Dear Serena: Your cut-out-and-keep guide to perfect modern manners

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Dear Serena,

What are the chances of my getting my passport by the time my dog has got his?

Paula, Bromley

Virtually nil. Looks like you'll have to send Fido off for those two weeks in the Caribbean all by himself. Still, he'll probably enjoy the food on Britannia Air more than you would.

As a child, I used to watch my mother and grandmother fight like cat and dog and I don't think I ever quite got over it. Could this be the reason why I am serially unfaithful to my wife? She seems to think so.

Bill, Washington

No. But hey, if your wife wants to believe that it's true, let her. Marriages have been maintained on flimsier pretexts than that one.

Life in the big city has been taking its toll on me, and I really need to get away from it all for a few days. I was thinking of going on a retreat, but I gather you need to be affiliated with a religion to do that. Where can I go over the next few days that will guarantee me peace, quiet, beautiful landscape and total isolation from my fellow beings?

Lyndon, London E1

Scotland is particularly nice at this time of year, and has the added bonus that all those corporate entertainment parties that would normally be trooping over moors banging away at hikers and claiming they'd mistaken them for grouse on the 12th will still be bobbing about in the queue to get back into Newquay harbour after the eclipse. If you have an English accent, you will get all the isolation you need, because the Scots will refuse to have anything to do with you.

With all this hot weather, the young couple in the bedsit over the road seem to have lost all sense of privacy, and haven't closed their curtains in three weeks. I find it mesmerising. Should I let them know I can see everything they get up to? Or would it cause more embarrassment than it's worth?

Nancy, London W8

Of course it's more embarrassment than it's worth. They are probably fully aware they can be seen, but if you tell them, they will have you rightly sussed for a peeping Tom. If you don't, you can save on electricity by switching off the lights and the telly and investing in a pair of opera glasses. Spying on one's neighbours is a much more amusing way of passing the summer months than watching repeats of Last of The Summer Wine. You could probably even make a useful extra income by selling tickets.

I gather that my local council is planning to attract the Pink Pound to our city with a new retail village. If I get passed one of these, how will I recognise it, and is it legal tender?

Danny, Newcastle

The Pink Pound is a kind of credit card available only to people who have relatively high disposable incomes due to the fact that they have no children. While the card can be useful for getting you in to establishments that might otherwise be a tad exclusively "clubby", it isn't suitable for everyone. This is because you can spend it only on certain high-luxury goods, such as crop vests, gym membership, bottled lager, polenta, reproductions of Michaelangelo's David, leather goods, tickets for Celine Dion concerts, sauna fees, sun-dried tomatoes, haircuts, moustache wax etc.

My parents refuse to divorce like reasonable, civilised people. Do you think I could divorce them myself, on grounds of terminal embarrassment?

Chelsea, Los Angeles

I don't just think you can, I think you should. It's either that or call Prince William and get the name of his therapist.

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