I always like to bring something back from a trip, be it a curio, a book or suchlike. By way of example, my Roberts Bird Book is 30 years old and was purchased at Chobe Game Lodge.

Yet it was only after tea with a friend that he advised me as to the environmental consequence of buying wooden curios.

The trees are mainly hardwood and never get replaced. So in supporting the curio industry, you are not supporting the environment which in itself is fragile.

So still wanting a memento from my trips meant that I had to change my game. I also decided that I was not simply going to buy T-Shirts or peak caps.

My first purchase was from a charity shop in a small town, it was an amazing cold drink bottle that had a small marble in it to contain the flow. I took it home and cleaned it and it has pride of place in a display cabinet.

Then I found a pack of cards from a German cruising line which was very interesting as it must have dated from WW2 as the Ace of Hearts was stamped “Deutsche Reich”.

Game on as I started a new hobby. I now collect books, tin and wooden boxes and even acquired the radiator cap from an old Cadillac with some photographic memorabilia being a keen photographer.

Then there are the tins, I have a collection of old tins that housed sweets, medicine and tobacco. One biscuit tin is full of stuff that I collected in the Richtersveld whilst visiting blockhouses around Okiep where the Boer war ended. I even found a cartridge case near the site where the train collected Jan Smuts and Denys Reitz to take them by ship to Cape Town before taking them to Pretoria to negotiate the peace treaty.

Sadly as I grew up I gave stuff away which included an amazing collection of toy cars but recently I acquired an old”Bluebird” which does need some work but is rather special having visited “Verneukpan” where Sir Malcolm Cambell attempted to set a land speed record in the original version. My armoured car is very special as it can even fire a match with its spring-loaded gun. Pride of place in the car category goes to a wind-up toy car which I often send racing down the passage for my cat to chase.

I have to be cautious as all these things take up space but I have donated many of the old curios to a charity shop at the local church so do have space on shelves as well as in the display cabinet.

And then there are the walking sticks, I have about 10 from all over but on occasion do use one so will not see them going in a hurry.

Happy collecting folks and enjoy your trips.

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