Magazine article The Spectator

Dear Mary

Magazine article The Spectator

Dear Mary

Article excerpt

Q. Can you help me? My friend always comes up to see me even if I tell her to go away. When she is in my house she never plays with me or listens to me. She stays in the kitchen and eats. How can I stop her without her thinking I am horrible?

Violet (aged 8), Leixlip, County Kildare

A. Next time your friend drops in get your Mummy to say, 'Ah! I'm glad you've come. I've just been telling Violet that little girls have no idea how much work there is to do in a house. But housework can be fun! So to teach Violet what fun it can be, I'm going to make a rule that every time a friend comes to play she and Violet have to clean the silver, or clean the tack for half an hour before they start playing!' In this way your friend may soon lose her appetite for coming to your house. Even if she does not she will still have to chat to you for at least half an hour before she starts eating and ignoring you.

Q. Recently at a golf club in France I left, by mistake, my small camera on a shelf in a large room full of golf bags with open access to caddies and players. After lunch and 18 holes, I remembered my camera and asked the caddy master, whom I know well, if he had seen it. He had picked it up from where I had left it and was glad to find the owner. I returned to England that night, and the following day (the camera having not left my possession) I finished the reel with three photos in my garden, then took it on to our village shop for processing. The next morning, I collected the loosely closed package containing the prints and negatives and, without opening it, set off for a long drive north. …

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