11 OCTOBER 2003, Page 79

Q. My beloved wife is of aristocratic origins. This may

possibly account for the fact that at breakfast time she leaves the lids off Marmite, marmalade and honey jars for someone else to attend to, as I suppose they would have done in olden times. Like the great Lady Thatcher, I myself come from grocer stock and this flamboyant behaviour is beginning to get on my nerves. How can I retrain my wife so that she becomes less wantonly wasteful in her ways? A. Teach her a lesson by starting to throw away some of these favourite condiments, leaving only the telltale lids as admonishment. When she inquires as to the jars' whereabouts, wear a blank expression and say, 'Oh, I thought you must have finished with them as you left the lids off' Stick to this policy and your wife will soon learn the error of her ways.