I have often had this dream.
Every obsessive collector has the same dream. He or she is on holiday - in Devon, Berlin, Macau, Minneapolis-St Paul, the geography varies according to nationality and interest - when, in a back street, he comes across a shop filled with the objects he has been looking for, plus some he didn't even know existed, but which he instantly recognises as perfection.
Since I was 10 years old I have collected toy soldiers and for the past 20 years I have had this dream. I find the shop, and in it are all the little metal figures I have spent decades chasing, the brightly coloured toy soldiers that also filled the imaginations of Goethe, the Brontë sisters, Robert Louis Stevenson, HG Wells and Jerome K Jerome.
The Guardian, Thursday April 19, 2007