When Cologne and Bad Neuanahr meet London

Because of my loyalist nature, I am proudly a British Airways girl. My flight path with BA should tell me how many miles I have spent on air.

I think it’s over a 200k equating to nearly 2 weeks on air. Actually if you add up other airlines flown, may be slightly more.

So with around God-knows-how-many air miles I have acquired having travelled to around 30 countries in my adult life, I thought I could use some of the mileage to fly to Germany. I was broke in October after lots of shopping for my brother’s wedding. You would think? 
BA was utterly ridiculous with the cost of flights to Cologne costing £400 return. 
The distance was also unspeakable as one had to fly via Berlin to Cologne. So a flight of around 70 minutes was going for 4hrs. What’s the sense in all of that, please? 
So I settle for German Wings (£100 return) and I have to admit this was one of the smoothest flights I had ever flown. The pilot was a smooth operator! It was the ‘German experience’ for me…
Anyway enough of all that crap…
We touched down 9.50am, few mins earlier than scheduled. 

As I walked passed border control in Koln/Bonn, Aunty Franca was there waiting for me. I ran to give her a gratitude hug for picking me up (and just having me) as she reciprocated with an almost maternal, befitting welcome hug. She asked me if all I had was a rock sac and I said yes and she shook her head and smiled. 

We walked to the parking lot and Melissa (Aunty Franca’s daughter) was waiting in the car. She drove.
Aunty Franca is mum’s childhood friend. They went to school together. I enjoyed seeing them together when she visited mum in London. It was mere satisfaction seeing them have so much girly time and fun. From going to a dinner party at the Houses of Parliament, to dressing up and making up, to making pizza, laughing and reminiscing about the good old times, they had a great time. I left my flat to them for Neil’s for the weekend. Mum tends to let her guard down with Aunty Franca and mum rarely lets her guard down. 

As we drove on the 59 and the A61 motorway via Cologne, and then via Bonn and into a very green Bad Neuanahr Ahrweiler, where the Gielers’ reside, I realized the rat race in London City needed to be re-evaluated. 
I love the city but I am indeed a country girl. I am my happiest in the country. 
Bad Neuanahr, home to vineyards on hills stretching miles across this country-side-town was refreshing to visit.
You could smell the fresh air. This beautiful, quiet village known for its world renowned spa services and annual wine festivals attracting international wine enthusiasts and business people from all over the world.
I had missed the wine festival by 3 weeks. But I got to see the homes of the village kings and queens who won the awards for ‘best wines’ 2016. 


How I love these sort of little unique wealth of local-specific discoveries in small towns in Europe. They fascinate me. 
We got home and I had some breakfast and fresh coffee and subsequently, a little snooze. Their home was perfect. The living room was like having sofas and a tele in a library. It was great, books from ceiling to floor. A section written by Melli’s dad, Wolfgang, the University Professor. It was all about books and shoes! Aunty Franca and her great looking son, design shoes. Did I mention, I fancy him (wink)
After my snooze, Melli and I head off for a drive to Cologne. 
In Cologne, Melli took me to see the Grand Gothic Cologne Cathedral with the twin spires, the one I have been dying to see forever. I have ‘a thing’ for European cathedrals. Spectacular church, one of the biggest in Europe. 13th C edifice and considered one of the most ambitious building projects of the Middle Ages. 

We went in to see the Ludwig Museum, it was predominantly an extension of Picasso’s works. I thought I had seen enough of Picasso this summer seeing as I dedicated a day to do the Musee de Picasso in Juan Les Pins. But I can’t have enough of Pablo anyway. He was and still is a legendary icon. He is art, personified. The artist whom my kids must study. We also saw the Roman German Museum. Almost unnoticed, I realise Melli and I tend to love the same things. 


Of course I had to see the top top Cologne attraction which reminded me of Paris’s Pont des Arts. The Hohenzollern Bridge, otherwise known as The Padlock Bridge. This was symbolic to Melli and I’s newly formed relationship of being sisters for life! 💗

The view overlooking the River Rhine and the sun set was beautiful, so I sneak in a picture, typical!

 

Mellisa framed that picture as a Christmas present to me. I loved it, it has a home now in my flat. 

