Thursday, 16 September 2021
Saturday, 4 September 2021
This photo of the ground in front of an old (now renovated) beautiful cinema in Berlin I took a week ago - as you see: the design is clearly Fifty's.
To me it is a symbol of my life: hopping around from place to place: much fun, but also: no roots. Arcadian life in Bavaria - Rush Hour in The City.
When we arrived here last week (No Italy !!! - we had to change plans and spent a week in Bavaria, and then a week in Berlin) - it was still raining - but now we have beautiful weather (for a while).
Instead of Florence there was Berlin, instead of Tuscany we visited Brandenburg - hahaha. (But that was nice too).
The Flying Dutchman sits in his car now, heading back to the Netherlands, and I will spend another 10 days here - then hurry back to my grandchildren, the triplets, who just became 2 years old.
Friday, 6 August 2021
and some come as threesome.
And before you needle & pin me on the board-of-shame with a hashtag, I can assure you that toy-boys would get the same toys from me! (I might even add a pinafore!)
But sometimes, maybe on a grey rainy day, or a day when your heart has tumbled into a thorn bush, then it is time to make a present to yourself.
Which I did - see the beautiful fat book "Portrait of an Artist. A comprehensive chronicle of David Hochney's life and work" by Taschen. 511 pages!
It arrived yesterday. Hurray!
(By the way: on one of our narrow-boat-tours the whole entourage visited the Salts Mills in Saltaire near his hometown Bradford - they host a great part of his oeuvre).
And it might have been a thick thorn bush, because as dessert I added something else:
Very fulfilling: The Complete Mary Poppins by P. L.Travers - 767 pages!
Sunday, 1 August 2021
First day in August
Last rain was in May
When the rainmaker came to Kansas
In the middle of a dusty day...
It is a mystery how memory works (and my computer: cannot change the font!)
Of course the outer givens are clear:
- today is the first day in August - but there have been many since 1969, when Harry Nilsson published this song - and only 3 less when I got the record around 1972 (as a present, and not my favourite music).
- and it rains after a long spell of hot days in Bavaria, so the rainmaker must have been here.
But I haven't thought of that song for years. I see it as a symbol for ingratitude - the people of Kansas were stingy and didn't throw any money into the rainmaker's hat when he had conjured the rain.
"And the rainmaker's eyes and the Kansas skies /Well, they both became a darker gray".
Then the people of the town
heard the sound of his laughter
And they knew the rain had
come to stay.
I do hope that it will not stay here for the whole of August :
IF it does, I might re-read a novel by Edna O'Brien: "August is a Wicked Month" , published in 1965. (Must have been Tom's post about boring Herman's Hermits, which beamed me back into the Sixties...)
Yours Truly will drink her first cup of coffee - and: coming from Bremen (same weather as in Hamburg or the UK) I actually love rain. For a while... Toodle-pip!
PS: First sunray of the day: a new follower - welcome Mark Charlton!
Sunday, 25 July 2021
Dear Emma, dear Rachel: I don't know what happened. At the moment I cannot open the post on my "Day out". Thank you for your comments - I was glad to read them. And yes: I will talk about the city Fürth (I only saw a little part of it - so it will be a very personal description).
Tuesday, 20 July 2021
... missed a train!
"My" Bavarian village owns a luxury item: a little red train which comes every half hour with a loud "Tooooot!" Here you see the station one village further - with two tracks and two platforms - while we have only one track and one platform - and the Flying Dutchman's standard joke is "Remember: departure from Track 1!"
Sunday, 18 July 2021
From Bavaria to Berlin, from Berlin to the Netherlands, then back to Berlin, and now Bavaria again.
After wearing "The Mask" from Schiphol to Berlin (and then in the public transport the S-Bahn) - meaning 7 !!! hours without a break, my head felt like the photo above - muddy, even the next day I wasn't completely "there".
But am now: here.
Bathing in nature and calm. Wide view.
Though I enjoyed the Big City too.
Monday, 21 June 2021
A few months ago, during the height of Covid-19-time, I bought a wonderful edition of the fairy-tales of Die Gebrüder Grimm. Might have been the same longing that brought many people to start examining their family history - fairy tales are a bit the family lore of a nation.
The Gebrüder Grimm started to collect those tales from 1819 on - writing down what till then was only told verbatim - and thus endangered to get lost. They didn't add anything, and we are so thankful for their great work.
Fairy tales are for children, one often thinks - especially when you know only the sweet Disney movies. But a long long time ago, when mankind told these stories around open hearths or at the spinning wheel on long winter evenings, they were cultural transmission.
Some fairy tales are outright cruel. Some are not easy to understand. As a child I only loved those with a happy end, those which made me laugh. But now I see that a lot more of the wisdom of the not so nice tales is stored inside me too.
