Dear Mary

Dear Mary solves problems for Vince Cable, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Lord Archer and Ruth Davidson

16 December 2017 9:00 am

From Sir Vince Cable MP Q. I have an unfulfilled ambition to win a national title for ballroom dancing in…

Mary solves your problems: What do you say when a screaming child is ruining your lunch?

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Q. My wife and I were having lunch in our local bistro. A boy of about two was wandering around…

Mary solves your problems: what’s the right response to a request for no presents?

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Q. We have reached the age when we are receiving invitations from our friends for Golden Wedding celebrations. All the…

Mary answers your problems: The tactful way to get rid of a drunk guest

25 November 2017 9:00 am

Q. I was recently at an informal dinner given by two dear friends, but returned home seething with rage against…

Mary solves your problems: My husband’s started working from home – and he’s driving me crazy

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Q. My husband, who used to be away on business most of the time, now works from home and has…

Mary solves your problems: A family friend stays over all the time – but never actually asks us out

11 November 2017 9:00 am

Q. We have a family friend we don’t see nearly as much as we’d like. This is because he’s so…

Mary answers your problems: How can I stop guests from showing up early?

4 November 2017 9:00 am

Q. Twice in one week I have been found unready for my guests. Occasion one: in the garden, finishing my…

Dear Mary: What’s the etiquette of visiting a friend in hospital?

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Q. What is the etiquette of hospital visiting? A friend in his fifties is about to spend six weeks in…

Mary solves your problems: A friend lent me a treasured keepsake – now they have the gall to ask for it back

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Q. A newish friend who has very good manners lent me a DVD of his grandfather at the Olympics. I…

Dear Mary: the TV mogul whose floral offering did not cut the mustard

14 October 2017 9:00 am

Q. A well-known television mogul,whom I had met only once, came to dinner at my house. I was on good…

Mary solves your problems: How can we avoid eating poisoned mushrooms foraged by a friend?

7 October 2017 9:00 am

Q. We have moved from London into a rural area where we are preparing for the first visit of a…

Dear Mary: am I in danger of being seen as an ‘Instagram creeper’?

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. How can I avoid becoming seen as an ‘Instagram creeper’? My well-meaning niece tells me that I’m in danger…

How can I have a fuss made of me on my 40th, without people knowing I’m 40?

23 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. Last year my husband and I stayed with a much-loved, but slightly airy-fairy friend in her house in Tuscany.…

Mary solves your problems: Should I tell the hostess if I see a rat on her patio?

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. My partner and I recently had two close friends — one a Peer, the other a former Member of the…

Mary answers your problems: is it acceptable to serve a puff pastry circle on a steak pie?

9 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. Some rather flashy new neighbours of ours — I won’t mention their names as his will be familiar to…

Mary solves your problems: How do I dodge my annoying chatty neighbour?

2 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. Our best friends own a house in Morocco which sleeps about ten. They rent it out but go two…

Mary solves your problems: We forgot our guests’ names and couldn’t introduce them

26 August 2017 9:00 am

Q. I am in my seventies and my husband is in his nineties. The other night we had two couples…

With far too many funerals to attend, how do I support my grieving chums?

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Q. Mary, I am what you would probably call a Sloane Ranger. I have great numbers of close friends and…

Never chuck an invite for a better one... unless it’s from the Queen

12 August 2017 9:00 am

Q. I was brought up to stick rigidly to any invitation accepted and never to ‘chuck’ when a better one…

Lots of my friends are turning 40 – how do I cope with the boring, drunken birthday dinners?

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Q. I’m shortly to host a very large family gathering. Everyone will be related to the same ancestor, so we…

How can I stop my children renting out their flats and coming to stay?

29 July 2017 9:00 am

Q. My children are very lucky in that we have bought them all flats. However, they are now renting out…

How can I get more likes for my amazing Instagram posts?

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Q. Last summer a friend of my brother-in-law’s house-sat for us while we were in Greece for a week. We…

Dear Mary: what’s the etiquette when security gates don’t just open?

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Q. Is there an etiquette regarding security gates? My wife and I were invited to dinner by new neighbours who…

Dear Mary: our friend’s new wife is a horror show. How can we avoid her?

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Q. ‘Alfred’ is a friend of 30 years’ standing who has just married for the first time. Alfred retains all…

Is the (occasional) glance permissible when presented with a splendid décolletage?

1 July 2017 9:00 am

Q. We have friends to stay each year in Scotland and it’s always a pleasure. Guests know there is signal…