Asia, Countries

Chiva-Som unThai those knots

It’s been a pain in the neck working from home so thankfully we’ve got Chiva-Som to UnThai those knots.

Chiva-who? Chiva-Som in Hua Hin, Thailand.

And Zulal Wellness Resort y Chiva-Som which is set to open in Qatar in late 2021.

And they are offering complimentary live online wellness classes.

So we can look forward to up to eight classes a month, all starting from next week.

You’ll be treated to virtual exercise programmes and self-training tutorials.

And there will be talks on nutrition, family wellness and indigenous wellness practices.

All of which are designed to help participants achieve their goals.

And we all need that as we suffer with lockdown and social distancing.

TAIM healing

Now as every day is a schoolday we’ll be immersing herself in Traditonal Arablic and Islamic Medicine or TAIM.

And I have delved into the healing powers of hamams so I’m a convert.

Hamam bam: Istanbul

Zulal will be the world’s first hub for TAIM.

It’s a 360-degree approach to healing sourced from Islamic medicinal historians and herbalists, and mind-body therapy.

First up on Wednesday is Self-stretch for Office Syndrome at 9am (GMT +1).

A bit more on what they do (from their manual).

They apply ergonomic principles to workstations to help prevent and alleviate a variety of conditions, such as back and neck pain.

They insist that small adjustments and simple stretches can help blood circulation in the body.

And it means that muscles are never in a state of atrophy for too long.

A history of wellness

A helping hand: Or is she badgering him?

Chiva-Som has been offering holistic wellness therapies for the last 26 years to guests worldwide.

And now the launch of Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som continues this commitment.

The online wellness instructors will teach new strategies and techniques and offer supportive advice and personal feedback.

To see the monthly schedule and register visit its Facebook page or contact reception.

Now for many of us wellness and pampering is an indulgence that helps make a holiday.

But there are those out there, like my old friend SLM and her yoga Nidra, who can come into your house via Zoom.

And leave you with that feeling of rest and recuperation.

 

 

Asia, Countries, Europe

Flip-floppin’ Georgia statues and others

And I’m prompted my old friend, Gaelic Scotland’s answer to Simon Reeve, Anna Kennedy, to probe flip-floppin’ Georgia statues.

I admit I didn’t know about The Sea Slippers in Batumi or any of the other funky statues in the Asian country.

It’s not something George Zurabashvili or I got around to.

When he invited me over to his gaffe, the Georgian Embassy in Dublin.

We were too busy talking about Georgian wine, the oldest in the world, and rugby.

And if I could get an Irish delegation out to the country.

Platforms for success

Her arm must be getting sore: The Statue of Liberty

But statues while usually not a sole reason for visiting a destination are often one of the must-do excusions…

The Statue of Liberty in New York, Christopher Columbus in Barcelona, Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Anne Frank in Amsterdam, Nelson’s Column in London, Jim Larkin in Dublin,. or the best of all, Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh.

That Georgia has such a funky statue shouldn’t come as too much surprise.

As countries which were long suppressed by Soviet Union have had an explosion of architectural expression since the break-up of the USSR.

Czech out Czerny

Map it out: The Peeing Pragueites

Now I love an Astronomical Clock as much as the next person who takes the most common selfie in Prague.

Although confession time here I do prefer the Beer Astronomical Clock in Zatec.

But if statues give you a historical shorthand for a city then Prague shows its many wonderful, modern, Communist and post-Communist faces.

Whether it’s peeing statues outside the Franz Kafka Museum (he would have approved), hanging umbrella men or the crawling babies up the Zivkov TV tower.

Or Czech patriarch King Charles IV or King Wenceslas.

Though truth be known, it’s hard to top climbing babies and peeing Pragueites.

Slovaks too

Cumil ye faithful: Man at Work in Bratislava

And in a nod too to my pal Katarina who flies the flag for the Czechs but who was born under the banner of neighbours of Slovakia

Cumil, the tin-helmeted bronze sculpture, who emerges from a mancover. 

A road sign warns you as reckless drivers have chopped his head off before!

Bosnian Bruce

G’Day Bruce: In Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Now our Balkan friends have some unusual icons.

Remembering that British slapstick comedian Norman Wisdom is a national hero.

In Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina when you get out of Medjugorje where there’s something about Mary, it’s Bruce Lee.

Bruce became a national hero through the black market for video cassettes. 

