I think I’ve run out of words a little bit.  I should be telling you about the fantastic night of reggae, dancehall, d&b, and jungle dancing that Tea and I found just down the road from  me.  I could then maybe go on to describe the superfantastic mick jagger inspired dance/pouting that we produced by the outside bar in much more select company of groovers. I might also mention that we were without doubt the coolest people there and that we had a sausage on the way home sometime around 5am. But I’ve run out of words.

That means you get a mixed box of photos from the weekend that I didn’t fit into the last two posts, including photos from the box of retro style that is Photoautomat.  We did a pretty good job I think but next time I’m planning my pouts and taking props.  Then we’ll see something special.  Hell yeah.  Night kids!


Doing motion, it’s very positive

Lessons I have learnt recently #1.  Check which airport your hotly anticipated guest is flying into.  Otherwise you run a high risk of standing in the wrong place while your longed for visitor waits patiently on the other side of town.

Yes, I did this to Miss Tea.  I am thoroughly ashamed by my lack of hostessing skills, but even more impressed by Tea’s triumph in the face of adversity.  Give that girl a sausage.

Saturday kicked off with a würst, coffee and küchen breakfast from the market.  As you can see we were treated to epic sunshine for the bank holiday weekend so we did our best to get out and make the most of it. We took ourselves to Mitte for a tourist type wander and certainly weren’t the only ones to be enjoying the day.

After working our way over to the Brandenburger Tor we discovered everything getting ready for the Tag der Deutschen Einheit.  A man in tails was singing bouncy music and there were many stalls with food and drinks.  We were going to buy some cool refreshing water but noticed a Capirinha airstream trailer and decided to go for cool refreshing cocktails instead.  And we had a little dance on the way to Tiergarten.  So, to get a full sense of the afternoon you need the music. Thus, I give you Placido Domingo with one of the tunes we heard:

No sooner had we entered the park than Tea’s sharp photography eye spotted a local (possibly) doing motion on a bike and started catching some snaps.  Pro.  She also pointed out that alongside the large helpings of rum and sugar, our drinks also contained 1 of our 5-a-day fruit helpings in the shape of lime.  All very positive.

But I’ve suddenly realised that this post is getting somewhat long and it’s way past my bedtime, so I shall leave you here and come back tomorrow with more words and pictures.  Küsschen xx

taking the long view

I’ve been back in the land of tea, crumpets, long walks on the hills and picnics in the rain.  It’s been lovely and I’m a little bit teary eyed because it’s my last day.

The week is a result of a marathon of organisation: choosing dates, getting time off work and writing cover notes for all my regulars and working out flights and connections; then finding places to stay in Herefordshire.  Many fantastic looking B&Bs were full to the gunnels so we ended up in 3 different places, all quite different but fab – we even got a 4 poster bed one night.  And after all that I still had to make dates for catch ups with my crew of lovelies. I’ve not precisely been a social butterfly (cue picture from a garden near Garway) but I really needed to see everyone and I feel much better for it.

LTN gets many thanks and lots of squeezes for a magnificent weekend in Herefordshire (and a little bit of Wales).   I hadn’t realised how much I’d been missing hills and views.  Berlin’s flatness is great for the bike lovers (of which more anon) but I grew up in the Chilterns and it turns out that I have a subconscious need for a rolling landscape.

This is on the Malverns and although we went the ‘flat’ route, there was still a lot of up and down.  My little legs were well tested and apparently I need to start doing a little bit more exercise…

and finally, for now, I just want to give you one very English picture of a walled garden near the border.  We found it completely by accident and spent a happy hour or so in the sun.  One day I’ll have a garden as lovely as this, and that’s a promise.

The rest of the future is alarmingly fuzzy at the moment, but if there’s a garden, books, my family and my fantastic friends then I guess I’ll be fine.

It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring

Such a rainy Saturday it has been*, but strangely satisfying.  The panda and I watched Mr Smith Goes to Washington and it was amazing.  I love James Stewart: his voice, his face and his damn good acting.   He was so young in this film, it’s probably the earliest one I’ve seen. Funnily enough we were going to watch Rear Window, which is right at the other end of the spectrum, but the tech was against us.  I need to watch more of his long list of films, maybe The Man from Laramie, just because I fancy a western and I’ve always loved the song:

the west will never see;
a  man with so many notches on his gun,
everyone admires the fearless stranger,
danger was this man’s special-tee!
So they never bossed, or double crossed, the man from Laramie…

Doo-de-do-de-do-do. the man from Laramie.

Where was I?  Ah yes.  Then I hoovered the whole flat and reorganised my bedroom, which was strangely satisfying.  I often find that when my head isn’t on quite straight a burst of housework cleans out my mind as well as my house.  Two results for the price of one.  My room looks, as Panda put it, more like a room now, and I’ve got a little deskesque space set up to use the computer without mucking my neck and back up any more.  My wonderful birthday speakers are repositioned, my books are tidied up and my chair is just begging to be curled up in with a book and a cup of tea.  So long folks….

* editor’s note.  I’m writing this on Saturday, true enough, but I probably won’t publish it until later.  I’m so rubbish at writing at certain times that it seems wasteful to release a passel of posts into the wild at once, so I’ll save up my loquacious moments and dole them out in measured doses.  It’s my blog and the timeline doesn’t have to make sense …so there.

