I did a bit of cleaning and tidying in the sitting room today and my thoughts alighted on an episode of Thinking Allowed on radio 4 some time ago. The subject was mantelpieces and a research project that argued that what we choose to put on our mantelpieces is a social narrative. It's not so much the items but what respondents might say about them. So what would you say about yours? 

I mused that mine is most certainly my story over the last few years. From left to right then: the African people as we call them, bought when we had just moved and maybe we were thinking about responsibilities weighing heavily on us as parents. Then the framed post card of Muir Woods in California, a souvenir from a the most wonderful family trip and a pointer to our interest in the natural world. Then the love birds an anniversary gift to David, and the old balloon clock which is always a bit slow ... hmm meeting deadlines or being on time are not strengths for me either. The book of cartoons is just something I'm 'reading' at the moment. Coming to the end of the line is a heap of hearts Luci repurposed from an old mobile; the three birds and the bird house are a bit obvious as a parent and homemaker for my family. I like to think of the cardboard house as a modern take on a cuckoo clock - all the charm but no annoying sound. 

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