I grew up in a town strangely nicknamed “the last Outpost of the British Empire” because of its very Britishness. I used to stand under the statue of Queen Victoria and study the intricate decoration of her gown and the orb and sceptre in her hands. She seemed so regal. I used to admire the green copper dome of the old Parliament Buildings. It seemed so solid, standing there. These experiences introduced me to a feeling of pride in my history and the idea that my ancestors had struggled and worked in the past so that I could have a future better than theirs.
The clock that stood on my Nan’s mantelpiece is now on mine – I brought it back to its home – England. My ancestors took it out in 1820 as part of their very special luggage for their African adventure. I wonder if it stood in the corner of the tent as they listened to the sounds of the bush or if it stayed packed in a trunk waiting for their first wattle and daub home to be built? It seems far too elegant for that. Sometime soon after they arrived someone shot a small buck and the back of the dried hooves were stuffed with silk as a pincushion. The little hooves were placed on top of the clock. It became a family tradition that they should never be separated –– and they never have.