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Hamburg 2020

Die Elbphilharmonie


Schönes Stickup

Museum für Kunst & Gewerbe


Advertising the exhibition

What is beauty

André’s 3D Kunst



Kisso Fisch

KaDeWe Champagner

Die Weltbummler

Wer ist dieser Typ?

Three proper Charlies

Fluoreszenz Frisuren

Auf die Größe kommt es an

Cedric und das geschlagene Ei!

Hilfe! Wir sind zu viel.

Ein richtig schräger Typ.

Mama Mia!

Was gibt’s heute zum Abendbrot?

Der Würfelmeister

Wer ist jetzt dran?

Spiegelspaß in der Odenwaldstrasse

SPD Kunst

Der Profi bei der Arbeit.

Die Familie kommt mir irgendwie bekannt vor…

Die Leute sind größer hier im Norden.

Three boys in Berlin

The people’s parliament.

Wo ist bloß das Bahnticket?

Yolanda the Wooden Yoga Queen




Fitness is a big deal in Berlin with fitness centres popping up everywhere like mushrooms. However, you don’t have to become a member of one of these joints to stay fit as Yolanda the Yoga Queen can show us.

Yolanda is a moving example of the ancient art of wooden Yoga. Yolanda’s wooden Yoga skills are so advanced that she has mastered the technically very demanding eyebrow twitch, even accomplishing the plait swing with simultaneous neck stretch first recorded aeons ago in the darkest depths of the forests surrounding Berlin.

As a master of her craft, she is entitled to wear the Navy blue initiate’s frock, with its matching conical headpiece.


A friend gave me an A4 card with a figure to be cut out called “Gymnastics with Sister Adelheid”. You can see it halfway down the page  I had a lot of fun making this and when you lift Adelheid’s substantial body up and down, her arms wave down and up in a most fetching manner!

Adelheid was created by Martin Graf who is a brilliant artist with a great sense of humour. His web site is in German, but the images and animated GIFs speak for themselves, so it’s a great source of inspiration.

So what’s the brief?

The nurse who looked after me as a 10 year old was called Yolanda and I loved her dearly. She also rhymes nicely with Yoga, so that was that. I also decided to change the movement so that when Yolanda’s body is pressed down, her arms go up. Trendy girls in Berlin favour long hair at the moment, so I thought that long plaits would be nice for her and maybe they could move up and down too. While considering how to do this I thought well let’s move her eyebrows as well.

The body, arms & legs

I used three sheets of 6 mm plywood sandwiched together for the body in an almost triangular shape. For the arms I used 2 mm plywood with carved limewood hands and shoes. The legs are 6 mm beech dowel with 1.6 mm metal rod to move the arms. In the middle piece of the 3-layer sandwich there are slots in the plywood to accommodate the legs and the springs which push them down. This middle piece has an angled top on which the arms rest. Three small polyamide washers help the arms to move freely and I cut grooves in the outer pieces of the sandwich to provide space for the bent metal rods to move up and down.

To move the arms

This arrangement means that when you push down on the body, the leg springs compress and the metal rods move up into the body thus lifting the arms. As each leg has its own spring, you can choose to place one foot onto a raised platform leaving the other foot floating free in the air. If you then push down on the body only one arm will be lifted. As the ruff is fixed to the body, you can also push down on the ruff.

The head

I cut a beechwood egg into two halves as the basis for Yolanda’s head, I chose a smaller egg for her nose, two hemispheres for her eyes and a cone for her hat. I used 2 mm plywood for her plaits and carved a limewood ruff to hold her 6 mm dowel neck.

From left to right. Front of head with holes for eye axes. back of head, 2 pieces of padding and 2 plaits. 2 eyes at bottom on different length rods.

To understand how things move, here is a partial assembly, showing just one plait which is pivoted on the metal rod on which Yolanda’s right eye (and eyebrow) is fixed on the outside.

As the metal rod from the neck moves up and down it moves the plait up and down. The plait is fixed with epoxy resin adhesive to its axis rod, so this rod turns as the plait is moved. The eye on the outside is also fixed to the axis rod, so it also turns as the plait is moved. Here’s a short video showing the movements

The plaits overlap so I added padding on each half of the egg to keep the plaits properly offset and to fill what would otherwise be an ugly gap. This padding means that one eye needs a metal axis rod which is longer by the thickness of the padding. A plastic washer beneath each plait keeps it moving freely.

