WE know Hong Kong's summer diaspora has officially ended when we spot the French Consul-General back in circulation on the cocktail circuit. Bumping into Laurent Aublin we engaged him in conversation about his distinct South of France tan, while he seemed more keen to talk to us about Cartier. This might have had something to do with our recent story which had South African Consul-General Michael Farr faintly implying that since the majority shareholder of the renowned jewellery company was South African tobacco baron Anton Rupert it was no longer French. As diplomatically as it is possible in the middle of Des Voeux Road Central, the genial Aublin reminded us that although Cartier's main shareholder was a South African - a fact he apparently was fully aware of - it's still a French company. The possibility of France declaring war with South Africa over this nationalistic slight was raised. But, as Aublin pointed out with barely concealed Gallic pride, South Africa's military might is sustained by French weapons. Anyway, we digressed. Back to Aublin's holiday - Did he have a good time? 'Of course. We French believe that a vacation was the best thing anyone could ever have invented.' So that explains the term 'French leave'.