AUNTY AG UNCLE ONY

Jehovah's Witnesses at your door? Auntie Ag and Uncle Ony explain how to shift them. Plus other uses for a mobile phone and what to do if your mum's addicted - to crosswords

What should one do about Jehovah's Witnesses? There are a couple of ladies who regularly call on a Sunday and attempt to discuss God's plan with me. My husband takes a robust stance but I find it difficult to tell them to go away, particularly as these ladies are really very charming. Last time they came round I found myself agreeing to look up a certain passage in the Bible before their next visit. I just know that sooner or later I am going to end up getting involved in a long conversation, even though I have no interest in religion.

Chloe, Battersea

Auntie Ag: How nice that they should think you are worth saving. To avoid hurt feelings, the time-honoured strategy of Pretending Not To Be In is a classic. (It's evidently too late in your case for the Pretending To Be Your Own Au Pair Who Doesn't Speak English plan.) However, if you are feeling mischievous, you could try to sell them a timeshare or explain in detail your abiding interest in stamp-collecting. You will need stamina to pull this off effectively, though, and bear in mind they are two against one.

Uncle Ony: Why not invite them in? Closed minds are a curse of the modern world. We should all be more open to other people's ideas, more receptive to alternatives to our own way of life. A lively debate on God's plan for the world could be a most interesting way of passing your Sunday afternoon.

My mum is 75 years old and a crossword fiend. I always buy her books of crosswords for birthdays and Christmases, and the problem is that I have run out. She has all the crossword books that exist and they are all filled in. I am desperate for further inspiration. Please help.

Richard, via e-mail

Auntie Ag: Set up a rota of friends and neighbours to play constant games of Scrabble with her, but get them to make her guess their words before they put them down: a kind of perpetual, ever-changing, crossword- type experience. (You may need to offer substantial bribes to the other players.)

Uncle Ony: Crosswords are all very well, but they are not terribly productive. If your mother has a facility for words, why not encourage her to start learning a new language? This would contain all the elements of deduction, frustration and incomprehension that are present in filling in a crossword, but with a concrete achievement at the end.

For Christmas last year my husband gave me a mobile phone because he wants me to feel safer. The trouble is that I have never wanted one and I have never used it. I don't like mobiles in public places anyway, and most of the time I keep it switched off. I have certainly never got to grips with all the miraculous "functions" it can perform. I don't want to hurt his feelings by admitting his gift is pointless, and wonder if you can suggest any other uses for it.

Suzette, Walthamstow

Auntie Ag: You can have fun with a mobile without ever switching it on. Take this example: a woman was sick of the dirty looks she got whenever she attempted to take bags of shopping home on a crowded commuter train. Finally pushed to the end of her tether by her unaccommodating fellow travellers, she whipped out her mobile as she boarded her train, pretended to dial, and announced loudly: "Thank goodness I looked at the indicator board before I got on! I thought this was the 6.18 to Little Fittlebury, but they've changed the platforms and I've just managed to leap on the 6.17 to Upper Tootleton!" All her fellow passengers within earshot leapt off the train, leaving her with plenty of room for herself and her shopping. I'm sure you can think of plenty of variations on this theme.

Uncle Ony: A mobile phone is a great safety device, assuming your mugger will politely wait while you fish out your phone and dial the police. You would probably do equally well using it as a missile to throw at would- be assailants, frankly. Tell your husband to take it back and get you some nice flowers or perfume instead: a much more suitable gift.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaner / Caretaker / Storeman

    £15500 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...

    Recruitment Genius: Head of Sales - SaaS B2B

    £60000 - £120000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This conference call startup i...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...

    Day In a Page

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
    RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

    RuPaul interview

    The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
    Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

    Secrets of comedy couples

    What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
    Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

    Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

    While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
    The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

    The best swimwear for men

    From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
    Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

    Mark Hix goes summer foraging

     A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
    Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

    With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

    Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
    Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

    Aaron Ramsey interview

    Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
    Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

    Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

    As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
    The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

    Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

    Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
    A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

    A Very British Coup, part two

    New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms