Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Today has been the 45th Anniversary of Bahamas Independence. Before The Bahamas became Independent on July 10th, 1973, this island nation was a British Colony. My husband Erskine even had a British passport up until then. He says there was a long building on the Prince George Wharf that housed the passport office. After Independence The Bahamas became a British Commonwealth country.

When we lived in the U.K. in the eighties, I wrote to the Bahamian High Commission in London, requesting contacts for Bahamians living in the U.K., so I could approach them to write feature articles about them. Instead, the Bahamian High Commission said they would send Erskine and me an invitation to the Bahamas Independence festivities in London, where we would be able to meet other Bahamians. Mr. Richard Demeritte was the Bahamian High Commissioner at the time.

We lived in Exeter, Devon, which was a four hour National Express bus journey from London. Erskine owned and operated St. David’s General Stores and could only get one day off for the Independence event (my mother used to work part-time for him and she looked after the shop so we could go to London).

We set off early that July 10th day. When we arrived in London we caught a tube train to get to the Bahamian High Commission. There was a restaurant nearby. We had something to eat there and later changed our clothes in their restrooms!

When we entered the Bahamian High Commission that evening, we left our bag in the cloakroom and proceeded to the venue. The barker, dressed in a red uniform, at the door took our invitation and announced very grandly: “Mr. and Mrs. Erskine Knowles!” We continued on into the ballroom and began mingling.

It was a wonderful evening, full of laughter, good Bahamian music, dancing and comradery. As the event came to an end, we made our way back to the bus station via the tube. The bus swooped in, picked us up, and we slept most of the way back to Exeter.

Everything would have been perfect if I hadn’t left my handbag on the bus when it stopped at Exeter Bus Station! Erskine woke me up and I rushed off the bus with him. It wasn’t until the bus swiftly disappeared in the distance that I realized I’d left my handbag on the bus with our car and house keys in it! We had only brought the larger bag with our clothes. On top of that, it started to pour with rain.

The plan had been to catch a taxi to Erskine’s shop where our car was parked. However, when we phoned for a taxi from a public phone booth, for some strange reason all of the taxis were miles away in Plymouth!

We started walking through the deserted city and when we came across the Rougemont Hotel thought we would try calling another taxi company from there. However, the hotel’s doors were closed and locked!

We continued walking and eventually reached St. David’s Railway Station, but couldn’t pick up our car, as we didn’t have the keys! We continue walking across the railway and up into Exwick where we lived.

One of our college age sons was living with us and the other son was away at boarding school. Unfortunately, the son who was home slept like a log and it took ages to wake him up. Eventually a few rocks thrown at his window brought him to our rescue!

The next day I reported to the bus company from my work that my handbag had been left on the bus, which had travelled all the way down to Cornwall. The following day the bag arrived in a National Express box, all safe and sound, with the keys in it!

It had been a Bahamas Independence Day to remember!

No comments:

Post a Comment