Street Art in Thessaloniki

I visited Greece. We get to read a lot about Greece and the crisis these days. I’ve been there for a film festival. These were the souvenirs I brought home to you { Shoplifting and OrangesGreece in the Rain }.

Here’s some street art I found in Thessaloniki:

street art greece thessaloniki - girlstreet art greece thessalonikistreet art greece thessaloniki - birdstreet art thessaloniki - tiger stencilOh and there was some amazing poster, that I could not resist. I’m in love:

poster art wall art street art thessaloniki greece - drag

 

 

 

Tree Tall Teenagers, Easter Nests and Crochet Baby Shoes

A very good friend of mine will be father soon. He’s excited. I’m excited.

Despite the fact that my own kids are already hard approaching leaving-mama’s-nest time I developed in the last years an “oh my god so cute” appreciation for small children I never had or knew before from myself. Perhaps it’s not despite the fact my kids are no toddlers any more and left primary school long time ago, but because of the fact they are grown up quite a bit.

I remember one Easter morning a few years back, when I turned around to get some more tea and bread. I turned back and suddenly there was this male stranger standing at my coffee table. A man! I’d not seen before! In my house! At 9am! On Easter Sunday!

Few month back, on Christmas day, he’s been this cute little kid. All gone. Dark voice “Can I have some more orange juice – please?”. Beard. “Mama?!?” – smiling eyes. Yep. It’s my son.

Pretty impressive to watch how cells are multiplying simply long enough to make what’s than us.

For my soon-to-be-father friend, I made these baby socks. I find baby socks are always a great memory, for when you forgot how tiny the little one with shoe size 48 (US: 13) once was when you found him in the nest.

crochet baby shoes tutorial

Here’s how to make these crochet baby shoes:

Best use a very soft, not to thick yarn. I used pure merino. Many shops stock special “baby wool”. Make sure you can wash the yarn you chose. Pick a matching crochet hook.

You will need these stitches:

The links will lead you to Youtube tutorials of each stitch. Coz these baby booties are easy to make, even for beginners, so check the stitches out if you don’t know them and try!

crochet baby sock  tutorial

1. Work 6 hdc in magic circle. Join with ss. (You got 6 stitches in the circle.)
2. Ch. 1. Work 2 hdc in each hdc. Join with ss. (You got now 12 stitches in the circle.)
3. Ch 1. * work 2 hdc in your 1st hdc, 1 hdc in your next hdc. Repeat from the  * around. Join with ss. (You got now 18 stitches.)
4. Ch 1. * work 2 hdc in 1st hdc, 1 hdc in ea of next 2 hdc. Repeat from the * around. Join with ss. (There should be now 24 stitches in the circle.)
5. Ch 1. 1 hdc in each hdc around. Join with ss.
6. Ch 1. 1 hdc in each hdc around. Join with ss.
7. Ch 1. 1 hdc in each hdc around. Join with ss.
8. Ch 1. 1 hdc in each hdc around. Join with ss.
9. Ch 1. 1 hdc in each hdc around. Join with ss.
10. Ch 1. 1 hdc in each hdc around. Join with ss.

11. Lay your work flat. Ch 1. Turn, working in bottom 13 hdc, leaving top hdc unworked: 1 hdc in ea hdc. Ch 1. Turn. (You are starting now a little square bit on one side of the round shoe front you just worked from round 1. to 10. – your little square bit should have  13 stitches. this was your round 1 of the square bit.)
12. Repeat round 11. (Straight bit round 2)
13. Repeat round 11. (Straight bit round 3)
14. Repeat round 11.  (Straight bit round 4)
15. Repeat round 11.  (Straight bit round 5)
16. Repeat round 11.  (Straight bit round 6)
17. Repeat round 11.  (Straight bit round 7)

18. Fold bootie lengthwise, so that open corners of the square section just worked match up. ss down to connect and form heel. Fasten off.

