At 0600hrs each morning* - whilst Lady P-G stumbles about removing her curlers, fag in one hand, mug of gin in the other - the young masters Pedant-General are assembled at the base of the flagpole outside the grace-and-favour apartment, that they may raise the Union Flag accompanied to the strains of the National Anthem. A similar ritual is, of course, performed at sundown, with the obvious substitution of the "Last Post".
Deference of this nature to Her Majesty is, shall we say, eccentric "North of the Border". On this note, something in this excellent article, from the stridently Canadian Mr Steyn, struck a chord.
Chris Patten made some remarks to the effect that he thought we'd seen the forging of a European identity in the enthusiastic support for the Ryder Cup team and the objections to Bush's steel tariffs. You couldn't help noticing that this "European identity" expressed itself mainly as opposition to America.
It all rang a very weary bell for me: for decades, the definition of "Canadian identity" has boiled down to a list of ways in which we're not American, most of them counter-productive.
Am I alone in thinking that very much the same could be said - and I am bracing myself for a diatribe, particularly from Mr Dickson - for the attitudes of the Scots towards the English?
* subject, of course, to the usual caveat of daylight hours at this latitude during the winter months.