Michelle Ackerley has been presenting with me on this show since ‘All Over The Place – USA’, and we had a good solid start for her today. ’Grown Ups Collect Stuff Too’ is the ‘All Over The Place’ item that probably sums up our show best. It’s bonkers. Over the years we’ve met people who collect soap, post boxes, salt and pepper pots… but sometimes we’re short of genuine collectors and have to pay a visit to somewhere like a tank museum to look at the collections there. This morning’s collector was 24 karat crackers in the best possible way.
Erika started her collection in the way that most of our contributors have – someone gave her an ornamental pig as a present, she took a shine to it, started to buy more, friends and family would buy her them as birthday and Christmas presents because it was a gift that required very little thought on their part, and before look she had… 50,000 pig related items.
It’s a big collection by anyone’s standards. 4 years ago she finally got her hands on a building big enough to house it all – an old slaughterhouse in Stuttgart (appropriate). Downstairs is now a restaurant selling mostly pork based food, and the two floors above are heaving with soft plush pigs, ceramic pigs, life sized replica pigs – if it exists in pig form it’s likely that Erika has it. My personal favourite was the train parked outside the museum, donated to her by the Swiss railway. It’s in the shape of a pig.
After a lunch of (pork) schnitzel and noodles we were off to Maulbronn Monastery. This beautiful medieval monastery is like a cross between an English public school and a medieval timber village. The monks are long gone and all the buildings are taken up with residents, with their kids playing in the courtyards. Michelle and I dressed up as monks and learnt how they only had 2 baths a year, took up to 7 days to write one page in a book and spent a lot of time making baskets, amongst other things. It was quite a chilled out afternoon compared to what we normally get up to. Maybe I should become a monk when this is all over…