The red, white and blue of our Union flag was imprinted upon my brain at an early age. I was nearly four when Elizabeth Regina went to collect her crown. Though the event was televised – we all had to view the images in black and white.
We didn’t have a television – there was only one in our whole street – but l was given a Coronation Book as a memento – and that was in glorious colour.
Pages and pages of ceremonial and flag fluttering – all reinforced by this little boy (and his elder sister) being taken to a Coronation Fete in the village in which we spent our early lives.
A field bedecked with red white and blue bunting – as was the commemorative spoon we were each given. A bow of patriotic ribbon tied at the handle end of each utensil.
The spoon has disappeared from my life – as has the dark-blue, hard-back-covered coronation book – but the pride in our country’s flag lived on. That is – until the result of the EU referendum was given.
I went straight out into the garden and lowered the Union flag that had fluttered over our part of Lower Swainswick ever since I’d erected a proper 30-foot high flagpole. It went straight into the dustbin.
However, I wasn’t going to waste my investment and – besides – the pole was set in concrete. So l turned to the county in which l had been born.
Somerset adopted the flag of its county council back in 2013 – after a competition to design one resulted in a winning design that basically just did away with the mace – the symbol of the county council’s authority.
So the red dragon of Somerset – on its sunshine yellow background – unfurls in the winds above the houses and fields of our neighbourhood.
It will be replaced on May 9th to celebrate Europe Day – with the circle of stars that still holds my heart.
I like flags. That’s the reason l noticed the poor showing a Union flag and the flag of B&NES were making on top the Guildhall.
At first l though the national flag had been cut in two but realised the end had caught on the flagpole. The other lag is just faded and tattered.
Though l first raised this over a week ago. The Union flag is still caught. Apparently the Council – because of health and safety issues – has to pay a firm to come and raise and lower their flags. Obviously, they are reluctant to spend any extra to release the caught edge of the fabric.
Maybe we could launch a city-wide appeal to raise the money to get both flags lowered and replaced with new and brighter versions.
While we are at it – our local authority isn’t the only ‘body’ that should look to its colours. The English flag of St George – on top Bath Abbey tower – is also shredded and past its best.
Symbols are important. These are devices that bring us together under a shared heritage.
PS. That’s better Bath Abbey. Un-shredded Union flag flying above the church tower on Sunday, March 11th!