In my previous blog, I described the pleasures of those household wares catalogues that are pushed through our letter boxes.
One product in particular caught my attention. It's the Union Jack Door Mat. That's right, a door mat with a union jack design on it.
Now, let's just work out in detail how that functions. You walk around the streets picking up the usual mess on the soles of your shoes: dirt of all sorts, sticky sweets, chewing gum and, if you're unlucky (though some say it's lucky), dog poo.
Perhaps you also take a walk in the park so add some mud, grass and various other kinds of animal poo to that list. And then you come home and you wipe your feet…on the Union Jack!
Is it just po-faced me or does this not seem a tad disrespectful?
Of course, the national flag appears on all sorts of things nowadays. And it's not just the Union Jack. For example, you can get beach towels in the national colours of many countries – including Germany.
I suppose it brings a bit of patriotism to holiday beaches – and the booking of sun loungers. I can imagine valiant Brits by the hotel poolside in the middle of the night spreading a Union Jack beach towel over a sun lounger – not a German flag beach towel in sight - in much the same way our ancestors unfurled the flag at one of the Poles or on top of Mount Everest.
All the same, I still can't help thinking that those patriotic beach towels will still be used for drying and wiping….well, er, the more delicate parts of the human body.
Again, is it just me that thinks there's something slightly not quite right about wiping your feet or your backside on the national flag? Wouldn't that be a criminal offence in some countries?
I remember travelling in Thailand in the 1970s. The advice among young travellers to anyone planning a visit to the cinema was not to forget to stand for the national anthem which was played at the start of every performance.
Tales abounded of non-compliant foreigners arrested half way through a film. Maybe things have changed but I definitely wouldn't risk using the Thai national colours as a beach towel in that country.
Still, wiping your feet on the Union Jack seems to be in a class by itself. I've not come across another country's flag being used as a door mat.
On the plus side, the manufacturers of the Union Jack Door Mat must do great business exporting it around the globe. What could make a better present for anyone with anti-UK sentiments? Is there a roaring trade in Union Jack Door Mats to Iran and Iraq? Does Al-Qaeda place bulk orders? Have sales shot up recently in Argentina?
Maybe I should be more relaxed about it all. After all, doesn't it say something about British toleration and good sense? Isn't it reassuring to live in a society where there’s no law against wiping your disgustingly filthy wellies all over the national flag?
Well, probably. But I must admit I'm very glad I haven't yet come across a St Andrew's Cross Door Mat. I think I'd write to the Herald to complain about that.
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