Q. Our neighbours have a tennis court which, under the property’s previous owner, we enjoyed playing men’s fours on. The new owner is very welcoming and friendly. The problem (without sounding conceited, I hope) is that he is not up to the standard of the rest of us in the village who would like to play on his court. How do we politely say that we want to play — but not with him?
— Name and address withheld
A. What about one of your number inviting him to play golf? He will thereby have the opportunity to introduce the new court owner to lots of locals, or businessmen, or whatever type of person he may want to meet if new to the area. Once one of you has set up a distraction such as the golf club, then others of your standard can ask if he would mind if you used the court at that time in his absence.
Q. We have a real difficulty with dear friends who took a cavalier attitude to lockdown. They continued to have their children down from London at weekends, arguing that they had been tested so it was safe; they continued to have friends for supper and drinks, allegedly in the garden, but of course they all went inside. They invited us too and I think they felt we were pompous to refuse. We disliked being portrayed as ‘the goodies’ when we were only trying to play the game. It has quietly affected how we see them as friends. Mary, how can we resume our friendship now, once the barriers are completely lifted, without this ‘war guilt’ hanging over us both?
— Name and address withheld
A. This is the question half the population is now asking about the other half. I suggest you both get over it. Brexit and Covid have been divisive enough already and it is time to try to heal the wounds.
Q. I write with what I hope will be a beneficial tip to your readers and for charity. My husband recently lost his treasured signet ring while gardening. We searched to no avail, wasting hours of our bank holiday weekend. He then searched ‘Find my ring’ online and up came a Facebook group that did exactly that. It is a collection of metal detectorists who offer their services to find lost rings, keys and so on, in return for a donation to charity. I put up a post and had a visit from our local friendly detectorist within 24 hours. The ring was found within five minutes! He refused any refund for parking, stating simply that he just did it to make people happy and that was what he had done. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust benefited as well. Mary, I felt sure it was a service that your readers might find useful, if only to add some cheer to their day — it certainly cheered us up.
— A.F., London W11
A. Thank you for going to the trouble to share this genuinely useful tip.
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