A kick in the ribs for Marshall Tito there.

Alexander’s Great Mate

Something fishy: In Skopje, North Macedonia

Alexander, of course, is a great icon the world over.

But his status is so high in south-east Europe that the Greeks tried to stop North Macedonia getting into the UN because they erected a statue to him in Skopje.

Well, we’ll leave the squabbling to these neighbours and instead celebrate Grozdanka Kanikova’s erection (stop it!).

It is in fact a Fish which seems to have three legs and appropriately stands outside the Olympic Swimming Pool.

Earth-shattering Budapest

Did the Earth move for you? Man Emerging From The Earth, Budapest

And sometimes I (and others) wish the ground would just swallow me up.

In a twist on that the Hungarians give us a giant man emerging from the earth as part of an arts festival.

And so put your preconceptions behind about the old East.

And reflect instead on the statues around us in the UK.

Better flip-floppin’ Georgia statues and others than some old relics of Empire.

 

 

Asia, Countries, Deals, Europe, Ireland

Cassidy’s Sundance Kids

My Dear Old Mum would visit the same Travel Agent every year to book our family holiday and I’m sure it’s the same for Cassidy’s Sundance Kids.

Cassidy, as all in Ireland know, is the country’s biggest independent Travel Agent.

And it has made generations of holidaymakers dreams come true.

Which is why families continue to go back to them again and again to book their holidays.

Now there have been many heroes over this Covid year and a half and our health workers, teachers…

And heck, all of us should take a bow.

But I’d like to give a shout-out to our Travel Providers who have often worked without pay and in their own time.

And all to make sure customers get away or are refunded or have their holidays rescheduled.

Now there are those who say that getting away is not a matter of life and death.

But if self-isolation (and the Son and Heir is facing that just now) has taught us anything it is that humans do not belong caged up.

And so we are delighted to report that Cassidy Travel’s doors are open and filling our inboxes with their offers.

And so without further ado…

On trend

Last year’s blond: ‘The Donald’ in New York

Here’s where they want to take us and I’m indebted to the awesome Aileen who has taken over babysitting us Travel professionals.

Here are the trends (as the kids say):

The late Autumn deals, New York and Las Vegas shopping breaks, Christmas markets, Lapland, Christmas and New Year Sun.

Take a breath…

New Year and January Ski, Cruising, Florida 2022 and Villa Holidays.

And, yes please to them all.

But we’ll pare some of them down to these Three Cheers.

Ola Barcelona

To the Lord: At Gaudi’s centrepiece La Sagrada

We all know Barcelona in the summer where it’s hot, hot, hot.

And I’m sure I’m still the subject of the proud, brusque Catalan waitress who I managed to draw a smile from when I asked for a hot chocolate on the hottest day of the hottest heatwave.

Thankfully we got to take to the water for a cruise stop.

flights and 3 nights accommodation at the 3*Hotel Leo for the incredible price of €149pp (based on two people sharing)!

Flight departs Dublin 13th and returning 16th October 2021.

Call Cassidy Travel on 01 8901000 or book in one of their 10 stores across Dublin.

You’re a Celebrity too

On Celebrity Cruises’ Edge

And Celebrity Edge is the ultimate in cruising with its floating tender… and yes, love me tender.

Cassidy will get you on board for a scoot around Italy and Greece aboard next summer 2022.

Get on this deal for seven nights in an interior cabin including full board.

Plus Always Included Promotion Classic Drinks package, internet package and tips for only €1929pp.

Setting sail from Rome and visiting Naples and the stunning Greek islands of Santorini, Rhodes & Mykonos,

And phinally Phuket

Phuket, we’ll finish with a land, Thailand, and resort, Phuket, where I sent many a young adventurer and page designer and scuba diver Podge in my time as a commissioning editor.

Cassidy has 50% savings included for a ten-night stay in the 4* Old Phuket Karon Beach Resort from only €998pp for next May.

Stay in a Deluxe Sino Wing room, beautiful period accommodation influenced by Sino-Portuguese architecture.

And enjoy the magnificent pool, mountain views and beach side bars.

Prices are based on two sharing and include flights, taxes, private transfers and hotel accommodation.

Book by September 30 to avail of this amazing deal!

And aren’t these all good reasons to pitch Cassidy’s Sundance Kids.

 

 

Asia, Countries, Ireland

Abu Dhabi would be Fabi

And who’d have thought, any of us, that we’d have found ourselves here which is why I’m reflecting now Abu Dhabi would be Fabi.

