I like the sun but the beach would be better

It’s beautifully sunny today, and I’ve trying to stop worrying to much and enjoy. Chrome music flagged this tune, and I’ve decided I want to be like the couple on the beach, just dancing in the sunshine. Enjoy!



It’s so cold the river is covered in massive bits of ice.  That’s all I’m saying.  I’m buying a duvet coat.  Definitely.  I took Claire’s out for a trial run today (with permission!) and it’s much toastier in there.  Wish I could magic one up and not have to go shopping, shopping is rubbash.

Night kiddoes xxx

Books on shelves

I’m fantasising about bookshelves.  There, I’ve admitted it.  I have frequent day dreams about many things, like the artistic tours de force I could create in knitting or tailoring or prose for that matter if only I had a little more talent.  There’s also the planning of all the things I could learn to do and all the countries I could live in if only I had a lot more money  z.B. if anybody cared to donate their lottery winnings since I can’t hope to win it when I don’t play it.   And often, I think about ‘my house’.  As the fam’ly knows, ‘my house’ has been in existence for a very long time.   It’s a never-ending expansion project full of rooms like the infinity hotel, always room to squeeze in another one.  This isn’t because I want to live in a big house, I think I’d probably hate it, but in ‘my house’ I’m going to have a room with….chinoiserie wallpaper…..a projector and wall to wall cushions……a big leather Chesterfield sofa with wonderfully soft wool rugs to snuggle into….Gustavian grey walls and a porcelain stove…..minamalism (hah!)….whatever I see and fall in love with goes into my house.  And don’t even get me started on the garden, in real life it’s going to have to be big, in my head it’s the secret garden gone mad.

There’s one thing though that is always in the plan for the house – a library.  I want a room with a least one wall of floor to ceiling books.  Tattered and pristine, well-loved and to-be-read, coffee table beauties and pocket penguins with classic design.  They’ll all go in there.  Hopefully there will be space for a ladder on rails that I can woosh round the top shelves on, and if the daydream gets really indulgent maybe a gallery level too.  It’s an amorphous room, one day there are big windows with deep cushioned window seats, the next it’s cosy and firelit with table lamps casting pools of golden light on the winged leather armchairs.  But always books and a few good places to curl up and disappear inside one of them, and somewhere close by to put your cup of tea.

You may be wondering why I brought this up.  I’m not even sure myself but I think various book type things have collided in my head and created this sudden need to share.  For example, Intelligent Life had an article on hotels with libraries, I want to go and stay in them but they seem unreasonably expensive, especially compared to hostels with tatty collections of books to swap and pass on.  That article then reminded me of the blog that The Guardian introduced me to (which can be seen in my blogroll stage right) http://bookshelfporn.com/.  There’s inspiration to be had there, for sure.    The word want comes into my head inexplicably often when I look at those photos.

Anyway, all this reminded me that LTN has promised to raid the public library for me again before he visits next week (yup, my hero).  I’ve demolished Sahara by Clive Cussler and am about to move onto his non-fiction offering, now I’m to suggest new titles to direct his search.  Given that my usual way of finding a new book is to wander around the public library reading backs and random pages until lightning strikes, this seems challenging to me.  But wait, what about one of my previously favoured websites? Why have I callously abandoned Goodreads?  Yup, I definitely need to go in there, get my bookshelves updated and get some suggestions for further reading.  Plus, when I need to go home, I need to retrieve the copy of The book on the bookshelf from where it languishes on my handcrafted boards-balanced-on-bricks-fits-the-gap-perfectly-I-don’t-need-to-build-proper-shelves.  And then I need to re-read the Secret Life of Trees and finish it this time (no reason, just because).

See, that’s what I call a plan.  Booklovers of the world, rejoice!

p.s. we have a chair like this, it lives in the summerhouse.  Maybe it should go in a library tho….mmm, cushion.

From French by design (via bsp) a rather pretty looking blog I may have to explore further.  Ah, le web, c’est fantastique.

Future forms

Things which are on my mind at the moment:

  1. Warm coats.  We’ve been treated to some very beautiful blue skies here in Berlin and clear and cold is the kind of weather I really love, but I think that London has made me a bit nesh!  Either that or I can reasonably blame my coat.  So I’ve been looking at the coats that are like duvets, and got seriously tempted by superdry, but they didn’t have one in my size in an exciting colour.  So the hunt goes on.
  2. Flats.  Finding one is a relatively tricky business when you don’t speak the language properly and you don’t know areas too well, I’ve had one tiny one offered, but wasn’t sure whether I could live there so I lost it, and now I have my heart set on a pretty room thats free for just two months – more breathing room if not a perfect solution.
  3. German.  I keep practising but my perfectionist soul weeps every time I mangle yet another piece of grammar.  I’m definitely improving at understanding what’s said but writing emails in German to ask for flat viewings and any ordinary conversation are still proving challenging.  I miss being able to say lots of things!
  4. Reunions.  Tomorrow I’m going to meet an old school friend who I haven’t seen for yonks and yonks.  He did this whole cycle of adventure 4ish years ago, so it should make for fun conversation.
  5. The future.  Lots of potential changes/big birthdays/thoughts about the universe are happening for my nearest and dearest.  It’s big stuff and it does take some thinking about.  Love you all.

