Rope swing rediscovered

Sunshine makes all the difference for a lovely weekend, doesn’t it?  For the last couple of Saturdays we’ve had amazing leisurely and luxurious brunches which I’ve enjoyed immensely, and a wonderful flying visit to London for time with some of my best girls, but this weekend brought frisbee, pimms, a barbecue and sunlit walks in woodland….and a swing!

pointing your toes doesn’t actually make you go faster

We saw kids playing with a tyre swing and I was a tiny bit jealous, and then we found this rope swing I had to try it out.  Nearly 29 and not even slightly grown up yet.  And I’m not alone, the broken one had a go too…

going for the action shot, I may have missed a few essentials like face and toes

It was overlooking a really gorgeous pond which used to belong to the abbots so that they could have fish for their supper.

lily and the beech

It’s full of lilies and midges and surrounded by beech trees in acid green spring growth. LTN kept trying to tell me that it’s nearly summer, but as far as the trees are concerned I think it’s still spring.  There were some seriously gorgeous trees.

sunburst and green

We meandered happily through trees and meadows, exploring old camps, admiring bluebells and unfurling ferns, and generally being silly.  Just before we got back to the car we found an old orchard filled with fuzzy faced sheep and well managed mossy trees glowing in the last of the sun.

ordered rows of the orchard, whispering to the sheep

It was a good day.

The turning leaves

This is Unter den Linden in the festival of lights, the avenue looked fantastic (literally) with so much uplighting.  It made me really look forward to Christmas lights.

avenue of lights

As you can see, the trees still had most of their leaves when Dad was here, but they were beginning to turn.  Since then the city has been slowly turning into gold.  I do have more pictures for you but my internet at home is kaput and so I can’t edit at home. I don’t want to be silent for too long, so I’m just going to share this with you now, and promise you more trees and other pictures before too long.

I’m experiencing serious backlog at the moment.  After a succession of wonderful visits (such a good time was had with the girls!) I have lots of pictures and words for you, but I haven’t had time to sort through either and give you the good ones.  Soon soon, I hope, but not this weekend because the boy is visiting (yay).  Auf wiedersehen, bis bald.

p.s. Mr Murray, fancing coming back in to look after the place?  It’s going to rack and ruin since you left me…

Falling in love with Linden

I’m astounded by how much difference the burgeoning green and sunshine in Berlin make to my mood.  I’m almost sure that Spring is my favourite season, watching leaves unfurl day by day is freshly magical every year.

When I’m at home I love to watch the willow colour up outside my bedroom window, it has a wonderful gold haze over it which fades away as the leaves mature.  Here in Berlin I found these two beautiful specimens in Volkspark Friedrichshain at just the right moment to catch a little of the effect on camera.

There is a haiku by Oshima Ryota which illustrates quite perfectly how very soothing these trees can be (and not just in aspirin!)

bad-tempered I got back

then in the garden

the willow-tree

Here though it’s the Linden trees  which lead the parade of green through the city.  I started noticing a fuzz of acid green, which swiftly developed into pompom-like clusters.  Other trees were still bare and brown but these popped beautifully against the grey skies we’ve been having intermittently and positively shouted in glee when bathed in sunshine.  Initially I didn’t know what they were but luckily Sonja was able to name them for me. I’m still not sure what species is predominant here though as linden trees are more commonly known as limes in England and the churchyard in Fingest is flanked by tall and elegant limes, but they don’t look quite the same as these or I’d have recognised them straight away.

Sonja also pointed out that the famous street ‘Unter den Linden’ was named for the avenue of trees that helped to make it one of the most beautiful boulevards in Europe, which somehow I hadn’t stopped to think about before.  Of course the mature trees were lost in the war, but there are new trees doing well.  In fact that are a lot of relatively new plantings all across town, and it really does add to the friendly vibe for me.

Of course I’ve already mentioned the cherry trees, which are perfectly lovely, but they do have rivals.  There are some spectacular clusters of magnolias here too.  Last weekend I spent a couple of hours reading in this glade, surrounded by bees and heavy perfume.  The trees are on a smallish patch of green in front of a tower block and I found them when I went to cheer for Amanda and Severin in the half marathon.  They’re all magnolia stellata so they have these delightfully, almost decadently languid petals of the purest white.  Sitting under a blue sky filled with scented stars and soaking up the sun I realised that as the days get longer and the plants come to life, I do too.  It’s as close to spiritual as I get and I can completely understand why so many cultures revere particular trees or plants.

I’ll stop now, although I could probably go on all day, but I’ll just say that if you feel at all the same as I do, you should read The Secret Life of Trees by Colin Tudge. It’s fascinating and revelatory as all the best books should be and as far as I’m concerned everyone should read it.

This painted city

Today I was out and about in Berlin a little bit because I had my first one-to-one lesson as a cover for another teacher.  I had to go out east through Charlottenburg, a direction I hadn’t taken before.  I forgot my book today and thought that I would regret it during all my s/u bahn journeys, but in fact I was very happy just to stare out of the window and see how the scenery changed.

As I watched the city go by, with deco buildings cheek-by-jowl against distinguished Altbau buildings and new ugly/brilliantly designed blocks, I realised something. It’s a very painted city.  Of course, I’ve already spent a lot of time snatching pictures of the graffiti and street art that’s plastered thickly across any number of likely and unlikely surfaces, but I hadn’t consciously notices how many of the buildings are painted up in colours too.  Ochre yellow is popular, but so are the blues and greens and even pinks of Bristol.  It suddenly clicked that this is one of the reasons I identify this city with Brizzle, even though previously I couldn’t perfectly explain it.

I don’t have any photos to exemplify this for you right now, but I’ll work on it.  In the meantime, I have a building that I found very funky, against a sadly grey sky.

and pollarded trees taking a starring role too

Anyway, the lesson went quite well, the student was very lovely and we had good chats about his work, London, Shanghai, village life, Berlin building sites and so on.  After I finished the lesson, I trotted down the stairs, only to be completely smitten by this chair.  It just begs to be added to my library (modern incarnation thereof) and curled up in with a suitable book, such as 1984 maybe.  I particularly love how the plant and the chair complement each other here.  If I could have sneaked them both out of the building and got them home, I think I’d have been tempted…

This clearly put me in the mood for appreciating orangeness in life.  It’s not normally one of my favoured colours, but when I went back down to the U7 (turquoise line) I was struck by this most excellent ceiling stair arrangement (apologies for the blurriness, it’s not too bright down there.

And now that my eyes were opened, I started paying attention to the walls of the platform itself – how I missed this tiling before I cannot imagine.

Nor was Willmersdorff to be outdone.  If anything I think it may be more splendid.

But that’s enough for now.  It’s suddenly become much later than planned as I’ve been chatting away to you lovely people, so I shall go to sleep and dream of perfect flapjacks.  Anon!