A Word In Your Ear - July 21, 2016

Roy Edmonds

Roy Edmonds

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It was heartening to read that Australia is seeking more direct business with us in Britain again, as we emerge from all that red tape of Europe.

It reminded me of those simpler, olden days when our trade was mostly with Commonwealth countries and anything from Europe considered exotic.

For those old enough, I’m talking of Anchor butter and New Zealand lamb. It even rekindles memories of Sunday roasts and Bisto gravy, with that worldly but cosy Two-Way Family Favourites on the wireless.

So close were our cultural ties with former colonies that at school in geography lessons we spent hours drawing the outline of Australia and colouring in its beef and sheep farming areas. That slightly bent, rounded shape, like a woolly sheep with its pointed horn going up to Northern Queensland, remains fixed in my mind today.

I was fortunate to visit much of that continent as well, from Perth down to Melbourne, over to Sydney and up to my furthest point from home – Cooktown, Queensland. After booking into the local timber-balconied hotel in that far-flung, outback post surrounded my mangrove swamps, I announced my intention to look around town.

My dry-humoured hostess, behind a bar already crowded at 10am, replied amid much laughter, “See you in 10 minutes then.” (She was right, too.)

Travelling across Europe was much more demanding, complex and frustrating – quite exotic, in fact.

Today, of course, we’re much more sophisticated and liberated than those unworldly post-colonial years of the 50s and 60s. Now it is not just the rich who can travel, or enjoy the variety of produce and diversity from around our globe.

But let’s not be afraid of our heritage either, accepting the bad as well as good, old friends as well as new. There is still much to be proud of in being British.

Personally, there is nowhere I’d rather live.

* For Roy’s books visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.