Don’t tell the Scary One but the Abu Dhabians were on my trail about a job out on their pre-eminent English-speaking newspaper.

And I started checking out all about the emirate in the event that I could be heading for the Gulf.

The Gulf states have long laid the carpet out to us in our own islands of Britain and Ireland.

With hosted nights and invitations to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman.

And we shouldn’t be surprised as Oman is the home of frankincense.

Gulf classic

Dome from home: Abu Dhabi

The Gulf is always and increasingly so worthy of our time and attention.

As its work, entertainment and holiday options increase and improve.

But today we’ll focus on Abu Dhabi because Ireland has been added to its Green List.

And it’s a long old A-Z list, starting with Albania (where they have been allowing beardie people like me, although maybe not specifically me) for years right down to U.

I can only assume they’re searching for Vs, Ws, Xs, Ys and Zs.

So where to go and what to see in Abu Dhabi.

Love your Louvre

Art for art’s sake: The Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi: And you’ll get the full range of world art across history.

From the Neolithic up to the present day and including lots for Egyptologists and surrealists with famous paintings by Picasso.

Saadiyat Island is set to become the cultural hub of Abu Dhabi with the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum on the radar.

Fantastic Ferrari

Take it as red: Ferrari World

Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi: Nyyyyyeeeeow. And you can channel your boy (or girl) racer at Yas Leisure Drive, Yas Island.

Where it’s Ferraris, yes, and the kids can even check out the Junior GT ride.

And if it’s your thing then there’s also the Flying Aces rollercoaster.

It clocks up speeds of 120kph on a 52m loop (the tallest in the world).

While you’ll also want to check out Yas beach too where you can get active or just enjoy your cabana.

Warner’s superheroes

Bros in Arms: Warner Bros

Warner Bros World: And while I wait for my return visit to the American original which I missed out on because I caught a 24-hour bug from a returning Californian on the plane…

I’ll turn my attentions east to the Gulf where my old pals Attraction Tickets will cover all your needs.

Gotham City and Metropolis are where you can channel your inner Batman and Superman. Meanwhile back in…

Formula for success

On Track: The Abu Dhabi Circuit

Yas Marina Circuit: And here’s where you can drive on the circuit that Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen rip it up in the Formula One season.

But if you’re not allowed to even take out the smallest cars then you can also run or cycle it every Tuesday and Sunday when it is free.

Not just desert

Camel ye to Abu Dhabi: In the desert

Desert Dunes: And, of course, when you’re in the desert, or the edge of it, you need to get into desert life.

The camels are the caravans of the desert and I’m one happy customer in Morocco and Jordan.

And you should check out an Evening Desert Safari, BBQ dinner, that Camel Ride and sandboarding.

Purple reigns: With Etihad

Just a sample, of course, and there are waterworlds, falcon hospitals, shopping, museums, mosques.

Maybe I need a fresh chat with the Scary One… as Abu Dhabi would be Fabbi. And I know just the guys to get me there.. Etihad.

 

Asia, Countries, Deals, Sport

Umpire seat in the Maldives

Back in the day hotels with tennis courts were exotic… now we expect them, and a tennis pro coach with you in the umpire seat in the Maldives.

Some Maldives islands are, in truth, little bigger than tennis courts.

Best thing in small packages

King of the court: Maldives

On Kandolhu there are 30 villas, four a la carte restaurants, a bar, beach dining experiences as well as in-villa options.

And an oceanbank of coral to gurgle in and gawp at the fishes and the turtles.

At 200m x 150m though understandably they couldn’t quite fit in a tennis court.

Courting popularity

Fun and games: Football and cricket

There are though on neighbouring big sister island Kuramathi, though it’ll be more leisurely club tennis than all-action Rafael Nadal rallies.

As I can vouch for, having raced after the younger, fitter Sri Lankan staff on my Atoll Tale adventure.

Life’s a pitch: And it’s hot, hot, hot

On their football pitches and cricket grounds.

While couples and leisure-seekers amble around Maldives islands in their flip-flops those of a sporty nature are indulged too.

And the good news for those who drown in shallow water is that tennis is an option.

With real-life tennis professionals.

Slamming professionals

Anyone for tennis: And much mote besides

Such as Davis Cup winner Viktor Troicki

Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences welcomes the Serbian champion who won the cup with somebody you might have heard of, Novak Djokovic.

