13 SEPTEMBER 2003, Page 87

Q. Like an earlier correspondent this summer, my wife and

I find ourselves in the invidious position of being asked, very much as an afterthought, to the wedding of friends to whom we considered ourselves close. Worse, on the grounds that they had 'run out or the real thing, we have not even been sent a proper invitation, but a photocopy. How can we best express our dismay at having this B-list status so blatantly thrust upon us?

H.R.-T., East Lothian

A. Punish the couple by the following means. Arrange for a third party, posing as a Sloane), factotum service, to ring them to arrange a time for courier delivery of a Minton dinner service or similar luxury wedding present. Ten minutes later she

should ring back: 'I'm afraid I actually got you muddled up with some other friends of the R-Ts who are also getting married. And it's they who are receiving the Minton dinner service. Sorry to have troubled you but I won't need to bother you again about delivery of your own present because I understand Ikea will be in touch with you directly.'