Tea and books and other good things

Last night I was feeling a little less sparkly than usual, without knowing why, which is always frustrating.  There was honestly no reason for it, so I decided to make a list of things that should have been making me happy.  And what do you know?  Taken altogether they definitely made me feel happier.  This counting your blessing doodah actually works!*

I decided to make a “photo editorial” of the list, because I’m such a pro journo, so here goes.

  1. On Saturday, I received the best care package ever sent by post, courtesy of the ever lovely Bella.  Look what I got:
    Yes you are seeing right, not only did I get a hand drawn card with pigs on, I also got a seed kit for forget-me-nots (very clever) and a big ziplock bag of tea!  I LOVES this girl.  I had been down to only 4 remaining  tea bags .  The situation was quite desperate,  the relief commensurate and the celebrations quite joyous.  In fact, to commemorate the miraculous tea delivery, I hunted diligently in Boxy Flohmarkt for a Teekanne and found this beauty.  Lookit. Beee-u-diful.
  2. On Sunday I cleaned and organised my room so that it was all shiny in the sunshine. I even polished the door handles although to be fair you can’t see that here.  However, it  now looks less like I’m squatting which is an achievement as far as I’m concerned.
  3. I also bargained spiritedly with a disgruntled lady even shorter than me for a somewhat ugly beer advertising mirror, and then I decorated it with a red-haired lady and gold leaves.  It now looks rather yummy in my humble opinion.
    Note: accept my apologies for my rather serious concentrating face, and admire please the detail of my découpage (not décollotage, découpage)
  4. I was further inspired  at the market to purchase this  jumper thing for the princely sum of 3 euro.  That’s definitely something to smile about.  Can’t wait to wear it, wish I could wear it to work but I guess my bright pink shoes will have to do for now…
  5. Nor does the bounty of the markt stop there.  I also found myself 2 new books to be going on with, one of which admittedly looks classier than the other, but the latter is fatter so it gets points too.
    As a result, I’m currently reading 3 books at once, the one about trees, one called Moon Tiger which is on loan and (gulp) one of the new ones which I really shouldn’t have started (but in my defence there’s a rose on the front and it was hard to resist).  Of course the sum total of books should be 4 because I ought to be reading the German loaner from Sonja, but I’m a wicked lazy child. Tomorrow, maybe, I’ll start on that.
And that’s all for now folks. Hope my small cheerfulnesses made you smile too.  I’ll leave you with a quote from C.S.Lewis, who not only wrote good books but clearly was very sensible too.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”

*editorial note: honesty compels me to admit that talking to LTN and the lovely Cee may have contributed rather more significantly to the cheering upping but nonetheless… the list and the photographing of the list definitely helped.

London calling, art is about

I can’t begin to tell you how much I’m looking forward to my visit home. Of course I’m talking about both my recent homes, London and Fingest (homehome), both have such a strong pull.  The London part is taking a little more organisation though, so many fabulous people to see, and things to do. The social planning is going well so far and I’ve turned my sights on the cultural dimension of my days on the town.

I might try to swing by the Pick Me Up Graphic Art Fair at Somerset House. I really enjoyed it last year, particularly the magnificent Mister Rob Ryan‘s studio recreated, with the man himself in residence.  This year, my attention has been caught by this fabulous thing.  I adore it.

Untitled (cover for a book) (2009), Tom Gauld, via the Guardian website.

I’m definitely going to see the Evolving English exhibition at the British Library.  Firstly because I’m a bit interested in English, as you may have gathered. Secondly, it’s applicable to work now.  Thirdly, it’s curated by Mr Jonnie Robinson, legend of Borlase, inspirational teacher and all round hero of mine.  I can’t wait.  Look, they even have a blog I can follow and podcasts.  Ah, happy Nicky.  Check out this rather fabulous star item I found on the exhibition website, if there’s a poster of it available then it’s going to be mine…

I find this utterly magnificent.  To see why, you have to realise that time after time, my favourite pieces in exhibitions will a) be really quite graphic (in the design sense, not the shocking sense) or b) have words in or c) both.  This is both.  Isn’t it beautiful?

Strangely, it reminds me a little bit of my favourite map in the British Library’s maps exhibition (wot I went to wiv Mr Dom), Tea Revives the World – created by MacDonald Gill, 1940 (picture via the Guardian again).  I think the association is that I identify closely with this message, and when you can see the detail of each of the little scrolls, it’s pure genius.  I want to own a copy of this one too.

It’s also been suggested that I go to see the British Art Show 7 (thank you Mr Cosimo).  I’m currently undecided, it could be a little bit odd for me, but on the other hand you don’t get to see new ‘exciting’ contemporary pieces gathered together that often, and somehow I’ve still not been to the Hayward so maybe I should now.  Have a look at their video and let me know what you think…..

Pictures and music

I just started listening to this, so I can’t comment on the whole thing yet, but I likes it already I does.  Some music to go with my pictures courtesy of Mr Scruff on Soundcloud

These are a random collection from the last few days, with a whole series of the coots on the river.  I just went down to look at the water on a lovely evening and then starting attracting birds who apparently thought I had something to eat.  Suddenly I realised that I did indeed have bread and I started chucking it in, at which point I got birds diving at each other madly and they made very pretty monochrome patterns.

I now have the tail end of the same bread going stale in the kitchen so I might repeat the game, and take the pictures in full black and white.

p.s. Mr Scruff knows all about tea you know. I loves him I does….