The crew of the Saucy Sue held their collective breath as the mists cleared, revealing the distant Normandy coastline.
"Avast!" cried Cap'n Dan, his one good eye to the spyglass, his bad eye on the dressing table in his cabin. "Avast, for there be oysters!"
All activity on deck froze. As a man, the crew turned to Roger the cabin boy (if you see what I mean) the lad who had uttered those dread words. Silence reigned for agonisingly long seconds until Cap'n Dan let out a hearty belly laugh, drew his cutlass and thrust it towards France
"That's what I said. Scallops," then, for emphasis, he added "Aaaaar!"
From across the water a small, reedy, heavily accented voice was heard. "Go away, you naughty Eeenglish pécheurs! We don' want you 'ere... 'Ow you say, Péche Off!"
"Who be that?" hailed Dan
"Come on out and fight, you, you.... cowardy custards!" spake Dan, his injunction to be met only with muted sniggers and Frenchly guffaws.
"No! We don't want to, you foolish Eeenglish Capitan Chaos." said the disembodied French voice, "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries! Now, go away, or else we will taunt you a second time!"
"Oh my god sir," piped up Roger. "it's worse than we thought. The French are using Monty Python against us!" And then for good measure, yet no good reason, he added, "Sacre bleu!"
"Don't panic, me hearties," said Dan," We British have a few choice Anglo-Saxon phrases in our vernacular. Don't you worry."
"Coo-ee, Mr Eenglish peeg! We don't hear you!" *more sniggers* "You empty-headed animal food trou..."
"Shut up! Give me a minute..." said Dan, desperation knotting his manly countenance. He looked about his crew for inspiration but was met with blank stares. The French had them and they knew it. Sweat beaded on English brows as the seconds ticked away.
Suddenly he had it. The land of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Byron, Keats and Dickens would not cower before a nation of horse eating, snail chomping, Vichy collaborators. Mais non! The noble poet blood of a mighty people coursed through Cap'n Dan's veins as he drew himself up to his full five-foot-six and bellowed his response into the cold Channel air.
But seriously folks, even with our crippled military strength, surely we still have the stomach for declaring war on France? For old time's sake.