15 MAY 1993, Page 63


Dear Mary. .

Q. I train racehorses and recently have been confronted by a delicate problem. One of my owner's daughters has always taken a keen interest in her father's horses, but now seems to be rather more interested in the jockeys. She quite often telephones me to suggest I put up such-and-such a Jockey, and usually adds to these requests comments such as 'I wouldn't mind an hour or two in the sauna with him!' I began by taking this lightly, but then discovered that she had invited a jockey to stay on the pre- text he should have a day's hunting. Now I'm beginning to think the matter may be getting out of hand. I should be most grate- ful for your advice. I should add that the Person in question is married to another of my owners, so you can appreciate the posi- tion I'm in. Anon, Newmarket A Why not telephone the features depart- ment of a likely tabloid with the suggestion that they run an article on 'the phe- nomenon of middle-aged jockey groupies'? Say that if they are interested you will will- ingly round up some women to be inter- viewed. Whether or not they take up your offer, you can telephone the owner's daughter in question and say, coarsely, that you would like to put her name forward as someone who would be able to talk author- itatively about the sex appeal of jockeys and their ability to ride a good finish. No doubt she will be horrified at the thought of receiving such exposure and will attempt to curb her vulgarities in the future.

Q. My friend and neighbour is an excellent cook, and a kind and generous hostess who frequently asks me to lunch or dinner. I find these occasions rather an ordeal, as guests are expected to congregate in a tiny, chairless kitchen to watch admiringly as an entire meal is prepared, a process which can take several hours. By the time we sit down to eat, my legs are aching and my brain so fuddled by alcohol consumed out of sheer frustration that it's impossible to relax and enjoy the food. Turning up later than asked doesn't solve the problem: the culinary performance never starts until the audience arrives. Wearing flat shoes and bringing snacks helps, but short of refusing invitations altogether or sitting in another room with a crossword (which might look rude) can you suggest other ways of circum- venting this long wait? B.R, NW1 A. Next time you are invited you should pop along to your local health centre or casualty department and borrow a crutch for the evening. Turn up at your neigh- bour's with it and an elasticated ban- dage around one of your ankles. Pretend you have twisted it tut it's nothing seri- ous . . . I'm absolutely fine'. Your neigh- bour could not possibly allow you to stand peg-leggedly in the kitchen for hours while she cooks, so she will no doubt bring some seating 'through' for you. In this way the debate about sitting or standing during the cooking process will be naturally and unac- rimoniously opened up. Everyone present will thereby be able to express their prefer- ence, in a non-accusatory manner, for seat- ing being made available in the kitchen.