What I esteem: the fairytales taught children - different from nowadays overprotective helicopter parents (no chance to become that with triplets!) - that the world is a colourful but not always a peaceful place, that not all people are interested in that proud parents' Unique Sweet Child, as lovely and pure as it might be, and that the world sometimes is not fair, although fairy tales also often tell you that virtue is rewarded.
One of my favourite fairy tales are "The Bremer Stadtmusikanten" (The Town Musicians of Bremen, where I come from) - its mantra for living-on is :
"Something better than Death you will always be able to find."
I'll drink to that - and cling to the antiquated syntax!
Now to my adventure of getting lost:
"In the Olden Days when wishing still has helped..." (fairy tales often start like that) - so, in my modern language: the day before yesterday, I went to the next town by train to buy some bread, and, as the weather was hot and beautiful, decided to walk back to the little village where I (part-time) live now.
That would make about 3 km, and I thought I knew the way.
So Our Heroine started - with lovely fresh bread and no stones in her knapsack.
Two times she asked Friendly Strangers if she was still walking into the right direction - and got somehow muddled advice about being quicker on another route. She walked on confident.
When suddenly the road went uphill, she started to wonder. (Having a good sense of locality, why did she go further up, knowing that the little village nestled into a valley?)
After a while she saw an ugly Old Woman, accompanied by three barking dogs, coming out of the woods, and she asked her: "Is this the way to Arcadevillage?"
"Yes, my dear! Just go through that wood and you will be right there!"
Our Heroine overlooked the strange glint in those eyes, didn't notice the cackling and was afraid of those Cerberous dogs.
WELL... This was what followed:
After about seven miles through the wood and then many more miles through oven-hot dry fields she finally reached home.
"And if she hasn't died she is still alive". (Oh yes, she is!)
After a few deep breaths she looked up the name of that wood and that little river (and I swear it is the truth and nothing but the truth). It is:
Saturday, 19 June 2021
Another very hot day will unfold - the last two days we had temperatures of 34° C, which make you feel as being clad into hot blankets.
In the early morning mist rises from the meadows on the low ground near the little river. It is always a stunning sight.
So: No walk with the triplets' electro mobile - but I brought two watering cans, thus we spent a very vivid and wet afternoon in the garden - little hands slided into the cans, discovered how to splash fountains - and the sun dried the clothes at once.
I wonder how I shall name the triplets here - to respect their privacy. They have very beautiful names (and each of them has three - fortunately we only use one, otherwise they would be up and away while we stand around and call them :-)
Elizabeth von Arnim called hers fictional "April, May and June". Might bring confusion to the readers, especially in months with the same name?
Maybe I call them by the name of the Three Graces: Euphrosyne, Thalia and Aglaia - but Euphrosyne is a bit long - and my son detests abbreviations...
So: I will call the unidentical triplet "Igel", which she choose very early to name herself, meaning hedgehog - in the beginning her abundant hair stood away from the head in little spikes; so she heard it very often. Now the spikes changed into a sort of long curls.The uniovular call her "Igel" too.
The first uniovular triplet calls herself "Ada" (which I adore!).
The second uniovular, who is very determined and fearless, has the name of a strong Nordic goddess - the name is short so she can pronounce it almost correct. She is the third of the Three Graces, Aglaia- so I will call her Glaia.
Igel, Ada and Glaia -time will show if that fits.
Thursday, 17 June 2021
Sunday, 11 April 2021
just a sign of life: this is the view from my new domicile in Bavaria - isn't it ravishing?
At the moment I am back in Berlin: I got the offer for my first Biontec shot two days ago, and thought that so important that I entered the ICE and will stay here for a few day. Hustle and bustle - but also
Joie de vivre!
Monday, 29 March 2021
I haven't use the photo above (which I took years ago at V&A) for a long time, and you know why.
But now, despite the lockdown-lethargy, I am in the middle of an adventure.
At the beginning of 2021 I decided that I do not like to feel remote-controlled.
So, after having not seen the triplets since February 2020 (!) I acted: I had luck to rent an apartment in the village where Son, my Daughter-in-love and the triplets live. To be precise: it was my DiL who told me that the apartment was there to be rented, one street away from their house.
I thought: "OK - at least it is far enough away that one has to put on a jacket to visit each other". I don't want to intrude into a family - though welcomed and hopefully able to really help with three vivid little girls, no longer the babies I saw last year but little children who run around, start to speak - and love to lie on the ground and "read" a book.
I rented without having seen the apartment except on photos - (though Son went and looked at it once).
I keep my huge apartment in Berlin - by now I know myself: I am a city-girl.
I could buy the whole kitchen including all machines; and a good-looking big wardrobe in the bedroom. Yet the van the caretaker and his son filled today with the sofa, the bicycle, ten moving boxes and a lot of other things is full - tomorrow I will manage to climb inside, and then we three drive to Bavaria.
