Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Putting my feet up

On the balcony - a quiet lunch, after 24 hours of family red alert.
I am not sure how other families cope with crises - normally you don't know because they do it quietly, doggedly, excluding the general public. In my family, the whole world knows. We scream, shout, throw things, we have blogs and show pictures on flickr. When we get on well, it's the best family in the world - laughter, food, drink, kisses, sunshine, birdsong, fotos, phone calls and post cards. When we quarrel, everything turns very black, very loud, and finally someone puts the phone down. It's in our genes, with my father the archetypal good-looking bad lot who resolved crises by helplessly (we give him the benefit of the doubt) but efficiently resorting to violence - until he was bravely thrown out of the family. Divorce was not a solution many women dared take in the fifties.
My childhood was dotted with black rages, my adulthood with friends telling me "that's enough now". And indeed, I feel it's way enough . All I want from my family now is detached, slightly froid mutual respect. I am not holding my breath, though.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Fresh Week, fresh toil

Monday, never my favorite day. Spent the weekend largely partying, now it's time to stare at the computer again. The weather is still completely unpromising: although 30C are being announced I still have cold feet. Only a visit to Steinsee with my sister could turn this week from average to glittering. It would also be nice to get paid - freelance work is a tightrope-walk.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Boogie nights and garden parties

In the end, it was Bill Callahan at the Orange House, a grungy youth clubby venue we both love, it is so very un-München. He was preceded by a surprise guest, Scottish singer Alasdair Roberts, who turned out to be brilliant. Bill C. was inscrutable but his voice cuts to the quick (wherever that may be). The only information he shared with the audience was "We had a big night in Vienna last night". Aha.
We boldly took a taxi to the lovely birthday party at 11.30, with a German driver who used to fly helicopters in Cambodia for the US army and said he doesn't want his sons to become soldiers.
And on Saturday, a gourmet date at Bine's where everybody brought some food and we sat in the garden, defying the odd rain drop.

Friday, 23 May 2008

An embarrassment of riches

Tonight, there are four bands Mick and I would be interested in seeing, with names like Vampire Weekend, Melt Banana, Awesome Color and Dinosaur Jr., as well as Bill Callahan of Smog fame.

There is also a birthday party. After complaining sometimes that there are no parties in München, now I feel sheepish. And anyway, one of the reasons to escape from London was that I wanted to curl up quietly on the sofa and act my age, instead of being forced to have fun fun fun. I think I was wrong. Fun fun fun is good. But curling up on the sofa is good, too.

I am now five years younger than John Peel when he died, and he was still listening to demo tapes and running his show at Glasto to the very end. There is no excuse, while we are alive.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Na, geht doch!


Berlin (Reuters) - Nach massiver Kritik in der Öffentlichkeit ist die umstrittene zweite Diätenerhöhung in einem Jahr für die 612 Bundestagsabgeordneten vorerst vom Tisch.

Members of the German parliament, Bundestag, decided to go without their second payrise in one year. Maybe they felt ashamed to announce it on the same day that the Federal Government announced in its annual Poverty Report that the gap is widening between rich and poor, and millions of Germans are now officially poor.
Reactions in the press are increasingly harsh both about the poor (they are lazy, of course) and their defenders (old 68er crusties bleeding hearts - the hatred that is meted out to my generation here in Germany is palpable).
No-one asks the obvious questions: What happened? In the sixties and seventies, schools and universities were free, the poor were supported - not in luxury, but in relative equality - and there was hope. Now, across Europe, there are between 4 and 10% of the population destined for the rubbish dump, at birth. Lazy? No motivation?
Anyone wondering why?

...und von mir aus auch den Palästen!

Monday, 19 May 2008

Rain Country

The idea was to have brunch on Michi and Gretel's amazing, Wisteria-overgrown terrace under a pale blue canopy buzzing with bees. Naturally, it rained. But we still drove out with John and Bine in their VW bus and managed to have a glass of bubbly out there before breakfast. And then seven of us round the table, with the two children running around - such a nice way to spend a rainy Sunday. Before we went back home, we took in the annual oldtimers show with cars and tractors and masses of country people. We saw a few nostalgic cars, a Porsche tractor, a trendy young Bavarian father with four children, three of them triplets, all his own, and a tractor with a baby seat - times have changed, even in Niederbayern.

