LONDON — The British Foreign Office is used to tackling matters of import on a global scale.
This year, for example, it was involved when Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats as retaliation after a former Russian spy was poisoned with a nerve agent on British soil.
It helped shepherd President Trump’s contentious visit to Britain in July and, later that summer, Prime Minister Theresa May’s trek to Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa — the first sub-Saharan trip to Africa by a British leader since 2013 — during which she riveted the world with her dance moves.
The office also offers assistance to desperate Britons abroad who seek help, for example, replacing lost passports, procuring medical help in byzantine hospital systems or finding legal guidance after they have been accused of being drug mules.
But there are some questions that stump even the experienced staff of the Foreign Office’s 270 overseas missions in more than 160 countries and territories. Here are some of the odd calls it received this year, the office said in an email on Sunday.
Veggie sausages and strange wood
Women, weddings and vampires
A caller in Italy asked the British Embassy for help arranging a wedding, to recommend a florist and to get tickets to see the pope.
One caller wondered “if we could provide a list of women in Argentina who he might be able to marry,” the office said.
One man requested that the office speak to a massage parlor in Bangkok on his behalf because he had fallen asleep during a massage and felt he should not have to pay for it.
And then there was the man who called to find out if there were vampires in Poland, “because a woman he met online asked what blood type he was before they met for their first date.”
How did the office respond to all this?
A representative said in the email: “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.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as it is formally known, said that the 330,000 calls it received from January to November from Britons included “more than 3,400 people who had been hospitalized and 4,900 who had been arrested. We issued more than 29,600 emergency travel documents to help people.”