The janitor and his son are part-time knights - living in medieval tents, being able to fight with real swords, and hunt with real bow and arrow, so I see it as a sort of crusade:
Time to fight the dragon Corona, time to move again.
Wish me luck - and forgive me if you do not get comments at the moment: for some time I will have no Internet, though after five days quarantine I will try to get a connection to you in the house of Son&DiL.
On my smartphone I can see your comments (and will find out, how I can read your blogs too).
So: Toodle pip!
Saturday, 27 February 2021
No travels to little towns and villages at the (long) moment, AND the shops are closed everywhere in Germany.
The only living person a lot of people nowadays see at all is the Amazon delivery man. Or the postman - which makes me think of the time when little shops in villages were also the post office...
But I agree with Mr. J.B.Priestly: shopping in small towns and villages is fun and a delight.
"We begin (to shop) as small children clutching our pennies and staring over the counter in a sweet agony of indecision."
Oh yes: I remember Mr. Meissner, the chemist's, just over the street - you could go there with 1 Pfennig (!) in your little hand and he would take down an enormous tin can, open it (ahh - that heavenly smell!) - and took out one heaped teaspoon of black sharp salty rhombic salmis - mmmmhhhh!
"We who begin to buy only when we are at the mercy of our instinctive drives do not want a whole floor of neckties or saucepans, with lifts to take us to cushions or tobacco. It is when shaving brushes and cheese, toffee and potato peelers, liver pills and socks, are heaped together that we go berserk, shopping like mad."
Every time I see the scene in the village shop when watching "Saving Grace" with Brenda Blethyn, where the two elderly ladies, having drunk a very special tea, hide behind the counter, pop up with big goggle eyes that pop out of the spectacles from the joke items - I have to laugh out loud, every time! (Well, you could put me beside an old-fashioned laughing bag and I would roll around with laughter 😂)
What do you think about shopping in little villages - or do those kinds of old-fashioned shops still exist in your area?
PS: As Tasker and Joanne asked ... here I will try to explain what "Salmis" are. One picture says more than hundred words - though in this case I doubt it.
"Ah, liquorice!" you might say.
Yes and no. They add something that sounds horrible: sal ammoniac - which gives a sharp tang and taste (liquorice is more sweet, salmis are WHOW! Salty-sharp).
People in northern countries love them and have many varieties: the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden - and the region where I come from, Bremen in Northern Germany - countries that are more cold.
It drives up your blood pressure - maybe this is why we Northerners love it (though I searched for it in Edinburgh in vain.)
I cannot say more to it - you have to taste it. For a lot of people ONCE is enough forever - the others I would call dangerously addicted :-) (you can buy it in every chemist's shop...)
Sunday, 21 February 2021
The last days I was a bit "under the weather", although the sun came out and I got some (personal) very good news. (I will tell you another time).
So I did what I always do when I feel sort of blue: I looked into my bookcases and took out "Delight" by J.B.Priestly. It was first published in 1949.
" FOUNTAINS. I doubt if I ever saw one, even the smallest, without some tingling of delight. (...) The richest memory I have of the Bradford Exhibition of my boyhood, (...) is of the Fairy Fountain, which changed colour to the waltzes of the Blue Hungarian Band, and was straight out of the Arabian Night."
Priestly complains that there are only few fountains in Great Britain:
"We hunger for them and are not fed." He asks for letters to The Times and even for demonstrations to get them.
"Their cost is trifling compared to so many idiotic things we are given and do not want. Our towns are crammed with all manner of rubbish that no people in their senses ever asked for, yet where are the fountains?"
The fountain on the photograph I took at the Victoria Luise Platz, a few steps from my home. The man who designed in 1902 the whole quarter, Mr. Haberland, insisted on many "Schmuckplätze" - Ornamental Places? - where you will find every time a fountain - in always diverging design.
When they start to sparkle after winter, you know: now it is really spring.
Query: What do you think about the delight of fountains? Are there fountains where you live, or nearby - and/or do you remember a very special one?
Saturday, 6 February 2021
Hahaha: the BZ (= Berlin Newspaper) is sort of equivalent of The Sun. Gossip and "sensations" - like our infamous BILD Zeitung, horror, but often amusing headers.
Here they title:
"Berlin Hairdresser continues cutting during Lockdown.
Policemen among his customers!
Appointments via Dating-App!"
In Germany the haircutters are not allowed to work during lockdown - so you see many lopsided self-cut fringes, striking white streaks amid the parting of deep black hair etc.
The Germans are very angry to see many of our politicians mysteriously immaculately coiffed - although they should look like this by now:
1: "Open the hair salons!
