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

Friday 28 January 2022

Snippet: When I get up in the morning

This is the view I have here in Bavaria early in the morning. VERY early in the morning. The earlier I go to sleep (hahaha - with the hens, we say in Germany and I feel almost guilty that it now sometimes means 22:00 -- but then: I am tired by highly amusing workouts with the triplets) the earlier I wake up - has some logic, come to think of it. 

Early sounds are: a cock, the little red train (hooting on unguarded railway crossings) - and some cars in a distance. 

So have a good morning and a bright day! 

My Quote of the day: 

Anthony Quinn: "Even with 60 you still can be 40 - but only for half an hour per day."  (rough translation by me)

Wednesday 26 January 2022

A New Drive


Since last month I have again a car. I told you that in Berlin five years ago I sold Knut, the little red Fiat 500, because I had many, many undergrounds and busses right in my neighbourhood and wanted to do a little bit for saving the planet. 

When the pandemic time began I saw that this had been a fault. (It has been sort of a fault from the beginning: before I always had big and quick cars - the Fiat 500 is cute - but neither big nor quick. Though very useful in a city). 

In Bavaria - in a village that has no shop, not even a bakery - I had to go by train to the next "bigger" village to buy groceries - and carry them up a long steep hill. My son helped me to find a car with 7 seats (guess why :-)  - and the funny thing is that now he drives my car - and I got permanent -- No, not his Corvette, sigh..., but their family one above. (It is without a flaw - what looks strange is water from thawing frost, photographed through my kitchen window). 

And I am very happy with it! 

Tuesday 25 January 2022

Muddy thinking

Muddy thinking? Yes - if your dear correspondent had thought a bit less about the mud and mire in which the boars were wallowing, she might have done what long time ago was part of her studies: look hard at the words of a text. 
Maybe the word "Gamsbart" would have flared up in her mind. Pip reminded me kindly using the word "Gamsbart" without any reproach - same procedure I use when "correcting" a wrong word the triplets use while learning to speak, with no comment, just blithely using the correct word. 

 A "Gams oder Gemse" is a "chamois", Rupicapra rupicapra (Latin shall keep a rest of my dignity). 

And who should have known better than I - Zodiac sign capricorn! And before you tell me I am mistaken a second time: I know that Gemse and capricorn are not the same, only relatives: of course the capricorn is bigger, has longer horns, darker fur - as was expected capricorns are better and more beautiful, hahaha   :-) 

So: most Bavarian men wear a tuft of Gemsen-Hair. To bind that is high art - for a fine tuft they need the hair of one to ten Gemsen!!! (should look as a bearskin in London?) and you have to pay nonchalant up to 1000 Euro! - and, as many handicrafts: that handicraft is threatened to die out. And as if that is not enough: an EU-regulation threatens those Bavarians, who choose to carry a feather tuft from the mountain cock or eagle on their hat, with the forbiddance to use "visible sharing of protected animals". (They are only allowed to use the feathers of old hats). 
I was a bit more at ease when I read that the cheaper version of a Gamsbart is made out of deer hair or badger, or - trara!! - boar

PS: While I am at it, wallowing in mea culpa, I might just as well add that I only spoke derisively about a special sub-category of Bavarian hats: the Seppl-Hut, which you see mostly on drunken men at the Oktoberfest. As I am not able to transfer a picture from Wiki to my blog, you have to look it up. No tuft there. 
The other Bavarian hats - with a Gamsbart or more seldom a tuft of boar  :-)  - are quite chic. 

Monday 24 January 2022



At the moment the weather is blah - and I feel a bit blah - though yesterday son&DiL&triplets&I visited a wild boar enclosure. The boars looked at us and thought us blah - to rise their spirits I told the triplets that in Bavaria there are many men who wear strange felt hats with a little tuft of hair on one side - made of hog's bristle. 

In their very young life they neither had seen that nor heard of it, and they giggled, while the boars in front of us were not interested at all and turned their back to us and snuggled into the mud, munching uncooked spaghetti - at least they have a crush on something! 

Back later on my way to the postbox I saw the first snowdrops, and my cheerfulness rose. The very first hint of spring! 

Friday 21 January 2022

Did you dream last night?


The question is not correct: you did dream (scientists say), but you might not remember your dream. Or better: your dreams. 

When we lie in our bed "like batteries in a recharger", Pia Ratzesberger writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (a newspaper article I refer to most of the time), over our lifetime we spend "dozens of years in our own motion picture" - mostly without remembering it. 

"The night knows three phases, which repeat themselves after 90 to 110 minutes like the news programme on TV, and we dream in all of them". 

Dreams, though they often seem surreal, cannot utterly escape reality - "our environment pushes through like a pencil through carbon paper". There are different parts of the brain involved: in the beginning the front part of the brain, where our critical thinking sits, logic. The thalamus in the inter brain works like a doorkeeper, he decides which impressions are allowed to enter and which not, and the firmer we close the door the deeper we sleep. 

In the first part of the night dreams are more like snapshots of the day. 

The eerie part of the night begins after more than one hour, the brain region for logic slows a bit down, while the limbic areal, responsible for emotions, starts to work. Our eyes move rapidly, we "fall into scenic dreams, as if we were on LSD." Three phases of sleep rotate - most intensively we dream when the morning is nearing - thus we often can remember those dreams better.  

