We all believed it - but now we know it's true. Essex is not part of England. It actually belongs to France.
For over a decade scientists at South Havering Institute of Technology - SHIT - have been investigating the geology, anthropology and biology of Essex. Using the latest techniques, and supported by a grant from the Centre du Recherche au Ancienne Problemes - CRAP - the scientists at the Institute have made some remarkable discoveries.
"There has always been this feeling about Essex - that it was somehow different from the rest of England", says research director Armand de Bumme. "Well, now we can prove it. All these short people in Romford - we've discovered that they're actually French Gypsies. Funny Essex place names? All French. Did you know that Colchester means "lump in your arse"? And as for personal names - well, Tracey is actually Norman French - Tract de Hy - meaning Slag who dances round her campfire".
"And so it goes on. The geology of Essex is startling - all their rocks are foreign. French, in fact. How cool is that? A day in Southend is a day in St Tropez but without the passport shit. And if you stick a grape pip in the ground in Margaretting in February you'll get a bottle of Chateau Neuf du Pape in August.
"Frankly, we're baffled. Why should a hole in the ground like Essex be so favoured as to be abroad? OK, France is a bad draw - but what the hell, Essex is a good one?