Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

I'm so tired...I haven't slept a wink...

photo Britta

In my head drones the Beatle's song "I'm so tired".

Tired of all those horrible news, tired of feeling like the personification of Anais Nin's title "Under a Glass Bell" because of Covid-19, really, really tired.

I went to bed early - result: I woke up at two o'clock in the morning. Hoping to sleep again - 45 minutes later gave up that hope, tiptoed to the kitchen and sipped a glass of hot milk with honey.

Which makes me think of novels by Barbara Pym where the sleepless spinsters are always drinking Horlicks and hot cocoa.

No sleeping pill has ever passed my lips - and I'd never had one in my house.

I look at the beautiful photograph of papaver somniferum - which I took it in Noordwijk. I know an even paler lilac coloured version of this plant with silvery leaves - and instantly feel sleepier, as "somniferum" means "bringing sleep" - (yes, not everything "natural" is harmless :-)

Did you know that in German prisons it is forbidden to eat poppy-seed cake?
Because it is not possible to distinguish between the results of drug-abuse and the remains in your blood after a big yummy piece of cake.

I remember that as children we were always warned not to eat too much of this cake - and that is not an old-wife's tale: poppy-seed cake contains Thebain, which you earn by using the milk of unripe papaver somniferum poppy-seed capsules. In cake you'll normally find very low amounts, but new ways of earning and processing the seeds can let it soar.

Well -- I'll give Morpheus a second chance. Nighty night everyone! 


  1. Re poppy seeds, if you use a new pack of playing cards then get checked for bombs at an airport you may test positive. The cards are coated with a type of cellulose which can be found in explosives. This may help one day...

    1. Wow - I didn't know that, and if it is true it might be valuable knowledge - as soon as I fly again (to the Netherlands! So often! That alone makes me - without any reason! - highly suspicious in the poppyseeds department :-) )

  2. I hope you slept well. My aunt used to make the most delicious poppy seed coffee cake. I wish I had her recipe.

  3. Thank you, Emma - after that hour of waiting I slept 2 more hours.
    The poppy seed coffee cake sounds delicious - although I bake I never dared to bake a poppy seed cake.

  4. My brother in law was a truck driver, and never ever ate any poppy seed product for fear of contaminating the regular drug tests he was obliged to take to maintain his license to drive big rigs.
    Glad you were able to nod off.

    1. I understand that, Joanne - I didn't know that one could really get in trouble. And thank you - I am an early riser, but got another wink.

  5. My oldest is a Combat Engineer, got a suspicious result on a drug screen, as did several of his coworkers.

    The culprit, Poppyseed coffee cake that one of his Sappers Mum's sent in as a birthday treat.

    After that the unit got a lecture on accepting food that might test positive for opiods.

    1. Wow, I looked up what a combat Engineer does.
      And yes: so one should only eat that (delicious) cake when one knows that one has not to drive or to work.
      Here in the bakeries lie a lot of these cakes - so lovely with streusel and sugar icing (though I am off sugar most of the time :-)