Agony, British style

Just listened to a terrific radio interview with my former Observer colleague, the wonderful Katherine Whitehorn, who has long retired from the paper but is now the ‘agony aunt’ of Saga Magazine. The conversation had moved on to the way readers respond to newspaper/magazine columnists. Katherine recounted how she had once had a letter from a man who lived with his wife in a largish house but the two of them nowadays hardly exchanged a word in the course of an entitre day. How could this dire situation be improved. Katharine suggested that the get a dog “because at least then they’d have to talk about who would take the bloody animal for a walk every day” — and was deluged with angry letters from readers saying “how dare you suggest introducing an innocent dog into such a dysfunctional family”.

And I thought: only in Britain could this happen.