25 JULY 1992, Page 47


Dear Mary.. .

Q. Our daily, whom we value and adore, has begun to give us presents in the form of what she calls 'ornaments'. These objets Include things like two-foot-high green Buddhas, which she has brought back from holidays with her family in the Far East, and giant glass animals in garish colours. We do not find these things attractive to behold, yet have had to place them on rea- sonably prominent display so as not to hurt our daily's feelings. How can we discourage her from buying us any more presents like these? More to the point, how can we get rid of the existing ones without upsetting her?

G.C., London W11.

A. Perhaps you already have a house or cot- tage in the country in addition to your Lon- don premises? If not, why not invent the recent rental of such a property for week- end purposes. You can then enthuse to Your daily that her ornaments look wonder- ful in this venue where they 'can be dis- played to their best advantage'. Any further presents your daily gives can be greeted with similar enthusiasm as 'they will look so lovely in the country'.

Q. Our small house in a quiet rural valley is assailed by the raucous screeching of pea- cocks. Some difficult neighbours have

brought them in to dignify their designer garden. Roosters crowing at dawn are one thing; unnerving foreign screams from pea- cocks on top of the chimney at four in the morning are quite another. The awful nois- es continue intermittently throughout the day. Neighbourhood petitions have been ignored. The county authorities are 'investi- gating' but after a year no action has been taken. We're desperate. What can we do short of a shotgun?

J.D., London SWI3 A. A former peacock owner of my acquain- tance has been consulted and has offered the following solution. Persuade a local grandee — not too local — to buy some peacocks. If necessary, make him a present of a pair. Peacocks are notoriously snobbish and are known to prefer grand houses.

These tend to afford them more pilasters to emerge screeching from behind and more mature trees in which to perch at great height. In no time your neighbours' pea- cocks will be attracted by the distant screeching from up to five miles away and fly off to see what is going on. Having found the conditions at the grand house to be superior to their own in the designer garden, they will be loath to return home. Persistent rearrest will be pointless as, your neighbours will find, will be the purchase of replacement peacocks.

Q. I have a large staphyloccocal pimple in the centre of my forehead. I am due to attend an important wedding next week- end. How can I cover up this eyesore? All the masking agents I have attempted to use have resulted in caking — just making it look like a piece of millefeuille pastry with a spot in the centre, rather than just a plain spot.

C.G., Wilts.

A. Wear a plaster over the pimple on the day of the wedding. Tell fellow guests that you were injured by a thorn when pruning roses. This will make your injury seem quite glamorous.

Mary Killen