in pieces

Today was another beautiful day in Berlin, but I got up in the dark.  Yuk. Yet, as is often the case, there were compensations.  The sky was waking up in a most gorgeous way as I shiveringly crossed the Warschauer bridge on my way to catch the U to work.  I didn’t fully wake up til much later so the cloud painter was definitely a step or 3 ahead of me.

looking east over the s

It was also fantastic crossing the river on the Oberbaumbrücke but I couldn’t get a picture of that because I was on the U-bahn.  A shame because the reflections in the river of the sky, building and the men with holes in were most splendid.  And later on I treated myself to a coffee in the sunshine and had 3 really nice lessons in a row.  So I won’t complain.

I will share some frustration though.  Yesterday I went to a bike shop and explained in my best German to the man there that I wanted an inner tube 28 x 1.75 x 2.  Yes certainly, said the man, what kind of valve do you have?  Gah!  So the nice man showed me different types of valves and I walked home to check that I was correct in believing that my valve was standard, and yes I was and it was.  Boom.  So I walked back and the nice man sold me an inner tube.  And some oil with graphite for my rusty chain. Will it do the job? Who knows, but I told him it was rusty and he said, ok have this.  I trust the man.

So tonight I brought my bike inside and fought the good fight to take the wheel off, change the tube, put the wheel back on and make it all work.  There were spoons involved, that’s all I’m saying.  I followed the instructions of a bike expert online, and it all went quite swimmingly until I put the blasted thing back on and discovered that it goes round in a decidedly un-true manner, it wobbles.  While attempting to puzzle this out I noticed that I have a broken spoke which could be the cause  (although I also seem to have drop thingy problems) and apparently this can only be remedied by experts.  So to the bikeshop once more I must go.  Defeated by a rubbish little bit of metal. Pah.

Hopefully this story will have a happy ending.  We’ll see.  Watch this space…


the King and Queen of Potsdam

This post is dedicated to Uli and Laura, summer flatmates extraordinaires, improvers of my German and generally fantastic people.  For the short time that we lived together they scooped me up and included me in feasts of German and Colombian yumminess, attempts at Shepherd’s Pie (we managed ok thanks to Nigel Slater and the Turkish supermarkets), architecturally orientated wanderings, kitchen salsa dancing, friend gatherings and Deutsch voll conversations.  They even tried to take me to Berghain but I kept falling asleep.

All of the times were good times, but since we have now come to the end of the 2nd era of excellent Mitbewohners it’s about time that I shared with you some of the many, many photos I took during our sundrenched outing to Sanssouci.  I paparazzied my way around the park in tow to Laura, who had a guidebook and wasn’t scared to use it.  Until that day I would have told you that I couldn’t learn about architecture and landscaping in German, but I was proved wrong, and very much fun it was too.  So here you, the King and Queen of Potsdam and the Park Sanssouci.  Be without cares and enjoy, with Mr Scruff to keep you company

from little acorns

Some days ago I was listening to this, the Mighty Oaks laying down some chilled out autumn sunshine feeling grooves.

Apparently it’s made in Berlin, so I’m going to have to try and find them live.  Incidentally, the oak trees round here are magnificent right now.  The eichörnchens must be having a ball.

This post has been a while in the making, I like to put music with pictures and I couldn’t decide whether to give you some more street art or a collection of new pictures from Sanssouci Palace.  The sundrenched park seemed like a good way to go but in the end I’ve plumped for the Berlin street style.

I’m not sure where all the words have gone to lately. I think they’ve deserted me because my head has been in a bit of a muddle.  Usually sitting down for a bloggedy blog session actually helps me to get everything straight but a combination of lots of work and a malfunctioning computer have conspired to put me off long stints at the keyboard.  I’m working to screw my head back on and cross some to-do’s off the list at the moment though, so hopefully I’ll stop squirrelling and start scribing again soon.  Bis dann, liebe Grüße xxx

p.s. what do you think of the new look folks?

I do love firemen

As you may have gathered, I was lucky enough to have my sis visiting me last week.  However, since I’d  recently been gadding about in Engerland (and Wales) I really needed to teach my regular lessons to look after my students and my bank balance (base consideration though that may be).  So on Friday morning I collected Manth from the Bahnhof, took her to the Soviet Memorial, got soaked in rain, had a cup of tea and some food and then took her into town and abandoned her while I went to a lesson.  Due to unpredictable trains I got to my lesson a little bit early and so was privileged to see 3 heats of the 5th Berlin Firefighter’s Challenge.   This basically meant that buff young firemen put on full kit including oxygen tanks and respirator, and ran up and down a tower and long course; hitting, lifting, dragging and hosing things along the way.  All very impressive, and luckily I had my camera with me!

Shutters down

Do you remember that a while ago I got a little bit overexcited about some shutter painting on my walk home from the station?  Some things change, some things stay the same.  I’m still overexcited but the shutter is freshly painted.

I like the new one very much.  The word clouds of the shop’s wares are a nice touch, and the little faces peeking out of the bottom corners are sweet.  But what I particularly like is that everything has been covered except my little painter and decorator bottom left.  Revisit the earlier post for a close up and more chatting about him…

Anyway, it makes me happy that there is brilliant new art work, but he’s still there.  I also don’t understand why more shop owners don’t do this, get someone to paint them something fantastic and thereby avoid scummy pointless tagging.  Ok, some may argue that tagging isn’t pointless but when compared to really innovative art that just happens to be on the street, I can’t really agree that pathetic scrawls have much worth.

Secondly, and just because I snapped it on the same day, a poster that’s showed up around my part of town.  What does it mean?

Does it matter what it means?  I like it.  Still to come: more pictures from the Sausage Palace, Mantha’s visit and a random fireman competition in Potsdamer Platz (yes really).  But now it’s my last night with Manth and I’m off to be socialable.  Wine anyone? xxx