Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary | 18 July 2009

Your problems solved

Q. My host on a forthcoming holiday keeps his pool arctic cold so that it is not enjoyable for me to swim in it. I do not want to be a spoilsport. What should I do?

Name and address withheld

A. Bring a wet suit and swim in that, claiming you are extra sensitive to cold.

Q. I recently attended the evening reception that followed the wedding of a male ex-colleague. On the way I picked up a bottle of champagne as a gift, but when I arrived I found that there was no obvious opportunity to present it. Both bride and groom were perpetually surrounded by well-wishers and, furthermore, everyone was already drinking champagne so my poor bottle seemed a bit pointless. I could only stay an hour, so I decided to take it away with me and give it to my friend after the honeymoon instead. As the weeks have gone by, however, it is clear that he has no idea whether any of the evening guests brought gifts, and seems entirely unconcerned in any case. My girlfriend, who adores champagne, is now eyeing the bottle pointedly, and I can’t help feeling that my best interests might now be served by removing the gift label and redeploying the bottle for domestic use. What would you advise?

T., Liverpool

A. Your disquiet is understandable. If you and your girlfriend drink the bottle you will be giving yourselves an unmerited treat at the expense of the deserving intended recipients. On the other hand, your girlfriend has been maddened, like a housemaid with a Tantalus, for long enough.

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