After experiencing the picturesque settings of the central city, we head to the mall for some delicious currywurst and hot chocolate. Just to point out that those two were not had as a combination. We had some lovely white hot cocoa and Nutella peanut butter muffins in MacCafe before heading home. 

Cologne was freezing. It was October. I didn’t think I would like to visit in the winter. 

Bonn

My next full day in Bad Neuanahr was my highlight. For the culture-enthusiasts Melli and I are, we agreed to spice it up. 

We drove up to Bonn after breakfast. Melli being an ex-basketball player had hinted to me the day I arrived that we were going to see the games between Baskets Bonn (her local team) vs Walter Tigers Tubigen, another local team. The game would start at 6pm.

But not until she takes me to the Haus der Geschichte museum. It’s the House of History of Germany Museum. 

This museum (in my interpretation) is a university of studies of pre and post world war events. A modern and contemporary museum, almost a precise reflection of German’s history and one of the most popular museums in Western Europe. It’s a study of the history of former East Germany, the divide of Germany, the reign and death of Hitler and the history of its socio-economical and political landscapes. It’s a study of the Cold War, the Blitz, the effects on the left wing and the impact of history on modern Germany. The museum takes you through the effects of the WWs into modern state of affairs. From trade, immigration, (pop) culture, international relations, health and social welfare, and the country’s defense and military. It was epic.

An education.

I gave Melli a massive hug for bringing me here as the knowledge gained couldn’t ever be measured to doing something else in Bonn that day. Interestingly, she told me her dad lectures his students in this museum. I could see why. 


We watched the live game in Bonn not after having 2 portions of hot spicy Bratwursts and a coke! We cheered for Bonn (obviously!) The first half was a joke of a game and then in the 2nd half, the team upped their game and they smashed it. Bonn won! 💃🏿


Bad Neuanahr

We explored Bad Neuanahr on my last day in Germany. Melli took me into the old town to see the historic war towers, the grace associated with this quiet, chilled out spa town. 

We walked through the vineyards up the hills via the farmers’ vines and the grapes were just hanging out there, bursting in color, juicy and ripe and purple and I wondered what they tasted like before being turned into wine. But I had some locally made white wine with home made pizza that evening for dinner and it gave a sort of hinted taste to what the grapes’ flavors were. 


As we walked from the vineyards to Ahrtor -near the lake, through to the towns, we had some locally baked pastries and fresh coffee for breakfast in a the local cafe, before climbing through the towers where I learned, had a lot of war history.
I left Germany, saying goodbye to Melli and Aunty Franca for having me for the weekend. I most certainly missed them.
Fast forward 7 weeks later, my German sister visits me in London. The way I adored her country and cities and her town was precisely how she did mine. 

Melli loved London city. Though quite truly, she thinks it’s almost unnecessarily expensive and life here can be beautiful if you are a high earner and have a great quality of life and I totally agreed. 

She met some of my friends, my brother and Neil. She talked about potentially getting a job in Canary Wharf after her Masters. I told her to go for it. 

She is a smart intelligent young woman who is ambitious, cultured and well travelled. I think she will go places!!!
I took her to see some of the beautiful things that make London City great and historical.

We saw:

  • The Wallace collection 
  • Walked in Hyde Park
  • Walked through Green Park
  • To Buckingham Palace
  • Spent a day at the Victoria and Albert Museum and saw the 1950s fashion exhibition.
  • Rode the Emirates Cable Car
  • Walked through Westminster Bridge (at night) 
  • & Houses of Parliament/ Big Ben Tower
  • London Eye
  • Spent an afternoon in Serpentine Gallery and had afternoon tea at the gallery’s cafe called The Magazine.
  • Walked through St Christopher’s Place 
  • Shopped in Selfridges 
  • Walked via Oxford street
  • Shopped and ate in Westfield Stratford 
  • Walked through Tower Bridge
  • Shopped in Portobello Market
  • The Little Yellow Door (cafe) in Notting Hill
  • Saw the Shard
  • St Paul’s cathedral

And she went into her first British Pub in Blackfriars. But I knew she couldn’t avoid this, seeing that my partner is Scottish and we were out with him on Sunday. She also tried some mulled red wine which I suggested she would like. Melli was baptised! 

