Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary: How do I stop the cleaner ‘helping’ with my jigsaw?

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Q. Unlike my wife, I am tiring of Netflix. Wanting a project to occupy me during these long dark nights, I invested in a marvellous wooden jigsaw puzzle from Wentworth. The 1,000-piece fine art seascape arrived and I set up a table and chair in our library in anticipation of weeks of quiet gratification. I spent the first few evenings laboriously working on the edges but this week I have seen that there has been progress made without my input. My wife and I can only assume that the culprit is our cleaner of 35 years, thinking that by adding pieces she is ‘helping’. I know she would be offended if I say something — yet if I say nothing she will ruin the whole point of my project. Mary, what should I do?
— R.E., Lancashire

A. Arrange for your wife to confide in the cleaner that she, your wife, is in your bad books as she added some pieces to the puzzle. Instead of being grateful, you had behaved with uncharacteristic childishness and said it was a project you are determined to accomplish alone and that you had had a complete sense of humour failure when she tried to tease you about it. If the cleaner then confesses that she too has added pieces, your wife must cry girlishly: ‘Well! We’ll both know better than to try to help him out again, won’t we?!’

Q. In our part of Wiltshire we have a fresh fish weekly delivery service. The van arrives packed with succulent seafood but the object of many a housewife’s fascination is with the fisherman himself, regardless of his catch. I understand the same is true of a neighbouring county, where the object of affection is the log delivery man, and marital homes are being overwhelmed with enough logs for an unending winter.

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