Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Friday, 17 April 2020

Cinemas in Berlin in time of Corona

That's how our Cinema Paris greets us these days:

"WE SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN!" says the red line.

And: "STAY HEALTHY!" the blue.

The Cinema Paris at the Ku'damm is one of the lovely old-fashioned cinemas.
Berlin has 97 cinemas - with 288 film-saloons, and  50.959 seats (in 2017).
What will happen in the future? Will they have to reduce their seats to place people in a distance of at least 1,5 meter?
When will they be allowed to open again?
And how many of the cinemas will survive?
I wish so much to see film-titles in red and blue again!

Monday, 13 April 2020

Happy Easter!

photo: Britta 


In this very strange year I suddenly thought of a line in a poem by Karl von Gerok (I believe that nowadays 1 of 500 Germans might (!) know who he was) - a minor poet of church songs, he lived from 1815 - 1890.
But these lines are beautiful:

" a new hope - 
the earth still becomes green; 
this March too brings songs of larks; 
this May too brings roses again, 
this year too lets joys bloom."

Well, well, well, you might mumble with toast in your mouth and the bitter taste of (orange) marmelade on your tongue, which you wash down with a strong black tea, "well, well, well - I just read that there are not so many larks left nowadays - and yes: roses come, but I saw the first ones blossom now, mid of April, not in May - so: I do not feel good looking at Mother Nature...
That, my dear blog-companion, might be one of the lessons we have to learn in these StrangeTimes: 
to care for nature too, because if She gets Corona-sick - then it will be much more awful then now. 

But - you know that I'm an optimist : the lines of Karl von Gerok still ring true. Sometimes, as with easter-eggs, you have to search a while to find them (the joys and the eggs). But they are there. 

A new hope - so: Enjoy Easter, and believe that even this year lets joys blossom!  
                                     Have a nice Easter - and make the best of it! 

Im neuen Jahr ein neues Hoffen,
die Erde wird noch immer grün;
auch dieser März bringt Lerchenlieder,
auch dieser Mai bringt Rosen wieder,
auch dieses Jahr läßt Freuden blühn.

(1815 - 1890), deutscher evangelischer Theologe und Kirchenliederdichter

Friday, 10 April 2020

The Importance of Being Earnest

photo Britta

I have to confess that I am at a loss:
in these times of Impending Death, I sometimes feel that it might be inappropriate to write about something so frilly as sweet peas.
Same with irony, same with making you laugh about something (I see a lot these days that makes me laugh - but then I think: What if one of you just was hit by fate??)

I am not heartless, but laughing about minor misfortunes makes it easier to cope with stress.
Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford coined this famous phrase:

"The world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel" 

which he wrote to Anne, Countess of Ossory in 1776 (quoting himself, he had written it before to Sir Horace Mann, but I do not want to bore you: "I have often said, and oftener think, that this world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those who feel - a solution why Democritus laughed and Heraclitus wept.")

I am somewhere in-between: I laugh a lot (you know me), but of course I weep too, and feel sorry for all those who caught the disease or who are concerned about their beloved ones (as I am too).

But then I think: life was always dangerous.
Life was always something we cannot control (though we sometimes think or wish so).
Mankind was always surprisingly good and surprisingly bad - or downright stupid (studying literature gives you a good insight...).

Maybe I live a "small life" - but it is my life - probably the only one I'll ever have. So I will write about what I see - and sometimes that are sweat peas, even in time of Impending Death.
Some times we see ID more clearly, sometimes we are drunk with the intoxicating scent of sweet peas and don't.
And thus I spare you the story of the Zen monk and the strawberry (though I think it is a wonderful, wonderful story - and if three comments beg me to tell: I might. Tell you...).

I wish you all good health, my friends!

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Sweet Peas

Last night, when I lay on my fresh pillow case, I thought: "What is that - it smells so lovely!" 
And then I remembered: three weeks ago my friend Ann had sent me the soap "Sweet Peas" - so moral boosting  in these hard times to get a little surprise, thank you!  
I always put soap before use into my linen cupboard, between sheets or pillowcases. 

I am in love with sweet peas from my earliest youth: my grandmother always had them in her garden - simple ones in white, pink, violets and blue -- and they smelt unforgettable. 
When I see a bouquet on the market with huge, fanciful blossoms, I am utterly disappointed when they have no scent. (Reminds me of plastic surgery..) 

On my garden blog I told that I once met a man whose name was given to a sweat pea. 
That was when Anne and I were in England together: as young students we had promised to each other a garden tour when we were 50 - and then we laughed like mad - even the idea: 50!! 

But then there we were: on an unforgettable "Bed and Breakfast for Garden Lovers" trip that we had planned on our own . First we stayed a few days with Wendy who was a juror to private gardens and lived on a manor (yes: we stayed in a manor! Getting older does have some benefits, sometimes!). Well - and her husband owned a factory (?) in which seeds are produced - and among them was a bright red sweet pea - and that one bore his name! 

(Must look up the name...  Getting older does have some drawbacks, too...    :-) 

Friday, 3 April 2020

Anne Ridler: At Parting

 photo: Britta 

Now we must draw, as plants would,

On tubers stored in a better season,
Our honey and heaven;
Only our love can store such food.
Is this to make a god of absence?
A new-born monster to steal our sustenance? 

(from At Parting )

Thank you, Rosemary and your wonderful blog "Where Five Valleys Meet"
You quote a line from one of Anne Ridler's poems, so I asked you who the poet was - and thus found a treasure! Born in London 1912 Ridler worked as a journalist and then at Faber and Faber. She was encouraged by T.S.Eliot when he saw her poems. Very late in her life, in 1995, she released Collected Poems - and was made an OBE in June of 2001, just a few months before her death. 
(All these pearls of wisdom I found on "", and this part of her poem too.)
And before you tell me: I know that tulips have bulbs, not tubers  :-)  

My dear bloggerfriends: We will not let a new-born monster , Co-vid 19, steal our sustenance!