I confess. I have an unnatural desire to collect leaflets. Not the sort that low-paid migrants attempt to force into my hand in the street. Not the sort that tumble out of the middle of magazines and newspapers when I open them. Not the sort that local curry houses and pizzerias poke through my letterbox three times a week. But the sort of public information leaflets that are often left lying around in libraries, stations and hotel foyers - the sort that I select for myself rather than having them thrust upon me. Ooh I love leaflets.
I don't know why, but I find it very difficult to walk past a stack of leaflets without at least looking to see what they are. Maybe there'll be a special 2-for-1 offer in there, or a useful map, or a suggestion for something to visit or somewhere to go. I always keep my eye open walking through tube stations to see if London Underground have brought out anything new and interesting (er, no, just the usual engineering work info and Oyster promos). I'll often make a diversion into a tourist information centre just to see what freebies they have for me to take away (I may have no intention of visiting Stonehenge in the near future, but some information about it might be useful). It's amazing how many leaflets you can stuff into a pocket or bag before people start giving you funny looks.
I throw half of these leaflets away when I get home. They turn out not to be really interesting after all, or completely irrelevant once the event they're describing has passed, or advertising somewhere twee that I shall never visit. But that still leaves an awful lot of leaflets lying around which I can't bear to dispose of. I have piles and piles of maps (the most useful of which are probably the 19 free London Cycle maps which between them provide full street by street coverage of the capital). I have full details of all the tourist attractions in the Eastbourne, Stornoway and Bedford areas, just in case I should ever return and have a couple of hours to spare. And I can tell you all about the special arrangements on the tube for next weekend, or on Millennium Eve, or during the Queen's Coronation (one of you sent me that last leaflet, I didn't pick it up at the time, honest).
What I really need is a decent filing system so that I have some hope of locating a leaflet from my assembled collection should I ever need it. How will I ever find that special Olympic leaflet in amongst the museum mini-guides and steam railway timetables? How will I ever stumble upon that must-visit historic monument if its leaflet lies buried in a heap of craft village vouchers and regional tourist maps? I guess I could try to replace as many of these leaflets as possible by their online pdf equivalent, but somehow an electronic Adobe-powered leaflet is never quite the same. And I'd really miss the thrill of collecting even more semi-useless glossy pamphlets the next time I'm out and about. Because I am a leafletoholic. And proud of it.