A little while back artist Kate Murdoch suggested that I might be interested in the Guardian's 'This is Your Photo' project in collaboration with the Photographer's Gallery which was at the time collecting pictures of mantlepieces. The idea was to "to capture and encourage us to talk about the photographic moments that distinguish everyday life in contemporary Britain and beyond." As usual everyday life took over and I failed to get my arse in gear for the deadline. But it's a lovely idea and over the years the mantlepieces in my house have featured here often, their contents marking time and the changing seasons. The background has been fairly constant though, in various shades of off white. Now we have reached the point, particularly after the dust this summer, when we need to refresh the paintwork: upheaval all round. Who knew that there was a stash of sticky energy-saving lightbulb packs on top of the dresser, and a red and buff tin marked CAKE stashed away behind the tea pots, jugs and rolls of paper on the cupboard? The picture of the mantlepiece today totally belies the chaos at the margins: kitchen floor covered in cardboard - surprisingly cosy as it happens; a basket full of freshly washed glass fisherman's floats next to the ladder with the now-broken step; the table stacked with jars of various sugars, pepper, salt; the hall full of sacks of potatoes and picture frames. Above all of this, the mantlepiece is positively zen with only a paintbrush, a door handle and some finger-plates, in the background all those different shades of one off-white wall. No wonder it's such a pain deciding exactly what colour paints to choose.
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Thank you so much for your apple recipe suggestions. As soon as the kitchen is back to working order I will definitely be trying some of them out. I'll be picking out the giveaway winner on Friday, so if you're interested in winning a copy of the Modern Peasant don't forget to leave a comment on the last post by close tomorrow. All comers welcome.