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Mary Killen rss

Mary Killen writes The Spectator’s Dear Mary column.

19 April 2014

Q. We have just moved into a charming little hamlet in Warwickshire and were delighted to find a bottle of wine and a friendly card to welcome us from the… Read more

12 April 2014

Q. Our son, aged l6, has a medical condition which, although not life-threatening, requires surgery by a specialist to pre-empt it becoming lifestyle-threatening. The NHS waiting list is long. He… Read more

5 April 2014

Q. It’s only April and yet I am being emailed by parents who have already taken charge and are drumming up support for collective year presents for teachers at my… Read more

29 March 2014

Q. I have three spare bedrooms in London and I welcome friends to come and stay. Unfortunately, some of these frequent visitors seem never to have been taught how to… Read more

22 March 2014

Q. I am always making or receiving phone calls which get cut off. When I ring the person back their line is engaged as they are trying to ring me… Read more

15 March 2014

Q. Is there a tactful way to keep one social offer on hold while waiting to see if you have made the cut for something ‘better’ you know to be… Read more

8 March 2014

Q. My uncle, who is a brilliant dentist, has looked after my teeth since I was little. He also sees my children and although he runs a private practice, he… Read more

1 March 2014

Q. One of my best friends, who knows I don’t have a great social life at university, has a brother in a band which is touring and will have five… Read more

22 February 2014

Q. Recently a cousin and I gave a small drinks party in the USA. She had invited a very elegant older Hispanic woman. At the end of the party, my… Read more

15 February 2014

Q. Over New Year I stayed with a man who combines being a generous and exciting host with a punctilious need for swift, hand-written appreciation. I had every intention of… Read more

8 February 2014

Q. I gave a copy of Dan Russel the Fox by Somerville and Ross to a couple I know to be very keen on hunting. It’s an out-of-print novel, hard to… Read more

1 February 2014

Q. At a private screening of a documentary about the artist David Bomberg, a woman sitting near me in the hand-picked audience carried on using her iPhone to send and… Read more

25 January 2014

Q. I have a tattoo the length of my forearm and am worried it will alienate my new boyfriend’s parents on a forthcoming beach holiday. There will be no way… Read more

18 January 2014

Q. I have a problem with what might be called location blindness. I live in Balham, but when I arrange restaurant lunches with friends, most of whom live in west… Read more

11 January 2014

Q. We had our son’s fiancée and her family to stay recently. After dinner, expecting conversation, we were shocked to see them all slumped in our drawing room staring at… Read more

4 January 2014

Q. I travel internationally two or three times per month for work, often with one or two colleagues. While the working day and the evenings inevitably involve prolonged contact with… Read more

14 December 2013

Once again Mary has invited some of her favourite figures in the public eye to submit personal queries for her attention. From Sir Les Patterson Q. I am a distinguished… Read more

7 December 2013

Q. Six years ago a rather glamorous man bought the house opposite me. Although he always responds to requests for contributions to the residents’ committee, he has yet to attend… Read more

30 November 2013

Q. My egregious mother-in-law turns 80 this December. She is not short of a bob but for one of my birthdays (the big one) she sent me a card with… Read more

23 November 2013

Q. A friend generously hosts an annual Christmas party in London where we see many old friends we have been missing since we moved to Dorset five years ago. However,… Read more

16 November 2013

Q. Walking at a local beauty spot the other day, I passed a handsome young man. We exchanged a few words and both laughed. Afterwards I wished there had been a… Read more

Manners

Mary Killen: Sandi Toksvig is wrong about the placement of the pudding fork

9 November 2013
Peas & Queues Sandi Toksvig

Profile Books, pp.261, £12.99, ISBN: 9781781251327

Sandi Toksvig, as this book’s cover declares, ‘makes Stephen Fry look like a layabout’. The broadcaster, author, comedian, actress and mother of three has also had time to churn out… Read more

9 November 2013

Q. One of our daughter’s godmothers has given very generous presents but never with any regularity. She was unable to attend the recent 18th birthday party but said on the… Read more

2 November 2013

Q. I am no interior decorator, but we have a couple of rather subtle paint colours in the house that I picked out of a Dulux colour sheet and they… Read more

26 October 2013

Q. One of my oldest and best friends, who has lived up north for years, begged me to let her daughter move in with us as a paying guest for… Read more