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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?

Collecting

Blog every day in May, day 12: Are you a collector? Maybe a bit of a hoarder? Tell us about something you like to collect. Or if you favour minimalism, perhaps tell us why?

As far as I recall, I’ve only ever collected one thing. Consciously that is. I’ve accidentally collected many things (like books, for instance – see previous post). But there’s only ever been one thing that I’ve deliberately sought out, that I’ve got excited to find, and that I’ve then stored with care. I kept carefully compiling the collection for at least a decade. It would probably take you a while to guess what it was though. I don’t collect it anymore and threw it all away quite some years ago. It was the kind of collection you could throw away. No-one was going to pay me for it, not for the entire collection and certainly not for any individual examples. It had absolutely no value – save, perhaps, for being of some vague cultural interest I suppose. But not one you couldn’t document via far better means elsewhere. It would just have been fun to look through now, for me if not for anyone else. I don’t even know why I started it really. At the time, it must have represented some kind of aspiration, some kind of future dream. And I should say right now that it’s not an aspiration or a dream I’ve ever got even close to fulfilling (unless you count the nail polish). To me, at the time, it represented the epitome of sophistication and success. I was a very strange child. Other girls dreamt of being princesses wearing sparkly ball gowns. I dreamed of being a business woman dressed head to toe in Chanel. And so what I collected was Chanel adverts from glossy magazines. I had binders full of them. I would save up my pocket money and then go out and buy copies of Vogue just in the hope of finding a new one. I would raid my grandma’s magazine collection and even the doctor’s waiting room. I don’t really buy fashion magazines anymore, so I don’t know if they still do, but Chanel used to put out a whole series of adverts for each of their collections. There wouldn’t be just the one advert for mascara or foundation or eye-wear (though I’d collect them too), there would also be a whole run of individual ones for their pret-à-porter collections. And French and English magazines would have different ones too, so I could get a double whammy. Oh I remember the thrill of flicking through a magazine and suddenly spotting that distinctive lettering, the intertwined Cs… I even developed a whole routine for getting the adverts out intact. I knew which types of paper were more likely to tear than others and which magazines had easy-to-break spines. That’s why I favored Vogue: good thick paper and nice, crackable spines. Yep, like I said: complete weirdo. Anyway, here’s Han looking cute with a cat.

13 May 2013 - 10:26 PM ralph - I love this blogging project, I keep learning new and amazing things about you. Chanel adverts! HA. You are the greatest. :) Great photos of course - Hi Hanno!

14 May 2013 - 8:07 AM WSM - Miss D looking quite happy, especially as she's so high up, I expect. That's the thing about an ex-farm cat. If they are up high they are out of reach of the dogs! Not that we have any. But it's an excuse for human contact as well. Maybe she equates children with dogs ...?

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