There is a lot still to do in the garden but I am suffering from my usual response to putting the clocks back: I want to stay in and keep warm. I have managed to plant out practically all of two hundred new daffodil bulbs which I had ordered and I have some bare rooted plants coming this month so will have to force myself away from the fire to get them in but in the meantime I am ignoring the falling over fennel and the shabby Shasta daisies and getting excited about blankets instead.
These are the new daffodils, to add to the thousands I have already:
All the images are from Peter Nyssen's catalogue. I use them a lot and find the bulbs of good quality and well priced. He also has a fabulous range of tulips. So these are in and holding the promise of spring in their tightly furled bulbs.
So we distracted ourselves from the blown over garden and dark nights with a flying visit to Berlin. Berlin is one of my favourite European cities: cosmopolitan, complex, swift moving with friendly people and fabulous public transport. We have been before but this time we were with some good friends and being with others makes you interact with a place differently than when you are on your own or with your long time partner. You stop to look at different things, you take more time, perhaps you miss things because you are talking but they are compensated for by the things that you notice because you are sharing someone else's way of looking.
We went to the Neues Museum where the building, a marriage of new construction with the old musem which was severely damaged in the Second World War, is as fascinating as the hugely fascinating contents.
We walked amongst the blocks of the Holocaust Memorial
and went to the Jewish Museum. While the memorial and some parts of the museum are overwhelming in different ways, the Jewish Museum in particular is an uplifting as well as distressing experience.
We also ate lots of good food, wandered lots of leaf strewn streets and ate the best breakfasts in the world at the Art'Otel in Mitte, once part of East Berlin. It's ten years since we were in Berlin but it is still a forest of cranes and construction sites, particularly in the former East.
We went down to Sans Souci in Potsdam, a summer palace built by Frederick the Great to his own design. It stands above terraces of vines and figs and is on an intimate scale. Luxurious and deeply decorated though it is, it is still somehow a place where you could see yourself living.
I love the fact that Frederick had had the ground terraced before he decided to build the palace, like deciding to live in your garden. Perhaps this is his version of my shepherd's hut.
We went up Norman Foster's dome for the Reichstag at night, magical.
I love Berlin in all its complexity. I almost feel I could live there although I would have to somehow combine that with living here. I am still digesting what I have seen and reading a fascinating book by Richard Stern, "Five Germanys I have Known", which ties the story of Stern's own professional, middle class Jewish family in Breslau to the history of Germany in the late nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. I am still thinking about it.
And home to the domestic scale of the fire and the garden and the shepherd's hut. I need a blanket for the hut and have been playing with crochet stripes. So, from the large vision to the small, here is the start of it.
It is such a lovely thing I might have to save it from being the bathetic ending to a blog and give it a post all to itself.
What a strange and complicated thing life is. I do love mine.
I have gone back to Dynamic Views, just for a change really and because I do like the look of it. I know when I used it before that some of you didn't like it or had problems with commenting. Please let me know what you think - I don't want the new look to be a pain for anyone!