19. Join the yarn at the corner between sides and toe section, with toe facing right, and heel facing left. Work 20 hdc evenly down the side, around the heel, and up the other side. Work 5 hdcdec across the top of the toe section. Join with ss.

20. Ch 1, * 1 fphdc in 1st hdc, 1 bphdc in next hdc. Repeat from the * around. Join with ss.
21. Repeat round 20. 6 times. Fasten off and weave in the ends.

For the tie: Ch 55. Weave in through base of fphdc in round 20.
I made a little chain for a button-hole as well. But it works more as decoration rather than to fasten the baby shoe later.

crochet baby booties tutorial

Happy Easter everyone! Hope your Easter nests will be filled with adorable things you love.

crochet baby booties tutorialcrochet red and blue baby shoes tutorial

English-Book-Strawberry-Trifle and Irena&dots

You probably can only get this excited about trifle and trifle-making when you did not grow up with it. And when the picture in your English book looks so appalling, that you think of trifle as some food another person has eaten before. – Repelling and unknown…it’s the adventure setup challenging every 12-year-old.

If you’re than one of the lucky few who actually get’s to taste it, coz a class mate brings it in just before the Easter break and if it’s than oh so miraculously good – well than: you’re hooked.

My younger one was so excited, he rang me in Thessaloniki to find out if we’d make trifle today-right-this-second, he googled about 800 different recipes to match the one in his Green Line English book – which was at his father’s place – he even went with me on a 3-hour shopping trip by bike! – A rare occasion, normally I get a “nein danke” when it’s grocery-shopping-shifting-bags-home time. – He even promised me 3000 clicks when I’d write about making trifle.

So this weekend, trifle time it was!

Trifle with Black Cherry Jelly - food photography by Sanne KurzWe improvised based on the 800 recipes he googled.
We chose as main ingredients the things laughing at us begging “take me” during our grocery tour and the memories, he had of his last English lesson.
Here is how we did it.
It’s delicious:

  • 1 pack vanilla custard powder for 500 ml (about one pint) milk
  • the milk mentioned above for the custard powder
  • we used 2 tablespoon more sugar than mentioned on our vanilla custard pack
  • 1 pack black cherry jelly (we used jelly powder)
  • water to prepare the jelly
  • 200ml sweet cream, which we whipped until stiff (6.7oz or 0.42 pint)
  • 1 large pack of shortbread or butter biscuits, we used the classic German Leibniz-Butter-Keks – the cookies you choose to use should be fairly dry
  • strawberries (the season just started in Spain…)
  • banana
  • chocolate Leibniz biscuit or other decoration

Vanilla Strawberry Trifle - Food Photography Sanne Kurz

  1. Prepare the jelly. Let it cool down and set it in the fridge to stiffen. 
  2. Prepare the vanilla custard, we added 1 tbsp sugar extra, oh, and: we let the custard burn a bit…not sure if that contributed to the amazing trifle taste…
  3. Whip the cream until very stiff.
  4. Cut the fruits.
  5. Crumble the biscuits in to a large glass device. The bottom layer can be a bit thicker. It works as foundation.
  6. Pour the vanilla custard on the crumbs. We did that when the custard was still hot. It soaked beautifully in to the first biscuit layer.
  7. Sprinkle the strawberry bits on the vanilla custard. Add the banana pieces. Our fruits were cut fairly fine. My son and I were debating if there should be an equal amount of banana and strawberry or not. I prefer a little banana and a lot of strawberry. And since I’m writing this post…use less banana than strawberry!
  8. Whipped cream goes on top of the fruits sunk in to the vanilla custard.
  9. Repeat the layers: biscuit crumbs, fruits, whipped cream as often as you like and your bowl permits you.
  10. Finish with whipped cream.
  11. Scoop out nice bits from the cold jelly to decorate the top.
  12. Add other decoration ad libitum.

Trifle Seite 63 Green Line -  Sanne Kurz

We had the trifle in the fridge over night. That way, all the flavours could come together really nicely and the biscuits got beautifully soaked, smooth and yummy, just like a rich cake. Thanks for the idea and making this with me! – Oh, and: I’ll better get the 3000 clicks you promised me!