To move the plaits & eyebrows

The ruff is glued to the top of the body and the neck is glued to the ruff. The neck can move within the head thus moving the brass rod up and down. I chose not to use a spring here so that friction can hold the head on the neck in any position that you choose. To lift Yolanda’s plaits you have to pull her head upwards, “stretching” her neck. To lower the plaits you press her head down. Her hat is a good place to hold because your fingers are then clear of her eyebrows. As each plait lift its metal rod turns, rotating Yolanda’s eyes.

Her eyebrows are glued to the tops of her eyes and move with them. As her plaits lift her eyebrows tilt and Yolanda seems to frown. As her plaits go down, her eyebrows relax and Yolanda appears calmer. You don’t really notice that her eyes are rotating, her eyebrows grab your attention and give her this variable expression. Once you have set her expression you can then use the ruff to press the body down and lift her arms, without changing her expression. If you choose, you can press down using her hat, in which case her expression will first relax and then she will lift her arms.

If that’s all a bit complicated to understand, there is a video of Yolanda in action here which should help.

As a well brought up young lady Yolanda takes care to use white cotton ribbons to keep her plaits tidy, which of course match her snow white ruff and socks.

Sometimes Yolanda gets a bit cross. Well it’s only human isn’t it?



Das Geheimnis der Fische

In 7th Heaven

The idea

What does it take to make us happy? How do we get to seventh heaven or even up onto cloud nine?

It’s really the small things in life which count and seeing my wife enjoying a swing in the garden outside a mountain restaurant in the Alps I thought that  would be a great start. Originally, I planned to put the swing in a bird cage but then I thought “who’s happy being caged in?” So I decided to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar, trala and use clouds to swing on instead. There was recently an exhibition in Berlin about hippies and psychedelia, so I decided that a strange bird will sit on my swing, with a psychedelic Mohican haircut, a strange bird who really knows how to enjoy life. To keep him company, I added some heavenly birds who might even be storks just back from delivering their latest load of babies.

Pure happiness

The basic mechanism

I decided to use a crank to turn a small wheel, which then causes a larger wheel to first turn one way and then back the other way.

The basic mechanism. The small central wheel is turned by the crank on the outside of the partition. This causes the big wheel at the left to rock back and forth. Note the black plastic strips in the slot to reduce the friction. These are cut down tie-wraps.

There is a video showing the mechanism working

For an extravagant visual impression, I chose a golden (brass) chain to provide the drive to the top axle. This is screwed to the big wheel beneath the base to transmit the motion to the top of the swing, where it is also screwed in place.

The wheel to make the swing rock back & forth and to pull the strings which operate the birds.

The same wheel at the top which makes the swing rock also pulls the four strings to make the four birds rise up. Strategically placed screw eyes guide the four strings to the four birds.

A string threaded through an eyelet pulls the brass rod up which lifts the bird’s body, the lead weight pulls it down again.

The swinging man

The swinging man has to really enjoy his swing as he is in 7th heaven, so moving forwards he leans back and pulls his legs up with his mouth open laughing. Right at the back, ready for his next swing, he sits up straight with his mouth closed and his legs hanging down.

Like a puppet, he has strings on his legs and a string on his chest. These strings are permanently tied to the framework. As the swing moves forward the strings tighten to pull his legs up, As the swing moves back the string tightens to pull his upper body erect on the seat. Gravity closes and opens his mouth.

His hands are permanently glued to the rods and his thighs are glued to the seat so that his body and lower legs can move freely.



The separate parts of the head and the carved ruff for our fashion-conscious swinger

The head assembled onto the body. Cutting a curved smile into a beechwood egg requires the egg to be held very firmly in a clamp.

One limewood leg, hinged at the knee on a 3 mm dowel.

The arms hinged with screws and plastic washers and the hands which hold the rods of the swing.

The birds

There is a video which shows how the birds move

The wings are hinged to the body using screw eyelets and a piece of bent brass rod. The neck is a piece of white cord which flexes nicely as the body moves relative to the head. My harshest critic, a four year old neighbour asked me why the birds don’t move around in a circle although they are flapping their wings. She is quite right of course and a slightly more complex mechanism would have made that possible. I will tie a knot in my hankie to have a go at revolving birds at some future time.

The heavenly supporting frame

The framework is reminiscent of a Roman temple. The fluted columns are pieces of dowel with round chiselled grooves.

Everything is of course floating on clouds and I chose columns as in an ancient Roman temple to support an ethereally round top. Giant golden hands firmly grasp the ends of the axle for the swing. It is all made of wood, but a lick of gold paint gives things that certain sheen which we would expect in our Seventh Heaven.

The driving wheel was cut with a bowsaw and the groove in its edge was simply chiselled out. Drilling round cutouts supports the impression of a metal wheel when the gold paint is added. The hands could move at first, until trial and error revealed the best position for them to be glued.

