“What did you do with the tin of beans that was at the back of the cupboard?” Dad asked. I had eaten them, heated them up and eaten them on a couple of slices of toast. “You idiot, I was saving that up as a family heirloom! It had been there for six years.” The beans had tasted ok. After that Dad collected and brought home lots of heirlooms – plastic toys from kinder eggs, ornamental gourds, ringtones, roadkill woollens – but none of them lasted. They all became broken or lost or eaten or all of the above. Eventually he found one that would last – a six year old boy named Oscar. “Meet our new family heirloom.” Oscar looked up at me with a confused look on his six year-old face. I was unsure of his suitability as an heirloom, he was not really a thing to pass down through the generations, more a human life to be brought up. “Hopefully he will stay in the family for many generations.” Just like the other heirlooms, Oscar did not last long. Within a few weeks his real family came to collect him and the search for a family heirloom went on. Dad threw himself into the task with his usual cheer and we all wondered what he would bring home next.