Mary Killen Mary Killen

Your problems solved | 21 April 2016

Plus: the troublesome case of the thank-you letter signed ‘C’

Q. A friend of mine’s husband is in his nineties. They are a delightful couple but the husband has started refusing to wear his hearing aids. As a consequence his loving wife has to shout at him to get him to do what she wants — which is only ever something that is to his own advantage, for example go for a short walk in the garden, or go to the television room where there is something on in which he will be interested. In order to achieve a result she has to bawl her lungs out. This is exhausting for her. How can one persuade a recalcitrant old boy to do the decent thing and wear his hearing aids?
— M.K., London W11

A. Your friend can spare herself the indignity of shouting like a fishwife by making recordings of regular instructions. No doubt they don’t vary that much from day to day and each one can be recorded onto an iPhone or laptop. Next time she wants him to go through to the television room, she can trigger an electronic device to bawl out the message (in her own voice) at top volume for as many times as is necessary to elicit the desired response. Not only will your friend spare her voice, her husband may conclude that it would be less irritating for him to make the effort to wear the hearing aids than to put up with these prison-type announcements.

Q. We had a house party last weekend and today I got a lovely tree with a card saying ‘Thank you for a lovely racy weekend’ (it was the Grand National, not a swinging party!). The kind sender signed it ‘love from C’. My problem is we had two Carolines, one Charlotte, one Clare, one Cinty and a Cynthia staying.

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