Back in my days of secondary education at one of Great Britain's better Grammar Schools – The Harvey, in Folkestone – I was fortunate enough to have a superb French Master – HO Emerson, 'Emmo' to us boys – whose claim to fame was that he had actually written and published our French text books. It wasn't long before he re-christened me 'Monsieur Dubois', and so I've remained in fun ever since. Being a Yorkshireman by birth, Emmo claimed that the flat northern vowels were the nearest thing to the way French vowel pronunciation should sound. He was probably right. I didn't have a problem, being one of those annoying people who cannot help mimicking anyone in whose company I remain for any length of time.