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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?

New Toy

I have a new toy. A new camera in fact. She is very lovely and very clever. And she was so expensive she made me cry. No really. I had been saving for her for two years but it still hurts when all that money leaves your account. And the guilt of spending it all on… well, yeah, a toy. It was too much. I burst into tears. I inherited to ability to spend money from my mother and the inability to feel good about it from my father. Such a gift… But as my beautiful friend Erin says: I did work hard to be able to afford this camera and I will use her. A lot. To capture my children discovering their world. To hound my children and to record their every misdeed *evil laugh*. So here are my efforts from this weekend. Can you tell these pictures were taken with an obscenely expensive camera? The answer to that question, by the way, is “yes”. Otherwise I might have to cry again.

Left: Amélie decided she wanted a tie so she could be smart. We spent most of yesterday trawling charity shops to find one that wasn’t too long for her. We eventually found one at the Oxfam shop on Rue des Chartreux. I’d never been in there before but we will be going back. We also found a gorgeous scarf for me Amélie me for just 3 Euros (that’s the kind of shopping I like since the camera happened to my savings). Below: Charlie and his shiny eyes (untouched in post-processing because this camera’s ability to get tack-sharp focus exactly where you want it, even at 1.4, is that incredible).

There would be more pictures… This morning was one of those perfect spring mornings so we decided to go to the botanical gardens. Of course, I took my camera, hungry to try her in the wild. We got there and Charlie ran off into the dew-soaked grass, flowering magnolia to one side, mother geese and their goslings to the other. I crouched down, camera in hand, composed my shot, pressed the shutter release and… *BEEP* – no memory card! DOH! So I was forced to enjoy my children instead of chasing them with a camera for once. Oh well, there are worse fates.

I keep on wanting to do photographic still lifes but don’t really know how. These two last pictures are just me playing at that. Top: some lovely sweet red peppers from the farmer’s market on Place Ste Catherine. Bottom: as we were walking home after our successful tie purchase, Amélie decided she wanted to do a treasure hunt. Remember Erin from the top of this post? She went on a treasure hunt with her daughter this week. Unfortunately, we didn’t end up with wares as pretty as hers. We ended up with this. Nuts and bolts and rusty coins. Or ancient pirate gold, depending on how you look at it.

25 March 2012 - 9:19 PM amanda - Sooo excited for you!!! You totally deserve and will use it and love it so worth every cent. Can't wait to squeeze your babies. Sadly mine won't be with me Wed. :(

26 March 2012 - 9:58 AM Cass - Thank you lovely Amanda. You are partly to blame for this, you know? With all your "full frame is so great! You will love it! Go oooon... Do it!". It's all your fault. Or maybe I'm just trying to pass on the guild ;-b Also, BOOO! re. Marlon. Amélie had been counting down the days until she would see him. But at least we still get to see you. YEY!

29 March 2012 - 9:48 PM Angie - Oh, I'm not jealous at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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