The hands were first modelled in plastercine. The hole for the dowel was drilled first and only then was the final shape carved.

Lessons learned

It was fun making this but, as always, I was much wiser at the end than I was at the beginning. Initially I was very casual about the dimensioning of the moving parts and had to beef things up a lot when I noticed my mistake. After some strengthening, the mechanism works, although turning the crank requires a very uneven amount of force depending upon its angle of rotation. The finished item is quite large and the birds are easier to see than the “main” figure on the swing. Of course the columns and round roof are required to support the top axle but they do obscure our psychedelic hero enjoying one of life’s simple pleasures, which is a pity. Maybe a simpler inverted V-shape frame would have been better, without our feathered friends fluttering away up above. I still like it anyway!

Here is a video showing the finished item –

Kim’s koffee table



About €170 for small car for 2 weeks.

Les calanches de Piana porto korsika unesco

7 Feb

06:25 Berlin (Tegel) AF 1135 to Paris (CDG) arrive 08:15
15:55 Paris (Orly) AF4468 to Calvi, arrive 16:25


Calvi Hotel Marina booked for 1 night

Calvi beach 6 km


Corte tourisme walks
1 h 20 m from Calvi
Restonica Trail?


1 h 34 m from Corte
Sentier des Douaniers

21 Feb

Drive from Cassano to Bastia airport (Googlemaps link) takes at least 1 hour 50 minutes.

14:15 Bastia AF4460 to Paris (Orly), arrive 15:50
20:40 Paris (CDG) to Berlin (Tegel), arrive 22:25


29 September Travel






260 km 3h 5 m von Kabishof nach München


28 September – Teddy comes for a walk





For our 2 favourite girls in Berlin.

Music for this walk

Hey Teddy, do you want to come for a walk?

Which way, which way?

Wow, what’s that?

Apples! Just lying on the grass!

Found me, found me.

Where is Teddy?

Just my size and I love the colour.

Hey! I‘m hungry too.

Mmmm. Cheese roll.

What‘s that?

It’s very pretty.

Gerhild found me a necklace under a mushroom. Maybe it’s magic?

Peek a boo.

Bet you can‘t see me!

Huh. There‘s nothing under this mushroom.

This way home.


27 September – Early start in Teis






Breakfast with some Kamut rolls.

Ancient Tyrolean fence-making craft.



What is Gerhild taking a picture of?

Vilnößtal, what else.

26 September – Dusler Alm






On the way to Dusler Alm.

Just cast in bronze and sell for a fortune!

Why do we climb mountains?


A rare find – Boris Johnsonus Idioticus.


25 September – 3 churches again






Nice clouds this morning.

How do you like Vilnößtal?.


Popped into St. Peter’s church for a quick peek, having listened to its bells every 15 minutes since we’ve been here, and vainly tried to read the clock in its tower.

Kim finished reading his first ever Stephen King novel. It‘s a bit strange with invented „horror“ creatures as the author can invent the rules as he goes along. Not exactly a Sherlock Holmes story where things have a logic to them.
Gerhild finished „The little shop on the corner“ and she liked it a lot – just the right thing for a holiday.

24 September – Halsl the other way around







Two good to be true?



23 September – Rainy reading day





Leisurely morning walk around St. Peter.

Hey, where are the mountains?

Hey, where’s the church?

Our books.

When the rain cleared.

22 September – St Magdalena






Today was the day when the cows come home in St. Magdalena.

21 September – Halslhütte






1860 m to start from the Halshütte carpark. What a glorious day!

Walk up through the magical woods.

There‘s something magic here. What can you see?




Fresh fish at about 1800 m on the Rungtscher Wiesen. Looks really delish that fish!

An unflutterable owl.

No idea what it is but it‘s interesting.

As one does, we discussed the art painted on a stone here with a passing couple and the woman said it reminded her of one of Tony Hillerman‘s stories about the Navajo tribal police. Having never heard of him, I will borrow one from the American library in Berlin.


Can you believe it, Gerhild ate this work of art and it was quite delicious too.

20 September – Lazy day in St. Peter







Breakfast on the balcony.

Little constitutional walk around the village.


Shopping for some local goodies in Pizak.

Recipe for Vinschgauer bread (Gerhild‘s favourite)

19 September – Teis






Teis is at the end of our valley, Villnößtal.

This small chapel is bizarrely surrounded by concrete trenches built during the 1st world war, with a bunker underneath.

The tiny chapel shows Mary with the 7 swords symbolising her 7 sorrows.

Our pocket sword comes in handy to harvest some nice parasol mushrooms and cut off the woody bits.

