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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?

You will never forget my funeral

Hanno’s going to a funeral next week. This has got Amélie thinking. She’s already told us that we are not allowed to be cremated (so there goes that plan!) but, on the way home in the car this evening, she wanted to know more about our final wishes. Honestly, I couldn’t care less how I’m disposed of when I shuffle off this mortal coil so I told her she could just put me in a cardboard box and chuck me into the sea. But she was having none of it. Nope: “you are going to have a princess funeral”. Ah. Well ok, but whatever happens, I don’t want to have a church funeral. I don’t believe in religion. I don’t want any deity receiving me into heaven or forgiving me my sins or reincarnating me or… “I don’t care mum, you’re having a church funeral”. But I don’t want a church funeral! “Yeah mum, but you’ll be dead so you won’t be able to tell me off so you’re having a church funeral”. Sigh. Fine. I’ll be dead. What do I care. Do with me as you wish.

“OK, so what kind of coffin do you want?” I really don’t care Amélie. I don’t want you spending lots of money on a coffin. Just get a cardboard one. “No mum, you have to have a nice coffin”. But it’s a waste of money! Save the money. Buy yourself a nice dress instead (I thought this would be a killer argument – Amélie would do anything for a pretty dress at the moment)! “I will buy myself a pretty dress mum, but I will also get you a pretty coffin”. Fine. I give up. Get me a pink glittery coffin! But no. Twas not to be. “I’ll paint the coffin myself. What’s your favorite color?” Err… Yves Klein blue. “What? What’s that?” It’s a kind of powdery, matt blue. “You’re not allowed complicated colors mum”. Fine. Just blue then. “What about inside? Yellow? You like yellow”. Ok, I’ll have a DIY painted blue coffin with yellow satin interior.

“What about you Han? What’s your favorite color?” Well, turns out he likes blue too. So we’re having matching coffins. “And do you want satin too?” No really: matching coffins. Because, you know, they need to coordinate, because we’re being buried together. But what if we don’t die at the same time? “I’ll just wait”. What do you mean you’ll just wait? “If one of you dies first, I’ll just put you in my garden shed until the other one dies. And anyway, dad, that’s going to be you because you’re older than mum”. Yep. Oh, and she’s going to fill our coffins with live butterflies so that when they are opened during the service, they’ll fly out into the church. That won’t freak people out at all. No, that will be pretty.

Oh yes, we’re having open caskets. So I’ve asked to be dressed in a big blond wig and made up like Paris Hilton. Lots of bronzer and false eyelashes on a (possibly rotting – if I happen to die before Han) corpse. Classy. “Do you wear clothes in a coffin?” Yes, Amélie. So to go with my Paris Hilton look, I want a pink, swarovski encrusted ball gown. “No, mum, red”. Yes, because that’s the detail you need to quibble with, Amélie. “What about you dad?” Han requested – since we’re being classy here – that he be buried in a Westham football kit. “Can you wear shorts when you’re buried?” Well yes Amélie, you can wear pretty much what you want. “Ok then, maybe we’ll just paint on some shorts”. At this point, I have to confess, I started crying with laughter. Have you ever seen that “art” where a naked woman is painted to look like she’s wearing clothes? All I could think of was Hanno lying in a coffin with his todger out, painted turquoise blue. Excellent. I want to be at THAT funeral. I will be of course, except I’ll also be dead if Amélie gets her way.

I know death isn’t funny but, I’m sorry, this conversation was excellent. It’s also the first time that Amélie’s been able to talk about either of us being dead without bursting into tears. And that’s progress folks, so don’t knock it.

3 February 2013 - 7:54 PM Tara Leigh - I'm crying I'm laughing so hard.

3 February 2013 - 7:59 PM ralph - Well, since I'm older than both of you and will (hopefully) be gone before the joint Funeral of the Year - I will miss it. Thank you for the big smile, thank you for sharing this incredibly charming take on a not-always-fun subject. Progress indeed. :) Love those kids of yours. xo

3 February 2013 - 8:01 PM erin - oh....... han with his painted todger pants this is amaaaaaaaaaaaazing laughing so..so.hard..it huuuuuuurrrrts.

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