berlin

A central heating meter perched on a fire escape sign

The straw that broke the camel’s back

Look. You don’t want to be here, I don’t want to be here, but the problem is that there is still so much I have to tell you. In fact, for every thing I talk about a dozen new things happen that I also have to talk about and so there’s this enormous backlog now, you see. Like my pile of unsorted tax documents, I have been putting it off for so long, but recently I had a day where so many things – baffling, unbelievable things – happened in such a short space of time that it was frankly...

Creative Arborism 101

The first in the series. A classic that defined the latter works. Further in the series, we see an interesting juxtaposition of asymmetrical tree and signage creating balance in imbalance. A slightly awkward piece; the ‘crossroads’ imagery seems naively overwrought here. Quite possibly the jewel of the collection. This, the finest specimen of all the trees used in the collection, has been knowingly coupled with sublime signage and a wry parallelism with the real tree. Magnificent. It’s that festive time of year again. When families, friends and flatmates come together across the continent, unite in their living rooms, gaze at...

Good eats in the big B

Found in the Kaufhof groceries section: a Limquat!! A lime the size of a walnut! GENIUS. This weekend was the big moment; my new flat had to meet the parents. I’m too much of a compulsive hostess to let them stay in a hotel, so they bunked in my big Berlin bed and I had an excuse to buy a kickass lilo. This was the first time ever that my dad had seen Berlin, having never had any holiday time even in my first stint in the Vaterland. It was my one chance to prove that moving over here and...

Sticky summer evenings – time for Tzatziki Tzalad!

Three seconds after this photo was taken, the entire bowl spontaneously burst into flames. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s hot. Sad-dogs-lying-on-the-pavement hot. People-eating-ice-cream-at-10-am hot. Invasion-of-psychotic-fruit-flies-everywhere hot. After months and months and months of perpetual greyness, Europe is being rewarded for its patience with an intense burst of all its missed summers delivered in one portion. People don’t know whether to be overjoyed or to succumb to the misery of being so very, very sweaty. Children have started quietly dissolving into tears on the S-Bahn, confused and upset that they are simply so uncomfortable and why the hell can’t mum do anything...

Best Prenz Forever

In Prenzlauer Berg, graffiti artists simply tag buildings with helpful signs and directions. When I used to work in Oxford, I sat all day in a cardboard cubicle lined with school-blue artificial felt, pounding at an old Dell keyboard that appeared to contain several primordial stages of life developing between the keys. At lunchtime I would shove my tupperware into my bag and march outside as quickly as I could possibly move, simply to get out and away from that stuffy little enclosure.  Sadly, there wasn’t much to escape to outside the office. A grey, long and dull walk alongside...

Feelin’ the buuuuuuurn

Sadly this isn’t my gym. This is evidently the branch of Superfit where Tron was filmed. Exercising in general doesn’t really work out well for me. When I arrived in Berlin, I had no choice but to go running – in public – which was fine, apart from two serious issues: the first being the unbelievable complaints and funny looks I get when I have to do that bouncy-joggy-boingy thing at pedestrian crossings, and the second being the horrendous shinsplints that jogging on uneven surfaces seems to give me. Ow. I missed the gym. I missed the cross-trainer, and the...

Berlin: lower your standards to live the high life

This shop is so epic the entire building has a beard worthy of Thor himself **Click here to like the Guten Morgen Berlin Facebook page!** When I first told my friends in Berlin of my plans to move back, they made concerned noises. “That’s great, but are you sure you really want to?” they asked. “You know that jobs here are scarce and hard to get hold of, right?” At the time I tossed my head back and laughed in a debonair manner. Jobs were scarce in Berlin? They should try living in the UK, where people print their CVs...

Die Vögel (The Birds)

Berlin wildlife: sparrows and techno-beetles. In the UK, you might see the occasional pigeon. Wandering along the high-street…picking up bits of old chip in Burger King carparks…limping one-legged around train station platforms like a pathetic Richard III impression…making obscenely loud noises on your windowsill in the wee hours of the morning…accidentally flying down your chimney…clustered under picnic tables in parks…dumbly standing on a car roof…dumbly standing on the spikes put on buildings to repel pigeons… Yes, pigeons are everywhere. There is a reason why we call them flying rats, and it’s not just because they are like little hors d’oeuvre...

The Urge

Beware the communists!!! Today was a day that began unpromisingly. I woke at an unpleasant hour thanks to the daily roaring grinding noise that happens outside my window at just before 7am. In the night I had origamied my duvet into an incredible writhing plait that had allowed me to get thoroughly cold outside of the one insulated stripe diagonally across me – you see, German duvets are always half as wide as the bed that accommodates them, so they have a tendency to drift around on the mattress like seaweed on the surf. Thanks to another curious German quirk...

Meet the youngest spinster in Great Britain

This decor would certainly calm a llama down. (60% of my readers will get more out of that than the rest) So. Two things.Number one: it was my birthday this weekend, and for the first time (and in the wrong country) I celebrated it GERMAN-STYLE. In Germany, unlike in the UK where you have a big knees-up on the calendar date of your birth, you “party in” to your birthday, meaning you get violently drunk the evening before and just keep on going until that magic midnight bell, when songs are sung, presents given and someone probably brings out a...