OK, I couldn't wait. I thought I'd share this with you. A wee taster, so to speak, of what is to come. I wrote this for Wolfshead Bowmen's newsletter "Arrowmail", which will be out in a month's time.
“The Noble Art of Flag Making”
“Ow, dat’s my finger!”
By Howling Mad Morti
1. Insanity is a requirement, however brief it lasts.
2. In a moment of insanity, barter with, or promise, another individual (Flaggee) that you will make them a Flag.
3. Decide on the most intricate design possible, or better yet, get Flaggee to nominate the most intricate design possible.
4. Calculate the length of time it will take to make The Flag, and make this promise to Flaggee well in advance of the date that The Flag is required, ensuring it is at an event.
5. Over the course of the following weeks, continue to promise to the Flaggee that The Flag is in hand.
6. Three weeks before The Flag is required, suddenly realise that the deadline for commencement of work was a month ago.
7. Race around the shops searching for exactly the correct shade of material to make The Flag.
8. Get home, unpack equipment & supplies, and then realise that you haven’t bought enough sewing cotton. Do no work on The Flag, as you convince yourself that it would be stupid to start work and then run out of thread.
9. Two days later, go and buy more sewing cotton.
10. Spend three days searching the internet for elements of the most intricate design possible.
11. Finally decide on the most intricate element for the most intricate design possible, create a stencil, and start cutting out the fabric.
12. Realise halfway through cutting out the first element that they take three times as long to cut as you had planned for. Groan at prospect of cutting a further 7 out…
13. One week later, finish cutting out all 8 elements.
14. The next night, cut out flag panels to commence stitching the elements onto. Commence stitching the elements onto their panels.
15. Realise halfway through machine stitching the first element to its panel that they take three times as long to stitch as you had planned for. Groan at prospect of stitching a further 7…
16. Decide to speed things up by using appliqué glue to hold the elements in place, rather than pins. Spend four hours peeling the elements off the paper they were laid on as you applied glue. Adhere the elements to their panels. Continue stitching the first element.
17. Re-thread machine after thread breaks three times, catch your finger on the needle a further four times, and remove glue that you used to adhere the element to The Flag from the needle half a dozen times, before completing the stitching of the element. Go and blubber in a corner for ten minutes.
18. Spend half your time stitching with no light, as the vibration of the sewing machine loosens the lightbulb within, but it’s too hot to tighten up again immediately. Promise husband when he rings from work on nightshift, that you are going to bed now – then after call, stay up a further hour. Go and blubber in a corner for a further ten minutes.
19. Continue to promise to Flaggee that The Flag will be ready in time.
20. Over the course of the next 7 days, repeat steps 17 and 18 until all 8 elements are stitched to their panels.
21. Three days before The Flag is due to be handed over to the Flaggee, commence stitching the panels together.
22. On completion of the first side of The Flag, realise that you have stitched the panels together in the wrong order, unpick, and re-stitch.
23. Two days before The Flag is due to be handed over to the Flaggee, stitch the second side of The Flag together (without incident) and stitch both sides together (also without incident). Stay up an extra hour to ensure all the tabs are stitched on the top and side. Only manage to complete half the tabs. Stay up a further hour to pack for the event at which you are due to hand The Flag over.
24. The night before The Flag is due to be handed over to the Flaggee, stay up an extra two hours to finish making the tabs and stitching them to The Flag. Cut loose cottons off, press lightly. Stay up another hour to finish packing for the event at which you are due to hand The Flag over.
25. Collapse in a corner, muttering quietly to yourself, and dribbling in an insane manner.
26. After half an hour, go to bed for about 4 hours.
27. The day of handover – pass The Flag over to The Flaggee with great reverence, and hope they don’t notice the blood (from where you snagged your finger on the needle). Accept praise for your hard work (wiping dribble away from mouth with sleeve) and solemnly promise yourself never to make the most intricate design of Flag possible, ever again.
28. After a year has passed, repeat steps 1 to 28………
They don’t make Flag a four-letter word for nothing……..