I’ve never seen anybody in Bolton smile. I must’ve been here at least a dozen times and have come across shoppers grumbling at the foot of the Fred Dibnah statue, a set-to outside Wilkos, and most chillingly of all, a pair of little girls skipping down the street with angry scowls on their faces.
We pass a cafe called The Scotch Egg, which must have the most magnificent sign in the entire SK postcode. The ‘o’ in ‘Scotch’ is a cartoon of a scotch egg dressed in a kilt and tam o’shanter, while the wayward nature of its eggy limbs suggests it is mid-Highland Fling.
From a polar bear bench pressing a giant key in Norilsk, the magnificent minimalism of Magnitogorsk’s black triangle, and the bag of wriggling puppies being drowned in a sack on Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky’s standard, Russia has an instinctive understanding of how to best represent yourself on a flag.