Posts Tagged ‘united kingdom’
The Guardian‘s Johanna Kamradt reports about a new trend in intra-European migration.
The building that houses Agora, tucked away in a small side-street in residential Neukölln, in an old lock-making factory, is easy to ignore.
Outside a handful of people in their late twenties and early thirties are milling about, smoking, working on their MacBook Airs, chatting. On the short walk from the front gate to the front door snippets of three different conversations in English can be heard. Inside is a sea of laptops on desks, with workers fuelled by cortados, flat whites and a daily changing menu, written in English; a woman with a strong German accent orders a coffee in English, because the woman behind the counter doesn’t speak German.
Dani Berg manages Agora’s “food platform” (which includes pop-ups and “performance series”), as well as the cafe. She moved to Berlin just over a year ago, after spending a decade in London.
“The first time I visited Berlin was eight years ago. People told us not to come to the district I now work and live in, Neukölln, as it was considered to be dangerous, and it wasn’t even in the guidebooks or anything. Now it’s filled with tourists and expats.”
Her decision to leave London was mainly a financial one. “I was working seven days a week and paying £800 for a shared flat in Lewisham. We kept moving further and further into south-east London, until I felt I needed to leave entirely. I’m part of a big exodus; I know many people who have moved from east London to south-east London and then to Berlin. The New Cross to Neukölln Express.”
[. . .]
Berliners are noticing how rapidly the city is growing and changing, and how much rents are increasing (despite a recent price cap). Berlin is now the third most visited city in Europe, having surpassed Rome, with only London and Paris ahead of it; many of these visitors are deciding to stay for good. With 45,000 new inhabitants in 2014, Berlin’s population is now more than 3.5 million, marking the 10th year in a row that the city has grown by a similar amount. In 2013 an estimated 10,000 Brits were living in Berlin – this number increased by 35% within a year, rising to just under 13,500 as of November 2014.
Spacing Toronto’s Adam Bunch tells the story of how John Simcoe came to grief over the matter of horse shit in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars.
Woodbury Common is high in the gorgeous green hills of Devon. It’s just a few kilometers from the Simcoes’ summer home in the seaside town of Budleigh Salterton. And it’s not too far from their country estate in the Blackdown Hills, either. It’s a beautiful place: gently rolling hills covered with flowers, shrubs and short grass. It’s typical heathland; in fact, if you look up “heath” on Wikipedia, the first photo you’ll see is a photo of Woodbury Common. It’s one of England’s official Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
At the very highest point on the Common, you’ll find a patch of trees. They’re growing on the remains of massive earthworks. The big ditches are what’s left of the ancient Woodbury Castle: an Iron Age hill fort built in the days of the druids; it’s more than two thousand years old. From the lands around the castle, you can see for miles and miles in every direction — all the way back down to the sea. It’s the perfect spot for a military base. In fact, the British army still trains there to this day.
And so about two hundred years ago, you could find thousands of Simcoe’s troops camping on Woodbury Common as they awaited Napoleon’s arrival — and with those camping men came hundreds of horses.
That, finally, bring us to the horse shit.
With all those horses trotting around, there was, of course, plenty of dung on Woodbury Common. And the question of who was ultimately responsible for it — Simcoe’s troops or the local land owner — sparked a fight that nearly ended in a duel. But not for the reason you might think.
The principal owner of the lands around Woodbury Common was a man by the name of Lord Rolle. History would eventually remember him as the man who tripped during Queen Victoria’s coronation and rolled down the steps to the throne. He and Simcoe didn’t get along at all. Rolle was pretty pissed off by the inconvenience caused by all the men camping on the Common. And he was even more pissed off by the fact that they were cleaning up after themselves. Simcoe was making sure that all the horse shit was being collected and taken away. Rolle was furious. He wanted that horse shit for himself. It was valuable manure.