The Tin Trunk
Found in a junkshop of colonial bygones. The ancient Sikh lets me have it for a tenner. Termite proof.
Defiant still, white on black, in bold squat letters:-
A. C. FORTESCUE
Rubber planter? Missionary? British Resident in Waziristan?
Sturdy iron bound riveting. Closes with a clunk. Crafted in the Workshop of the World by a proud Edwardian artisan. Then back and forth in the dark holds of the Peninsular & Oriental Steamship Company. A conspicuous dent where dropped by some careless coolie, stumbling beneath this White Man's Burden. Inside, the cool green of an up-country posting. Empty but for a badger-hair shaving brush from a Jermyn Street gentleman's outfitters.
Now it stands beside our gate, among the nasturtiums, the worn black mail box of Troed Rhiw Sebon – "The Foot of the Slippery Slope". In retirement, like everything else here. And how fitting to end up in the heart of England's oldest colony.
when the lock no longer works
"Oldest colony".. an Act of Union was imposed on Wales in 1536.