Country houses for sale

Removing chocolate stains

Dear Mrs Danvers, I live in Ontario, Canada, and my sister in Oxfordshire. When visiting, she has much admired our screen doors and windows, which keep my prize-winning cats in and various unpleasant insects out. They also allow fresh air to circulate through the house. Do you know if these are available in England or shall I resort to making drawings on my next visit and try to find somebody to make them?

I know of no such screens in Oxfordshire (or anywhere in Britain), perhaps because we don’t have too many unpleasant insects over here except in the west of Scotland with its midges, although I suspect nothing would keep the wee beasts out. So I think you will need to bring drawings over in the hope, possibly forlorn, that you will find someone to knock some up.

The next problem will be finding the right netting. You don’t say whether this is metal, or nylon, or some other material. You can buy galvanised mesh over here, generally for meat safes, and mosquito netting in tropical suppliers, but neither might be right. I suggest you ask your sister to check if your netting is available here before doing the drawings.

chocolate stains

Dear Mrs Danvers, I have a Hackett’s linen suit, two or three years old, which I have only occasionally worn. I think I must have sat on some chocolate pudding as there is a smallish patch on the rear of the trousers. I sent the suit to a local cleaners, but, unfortunately, they were unable to remove it and it now looks as if it is more ingrained. Can you suggest a really good cleaners, perhaps in London, who might be able to help?

This does not sound like good news because the best cleaners always say that you should take the stain, untouched by amateurs or incompetent cleaners, to them straight away. The problem is that, if they don’t know exactly what well-meaning but failed efforts have been used, it is harder to dislodge the original stain.

I suggest that you take your suit to Jeeves of Belgravia (the Mayfair branch is 020?7491 8885, ring before going), who are excellent cleaners and, as I know from experience, if they can do nothing, they will tell you up front (saving the cost of the cleaning). If all else fails, you could try asking them to dye your suit the colour of chocolate pud.