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Polish immigrants told: 'Make friends with people in the UK by complaining about the rain'
The weather and your family are fine, but steer clear of politics and religion.
That's the advice on appropriate topics of conversation for Polish immigrant workers newly arrived in Devon.
The county council is handing out a 13-chapter guide to settling in Britain which suggests that sparking up a conversation by complaining about the rain is a polite way to make friends.
It explains how to drink tea, and provides the useful warning that the question 'How are you?' should never be answered with a list of detailed health complaints.
The guide also makes it clear that visitors should not to be alarmed if the locals call them 'my love'.
Other tips in the UK Welcome Pack, which is believed to have cost tens of thousands of pounds to produce, include the fact that the British say please, sorry and thank you 'a lot'.
The pamphlet, produced in both English and Polish and created by the Devon Migrant Worker Task Group, goes on to provide the finer details of tea-drinking.
It says a cup of tea or coffee is 'an opportunity to overcome shyness and make everyone feel more comfortable', adding: 'You may be asked whether you want your drink weak or strong, white (with milk) or black (without).'
The guide also explains the quintessential stiff upper lip, stating: 'Making complaints doesn't come easily to most English people, as it risks hurting someone's feelings.
'In general, English people do not say directly what they think, especially if it could be seen as criticism or as offensive.
'Unless people know each other well they usually avoid topics like religion or politics which might cause arguments.
'Instead people will ask about your family or where you are from.'
The pack encourages workers to use the library, grow vegetables on an allotment, and even take up rambling.
Other recommendations include tipping between 10 and 15 per cent in restaurants, joining the local parish council and smiling at everyone you see.
One chapter on 'fitting in with the locals' states: 'Greetings are often informal (Hi, Hello) and handshakes are not usual except when meeting someone for the first time.'
It goes on: ' "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".
'Humour is often used to overcome uneasy or difficult situations. It's important to understand that telling a joke is just the English way of coping.'
Another section on the dangers of alcohol warns: 'If you drink so much that your behaviour becomes unreasonable, or you are not capable of looking after yourself, you could be arrested by the police.'
Between April 2005 and March 2007, 5,360 Poles applied for National Insurance numbers in Devon.
Sally Foxhall, of the Devon Strategic Partnership, said: 'We are doing all we can to make migrant workers feel welcome and valued in our communities.'