Q. I live in a two-bedroom flat. It is not spacious but happens to be in the centre of Mayfair. By and large I welcome overnight guests. However, among their number is a couple who were essentially friends of my former girlfriend rather than me but who have become used to the convenience of the location. I find the hypocrisy inherent in their visits tiring and wonder how, without a confrontation, I can discourage them from inviting themselves?
— Name withheld, London W1
A. Time was when James Bond wannabes living in Mayfair would keep a half fridge in the bedroom. It meant they could effortlessly pop a cork and toast a conquest with champagne. Why not purchase such a fridge, ideally a second-hand one since they are noisier, and install it in your guest bedroom? Load it and set it going when the couple next visit. They will not like to turn it off at the mains since that will disrupt your chilling arrangements but they will be unable to sleep through the appalling racket, to say nothing of the electromagnetic smog. They will soon stop inviting themselves.
Q. To help him develop his skills, I posed for a young artist renting our cottage. His sketches were so well done that my husband commissioned a large nude of me — I did not realise quite how nude until it was finished. It is so good that the artist intends to exhibit it. I am now torn: do I further my young friend’s career by letting him exhibit — or save myself embarrassment by refusing? I should add that my husband does not accept my reluctance; he says people will see the painting in our house anyway.
— N.S., Hungerford, Berks