Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary | 23 March 2016

Plus: another suggestion for calling in a forgotten debt, and how to handle Brexit arguments

Q. I was interested in the advice given to the niece who owed £30 (12 March). A more direct option, which I have had to use in the past, is: ‘Have you forgotten about the £50 I loaned you?’ The response I received was, ‘I thought it was £30?’ To which I replied: ‘Oh. You hadn’t forgotten then.’
— V.S., Watford, Herts

A. Many thanks for this forthright variant on the earlier solution.

Q. I have from time to time had various discussions with my wife over the sleeping arrangements of my children with their girlfriends and boyfriends when they come home. Needless to say we disagree. I am rather keener on proprieties being observed than she is. That is but nothing, however, compared with vexed question of the sleeping arrangements of my widowed mother and her new ‘(boy)-friend’ (both in their eighties). They are coming to stay shortly. Could you advise on how I approach the delicate question of whether we should be making up one or two bedrooms?
— P.W., Oxford

A. You shouldn’t approach the question at all. It would be undignified for your mother to be interrogated by her own son on such a private matter. Just prepare two bedrooms — as you might easily do for snoring couples in their forties — and, as you show them to the rooms, make no comment or explanation for having done so. Your mother and her boyfriend will in any case be more comfortable in two rooms and it can be left up to them whether they choose to corridor- creep or not.

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