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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?

The Atomium

I have a confession: I hated editing these pictures. I just couldn’t get them right. I don’t like the colors (they’re either too blue or not blue enough. And the yellows are icky and sicky). None of them look straight. And they just don’t reflect how magical the Atomium looked in person that evening. It makes me feel grumpy. SULK. I’m hoping Ralph will be able to do a lot better. I feel like this next picture could have been good. The composition is ok, but it just looks flat and boring. Meh. Also, I wish the text on the road could have been something a little more romantic than the road tax protest that it is. Maybe a “will you marry me” or at least a “merry christmas”. Pretty much anything would have been better than a road tax protest.It’s a cool building, the Atomium. Even in my poopy pictures you should be able to see that. It was build for the 1958 World’s Fair that was held in Belgium. It was meant to be taken down at the end of the Fair (much like the Eiffel Tower in Paris) but it was too popular so it stayed. By the time we moved to Belgium 10 years ago, the balls were all tarnished and dull but they did the whole thing up a couple of years ago, replacing all the shells with shiny new metal, just how it was meant to be, and I’ve fallen in love with it all over again. You can go into the structure and travel up escalators that are contained within the arms (or bonds) between the balls (or atoms). There is a restaurant at the top and the balls are used for exhibitions. When we went, it was housing a kind of retrospective on 50s furniture and design. Me likey.Wait for it… Wait for it… Here comes Ralph!See, he had his camera! That’s my last hope: better pictures and better editing from Ralph so you can all be enchanted by the Atomium and decide to come and visit us too.I did try to get a few pictures of my lovely guest with the kiddlywinks but the light was fading fast and my children would not stand still. At all. Ralph stood patiently and tried to get them to cooperate, whilst I screamed threats and stomped my feet in dispair (I must have made such a great impression). In the end, this is the best I could manage. There were about 5 very different light sources which drove the white balance on my camera crazy and made any post processing a bit of a joke. Enjoy!And yes, that’s Dah’s hat on Charlie (oh wait, I haven’t told you that Ralph is Dah. That’s what Charlie decided he was called though why remains a mystery). Charlie has never ever ever agreed to wear a hat outside before. Never. Dah’s hat, however: different story. Loved it. Wouldn’t take it off. And so Dah left it here for him when he left and he’s been wearing it ever since. He wore it today in fact, happy as Larry (and no, I don’t know who Larry is, so don’t ask).On the metro on the way home (Charlie was a little zonked and quite close to dozing off). I have a couple of pictures of Hanno and Ralph gazing at each other lovingly but decided to keep those out of the public eye just for me to giggle at when I’m feeling down. You’re both very welcome indeed!Oh yeah, my pictures once we got back home are no better. The light is just bad and so the colors look icky. I think maybe the pictures just don’t capture how happy and cosy we all were that evening and so can’t live up to my memories. But they’ll remain special nonetheless, in all their color-yucky glory. For the record, my children may (I said “may” Ralph!) have loved Ralph’s phone more than they did Ralph himself. I’m surprised it made it out of here in one piece to be honest. And Ralph, being the sweetie that he is, let them both play with it as much as they wanted. Which probably means that he’s now navigating it in Polish and has a memory card full of pictures of the ceiling. You should know that neither of my children have been allowed to even touch my iPod so being allowed to play with an iPhone was pretty exciting stuff for them. Also, yes, I’m a cruel and mean mother. Hi.Wait for it, wait for it… AWW!Also, for anyone wondering: yes, I am fully aware that Hanno is never in any of my pictures and I apologise for that. I think he’s usually the one holding all the equipment or standing by the road to make sure children don’t run into it or, when we’re at home, standing in the kitchen making sure we’ll all be fed. So that would be cruel and mean mother and terrible, unappreciative wife. Such a winning combination.

14 January 2013 - 8:28 AM ralph - Oh Cass I LOVE THEM. Each shot brings me right back to being there with you all. I didn't even see you take so many of those at the end! I love them. And your Atomium shots are fantastic - love the one from under the steps! It WAS a tough night for light wasn't it? Blue/Gray skies and warm yellow lights, and dark! I love your shots, every single one. And I'm not just sayin' that - so there. :) THANK YOU again, not only for the smiles seeing and reading this, but the warm lovely memory too. MUCH LOVE. xo

25 January 2013 - 7:53 AM Gosia Maik - :-)

27 January 2013 - 11:34 PM Ronnie Bell - I love these, the interactions - wonderful stuff!!! ;o))

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