Yesterday we were visited by a charming couple from Cap Breton in Novia Scotia, on the north-eastern tip of Canada. With a name like Cap Breton, I wondered at its French origins as I knew that it's some distance away from Quebec and the bilingual French-speaking residents there. Our visitors told us that Novia Scotia is actually an island, now connected to the mainland by a causeway. Delving a little deeper, it seems that centuries ago the island saw active settlement by France when it was included in the colony of Acadia. The French originally named the island 'Île Royale' and it remained part of colonial France until it was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Eventually Britain merged the island with its adjacent colony of Nova Scotia (present day peninsular Nova Scotia and New Brunswick).
I find it difficult to get my head around how the modern world deals with all the European colonial 'acquisitions' from the past. It made me think of the Falklands crisis, when Britain felt so stirred up about a tiny island thousands of miles away in the South Atlantic. What has that part of the world got to do with Britain now? The same could be said for Gibraltar, and similarly many of the 'French' islands around the world. (But not the Middle East, whose residents can trace their roots right back to the beginning of time). If I were the British PM or the French President today, I would hand back all colonial 'acquisitions' of the past, such as the Falklands or Martinique, to the nearest geographical nation and give free rights of living to current dwellers, in exchange for some sort of trade agreement between both participating nations.
But then, I'm not the PM or the President, so I'll just have to go back to being a humble writer with attitude. Must say, though, it felt good to sign a copy of 'Paradis' to my new fans from Novia Scotia. Long may it continue.
................Don't miss tomorrow's (Sunday's) serial: 'I'm NOT a celebrity - get me published'.