For a two-week residence for mid-term, October 26-November 6.

Viktor follows in the tennis shoe steps of some big-hitters.

Pooling your talents

Newly crowned Olympic champion Alexander Zverev and bro Mischa.

Awesome Aussie Pat Rafter and most recently Russian pro.

And former world No.1 Angelique Kerber.

Judy’s protegé

Keeeeep dancin’: With Judy Murray in Portugal

Now don’t be mistaken into thinking you get things any easier with a female coach think again.

As I know only too well from my fumblings under the tutelage of Judy Murray in Quinta do Lago.

 

Abercrombie & Kent offers seven nights from £4336pps.

Price includes B&B, flights and transfers. Based on travel between October 26-November 6.

And you in the umpire seat in the Maldives.

 

Asia, Countries, Deals

Carbon neutral in Mauritius

Climate change will continue to hover over Travel but we are addressing it and will always promote best practice such as the resorts that have gone Carbon neutral in Mauritius.

Small islands stand particularly exposed to the warming seas.

And Mauritius in the Indian Ocean is particularly vulnerable.

They are though meeting the challenge.

And Heritage Resorts and Veranda Resorts have stood up.

With the first carbon neutral hotels in Mauritius.

The Resorts will offset all CO2 emissions that would be generated by a hotel stay.

How does it work?

Crystal clear: The Indian Ocean

Well, we’re told this will be achieved through the purchase of carbon credits.

With the Aura Group, an environmental commodity trader and through local carbon offset projects including the construction of a solar farm.

Guests at Veranda hotels can make a voluntary contribution to the projects.

It’s all happening under a Mauritian model (no, not that kind of model but there are plenty of them there) called Now For Tomorrow

Over to you, Thierry

Stitched Panorama

Thierry Montocchio, CEO of the VLH group, puts flesh on the bones.

He said: ‘Our conservation programme that created ten artificial reefs in the Bel Ombre lagoon has enabled significant regeneration of the corals.

‘And we have seen 20 new species of fish.

‘Our Heritage Training Academy has empowered local communities.

‘And offered them a career in the hotel industry.

‘Our new water bottling unit enabled us to avoid using the equivalent of 27 tons of plastic bottles in 2019.

‘And in addition, 65% of our waste has been recycled.

‘Now for Tomorrow is also a first in the sector.

Because it promises carbon neutrality through clearly defined objectives and an action plan.

‘Acting for the climate and the environment means identifying and neutralising our greenhouse gas emissions.

‘And coming up with concrete initiatives to achieve carbon neutrality.’

Local produce

Palm trees: Obviously

The group has also committed to include from the beginning of next year 100% of the fruits and vegetables, seafoods, poultry and meat consumed in their hotels will come from Mauritian farmers and producers.

Or from regional partners in the Indian Ocean.

They are looking to recycle 75% of its waste by 2022.

‘And aims to reduce food waste by committing to a pilot project carried out in collaboration with The Pledge on Food Waste.’

It’s a deal

Meet the locals: I feel peckish

So now you’ve signed up to doing your little bit to save the planet what are you getting for your bucks?

Well, Heritage Resorts has Heritage Awali.

It is billed as the best 5* all-inclusive resort in Mauritius offers you €193 per night per adult.

And the Heritage Le Telfair, your refined small luxury hotel from €124 per night, per adult.

It’s an even better deal

And some monkeying about: But friendly residents

Should your budget not stretch that far.

Then Veranda Resorts has Veranda Palmar Beach  €25 per night, Veranda Paul & Virgine €44 per night and Veranda Pointe aux Biches €54.

And a nod to others

Food for thought: Exotic foods

Now, we all love to let ourselves go when we’re away but excess doesn’t equate to success.

It would be wrong too to accept that all holidaymakers particularly those from my bailiwicks, Britain and Ireland, just go on holiday for the sun, sea and sangria.

And care little about the country they visit or its people.

We take, of course, our inspiration from those for whom conservation isn’t the latest fad.

And have been banging the drum for years.

Luscious landscapes: In Mauritius

Such as G Adventures and their initiative Planeterra.

I saw first it hand in Jordan and they employ it across the world.

While we’re also glad to see that our friends in Mauritius are leading the way on the future coral.

Which my old buddies from the Maldives and Tobago will fully subscribe.   

