Letter: The truth about English tourists

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Sir: What a sad splenetic little letter from Melissa Rapp of New York. While I am sure we export just as many awkward sods and moaning minnies among our tourists as does any country, not least the US, she seems to have done mighty little to understand the people she is hosting.

'Did you order this rain for us?' is almost certainly a gentle josh or send up. Perhaps British (which is, I suspect, what Ms Rapp means by English) tourists should be aware that the send up is the quickest way to make an American feel insecure; they simply don't understand it and tend to take it awfully personally. But as part of her preparation for her work, should Ms Rapp not also have learnt that the send up is a very British form of humour, often denoting a friendly attitude?

Yours faithfully,

PETER MAIR

London, NW3

17 January

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