Monday, November 24

Berlin 2008: Some Last Thoughts

As the weather was so foul, I had a little play with black and white. It makes the square by the opera look a bit like a film set doesn't it?

These ornate lamps are a contrast to the modern buildings behind.

I think she's doing rather well to ride side saddle, and play the lyre!

Are these little lions in training to become door knockers?

Sunday, November 23

Berlin 2008: A Foggy Day in Berlin Town...

As you can see, the weather wasn't very nice as I wandered around Berlin.

Still, I saw some nice, old buildings (the one on the right is being restored, hence the tarp. with a picture of the building on)...

...some buildings that were a mixture...

I couldn't make up my mind whether this was totally modern, or an older building with modern bits.

This IS modern though - although it's quite stark, it really worked in context.

I saw some small things...

...some big things...

...but mostly it was just nice to wander. Here is a chap putting up the Christmas lights, on one of the famous lime trees in Unter den Linden.

Friday, November 21

Berlin 2008: Christmas is Coming!

Like so many other 'old traditions', most of the traditional British Christmas was invented by the Victorians. Prince Albert brought over many German customs, including the Christmas Tree, which filtered down to the general population from the Royal Court.

One the British haven't embraced, is the soldier nutcracker (as in the ballet) - I came across this chap chained up outside a Christmas decoration shop.


German decorations are fab - especially the ones that twirl round and round, powered by the updraft from candles. Sadly...budget airline ticket = carry on bag = no room to buy any = :-(.

Wednesday, November 19

Berlin 2008: Here come the bears!

The symbol of Berlin is the bear. My Ma has a little silver bear pendant that my Dad brought back from a trip to Berlin before they were married. As a child it was symbolic of going out and parties, as she wore it a lot.

When you wander round Berlin there are bears EVERYWHERE - some tasteful, some not. I think this one looks rather embarassed, and well it should!

Berlin 2008 : New Job for George W?

This way he could still say he worked in the Oval Office :-)


Tuesday, November 18

Berlin 2008 - Checkpoint Charlie

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, I was in my first term at University - literally half my lifetime ago.

Our hotel, was about 100 yards into East Berlin, with Checkpoint Charlie at the end of the block. Neither of us  could quite get over the fact we were wandering around East Berlin.

On the S-Bahn to and from the airport, it was clear that while lots of money has been invested in the East, certain areas remain untouched. As we looked at people our age getting on and off the train, it was almost unfathomable to contemplate the changes they must have experienced. Not just to their environment, but to their worldview and moral certainties.

I guess it's enevitable that Checkpoint Charlie would become a tourist attraction - and for all I was a tourist, and I was there, I found the jolly t-shirts and posing with the 'soliders' slightly distastful. I was glad to see that there are church services where the dead are remembered.

Berlin 2008

As I'm currently 'resting', I was able to go with The Boy to Berlin, where he was attending a conference.

In the U-Bahn we changed trains here. Now we knew the Alexanders were famous....but not that their fame had reached Berlin!

Denmark 2008 - Ribe

Our last port of call was Ribe, a beautiful town on close to the German border back in Jutland.

Ribe has many calims to fame - but the most imporant for me, was that it houses a Bo Bendixen shop!

I was so excited about getting to the shop, I left my camera in the car!

I hope these shots give you an idea of the place.

With it's beautiful old doors...

...from many periods.

I DO have a thing about door furniture.

So if you ever get the chance, do go to Denmark, it's a very interesting and welcoming country.

With excellent cakes (my parents' wedding cake was like this, only bigger)! 

Denmark 2008 - Some other little Birdies...

Out and about in Roskilde I found these swans...

...and these eagles (or are they griffins?).

Denmark 2008 - Roskilde Cathedral

Roskilde Cathedral is a lovely building. It's interesting to see so many older buildings in brick, rather than stone.

Sadly, we arrived about half an hour before 'closng time', and had to rush round under the disapproving eyes of the staff, who clearly wanted to go home.

Hence, very few decent shots, and none of the Royal Tombs, which I'm sure some of you ghouls would have liked.

This annunciation...

...and Holy Family on the back of the altar screen were rather nice.

And I loved this little bird.

Wednesday, November 12

Demark 2008 - Roskilde Shop Museum

Birgit and Mogens live near Roskilde where there is a shop museum - where you can BUY the contents.

That's my kind of museum.

Dad found a sharpening stone for his scythe - which he's been unable to find in the UK (BTW - he's not called Death).

It's a bit more modern in the office. Note the desk drawers which are made from cigar boxes (and the piggy finger puppet, which was STOLEN by someone in the French postal service).

Miss T is Angry

Every right thinking person is upset today about events like this, and even more so this.

It leaves me feeling particularly raw, as The Boy and I were turned down as adoptive parents earlier this year. The reason? Our history of ill-health - something we had been 100% frank about, despite being cautioned against doing so be a friend (who 'neglected to mention' her mental health issues and is now the fantastic Mother to a very, happy child).

I think we could give a could provide a loving home to a child, and at times like this find it hard to understand why we were turned down, when children are left with their natural parents, who do such unnatural things to them.

Denmark 2008 - Family Portraits

Here's another cousin Birthe - my Grandmother, Gertie, had three siblings, and between them they produced ten children.

Birthe was Danish ladies golf champion at one point.

Birgit is singer and teacher.

And my Ma is just plain wonderful.

Mogens is Birgit's partner.

He plays piano and cello beautifully, has a summerhouse in Jutland and a wooden sailing boat. How could Birgit turn him down? 

I think Birgit has her eyes closed to enjoy the music. My Dad I'm not so sure about!

Tuesday, November 11

Denmark 2008 - Into the Woods

The forest is a lovely place to walk. Here Birgit and I are deciding how much wood to steal for her stove :-).

I hate the nights drawing in, but isn't Autumn colour wonderful?

This stump gives you some idea how old the forest is.