They shrink amazingly when cooked.

Gerhild used her stick to carry the bag full of mushrooms. Stock und Hut, steht ihr gut …

18 September – Zanser Alm







St. Peter‘s while we had breakfast on the balcony today

Off to Zanser Alm today with a huge car park, but plenty of space for the visitors.

For Baron von Münchhausen fans there‘s even a cannonball to swing on.


The Geisler range

Time for a rest.

17 September – 3 churches, Peter, Valentin & Jakob




Time follows its own rules in South Tyrol. This was when we started our walk today as shown on St. Peter‘s clocktower.

This plain little church in St. Valentin was started in 1090. (webpage)

So this toothy chap might be getting on for 1000 years old.

In 1945 Brazilian bombers just missed the church and the farmer‘s house next door, so the survivors expressed their thanks by setting up two (hopefully) empty bombshells in front of a small shrine.

And here‘s the third church, in St. Jakob.

16 September – The Panorama walk





Twins recently joined the family, a boy and a girl.

Today we walked the „Panorama“ path. I wonder why they called it that?

A bit steep for Gerhild‘s first day.

Farm gate politics. That‘s a snake at the left.

When the sun goes down, the moon takes its turn.

15 September Travel

See everything on one long page here, or choose a day.

St. Peter, dem Hauptort des Villnösstal






260 km 3h 5 m von München nach Kabishof

Agriturismo Kabishof

Villnöß Brillenschaf Video

The view from the east balcony.

The view from the south balcony. Gerhild just hanging out.

Caputh Kunst 2019

Tony Cragg Skulpturenpark

Rüdesheim Sunday


Rüdesheim Samstag


Location- the old Asbach Uralt distillery.






Street Automata in Nantes

Street Automata in France

“La Voyage à Nantes” is a regular summer event designed to promote the currently not very well known city of Nantes, which in 2019 took place from 6th July to 1st Sept. It is very simply organised around a long green line painted on the floor which leads visitors through the streets, passing both temporary and permanent artworks, including the amazing giant elephant which David Soulsby described in the January 2019 edition of the magazine.

The green line also leads you through the rue du Maréchal Joffre. This small, trendy French street includes a baker, hairdresser, bookshop, burger joint, which is no surprise, but if you look up a little you will find that things are on the move. Over the hairdresser’s shop, there is a barber with that curious critical pose which is so typical of his trade, all the while his scissors snipping incessantly. In the base with its transparent cover, a giant comb moves back and forth. Over the vintage clothes shop a woman keeps trying on the same red and white spotted dress, the gearwheels of indecision spinning beneath her feet. All along the street there are a good dozen of these creations, which can be seen during the annual event held in France’s 6th largest city, Nantes which is near to the Atlantic coast and the Bay of Biscay.

The automata were designed by Nantes-based English artist & illustrator Gavin Pryke. He is quoted as saying “I like the idea of making an interactive work that appeals to children and their grandparents alike.” Implementation of the full size automata started in December 2014 with a team of 8 people involved in their production and installation. Installed above shops and restaurants they are quite large so that they can be easily seen and enjoyed from across the street. The bases are reminiscent of the bases of table top automata where turning a handle visibly puts cogs and levers in motion. In rue du Maréchal Joffre the real mechanisms are concealed and the bases have a transparent front revealing mechanisms which are part of the show but do not actually make things move. It’s a hard life as an outdoor automaton, so they are only installed for the duration of the Voyage à Nantes event during July and August. At night the wooden performers are allowed to rest, to get ready for their next action-packed day. After the event they are taken down and moved indoors for some tender loving care to make them fit and ready for the next year.

There is a short film of the street’s automata in action here

Download images of the automata from here

Nantes Sunday 21 July off home

12:45 Fly back to Schönefeld
Nantes Atlantique Airport, 44346 Bouguenais

Nantes 20 July la nuit Bretonne




Last trip to the Jardin des Plantes. Found some funny text about the pots in the garden

…on our way to  LA NUIT BRETONNE – CONCERTS ET FEST-NOZ in the chateau

Starting with an Irish band, the Four Winds

Ending up with traditional Breton dancing on a huge wooden dance floor.


Nantes 19 July Jules Verne walk




We walked to the Jules Verne museum today.

Cup of tea anyone?

To encourage people to read at the library, provide some comfy outdoor seating

and wheel the books out to the readers! Believe it or not, Gerhild is reading, in German, about the “Vegetable Orchestra” found in the book truck.

Writer’s block in stone

How to liven up the marking for the pedestrian part of the path next to the Loire.

Great carved trees in the Quai des Plantes.

Old school skateboarder without a battery.