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

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! 


  1. Ah Edna O'Brien, I devoured her books as a teenager just leaving home and coming from the country to the city, couldn't get enough of her. On reading one again recentl I felt embarrassed as the older and wiser me looking back on my young innocent self once reading her books. I found it very dated and did not finish it. I hope your weather continues to be hot. Today here it is 15C and will rise to 17C this afternoon and no sun. xxx

    1. Interesting, Rachel, how we change - one way to chisel that out is by reading a beloved novel again after a longer pause. Such a different reaction in me to Effi Briest (Fontane), or Thomas Mann's Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain) - and the same sometimes happens to movies we've seen a long time ago (I am happy to say that "The Knack ...or how to get it" is still a favourite of mine, as "Zazie dans le Metro" - and many, many books - only the view changed, and thus what I learn from it - but my love is still there.)
      I am interested how that will be with Edna - the book stands in Berlin, so I have to wait for a while...
      PS: I don't feel embarrassed by what "my younger self" did, I long for her verve - though of course there are many things I would not tell my son :-) (which again brings up the tedious question of what to do with my about 150 diaries) ? xxx

    2. Oh I felt I was the girl about town at 17 on moving to London and I saw Edna O'Brien's girls through rose tinted spectacles. It was going to be so easy. I may miss the verve but I don't miss the innocence.

    3. Oh Rachel - great! I would love to hear of that time in London!

      (Another great DVD that survived time is "Whitnail and I" - you made me think of it, because I have their London apartment before my eyes ... leading to the famous quote: "We've gone on holiday by mistake."
      It is Sunday, so you might have the time to work through the following long quote by Withnail, illustrating why I still think highly of a little innocence, which heightens rapture:
      "I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth. And indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory. This most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! How like an angel in apprehension. How like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me, no, nor women neither. Nor women neither."

      (Britta, aside: Man still delights me, yes :-) )

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  2. And first comment of the day too - thank you for visiting my blog too! We don't use the term Rainmaker very much in the UK, but if we do I guess it means someone who brings success not sorrow, good fortune not bad times.
    It rains a great deal where I live, but it passes quickly on the coast - rainbows are the gift it brings.

    1. Almost first comment - Rachel beat me to it.

    2. Dear Mark (I use the "dear" not condescendingly - which I mention to prevent that a British ear might hear a not intended undertone - for some time this blog was a sort of letter-exchange, thus...)
      Yep - a Mini-Olympia in commenting, hahaha. The more athletes the better
      How come that I am not surprised that you do not use the term "rainmaker" that often in the UK?
      A favourite quote in my family is "Actually we needed some rain!" uttered by Scots (! I know the difference!), standing knee-high in water, trying to convince us rain-dripping tourists that they have a mediterranean climate...
      Harry's American rainmaker was a neutral sorcerer, I think, or even a good guy, bringing the much needed rain nature was longing for - but the Kansas people didn't give him his well-earned fee, so they were in for a deluge.

      Rainbows, clouds, gentle fog - all these things I adore, often feel more relaxed with rain (which heightens colours) as in a hot, hot climate - but I love change, after a while, always.

  3. The colour and shape of the Japanese Maple are stunning, and it lasts and lasts in a vase of water. We have a formal table setting of all white on a Friday night (white linen, plates, glasses etc) but the Japanese Maple sit in the centre of all this whiteness. It doesn't matter if outside is grey, drizzly and depressing.

  4. Dear Helen, I am very impressed that you recognised the Japanese Maple at one glance!
    I have it on the white table of the balcony, but you gave me the idea that I might use it sometimes as a table center piece too. Thank you!
    And yes: it brightens up every day (and was not sulking at all when I brought it from Berlin to Bavaria).

  5. Hey my sentimental friend over there, that was my guest post on Tom's blog about boring Hermans Hermits.

    1. Scroll, scroll, scroll - oh, oops, er... YES, now I see it...
      (and as the ophthalmologist attested me 130% (!!!) perfect vision, I cannot make excuses) --- coming back from A Sentimental Journey I was distracted by composing my grocery list (no milk today, I wrote) - and thus overlooked your authorship, Tasker -
      and for that I apologise!

    2. no probs. it's not the end of the world.

  6. And my eyes (brain) are not right. I mistook the Japanese maple in the first picture to be free floating and spent some time wondering how. Now I see its stem.

    1. It was the sorcerer, Joanne, who presented his "Flying Maple Trick"!

  7. All around us rain fell. Some was extremely heavy rain. For some reason my little town did not receive as much as a sprinkle. The farmers need it. Not a lot like some areas but a bit. What we have really had a problem with is smoke from the wildfires in California. It traveled more than 1000 miles an over the Rocky Mountains to reach us. It has been here for close to a week now. At times it was quite thick. Air quality was terrible at times. It does finally seem to be moving south today.

    1. Dear Emma, that is the problem: too much or too little rain. The next village here (and huge parts of Nordrhein-Westfalen - there they had over 140 drowned people!) stood under water - and in Brandenburg the earth is dry and plants die.

      To think that you got the smoke from the awful wildfires from so far away!

      Nature at the moment is changing quick, and has a power that many people cannot imagine.

  8. Droughts then flooding rains is how it tends to cycle in the folklore here but in truth, in my particular neck of the woods, it's rather a wet part of the world. And we do talk about it rather a lot. It's the carbohydrate of the conversational diet. And whenever speaking of a particularly drenching event, it is customary to pause and say "... but we/they need the rain."

    Edna O'Brien, I haven't thought about her books in years! I remember "The Country Girls" and "Green Eyes" and never knew at the time of reading how controversial they and she'd been. I tended to read quite uncritically and just hoovered books up, expecting that if they were published then they had to have been accepted. Thank you for the reminder, dear Britta!

  9. Dear Pipistrello, please excuse my late answer!
    I had not imagined that in your part of the world it rains a lot - but yes, of course "the weather" is an endless topic, that I know from Bremen and Hamburg, where I lived so long, and both Hanse-Städte have a very British climate.

    Of course I relish the description as "the carbohydrate of the conversational diet" - haha, that is what I enjoy often in rural surroundings...

    I am really curious to meet dear Edna O' again -- will tell you of the experience. My print-faith was the same as yours :-)
    You also made me interested to read a bit about her and her literary reception.

    But first I will finish a book (in Netherlands, and quite thick) by Connie Palmen - Friendship. And a few other books are scattered in my rural apartment -so: no ennui coming up.

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