Articles

Christmas Day

In Uncategorized on December 25, 2010 by grahamharrowell

The kids have arrived. Winter transport chaos failed to make the slightest impression on their travel arrangements and they are busy draining every bottle in the house. We have sufficient food to sustain the garrison of a medieaval castle for a prolonged siege, despite the fact that the shops are open until 1300 today and festivities began last night.

Part of the traidtional celebrations (including shove-halfpenny and scrabble) is the Christmas Quiz. All of us scored between 6 and 7. had this been out of 10 it would not have been impressive but out of 75 it showed that none of us need bother troubling Mastermind. I got one right in the specialist round of questions on Wolverhampton (?) naming Billy Wright correctly but that’s a generation thing.

The Flags of the World round set me thinking. Another generational thing. When I was a lad in pre-post-colonial times the flags of the USSR, USA, UK, France and even Belgium would have covered most of the world, but over recent years the market for flags has exploded.

If I were to have my life over again, knowing what I know now, one thing that I might do is go into business. Manufacturing and selling road cones, supermarket trolleys or crowd control barriers spring to mind as good opportunities. The need to replace cones that now sit on top of students’ wardrobes or trolleys that stick out of muddy streams in city centres suggest a continuing demand. However flags would probably be my niche market. Not so much designing and producing new ones for newly independent countries but tried and tested ones. There’s not much call for Union Jacks between coronations and although the Welsh, Scots and Irish like to wave their flags, their numbers mean the market’s not big enough. In France they like to fly their flag but there is no doubt a complicated accreditation process that permits their production only in some remote provincial town famous only for flags. No, I’m going to sell American flags. Why? Well the Yanks are famously patriotic and love to fly Old Glory for the slightest reason, or no reason at all other than that they love their country. Given that there are several hundred million of them this is a great market where good quality flags would sell. Better still are the millions more who want to buy an American flag because they hate the country. You’ve seen them pouring accelerant over the Stars & Stripes, fumbling with the matches and then leaping back, beard and dish-dasha in alight, trying to beat out the flames. My self-igniting Stars & Stripes is the answer. (Dragons Den eat your hearts out.) No matches are needed, no dangerous cans of petrol. Simply pull the easily accessed tag and the banner ignites. It doesn’t flare up and disappear in an instant, nor does it gutter and smoulder. No it burns evenly and clearly so you can hold it up safely and your friends can focus their i-phones on it and get a decent picture. The angry crowd can quickly and effectively be transformed into a baying mob. The great thing is that customers don’t end up in Pinderfields or Stoke Mandeville afterwards. Unscorched they look around for their flag and realise it’s gone, so they head straight back to their computer and order another on-line. I think I’m made.

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