Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How can I lie about my age and still use my Senior Railcard?

Plus: How to deal with drunken texting and low beams

28 February 2015

9:00 AM

28 February 2015

9:00 AM

Q. I was not brought up in England and don’t appear in Who’s Who. This means that there is no printed record of my date of birth. I’m not vain, but have good reason to believe the work I do would dry up if my age became known. (I look about 50.) The point of my writing is that I now have a Senior Railcard but hardly dare use it in case the collector comes while I am sitting with neighbours or potential clients. Twice I have pre-empted having to show the card while sitting next to such people by walking through the train on the pretext of asking the inspector a question, then showing him my ticket and railcard so he doesn’t ask me for it back at the seat. But this is unsustainable. Any suggestions?
— Name withheld, Exeter

A. Buy a Network Railcard (£30) and use that instead of your Senior Railcard. Flash it openly. This card is available to all ages and provides identical benefits to the Senior Railcard, i.e. one third off the cost of the fare (with the same time restrictions). It would profit all rail travellers to have a look at the Network Railcard map. Much of southern England from as far north as King’s Lynn, Worcester and Bedford down to the coast falls within the card’s remit. Ditto from Exeter in the west to Ramsgate in the east.


Q. I sent a drunken text to a man I am not sure is that keen on me, but who is dating me when he comes to London. I am obsessed by him. Now having read the text while sober I am deeply embarrassed. What should I do? He is much older than I am. Should I text him saying that a friend of mine sent it from my phone as a joke and that I hope he realised it was not from me?
— Name and address withheld

A. Why not brazen it out and laughingly invite him to celebrate the fact that your disparity in maturity has been exposed before you have both wasted too much time barking up the wrong tree? Such frankness would only enhance his affection for you.

Q. Following a reversal in financial fortunes, I have moved to a cottage which is charming, but has very low ceilings. Most of my friends are not only tall but used to normally proportioned rooms. When they come to see me in the cottage, no matter how many warnings I give, they bang their heads on the low beams or door frames — sometimes so painfully that I feel our friendships won’t survive.
— N.C., Somerset

A. One woman in Sussex with this problem has had her low beams upholstered. If this is too costly for you, then require your friends to wear riding hats for the first hour they are in your cottage. Once they have sustained a number of shocking though painless blows in the school of hard knocks, they will have the measure of your cottage and be fully alert to the dangers of not paying attention.

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  • Helen of Troy

    Good lord. Who was the cottage built for, Frodo?

  • Md

    Just hang a ribbon from the beam. It works without fail

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