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

Friday 16 December 2022

Merry Christmas!


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

As I go to Berlin till the first week of January tomorrow, I might have no good internet there - and thus I will be - once in a blue moon - silent. (Eventually   :-) 

I go by train tomorrow - we have lots of snow, and I am seriously nervous. I'll show you a German drawing (and translate it): 

Train: "Scheduled departure somewhere between 9:00 and 11:00 o'clock, scheduled arrival somewhere between 17:00 and 20:00 o'clock." 

People at the gate:  "Since these new train schedules the railway is finally punctual again!" 

Well, I try to enjoy THIS DAY: the beautiful landscape and the triplets, whom I will miss over Christmas very much. 

Sunday 20 November 2022

A Winter Walk on a Sunday Morning


Yesterday morning the world turned white. The first snow! 

Today I put on a warm hat, a warm coat and gloves, tossed my contempt for damp cold overboard and - though it was only nine o'clock in the morning - went out for a long solitary walk. 

The snow painted everything almost monochrom - but that heightened the few colours under the masses of snow: 

 Everyday objects became spellbound:  

And then I felt as if I was falling under magic spell too and had to find the talismanic phrase. 
The way in front of me vanished into fog! 

The path disappeared in Nowhere Land. 

As in Life, I thought: you do not know where you go. 
There might be some surprises in for you - although you had planned so well, took care of everything - but then Leela, the Hinduism goddess of "divine play", might laugh out loud. 

But in spite of that you have to trust - that's what I learned after a bad turn in my life seven years ago. 
Life is strong. And one can be sure - if one wants to live - life goes on. The way might be leading into the foggy unknown - 

and it might be a long way, and sometimes damned uncomfortable, but at last there comes another bend, and in-between sometimes you might find  a (cold?) seat, rest a while, 

or, if you are very daring (and impatient) you might even climb up a high seat to get an overview: 

I looked back at my past: it seemed to disappear in fog too. And I saw some other directions I could have chosen: 

How would my life have been then? 

I didn't break my head about what could have been for a long time. I am someone who is always attracted to little thing of beauty - and those you find almost everywhere on your way, even in winter: 

When I finally turned and walked back I saw that my "walk in time" eventually will go downhill - there's no use in denying that - 

but I accept that because I know: 
it is my way Home. 


Friday 18 November 2022

"I haven't told my garden yet" - a novel by Pia Pera


I seldom recommend a book, and this one from the late author Pia Pera I haven't finished yet. But I am utterly fascinated - though it is a kind of literature I seldom read - as you might know by now I most often prefer novels with an optimistic ending, something that lifts my mood, and if it makes me laugh: all the better. 

In the introduction to this book Pia Pera quotes a poem by Emily Dickinson - "I haven't told my garden yet" (I will show it in my blog "Happiness of the Day" under  As I do not love the German translation of Emily's poem in that book I dare to give the German readers of my blog a new one. 

Pia writes that the change of perspective towards death in that poem has impressed her. 

"The care about the animated and the unanimated beings, whom we in a certain way have deceived by making them used to our presence. Without warning them of the unavoidable défaillance: that we are here and now raises the expectation that we will always be there - an untenable promise.    I liked the idea that by such a reversal the egoism would be subdued, that when thinking of one's owns death one quasi wants to apologise for the involuntary disappearance. And that instead of worrying about oneself one should ask how it will be for the others, not for us."  

The book of Pia Pera is so full of wisdom - so comforting in face of her nearing death - I really recommend it - at least to all lovers of gardens. 

So - maybe I should have put it on my blog "...sunshine, freedom and a little flower"( - but I think it is much more than a good garden book. 

It starts with the sentence: 

"On one day in June some years ago remarked a man who said he loved me in a reproachful tone that I limped." 

As above it is my translation from the German version - but look at the distance, coldness and the contempt in "a man who said he ...". 

But don't get me wrong: 

it is a book without hate - it is warm and relaxed and relaxing in face of an incurable illness. 

