Working abroad is awfully spiffing

Matthew Reeves manages to resolve a spot of bother on the border

I live in Canada at the moment, working, living, and soaking up the literally tens upon tens of years of history that this great nation has to offer. But I used to live in marvellous London and I'm still very much a Brit. And the most wonderful thing about working abroad is using and abusing all of the stereotypes Canadian people have about British people for my own benefit.

Apart from the teeth one. Is it just me who didn't realise that everyone in north America thinks all Brits have teeth like a row of broken beer bottles? I tried to defend my people once, and put it this way: I made that mistake so others don't have to.

But luckily what I have been blessed with is the ability to tweak my slightly Hollyoaks accent into something that can be southern, northern, or more Midlands. I usually settle for a lovely mixture of all of them, served up with a dash of Hugh Grant.

One of my core life beliefs is that in order to get what you want, simply play the part you've been given. Being a Brit abroad, all my parts were written by Richard Curtis. My accent sets the scene and from there, I'm off to the races. Let me tell you a story to illustrate what I mean.

This year, I spent the evening of Valentine's Day at the US-Canada border doing a spot of "flagpoling" which, in case you're wondering, simply means getting deported from the US with the intention of going back into Canada and getting a work permit extension. For those of you who haven't been deported from the US, you get a nice piece of paper as a souvenir, which is infinitely cooler than any postcard or mug. Next time you aren't sure what to get for a relative or loved one, why not consider one of these?

But, armed with my deportation slip, I was greeted in Canada as if I was a slurring husband, returning home on 14 February to find the candles my wife had lit hours previously dripping their final waxy tears onto a table of rose petals.

The guard was adamant that "immigration probably won't extend your visa so there's no point in me sending you to be questioned". She was sticking to her guns, and literally had a gun stuck to her.

I didn't need such weaponry. I simply bumbled. "Terribly sorry", and "this is frightfully confusing, please explain it all to me...", and I was sent inside to the "special room" where I was issued with an awfully spiffing work permit. Jolly good show.

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