Roses and Trifle - Sanne Kurz

The roses in the foreground I got for 8th of March, the International Women’s Day. I only learned about this day after the German reunification – our crèche kindergarteners from the former GDR celebrated it. Flowers for 8th of March is what happens when you find yourself an Eastern European male family member. One of the benefits of these types of husbands: flowers on International Women’s Day.

In fact: not only men give flowers to women. A great lady, whose blog I love to read and who’s images I love to look at is Irena from Irena&dots. She gave flowers to the ladies on 8th of March! Irena is located very central in Europe. She’s blogging from a country, that used to be “East” when we still had an iron curtain dividing our continent. “East” = manners = flowers for International Women’s Day for all the ladies!

On March the 8th Irena nominated me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award. These awards work like a chain-letter. They engage you in to a lovely afternoon of reading, exploring new blogs, getting new ideas and a bunch of inspiration and meeting new people and their worlds online. – So: Thank you Irena for nominating me and making me part of this! Here’s my list of what I read and recommend a.k.a. my “nominees for the Super Sweet Blogging Award”:

  1. Irena&dots – I know the people who nominated you are not supposed to be here, but for me it’s a list of reading recommendations rather than a list of people I nominate. Visit Irena for wonderful images that come together with vegetarian and non vegetarian versions of one recipe. Small little texts just enough to read over a coffee give great extra inspiration. – No, she does not pay me to write this.
  2. Nr.11 – I met Nr.11 via Irena&dots. Great, inspiring visuals, English kitchen baking, seasonal cooking, food for a small budget, but still delicious and amazing.
  3. Rockfarmer – Food and environment posts. I tried making her excellent fruit scrap vinegar. it was a big success. All recipes are usually gluten-free and dairy product free.
  4. Breakfasts @Components – Each second Sunday the creative platform Components takes us out to visit photographers, bloggers, artists and have breakfast with them. I love the “Breakfast with…” series and can only recommend! Absolutely my favorite breakfast spot since {365} Breakfasts moved from daily posting to archive only. Recipes only when the interviewed people add them!
  5. Lottie+Doof – When I got there first, I read all through the blog for two days. Very creative, well written food blog with great images.
  6. Hungry Foodies Pharmacy – Pharmacist by day and chef at night. Grown up in a restaurant and finished uni with a doctorate degree. Gluten free&vegan and roast pork&BBQ. I’m not a frequent reader, but love to stop by.
  7. Frugal Feeding – Call me efficient, call me frugal, call me stingy – here I find many things I find inspiring in an economical use of resources…and everything on this page is delicious looking and tempting to read about…coz we wanna be resourceful but we don’t wanna give up daily pleasures, do we?
  8. Things {We} Make – I tried many things from this blog, all my experiments were real winners. Love their brioche!
  9. Liz&Jewels – Two friends from Münster/Germany and New York City/USA who used to live in one city together and now are cooking together across the ocean. 1 recipe / 1 story and 2 results / 2 amazing images. Definitely a read!
  10. Valentinas Kochbuch – Cooking book reviews. Amazing. In German… but reviewing English language books here and there! They do not only review books, but are also cooking recipes from these books, interviewing cooks, writers and photographers… this page is definitely worth heading over for to Goole Translate!
  11. Birds like Cake – This German language blog can be accessed via the”In English Please” Button on the page. Stunning images, mouth-watering recipes, great little stories. Gotta follow this!
  12. Zimt Zucker  und Liebe – German language blog. To read it use the “In English please!” Button right on the page. – The best pear Tarte Tatin I ever saw! A must follow.
  13. Missboulette – Korean and non Korean food, Kimchi goodness or should I say goddess?! Written by a German/Korean in…German.   …what a selfish list-maker I am!

Super Sweet Questions:

1. Cookies or Cake?     
Definitely cookies  a n d  cakes. 

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate eves, vanilla days.

