This morning, before I had begun the normal business of my day, I had gathered together a handful of empty, disposable containers. Shaving cream aerosol, milk container, egg box, kitchen roll, firelighter box and deodorant were part of the early morning catch. The more I looked about the house the more I realised that the preponderance of objects in the house were containers which, apart from the Ming vases that I wish I had, would all reach their moment of being empty, unwanted and de trop. “Not wanted on voyage” is an annotation from another age but it seemed apposite this morning. It seems that we have more in common with squirrels than monkeys apart from the opposable thumb. The more I look the clearer it becomes that storage is our main occupation. Remove all the forms of storage from your dwelling and little remains. Which neatly segues into the little remains that we find from ancient civilisations. We could build another set of pyramids with the amphora, bottles and boxes that we unearth daily and we, in our turn, will have assured a plentiful supply of buried, non biodegradable plastic enabling archaeologists of the future to ponder the replacement of charmless practicality over artisan craft by the generations of the 20th and 21st centuries. The dual interests of cooking and photography produce the need for containers at a similar rate to the egg production of battery chickens on piece work, yet the containers they produce are non pareil in their brilliance and conception (sic). Standing in the kitchen, I’m scanning the shelves, worktops and cupboards in and on which are displayed numerous and varied containers in a range of materials that includes glass, straw, wickerwork, plastic, bakelite, resin, cast iron, copper, tin, steel, rubber,aluminium, earthenware, china, porcelain, alabaster, paper, cardboard, linen, polystyrene, crystal, pine, olive wood, mahogany and probably many others, the names of which I do not know. If I remove the containers from the room I’m left with the worktops, hob, extractor, knives, cutlery, seats and wall art which gets us pretty much back to the cave ( for hob read fire and for extractor read the hole leading into the cave) where mankind lived before mankind checked out the squirrels. Squirrels are smart enough to store what they need and, when they’ve eaten it, go to sleep until such a time as more will be available. I’ve tried this system which has probably led to my current penury so avoid total squirreldom. On the other hand, do I need the store cupboard mentality which is the reason for most of the containers. It’s only when moving house, which we have done often, that the true sadness of half full jars of spices and aromatics that are bereft of their spiciness or their aromas becomes evident. And yet I can hardly contain myself as I await the arrival by post of two packets of Panko. Tufty the squirrel is alive and well in the Vendee. Here is an example of a simplified larder.