THE UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has revealed some of the most unusual enquiries Brits have made while abroad.
- A caller asked for help with setting up ‘British-style’ hanging baskets at a trade show because the professional gardener hired for the purpose had stage fright.
- A British woman asked the consulate in Albania how to find out if her son’s fiancée was already married.
- A caller asked for advice on how to treat a cat’s infected paw.
- A man called requesting embassy staff in Mexico City go to the airport to check whether he had left his mobile phone on a plane.
- A woman in Italy called to enquire how she could get her TV antenna to receive English-language channels.
- An event co-ordinator in Brussels asked for the name of a Scottish chef based in the country who could make haggis for a Burns Night event.
The FCO’s contact centres received more than 365,000 calls from British nationals last year. While the vast majority were calls from people who needed genuine help, there were many bizarre requests. FCO said such enquiries stem from a lack of understanding of what FCO consular teams can do for British nationals overseas.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office minister, David Lidington, said it was important for consular staff to be able to focus on “our most vulnerable people, such as victims of crime, those who have lost a loved one abroad or people who have been detained or hospitalized overseas”.
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