The recent European referenda have seen much mention of the "Polish plumber", an expert in soft solder and copper pipe bending who is threatening to flood Europe with cut-price plumbing services. However I think people in this country are forgetting the natural defences at our disposal. When I last passed through the Dartford Tunnel toll plaza one of the "Cash only" automated lanes was blocked by a car with Polish registration plates. Wandering around was the driver, clearly confused and looking for change but defeated by a combination of our non-standard coinage and our monolingual signage. Of course we'd all like to have helped but we were too busy queuing, another national pastime which confuses our continental neighbours, or pretending we couldn't see a problem. So anyone in Essex or further north who is expecting an Eastern European plumber may be in for a long wait.