Modern manners

Dear Mary: How can I spike a gossip-pedlar’s guns?

10 May 2014 9:00 am

Q. On arrival at a top level dinner, I was surprised to see at the table a woman who, I…

Dear Mary: My teenager insists on an NHS operation. What can I do?

12 April 2014 9:00 am

Q. Our son, aged l6, has a medical condition which, although not life-threatening, requires surgery by a specialist to pre-empt…

Dear Mary: How can I escape the tyranny of teacher presents?

5 April 2014 9:00 am

Q. It’s only April and yet I am being emailed by parents who have already taken charge and are drumming…

Spectator letters: Bereaved parents against press regulation, and a defence of Tony Benn

29 March 2014 9:00 am

Why we need a free press Sir: As bereaved parents and (to borrow from some signatories of last week’s advertisement)…

The engagement-ring theory of property bubbles

29 March 2014 9:00 am

Google ‘the bread market’ and you get 135,000 hits, mostly from specialist food industry websites. Google ‘the property market’, however,…

When did we stop ‘tossing’ coins?

29 March 2014 9:00 am

What kind of scientists do school inspectors not need to be? ‘Inspectors don’t need to be rocket scientists.’ For what…

We have to tell the truth about Tony Benn now. Who will hear it later?

22 March 2014 9:00 am

I could start by remarking that we should not speak ill of the dead, quoting the pertinent Latin phrase: de…

Six months as a TV critic, and I’ve seen enough corpses to last a lifetime

22 March 2014 9:00 am

It was Shetland that tipped me over the edge. Not the place, but the TV series. Although that’s set in…

The joy of less sex

22 March 2014 9:00 am

From the age of 13, when the hormones kicked in, till I left my parents home at the age of…

I don’t want to rate the restaurant. I want to rate the date

22 March 2014 9:00 am

It was an averagely OK evening at one of London’s smarter restaurants: the food was edible, the wine wasn’t vinegar,…

Why working class grandparents are better than middle class ones

22 March 2014 9:00 am

When I told a friend that my nine-year-old son was staying with his grandparents for the whole week of the…

Dyslexia is meaningless. But don't worry – so is ADHD

15 March 2014 9:00 am

There is a beautiful symmetry to all things, I think, and probably related somehow to the concept of karma. Only…

Dear Mary: Is there any way to wriggle out of a phone invitation?

15 March 2014 9:00 am

Q. Is there a tactful way to keep one social offer on hold while waiting to see if you have…

Would you let parents destroy ‘gay’ embryos?

1 March 2014 9:00 am

Because I’d like to have a child, and I’m getting on a bit, my husband and I have spent time…

The question that Dear Mary refuses to answer

1 March 2014 9:00 am

Q. One of my best friends, who knows I don’t have a great social life at university, has a brother…

It’s time that Scotland’s timid posh folk spoke out

22 February 2014 9:00 am

I took part in a documentary about Scottishness a few weeks ago, and it wasn’t bad at all. I mused,…

The church of self-worship: Sunday morning with the atheists

22 February 2014 9:00 am

I had always assumed that the one thing atheism had going for it was that you could have a lie-in…

Dear Mary: How do you escape from a stranger's childhood trauma story?

22 February 2014 9:00 am

Q. Recently a cousin and I gave a small drinks party in the USA. She had invited a very elegant…

The Fable would do better as an American Psycho theme bar

22 February 2014 9:00 am

The Fable is three floors high and two days old, a monster newly hatched on the Holborn Viaduct; deep below…

I’m nearly 60. I’m still interested in sex. Is that a problem?

15 February 2014 9:00 am

The other day I casually remarked to my ex-wife that our son’s new teacher is ‘really hot’. She gave me…

Warning: upspeak can wreck your career

15 February 2014 9:00 am

A few weeks ago, I accompanied my daughter to an Open Day at Roehampton College, where she is hoping to…

Will self-driving cars know what to do in the middle lane?

15 February 2014 9:00 am

I am convinced that when I took my driving test in 1983 I was asked by the examiner, ‘What lane…

Dear Mary: What do I do now I haven’t sent a thank-you letter?

15 February 2014 9:00 am

Q. Over New Year I stayed with a man who combines being a generous and exciting host with a punctilious…

Dear Mary: How can I make my friends read the book I gave them?

8 February 2014 9:00 am

Q. I gave a copy of Dan Russel the Fox by Somerville and Ross to a couple I know to be…

The case against London cabbies

1 February 2014 9:00 am

I lost my misguided faith in black cabs last week, on the corner of Royal College Street in north London.…