Let‘s drink and be merry.

Rest and have lots of fluids, they say. Well, I had lots of’em. Fluids galore. I am soaked. Up to today, day three of my flu, I have had so many lemon flavoured doses of effervescent vitamin C from my Lalique tumblers, even Linus Pauling would have disapproved. Luckily, I had also just stocked up on tea, Mangalam, my very favourite plantation in Assam. I am about to empty those provisions in record time, tea gets cold so very quickly in a cup, especially when you fall asleep just after pouring it, you have to pour it all away, litres of the finest tea down the sewer, it’s a shame, it’s of no use to brew an entire pot, really, but when you don’t, rest assured, you will regret that, too, as you won’t fall asleep then, suddenly you’re wide awake and thirsty, and you’ll want more tea with episode 5 of Downton Abbey or whatever series your brain is trying to follow, you’ll need a fresh cup, too, maybe even a fresh pot, you’re already going through all your china as it is, out goes Royal Copenhagen, in comes Meissen, anyway, you get up again from your sickbed, you schlepp your aching bones into the kitchen to brew some more tea, this Mangalam plantation must really be a vast territory, and then empty an entire pot in 7 minutes 46 seconds. Those viruses are drunkards!

Stuff you need, stuff you don‘t.

I once bought these, these being knife rests, I got them at Aux Arts du Feu, my favourite shop in Zurich, they have everything that comes out of the fire, silver, crystal and porcelain, they still had them in stock, from a time when Royal Copenhagen still made fine porcelain, handpainted, handpainted in Denmark, that is, and not the dishwasher safe stuff they produce today, in Thailand, where work is cheap, cheap and deprived of a porcelain painter’s personal handwriting, anyway, I was thinking, with these knife rests my life would be finally perfect, for we all know, life without knife rests isn’t worth living, it shows so much finesse, so much refined taste, a real eye for detail, tablesetting at its most elegant, and what can I tell you, my life hasn’t changed at all, it still isn’t perfect, as a matter of fact, it’s still a mess as I haven’t used them yet, not once, and now, as there’s still time for new year’s resolutions, or not, as most of you have probably already thrown them overboard, but it just so happens I’m always late, at everything, but that’s actually another story, anyway, I wonder if a) I should start using them in 2018, or b) stop buying things nobody needs. I haven’t made my mind up yet.

Moving & Decorating Frenzy.

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So, I moved to Berlin. As a consequence, I found myself living with misplaced pieces of furniture and boxes, boxes, and boxes. Big boxes, small boxes, boxes containing other boxes, heavy boxes, really heavy boxes, and light boxes, boxes filled with books, lots of books, all of them to be alphabetised, I warn you, there are more authors with M than you might think, which you only realise when you’ve just successfully decorated the space between N and O, Neruda and O’Casey, and then you’re handed a box with more Mann, you had forgotten all about Thomas Mann’s letters, all of them, three big volumes, and hey, there is Golo Mann and Heinrich Mann and Klaus Mann, too, what did this family ever do besides writing, and if this wasn’t enough, all kinds of wrapped stuff was hindering my way to the bathroom, to the kitchen, to the front door, to the bedroom, to the washing machine, to the balcony and off the balcony, I was going mad. Really. It took a lot of soothing Niederegger Marzipan and Lenôtre cakes from KaDeWe, Berlin’s fanciest department store, to survive it. You see, little did I know that unpacking these boxes would cause even more chaos. What to do with all this stuff you strangely acquired over the years? Where to put it? And why do you have to dust things you’ve just unpacked? And why is there always more of it? More things, more dust. But somehow I managed. My kitchen cabinets were very welcoming. But mostly because my 75-year old mother helped me. She’s a great organiser. She would have made it big in the military, she would have been made general in a week or so. Now, she’s gone home, advising her gardeners on how to garden her garden. And I am living in an apartment that almost looks like one. Thanks, Mummy!

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Interiors.

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Some people have an inner child that they allow to, well, come out every once in a while and play, just to make sure they stay human, these guys are to be congratulated, for their wisdom, humanity and charm, I, however, whose inner child has never been locked up, whose emotional intelligence might be the one of Methuselah but whose behaviour is rather Calvinistic, and I’m referring to Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes here, not to that repressed guy from Geneva, what am I to do? You cannot let out what’s already out, can you? So I had to come up with an alternative: I let my inner interior designer out, and I pamper him well. I frolic through stores, buy bowls, vases and pitchers from Royal Copenhagen or Lalique, overpriced flowers from fancy stores, those way cheaper tulips from your grocer won’t do sometimes, fruit and cookies and other stuff that just has to be remotely decorative to give me a thrill and there I go, a new arrangement on my Regency table, I’m happy as a child, sorry, as an interior designer and ready to cope with life, business and deadlines.

An ode to Denmark.

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I love Denmark. I’ve been there only once, years ago, to Copenhagen, one of the nicest places on earth, but I consider myself half-Danish. It all started with an ad on the back cover of a magazine in the early 1990s, Royal Copenhagen had its Musselmalet pattern painted on the beautiful hand of a china painter, so that we’ll never forget that it’s handpainted. I was sold. First of all, I am quite prone to buying anything that calls itself royal, and this porcelain pattern, Chinoiserie at its best, created in 1775, was so beautiful that I just couldn’t resist, I bought my first pieces the very next day, and I’ve been completing it ever since, tureens for Christmas, tea pots, I smashed several, for birthdays, tea cups to cheer me up on low days, bowls to have another reason for dinner parties, I became quite good at being obsessed with it, I celebrated each new job with the purchase of a new breakfast plate, and as every single piece looks different, yes, it’s really handpainted, each china painter signs it with his initials, I still know which one is the DDB plate or whichever advertising agency led to the purchase. Moving to Zurich meant buying my Havas plate, and I had to look for a shop that sold Royal Copenhagen. Boy, was I lucky. Aux Arts du Feu, at the corner of Zurich’s famous Bahnhofstrasse, opposite Bulgari, made my heart skip several beats at a time, they had pieces in stock from the late 70s, with the old green mark, long before production was moved to Thailand, antiques so to speak although never used, Switzerland doesn’t seem to care about Danish design, God knows why, maybe because it was my destiny to discover that store, one of the first things I bought was this tea cup, Musselmalet in full lace, a re-design from the 1880s, even more ornate, Danish magnificence in extremis, tea still doesn’t taste better, but it definitely looks more splendid. So, whenever I eat or drink, I’m enthralled by Danish splendour and beauty. And when I watch Borgen, of course. Long live the Queen!

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