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Miss Manners: Consider horse in party plans

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend has recently purchased a horse and has plans to obtain another very soon. Should one wait for the second purchase before throwing a horse-warming party?

Should such an event be held in a house or a barn, perhaps in a garden or paddock, if the weather is good enough? What would be a suitable gift?

GENTLE READER: Is the hope to warm the horse? In that case, a blanket seems the only fitting gift. And if he won’t share, then another one for his friend.

As for venue, Miss Manners suggests it be wherever the horse(s) would feel most at home.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have fallen into the habit of inviting myself to stay with my grandparents for periods of a week or more, and I’m concerned that they’re too polite to tell me if I’m inconveniencing them.

I do a lot of research at an archive near where they live, and as a postgraduate student, I can’t afford to pay for my own accommodations in the area, which is quite a distance from my university.

While I’m sure they’re thrilled to get so many visits from their grandson, I can’t help feeling guilty that I’m inconveniencing them by staying so long.

Do you have any advice on how to show the proper level of respect and gratitude when staying with relations? On the other hand, how far do familial obligations go in these situations? When does “It’s no trouble” start meaning “You’ve overstayed your welcome”?

GENTLE READER: Miss Manners warns, as you are family, you must act as such. You do not get to behave as a regular guest would, because a regular guest would wait for an invitation. Furthermore, as you are visiting with some frequency, you cannot expect your grandparents to put their lives on hold. Help out with chores when you can, make or treat them to an occasional meal, and above all, keep them apprised of your schedule so that they can make their own plans – which may or may not include you.


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