First-time readers of Flare Path, before you go any further, be aware that the following may contain references to obscure 1920s RAF biplanes. The writer will probably assume you find tankettes, midget submarines, and Welbikes inherently charming. At some point in the text he’ll almost certainly use the phrase “almost certainly” and the words ‘tad’ and ‘Panzer’ (Or, if the column is looking a tad short, ‘Panzerkampfwagen’). Alliteration will go unforgivably unchecked. Semi-colons and hyphens may be used; incorrectly.