London - Whether you are irritated by a dripping tap, are plagued by slugs or want to make your candles last longer, Mrs Batty, the former head housekeeper at Castle Mould, shares her straightforward solutions to your daily household problems.
To deter slugs, purchase small cards from your local stationer’s and write ‘SLUGS UNWELCOME’ in large letters with a black felt tip pen.
To prevent slugs from chewing on your young carrot plants, place large cuts of wild smoked salmon all around, with a piece of lightly buttered brown bread and a small salad. Given the choice of dirty raw carrots or prime smoked salmon, slugs will always go for the smoked salmon.
Daffodils last much longer if left in the ground.
It’s an easy mistake to make, but plant bulbs should never be confused with electric bulbs. A dear friend of mine who was Senior Housekeeper at Downton Abbey once fell into this trap, with the result that, come the spring, there were no tulips on the front lawn and Lord Fellowes’ Society Ball was held in complete darkness.
When kneeling down to plant, in order to prevent dirt from ruining your white trousers, don’t wear white trousers.
To stop unpleasant smells from pervading your stately home, move the cesspit outside.
If you can’t see out of your windows, try asking an under-maid to draw the curtains.
Add two teabags to your bath. This will provide you with a plentiful supply of weak, lukewarm tea when you get out.
Teabags come in handy in so many different ways. Are you going to a high-society wedding but seem to have forgotten your ‘fascinator’? Just thread an elastic band through a brightly coloured tea-bag and wear that instead.
Is a dripping tap getting on your nerves? Take your mind off it by playing a particularly annoying piece of music at full blast. Personally, I always find Mandy by Barry Manilow works a treat.
Make things simpler for yourself when loading and unloading the dishwasher, by loading everything in alphabetical order - ashtrays, bowls, cutlery - and then unloading them in reverse.
When a demanding young guest asks for granola for breakfast, gravel drawn discreetly from your drive and placed in a cereal container can provide an acceptable substitute.
If you have run out of bubble bath, buy a bubble-blowing kit from a novelty shop and create your own.
Stop chickens entering your house by keeping a fox indoors at all times.
Unpleasant smells in the kitchen? A clothes-peg placed firmly over the nose should do the trick.
If your guests have stayed too long, inform them that Sarah, Duchess of York will shortly be dropping by.
To keep your tin fresh, place some cake or bread in it. It works every time.
At breakfast, butter served straight from the fridge can often prove too hard to spread on toast. The surest way to deal with this problem is to turn off the fridge before you go to bed.