Mary Killen

Dear Mary | 14 July 2012

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Q. When we have people to stay for the weekend, each uses, I calculate, about 14 drinking receptacles a day: a glass at breakfast, one before both lunch and dinner and three at the table, plus five coffee or tea cups. There are five in my family and we often have ten people staying, so we wash up as many as 210 receptacles per day. We have two dish-washing machines but still can’t cope. What do you suggest? 

— A.E., Pewsey, Wiltshire 

A. Largesse at this level indicates the need for a third machine in your collection, namely a Bar Aid 500S glass-washer. You can buy one from Hansens at 306 Fulham Road, London SW10 for £2,340 plus VAT. It delivers 1,500 sparkling clean glasses per hour with a choice of 90- or 120-second cycles, while using only 2.5 litres of water per cycle (

Q. Our cleaner has been with us for 26 years and has always been very chatty, but much more so in recent years — often recounting her anecdotes in ‘real time’. This is all very well but now we need to have another bathroom installed on the top floor. The plumbers will be paid a whopping hourly rate and my cleaner will hold up their progress by asking them all about themselves and showing them photo albums of her extended family. How can I stop her from talking to them without causing a major breakdown in our relationship?

—Name and address withheld

A. Simply employ Polish plumbers, briefing them in advance so they can pretend that they do not speak good enough English for chatting purposes. 

Q. Coming across an old Spectator, dated 23 June 2001, I see that you gave faulty information when asked to supply the correct pronunciation of Ascot. This is, of course, not ‘AscOt’ but ‘Ascut’. You said it was ‘As-ct’ with the U silent. 

— G.B.G., Gaillac, France

A. My apologies. Thank you for setting the record straight.

Q. I live in London but was not born here and consequently no one knows my family background or my true age. I have kept this secret partly because my brilliant cosmetic surgeon has managed to make me look, at the very most, 60 — and partly because I am a suggestible woman and if people knew I was really 84, I know I would start to feel my age. How can I put people off the scent? They are starting to get suspicious as I go to Florida so often.

— Name and address withheld

A. Explain that your mother, who is 84, is now living in Florida, and you go there to visit her. The existence of such a woman would make it clear that you were currently no more than 60.