Dr B.’s parents are coming down from Staffordshire tonight, then tomorrow morning the four of us are hopping onto the Eurostar and spending the next forty-eight hours in Paris.

He has organised this as a present for his dad’s birthday, and getting his mother to come along took some planning and presentation skills, as in the past she had threatened to divorce her husband if he ever sprung a surprise trip abroad to her. Ireland? That’s OK. Anywhere where people speak foreign and eat strange? Nah.

So Dr B. told his mum he was taking his dad to Paris, and would she be at all interested in coming along if I was there? She knew I lived there for six years, and having me around probably means that she would never have to interact with the locals.

I don’t have more information about this, but I know her a little and she does not strike me as a closed-up or fearful person. Maybe she is a little like me, in that she gets extraordinarily frustrated if she is not able to communicate properly.

Why do you think I got so interested and good at languages?

Why do you think I made super human efforts to lose my accent?

Why do you think I start boiling with rage whenever I mispronounce something?