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Intermezzo: Lost time





Then it was summer; then it was autumn. All the while I've written you letters in my head. Honesty, not artifice; sincere and nothing saccharine; the world itself and no mirrors distorting or brightening.

Then it was August and I caught my breath on the threshold, turning back to face the sea. Then it was September and kernels pushed into sandy earth had made rows seven feet high. Then it was October and a common park reaffirmed a sentiment I had begun to question. Then it was today and I stopped for a moment. I still have more to share.


Behind this silence, so much life


And in this silence, how life has thrummed on! This space has been in my thoughts always as I go about work and life, as I move through the city. Life - this season - feels between two moments: sowing and harvesting. What will everything become?

Briefly, hardly daring to believe it, I mentioned that we might have found a home. Out of a contracting set of options for where we might live, we seemed to have found a flat that ticked all our boxes. For once, we quashed our fears and leapt. When would we next find a space worth leaping towards? With S at school and our work lives stable, the moment had arrived.


We are knee-deep in renovations right now and I never thought I could spend so much energy thinking about where to put dimmers and power sockets. I am so grateful for our very kind Bauleiter and especially for the indefatigable creative inspiration of Lea and Matthias of Studio Oink.


Meanwhile, the sunny season beckoned, louder than ever. I woke to the sound of birds; light glimmered through the blinds when I woke, and I ached for space and air unpunctuated by Brandschutzmauer and roads.


On a whim, I looked for free allotments in Potsdam. A few weeks later - we could hardly believe it! - a garden was ours.


I have gone on eating, discovering, savoring. Writing about restaurants elsewhere than on my blog has felt good. I was delighted to write two restaurant reviews for Zitty, on Yami Yami and Stella.




Within all this, I go on wanting to fold this summer into a box, like a silk scarf that holds in its fibres all the freshness of these days, to take out and inhale in January. The park, the lake, the walk, the sky: these, too consume me.

What will everything become? I begin to sense a line, to trust a future. A harvest season might have begun.

Opening days at Dóttir











The sweetest snow crab in an age; a dill meringue which left me with the sugar shakes, in the nicest way. Not pictured: the pleasing sludge of the beurre noisette; the liquorice-dark bread; the thimbles of akvavit the kind waiter pressed on us before we went on our merry way.

Dóttir, Mittelstr. 40/41, Berlin-Mitte (map)
Pan-Scandinavian menu (€45)

Dry Beef Salad, Sweet Cinnamon Noodles (Revisiting Do De Li)



Beef, dry as jerky, sliced thin and slicked with enough marinade to make the scatter of Sichuan pepper stick. Crisp apple and rice noodles swollen in a cinnamon blossom syrup. A mouthful of this, a mouthful of that.

They had sold out of jellyfish so that's the salad we'll try next time.

Do De Li, Kantstr. 120, Berlin-Charlottenburg (map)

Aux Delices Normands


A rare Saturday zu zweit: we bought chocolate croissants and olive-studded, olive oil-soaked breads at Aux Delices Normands, then hopped into an electric car on the center verge of the Ku'damm. In fifteen minutes we were at the lake.

Do you know the old-fashioned French bakery? The Ludwigkirchplatz branch is just up the road from S's new school. I sometimes cannot resist indulging in a chocolate eclair after drop off, buy a hearty quiche (two parts metallic spinach, one part quivering, nutmeggy custard) for an early supper, or picking up a perfect baguette and some crémant when a friend is joining us after bedtime.

They've recently taken over the old-fashioned maroon-granite interior of what used to be the Harry Genenz pâtisserie on Adenauerplatz, which sports the best West Berlin people watching I've seen in an age and was a perfect breakfast spot to begin a lazy weekend.

Aux Delices Normands, Pfalzburger Str. 76, Berlin-Wilmersdorf (map); Brandenburgische Str. 32, Berlin-Charlottenburg (map) and elsewhere
Traditional French bakery and delicatessen, open from early in the morning


Three scenes of winter







 The worst of it seems to have passed, no? I don't mean just the season.