A series of bubbles was blown to make this foto possible

A tractor show - the local buzz, with wheels dwarfing Bine

A handsome father of four

In the Eighties, my Mum used to have an old Opel Rekord, a bit like this one - it was known pretty much across Bavaria. She adored it and called it Timoteus. I often borrowed it when I was visiting from London, and always felt like a Queen driving it. Ah - in those days, cars - just like flying - were something really special.

We ate too much, drank before mid-day and generally had an excellent time, AND were home before six o'clock - way in time for Tatort (the Sunday night culty thriller series).

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Baking and gardening

After long lovely sunny days and my first swim with Luisa in Steinsee, a gem of a lake near my home town, the weather is changing. Today a friend gave me some plants she had grown from seeds and planted them on the balcony. Meanwhile, I baked an apricot cake which came out looking quite fotogenic but maybe not quite juicy enough.
Now, time to go out and get some exercise...last bike ride before the rain starts.
It's been a completely uneventful day so far...

Friday, 16 May 2008

Lettera a nostri amici

Interesting little comment by Donna Leon who, famously, has gone native in Venice. She comments on the relationship between the Italian people and their leaders using a line from a John Milton poem:

The hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed
which continues:

But swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread.

'nuff said about Italy - let's not forget that nearly half the population did NOT vote for Berlusconi.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

El toro gana

Lola's 7-year old son Danny asked her the other day, if the bull ever wins in a bullfight.

Lola told him no. After some thinking, he said "En mi pequeño mundo, el toro gana" (in my little world, the bull wins." I want to live in Danny's little world, as far away from "Grand Theft Auto"as possible

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Spring has finally arrived, except at night when it's still cold feet in bed...All the delicious spring food is now in the market, I bought asparagus and strawberries and new potatotoes yesterday and we had a blow-out Spargel feast last night, followed by strawberries marinated in fresh mint leaves and a bit of last year's elderflower syrup.
I don't remember spring, all that fresh, psychedelic green and white and yellow, being so important to me when I was young. Now the opening of the lilac buds is more exciting than buying new clothes, and the urge to be out there amid the dandelions almost irresistable, the square of blue sky I see through my window is calling me to get on my bike...

Monday, 5 May 2008

Family, friends and I

family foto made by Evi Brocklehurst!

first beer in Jagdschlössl, our local beer garden

visitors in Haidhausen

It's been a busy weekend - dinner at Bine's with Eva, jumble sales in Haidhausen, outing with my singing group plus Mum, our first beer garden dinner...
Now back at my desk finishing my Hydra of a never ending research project. As soon as I think now it's done, another piece of information raises its ugly head. But I am determined there will be a trip somewhere, before I start the next project.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

digital dirndl

This is what I saw today: a folk music event.

I learned that being Bavarian can be bewildering at times.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Not with a bang, but with a wimp

An upperclass twit, Mayor of London.
And Ken shouldering the blame, not letting Gordon take the whole rap...noble to the last.
The only word that springs to mind is: No! please! surely some mistake!

Meanwhile in München: dinners with too much wine. Neighbourhood jumble sales, where I earn as much as I spend. Sunshine. Cycling. Singing. Watching stupid Krimi on TV. Eating too much pasta with broccoli, feta and sundried tomatoes. Yum.

Friday, 2 May 2008

It's all over now...

Following the absolute bashing my generation (die 68er) is receiving from the younger generation (we have done just about everything wrong, "feminists just don't get it that we all have equal rights now" etc.), following the election of a fascist to follow Walter Veltroni as mayor of Rome, following the loss of popularity of leftie Kurt Beck in the German government, now the news of Labour's crushing defeat in in the English local elections, and of Boris Johnson almost certainly ousting Ken as mayor sounds like the end of the politics as we wanted it.
I am totally aware that neither Blair nor Brodi fulfilled our expectations, but tears came to my eyes when I read the news this morning.
you have to cry!
Plus - the food shortages that look like they are used by the genetic food brigade to make their products palatable after all.
Looks like we are entering darker times...people are looking for strong leaders again.
The irony that hope now resides in Spain, where they had enough of strong leaders for a while. The irony of seeing a pregnant woman inspect the Spain.
you have to laugh.

picture borrowed from © 2008 Financial Times Deutschland, © dpa