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Thursday, June 13, 2024
EditorialsUp Front 08/08

Up Front 08/08

A new welcome pack for Polish migrant workers coming to Devon offers lots of helpful advice on subjects such as driving, education, health, family matters and community life. As welcome packs go it does seem to have its finger on the pulse of the British psyche, and even advises visitors to start a conversation by remarking on the weather. It’s somehow inevitable that people will find some of the advice humorous but at the same time it does show great insight into how we cope with day to day life. The pack, which was produced by the Devon Strategic Partnership, boasts one section that is headed ‘Useful tips to get on with the locals’. This includes such gems as; ‘How are you?’ is not really a question, but part of the greeting. Don’t respond with the details of your health. Better to answer with a brief ‘ok’, ‘fine, thank you’ or at the worst ‘so-so’.’ On the subject of starting a conversation it advises the following; ‘As in many parts of the world, talking (mostly complaining) about the weather is a good way of starting a conversation. It is a useful way of agreeing with someone first, especially if you then need to talk about a more difficult subject.’ One of the final offerings in the ‘Welcome to Devon’ section is something that sums up the stoic stiff upper lip that surely must impress every visitor; ‘Humour is often used to overcome uneasy or difficult situations. This can be a bit confusing, so it’s important to understand that telling a joke is just the English way of coping.’ I just wish Spike Milligan was still around to appreciate it.

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