Meanwhile, on the poop deck

Gritty urban living.
It’s been a strange, shapeless time. This week I had my 25th birthday, but I also reached the end of my energy stores; I had a miniature birthday knees-up, dragged my carcass into the gym as best I could but by the time Thursday rolled around I was certain that my brain had been removed and replaced with polyester teddybear stuffing. As I finished up my work that evening, vaguely tearful with tiredness and no longer coherent, I decided that I wasn’t going to go on holiday for my long birthday weekend; I would stay home and spend that money on having a glorious time in the city and reinvigorating my suffering apartment.
I bought fabric to make a case for my new Samsung tablet (there is no amount of cakes I could bake to ever adequately sum up how much I love my colleagues) and a new cover for my nasty, stained sofa. The fabric sellers at the market will do you a fantastic deal on cloth which is left over from corporate upholstery -the only downside being that it is printed with large industrial logos, though I do like the fact that my sofa will be covered in fabric that was once destined to be curtains in the Liebherr canteen. I bought dried spices and petals to make tea blends, a brass armadillo to make a necklace, and a chunk of swordfish for a delicious, high-mercury dinner. And then I sort of…well, I fell into bed and went into a coma for several hours.
But the next day was sunny and warm and golden, a perfect September glory, and so I went down to the garden to potter. Afterwards it was too beautiful outside to go back home, so I went in search of a café where I could sit in the sun, and I cycled five minutes east and two minutes south, and suddenly, this:

The Rummelsburger See (lake, not sea) turns out to be way closer to my pad than I possibly imagined, and way more awesome than I ever expected. It’s not lush and green like the other Berlin lakes,  but it’s a boaters’ lake, with quiet, civilised banks and gently bobbing boats, with an atmosphere much like Henley in the UK. Cormorants and moorhens are everywhere, diving into the water and rustling in the shoreline reeds. There are round boats which pootle about looking like inflatable pool-doughnuts with umbrellas on top; when I got a closer look I realised that these are quite possibly the world’s greatest invention: in the centre of each round dinghy is a round table with a barbeque grill, and people sit around the table enjoying a freshly-charred sausage and a cold beer while drifting around the lake.
The banks are open and clean, perfect for cycling along, and if you go far enough you end up at the abandoned Grimm-brothers-themed amusement park featured in the film Hanna, which is now closed to all the hipster photographers who used to break in at night, and is only explorable in the form of a paid tour. But like I said, I was in desperate need of a coffee and I wanted to set down my heavy bag full of squashes, and just then I happened upon a pirate ship.
The Gode Wind Hauptstadtkogge is a proper, piratical ship, complete with rigging and a plastic boatswain climbing the mast. Now, obviously you couldn’t unmoor it and sail it to Scumm Island, but it’s still pretty much the awesomest place I’ve had coffee in a long time. The menus are rolled-up scrolls and they brought me my Milch in a tiny little glass flagon with a cork; in case you think it sounds way too corny and Legoland to be a decent pit-stop, let me also say that the coffee was very good indeed and their wine list was enough to make me regret not having more cash on me. I just sat and watched the sunset, and listened to the moorhens, enjoying the cool breeze on my neck and the warm setting sunlight on my cheeks. With the TV tower to my right and the abandoned ferris wheel to my left. Catching snatches of laughter from the guys enjoying dinner on their dinghy-barbeque. Grateful to be in a city where every nook and cranny has something interesting and completely different to discover. 
Thanks to the somewhat frank criticism of one reader, this Ampelfrau has decided to overhaul the ol’ blog and make it look a lot more 2014 and a lot less 2008. It’ll be up and down a bit over the next couple of weeks as I try to sort out the redesign. But please remember that this whole endeavour is only half-worthwhile unless you guys like, share and comment on posts, so’s I don’t feel I’m just waffling on into a vacuum. Peace out!

Rose T