Sunday 13 November 2022

Our lantern procession on St.Martin's Day


The lantern procedure yesterday was lovely! I didn't take many photos as I was occupied "to live fully in the moment" - meaning: chasing after one or the other (or the other!) of the triplets. There were about 50 children, but many more grown-ups. 

Electric light bulbs in the lanterns - that was less "cozy" as in Olden Times, though very calming because in Olden Times wishing didn't always still help and some lanterns got up in flames. 

Yesterday luckily that didn't happen to any of all those masterpieces, very beautiful or bizzare and mostly self handcrafted lanterns - the triplets had funny hedgehogs, we saw owls, sheep, fishes and whatsoever. 

If you stare VERY hard - and use your faith and trust me completely - in the picture above you might make out in the background a person with a Father Christmas cap (why?) and a - well... horse would be boasting - it was a little pony (all ponies are little, dear Britta!) - yeah, true, but this one was a pigmy pony - covered with a red blanket and shining light bulbs. (Here it looks like the theatre figure of a horse or donkey where two persons are clad in one costume).  
But no: this one was "the real thing". 
Though this real thing was very nervous. 

Same as Saint Martin, who was a five year old boy in a red cape wearing a golden helmet - the parson told the story - St. Martin draw his sword - and after three attempts managed to cut the cape into two parts - one he donated to the beggar. 

We all sang loud the lantern procession songs - "I go with my lantern/ and my lantern goes with me. / Above us shine the stars/ and below we are shining." We were accompanied by a real huge Bavarian brass band - and looked up to the stars, and marched a long way to a farm, where they served warm St. Martin's crescent rolls and drinks.  

Saturday 12 November 2022

Mr. Moonlight


I have the feeling that at the moment my moods go up and down a bit - as a cabin in this Ferris wheel. May depend on still interrupted sleep, or the flu vaccination a few days ago, or the change of the season (and return to standard time) - I don't know. 

The standard time feels more "normal" to me. I muse about the efficiency  of the EU: as far as I see everybody of that parliament is convinced that it would be good to stop the nonsense of shifting time in summer and winter - they talk about that often, but do they DO anything about it? At least not this year, or the last year or the years before that. Grrr. 

Maybe I should move to Tilling or Riseholm - where Queen Lucia and Miss Mapp and all the others Tillingites/Riseholites simply ignore the change (to take a train to London - but who wants that? - forces them for a very short time.  "How tarsome", George would say.) All my Lucia-books are in Berlin - I hope I wrote the quote right.

Oh, I adore E.F.Benson!!!  

We still have beautiful sunny weather - though it gets a little underlying chilly note. 

This evening the whole village does a lantern procession - the triplets are looking out for that. For me it is a very fine childhood memory - I still see my huge lantern with the face of Mr. Moon in front of me. 


Wednesday 9 November 2022

A Snippet of my Everyday Life


The day before yesterday the bell of my Bavarian flat rung - I pressed the button - nobody came up - so I went downstairs and saw the stoplights of a white van. 

A deliveryman had dumped a heavy parcel in front of the house - ah! the potting soil I had ordered. I just had my influenza virus vaccination - thus I abstained from carrying that parcel up to the second floor (I happily do weight training again since two months and think I might have been able to carry those 45 litre - but then: my back is a bit touchy - thus I let the parcel where it was). 

Next day the parcel stood in the hall - yesterday I asked the young forest ranger from the flat downstairs whether he had put it inside - no, but could he carry it up for me? "Oh, wonderful!" (I had corrected the Master thesis of his girlfriend, thus now I know a lot now about "The Economic Value of Wood from Little Private Woods") and thought I could accept his offer. 

The forest ranger is the only person the triplets REALLY respect. He drives a huge pick-up, AND a "John Deere" (the girls, though just three years old, can tell you most car make that passes by, and all tractor makes - a valuable foundation for life :-) 

Now I need a fine day to plant the rose Avalanche into a huge container. 

