The US Army prints one to acclimatise troops serving in Britain instructing corn-fed GIs on how to avoid going about insulting HM The Queen.
Now, Microsoft has produced a field manual for US staff serving at its Cambridge research facility on the etiquette, foibles and slang found in our British Isles.
Redmond is reported to have produced the 44-page A Guide to Working and living in Cambridge to explain to those landing from the land where consumer is king and you can drive through almost anything that - no - you can’t just rock up and buy yourself a clip-loaded howitzer... and that some of our words have quaintly different meanings.
The occasion for the book appears to be the opening of Microsoft Research Cambridge's new office on Station Road. Cambridge is one of Microsoft's largest and best-known research facilities, with 200 staff and strong links to the university.
To those en route, Microsoft explains how “some goods are banned completely” and cannot be brought into the country. That list includes narcotics, firearms, stun guns, obscene material and - yes - dead animals.
Actually, you can’t bring most live animals, and especially not pets, either, unless they've been detained for six months in quarantine or got a pet passport – so, like, no Chihuahuas in handbags at Heathrow, Stacey from marketing.
There’s a helpful glossary of terms of things that mean the same but are spelled differently – “estate agent” not “realtor, "flat” not “apartment,” doughboy.
On to that quintessential of British inventions, the boozer. According to Microsoft’s writers: “Pubs, or public houses, are much more than plain bars. They are often warm, homely places full of historical character (and characters!)."
The guide writer's research for this seems to have extended no further than the boozer from My Fair Lady.
As for food, prepare for our, ahem, unique take on world cuisine. Coming from somewhere like US West Coast, where Microsoft is based, employees would be spoiled by an abundance of Chinese, Asian and Pacific cuisine, prepared and served with little concession to the new country. Not so Great Britain, where other nations have been forced to adapt to our Imperial taste buds.
In a word: ghee.
Microsoft reportedly writes: “Be warned that although this exotic cuisine is largely cherished by the British, the takeaways produce food adapted to the British taste and so will not necessarily be as authentic as dishes eaten in those particular countries – slightly more cooking oil and MSG food additive than perhaps should be used!”
There seems no mention of indifferent British shop assistants who not only don't greet you with a cheery Banana Republic "Hi" but would really rather you just fucked right off and didn’t interrupt their conversation at the back.
We contacted Microsoft for a response. Its spokesperson told El Reg: "I'm afraid we have nothing to share on this at this time." ®