3. What is your favorite sweet treat?
The first raspberries, strawberries and cherries in the garden each year.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?
When having a tea with lots of milk in the evening getting ready for bed.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?
Suggestions please in  the comments below…  

 {Last not least the rules of the Super Sweet Blogging Award: *1 Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you. *2 Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back. *3 Answer the “Super Sweet” questions. *4 Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” ~ 13 ~ blogs, link to their pages in your post, and notify them on their sites. *5 Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.}

Trifle recipe Photo on 2013-03-25 at 09.19

 

Orange Wonder – Polenta Cupcakes

Gluten Free Cupcakes

I’m not a food writer, not a cook and as a cinematographer not even vaguely able to tax-deduct cook books. So each time, I really urgently need a cook book, I creep around the shelf with the book for hours. Ah, what am I saying: I sneak around the shop with the book for weeks! Check it on the net for months! – Until I finally snap it in an instant like a tiger its prey.

Last week I did hunt down Yvette van Boven’s Homemade. Finally!

She’s one of the most inspirational writers in the vast field of cooking books, I love the way she picks you up where ever you are, adore how she inspires beginners and cooking buffs, amateurs and pros. I lover her little drawings, the images are a pure delight to look at and you feel the air of Amsterdam, Paris and London oozing out of each and every page, almost like you’re walking there on a mild sunny day in spring.

The first thing I tried, was the Orange Polenta Tarte.Orange Polenta Muffins

Which I turned in to Orange Polenta Cupcakes. – I could not resist. Or would you call it Orange Polenta Muffins?! Anyway:
An Orange Polenta Delight!

Juicy and fresh and creamy and sweet. Full of flavor and looking so lovely, you want to have them every day!

Orange Cupcakes

Orange Polenta Delights

(inspired by the Orange-Polenta-Tarte from Homemade by Yvette van Boven – makes 12 cupcakes)

for the dough
2 organic oranges
juice of one lemon
100g / 3.5 oz / 0.5 cups polenta
1 tea-spoon baking soda
1 table-spoon vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
100g /  3.5 oz / 1 cup ground almond or almond meal
6 eggs
250g / 8.8 oz /  1 cup (caster) sugar
I added crushed cardamom seeds and cinnamon in the dough

for the topping
3 oranges
2 leaves of leaf gelatine
200ml / 7 oz / 1 cup apricot or other yellow sweet jam

Let the two organic oranges simmer with peel complete and in one bit in a generous amount of water for one hour. Let them sit to cool down completely afterwards.

In a food processor or with a hand blender, grind the oranges together with the lemon juice until you got a smooth puree. Add the polenta, the baking soda and the vanilla extract or vanilla sugar as well as the spices. – I used freshly crushed cardamom seeds and a pinch of cinnamon. Rum might also go well with this dough as a seasoning. I made it for a kids birthday…so no rum for us. But try and let me know what you used and how it turned out.

Preheat the oven on 180° Celsius / 350° Farenheit.

Last not least, add the almond meal. Blend well together. I had to add a bit of liquid at this stage. I used the cooking liquid from the oranges. This way, my dough started to be a bit smoother and softer and less stiff. I added perhaps 3 table spoons of liquid.

Beat the eggs with the sugar until you got a nice foam. Carefully spoon the orange-polenta mass in to the sugar-egg-foam and fold it in, until you got a consistent, nice, even dough.

Line a muffin baking dish for 12 muffins with paper or multi-use silicone cupcake or muffin liners. Add the dough in all 12 liners. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, depending if you prefer it a bit more smooth or rather crisp. I had them 27 minutes in the oven.

Prepare the oranges for the topping: Cut bottom and top from all three oranges. Put the orange on its little cut off bottom side and slice the side peel of all around the orange, so that all the white skin under the peel is gone. Discard the peel (here‘s a great idea what to do with all those citrus fruit peels), collect the juice. Slice the oranges to get nice, thin discs.

