Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How can I retaliate for a bitchy thank-you letter?

19 November 2016 9:00 am

Q. Following a lavish house party I received a flood of effusive thank-you letters, the bulk of which praised the…

Dear Mary: Can I accept an invitation to a villa though I have no money?

12 November 2016 9:00 am

Q. A man I know (but not very well) has invited me and another girl to stay in a villa…

Dear Mary: How do we entertain elderly friends visiting London?

5 November 2016 9:00 am

Q. Some elderly friends of mine love to entertain in their London club on their visits, but a problem arises…

Dear Mary

29 October 2016 9:00 am

Q. We hired a villa in the Camargue through the so-called ‘Sloane web’. You either know the uber-Sloane who runs…

Dear Mary: What’s the polite way to dodge sharing a sleeper carriage?

22 October 2016 9:00 am

Q. Next month, four of us from university are going up on a wildfowling trip north of Inverness. We are…

Dear Mary: my father mustn’t find out my wardrobe’s full of moths

15 October 2016 9:00 am

Q. My father has been on the warpath to eradicate Tineola bisselliella, the common clothes moth. He told me to…

Dear Mary: I am treating friends to lunch, but they keep inviting others

8 October 2016 9:00 am

Q. A family of five from Brazil who are close friends of mine are visiting London next week. They have…

Dear Mary: what do I tip a gamekeeper?

1 October 2016 9:00 am

Q. When an invitation to shoot arrives in the autumn, I have a sense of both excitement and dread. The…

Dear Mary: How to keep your guests from too many toasts

24 September 2016 9:00 am

Q. How can I tactfully request that well-meaning old friends stop toasting my (new) husband’s hospitality? It seems ungrateful but,…

What to do when a beast monopolises your fascinating neighbour at dinner

17 September 2016 9:00 am

Q. At a recent party I was delighted to find my hosts had put me next to one of their…

Was it superstition or snobbery that kept our carer from a table of 13?

10 September 2016 9:00 am

Q. We recently stayed for a Saturday night with an old friend and were warned before we arrived that my…

Dear Mary: How can we stop our holiday home housekeepers’ wild parties?

3 September 2016 9:00 am

Q. We have a heavenly house in Corfu where we go as often as possible. The best thing about it…

How to cope with two groups of friends in one corner of Greece

27 August 2016 9:00 am

  Q. We have been invited to stay with a generous friend in Greece. Now we hear from other (slightly…

Dear Mary: How can we stop people giving us wedding presents we don’t need?

20 August 2016 9:00 am

Q. My partner and I have been living together for 26 years, but now that he’s asked me to marry…

Too many internet deliveries? Befriend an elderly neighbour

13 August 2016 9:00 am

Q. I live in Balham but work in Mayfair. Twice recently I have had to take whole days off work…

The Camerons are our new neighbours — should we throw them a party?

6 August 2016 9:00 am

Q. David and Samantha Cameron, their family and two armed policemen have moved to the house opposite us. Do you…

Dear Mary: Every summer I go abroad when what I want is to stay in England

30 July 2016 9:00 am

Q. Every summer, just when England is at its loveliest, we have to pack everything up and make a stressy…

Dear Mary: On being an unappreciated patron of the arts

23 July 2016 9:00 am

Q. Since my husband began to appear in the Rich List he has become much more popular with ‘artists’ in…

Dear Mary: What’s the tactful way to invite ourselves to the dance?

16 July 2016 9:00 am

Q. My wife and I are enthusiastic dancers so when we heard that people we know through mutual friends were…

Dear Mary: Can I save my son from a degrading school trip?

9 July 2016 9:00 am

Q. My son goes into his final year at school this September and I would like him to be able…

Dear Mary: what to do with a dinner guest who attends only to her phone?

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Q. The setting was dinner for 16 at one of Europe’s most civilised houses. Sitting on the right of the…

Dear Mary: Would it be kinder NOT to give a homemade wedding present?

25 June 2016 8:00 am

Q. A friend’s daughter is marrying soon. She and her husband-to-be, both art-lovers, have dispensed with a wedding list, instead…

Dear Mary: the thorny issue of a toddler playing music on a phone

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Q. My daughters and I were recently taking our seats on an aeroplane. From behind us came the recorded refrain…

Dear Mary: Is it naff to circulate an advance list of dinner-party guests?

11 June 2016 9:00 am

Q. When going out to dinner I’ve found some people will send everyone a list of the other guests so…

Dear Mary: What can you do when your new neighbours stiff you on a restaurant bill?

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Q. We moved recently and new neighbours invited us to join them for dinner at a nearby restaurant. I planned…