As a distraction from packing, I looked through my childhood stamp albums. And sure enough, there they all were… the stamps I’d collected when I was ten something, arranged in neat columns and rows, all representing a vaster less integrated world then, diligently stuck to the pages with tiny adhesive hinges. Amazing the glue and saliva still worked.
On page 15 lie several countries starting with the letter ‘C’: Chile, the Cayman Islands, and of course, Ceylon.
The Ceylon stamps are the most colourful. Some bear the head of the fourth prime minister, S W R D Bandaranaike (who was assassinated by a Buddhist monk in 1959). Others show an oriole, a bunch of brown and orange coconuts, and a fishing boat.
The world changes. I haven’t collected stamps since leaving home. And Ceylon isn’t called Ceylon any more. It’s a different country now. It’s called Sri Lanka.