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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?

London (Part 2) – March 2013

We went to the British museum. It has a beautiful glass ceiling of which I got zero decent shots. OK. Glad we got that out of the way before anyone got too excited. It also looks pretty impressive from the outside. Unfortunately, four squillion tourists (ourselves included) kinda ruin any sense of majestic grandeur. So the best I could do was to point my camera to the skies (where fortunately, thanks to our failure to develop jet-packs as a routine mode of transport, there were fewer visible tourists) and snap only the very top tip of the building.We spent quite a bit of time inside, viewing dead Egyptians, pills, artfully chipped at lumps of stone and stolen marbles. Or, to be more precise: more tourists. So yes, here’s the thing: as I’m getting older, I’m also developing quite the case of claustrophobia. I love museums. I do. And I love that they are all free in London. But holy mother of crazy crowds, it also means there is absolutely no filter. The place was jam-flippin-packed. I wanted to scream and run out into the fresh air (also known as the outside tourist congregation area). And I probably would have done, save for the fact, that all those dead Egyptians and bits of rock made Amélie smile like this:   That there is a proper smile. I usually tell her not to smile for my pictures because I hate that dead-eyed grin that anyone asked to smile for the camera ends up with. If I really want her to smile, I usually tell her not to smile then tell her poo jokes. But then I don’t really get a proper smile either. I get a scrunched-up laughing face. This though, this is a genuine “I’ve just spent an hour looking at centuries old mummies” smile. My daughter is a freak. No doubt something she inherited from her can-answer-all-the-Trivial-Pursuit-questions father.The above two pictures are misleading. Why? Because you can see the floor. And I’m pretty sure you couldn’t see the floor for the crowds at any point during our visit. Which probably just goes to show the extent to which fear can distort reality. Actually, to be honest, the Elgin Marbles room (on the right) wasn’t too bad. Which is weird since they have to be some of the more famous (or perhaps notorious) of the museums possessions. Also, that picture is a little less sharp because it was hand-held. For the one of the right, I was able to rest my camera on a ledge which gave me a bit of stability (and a nice view of the cake stand. Mmm… Cakes).Egyptian head and Easter Island head. Both with the bottom half of the rooms chopped off the avoid all the people with their iPhones. Also, Han has decided he wants to own this particular Easter Island sculpture. All donations to his crazy fund welcome.More of the stolen marbles in their lovely big spacious room. And one of those pesky tourists with their iPhones. Oh no, wait, that’s Amélie with my iPod. By the way, Charlie was with us but there are no pictures of him because he literally did not stop running. Fun in an enormous and overcrowded museum full of ancient and irreplaceable relics. And by “fun”, I mean “terrifying”. And finally, oh yes, Amélie showing off her new toothy gap at the train station, and admiring the pill exhibit – which was actually quite cool: a long long table, the length of the room, covered in a mass of prettily displayed colourful pills, representing the average number of pills a human being consumes in their life time. Scary. Although I hope to come in way below average since I hate taking pills* just about as much as I hate over-crowded spaces (*nothing against pills as such, just don’t like admitting to being ill and/or needing help).

25 April 2013 - 1:22 AM Teresa - The movement photos are RAD! Well done. :)

25 April 2013 - 8:25 AM WSM - Tell Hanno that he's got to get his Island first ... the sculptures can follow! Now you understand why I go to London, museums and exhibitions on my own a lot of the time ... so much simpler to slip between the tourists and not have to keep an eye on vagrant companions (your father?).

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