Q. I went to lunch in the new house of a rather competitive woman. We have friends in common, without being particular friends ourselves. After lunch she showed me round this (slightly overblown) new mansion in Kensington and I was amazed to see two bathrooms off her marital bedroom. Naturally I enthused, out of politeness, and said how wonderful to have two — to which she replied ‘Oh don’t you and your husband have a double en suite? Oh poor you.’ My husband and I think we are doing well to have one bathroom en suite and I did not appreciate being patronised. How should I have replied, Mary?
— F.R., London SW12
A. You should have reflected for a moment before beaming happily and countering with, ‘Well, we’re really lucky — no offence to you — but it’s actually no problem for us to share a bathroom.’ You would have then remained silent while the implications of your answer sank in.
Q. I recently had an old friend to stay, minus his wife, and on his departure decided to strip the bed myself, rather than leaving it to my very Catholic Portuguese ‘daily’. The bed had been newly made up before his arrival. Imagine my surprise at finding a highly erotic postcard by Christian Schad under the duvet, the subject being two lesbian girls on a bed. I shudder to think what my daily’s reaction would have been had she found it! Do I hang on to the card, pondering on its provenance, or do I return it to the guest? His wife, a judge, might be surprised.
— F.G., London SW1