After the little cakes have baked and cooled off a bit, take them out of the baking dish and decorate them with the orange discs.

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water. Heat up the jam. If the jam has large fruit junks, pass it through a sieve. Press all water from the gelatine. Add the gelatine leaves to the hot jam and stir. Within not more than 30 seconds the gelatine will dissolve and you make the glazing by spooning the warm jam-gelatine mass over the muffins and orange discs.

Let sit before serving for the orange-jam frosting to coagulate and harden a bit.

Orange Polenta Delight Gluten Free Muffins

Happy.

It ties you to the bed with fever and self-pity at first, plenty of bedside-stuck chores in the middle and headaches and hope in the end. no, I’m not pregnant. I’ve just been sick, the common flu, nothing much.

But being a sometimes impatient person, days and days of what feels like never-ending misery – it does – suck  – so – much.

Some great things happened during these weeks however. Things you’d never expect and I found utterly surprising:

green and red plants at windowOne

Forced by headaches to stop watching or listening to anything, writhing in boredom (yes and the already mentioned self-pity), I started after 30 years of abstinence to crochet again! No, I’m not a 60+ granny who did do a lot of needle work when being 30…I’d been forced at primary school to do some crafting. And I hated it. Coz it was flimsy and fine work and my fine motor skills screamed for hammering and sawing rather than for needles and hooks. Coz it was slow and endless and my results always crooked and full of holes rather than rich, fleshy, shiny and straight like good German needlework should be. Coz we use the most stupid terms for the different stitches in German that made completely no sense to me (and still make no sense to me). Coz it was utterly useless making silly dolls when the boys were allowed to make cool shelfs. And: Yes! Coz only the girls had to do it and the boys could indulge in cool woodwork stuff. Last not least we got marks on it. Being else a good student with not much effort to e made, in handcrafts I was a complete failure. Did I mention that a more democratic self-determined education would have changed that back than?! Anyway: I did it! Thanks to the English language and the very easy to access terms of  “single/double/treble” stitch (no little batons, no tight stitch like in German…), thanks to Youtube tutorials and Wikipedia: I can do it! I can read patterns, do textures like basket weave pattern and raspberry stitch, invent stuff, make things. And it’s very easy indeed. crochet in raspberry stitchteapot cozy with raspberry stitch and shell edgingTwo weeks of learning – et voilà!

Two

Yes, the second thing I found very surprising is: I’m healthy again! Funny how we tend to forget over and over again that things keep changing when we’re down, no? “Bad days are numbered” as my friend Tom says. If we’d only always knew how far we’ll have to count to reach to the end.

Now the sun is shining on a snow-covered Munich. On Sunday I’m invited for breakfast. My friends from Components host a Sunday guest post that comes with a coffee and I’m part of it. Yeah. Go check it out here. I can’t wait to go outside and be in the world.

mistel toe on vintage winter window

stat from cardboard on winter window

 

A Place to Share and Explore Europe’s Cultural Heritage: Europeana

They could not resist to put “economic growth” in the end of this video. As if economic growth was the excuse we needed to create writing, images, sounds. As if painters, photographers, architects, poets, filmmakers, musicians and designers of all kind ever thought “Let’s do it! It will create economic growth!” As if we would not have started to guess already in the 70ies, that there must be something like  The Limits of Growth, as if we would not have realized and often felt in our very own lives, our very own families, that economic growth does not guarantee prosperity and personal progress. And: do we need progress at all?

Progress reminds me Tino Sehgal and his installation in the MoMa, where me and my beyond 80 and below 40 friend walked up the rotunda being engaged in an intense discourse about progress. The people guiding and debating with us were folks from age 6 to 90. Seghal had placed them carefully, so you did not know what was waiting for you. In the end, up at the top, we, as well as our senses and minds, were immersed in progress of all sorts, shapes, forms and philosophies. We looked back with wide open eyes at all the wanderers, walkers and chatters making their way up towards us. The talks formed a loud whisper and we lost track of who is part of the  installation and who is a visiting guest, just like us.

