Baron Anton Welleman von Simunic was Head of Modern Languages at ‘Inst’ my secondary school in Belfast. He arrived each morning wearing a forest green cloak, lined in crimson and carrying a swordstick. He claimed to have been personal tutor to the Queen. He once laid a bet for sixpence with the school’s 1200 pupils that he would arrive next day on a white horse in a full set of armour, his winnings to go to the RAF Benevolent Fund. The Board vetoed the idea, but we all paid up anyway. ‘The Baron’ inspired my life-long love of language and my admiration of eccentricity.