Magazine article The Spectator

Dear Mary

Magazine article The Spectator

Dear Mary

Article excerpt

Q. My parents were invited to a wedding in Australia but were unable to attend. Through the post, however, came a letter from the bride's mother enclosing two unidentified photographs of the celebrations. In one, bride and mother stand smiling together outside the church. In another, the bride (aged 31) stands smiling between two extremely old men. One of these old men is her father, but how can my parents find out, without causing offence, whether the other old man is her new husband?

C. MacD., London WI

A. It is always a good idea to keep a radio tuned to loud hissing and crackling mode in handy proximity to a telephone. Your mother should set one up, then ring Australia. `Just ringing to thank you for the photographs! What a lovely one of Emma standing with her father and....' At this point she should turn the radio on for about ten seconds. `Sorry!' she can then scream. `What a terribly bad line. Remind me . . . I've completely forgotten. What was I just saying?'

Q. I was recently caught off guard by one of those men who come to your door selling frozen dinner party food out of the back of a van and who simply will not take no for an answer. I cannot afford to pay 3 for a child-sized helping of `air-frozen' cod but I found myself meekly writing out a huge cheque for boxfuls of stuff I neither needed nor wanted. …

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