The normally impeturbable Boyo blenches as he strides purposefully by and clearly overhears a treacherous isolated part of a sentence, in which I am apparently telling a colleague "... and kick the cr*p out of the Chinese!". Boyo's discomfiture may be related to the fact that the colleague in question is a Mr Zhang, late of Shandong Province.
"Ah - we need your expertise!" I call merrily to Boyo, but he demurs, fleeing what he clearly fears is an act of imminent violence.
Need I explain to the world that - a propos of the power politics that led to WWI, a fair enough topic for Remembrance Day - we were discussing the curiosity whereby France, Britain, Japan, Germany, Austro-Hungary and the USA were united in a single alliance against the Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the 20th century?