Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin
Thursday, 27 August 2015
...would suit him to a "T." (Jerome K. Jerome)
Well - it did in 2013 on our last narrowboat trip, though as in 2013 husband will stay in Berlin and guard our flat: he doesn't feel comfy in a narrowboat, being 1.98m tall.
For compensation we will both travel to Rome later.
Now I'm looking forward to our next narrowboat trip - different crew (not all artists this time) and different route. We will add a week with a car, visiting Durham, Leeds and Edinburgh.
(About the date of the new trip I will speak when I am back - I don't want to invite people from the Wild Wood).
“Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that's always changing!” (Kenneth Grahame,
Sunday, 2 August 2015
I love the drawings of the Fifties, and sometimes, when I find a book on the fleamarket, I buy it - not because of its (sometimes quite silly) content, but because of the little sketches - so light, so happy, so carefree.
Of course I should add an illustration here and now - but I am to lazy at the moment to pick up my camera.
So I'll try to translate a little bit of a text from Anton Schnack (an author rightly forgotten by now; drawings by Max Schwinger) It is called "Flirt mit dem Alltag - Flirt with Everyday Life", which leads us through the year.
In August I found this sentence for the travelling gardener, which made me wonder:
"Also forgo on early apples and early pears voluntarily: they will be picked unfailingly by free-roaming lads."
Written in 1956.
Well: in the last decades I didn't see any lads nicking apples, or plums, or cherries.
Must have gone out of style.
Maybe it is the fault of the so-called helicopter-parents, hovering over their only child, driving it to violin- and Chinese-lessons - no time to roam through the neighbourhood.
Or fault of the supermarket - everything is there on the shelf.
I remember my astonishment when we still lived on our little island in Hildesheim that people didn't even take home plastic bags of already picked apples that somebody had kindly put in front of her garden gate. Maybe nobody knows how to make an apple pie anymore? Or doesn't care, being bone-idle, as Onslow in Keeping-up Appearances would say?
Well - if no lads had wanted any apples or pears ever, we would never have gotten Theodor Fontane's beautiful and wise poem, written in 1889 and still read today (if this doesn't impress you, maybe this will: "In 2007, the original manuscript of the poem was sold for 130.000 EUR at an auction at Berlin.):
Herr von Ribbeck auf Ribbeck im Havelland (rough translation by me)
Herr von Ribbeck auf Ribbeck in Havelland:
a pear tree in his garden stood,
and when the time of golden autumn came,
and the pears shone far and wide,
then, when the clock chimed from the tower at noon, crammed
the von Ribbeck both his pockets full,
and when in his pattens came up a lad,
he cried out: "Lad, do you want a pear?" (this is in dialect, can't translate that)
And came a girl, he called "Little dear,
come over, I have a pear!"
Well - after his death his stingy son greedily protected the pears - but the old von Ribben ("von" means lower gentry)
but the old one, already anticipating,
and full of distrust against his own son,
he knew exactly, what he did then,
when begging for a pear in his grave,
You guess it: after three years a pear tree grows from the grave - serving pears for free.
Oh - come to think of it: a lot of things have changed from 1889:
- children prefer pineapples to apples
- dialect is often extinguished
- wooden pattens aren't worn anymore - they are replaced by plastic clogs
- and if old von Ribbeck had offered his pears to little boys or girls, the stern members of child protective services would have cast more than one suspicious look at him.
Sunday, 19 July 2015
see: one must 'only' have the idea to change something ordinary into something that makes us smile. (I photographed this street barrier in Hamburg).
Which leads me to barriers we build ourselves within and which might stop us from smiling. To be specific: I looked for the reason why I didn't write that many posts in July.
The answer surprised me: I felt overwhelmed!
I really wanted to tell you about the gorgeous trip to New York with my daughter-in-love, and our meeting with a wonderful blogger there, staying overnight with her in the breathtaking surroundings of the Hudson-River. I haven't told you about all that (or shown any of the more than 600 photographs) - partly because I'm too lazy at this hot time of the year - yes, Berlin is boiling, and I don't complain! - partly because I am still travelling the world (haha: world - this time to Hamburg and Munich - LOVELY!).
Well, and as you all know by now: ths wayward Daoist tries very much to "live in the moment" - which often conflicts with another person in me, the diligent chronicler.
But it is way too hot to fight... even with myself - can't see my Jungian shadow because the sun seems to stand right above me... (is this a good metaphor/ picture? Too lazy to think about it).
Can you imagine: I even didn't learn any Italian the last weeks, acciderba!
I just don't care. (Knowing myself I know that I will start again with Love in a Cold Climate).
So: I'll prepare a nice breakfast and sit on our balcony - it is still early, the air is mild and the birds look reproachfully at me (they don't dare to sip water from the birth bath on the little table).
Please don't join in! (Looking reproachfully, I mean).