This is the amazing thing Europeana can do for all  of us:

Just like I did at the top of the MoMa, we can stand in a living, lively swirl of culture. History can rise, we can dive in to virtually anything that ever has been created in Europe. We can not only see, hear and access it, we can also tie knots between things and find links we did not even know existed. Most exciting about digitized cultural heritage is not the sheer facts however, most exciting are the stories behind each and everything it holds.

An endless picture book telling eventually the stories of the people behind the culture. People like you, like me, like all of us. A memory that can be explored like a gigantic attic, full of adventures and things to discover and learn. This is what makes Europeana strong, unique and a place to be.

It’s a logical step to reach out and collect things which did not make their way in to Europe’s museums and archives yet. People in the shadow of history, men and women on the street, long before street photography has been invented. Europeana 1914-1918 asked individuals and families to come and share their stories, show their memories and memorabilia from 1914-1918. A “World War One Family History Roadshow” to collect the voice and memory from the people on the street is travelling all across Europe.

Being German, I am tormented for good reasons with WWII history from kindergarten on. We know all about it, we’re all deeply sorry, we’re all at least vaguely interested. You’re German? – WWII history it is, you can not get out of it, you want a German passport? You got to learn about it in a course. So I’m sort fo a WWII expert by birth. – And I got still a profoundly different impression, when I travelled to find the owners of some old toy-set of china porcelain, which my family acquired in 1936 from a Jewish family leaving Mannheim. I spoke to a lot of women. Women mainly far beyond their 80th birthday. Many stories made me cry, some gave me hope, some made me belief in humanity. It was my very first own direct and personal encounter with the Holocaust, the pogrom night in Germany in 1938 and the people who used to live just down the road, 70 years back.

I admire Europeana’s will, effort and urge to digitize for Europeana 1914-1918 European family memory of World War One and shed light in to the shadows of history. Here, you can read some of the stories they collected so far.

My grandparents, the ones I knew, born in 1902 and 1916, both died of cancer when I was a teenager. The other two died when I was a toddler. I remember an image of my grandmother holding my father as a young baby. She must have been around 30-something. She looked very young and very much from today. This image felt very close to me and my life. I wish I could have a conversation with her over a cup of tea and listen to her stories.

As a cinematographer, I work often with people who are in need for original materials, archival footage or old images. Europeana is a search engine which makes it easy to access the cultural heritage of Europe. Europeana lists and links Europe’s archives, museums and collections. Europeana is available in all European languages, even Maltese and Catalan. A very powerful and efficient search form allows you to do a very specific research, for example search only materials under a creative commons licence. This is an incredible useful tool for documentary film makers as well as for researches for screen writing. You can find there

  • Images – paintings, drawings, maps, photos and pictures of museum objects
  • Texts – books, newspapers, letters, diaries and archival papers
  • Sounds – music and spoken word from cylinders, tapes, discs and radio broadcasts
  • Videos – films, newsreels and TV broadcasts
  • 3D models of architecture and historic sites

They are also running a lovely Blog, with stories from within all these collections. Hope you enjoy.

Golden October Apple Pies or Why I Hate to Leave My House at Six.

“Why do musicians get up at 6?” – “Coz the shops are closing at 7!”  – ok, German humour, you got me. And: I’m not a musician anyway. But man, I hate getting up at 6. 6 in the morning that is. But most of all, I hate leaving the house at 6.

When I got to leave the house at 6am, rushing to the airport, leaving my warm bed behind, I hate my job. My kids are rubbing their eyes to tired to say good bye, the bags to carry downstairs were less many and less heavy last night, when I packed, and the coffe boils to slow to be ready in time. I will have to make this one a Starbucks morning. – I hate leaving the house at 6am.

Today, I got to leave only at 6:30! Joy. It does give me some time to think about a lovely weekend, golden October days and the apple pie we made from the windfall apples my friend Margarete brought me.

