Dear Mary

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…

How can I get the buyer of a supermarket to notice my products?

24 June 2017 9:00 am

Q. I import a range of very high-quality food products from Europe into the UK. They are regarded as the…

My husband keeps pointing out birds in our garden but I can’t see them

17 June 2017 9:00 am

Q. Having retired, my husband is now an enthusiastic observer of the goldfinches, greenfinches and bullfinches in our garden. Their…

How can I stop a friend posting photos on Instagram of my parties?

10 June 2017 9:00 am

Q. We have received a ‘save the week’ card from friends who take a villa abroad every year. We usually…

How to make the most of the social opportunities of the polling station

3 June 2017 9:00 am

Q. I am a member of a well-known country house opera society, and I organise annual trips to performances for…

No need for excuses with party bores... it’s your duty to circulate

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Q. Re getting away from bores at drinks parties (Dear Mary, 20 May). I take issue with the idea that…

Dear Mary: how do you excuse yourself from a dull conversation?

20 May 2017 9:00 am

Q. My mother always told me that only boring people are bored. However she never got stuck at a drinks…

Stop carping at having to buy a holiday gift for your cleaner. It’s vital

13 May 2017 9:00 am

Q. My 23-year-old son has taught himself to play the piano, learning the theme tune to The Truman Show without…

My cleaner is brilliant but how can I stop her working in bare feet?

6 May 2017 9:00 am

Q. I have a very good cleaner who comes once a week. She is far more efficient than anyone I’ve…

How can we avoid looking like 'awful oiks' at the Fourth of June?

29 April 2017 9:00 am

Q. New colleagues invited us to lunch but didn’t warn us that the clippings had not been cleared up from…