Sunday, 28 June 2015
"It must have been difficult to leave", you wrote in your comment, dear Emma.
And it was.
Not that difficult on an emotional basis (I will come back - so I am pragmatic), but on the everyday level: while on arrival I had been picked up by car at the airport of Heraklion, I had to cross the whole island on my own when leaving.
The flight started around 11 o'clock in the morning - "And don't believe that busses will be punctual in Crete!" a Lady in a Berlin travel agency uttered pessimisically.
But they were punctual! (More than our S-Bahn in Berlin at the moment, where one strike haunts the other).
But of course it would have been a stressful undertaking, so I arrived one day before leaving. First I took a taxi, than from Ierapetri a bus - which was very crowded, though nobody carried a chicken or a goat, which wouldn't have surprised me. It took hours, but those were amusing, because I could talk with a French Lady.
Husband had booked me a lovely hotel room in Heraklion - yes, now I indulged in luxury without a bad conscience - and I gratefully accepted to become even upgraded to a room with a balcony overlooking the harbour.
In the evening I strolled about the old harbour,
and visited the Fortress of the Sea - a tower that was built in Hellenistic times, than rebuilt in the 7th or 8th century, and was called after the Venetian Conquest Castellum Communis - after a large earthquake in 1523 it was decided to replace it with the existing fortress.
All day it had been a bit rainy, first time ever, and the sea and the sky painted wonderful pictures.
...the last one almost a Dutch painting...
Saturday, 27 June 2015
NO - it wasn't us - if you scrutinise the graffito you will see that someone did it in 2013, so: "Proved to be innocent".
Yesterday I went to a lovely party and came back this morning at 2 o'clock, so I'm still a bit tired, but as fresh as a daisy, having followed Queen Mum's example - sticking to G&T.
So I hope you will be sympathetic about me doing my school work in a somewhat slack way...
Showing you pictures of my stay in Crete.
Look, Mise: see my pink little rucksack on my bed? A torch of luxury in a rural though wonderful surrounding.
The little cottages my Italian friend bought are under preservation of sites of historic interest - I felt a bit like a damsel (but not in distress - not even in the last week, when I lived there all on my own, I had no fear. Somewhere were neighbours... :-) - and the one green snake I met on a walk was quicker moving away than I.
But no WiFi, but beautiful nature - this whole part, Aspros Potamos, is proud of staying as much as Walden Pond as possible. (Of course Walden Pond is my interpretation).
But you might know me by now (a bit): even in the deepest wilderness this woman - The Lady of the house speaking - is Keepingup Appearances (hint: look at the tea bag):
One has to walk 1 km through olive olive groves to come to the village of Makrygialos, and the sea.
I had a special place in a wonderful Gelateria, with homemade icecreams - but as I confounded the strict regulations about the permissible maximum weight for the flight luggage and mine, most of the times I took only a cappuccino. On the other side of the sea is Africa.
And the people were so very, very friendly! Even though I confessed being German...(the only grumpy person was a manager in a bank, but we laughed about him and enjoyed the cherries a man had brought with him and shared with all of us).
Weather: end of May/ start of June: utterly marvelous! Lots of sun, and in the second week the water was warm too.
In that (solitary) week I met a lovely couple from Herfordshire, a Godsend, and we did and laughed a lot together, They even walked me back at night half of the way through the olive groves.
Though I already had started to become a courageous woman anyhow:
here you see me after a ride to the monastry of Kapsas, where a Flamish translator took me (you saw the lovely stone pattern in my last blogpost).
Imagine: the last time I sat on a motorcycle behind my Dad I was five years old! Now I felt like Albertine from the film "Zazie dans le Metro" (and I told you, my Dad's name is Albert)
To drive the long winded road along the coast on a scooter was an adventurous treat!!
And yes, I will be back in Crete - maybe in September (but then my friends are waiting for me to join another narrowboat trip, different route), so maybe I will be back next year in early summer.
Saturday, 20 June 2015
I'm back from my utterly gorgeous holidays. First almost two weeks in New York, then almost two weeks in Crete.
I will tell you soon about it, I have many adventures to sing about, and many photos to show.
But since I'm back I felt somehow overwhelmed when I thought of all that I want to talk about, and refrained. Kept my mouth shut (
Then I looked at the photograph of the frontyard in Kapsa's Monastry on Crete - and found the answer to the "Why?" for my reluctance to write.
It seems like work to me - and (real) work I have enough at the moment.
As always I need more patience.
So I will start and put one little stone after the other onto the ground - not all at once.
"Monnik-werk" - "monk's work" this kind of floor is called, a Flamish translator on Crete told me.
And if one is very diligent, something beautiful might become of it.
So I'll start - otherwise I'll might stare at my heaps of beautiful little stones - and keep silent forever, overawed.