Frankfurt Tales of Winter and Spring.

I was born here, well, not exactly here, the back entry of the Alte Oper, Frankfurt’s old opera house, but a little up the street, to the right, at the Bürgerhospital in Frankfurt’s Westend, my playground was Holzhausenpark, the former park of the Holzhausen estate, now open for public, now meaning since 1913, just an eighth of the original extent, a tiny leftover, rather Parc Monceau than Central Park, the Holzhausens, like all patricians of the 1800s, the Astors, Vanderbilts and such, have lost their fortune, and their male heirs, all that remains is their moated Wasserschlösschen, a little water castle from 1729, replacing the old castle from the middle ages, I always wanted to own one alike, a pond surrounding one’s house always seemed so appealing to me as a child, jumping in after breakfast in summer, skating on it in winter, but when I look at it now, it has lost most of its appeal, if I were to pick housing today, I’d choose Neuschwanstein, so wonderfully aloof, but that’s another story, anyway, winter doesn’t do anything for Frankfurt, it’s just cold and grey, one has to flee to a gallery, luckily, the Städel has one of my favourite paintings on display, August Macke’s still life of his children’s toys, here at least, in the rooms with the collection’s French impressionists, you can find some spring, it’s not real, just a mirage, but still, it’s properly done, in oils so vivid you can forget about that winter called spring outside.

A Shropshire lad in Paris.

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At the bottom of my heart, I am a Shropshire lad. Though never having been to Shropshire, I think this status of a man describes best the mind of someone who gets excited about nature in spring, about daffodils and crocuses, lilacs and violets, and who is going “Oh, look, a bumble bee!”, when he sees one cruising on Avenue Montaigne, totally forgetting about shouting out “Oh, look, there’s Inès de la Fressange!” first – or worse – at all.
Where ever I went in Paris this late March, there were little squares, backyards, museums and parks, filled with proof of spring that made me do just that, forget about all the things I came to see in the first place, but then again, how could I not get distracted? After all, I am a Shropshire lad.

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