Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Saturday, 26 March 2022

Violets

 


This morning my little breakfast table is surrounded by the sweet deep dark scent of violets. 

Back from Berlin I found them yesterday on a long walk - which cleared my head, and the violets soothed my heart - and I plucked a few, though all my long life I was told not to do so - and yes, that is right, but to be happy you sometimes have to break a few rules. 

Violets in perfume became rare - for years I chased them on many perfume counters, "Not a chance! Though you might find them in France". (The special one by Serge Luten is only sold in France, many of his others everywhere). 

But I am very perseverant and finally found two perfumes: the German one by "Frau Toni", made in Berlin - No. 37 "Veilchen" - which in the Twenties (of last century) was the favourite scent of Marlene Dietrich - and "Paris Balenciaga" (though Balenciaga was founded in San Sebastian they reside in Paris). This one is lighter, I wear it often, while I keep "Veilchen" for the evening. 

In Germany schoolchildren had friendship books - everyone in your class scribbled in a little verse or proverbial wisdom - and very popular was:  

 "Be like the violet in the moss,  - modest, demure and pure - and not like the proud rose - wich always wants to be adored."    

WELL - even then Yours Truly was tall, didn't want to be modest or pure, and my favourite flower is - the rose. 

And being till today very much interested in botany, I soon found out that this "friendship book wisdom" is a truism, false - based on an ideal without a glimpse at reality: violets in the garden or in nature are NOT modest - they invade quick, quicker than the troops of General Lee they dash through your garden. 

But they give you their beautiful scent. 


Thursday, 10 March 2022

I Am HERE




When I was in N├╝rnberg last Saturday, I lost my way. 
Google map and I never are on good terms - though finally, after walking many kilometres, I found my goal.  
Same happened on my way back. 
It was a very long way, it was very cold (though bright sun), and I had to tell me (stern voice): Go on! 

Suddenly I saw that stone on the pavement - "Hier". (= Here). 

And I thought: true. 
I have to remember this: 
I am HERE 

The last days I was NOT with me - I felt like drowning in a sea of compassion for the refugees from Ukraine, asked myself in the middle of every night if I could do more for them, and at four o'clock in the morning whether it is OK to be happy when others fight to survive. 
And my best friend is struggling for life too. And seven years after my private tsunami I am not fully over it, though Taoists tell me that every 7 years your body cells are exchanged completely and you are "new". I didn't feel like that - I felt my cup is full to the brim, overflowing. 

Then I saw the answer on the pavement. 
(And took a photograph to be sure that my mind didn't make it up - I have never seen a stone like that before). 

But I feel it is the solution.  
As those instructions in an airplane say: 
"First put the oxygen mask over your nose - only then you can help someone else." 

I decided to do one step after the other. Try not to see only black and white. There are many people who can and will help. Together we will succeed. 

A few minutes after those thoughts I went round a turn, and I saw this, and suddenly knew where I was: 
HIER. 



Monday, 7 March 2022

Why I chose the - UKULELE



WOW - you've got it! 
And why did I choose the ukulele? 

1. With all the bad news of the last two years and the very bad news now, I needed something lighthearted, funny, a little bit of Marylin's pep against all this dark seriousness of the world. 

2. The best remedy against rumination I know is to move and/or do something where I have to concentrate. 

3. The grip on a guitar was physically too complicated for my small hands - the ukulele has only four strings, as Rachel remarked. I am not trying to enter the stage, I want quick results. The triplets too (though all family here in Bavaria does not know what I bought. Being me I practise secretly before I "perform"). 

4. This wooden ukulele looks so sweet and beautiful - it is shiny and lacquered in emerald green with mother-of-pearl inlaid work. More radiant and glowing than on the photos. 

5. I hope it trains brain and fingers, and know that it does not overawe my professional musical bunch of friends on the narrow boat trips. Or anyone else :-)   

6. I love to follow instant inspirations - this was one.  

7. And I love challenges. This might be one. 



 






Saturday, 5 March 2022

In spite of it all...

 


The morning-view from my window leads to thoughts about all the grief in the world, and the feeling like cats on a hot tin roof: 



 

But there is always something that is beautiful too: 



            In spite of all I wish you a beautiful weekend!

                Britta