Mary Killen Mary Killen

Your Problems Solved | 8 February 2003

Etiquette advice from The Spectator's Miss Manners

Dear Mary…

Q. I am in my gap year, have been travelling to Vietnam and the Far East already, and was supposed to have gone off travelling again, this time to Eastern Europe, shortly after Christmas. This trip has now been postponed for various reasons, including waiting to see whether a war will start. In the meantime, I am kicking around the house all day. Can you recommend any reasonably well-paid work, other than cold-calling, that an as yet unqualified 19-year-old can start and stop at short notice, and even do from home if necessary?
L.C., Andover, Wiltshire

A. One in five public schoolchildren is currently infested with headlice resistant to all known treatments. Mothers have been told that the only recourse is to slather on conditioner and comb slowly and fastidiously through the hair, strand after strand, night after night, in an attempt to eliminate just-hatched nits before they have time to give birth themselves. Few parents can factor this extra hour’s work per child into their busy schedule. Most would be happy to pay between £6 and £10 per hour for a visiting youth to do it for them. Advertise your services as a travelling headlice exterminator on the noticeboards of local prep schools and you will be inundated with work.

Q. At Paddington the other day I noticed a middle-aged female of my acquaintance pulling a suitcase with wheels on it. I have always been led to believe that wheels on a suitcase are irredeemably common. Is this no longer the case?
C.B., Broadtown, Wiltshire

A. It was the case until about a year ago. Now practicality has abolished all social restraint. As the public transport system breaks down and gridlock clogs the roads, anyone whose impedimenta prevent them riding a bicycle or using roller blades is excused a suitcase on wheels.

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