Flags are a serious and joyful business where I grew up. With a plethora of seafaring types both professional and amateur pretty much everyone round here speaks flag.
Flags are flown in seasons of celebration and commemoration. I well remember my father and I dressing our house frontage overall with naval flags to celebrate the Silver Jubilee. (Back when we all cared)
A passing cycling naval admiral saw fit to accost us as my Dad had chosen to fly a white ensign draped over our chimney as the centre piece. I’m pretty sure our house had never been registered as one of Her Majesty’s Ships so the admiral had a point. But I still prefer my father’s riposte that If HM had an objection she could come down here and let him know. Until such time he’d fly the flag in her honour.
Fast forward to the early 90s (and I had moved away.) and flag poles started to appear in front gardens flying Union Jacks and the cross of St George. Opinion was divided. It was patriotism or football support. Or maybe just maybe it was something else.
Then the Council got and retained its UKIP Councillor. I’ve been tempted to go and knock on one of the Union Jack flyer’s door to ask if they need help as they’ve been flying an international distress signal for over 2 years. (Jack is upside down).
My in-laws are Danes. They fly flags and nobody minds. I was once fined in Turkey for my boat flag being too dirty. (A sooty poorly engine). We should have been fined for pollution to my mind.
Her Majesty never called to ask us to remove the white ensign. On the diamond jubilee my mother sent me some patriotic bunting which I hid in a cupboard but can’t chuck away because it’s plastic.
On the day that the newest Windsor was named, I noticed that one of the most prominent flags was flying at half mast. I really hope it was a coincidence, that an England player from 1966 had died or a local “worthy.” But no such. …
I live in London and I don’t meet many overt racists. I know racism is real. The stories I hear from friends bring it home.
In my hometown an elderly lady praised the bunting outside the new pub and loved how pretty it is. Perhaps she’s right. But I saw a different kind of right and stuck to my side. I didn’t go in.