Dear Mary

Dear Mary: What should my wife and I do with the risque photos we took in our youth?

13 March 2021

9:00 AM

13 March 2021

9:00 AM

Q. I hesitate to bring you this problem, but I suspect it is not that uncommon. Early in our very successful marriage we privately took photographs of each other which neither of us would like our children, or indeed anyone else, to see. They were intended for our old age and now that has arrived we take the greatest pleasure in them; indeed they did much to enliven our most recent Christmas spent on our own. Those of my wife I find quite enchanting: she was extremely attractive in her youth and remains very good-looking to this day. It would be such a shame to destroy them prematurely but at some stage we will surely have to deprive ourselves. Or is there a solution you can suggest, Mary?
— R., Watlington

A. No child wants to dwell on the idea that their parents might have had sex lives. Great-grandchildren, however, are fascinated to see vintage physiques, particularly if their ancestors were good physical specimens. So, as long as they are not pornographic, keep them in an archive to be opened in 2050.

Q. There are just the two of us in the house and my husband has developed a maddening habit of talking at the same time as me. Sometimes he will be sitting in total silence but, as soon as I begin to speak, he begins almost simultaneously. I do occasionally need to convey information to him so this is frustrating. He was never like this before lockdown and I suppose it’s because I am the only person he sees. Mary, how can I stop him doing this?
— M.F., Stoke by Nayland


A. Record said information as a voice note on your own iPhone. Bring the iPhone to your husband, press play and leave the room while he listens to it. Return in order to listen to his response. He will find this maddening but it will teach him to wait his turn while you are speaking.

Q. A friend has set up an online shop selling objects she has hand-painted. I want to encourage her so I bought something which was just on the cusp of what I could afford. However when I reached the checkout I saw that with VAT (which had not been mentioned before) and a hefty delivery charge added, I would be spending roughly half as much again. Since it is a one-person operation, I knew she would have seen my name and address being registered for an account so I had to go ahead. I felt a bit swindled and know others in our friendship group have had the same reaction. But our friend is very touchy and I don’t know how to tell her. What should I do?
— Name and address withheld

A. Ask another friend, unknown to the online shopkeeper, to set up an account and then fill her trolley. When she comes to the checkout she should cancel the order and write to ‘customer services’ to explain her decision.

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