Gerhart-Hauptmann-Haus

Gerhart Hauptmann (1862-1946) is another winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was a German novelist, poet and playwright; although he was born and died in what is now Poland. I visited his former summer house on the island of Hiddensee in June.

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The original gate entrance to Gerhard Hauptmann House and Garden

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The Waldhalle and Ancient Beech Forests

It’s interesting that just as I was about to write this post I read an article in the Weekend Financial Times entitled “Golden Sylva“. Basically, it’s about an architect in Germany using his own woodland to build his own low-energy house. The woodland has been owned by his family for centuries … “Frey is not alone in Germany with his love of woods. The citizens of Europe’s leading industrial economy are deeply attached to their trees. About 2 million people in a population of 80 million possess at least a patch of woodland, often no larger than a copse but nonetheless a personal treasure … in German culture, the tree is uniquely significant. As Hans-Peter Friedrich, a former agriculture minister, says : “You find woods in every German story”.”

The article goes on to explain what Mr Frey is doing and how he is going about the construction etc. but later it reverts back to the tree-related roots of Germany’s founding myth and the importance of woods in German art, music and literature.

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‘The Church with the Painted Roof’ : The Work of the Huntingfield Paintress

Earlier this year I read ‘The Huntingfield Paintress’ by Pamela Holmes following reading a review in Country Life magazine.

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Since very little is known about the family it’s a totally fictional account of the imagined life and real work of Mildred Holland the wife (and cousin) of the vicar of Huntingfield. It’s described here on the publisher’s website :

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Compton Village Circular Walk

Last August I visited Surrey on an Art Fund tour – Surrey Arts and Crafts. I only managed to write here about the afternoon we spent at the Landmark Trust property Goddards. But we did spend a whole day at Watts Gallery in Compton. The Artists’ Village is fascinating and includes an amazing amount of G F Watts and his wife Mary’s work.

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Lübeck : City of Nobel Prize Winners : Thomas Mann; Willy Brandt; Günter Grass

 

The excellent Buddenbrook Book Shop

Lübeck is proud to claim three Nobel Prize winners among its residents: Thomas Mann (1875-1955) Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929);  Willy Brandt (1913-1992) Nobel Peace Prize in 1971; and Günter Grass (born in Danzig in 1927 died Lübeck 2015) Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999. All three claim this Hanseatic city as their home. The writer Thomas Mann was born here and for the first 18 years of his life called this city on the river Trave his home. The politician Willy Brandt was also born in Lübeck and, similarly, spent his formative years in the Hanseatic city. The author Günter Grass moved to Lübeck at the age of 68 – to be, as he once stated, “closer” to Thomas Mann and Willy Brandt.

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The Adventures of Milady in Rügen with Elizabeth von Arnim

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On Wednesday I start this summer’s “Big Adventure”. In 2013 I spent a month working at a B&B in Switzerland and last year and the year before I took myself off to Ireland for 4 weeks and 3 weeks successively. This year I’ll be travelling in Germany, Denmark and Sweden visiting Lübeck, the Baltic islands of Rügen and Bornholm, walking the Osterlen Way before finally spending two nights in the Swedish university city of Lund. Originally I had hoped to travel quite independently by ferry and car but there are no longer passenger car ferry services between the north of England and northern Germany or Scandinavia. I think there is still a service to Amsterdam but that is as far north in Europe as you can get these days. So, to save precious time, I’m flying to Hamburg and back from Copenhagen.

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