1 MAY 1992, Page 47

YOUR PROBLEMS SOLVED

Q. When I have a hangover I am often con- sumed by guilt and am quite beastly to myself. Especially when driving alone in the car, I can't help cussing my stupid behaviour of the night before and some- times slap myself across the forehead. Occasionally pulling up at traffic lights, I realise I have been caught unawares by other motorists. Should I shake my head and pretend that I was just singing along with the music or return their stare as if it's them that's completely barking?

D.R., St John of God's, Lucan

A. Neither method is correct. You should continue to talk to yourself but glance backwards and downwards at the same time. This will give the impression that you have been addressing a companion who is lying down in the rear passenger seat perhaps also hungover, but outside the field of vision of your observers. Then, quickly roll down your window and flap an imagi- nary insect out through it (the one that landed on your forehead).

Q. Please help! This is a true cri de coeur. I have a grown-up son who is temporarily without employment, and taking it rather

Dear Mary.. .

hard. I have assured him that we are happy to keep him, and can well afford to do so, but recently he has begun bringing home from various government offices tins of 'EEC Beef (allegedly 'minced' and 'stewed', though the contents seem to be identical) 'as a contribution to the house- hold'. They are beginning to mount up so, please, can you suggest any recipes which will make them at all palatable? Once when he was away I tried offering some to the cat, but though he ate it, I think I now know what eight out of ten prefer Whiskas to.

CG., Islay A. I am sorry to hear about the tins of 'beef

which are mounting up in your household. May I suggest that you buy some conven- tional beef or mince from a butcher and serve dishes such as stew or even old-fash- ioned rissoles. As you raise the forkfuls to your mouths you can say, 'Mmm delicious. Thank you for those tins of beef.' Not exactly a lie as such and unless your son demands to do the cooking himself, he will not know the truth of the dishes' contents. The tins of EEC beef can then be con- tributed by you to a local pig farm or hawk breeder who will, no doubt, receive them gratefully. In order to discourage your son from bringing home more tins of beef, why not pretend to have some twinges in your joints. It is now fairly well established that sufferers from arthritis can gain consider- , able relief by cutting out red meat from their diet and you could say to your son 'Much as I love that EEC beef, it's no good for my arthritis — apparently tinned beef is worse than any other kind.'

If you have a problem, write to 'Dear Mary, The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London, WC1N 2LL

Mary Killen