Handwerk and home work

I really love finding old-fashioned painted advertisements in unexpected corners, the more faded and dilapidated the better.  Most romantic of all are the ones which have almost disappeared into the wall, and when they’re in German you have the added delight of trying to guess exactly what they were for in the first place.  There’s one such that I walked past every day of the course, and I still haven’t worked it out.

This one is right next to the Hackeschen Höfe, which is a series of interlinked courtyards with cunning little shops.  I had to visit the Ampelman shop for my sister but I accidentally visited a few others as well.  One with an interesting idea was a whole shop of aesthetically pleasing white boxes, available to rent by designers.  Thus a shop full of a variety of ‘unique, designer’ goods.

I liked it, but I must admit that I’ve seen more exciting stuff in London, and none of the other shops set me alight either.  However, I went in at Hof 8 and worked my way backwards through the courts.  So when I got to this beauty, it was a bit of a surprise.  Yes folks, this is why all the tourists visit! Anyway, I was clued into the Höfe by my sprachtandem partner, Sonja, who was one of my students. We met on Saturday afternoon to ‘train’. We split our time between English and German conversation and ate yummy cake. She’s coming round to ‘my’ place on Wednesday, so I need to work out how to hostess as elegantly as she did. Her flat is divine, huge and light and full of good taste. But more importantly, Sonja is absolutely lovely and is very tolerant of my sehr rusty German.

On Sunday, we suddenly had blue sky, so I met up with Jake and took a wander into Friedrichshain, another fun district just across the river.  This little man was the first to catch my attention.  I almost didn’t bother shooting him, but he was too cute to pass up.

A little further down the road, we found this rather splendid collection of stickers and stencils and all the good stuff.  This is a rubbish photo, but gives the first impression in all honesty.

When I started looking closely, I saw this beauty.  Ian McShane!  And then, even better, Tink too!  Who would have thought I’d see some prima Lovejoy reference on a wall in F’hain?  Of course, there’s some other good stuff here, a rather messed up Andre the Giant, and the gorgeous little ducks/platypus you can see just above him, but it’s Ian that really sold it.

Look at this big bubble of gorgeousness.  I think that the winged tv you can see stage left is a quite well known thing, but the sheer variety here really impressed me.  Love the little pink sleepy dude too!

We also have a rather splendid Jack, and a little sample of the blue period in street art.  Isn’t she beautiful?










We went to a fab little Flohmarkt (that’s  flea market) in Boxhagener platz, and I had to restrain myself from buying all kinds of completely pointless kitsch.  It could be really fun furnishing a flat here tho, the entire thing could be some kind of retro palace which could be a dog’s dinner of mismatched junk or some kind of wonderfulness.  I would hope that I would create wonderfulness, but hey you never know.

After I started turning into an icicle, I took myself home again, and managed to snatch this snap from the bridge.  I love these two epics.  I have no idea what they’re about, save maybe to save that work is not all that great, but I love them.
Final act on Sunday, I had my first flat viewing.  It was a tense situation because honestly my German is a ‘get by’ thing, not a ‘negotiation’ thing.  The flat was tiny but nice enough that I think I’d take it if offered.  She was lovely but is having lots of people round to see it so honestly I’m doubtful she’ll pick me, so it’s nose back to the grindstone for househunting.  This ain’t fun folks!  Wish me luck…  Still, I had my first two official lessons today, and they went ok.  Some of the students weren’t giving much away, but I think they didn’t hate me.

And on a final social note for those who think I should be experience more techno techno techno, I had my first almost Berlinesque night on Saturday, with a few drinks with Alex (from Bristol) seeing me get home at 5am.  That may not be a late night for true Berlin folks, but I was d.o.n.e.  Fun stuff, we even found some drum and bass and it took me right back the old school…speaking of which, on Thursday I’ll be meeting Chris, in whose illustrious steps I’m following.  Yup, this is the class act from Borlase who did the CELTA and then worked in the school, exactly as I’m starting to do now.  I’m looking forward to it very much indeed.

Kreuzberg ink

My scatterfun approach to the paint and stickers of Kreuzberg, my new district.  I do hope I can stay around here.

Ooh, I had a new Berlin experience today, I got controlled on the U!  Basically the man checked my ticket, but it was a bit scary….

p.s. what do you reckon to the new theme?  Any good? Better/worse?

Presents and smiles

I don’t wish to brag, but I just want to share 3 things making me feel very smiley, aren’t they beautiful?