneth GrahameThe Wind in the Willows)

Sunday 2 August 2015

Poem - Handed on a Silver Platter

©Brigitta Huegel

I love the drawings of the Fifties, and sometimes, when I find a book on the fleamarket, I buy it - not because of its (sometimes quite silly) content, but because of the little sketches - so light, so happy, so carefree.
Of course I should add an illustration here and now - but I am to lazy at the moment to pick up my camera.
So I'll try to translate a little bit of a text from Anton Schnack (an author rightly forgotten by now; drawings by Max Schwinger) It is called "Flirt mit dem Alltag - Flirt with Everyday Life", which leads us through the year.
In August I found this sentence for the travelling gardener, which made me wonder:

"Also forgo on early apples and early pears voluntarily: they will be picked unfailingly by free-roaming lads."

Written in 1956.
Well: in the last decades I didn't see any lads nicking apples, or plums, or cherries.
Must have gone out of style.
Maybe it is the fault of the so-called helicopter-parents, hovering over their only child, driving it to violin- and Chinese-lessons - no time to roam through the neighbourhood.
Or fault of the supermarket - everything is there on the shelf.
I remember my astonishment when we still lived on our little island in Hildesheim that people didn't even take home plastic bags of already picked apples that somebody had kindly put in front of her garden gate. Maybe nobody knows how to make an apple pie anymore? Or doesn't care, being bone-idle, as Onslow in Keeping-up Appearances would say?
Well - if no lads had wanted any apples or pears ever, we would never have gotten Theodor Fontane's beautiful and wise poem, written in 1889 and still read today (if this doesn't impress you, maybe this will: "In 2007, the original manuscript of the poem was sold for 130.000 EUR at an auction at Berlin.):

Herr von Ribbeck auf Ribbeck im Havelland  (rough translation by me)

Herr von Ribbeck auf Ribbeck in Havelland: 
a pear tree in his garden stood, 
and when the time of golden autumn came, 
and the pears shone far and wide, 
then, when the clock chimed from the tower at noon, crammed  
the von Ribbeck both his pockets full, 
and when in his pattens came up a lad, 
he cried out: "Lad, do you want a pear?" (this is in dialect, can't translate that
And came a girl, he called "Little dear, 
come over, I have a pear!" 


Well - after his death his stingy son greedily protected the pears - but the old von Ribben ("von" means lower gentry)

but the old one, already anticipating, 
and full of distrust against his own son, 
he knew exactly, what he did then, 
when begging for a pear in his grave, 

You guess it: after three years a pear tree grows from the grave - serving pears for free.
Oh - come to think of it: a lot of things have changed from 1889:
- children prefer pineapples to apples 
- dialect is often extinguished 
- wooden pattens aren't worn anymore - they are replaced by plastic clogs 
- and if old von Ribbeck had offered his pears to little boys or girls, the stern members of child protective services would have cast more than one suspicious look at him. 

PS: the silver-plated fruit basket I found on a fleamarket too.

 ©Brigitta Huegel

Sunday 19 July 2015


©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
see: one must 'only' have the idea to change something ordinary into something that makes us smile. (I photographed this street barrier in Hamburg).
Which leads me to barriers we build ourselves within and which might stop us from smiling. To be specific: I looked for the reason why I didn't write that many posts in July.
The answer surprised me: I felt overwhelmed!
I really wanted to tell you about the gorgeous trip to New York with my daughter-in-love, and our meeting with a wonderful blogger there, staying overnight with her in the breathtaking surroundings of the Hudson-River. I haven't told you about all that (or shown any of the more than 600 photographs) - partly because I'm too lazy at this hot time of the year - yes, Berlin is boiling, and I don't complain! - partly because I am still travelling the world (haha: world - this time to Hamburg and Munich - LOVELY!).
Well, and as you all know by now: ths wayward Daoist tries very much to "live in the moment" - which often conflicts with another person in me, the diligent chronicler.
But it is way too hot to fight... even with myself - can't see my Jungian shadow because the sun seems to stand right above me... (is this a good metaphor/ picture? Too lazy to think about it).
Can you imagine: I even didn't learn any Italian the last weeks, acciderba!
Know what?
I just don't care. (Knowing myself I know that I will start again with Love in a Cold Climate).
So: I'll prepare a nice breakfast and sit on our balcony - it is still early, the air is mild and the birds look reproachfully at me (they don't dare to sip water from the birth bath on the little table).
Please don't join in! (Looking reproachfully, I mean).

