21 MARCH 1992, Page 55

YOUR PROBLEMS SOLVED Q. What is the correct way to

remove spit- tle which someone has accidently spat onto one's face while talking enthusiastically?

C. S. Islington A. If one has been spat on by an old friend, then it is correct to cry, 'Ugh! Stop spit- ting!' before openly removing the effluvium with an exaggerated dabbing action. Should your interlocutor be less well known to you, you can avoid embarrassment by pretend- ing not to have noticed for a few seconds and continuing your conversation. You should then drop or knock something to the floor. During the stooping and recovery process you will have ample time to dis- creetly blot the spittle onto some suitable part of your own clothing.

Q. On an impulse that I now regret, I asked the hall porter at my London club if I could have kippers for breakfast. As a result he spoke to the housekeeper who brought them to my bedroom, as requested, at 7.30 in the morning. She commanded the cham- bermaid to lift the cover and what was revealed but two headless and tail-less, pal- lid poached kippers floating in a shallow sea of lukewarm water? The housekeeper

Dear Mary.. .

then assured me that willy-nilly I should have kippers every time she found my name in the book as staying at the club overnight. This was a special privilege. They tasted like evil-flavoured wet cotton-wool, so how can I arrange to revert to bacon, eggs and a sausage, without offending the good woman?

J.R.E.S., Whitsbury A. You could perhaps say to the hall porter that he should ask the housekeeper to for- get her promise to provide kippers indefi- nitely. Confide that a distant cousin has recently been lost at sea between Slarba and Jura in the Gulf of Corryvreckan and that you could no longer face the thought of fish, kippered or otherwise. Q. My passport has almost expired (its validity) and I need to supply an up-to-date photograph of myself in order to renew it. I am 58 years old and my problem is that, though in real life I am remarkably well preserved by any standards, in posed pho- tographs I look about 68. I believe this is because the face, when not animated, seems to sag downwards and forwards at my age. I cannot face carrying around a hideous picture of myself for ten years. What can I do? I just look like a loony if I try to 'animate' myself in the booth.

A.C. W8 A. Why not give yourself a temporary face- lift before entering the photo booth? This is only slightly painful and involves drag- ging the extra folds of sagging skin back and securing them with elastoplast behind your ears and at the top of your forehead. The elastoplast itself can then be masked by fluffing locks of hair over it. You will find the results to be remarkably effective.

Mary Killen

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