"In Japan researchers in 2012 could predict with relativ high verisimilitude if a man in a sleep laboratory would dream of an animal or a car". (Hahaha: my impression: most men do that night and day, dream of a car!)

Dreams of falling, of examinations, of coming too late, are "classic dreams", writes Pia. And I didn't know that you can find in the Internet a huge dream diary, with more than 30 000 entries! 

"At least half of the people we meet in a dream we know from our day

And the phenomenon of the nightmare thrives -  not surprising - in crises. Pandemic nights. 

Children and about 5% of grown-ups suffer from frequent nightmares. Psychologists as Michael Schredl found a way to work with that: one should draw the dream into the day by writing, drawing, and thinking how one can change it. One should do that at least two weeks, 10 minutes a day. "Image Rehearsel Therapy" can even help to heal deep traumata as those of war veterans or rape victims. 

How to find out what your dreams want to tell you is another field of explorance - but not new. Around 200 AD, Artemidor of Daldis wrote a book with 300 pages, a reference book for dream interpreters. Sigmund Freud springs to our mind, too.  

Dreams can work as a therapy, preparing us to meet the reality of the day, or help us to train things we wouldn't dare to try in real life - falling, flying, fighting with a bear. 

Dreams do a sort of "reset" in our brain, and allow it to make different bondings and combinations than in daytime. I love the explanation why we cannot remember much in the morning: "If a man compartmentalises in sleep to recover, to clean his hard disk, it would make not much sense if we wake up in the morning with a full memory card.

One of the last sentences of this article is unsettling - but it follows a happy end: 

"The capitalisation of sleep has long ago started. We slick sleeping pills, and put on sleep-tracking watches (...)" (Dream) was till now the only place, in which we cannot do anything, and do not have to do anything. Maybe thus it is quite good when it is always one step ahead, and we cannot catch hold of it completely."

PS: I am proud of the photo I took this early morning - it visualises dream quite well, I hope. 

(My personal view on dreams I will present later in a snippet.) 

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Snippet: I am an omnivore, but...


... I do enjoy this cookbook immensely and recommend it. He is an omnivore too - but one doesn't miss anything here. In Bavaria I have time to cook - and though the recipes sometimes demand a lot of time for snipping and hacking the vegetables, the result is always very satisfying and often surprising - and the times he recommends are reliable and so exact that even the Gratin Dauphinoise was really done. 

The only fly in the ointment for "big success" in Germany might be his really, really complicacted name - even I - though I studied English literature and language - can seldom bring it to my mind if I want to recommend it. His book on Fruits was translated into German - and I found it in the "Books for cheap"-basket  - I can only see one reason: nobody, wanting to order it in a bookshop, could recall or pronounce his name. 
But "River Cottage" - that is in my mind and high on my list for future visits in England! 

If I had to give recommendation stars, he would get five out of five. 

Sunday 16 January 2022

A Snippet of Vita's Wisdom on Flowers


"I find, and do not doubt that most people will agree with me, that November and December are quite the bleakest months of the year for finding 'something to pick for indoors'. A flowerless room is a soul-less room, to my thinking, but even one solitary vase of a living flower may redeem it."
(Vita Sackville-West "In Your Garden") 

Saturday 15 January 2022

La Vie en Rose


Yesterday I wanted to pre-order my favourite rose "Gertrude Jekyll" for my Bavarian balcony too, and by chance I found this link:   (you have to copy it, sorry) 

"Only" for German rose gardens, but the idea of such a specialised survey is bright. There are three rose gardens in my neighbourhood which I never heard of.  

So fascinating, enthusiastic (and a bit fanatic) - I would enjoy and use a list of rose gardens for England when pandemic allows me to come again.  

Thursday 13 January 2022



My new idea to serve you sometimes just "Snippets" fascinates me. 

As before I will write long posts, but more often a short one - sometimes I will serve you a Lungo, sometimes an Espresso. You might want to chat with me, or just enjoy the cuppa in silence. 

Variety, change: life is bursting with possibilities.  

Whenever you see the photo above it signals: "Snippets". Hope you have as much fun as I! 

Snippet: Fasting


I add something new to my blog: "snippets" shall be short posts about something that shoots through my mind - evoked by a newspaper, or a blog, or something I experienced. 

In German telephone booths (used before the unimaginable time before the existence of cellphones), hung a plate with the words "Fasse dich kurz!" = "Make it short". (Very difficult for me) 


At the moment I do a "sort of" fast, just for fun: for four weeks I do not drink any alcohol. Instead of the glass of wine in the evening (with 0,1 - 0,2 l a ridiculous thimble in they eyes of the hardboiled) I drink a nice cup of herbal tea.  No problem at all - I just wanted to find out if I miss it. 

Till now I don't. 

Query: Do you fast? On what? Why? How long? Do you feel an effect? 


Sunday 9 January 2022

Pink Puschel-Mania


I think the English word is "pom pom" - but "Puschel" is how we call it - and which is at the moment the most cherished word of the triplets. 
Never in my life I had dreamed that I would wear a cap with a pom pom. (You can remove it by a big snap fastener). 
When I went to Berlin for Christmas I promised to send photos to the Little Ones - so you see the Pink Puschel standing in front of the Literatur Café, in front of the Charlottenburger Schloss, the manor house in Britz - and so on. They loved it. 

And then I had an idea. I went into a fur-shop in Berlin and luckily found "it" - three beautiful very-pink-Puschels for the triplets. They are so delighted!