For each of the athletes who achieved a first-place finish at the Olympics, a post box in their hometown has been re-coloured gold by Royal Mail.
Yet for all that it was intended as a patriotic celebration, the focus on localised achievement has cast a light on sub-national loyalties and rivalries.
It didn’t take long, for instance, for Yorkshire-based social media users to calculate that the historic county’s seven golds and total haul of a dozen medals would put it 12th on the global table were it an independent nation – a feat quickly trumpeted in adverts for tea brand Yorkshire Gold.
When a pillar box was painted gold in Harlow, Essex, birthplace of Laura Trott, the cyclist took to Twitter to protest that the marker should have been in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, where she grew up.
Makes a welcome change from “women rule in these Olympics”. There are so many sub-national loyalties in these isles that it’s a wonder we even know where we’re from. Personally, mine is Northumbria. Remember the ’19!
I once went to Tasmania and as a tiny island, expected it to be as one. Just outside Launceston, I asked my hosts if they ever went into town, meaning Hobart. Often, they said. Casinos seem good, I said. Eh? They meant Launceston. Well do you go to Hobart? Decades ago.
The divisions are unbelievable in that little island. From what I can gather, the strongholds are Hobart and area, Launceston, Devonport and the non-area south-west where all the squiggly coastline is. Seems to reflect our situation.