Q. A close neighbour has a two-car garage that occupies her entire street frontage. However, she has developed a habit of parking her car outside my house so that I then have to park way up the street (I only have one car). When her many children visit, they also park in front of my house if I am not there. I think this is rather rude. Is there any way I can tactfully get the message to her that she should either park in her garage or down the street, where there is plenty of room? I have considered appealing to the local council but this seems a bit draconian. Your advice would be much appreciated.
— John, by email
A. Beam pleasantly at the neighbour as you inquire whether she might consider renting one of her two garages to you as a parking space. You have noticed that there is usually an empty space there and you would enjoy the security of having a designated place near your house. You could only afford a peppercorn rent but would she consider it and get back to you? Your having given her this food for thought should ensure the nuisance will be self-resolving.
Q. When having guests round to my new rented apartment one of the first questions I am often asked is, ‘Do you rent or have you bought?’ I often feel they make assumptions about earnings based on the answer. How can I avoid the question without seeming impolite?
— Michael, London SW9
A. Reply, as though astonished, ‘How extraordinary that you should ask! Do you know every single person who has walked through this door has asked the same thing? I am beginning to think people are going to make assumptions about my earnings based on what I answer, so… [wearing a teasing smirk] do you mind if I don’t say either way?’