Mary Killen

Dear Mary | 16 June 2012

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Q. I often have the most fascinating dreams. These are not just run-of-the-mill dreams about flying or losing your teeth, but really amazing blockbusters which go on for hours and hours. Naturally I want to share these riveting nocturnal experiences with others, but I always find that when I try to recount them, while they are fresh in my memory, nobody wants to listen. It is they who are missing out, so what is the best way to get someone to stop stuffing in their breakfast and concentrate on something really mind-blowing which I am trying to tell them?

— C.B., London WC1

A. Why not cast your audience as minor characters in the dream? Introduce them right at the beginning. In this way you may be able to hold their attention.

Q. A man I quite fancy who is tall, dark and handsome and successful (and single) really put me off him when he ate an apple in a dining room. There was no reason why he shouldn’t — the fruit was in a bowl on a sideboard and was there for the taking but it was mid-afternoon, the table had been cleared and he was standing up. I just had an instinctive feeling that he had breached etiquette in some way. Can you rule, Mary?

— P.L., London W8

A. Your instinct was correct. An apple should never be eaten in public unless it has been cut up. Chomping into one is inevitably going to be noisy, and it is therefore intrusive. Incidentally, it is never acceptable to eat an apple in a car when travelling with another person. Chopped or not, those within close physical proximity usually prefer to avoid exposure to the fruit’s clammy texture.

Q. We have a big house and my father had kindly agreed to let me put on a Toffstock-style event there. Now it turns out that the insurers are not happy and we cannot go ahead. I have at least 2,000 friends and friends of friends all primed and ready to rave — so can you suggest a miracle solution?

— Name and address withheld

A. You might take a tip from the musical group Madness who, rather than appearing on stage in a boring old auditorium, took over Butlin’s at Minehead for an out-of-season weekend in November 2011 and invited fans to join them there. By all accounts it was the most marvellous success, and Madness are repeating the wheeze this November. given that irony is so fashionable, you could do a lot worse than to relocate your Toffstock to a Butlin’s. The centre at Minehead could easily accommodate your 2,000 friends out of season. To give you a price guideline, Madness fans are being charged £148 for the three-night extravaganza in 2012. There is a stadium for the music, and Butlin’s and Madness are co-organisers. The address for queries of this sort is