28 DECEMBER 2002, Page 55

Q. How can I 'cure' my husband of his irritating

habit of checking the sell-by date on the side of milk cartons before he pours any?

Woodborough, Wiltshire A. Many men enjoy the role of domestic policeman, catching their wives out in minicrimes such as using food past its sell-by date. Although they do not usually mete out sentences, they do like to extract confessions of guilt. Retrain him by holding back empty milk cartons, washing them out, then refilling them a couple of weeks later with fresh milk. Respond to his indignation and wagging finger with a tinkling laugh. Cry gaily, 'April fool! It's so satisfying to play these little tricks on you!' Keep doing this until he is cured, as he swiftly will be when he realises that there is no mileage to be had from this particular form of policing.