Query: If I tell you about such an everyday event - is that ok - or do you start to yawn? I would know about that! 

Thursday 3 November 2022

"A Year to Live"


On Tuesday, November 1st, in Bavaria we had a feast day - "Allerheiligen" = All Saints' Day". 

In Germany each state can decide whether you have a feast day or have to go to work. When I lived in Mainz, utterly Catholic,  I had 5 more free days on which I had not to work - in the same job, same federal employer, same salary - than in Hamburg, utterly  protestant. 

The Flying Dutchman is perplexed by the fact that Church still has very much influence in Germany - in the Netherlands not even Sunday is a day of rest: on Sunday you can go and shop. Honestly: I am glad that Sunday gives us a pause in many regards. 

Wednesday, November 2nd, Mexico celebrates "Dia de Muertos" - but that hasn't any influence on me. 

These gloomy days might look like an explanation why I ordered a book via Amazon: "A Year to Live" by Stephen Levine

But no - I wasn't morbid or depressed - our October and the begin of November was full of sunshine, high temperatures and beautiful colours. And I am fit and feel fine (better knock on wood!) 

Thus I surprised myself (I am glad I can still do that!) by ordering that  book. 

Surprised - because if you know me you would know that I shun themes concerning death as much as the devil shuns the holy water, as a saying in Germany goes. 

I do not like cemeteries nor funerals.  

So - why interest in that book? And why did I sent it back so quickly? 

Well, it was so different from what I expected - more on the esoteric instead of the philosophic side, too much of the "mindfulness"-direction. 

Yet I do love the title. 

I started to think on my own, without that book. To think that all you have for living is one year - 365 days - that is fascinating. (And maybe quite realistic - knock, knock, knock) What would I do in this year? What is important to me? Who is important to me? How not to waste time with bores, unnecessary chores, pointless anger - but bathing in love, meaning, and beauty, in sunshine? What would I like to clear/heal as long as I still am able?  

And: what will I have to do to leave no chaos behind me? 

In Berlin I have a fantastic little book: 

"Dostadning: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning" by Margareta Magnusson. 

As you see: I will stay true to myself. My son would say - smiling a bit patronisingy:  "Typical Mama - "How To"-Books till the end!"    :-)   

Wednesday 26 October 2022

"Candles for - Germany?"


In a comment on my blog "...sunshine, freedom and a little flower" Pipistrello from "Flying With Hands" asked: 

I was talking to a young German girl from my dancing class, from Cologne. She told me this winter schools and universities will remain online in her area as they expect not to be able to afford to heat the classrooms to the required 17 degrees to keep all the technology running smoothly. Is this likely to be true? 

Part of my answer: "Since September we have an official enactment for public buildings to put temperature down to 18°C degrees when people sit - when they walk: 17 °C (hahahaha). No warm water in public buildings to wash your hands (except in hospitals, schools, or homes for the elderly). "

So, universities keep open, schools too. But today in the news I heard complaints of a local sport club (and they are not the only ones) which cannot pay the enormous sums that are demanded now for energy. 

Same problem for e.g. bakeries, gastronomy - and people with a small income too. 

A lot of work was not done in the last decades - profits were taken, but not much invested - the state of bridges, of railways, roads often is deplorable. 

I do hope that we learn by that - though I am not so optimistic - seeing the news today I wondered if people ever learn. 

PS: To get the whole picture not too gloomy - we still are a very rich country and pay a lot to help others - I will tell you a story of my past, long ago - I have forgotten which year it was, but English people will know. I was on my way to England, and shortly before I heard of a heavy power cut in England. 

One trait of me is that I often believe to quick. So I packed many candles into my suitcase - and my English friends still tease me: "Ah - candles for England!" 


Saturday 22 October 2022

Well...hmm...Changed my mind...I'm just sitting on a fence...

