The terrible family secret - we're philatelists.
My mother escaped relatively unharmed, although her collection is still around somewhere I think. Grandad had a lovely old stamp collecting book and when I was about eleven I started my own collection.
I know it sounds like an excuse for a very unpopular pastime (at least for people my age) but the reflection of history, art, popular culture, music, people and socio-political events is staggering on such a small canvas. You can trace events and trends all simply by looking at stamps.
No, I'm going to stop there but I can ramble on for a long time about how much I love the tiny little things.
There was a wonderful book I owned (it always comes back to a book) which had free-ish activities and crafts for kids and from there I found a company that used to send out hundreds of stamps for little money. It was £2 for 400 when I did it. I remember being really excited about the new £2 coins because it made it easier to send off for stamps.
Told you it was a problem.
And the lovely thing is that now my little geeky secret is part of my artwork. I have started using stamps in my collages and collage cards that I am making.
The artistry that is involved in stamps can really take my breath away. There are some truly beautiful and highly creative pieces which I will never use in a collage because, hand on my heart, they are tacked up on my wall.
Needless to say this combination of art and stamp-geek is joyful and shall continue.
Oh and the boxes that hold the stamps that haven't been sorted were not originally mine. Not sure you can even buy B&H in gold boxes anymore. They belonged to my grandad, a little nod to my philatelist background.
Off now to see if I can find that mail-order stamp company again...