We share this house and garden with loads of other creatures. I think the house (and garden) belong to us, but sometimes I’m not sure – such as the time we were summoned out of bed in the morning by an angry pheasant rapping on the French door with his beak as it was gone 7am and Horst hadn’t yet put out fresh food.

One of my greatest delights in these Corona months is the moment in the afternoon when I unzip the cover of our Strandkorb. Inside it’s already warm, and there’s a slight smell of camping. I put out the footstool, arrange the cushions and climb into my little world. Years ago, Student M told us about how she loved her Strandkorb, how when she sat in there and looked out, her view framed by the wicker sides and the top scalloping, she felt as if she were sitting safely in a pram. And that’s how it feels to me too.

There’s no English word for ‘Strandkorb’.

In Rostock in the spring of 1882 Elfriede von Maltzahn, who suffered terribly from rheumatism, paid a visit to the Imperial Basket maker Wilhelm Bartelmann. Elfriede loved to sit on the beach near the Baltic Sea, and wanted a special chair made of basketweave, which would be a comfortable place to sit, protected from the wind. Other beach visitors who saw the chair wanted one too, and so the Strandkorb was born.

Bartelmann’s wife had the idea that people would prefer to hire a Strandkorb than buy it, and thus the first Strandkorb rental operation was started in Warnemünde. There he built the first Strandkorb for two persons, with side tables, footrests – the features I so love today. In 1897 his employee Johann Falck invented the mechanism to tilt the rear part of the seat backwards – to lie, wind-protected, in the sun – and by 1900 there were six further rental stations along the Baltic coast.

Being British, I always thought they were a Bit Strange. I gave in and bought us one three years ago and oh how I love it.

My German Strandkorb

We started by feeding birds,

And then our animal portfolio just sort of expanded and grew. Of course we spoil them rotten.

Another 25kg of Peanuts arrive for the squirrels.

I can’t sit there comfortably without knowing that all the creatures we share the garden with are comfortable too. It’s important for us that our animal friends have places of their own too, the latest – a drey for Winfried and Sybille or maybe sporty newcomer Fabian is at the top of this page.

Insect hotel
Hedgehog house

East, West, home’s best – and how lucky I am to have a husband who turns out to be an excellent house builder!

The Cabin Fever Part





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