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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 April 2019

Strictly Come Dancing, vampires and Braveheart: what British embassies are asked

Foreign and Commonwealth Office has released a list of the ten weirdest requests their foreign outposts receive

One caller to a US outpost was desperate to find out which celebrity had been voted off the reality show Strictly Come Dancing
One caller to a US outpost was desperate to find out which celebrity had been voted off the reality show Strictly Come Dancing

British embassies across the globe are called upon by UK nationals travelling abroad to carry out a variety of official functions, but according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) some of the requests made of them this year have been above and beyond the call of normal duty.

The diplomatic service released a list of ten of the weirdest enquiries that they had received across their network of embassies and consulates across the globe, and it showed that travelling or expat Brits had a strange understanding of what support they were entitled to call on.

One caller to an American outpost was desperate to find out which celebrity had been voted off the reality show Strictly Come Dancing the previous night. Another who mistook the service for a cultural archive asked diplomats in the Netherlands about the plot of the film Braveheart

Some thought that their diplomats could intervene on their behalf in petty squabbles they were having abroad: one person in the Canary Islands asked that their hotel be compelled to give them a different room because a cat had “broken into” and urinated on their current bed.

A Briton in Bangkok further misunderstood the remit of the embassy by asking that they act on his behalf to get him another massage after he fell asleep during the first one he had and felt that he shouldn’t have to pay for it.

There was a more romantic situation in Italy, when the diplomats were asked to help arrange a marriage for a couple – including recommending a florist and arranging an audience with the Pope. A hopeful caller in Argentina asked for a list of women who he might be able to marry.

And there were the plain bizarre, including the man who asked the High Commission in New Delhi when they opened so he could buy vegetarian sausages from them, or the chap who was concerned about vampires in Poland and got in touch because a woman asked what blood type he was before their first date.

Surely the sweetest enquiry on the list came from a man in Kuwait who got in touch to ask if any of the embassy staff wanted to adopt his puppies.

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

“But in all seriousness, getting into trouble abroad can be daunting and upsetting. If 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.”

Updated: December 30, 2018 04:02 AM

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