Magazine article The Spectator

Dear Mary

Magazine article The Spectator

Dear Mary

Article excerpt

Q. In the 21 August edition of your excellent magazine an acquaintance of mine, M.M. from Shaftesbury, sought advice on how to deal with a delicate situation that had arisen in our personal relationship following his recent success in catching more salmon than me on the River Spey in Scotland. I wonder if you could advise me on how to deal tactfully with what I perceive to be a far more difficult situation arising from this. As is plain to see in the record book, in the last five years that we have fished together I have caught precisely double the number of salmon that he has. Yet he claims that he has caught more than me. How would you explain this curious form of self-delusion and how do you suggest that I approach the subject with him? He has taken to looking smug and referring frequently to my 'other qualities', as he puts it. Should I allow him the satisfaction he clearly gets from his affliction, or should I confront him with the truth and face the consequences this might have for our relationship? I have many less aggressive and self-deluded, fishing friends begging to join my annual party, so perhaps I should just ditch him in favour of one of them? Advice, please.

P.D-P.,Tisbury, Wilts

A. There is no need to ditch the selfdeluded old friend. Instead, force him out of his fantasy in the following manner. Have a Sloane Ranger-style collage made of photographic fishing highlights of your last five years on the Spey, tastefully mounted alongside replicas of the relevant pages from the record book reduced in size on a photocopying machine. Hang this in your kitchen in traditional Sloane Ranger manner. …

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