HoL H2O soup of the day no wifi
6

Today I was in a tiny bakery in Brandenburg and laid a ten euro note on the counter. The bakery lady picked it up, her face spasming with disapproval, and shifted it 20cm south before dropping it in the special shallow plastic tray which is supposed to hold the money. Then she turned away to […]

HoL H2O lemon scheiben
6

I went to a new physiotherapist today for my injured hand, and experienced all the Germanness. Me and the therapist, who is 23, have to call each other Mrs So and So, Mrs So. Her first name is not vouchsafed on her nametag and the surname was very German and unfamiliar to me. I thought […]

HoL H2O mama berlin oranges

I came home after a long day, festooned with groceries. The bench on the subway platform was occupied by two girls and their shopping. I said, “Excuse me,” in German, and they said, “Excuse me,” in German, and cleared a space. Then one turned to the other and said, in flawless Brooklyn Privilege, “So I’m […]

HoL H2O salami baby jesus

I may or may not have been down to the markets today to visit the man who runs a wonderful salami stall; he offers salamii (that’s the plural) of goose, duck, venison, and pig. This man has taught me that the original salami were loaf-shaped, like baby cheeses, and the familiar linked sausage format is […]

hol-h2o-frischer-ingwertee

Late night walk through the freezing fog. “Like Blade Runner.” We turn down all the opportunities in the park to buy pot. Here is a street where all the houses are Fifties, which must have been a firebomb hell in the 1940s. I stand there picturing it. Smoke curls up from the narrow tin chimneys […]

hol-h2o-man-with-cart
2

Young, scruffy, insouciant Indian boy is walking by the greasy canal with his parents. Evidently he’s been showing them Berlin. Lifting his shapeless hand in a vague gesture towards the old, carved terraces he says: If I were ever rich – the slight rush of his r’s making it clear he quite expects this to […]

Hol H2O new york trump plaza

Some lines from a musical we are idly writing, online, a bunch of strangers, in response to one of the many memes celebrating the second candidate’s atrocity, which says: super callous fragile racist extra braggadocious Which I realise also works as: super callous fragile ego sexist braggadocious So far we have: ….his ideas and attitudes […]

HoL H2O green shadow brown dog
6

I spend a lot of time in this household running downstairs to close the door and just breathe. I duck out to coffee houses and get sane again. I spend time among the trees, or failing that, among the pot plants. This morning a friend of my father’s, a gracious fellow whom Dad first met […]

HoL H2O plate of abendbrot
13

My German sweetheart and I argue about my right to make up new words in his language. It’s not that he’s possessive about the tongue, it’s just reflexive conditioning, embedded in even the most free-thinking German: Das machen wir einfach nicht. Das machen wir einfach nicht is a gem I have preened and polished since […]

H2O HoL 1st mai felix
11

You know you’re in Germany when you can saunter into a department store carrying your dog on a leash. The dog accompanies you up the escalator, looking longingly across at the fluffy bunnies quivering in their mesh cages down in the pet department. When the dog starts barking and kicks up a fuss in the […]