12 MAY 2001, Page 63

A. Your letter suggests that, although you may not regard

these people as friends, they clearly regard you as such. May I recommend that you temper your callous attitude so as to spare their feelings. Say, 'Oh good, have you been invited?' Then explain that because the numbers on your list had become unmanageable and you couldn't bear to prune any of your friends' names off it, you have had to leave it to your parents to decide 'from their objective point of view who my oldest friends are and then let them send out invitations according to their quota'.

Q. I fail to understand all this consternation over what reading matter should appear in one's lavatory. A small, neat pile of back numbers of The Spectator is surely the obvious choice, and much easier to manage than a broadsheet newspaper. Once the copies start to look a bit tired, they can be replaced with newer ones.

B.S., Hawkhurst, Kent