And finally

The whole planet’s future depends on us doing the right thing… and our small nations are standing up and being counted.

So, let’s hear it for Carbon neutral in Mauritius.

 

 

 

Asia, Countries, Europe

In Bodrum it’s the pipe of peace

The Son and Heir was more used to me ordering a coffee and a biscuit, but when in Bodrum it’s the pipe of peace.

Well they say that in life you should try everything (and that would include the shisha pipe) once.

By hookah, by crook


Smokin’: The hookah

You probably need to be from Turkey, the Middle East or North Africa, to pull off the kasbah chic look.

And so that when I joined the shisha gang next in Istanbul and Jordan I declined the pipe of peace.

My cuppa tea

A beautiful day: Bodrum

Instead I just sipped my mint tea and watched the regulars play chess.

In Bodrum. I dare say there were more than a few Bobby Fischers, but on our first days in the marketplace it was backgammon.

They played a different, more fast-paced game than the one me and my Mum would play back in the stuffy Glasgow suburbs.

It wouldn’t have gone down well to chain smoke in front of my Dear Old Mum, exhort Allah or slam my counters down.

Chairman of the board

Counter attack: Backgammon

The cry of Ally filled the air too in Bodrum when I would try to bring the Son and Heir back into line.

And would discover a market trader swirling the six-year-old in the air exclaiming Ally!

They would look out for the boy every day with the Arabic name every day when we would walk through the market.

We had made instant friends.

And we would enjoy a family holiday we still look back on with joy 20 years later.

A slice of Turkey

It’s all about the… tea

I would fall in love with Turkey, its Turkish barbers, mud baths and Turkish dancers.

Which is why my heart breaks to see the wildfires around Bodrum.

And holidaymakers evacuating for rescue boats.

The Turks have suffered particularly badly through the pandemic.

So the wildfires must feel like the last straw.

Flying Turkey

Flying high: Turkish Airlines, Istanbul

Inevitably, and not without some evidence, the climate change zealots are taking excessive joy out of the situation.

I, of course, do not have the answer. But I would say that we cannot glibly just say make it more difficult to fly.

As exploring foreign countries, meeting the locals and making their friendship is the best way of breaking down barriers.

Because when they do get back on their feet, remember in Bodrum it’s the pipe of peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

America, Asia, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Our world is ever changing

Our world is ever changing but not according to the cork map I’ve been sent.

OIt has taken me, in truth, the best part of a week to realise that this world at my fingertips was the one of my schooldays.

When Britain was still in denial about the loss of Empire.

Pin sharp

A different world

It was only after I’d stuck the pins in (I’d expected them to include them as in the picture) that I’d realised.

I’d covered Western Europe in red, blue and a spot of Irish green.

And adapted as your sticky pins only seem to come in the primary colours.

Red, white and blue

Don’t tell the Indians

So you end up pinning the Oranje Netherlands in red which to be fair is one-third of their flag.

And Italia in verde green the same, though Il Bel Paese is more associated with sporting azzurro.

Some countries have spent generations fighting not to go red so it seemed wrong to pin Germany red, but hey ho.

Red, of course, means different things, in different places and America and the Arab World proudly flashes red.

We will pin them on the beaches

And it can’t be a Beijing Duck

Of course it’s not just travel-longing Travel Editors who pin stickers to an atlas.

And world leaders are probably doing the same as we speak.

I’ve seen it too first hand at Winston Churchill’s War Rooms in Whitehall in London.

Now I’m thinking that I must have been delivered one of Winnie’s maps when I turned my attentions to Asia.

It can’t be a Mumbai mix

It’s not Queenstown any more: Cork

And saw that my mapmakers are still clinging to old British names of Bombay (Mumbai) and Peking (Beijing).

Before scanning back to Ireland to check that the names were correct.

It truly would not have surprised me if their cartographers were working to a 20th Century template.

I should have known when they insisted that my purchase was for a Queenstown map of the world.

Rather than a Cork one.

Our world is changing for sure, it’s just some are stuck in the past.

 

 

 

 

America, Asia, Countries, Europe, Music, South America, UK

Olympic anthems

It’s not always the official song, so as we all zone in on Tokyo, here’s Rainy Days and Songdays Olympic anthems.

You go, Subo

In the pink: SuBo

Wings to Fly (Tokyo): Were you surprised too to see Scottish nightingale Susan Boyle trilling out Wings to Fly to accompany the release of those doves in the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo?