Next up, summer trip back to Cologne to see Melli and then a drive to Berlin. 

When Koln/Bonn meets London… 💗💗

Flaming June; the elusive piece 

Sunday afternoon, a bit nippy in London but indeed lovely sunny afternoon. Neil and I opt to go into Kensington to see the exhibition ‘Flaming June’ at the Leighton House Museum. 
We walked through Holland Park pathways revering in nature and fresh greenery. The park filled with a sense of London’s autumnal season of leaves falling and fallen. 

Entry for non-concessions is £12. Leighton House, quite a small museum (just the way I like it) was such a convenience to go through just under an hour. 

Lord Fredrick Leighton lived in this museum alone in the mid 1860s. He lived and worked in the house most of his life until his death in 1896. He was the son of a doctor, he had been brought up abroad, studied at the art institute in Frankfurt, Germany where his family had settled. 

The exhibition of flaming June was grouped as one of five of Lord Frederic Leighton’s iconic collections all loaned from private collections and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1. Lachrymae (New York)

2. The maid with the golden hair

3. Twixt Hope and Fear

4. Candida and 

5. Flaming June 

*********************

‘Flaming June’

One of the most famous and widely reproduced paintings of the Victorian era – Flaming June, a searingly colourful image of a beautiful young woman drugged into sleep by the simmering heat of midsummer – is currently on loan back to the London studio where it was created in 1895.

Remarkable history!

In the early 20th century, when Victorian art was already falling out of fashion, Samuel Courtauld, the millionaire collector and founder of the Courtauld Institute, called it “the most wonderful painting in existence”.

The story of how Andrew Lloyd Webber saw Flaming June by Lord Leighton in a store window in the 60’s is legendary.  

He loved the painting but did not have £50 to buy it. Can you imagine how heartbreaking it would be to find one of the finest of Victorian paintings for that price and not being able to afford it?  

He trusted his eye and his heart. He did not care that the critics at that time cared nothing for that sort of Victorian sentiment, rejecting it with derogatory terms if they were forced to comment on it at all. But, he knew what he liked and he wanted that painting! 

He went to his grandmother and asked her for the money to buy it but she wrote it off as kitsch and did not give him the money. 

Passing from one owner to the next as it was falling out of fashion, “Flaming June” at one point was boarded up behind the false panel of a chimney mantel in a house in Clapham Common on the outskirts of London. It disappeared for decades, until it was mysteriously rediscovered and resuscitated at a most unlikely time, in 1962 when Andy Warhol was painting Campbell soup cans, when Victorian art was stigmatized for being prudish and sentimental.

The founder of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Luis A. Ferré, would travel through Europe to buy works for the museum. When he saw “Flaming June” tucked away in a corner of the gallery of the art dealer Jeremy Stephen Maas, he immediately fell in love with the painting. He only had to pay 2,000 pounds ($8,000 today, factoring inflation) to acquire it.

The painting found its way and had returned to the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico where it was being looked after 

Depicting a sensual, sun- drenched, sleeping female figure wrapped in orange draperies against a Mediterranean backdrop, Neil and I stood to observe Flaming June being displayed in its entirety amongst other spectators beside the other works listed above by Leighton. 

In front of a shimmering sea on a high horizon line, an oleander flower lies on a classically inspired architectural parapet, looming over the woman’s head. Oleander is a poisonous flower, popularly written about by poets of the Victorian era. Leighton had a heart condition—angina pectoris—when he was painting “Flaming June.” Several art historians have suggested that the oleander indicates how Leighton was very much aware of his imminent death. Others have suggested it indicates the dangers of a man’s doomed infatuation with an unavailable woman or a femme fatale.

The discovery of these Leighton’s paintings places Flaming June back into its original home of birth, providing a compelling starting point for exploring its history. 

“Flaming June” is inviting and elusive, either fascinating or irritating, perhaps for the same reason.


As we walked out, Neil kissed my face thanking me for bringing him to the museum as he would never have known about it. But without adding that I am such an ‘arty-farty’ and indeed a ‘Flaming June’! And we both laughed hard and walked into the streets…

My love for this piece has nothing to do with the fact that I am June 😄

‘Flaming June’ was inspired by ‘a chance attitude of a weary model who had a peculiarly subtle figure.’

