FCO’s 2018 vam­pire di­ary

Bri­tish con­sular staff got calls to ques­tion the ex­is­tance of blood-suck­ing vam­pires, veg­gie sausages...and the re­sults of Strickly Come Danc­ing

Costa Levante News - - NEWS -

By Jack Troughton QUES­TIONS about the ex­is­tence of blood-suck­ing vam­pires, veg­gie sausages, and Strictly Come Danc­ing re­sults were some of the more bizarre calls made to Bri­tish con­sular staff across the globe dur­ing 2018.

The For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice has once again com­piled a list of the most un­usual queries re­ceived over the last 12 months – the FCO hopes it will re­mind peo­ple the helpline is there for emer­gen­cies.

Over the year there were 330,000 calls for help; con­sular staff also dealt with more than 3,400 taken to hos­pi­tal in a for­eign coun­try and 4,900 Bri­tish cit­i­zens ar­rested over­seas. The FCO also is­sued over 29,600 emer­gency travel doc­u­ments.

How­ever, there are times when the phone rings and it is time for some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent and def­i­nitely more Pythonesque than a cry for help.

One call was from a man ask­ing if vam­pires ex­isted in Poland – he was con­cerned why a woman asked his blood type ahead of a first date.

A caller in New Delhi in­quired what time the Bri­tish High Com­mis­sion opened as he had heard it sold veg­e­tar­ian sausages and he wanted to buy some.

And a vis­i­tor to the Ca­nary Is­lands rang to ask for help in per­suad­ing ho­tel man­age­ment to change his room...a stray fe- line had bro­ken in and peed on his bed.

A Nether­lands caller had just watched Hol­ly­wood star Mel Gib­son in Brave­heart and wished to ask ques­tions about the plot; while in the United States, a stray Brit won­dered which celebrity dancer had been voted off hit show Strictly.

In Italy, a caller asked the em­bassy if staff could help ar­range athei­wed­ding, rec­om­mend a florist, and even get tick­ets to meet the Pope; while a man in Kuwait rang to see if any­one on the team was in­ter­ested in adopt­ing a puppy.

An am­a­teur beach­comber asked where he could send a 5ft piece of wood, be­liev­ing it was from a Bri­tish war­ship from the 1700s; and FCO staffers in Bangkok were in­vited to ring a mas­sage par­lour to help a man who fell asleep dur­ing his visit – and did not be­lieve he should have to pay.

“I can re­gret­fully in­form that the For­eign Of­fice isn’t able to of­fer ad­vice on vam­pires, rogue stray cats, or Strictly con­tes­tants,” said an FCO spokesman. “And our ca­pac­ity to de­ploy veg­gie sausages re­mains sadly lack­ing.

“How­ever, of you find your­self in an emer­gency in an­other coun­try, con­tact the near­est Bri­tish em­bassy, High Com­mis­sion, or con­sulate, and our con­sular staff will do ev­ery­thing they can to help.”


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