2: More and more mutations in Germany!"
(If you know some of these politicians, but not the mutants, here they are: first our Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, third chancellor Merkel, last Bavarian governor Söder)
Sunday, 31 January 2021
Sunday, 24 January 2021
Sunday, 17 January 2021
The "old" pretender, my "retro" coffee machine went kaputt.
I mightn't have noticed for weeks - I am not a heavy coffee drinker (till I was 50 I didn't drink any coffee at all - it was too bitter for my child-like taste). I still prefer strong tea.
Now I drink at the most 2 cups per day. (My neighbour told me about her awful headache- she was, her words, on "coffee-withdrawal" -- later I found out that she drinks two strong cups per day - tja).
Often I prepare my cup with the Nespresso machine - not good for the environment, I know, and I suspect not good for the body either, with those aluminium capsules... But a coffe machine is not good at preparing one cup - and I tried it with a porcelain filter: not very convincing either.
The Flying Dutchman drinks coffee like a fish. That's why I used the machine. He is highly amused that I call her my "Russell & Hobbs" - well-knowing that I must say "Russell Hobbs" - but I don't care, I do it my way 😋. And Amazon came very handy in these days of closed shops: next day I had a new "Russell & Hobbs" - though a different design - fake "retro" is out - and that is not a big loss, I think.
And that coffee smells delicious - on Sundays I add a little oriental trick: I add a slightly crushed pod of cardamom - the Arabs put one into the nozzle of the coffeepot.
Smells like heaven... Add a lump of sugar and a little bit of cream and there you are - in heaven.
Tuesday, 12 January 2021
Sadly, most Germans know only a few films such as Caroline Graham's 'Midsummer Murder' or Agatha Christie's 'Miss Marple' (and then the version with Margaret Rutherford, not the outstanding Joan Hickson or the version with the late Geraldine McEwan).
TV in Germany tries its best to enlighten them, but what I had in mind is a sort of "opera guide" for British detective TV series from the beginning till now - available on DVD.
I admire Dorothy Sayers so much - a witty intellectual, so much fun to read - and I have to confess that each year since the 1970s I read at least two or three of her novels per annum.
And I can recall vividly my disappointment, when I purchased the first DVDs starring Ian Carmichael, OBE. "Clouds of Witness" was filmed in 1972 - at that time I was a very young student - and THAT was NOT MY Lord Peter! For me Ian Carmichael was an old man, sorry to say. When in 2003 the DVDs with Edward Petherbridge appeared, I was a bit appeased.
Now I saw the series with Ian Carmichael again. And think them very well done.
Yes - he still is a bit old for Lord Peter - but not THAT much as I saw it in 1972.
He didn't change - I did.
Which is - all in all - a good thing. 😀
Sunday, 10 January 2021
Times flies by, and I know it is a little late to wish all of you a Happy New Year - but I do, with all my heart.
It is very cold now in Berlin. And empty - the lockdown is rigid (but that is ok) - now we are allowed to meet only one other person who is not living in our household. (Though that is strange too: nowhere you can find out if you are allowed to meet fifty people in your house in succession - one after the other - or only one a day, or a week?)
And those towns and cities with high 7-day incidences can order that people are not allowed to move further than in a 15km radius.
Sounds sensible - but isn't: it means that people here in Berlin are allowed 15 km from the border of Berlin! Meanwhile you can flip through the city (if you are with no consideration for others) on 892 square kilometres as long and often as you want...
I think what really tires us in Germany are the contradictory rules that change daily: do the children have to go to school - or not? (If they have to, they sit in cramped buses!) Do we have ordered enough vaccine or not - or, when I follow the latest news: do we Germans have to be ashamed to want more than is our due? And on and on and on - and each federal state in Germany also can do as it pleases... and does it...
No control anywhere: people who do not wear the mandatory mask on the Ku'damm don't have to pay a fine, because they smoke grinning a cigarette or hold a coffee mug in their hands - and then they are allowed to wear the mask around their neck instead covering mouth and nose.. Honestly: I think that they must have to choose: stay away from those streets if they have to smoke - or wear a mask. Period.
We others then sometimes feel like obeying idiots. Or, worse, are attacked for being obedient: Yesterday a man from Africa boxed very hard into my little leather rucksack when I friendly (!)) asked him to keep the distance from 1,5m. (There was lots of space to do that, no need to rub against my coat).
Come to think of it I (being alone - in bright daylight) was lucky that nothing worse happened - luckily I am tall (1,78m), can look like an attacking tiger over my mask, and have a body language that signals: though I am a woman I will hit back. That makes them overlook that I am old and slender - the mask shows only furious tiger-eyes...
(This photo is a year old, when I walked the catwalk as a silver-model).
Well: I hope that the year 2021 continues in a more friendly way... for all of us.