Less valuable gifts could be embarrassing in other ways. As a Labour MP, in the 1950s, I visited the Gold Coast before independence and was advised to present my host in the northern territories with gifts of cigarettes and gin. I disapproved of both, but one had to reciprocate. On my departure, I was astonished to receive three live guinea fowl and a large basket of yams. We made straight for the local hospital.
Returning southwards via Kumasi, I was given some attractive small carvings, but then found that a huge live turkey was to be pushed into the boot of the car. Again, a hospital became the beneficiary. One had to use one's wits as well as charm. But four free air fares - not likely.
House of Lords
16 SeptemberReuse content