Just when you think you can recognise every flag in the Olympic village, someone comes along and invents a new country. Or two, if they feel so inclined. South Ossetia is one thing (although it sounds like half a country to me). Abkhazia is a whole nother thing, as my American tutor used to say. I did not know that such a magically named place existed until this week, and am still unsure whether muggles are able to travel there, even with a British passport. I did not know how to spell it until a couple of minutes ago. You have to pronounce it with a frog in your throat and a surprise in your eye.
What people don’t realise as they start recognising new countries east, west and centre is that new countries need a lot of Stuff. A flag, for example. A team to send to London in 2012. A national day off to put in everyone else’s diary so you don’t upset anybody by phoning them then. And a small corner in every other nation in the world to call their own and to serve out Ferrero Rochers to beautiful people. A lot of countries have discovered that London is getting bloomin’ expensive recently and have been buying land for their embassies out of the centre of the capital. Some are as far out from the centre as Holland Park (Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Greece come to mind) and there is in Goldhawk Road, W12, some part of England that is forever Madagascar. It is just not Monopoly.
Where will these ambassadors go next? Well, seeing as no one can afford London prices, and everyone has been moving to such up-and-coming places as Suffolk in recent years, I suspect we may be meeting our new Abkhazian diplomats soon on the local streets. I am inclined to learn a few words in Abkhazian (assuming such a language exists) and practise my Ferrero-unwrapping skills. Who wouldn’t want to entertain the local mothers? Which reminds me, I really ought to tidy the house before my next visitors.