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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?

Shell Beach, California

We left San Francisco early in the morning and drove over the Golden Gate bridge in the mist and the rain. Almost immediately, we found ourselves winding along the coast, up and down, in and out. Within minutes, Charlie had been sick. We stopped the car, unpacked, got him and the rental car cleaned up, repacked, reloaded, and headed off again. And then he was sick again. And then again. And again. And (are you counting?) again. By this point, we’d run out of clean clothes, the car stank like the pit of Hades, and Amélie was threatening to be sick too. I’ll admit, inhaling vomit mist had me feeling a bit queazy too. But I distracted myself by fashioning a brilliant chunder-catcher by lining a shoe-box with foil and an open nappy. You laugh, but we had no more bags and it flippin’ worked. Do you know how I know? Because Charlie vomited again. Six times, people. SIX times. All before lunch. Which was fresh crab rolls for Han and me, a hot dog for Amélie, and an anti-emetic for Charlie. We stopped to eat – and to tumble out of the car gasping for fresh air – at Shell Beach. It was lovely. It made me think good things about the world.Charlie spent his entire time on the beach selecting pebbles and lining them up. A future Andy Goldsworthy, maybe? Or maybe just a future pebble collector. Meanwhile, Amélie practiced her death-stare, which she perfected into a more palatable “bored teenager” over the next few days.

17 June 2014 - 12:03 AM Angie - Uh oh, I am feeling renewed guilt now from my own childhood - me and my two younger brothers would projectile-vomit on any car journey further than 5 miles... I think that must be why all our cars had vinyl seats! Your landscape photos are wonderful - I can almost taste the salt air (which must have been such a sweet relief).

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