British embassies tell citizens: “Don’t ask us how to make jam”

Embassies are there to help. If you’ve lost your passport, they’ll replace it for you. If you’ve been mugged, they’ll visit you at the hospital. If there’s a revolution going on, they’ll airlift you out.

But they won’t tell you where to buy the best shoes, give your kid a lift to the airport, show you how to pack your bag, and they will never, ever, tell you the right proportion of sugar and fruit that is needed to make good jam.

These are just a few of a long list of stupid requests British embassies have received from their citizens traveling abroad, and the ambassadorial staff is getting a wee bit ticked off. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is now issuing clear instructions on what embassies will and won’t do. They’re busy helping out the guy who had his suitcase stolen or the drunken lout who got his penis set on fire by an angry woman he was harassing. They don’t have the time, inclination, or ability to predict the weather, manipulate the exchange rate, or pay taxi fare.

Yes, those are all actual requests.