Monday, 27 October 2014


It's my birthday and I'm in Berlin.This is my third trip to this gritty and fabulous city. And with the familiarity of it being three, this time I feel like I'm living in today's city, not visiting one filled with ghosts.

It's helped by the fact I stay with my friend Lena, who is the mistress of simple living. You could call Lena's apartment minimalistically furnished, but not in an austere or wankily deliberate way. She just earns less, spends less, accumulates less, and when she acquires, it's considered and textured with natural fibres. No plastics live here.

A little kitchen sits in a nook to the living area and doubles as the bathroom. It's an important place, for Lena's food hospitality is legendary. She's worked in bakeries on and off for some years and she has a knack for making wonderful out of what's available.  Breakfasts, particularly, are a long, creative affair generally involving croissants, at least one kind of jam made by a relative, honey which presents itself in patterned glass jars, pumpernickel bread, Nutella, coffee. Today we had baked eggs served with purple carrots and a delish, steamed pumpkin. Plus a herbal tea brewed from pine cones to heal my chest, which is in its fifth week of being inflicted with a terrible cough. At the moment,  Lena is into making sauerkraut so this she enthusiastically serves up with each meal or snack.

Here is the chocolate cake she whipped up on the midnight of my birthday as I lay sleeping in the same room.

As soon as I arrived here, I felt lighter and more peaceful. This is a lot to do with being with a good friend with whom I can just be.  It's also to do with being in her home full of texture and lightness but not full of STUFF.

It's a good reminder for how I should be, in Sydney.

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