 As you might have seen that I, fickle, changed my mind again and decided to keep the blog about gardens, plants and parks - but now I write it in English. 
I managed to change the header into English and hope you will see that on the blogroll next day (today Google still keeps the German blog title "...und eine kleine Blume muss man haben", but the text is in English), but I was not able to change the blog address - thus you will find "...sunshine, freedom, and a little flower" still under the German link

- but in my humble attempts to write in English. 

The topics remain the same: plants in all varieties, my visits to gardens and parks, quotes about plants in literature or in paintings - and whatever other topics I find flying around like parachutes of dandelion. 

I would enjoy it very much if you come with me - five of you are already there - please bring with you a picnic blanket and a botanist's specimen container, and then we'll pick together some beautiful moments for our herbarium.    


Tuesday 18 October 2022

A defoliated blog - so appropriate for autumn

OK - I come to my senses. 
I admit that my blog "... und eine kleine Blume muss man auch haben" - which I have written in German - with Google sometimes changes into awful English translations  - is damned to wither.  

Here in "You are witty and pretty" I might write awful English too - but what you read here are my own blunders, my faults - and not Google's. 

I am a woman of quick decisions. If at the stock market I am not convinced that a share is worth its money - I sell it (although I can be very stubborn and keep it against all croaks of the fire-bellied toad if I am convinced of their potential). Quick and without (much) remorse. Then I forget about it. 

I will do that with the plant&flowers&garden-blog too - though plants in all forms are what I really love and what I am deeply interested in. I told myself that I can - as I have a hotchpotch blog - add and twine some flowers or news from the world of plants into it. 

Above you see the latest - but not the last - bunch of wild flowers I pick here on my walks in Bavaria - I'm always modest and take only a few, and if a bee sits on it I will not pick it. 
They are offerings from nature, the arrangement is by me. 

Saturday 15 October 2022

The Salted Buddhas

 "3" is a magical age. 

I remember a bit of my own very early youth, and vividly the time when our son was 3, and now the triplets entered it with the first day of September. 

Not being allowed to post photographs of the Three Graces I show you a postcard with a drawing by Cicely Mary Barker - it resembles amazingly a photograph of the unidentical triplet (the other two are monovular).  

What I adore is their imagination, the surprising use of language - and that they do not care a fig what the world thinks of them - they express  their feelings without pretence, laugh a lot, and are so easily bewitched by a situation and make the most of it that there is never a sign of boredom, but lots of energy (oh yes, I would like to have a third of that!).  

Yesterday I went to my little breakfast table in front of the huge window with the view into the valley (I know I sound like Hyacinth Bucket from "Keeping up Appearances" :-). 

It crunched under my slippers

Lots of fine white salt. Each of the triplets had snatched the salt-shaker in an unobserved moment and scattered salt on my breakfast table where I have two little buddhas and a small candle and always a fresh tiny flower. 

They do not like this assembly - sheer jealousy, if you ask me ("Good taste", Son would say). Ha!   

They giggle with laughter when they mention "The salted Buddhas". 

I take a deep calming breath, 4 - 7 - 8, and then I smile :-) 

Saturday 8 October 2022

Rosemary's Butternut Squash Tarte


Thank you, dear Rosemary from the blog "Where Five Valley's Meet"  for your lovely recipe! 

In a comment on your blog I wondered whether I would find here in Bavaria a Butternut Squash - but I could capture one (from only two!) in the Supermarket. 

But I was very surprised that I could get no kale - all other ingredients I had or bought. 

I was also surprised that the Butternut Squash has not many pumpkin seeds in it - and though I use all there is from a Hokkaido, I wasn't sure about the squash and peeled it. 

The result was delicious - or, as the Dutch say: "Lekker!" 

And as foreseen: ONE of the triplets tried and liked it! 

The recipe you'll find here: 

Sunday 2 October 2022

The Donatello Exposition in Berlin

Yesterday I had my first "real" day in Berlin to enjoy culture. 

