For one reason or another it’s been a week of delving into my archives and being by turns fascinated, dispirited and cheered by what I found.

I had quite forgotten, for instance, that until 1993 at least (and, who knows, it may still be the case) taking snuff was a quaint privilege in the House of Assembly, a small aluminium snuff-box being kept at the lobby entrance under the watchful eye of the serjeant-at-arms for the convenience of MPs...

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