Sunday 28 June 2015

"It must have been difficult to leave".

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You,
"It must have been difficult to leave", you wrote in your comment, dear Emma.
And it was.
Not that difficult on an emotional basis (I will come back - so I am pragmatic), but on the everyday level: while on arrival I had been picked up by car at the airport of Heraklion, I had to cross the whole island on my own when leaving.
The flight started around 11 o'clock in the morning - "And don't believe that busses will be punctual in Crete!" a Lady in a Berlin travel agency uttered pessimisically.
But they were punctual! (More than our S-Bahn in Berlin at the moment, where one strike haunts the other).
But of course it would have been a stressful undertaking, so I arrived one day before leaving. First I took a taxi, than from Ierapetri a bus - which was very crowded, though nobody carried a chicken or a goat, which wouldn't have surprised me. It took hours, but those were amusing, because I could talk with a French Lady.
Husband had booked me a lovely hotel room in Heraklion - yes, now I indulged in luxury without a bad conscience - and I gratefully accepted to become even upgraded to a room with a balcony overlooking the harbour.

©Brigitta Huegel

In the evening I strolled about the old harbour,  

©Brigitta Huegel

and visited the Fortress of the Sea - a tower that was built in Hellenistic times, than rebuilt in the 7th or 8th century, and was called after the Venetian Conquest Castellum Communis - after a large earthquake in 1523 it was decided to replace it with the existing fortress.  

©Brigitta Huegel

All day it had been a bit rainy, first time ever, and the sea and the sky painted wonderful pictures. 

©Brigitta Huegel

...the last one almost a Dutch painting... 

©Brigitta Huegel

Saturday 27 June 2015

From Crete with Love

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
NO - it wasn't us - if you scrutinise the graffito you will see that someone did it in 2013, so: "Proved to be innocent". 

Yesterday I went to a lovely party and came back this morning at 2 o'clock, so I'm still a bit tired, but as fresh as a daisy, having followed Queen Mum's example - sticking to G&T. 
So I hope you will be sympathetic about me doing my school work in a somewhat slack way... 

Showing you pictures of my stay in Crete.
Look, Mise: see my pink little rucksack on my bed? A torch of luxury in a rural though wonderful surrounding.

©Brigitta Huegel

The little cottages my Italian friend bought are under preservation of sites of historic interest - I felt a bit like a damsel (but not in distress - not even in the last week, when I lived there all on my own, I had no fear. Somewhere were neighbours... :-) - and the one green snake I met on a walk was quicker moving away than I.

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel

But no WiFi, but beautiful nature - this whole part, Aspros Potamos, is proud of staying as much as Walden Pond as possible. (Of course Walden Pond is my interpretation).
But you might know me by now (a bit): even in the deepest wilderness this woman - The Lady of the house speaking - is Keepingup Appearances (hint: look at the tea bag):

©Brigitta Huegel

One has to walk 1 km through olive olive groves to come to the village of Makrygialos, and the sea.
I had a special place in a wonderful Gelateria, with homemade icecreams - but as I confounded the strict regulations about the permissible maximum weight for the flight luggage and mine, most of the times I took only a cappuccino. On the other side of the sea is Africa.

©Brigitta Huegel

And the people were so very, very friendly! Even though I confessed being German...(the only grumpy person was a manager in a bank, but we laughed about him and enjoyed the cherries a man had brought with him and shared with all of us).
Weather: end of May/ start of June: utterly marvelous! Lots of sun, and in the second week the water was warm too.
In that (solitary) week I met a lovely couple from Herfordshire, a Godsend, and we did and laughed a lot together, They even walked me back at night half of the way through the olive groves.
Though I already had started to become a courageous woman anyhow:

©Brigitta Huegel

here you see me after a ride to the monastry of Kapsas, where a Flamish translator took me (you saw the lovely stone pattern in my last blogpost).
Imagine: the last time I sat on a motorcycle behind my Dad I was five years old! Now I felt like Albertine from the film "Zazie dans le Metro" (and I told you, my Dad's name is Albert)
To drive the long winded road along the coast on a scooter was an adventurous treat!!

And yes, I will be back in Crete - maybe in September (but then my friends are waiting for me to join another narrowboat trip, different route), so maybe I will be back next year in early summer.