Dear Mary

Dear Maryrss

4 July 2015

Q. The problem encountered by R.B. of Fareham (6 June) is similar to one I wish to avoid. I have organised an informal lunch for old boys of the grammar… Read more

Image: Getty

27 June 2015

Q. My partner, a leading political commentator on a national newspaper, recently agreed to shave off his hair at the suggestion of his editor, in order to write and illustrate… Read more

20 June 2015

Q. I was at the theatre recently and bumped into a well-known Liverpudlian crooner coming out of the disabled lavatory. She said ‘Don’t worry, luv, it’s fine to use them… Read more

13 June 2015

Q. My parents brought me up to write only my name in a visitors’ book. However, following a recent long weekend in the house of a friend’s father, I was… Read more

6 June 2015

Q. What should I say the next time I run into a woman with whom I was at art school but who obviously does not want to be friends with… Read more

30 May 2015

Q. I felt uncomfortable during a dinner for 20 in a private house. The young man on my left had failed to turn to the woman on his left when… Read more

23 May 2015

Q. How can I discipline inconsiderate people who do not reply properly to wedding invitations? I am being driven demented by replies on cards from people who have scrawled, for… Read more

16 May 2015

Q. I have a friend who can be shy and inhibited. Recently, he was invited to stay on a Caribbean island by a generous and rich host, so wanted to… Read more

9 May 2015

Q. As a writer I find working at home too distracting. I am a longstanding member of the London Library where rules and conditions allow one to concentrate in perfect… Read more

2 May 2015

Q. Six months ago I invited some old friends to be my guests at a reunion dinner. We all love each other but never get round to meeting. The evening… Read more

25 April 2015

Q. I socialise in Shropshire every weekend and regularly give dinners which end at 2 a.m., but it’s a different matter in London, where I have to leave the house by… Read more

18 April 2015

Q. I have moved from London to the centre of a historic market town, now becoming famous as a foodie destination. For some reason people who would never have dreamt… Read more

11 April 2015

Q. For ten years, I have made a reasonable freelance income working from home. During this time my husband has gone out to an office to work, leaving home in… Read more

Champagne Picnic

4 April 2015

Q. Someone I was at university with but hadn’t seen much of over the ten years since invited me to come for a weekend at his country house. I went… Read more

28 March 2015

Q. When sending wedding invitations, does one put the full titles on the card, or can one just put, for example, Jane and John having addressed the envelope to Mr… Read more

21 March 2015

Q. I’m a single bloke now and for various reasons don’t foresee any change to that status. I have moved to Australia and found several convivial people of similar backgrounds… Read more

14 March 2015

Q. A wonderful and generous woman invites me, on a regular basis, to dinner parties at her house. What is an appropriate gift for an impoverished artist to take along… Read more

7 March 2015

Q. A close friend is dating a renowned decorator. Meanwhile, on a limited budget, I am trying to smarten up my flat. I could not afford to pay her but… Read more

28 February 2015

Q. I was not brought up in England and don’t appear in Who’s Who. This means that there is no printed record of my date of birth. I’m not vain,… Read more

21 February 2015

Q. I have regularly stayed with a hospitable friend in London but now hesitate to invite myself. She is seventy-something with a bad back and no help but always provides… Read more

14 February 2015

Q. I have a friend with multiple sclerosis. She lives alone in the countryside. There is no bus service and, due to her physical condition, she was disqualified from driving… Read more

7 February 2015

Q. The woman who lives above me has insomnia and walks around all night. I’m also disturbed by her rather noisy cat, which seems to be constantly jumping around. Together… Read more

31 January 2015

Q. My husband — currently unemployed — has started ‘sourcing’ logs from our own smallholding. Chopping down perfectly good trees, sawing logs, drying them … to say nothing of trying to get… Read more

24 January 2015

Q. A neighbour is hosting a party for his daughter’s 21st birthday. Adequate provision has been made for anyone who wants to sleep over but I won’t be taking up… Read more

17 January 2015

Q. After a recent dinner I found myself on a two-seater sofa enjoying the restful company of a woman who seemed happy to do all the talking while I just… Read more