If anybody thought that the French were still smarting from the arse-kicking they received at the Battle of Trafalgar, those suspicions can now be finally laid to rest. Two hundred years on from that stunning defeat at the hands of the British Royal Navy, the French are now enjoying some payback as they come to the rescue of an embarrassed and humiliated former foe.
Royal Navy pilots, who have had their Harrier jump jets whipped out from underneath them as a result of savage defence cuts, are now preparing to fly French fighters from French aircraft carriers, whilst being directed by French air traffic controllers, who moonlight as French fishermen, truck drivers and farmers.
Crash courses in French language, customs, traditions and cuisine are being undertaken at Royal Navy flying stations throughout the UK, although a small number of pilots are already aboard the French flagship carrier, 'Amiral Putain Le Merde'.
Lieutenant Commander Baz Baiter RN said, "Learning the lingo has not been so much of a problem. It's mostly a case of picking up on keywords like 'putain', 'merde', 'mon dieu' and 'sacre bleu'. Getting used to the cuisine, culture and traditions has been somewhat more difficult. For example, croissants definitely ain't eggs and bacon and dinner last night was the horse that fell at the first in last year's Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe. The other issue we are struggling with is only having one bath a fortnight and getting by the rest of the time with a quick splash of eau de cologne".
However, Lieutenant Commander Baiter did go on to say, "There is an upside to this whole sorry situation. At least we know we will be safe and not placed in harm's way. If we are deployed to a combat zone, at least we will arrive only once the fighting has finished. Also, if the merde really hits the fan, we'll be the first to stage a tactical withdrawal".