Undeterred, she soldiered forth…

Note the absence of canine faeces or thieves.

Sometimes I spend days with the nagging intention to write a blog post lurking in my stomach without a single good idea of what to write about. It’s easy to squeeze out a fairly banal few paragraphs making exaggerated statements about “Berlin is so X” or “Life is so Y” but you just end up sounding like an amateur stand-up comedian swinging the mic and drawling, “know what I mean?!”. So in these moments I prefer to simply stay quiet and put some time into working out why I haven’t recently fallen into a well or had a fight with an U-Bahn driver or one of the other thousands of ridiculous things that tend to happen to me and keep my life interesting. In these moments, I usually sit for a while with my tea before suddenly spasming out of my chair, grabbing my coat and roaming out into the distance with some vague target in mind.

Today, as I lurched out of the door, the plan was to find a community garden that wasn’t a complete apocalyptic wreck like the one mentioned in the previous post. Nothing huge and alarming happened to me on my trip, admittedly, but there were some nice little moments of unexpected action:

– I walked for about 15 minutes in the opposite direction to intended. Not really action, this one, but simply something that I do tend to do whenever travelling anywhere ever. I suppose it’s my subconscious trying to keep me fit.

– I noticed a huge bunch of raspberry-coloured balloons (there may have been 99, I am not sure) floating across the sky and was just about to take a photo for you lovelies when a man in enormous parachute pants skidded his bike to a halt in front of me and asked if he was going the right way to Ostbahnhof. He wasn’t. Soulmate?!

– An enormous black great dane about the height of myself caught a whiff of my handbag – which happens to smell very strongly of the goat that its leather came from – and followed me around, whuffling at my hands in a scary, Cerberus-like manner. Well, he was actually being very sweet but it didn’t stop him being a terrifying black death-hound the size of a shire horse.

– I found the Gemeinschaftsgarten of my dreams.

The B├╝rgergarten Laskerwiese is a community garden adjoining a youth club near Ostkreuz station. The youth club alone looks completely wonderful and I deeply envy those ‘youths’; on Tuesdays they have cooking class followed by learning computer programming, on Wednesday there is boxing, on Thursday there is console games…as a cookery fiend nerd with unexpressed rage the program couldn’t possibly be more up my street. Next to this youth club there is a beautiful pond, huge and completely natural so that the water is crystal clear and gleams with the vivid green of the plants that run through it. 

Next to the pond there is a scrap of kempt (surely a word, in comparison to the majority of Berlin’s unkempt green spaces…and hairstyles) land on which a bunch of the aforementioned youths were playing football. Beyond that, a set of rustic-themed Ikea shelving:

 Oh lol, only joking – it’s a beehive! What a gorgeous thing for bees to live in; I hope that if the wind blows and you hold your fingers over different holes on that drilled log you can make musical notes. And then play a set of three notes to summon your horse or eagle. (‘Know what I mean?!’)

Beyond the beehive is the garden itself, which is a respectable patch of land divided into raised beds which seem to be absolutely flourishing. Unlike Garden A, Garden B appears to be looked-after and protected well enough that they don’t have to worry about dogs and their bowels or punks and their propensity to steal fruit and vegetables. Each bed was individual and clearly loved by the person looking after it; one had its vegetables divided up using old skateboards as barriers. 

The beds extend into a shared area around the youth club where there are dozens of bristlingly happy strawberry plants flowering. I stayed grinning gormlessly at how brilliant it all way until the football-playing boys started to give me funny looks (even though I do rather look like a yoof…). I then went food shopping and went home, where I made a baked potato and then dropped it on the floor energetically so that it exploded.

That was enough to give me energy to keep going and keep collecting stories. The best way to encounter interesting things is just to pick a road and walk along it in this place; every single square foot is so strange and idiosyncratic one can never be truly bored. There is always someone doing something strange, or a handsome busker shredding electric guitar, or a sex-shop city sex show.


Rose T