Dear Mary

Dear Mary

8 January 2022 9:00 am

Q. I live alone, happily and remotely, but many miles from my immediate family. My son’s wife has very kindly…

Dear Mary, from Matt Hancock: after an eventful year, how should I get in touch with old friends?

18 December 2021 9:00 am

From Lady Antonia Fraser Q. I enjoy getting readers’ letters, but there is one category I am at a loss…

Dear Mary: should I force dinner guests to take a lateral flow test?

11 December 2021 9:00 am

Q. My mother-in-law has remarried and now lives in South America. She has a large family with nieces, grandchildren, godchildren,…

Dear Mary: How can I stop friends laughing at me for learning another language?

4 December 2021 9:00 am

Q. We have moved into a terraced house in a seaside town. Our joy is confined, however, by the fact…

Dear Mary: how can I get out of a Christmas party?

27 November 2021 9:00 am

Q. I belong to a fairly intimate private club which is the one reliable oasis of calm and civility that…

Dear Mary: how do I stop guests sitting on my newly plumped sofas?

20 November 2021 9:00 am

Q. We have recently installed security cameras in our remote holiday house in the south of France and I was…

Dear Mary: how can I learn to cope with my husband’s mess?

13 November 2021 9:00 am

Q. My husband has fallen in love with ‘the country’ and retired to Exmoor while I maintain a presence in…

Dear Mary: How do I politely avoid going to a memorial service?

6 November 2021 9:00 am

Q. I will shortly be attending a major social gathering in London at which I can look forward to seeing…

Dear Mary: How do I get my masseuse to stop talking?

30 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. Our two daughters often bring friends down for the weekend. These friends are more than welcome; we enjoy their…

Dear Mary: How do I stop a dinner guest double-dipping?

23 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. During lockdown I made good friends with a neighbour who I would never have met otherwise. This man lives…

Dear Mary: should I have asked out my rush-hour crush?

16 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. On a train journey the other day I sat opposite someone I found immensely attractive. We struck up a…

Dear Mary: Should I pay to charge my electric car at a friend’s house?

9 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. An acquaintance suggested organising a celebratory dinner in honour of some mutual friends. He asked my husband and me,…

Dear Mary: How do I get rid of my terrible cleaner?

2 October 2021 9:00 am

Q. I have recently become a widow. Since my son is away at university, I had the idea of charging…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my grey-haired friend giving away my true age?

25 September 2021 9:00 am

Q. I never lie about my age but I try not to think — or talk — about it. Now…

Dear Mary: how can I improve a friend’s appalling table manners?

18 September 2021 9:00 am

Q. I recently attended a wedding which was (for me) quite ‘grand’, with a church ceremony followed by a reception.…

Dear Mary: How should my granddaughter deal with her date’s body odour?

11 September 2021 9:00 am

Q. My granddaughter Jane has been asked on a date to the Wolseley by George (both pseudonyms). Although she finds…

Dear Mary: How do we get our friends to pay for the carpet they ruined?

4 September 2021 9:00 am

Q. We have had some rather rich Argentines to stay. No one was able to come in to help before…

Dear Mary: how can I matchmake two dinner guests?

28 August 2021 9:00 am

Q. What is the best seating plan when you have a supper party where you are hoping to matchmake two…

Dear Mary: how do I stop my fat friends breaking my chairs?

21 August 2021 9:00 am

Q. We have two very longstanding and generous-hearted (female) friends. Both have always been overweight, but since Covid they have…

Dear Mary: How do I stop my husband repeating himself?

14 August 2021 9:00 am

Q. A very old friend has rented a holiday house and invited my husband and me to stay. The property…

Dear Mary: How do we tell our interior designer relative we don’t want her doing up our house?

7 August 2021 9:00 am

Q. I’ve just completed a six-month paid internship for a hedge fund manager. I was mostly in his private office…

Dear Mary: What is the etiquette of greeting a friend who is engaged in a ceremonial display?

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Q. Passing Buckingham Palace in a taxi the other day, I saw the ceremonial wing of the Household Division prancing…

Dear Mary: How can I stop friends asking to stay in my holiday cottage?

24 July 2021 9:00 am

Q. My beloved wife has been studying Chinese metaphysics for 18 months. Our house and garden have been badly neglected…

Dear Mary: How do I avoid hugging at a funeral?

17 July 2021 9:00 am

Q. I have been double-vaccinated but am especially at risk and, since I know of at least four double-vaccinated people…

Dear Mary: How do I get my neighbours to tidy their front gardens?

10 July 2021 9:00 am

Q. I live in a row of town houses with a communal strip of garden in front. Three of the…