Not bad for a wee lass from Bathgate, Scotland, where the birds disturb the peace by dropping their stuff on you.

Houston, we have an anthem

Smile and style: Whitney

One Moment in Time (Atlanta): Now there was no female singer in the world in the 1990s than Whitney Houston.

And the warbler was the obvious choice for the signature tune for the 1996 Olympics in Georgia. Alas, this had all the saccharine of the city’s most famous soft drink.

What Katy Did Next

And she’ll be in Vegas soon

Rise (Rio)Katy Perry too was stellar, and still is, at the last Olympics in 2016 but she didn’t rise to the occasion with this overproduced piece of schtick.

Too earnest, we’d have far preferred Fireworks. And there are plenty of them in Rio by the sea-o.

Dream Small

Small wonder: Heather

Proud (London): Big hair, big smile voice, Heather Small was Big in the late 80s with dance band M People.

And big again when Heather re-released her solo song Proud as the anthem of the London Olympics in 2012.

We see Heather more now on reality TV, Strictly, the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage but would rather hear That voice.

Barcelonaaaaaaa

Catalan cantatas

Barcelona, Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé: And one we definitely see, overblown opera with Fandango Freddie and Spanish Soprano Montserrat.

All against the backdrop of brilliant Barcelona.

Your Olympic anthems

But what would be Freddie’s discipline? A lover of ballet, we’re thinking rhythmic gymnastics.

But what are your Rainy Days and Songdays Olympic anthems?

 

America, Asia, Countries, Europe

Olympics Flag Day

It’s a vexillologist’s dream, Olympics Flag Day… and there were 206 of them at the opening ceremony.

Of course the majority of them will never be seen again on the podium.

Now flags are really just the costume a country dresses itself up in.

Olympics Flag Day

So just like women and dresses it would never do if you turned up with your best flag.

And then you saw somebody there with the same drapery.

But that is exactly what happened at the 1936 Games in Berlin.

See the Leichtenstein flag

When Leichtenstein turned up for their first Games proudly displaying their blue/red split horizontal flag.

Only to see Games veterans Haiti flying theirs.

And so they did what every lady does… accessorise by adding a crown while Haiti added their coat of arms.

And Haiti has had a redraw

Of course the Olympics are the chance for every country and its athletes to meet people they’d never encountered before.

So just a couple of words here on some flags we’ll see a lot more of in the next couple of weeks.

Made in Japan

Nice one sun

Japan: The Rising Sun flag is one of the most distinctive and easiest to draw… if you’re Giotto.

Japan is said to have been founded by the Sun goddess Amaterasu in the 7th Century BC.

And is an ancestor of first emperor Jimmu… and surely a relative.

Chinese stars

Keep the red flag flying here

China: We all associate China with the Reds but, of course, Communism only dates back 70 odd years.

Not being political here but we prefer an earlier iteration, the Yellow Dragon Flag used by the Qing Dynasty.

Betsy’s bunting

And how it was

USA: The world’s most famous seamstress, you can learn the whole story of the American flag in the City of Brotherly Love.

Of how Betsy Ross sewed the definitive Stars and Stripes in Philadelphia.

And persuaded George Washington to agree to five-pointed stars rather than six because that was easier to sew.

UK OK?

Look who’s dropped in: Boris Johnson

UK: So, you thought you know the story of the Union Jack, actually the Union Flag, the Jack is naval.

It encompasses the St George’s flag of England and its then vassal territory Wales, the Scottish St Andrew’s Cross and the St Patrick’s Saltire.

As was inevitably the way of it the English wanted to tuck the Scots flag up in the corner and the Jocks to have their ceoss dominate.

Until they came up with the drape we all know.

Uber alles

Go for it Gretschen

Germany: The German black, red and yellow horizontal bands derive from the 1848 Year of Revolutions.

And are inspired by the black uniforms with red facings and gold buttons of the Lutzow Free Corps who fought Napoleon.

Happy to share

Pole position: Scotland or Tenerife

Scotland and Tenerife: Vexillologists everywhere know that Scotland and Tenerife share the same flag.

But for those who need a reminder I unpicked the threads of it.

You’ll not see the Saltire fly at the Tokyo Games unless, of course, it’s draped around the shoulders of Jock winners.

That would be a twist on Olympics Flag Day.

But it should have been me, it should have been me.