I take

  • 300g full grain wheat flour, pour it in a bowl, put than
  • 125g sugar in the middle, add
  • 1 egg on top of the sugar
  • 200g ice cold butter go in bits as tiny as possible on the flour around sugar and egg.

Than I knead and, once ready, put the dough wrapped in something letting it not drie out fridge. Meantime, I peel and cut

  • about 1kg apples, Boskop are great or any other sour apple. When the apples are to sweet, I add the juice of
  • 1 lemon. I also love
  • lemon zest
  • a tiny bit of nutmeg and
  • cinnamon on my cake. Most people take
  • raisins as well and some add a little
  • rhum

 

Now 30 minutes should be over. I take the dough out of the fridge, squish it wit my hands flat in a baking dish (flat, large) and keep some dough to decorate the top later. To avoid the bottom getting all soggy, I add

  • breadcrumbs
  • on top of the dough. Speread them, pour the left overs not sticking to the bottom out. Apples on top of breadcrumbed dough, left over dough on top of apples.
  • Milk and
  • 1 beaten egg

on top of the decoration does all the magic. Off in the oven you go, 50-55 minutes, 180 degrees Celsius in the preheated oven. Non-metric values and Farenheit to follow tonight, I gotta run leave the house!! – Fell free to do the service and add non-metric and Farenheit in the comments! Thanks! Bye!

 

Done. Now: Sleep.

Sun has set and night is falling in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Some of us are still stuck in the endless traffic jams paralyzing the city from dawn till dusk. Some were lucky to find into a deep calm and soothing ease…

And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now. Hush, the babies are sleeping, the farmers, the fishers, the tradesmen and pensioners, cobbler, schoolteacher, postman and publican, the undertaker and the fancy woman, drunkard, dressmaker, preacher, policeman, the webfoot cocklewomen and the tidy wives. Young girls lie bedded soft or glide in their dreams, with rings and trousseaux, bridesmaided by glow-worms down the aisles of the organplaying wood. The boys are dreaming wicked or of the bucking ranches of the night and the jollyrogered sea. […]

Mongolia indeed is lacking a navy.

You can hear the dew falling, and the hushed town breathing. Only your eyes are unclosed to see the black and folded town fast, and slow, asleep. And you alone can hear the invisible starfall, the darkest-before-dawn minutely dewgrazed stir of the black, dab-filled sea where the Arethusa, the Curlew and the Skylark, Zanzibar, Rhiannon, the Rover, the Cormorant, and the Star of Wales tilt and ride.

Listen. It is night moving in the streets. […] Listen. It is night in the chill, squat chapel, hymning in bonnet and brooch and bombazine black, butterfly choker and bootlace bow, coughing like nannygoats, suckling mintoes, fortywinking hallelujah; night in the four-ale, quiet as a domino. […] It is to-night in Donkey Street, trotting silent, with seaweed on its hooves, along the cockled cobbles, past curtained fernpot, text and trinket, harmonium, holy dresser, watercolours done by hand, china dog and rosy tin teacaddy. It is night neddying among the snuggeries of babies.

Look. It is night, dumbly, royally winding though the Coronation cherry trees; going through the graveyard of Bethesda with winds gloved and folded, and dew doffed; tumbling by the Sailors Arms.

Time passes. Listen. Time passes. – Come closer now.

Only you can hear the houses sleeping in the streets in the slow deep salt and silent black, bandaged night. Only you can see in the blinded bedrooms, the combs and petticoats over the chairs, the jugs and basins, the glasses of teeth, Thou Shalt Not on the wall, and the yellowing, dickybird-watching pictures of the dead. Only you can hear and see, behind the eyes of the sleepers, the movements and countries and mazes and colours and dismays and rainbows and tunes and wishes and flight and fall and despairs and big seas of their dreams.

From where you are, you can hear their dreams. […]

The queen bee is sleeping. And the French woman. Go and listen to their dreams:

Quoted text “Under Milk Wood: A Play for Voices” by Dylan Thomas. US:  ISBN-10: 0811202097 / ISBN-13: 978-0811202091 by on amazon here. Europe:  ISBN-10: 3150092485 / ISBN-13: 978-3150092484 buy on amazon here.