The days before I had speeded through the city, met a lot of friends, bought some clothes - and though I am used to running around and wore good padded trainers, my back hurt in the evening and I was very tired. 

I had come to Berlin for a week, then got a call from the electric company that they wanted to install a new meter the week after - thus I had to come back three days after returning to Bavaria... 
(I could have stayed in Berlin for the whole time, but in Bavaria I had the chance to meet my friend Anne, who became so ill. One of her daughters had invited me to her birthday, the daughter lives only 50km from my Bavarian second home address, and thus I could come by car, meet my friend - and travel back the next day to Berlin). 

On that day "I paid myself first" - meaning: 

- I went to my hairdresser (who became a friend over the time) 
- and visited the Donatello-exposition: Donatello. Inventor of the Renaissance 
- rewarded myself with a one-year abonnement for Berlin's museums next year 
The Donatello sculptures and paintings were presented in the "Gemäldegalerie" on the Kulturforum, where they're building a connecting plaza.   

The exposition was fine - though it didn't touch my heart very much. 

I loved "Virgin and Child" (ca 1422), which "is one of the very first examples of linear perspective, not only in Donatello's work but in all Western art. The figures emerging from the marble niche seem truly three-dimensional." (text of the museum) 

or this "Virgin and Child" ca 1422 

or this "Virgin and Child" ca 1420 - 23)

Outside I did a few steps and took some photos of the newly renovated Neue Nationalgalerie (building by Mies van der Rohe) , here a dramatic photo in black&white: 

- had a very nice meal at an Indian restaurant near my home 

- bought wristlets (haha, they still exist - these are my first try - winter may become very cold! - and they are so very stylish, artfully created by two sorts of mink - wait, I'll show you a photo: 

- and, after a short (but very necessary rest) I hastened to the Cinema Paris to see a new German movie, "Mittagsruhe" 

Then I bought some groceries and went to bed quite early. 

Tuesday 27 September 2022

I Added a New Blog


Dear friends, 

thinking about my life and my interests, I decided to add a blog about plants: plants in real life, in literature and on paintings, in science and whatsoever.  

Because I want to sell my manuscript written about my own garden, I decided to write this Blog in German. But I want that you also can have a look at it (and maybe even become a follower - highly important for selling a manuscript :-) , and thus I added, with hesitations, the gadget "translator". 

And was stunned! 

It is really good - it presents the text almost as I have written, and thus I am very interested how you like it. (I still have to find out, if I can change parts of the translation). 

The blog you find under:  

Of course I will continue "You are witty and pretty!" - but will be enchanted if you follow me on my garden-blog. 

Saturday 10 September 2022

My Holiday in Zoutelande in the Netherlands

I want to share a few pictures of my week in Zoutelande in the Kingdom of The Netherlands with you. Zoutelande is a small village and well-known bathing place in the Zeeland Province.  

I start with a typical Dutch landmark: the windmill. This one in Zoutelande was built in 1722. 

During our holiday the weather was so hot that we became almost ungrateful - 34°C made us less enterprising than normally. 
The North Sea was beautiful and calm, the water too, and - by its standard - "warm": 21° C. 

The Netherlands are a small, beautiful and rich country - with lots and lots of water in form of channels and Grachten. They have bridges on roads over channels that can be opened - and they do that! - and even an ambulance has to wait...

 More than the tourist-oriented Zoutelande...  

... I love the town Middleburg

Queen Wilhelmina (1880 - 1962) 

or the impressing technical world-wonder of the Deltawerken in the Oosterschelde, protecting Holland against the sea. The North Sea can be murderous, remember the flood catastrophe in January 1953.  (  

I love the cozy Dutch villages, here Dreischor, a church-ring-village, first mentioned in 1206. You think you are in Rye - and Miss Mapp or Lucia might cross a threshold :-) ( 

So: It was a relaxing holiday.  

With nice food (here you see the oyster banks in Yseke):  

... impressing skies 

... and the unforgettable scent of Rosa Gallica and the Sea: