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
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.”