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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?


Charlie has rediscovered his hammer. A wooden one that he got for Christmas as part of a little toolbox. He rediscovered it and spent most of yesterday afternoon going round the flat banging things. After a couple of hours of this, I started pleading: “Charlie! Please stop!”. A couple of minutes of silence would follow, then… BANG BANG BANG! “Charlie!” – he’d look at me and smile, one of those smiles that renders a parent incapable of anger, then… BANG BANG BANG BANG! “Charlie, that’s the floor you’re hammering. It’s Sunday afternoon. Our neighbours are going to kill us!”… BANG BANG BANG! And then Amélie came in:

“You’re not playing Hitler, Charlie!”

Err… What? “Amélie, where have you heard about Hitler?”. “I don’t know”. Where has she heard about Hitler?! I asked Hanno (who is a bit of a history buff and loves explaining world events to Amélie) but no, he couldn’t remember telling her about Hitler. Somehow, though, she’s grabbed this piece of information and stored the name away in her brain under the heading “Bad People”. She does this a lot. Squirrelling away knowledge and then surprising us with it. And yes, we did then have to have a conversation about who Hitler was and the atrocities he was responsible for. We can now expect “genocide” to pop up in conversation at some point in the future.

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