Q. We have a heavenly house in Corfu where we go as often as possible. The best thing about it is the intelligent Corfiot couple who look after it for us. Everything is spotless, the cooking is perfect, and their competence make us the envy of all our local expat friends. Now someone has told me that when we are back in England, our couple host wild parties and sleep in the master bedroom. There has been no damage, but instinct tells me that what she says is true. I don’t want to humiliate the couple with a showdown because I don’t want to lose them. But how else can I stop the parties?
—Name and address withheld
A. The parties would stop if you told the couple your insurance company has asked you to install live streaming security cameras linked to your laptops in England. But bear in mind this could backfire. Maybe the reason the couple have the stamina to be so respectful and efficient during your brief visits to the property is because of the glorious perks their job offers, namely that it effectively gives them a second home without having to pay for upkeep. Should that perk be removed, they may resign and in time-honoured fashion, take employment from the same local friend who grassed on them to you in the first place, who may be prepared to turn a blind eye to the party-giving. Try saying to the couple, while praising them for looking after you so well, ‘Can we do anything for you? Would you like to invite some friends here for a party once in a while when we are away? Always letting us know and, of course, not using our bedroom?’
Q. I’m being stalked by a family friend who keeps Snapchatting me wanting to horn in on what I’m doing with my mates. If I say ‘No, wrong vibe’, she wants me to explain all the details of why it’s the wrong vibe and then just persists saying she’s still up for coming. We like her, but she’s seven years younger. Is there a polite way to say ‘back off’?
— Name and address withheld
A. Don’t try to explain — just type ‘Running out of batt. Too long to explain why but it would be wrong vibe for you.’ Then don’t answer any more of her messages till the next day.
Q. I found my 17-year-old granddaughter watching a television dating programme apparently centred on the charms of the opposite sex’s genitalia. The female contestants were hairless and she said in some alarm, ‘Am I supposed to be like that?’ Collecting my wits, for I too was startled, I told her that it was optional, like the tattoos. She then asked ‘But do nice people do it?’, to which I had no answer. Mary, what should I have said?
—Name and address withheld
A. Perhaps you might have given the gnomic answer: ‘No one knows — because, of course, nice people have private parts.’