NB and I have traded letters and postcards since 2005. I always look forward to his correspondence and keep them, unopened, on the mantelpiece until I need a little pick-me-up. Last week I began a difficult reply to his latest, but this morning I finished it and folded the 5 sheets and the ephemera, found in a shoebox in Berlin, into an envelope and now it is in the flower press, forming a less wieldy shape, stamped and addressed, until tomorrow when I shall put it in a postbox. It was a difficult and sad letter to write and a week ago I wondered how I would fare. But time is a great healer and helper, too. And lots of stuff arrives in sleep. Not so much is given away in the excerpts below; the penultimate paragraphs (or sections would be a more proper description due to my lay out), but the words mean well and reminds me of a particular moment in time and it feels good to share.
‘(Palm Sunday) All’s quiet on Love Street.
The tiny pot that I mentioned at the top of this letter need not really have been involved in the plot – neither the piece of slate. But there they were alongside your unopened letter. They have their own lives, also. The pot has a lovely and satisfying bowl – a belly the size of a golf ball, rising to a tiny, pursed, goldfish mouth. It is clay; off-white and ochre in colour; glazed and turned, I hope and imagine, by some never known potter. I found it, nestled alongside other bits – some paperbacks, four candles (I kid you not), a wad of used monochrome postcards (bound in a thick rubber band) and some sheaves of ephemera – artsy leaflets, etc – in a shoe box on a doorstep in Kreuzberg, Berlin, late autumn 2019.
Perhaps it was the sight of this polite and neatly packed box left in the leafy red side street that drew my attention. It was discard, quite clearly, but had an elegance that attracted the magpie in me. There was no message written (even had there been, it would have defeated my scant German), but there was no need as the message was clear – please help yourself to any of these objects, they no longer serve purpose to me.
I crouched for less than a minute, deciding to pocket a small attractive pot as a neat souvenir of Kreuzberg. I also took a pamphlet that caught my eye and I include it here for you. It would make perhaps a cool bookmark or coffee table piece, should you ever get one. A gift from Berlin.
Take care my friend. We shall have to arrange a spot of lunch at the seaside should the war ever end; either here or in our beloved Brighton.
Ps:* Doctor & The Doodles…
it almost goes without saying, doesn’t it… almost: whatever happened to them?!
Chin chin x