Images by Hanna Mayser. For prints, lovely emails or job offers you can get in touch via hanna.mayser [ad] googlemail.com or simply give her a buzz: +49 179 108 6381.

 

China vs. Mongolia

In China… the land you build your house on falls after 70 years back to the government.
In Mongolia… the Mongolian Navy does not carry white sea bags.

In China… you got to dump your car after 8 years or 200.000km of driving it.
In Mongolia… you got to make sure to always carry 400 DIY sand-bags to fill up yourself when shooting a movie.

In China… you might encounter the cutest man of Asia. He’s 95 and looks like 102.
In Mongolia… you’ll definitely meet the cutest man of Central Asia. He’s got a smile like a Goliath Tiger Fish, but a heart as wide as the planet.

I like it here, I like it there. I wanna come back with my family.
But most of all, I wanna go home.

Read more about a DPs Chinese adventures here: Shanghai, the Pyjamas and the Curious ElderlyShanghai MorningsA Golden Holiday in Shanghai

Find out more about our Mongolian film adventures here: Mongolian MorningsAfter Hours in Mongolia (my favorite, as it features authentic Chinese/Mongolian Thermos Poetry), Come Back, JackFilmmaking in Mongolia

 

Shanghai, the Pyjamas and the Curious Elderly

China is facing an even bigger challenge dealing with its elderly than the US, who promised and entire generation of baby-boomers healthcare when retired and now does not know how to cover it. In China, however,  years of one-child-policy lead to a population pyramid heavy on top and slim at the bottom. The world’s saying thanks to the Chinese government for trying to not make our little planet even faster even more over populated. – But the planet of course does not want to help and fix the problems that stem from decades of an enforced one-child-policy.

“How many siblings do you have?” is being one of the first chit-chatter questions in every “We-just-met-and-get-to-know-each-other” small talk elsewhere. In Shanghai though I had to bite my tongue several times to not ask this silly question and look in to surprised Chinese faces looking at with something easily to decipher as “The silly stranger does not know we don’t do siblings here”.

Funny enough Shanghai seems despite of the Chinese one-child-policy full of kids. I encountered much more children around than let’s say back home in Munich, where we got more cars and even more dogs than kids. Still: the vast growing number of elderly in China does take its space. They are reaching out in to public space, wait patiently at 6:30am at the gates of local parks to open, stroll on streets, sit on benches and enjoy lakes, shade and sun. So many mainly happy elderly people – it makes me wonder where the 70+ ers are at home in Europe. Locked up? Anxious at home sitting solitary on the couch? In front of computer-screens enjoying unblocked German Internet and Skyping with their Grandkids in Munich or Berlin? – Or simply toughened from fitness club and tennis court visits, with dyed hair and not to identify as “elderly”? – Hm. I’m not sure.

In Shanghai, ladies and gentlemen with shiny silver hair and wise faces flow down park alleyways, play music and cards, sing Beijing Opera, exercise taijiquan, t’ai chi ch’uan, qigong and all these other in the morning sun amazing looking things with weird names hard to pronounce for the astonished foreigner.

Famously in Shanghai many older people are wearing pyjamas on the street after sunset. I even saw some heads in sleeping hats floating around. People older than yourself are a fun species in China.

When you cross their paths and interrupt their circles, be it for a film shoot or when taking pictures, they come humming around you. Silently surrounding you, perhaps starting to speak Chinese to you from behind  like little elves talking elvish. You turn around to the crowd that gathered behind your back, they are so cute, you want to take them home.

See here: A couple going out in PJs on the right of the top pic, the most dodgy DIT place on this planet to be seen in the middle, a fake and a real lady at the very bottom.

Read more about a Kamerafrau‘s Chinese adventures here: China vs. MongoliaShanghai MorningsA Golden Holiday in Shanghai