— Sir Frederic Leighton, artist (1830–1896)


Reference: Own observation, Huffpost, Epoch Times. 

Everything after midnight 

Friday after midnight 
I anticipated outright 
With you, I could bet 
Its never set

Burning rage 
Flaming groins 
Impelling passions 
I wake feeling almost oblivious of who I am 

The nudist in me, naked 
With traces of pre-cum 
Or was it cum?
Tattooed on my thighs
Wondering how intense sex was last night 

As you flipped me like a doll
Positions leading the rhythm 
Stop! I mutter
It gets wilder 
Stop!
It’s raging 
We flutter 

Our bodies warm
As my breasts stroke your deadbeat chest
My pussy leaking uncontrollably 
Your cock on fuck
My walls shaken by the thrusts 
Behind 
Beside 
By hand 
Your words of pleasure 
‘Oh shit’ as they echo quietly 
With deep insertions of penetrating jazz. 

It was 4.24
We staggered in drunk
Tongues and tongue 
Speaking in tongues 
5.30
My legs wrapped long around you
Almost in-prisoned by my want.

This sexual fuck
This cock as fuck
This fuck of all fucks
You, fuck!
Fuck, stop!
This epic fuck

A clumsiness of besieged orgasms 
We speak that common language 
A subdue of the climaxes To sustain ‘the’ climax
This depiction of mutual
intelligence 
To sustain the funnel of pleasure 

6.30
It’s kinda cliche’ 
Just do it
Because it’s horny as fuck
6.45
Because we had one, too many drinks
Can you explain this denial 
Sustain this inhibitions?

7.00
A derail of broken chemistry 
7.03
Restored from ‘feelings’ to fuck
7.10
You are officially my best fuck!
7.47
The door opens and shuts.
7.59
I am left with content
And the residue of your warmth 
After glow, under my white sheets.

9.05…

Saturday morning, I whip up the pancakes and some fresh coffee 
While in lieu of my next orgasm…

Yoga and the Jaguar

I was running rather late but determined to go to yoga class today. Had a long day at a Kings Fund conference which was great and one of the best I have been to in a long time but had to do some work between close and yoga. I got carried away. 
Being slightly disorganised these days. I realise I am late for class, as had 20 mins to get there and there was no way I would have made it on time using the tube. Naturally, I order an Uber. 

I am down waiting when a black, sleek Jaguar pulls up! 

“Errr, sorry, excuse me, need to check my app to make sure I didn’t order an uber executive/luxury job”!

He smiles as if to say I get this all the time. “It’s an Uber X Madam, hop in”.

I am suspicious! “Why are you using such a great ride for the public?” 

He says, why not? It gives my clients an opportunity to enjoy the same benefits as my family and friends. I love this car so why can’t I use it for work? 

So yes today I rode in a Jag to Yoga class from E10 to N5 for a tenner! My driver is Romanian and we talked about family values and his little business across Eastern and Mainland Europe and the U.K. 

I thanked him for making my first experience in a Jag via Uber. Ha!

Life has to be beautiful. It’s the little things! Anyway, I am glad Bea is back from her summer European yoga jaunts. It’s been two months and I have absolutely missed her and classes. But I got into TaiChi too over the summer which was one of my summer highlights.

As Bea would always say after classes and meditation, be grateful for the gift of class today.  

The beauty of Mr Jenkins 

Stay with me
The grass isn’t greener…
He bluffed 
I waited for my love to break
I am not sorry 
A new journey to life 
Flashes of his metallic grey eyes 
Thoughts of his slick fingers 
Flashes of his handsome features 
The tall man with the Levis 501s
I am not sorry that we went down that path 
I seek to unhide 
To unravel the hidden tensions 
I am not sorry
I am not sorry he walked into my life as he is.
That this piece of the world’s finest is smitten by me and me, him. 
That poetry brought us together 
That his one and two liners was the piece de resistance of the poetic nights 
That they made me laugh with joy
That my heart felt I could be drawn to him 
That I texted him 
That we went out and I kissed him
That we walked and got lost
But we found a way in our hearts 
A clamour of our affections
I am not sorry that something I love has brought me to a heart I love…