Archive | February 2009

Another Pastel Landscape

another pastel landscape. Photo and Pastel: Ulla Hennig

Another pastel landscape. Photo and Pastel: Ulla Hennig


Scarborough Fair

I like this medieval song very much – I think it is full of tenderness and love.


Old and New Architecture

Looking from the Anhalter Bahnhof to the Tempodrom. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Looking from the Anhalter Bahnhof to the Tempodrom. Photo: Ulla Hennig

It looks like a huge tent. The Tempodrom in Berlin is a quite famous event location, which opened in the year 2001.

The contrast between the ruins of the Anhalter Bahnhof and the Tempodrom could not be stronger: one the one side you have modern architecture, on the other side typical industrial architecture.

Premio Dardos Award

Brad Shorr definitely made my day yesterday. As I am following his blog posts regularly (I am not in the field of marketing, but his posts always provide a source of inspiration for me) I learned that he had received the Premio Dardos Award (very much he earns that Award!) and passed it on to me.

I don’t know if you ever heard of this Award (I must admit, I haven’t), so here is the description:

“Premio Dardos means ‘prize darts’ in Italian. It is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing.”

Well, some hours later, I stopped blushing. I am now in the process of selecting 15 other bloggers to pass the award to. So watch out – you’ll never know if you will be the one selected!

Once upon a Time There was a Station

Anhalter Bahnhof, originally uploaded by Ulla2004.

He went through one of the gates, slowly sipping his coffee. He was the only one at this place, obviously it was too cold for most of the people to leave their warm and cosy homes.

Suddenly he heard a funny noise – the noise of a steam locomotive arriving. He turned his head, maybe someone had got that noise as a ring tone for his cell phone.  He could not see anybody. He slowly moved his head – could it be the first sign of tinnitus? This was the first day in three weeks that he had the time to walk the streets of Berlin.
The noise stopped, but was replaced by a male voice announcing the arrival from the train from Munich to Berlin.
He remembered having read about the ruins of the Anhalter Bahnhof which once was a terminal for all the trains coming from the south of Germany. But that was ages ago!

“Sorry, Sir, is there a place where we can have food and drink?” It was really strange to hear the voices, and not to see anything, anybody, just the wide green in front of him. In his back was the Stresemann Café, so he pointed in that direction.
“Ah yes, now we see, what a wonderful restaurant. They even have Bavarian Beer. And look, what a nice handmade sign! It says “Schottenhamel”. Thank you, thank you very much, Sir!”
Schottenhamel? Bavarian beer? As far as he knew the Stresemann Café served nothing else than Berliner Pilsner, the local beer.

The noise of people rushing past him through the gates stopped. He finished his latte macchiato and went back through the gate. There was the Stresemann Café, everything looked normal. People were walking on the sidewalks, cars were driving along. Everything was normal.

Animal in Town: The Beech Marten

Ulla Hennig

Beech Marten. Pastels: Ulla Hennig; Photo: Ulla Hennig

You don’t need to leave the city in order to get in contact with wild animals. In Berlin you have foxes crossing the streets, wild boars happily digging away in your front garden, and – beech martens.

If you want to drive away with your car one morning, and nothing happens – well it could have been a beech marten having bitten off the ignition lead. They also like to brake hoses. Nobody knows why, but they love to do it.

They can be a pest. But on the other hand: Isn’t it fascinating to watch wild animals coming into town?

One Evening at the Movies: Berlinale 2009

The beginning of February is the time of the big movie festival “Berlinale” in Berlin. From the 5th till the 15th of February hundreds of films are shown in movie theatres all over the city.

I must admit: I don’t very often go to the movies. But a friend of mine is a heavy movie goer, and it is so much more fun to watch a movie together and to talk about it later.

So off we went, and the evening was quite an experience. It wasn’t the masses flocking to the entrance, mostly young people with their nice Berlinale bags hanging on their shoulders, talking in all kinds of foreign languages. It was not the cinema itself, one of the old ones, all in red, the plush seats, the walls, and the thick red curtain. It was the film.

It was called “mental”, and it was a documentary about patients being treated at an ambulant psychiatric clinic somewhere in Japan. They were shown with their deficiencies, but as fellow humans, some with sharp minds and witty, some trying to set goals for themselves and working on them. But all of them uttered the fear of being rejected by the “normal” world.

The film made me think about how poeple with mental illnesses are being treated here in Germany. People talk about going to their dentist, even their proctologist quite openly, but they don’t talk about going to their psychotherapist in fear of getting rejected by their colleagues at work, or even by members of their family.

So, one evening which was just meant to be a simple trip to the movies became much more: a provocation to reflect on the matter of mental illness…

The Old Lady

Just around the corner where I live there is a very nice Italian restaurant (well, actually it is owned by people from Palestine). A few days ago I went there to eat a pizza.

I sat there, waiting for my meal, when a very old lady was led in – she had a hunchback and difficulties to walk. She looked very fragile and was accompanied by her daughter and her son-in-law. I was as glad as she, when she safely sat down at the table.

And then she began to talk to her family – she told about the books she was reading, and the films she was watching on TV. Her body might have been shattered, amost crippled, but her mind was fully awake. It was a pleasure to listen to her.

Later I thought about why I had been surprised so much by her vivid mind. Obviously I had identified a broken body with a broken mind and was taught how wrong that is. Thank you, old unknown lady, for teaching me!

The Book is Dead, long Live the Book!

Ulla Hennig

Bookshelf. Photo: Ulla Hennig

This is one of my bookshelves. I am a lover of books, I like to hold them in my hand, to look at the cover, even to smell the paper.

With the arrival of the e-book, there is a discussion going on about whether the book as it is now will still be sold in a few years. Instead of trying to give a final answer to this question I describe in a few words how I will deal with the printed book and its electronic rival:

  • I read a lot of fiction in my free time at home. I don’t see me sitting there, with a blanket around me, having a cup of tea at my side, holding an e-book reader in my hands.
  • I read a lot of fiction in trains or other places not being my home. I’ve got the problem that I am a terribly fast reader – I am devouring books. That forces me to carry loads of books with me – either in my suitcase or backpack. I can imagine holding an e-book reader in my hands, with some twenty or so books in it.
  • I can also imagine having an e-book reader when I am commuting to work and back.

So for me, it’s both. I’d like to try one of those e-book readers, but I never will give up the old fashioned printed book!

A Song of Love and Hate

This song could be called a love song. It teaches me however, that love and hate often go together.

On the one hand it is a song about someone dating a girl and kissing her at the factory wall.

On the other hand it is a song of hate: “dirty old town” stands for one of the cities built in the early stage of the industrial age – dirty, ugly, and totally un-romantic. Something to “chop down” with a “sharp axe”.

Both emotions are expressed by the way instruments and voices go together – you can hear love and you can hear hate if you listen carefully.

This is a contribution to Robert Hruzheks “What I learned from …Love” Group Writing Project over at