Monday, 2 July 2012

My Mantelpiece

There is a BBCR4 call to us to describe what is on our mantelpiece. This is a nod to Mass Observation, the organisation that had the foresight over 70 years ago to invite members to describe theirs in the name of future generations of social historians.
Here is what is on mine, from left to right: orange pig made from a quarter litre milk bottle, bought from my friend Anthea's shop in Notting Hill some years ago; behind the orange pig is an Easter card from my daughter Abi's mother in law Pauline who is gravely ill - the card only arrived by hand a couple of weeks ago and I keep it there to remember her; glass bottle with spills in an aromatic liquid labelled French Lavender; postcard from Scottish artist Duncan Macaskill 'A Man's A Man For A' that, a portrait of the artist's father Neil MacDougall MacAskill; postcard 'Meleze' coloured drawing by John Ruskin of a member of the Pine family sent by my sister when she was staying at Brantwood Ruskin's house in Coniston; Summer 2012 invitation to the Kilmorack Gallery near Beauly Invernesshire - cover painting 'Sea Island Line' by Lizzie Rose, sometime artist in residence at Crookedstane Rig; invitation to Evensong at The Tower of London in September 2012 organised by the Friends of the Anglican Centre in Rome; invitation to a fundraising concert for the Prisoners Education Trust; invitation to tea from the Provost of University College London; small glass container, probably an old Glu chocolate pudding pot, containing a quantity of coloured marbles; small Russian wooden doll from a nesting set; invitation to new works exhibition by Moffat resident Gill Shreeve at The Dancing Light gallery - illustration 'Moments on a Mountain'; postcard of Fiesole from an Australian professor of economics; postcard of The Level Crossing by L.S. Lowry from my cousin John, the model railway fanatic (and inventor with others of the Spey Rolls Royce aero engine) propped up against a yellow milk bottle pig, stable companion to orange pig see above; postcard from Storm Studio in Moffat; raffle tickets for Wigtown Festival Company (to be drawn on Sunday 7th October 2012); good luck Red Poppies card from friends Robert and artist Lesley Maddock on the occasion of the opening of The Moffat Gallery. Atop the early 19th century gilt overmantel looking glass is a smiley pink pig whose head nods if you touch it. Draped over the far right hand corner is a mobile phone charger, a Blackberry which I hope soon to trade in for an iPhone.
What is on your mantelpiece is supposed to be a glimpse into your soul. This glimpse into mine bears this out: any one considering these items could easily work out that I am a Christian who supports many charities, I was educated at UCL, am greatly attached to my family and many old friends, whose interests strongly include the visual arts and that I have a streak of attraction to ephemera, objects that raise a smile, demonstrate playful invention. I also love scent and once lived in an early 19th century house (hence the overmantel). And there's definitely something going on about pigs.

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